Stopping for a break, south of Srinagar, and soldiers on patrol came out of the fields to inspect sanDRina.
From Srinagar, the riding was very hectic as from there to Jammu is the busiest route in all of Jammu & Kashmir. It's packed not just full of tourist vehicles but army vehicles, too. The scenery was enjoyable at times but with so much overtaking going on, it was hard to enjoy it.
I passed through lots of fields being prepared with fresh paddy and realized that now the focus had shifted from wheat in the high mountains to rice in the lowlands. I stopped by some fields to take a break and an army soldier on foot patrol popped out of the woods. I asked if it was okay to be here and he said, sure, so I took his photo. Turned out he was from Kerala.
After the flat farmland near Srinagar, the road climbed up and over two small mountains and passed through the 2.5 km long Jawahar Tunnel, which was built in the 1950s and was the first tunnel in the world that was drilled simultaneously from both sides and they met perfectly in the middle.
I reached Udhampur and with a contact from a rider from the Madras Bulls Motorcycling Club, I was welcomed as a VIP at the 4th Battalion of the Madras Regiment of the Indian Army. They hosted me a guest of honour and I soaked in the proud history of the regiment, the oldest in the Indian Army, dating from the 1750s! All the lieutenants and majors were most impressed to hear that an Indian had traveled the world on a motorcycle and they were very proud. Thank you for the fine evening, gentlemen!
Watch the video postcard from Udhampur: