We Can Take Pride From Real Heroes on Independence Day
Like many of you, I had a question for myself today - why are we getting holiday on 15th August? and what should I be doing? For me, independence or freedom is one of the most valuable things in life, if not the most valuable. Who are guarding for us to stay free? It's Indian army, hence, I decided to remember army and whatever courage and grit I have seen recently. And Whatever little interaction I could have with the army they asked me to share some of the things that I saw. It goes without saying that all that they ask is respect and remembrance for themselves.
If we take even a pinch of pride from Indian army for being Bhartiya, I believe many of the problems will either look small or will disappear.
I have to take the reference of my recent journey to Leh-Ladakh to bring back some of the memories about Indian army. My respect for army has gone up from 1x to 100x after my trip to Leh-Ladakh so I thought of dedicating a blog to the army today by recalling what I experienced or what I saw.
I got the opportunity to travel to Leh-Ladakh in July 2018 and it was supposed to be an adventure trip and nothing else but it turned out to be more of an inspiring trip for me than an adventure one - the reason for that was Indian Army.
In all my journey from Srinagar- Sonmarg- Zojila Pass- Dras- Kargil- Khardung La- Leh- Nubra Valley- Chang La to Pangyong Tso, I saw army men i.e jawans guarding roads and hills, standing at such places where there is no grocery store nor a village nor a water supply around them for at least 10 KMs or for 40-60 mins by bike or a car. Some of the pictures I could took I would describe.
In below picture, one army personnel wearing rain coat holding in one hand umbrella and a weapon in the other hand. I could not imagine standing for even 30 minutes there, especially with such harsh climate and no internet at most of the locations.
Then in another picture below, you can see two army men wearing Yellow raincoats. It was windy, it was raining and it was cold (around 10 degree temperature) and still they are standing all the hours in their duty. I had tears in my eyes seeing that.
Terrain is rough. Bharat has gone into the war with Pakistan for two times in Kargil (in 1972 and in 1999) when it was tried to capture the only road access for Bharat i.e Zojila Pass that connects Srinagar with the rest of the area of Leh-Ladakh. Zojila Pass is also the only road that can be used for transporting any supplies including food, medicines and weapons from Srinagar to Leh. Surprisingly and sadly, no government tried to build good concrete road or bigger roads connecting Srinagar to Leh.
Zojila Pass has its own limitations and is considered as one of the dangerous motorable roads in the world. Imagine, army and civilians traveling almost daily from this route. For me, one time was thrilling. Below are some pictures of Zojila Pass captured by me-
Then there is an army establishment where water is brought from the village called Zingral (around 1 hour away through an hilly road). Check this picture, whatever you see on the ground is an army establishment and nothing there in an surrounding area.
There is a temple in Kargil known as Platuebaba temple which is maintained by the army. It is known Pakistanis have done heavy shelling/bombarding in that area every time there was a war and still magically, this temple was survived. Army personnel who does pooja there asked me to share and hoped that many more tourists would visit the temple. Picture of the temple -
One of the army personnels shared how they operate in Siachen in extremely harsh conditions when I visited Hall of Fame in Leh. Do search Siachen on Google/YouTube to get inspired. More on it I will share when I visit Siachen or its base camp.
Do go through pictures shared in links mentioned below in the notes.
Note 1: Current Indian government has inaugurated the work of a tunnel for creating safer alternative route for Zojila Pass, supposedly going to be the longest tunnel in Asia.
Note 2: Pictures of Kargil War Memorial (Dras War Memorial) - https://photos.app.goo.gl/hSpFe3izr6cysUXQ9
Note 3: Pictures of Hall of Fame, Leh - https://photos.app.goo.gl/8xj3xQdN1eWwAYmEA
Note 4: Pictures of Platuebaba Temple, Kargil - https://photos.app.goo.gl/6d8HNJ94XTJdZPpw5
Note 5: Must-see places according to me if you are going to Leh-Ladakh -
(1) Kargil War Memorial
(2) Hall of Fame, Leh and parade and a short film there at Hall of Fame in the evening
(3) Khardung La Pass
(4) Chang La Pass
(5) Platuebaba Temple in Kargil which is maintained by the army
(6) Nubra Valley
(7) Pangong Tso (lake)
(6) everything that you see around you in the journey! it is very beautiful :)