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Old 15th July 2016, 00:55   #1
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Post The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

A friend of mine is on his Ladakh trip with his itinerary set to enter J&K from Srinagar. He will leave tomorrow morning from Ambala for his ultimate pitstop for the night - Patnitop. Need feedback from members convergent with the immediate situation for below pointers:

1. Is it safe for DL registered bike to cross the Jammu-Srinagar highway? How does the curfew affect the highway traffic?

2. What is the situation in the Anantnag stretch which needs to be crossed enroute Patnitop?

3. For going via Manali, is it true that permit is issued for the day after the next? For eg. if he reaches Manali by tomorrow evening i.e. Friday, he will get bike passage permit for Sunday.

Your help is appreciated in advance.

Cheerz,
Suraj
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Old 15th July 2016, 14:22   #2
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Default re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
A friend of mine is on his Ladakh trip with his itinerary set to enter J&K from Srinagar. He will leave tomorrow morning from Ambala for his ultimate pitstop for the night - Patnitop. Need feedback from members convergent with the immediate situation for below pointers:

1. Is it safe for DL registered bike to cross the Jammu-Srinagar highway? How does the curfew affect the highway traffic?

2. What is the situation in the Anantnag stretch which needs to be crossed enroute Patnitop?

3. For going via Manali, is it true that permit is issued for the day after the next? For eg. if he reaches Manali by tomorrow evening i.e. Friday, he will get bike passage permit for Sunday.

Your help is appreciated in advance.

Cheerz,
Suraj
Not worth trying his luck in today's conditions that exist.
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Old 15th July 2016, 15:09   #3
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Default re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

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Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
A friend of mine is on his Ladakh trip with his itinerary set to enter J&K from Srinagar
Most likely there would be no issue with a single rider but in the interset of safety why would someone purposefully try to court trouble? Stay away for now, until the situation becomes better.
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Old 15th July 2016, 15:41   #4
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Default re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

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Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
3. For going via Manali, is it true that permit is issued for the day after the next? For eg. if he reaches Manali by tomorrow evening i.e. Friday, he will get bike passage permit for Sunday.
You can try the third route via Dalhousie>Sach Pass>Keylong.

In the current situation i would not recommend risking through Srinagar.
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Old 15th July 2016, 22:18   #5
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
A friend of mine is on his Ladakh trip with his itinerary set to enter J&K from Srinagar. He will leave tomorrow morning from Ambala for his ultimate pitstop for the night - Patnitop. Need feedback from members convergent with the immediate situation for below pointers:

1. Is it safe for DL registered bike to cross the Jammu-Srinagar highway? How does the curfew affect the highway traffic?

2. What is the situation in the Anantnag stretch which needs to be crossed enroute Patnitop?

3. For going via Manali, is it true that permit is issued for the day after the next? For eg. if he reaches Manali by tomorrow evening i.e. Friday, he will get bike passage permit for Sunday.

Your help is appreciated in advance.

Cheerz,
Suraj
Hi again mate! Under the given circumstances of great civil unrest in the Kashmir valley it won't be safe at all to be there. Now coming to the queries in chronological order:

1. As per latest on the situation it is not safe for any outsider vehicle to venture on the highways in the valley as most of the stone pelting incidents are happening on the highways itself. Check out more on this link from the english daily 'The Tribune': http://epaper.tribuneindia.com/87463..._2016#page/6/1

2. The second query is bit confusing, as to go to Patnitop from Ambala you don't have to cross Anantnag, as it is much before that. Patnitop is 106 kms from Jammu.

3. From Manali side no permit is required for two wheelers as that is valid for four wheelers only but nonetheless one needs to inform the authorities before proceeding from Manali.

In the current time of turmoil instead of Kashmir one can head to Ladakh.

Regards.
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Old 15th July 2016, 23:03   #6
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

One should not risk his life at this juncture when all sorts of bad news are emanating from from the valley. Even if there is calm, its risky. Stray bombings and violence occur on a regular basis.

Two friends who had been there on different times, recently, with familes have however returned safe. This was much before the present large scale violence had taken place.

Summarising, the bike trip should be cancelled. The locals easily spot outsiders. The common dialogue they say is "yeh hindustan se aaye hain".
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Old 16th July 2016, 00:56   #7
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJD@NewDelhi View Post
A friend of mine is on his Ladakh trip with his itinerary set to enter J&K from Srinagar. He will leave tomorrow morning from Ambala for his ultimate pitstop for the night - Patnitop. Need feedback from members convergent with the immediate situation for below pointers:


Cheerz,
Suraj
Do not venture there dude. Please ask your friend to stay away. The army needs some time to get the situation under control. In this uncertainty Jaan pyaari hai.

Maddy
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Old 16th July 2016, 02:07   #8
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We were stuck in a similar situation in 2014 when due to some custodial deaths the valley was burning. Frankly it was too scary but a thing worth pointing out is that even amidst the acrimony and anger they didn't trouble us as we were tourists.
This time the situation has been more violent and no idea how things will go after the Friday prayers (no offence intended)
Better to avoid. If the situation again spins out of control, a single guy will be a very vulnerable entity.
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Old 16th July 2016, 22:32   #9
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Been there done that! I was there in 2010 when the entire Kashmir Valley was burning. Add to it the Amarnath yatra was going on which is not looked down good upon by the locals and a mouth watering target for the terrorists.

In 2010 I boarded the train with my bike. When I boarded the train the violence had subsided, but as soon as the train reached Ludhiana I got news that it has started again.

I was there around 28th July. I and my friend from Mumbai got down at Jammu and started the journey. Till we reached Ramban we had no idea of whats going on in the Kashmir valley. We were stopped at Ramban and it seems curfew was going on ( I am not sure which places the curfew was on). We were stopped at Ramban and not allowed to proceed further. The locals were allowed to pass, but we were not allowed.

I politely requested the Police sub-inspector to go ahead as I was headed to Leh via Srinagar long-way. The Police inspector told me to get lost and not to be seen in front of him. He said they already have lot of headaches and he does not want me to create an additional problem for him. Upon requesting again he told me that a minute more in front of his eyesight and he will be beating me.

All this was being observed silently by a Army man who was resting there. He told me to have the lunch from the Amarnath jatha stall (given free) and take rest. There were no dhabas in sight. After sometime he told both of us to go to the other side of the road under the pretext of parking the bike and stay there. He told us as soon as he signals I should give full throttle and not look back and escape from the blockade. He also told me that do not trust the police much as they want to reduce their headache and do not want visitors there. He told me that Kashmir is a part of our country and no one should stop us from visiting the place. He also told that once I escape from the blockade I should not stop anywhere till I reach Bannihal Tunnel. The tunnel is completely under army control and they will not stop us from going further. Once he signaled I did what I was told to do and with full throttle I drove like mad till I reached Bannihal tunnel. I was not allowed to stop there and told to go on driving and be alert to the situation further ahead.

My bike was wriggling like a snake on the black ice in the tunnel and a local truck with full speed was right on my tail with no intention to slow down in the narrow tunnel. Once out of the tunnel we drove straight without any stops and passing through deserted villages in between. I was thinking that curfew is on so all shops, houses are closed and no one is out. But at one village we reached there were nearly 50+ people standing on both sides of the road (and some in the middle of the road) passing through the village. This was the first time for us so we were not sure what to do in such a situation. We stopped at a good distance from the crowd and were afraid, but did not want to go back again. We had heard horror stories of locals killing army men by stoning them to death. As I had no option I decided to drive through the pool of people standing on the road at full speed. The crowd was staring at us from far and our hearts were racing. I just put the first gear and then at a speed of 50-60 kmph speed I just teared across the crowd and was on the other side of the crowd. The crowd gave way to me just as the sea gave way in the Bible! My friend followed suit and he too crossed the crowd in similar way. The crowd did not do us any harm as they identified us as tourists but their stares were intimidating.

We carried further but soon we were followed up by a police jeep and we were told to turn back. We were taken back to a FCI Food warehouse near Khannabal. The ware house had high walls and the walls had high fencing. On all the four corners of the godown there were towers made to keep a watch for terrorists. The gates of the godown was closed with high steel doors. We were locked inside the warehouse for next two days and 3 nights there. Inside there was free food organised by the Amarnath yatra organizers. The stay was uneventful and comfortable with the good food but the toilets were overflowing!

We were told that we would be allowed to go further once the Amarnath yatra jatha moves further till Pahalgam. We didnot even sleep properly in the nights as we were told that anytime the jatha (group of buses headed for Amarnath-Pahalgam) would come and allowed to proceed further. We spent 3 days and sleepless nights waiting for the jatha to proceed further without luck. On the third night we and a group of Bulleteers from Delhi decided to escape. In these three days we were in a confused state as to whether we should go back and start our journey back again from Manali. We somehow after lot of efforts to get extended leaves and investing money and time were here and not allowed to go further. We crossed the Bannihal tunnel 4 times in this confusion to go further or not and for filling up fuel for our bikes.

On the third night a jatha came and confusion was going on whether the buses would be allowed to go further or not. Some buses were allowed and some were not. The police and the military here were working together and they had instructions not to allow to go further especially tourists and that too on lone bikes! But there was a Sardar Army man and he took a risk and told us to take the risk and escape. We two and 3 Bulleteers escaped at @ 12:30 in the night. We took advantage of the confusion and rode hard in the night.
We crossed Avantipore and things got messy. We saw around 50+ police vehicles, civilian vehicles burning. Everything was burning, the police stations were now a rubble and had been burnt up badly. The huge pine trees were set on fire along side the road. There were stones placed on the road to obstruct traffic and lot of stones thrown by the stone pelters were lying on the road. I did not see a stone and I with my bike was suddenly thrown 1.5-2 feet in the air! Somehow I landed properly and did not break my bone or my bike. There were trees cut and laid across the road. Either we had to drive in the fields to go ahead or carry our bikes over the tree trunk and cross these barriers.

At one place the milestone was dug up and placed in the middle of the road. The whole atmosphere was full of smoke, dust, debris and fire. Our eyes were burning and to give more trouble the wind was blowing the debris right into our eyes. Suddenly I see one of our group members driving perpendicular to the road into the field. Later I realized he had actually misjudged the road direction because of the milestone stone placed in the middle of the road! Curfew was on so we could not see civilians, but at two road bifurcations we escaped the police lathi's and one of our group member was unfortunate enough to get his bike got hit. Luckily he did not get hit. The local police told us that there are dead bodies lying on the whole road and to go further we will have to ride our bikes over the dead bodies!

What a blatant lie it was! I repeat do not trust the local police, they do not want us there and tell all lies to discourage you from proceeding further. Whereas the Indian army men want us to visit Kashmir and beyond as its our territory! The army would go at great length to help us proceed further unless and until they have directions not to allow visitors to proceed further for their own safety.

When we were placed at FCI warehouse and we planned to go back, we were often misled by the Kashmiri youths and locals. They used to tell us to proceed in wrong direction where there was actually stone pelting or where protesting crowds had gathered. Two kashmiri youths who were travelling in a Maruti 800 car told us to follow them and asked us to leave the main highway into a remote road. We grew suspicious and luckily did not follow them. I think they had plans to rob us of our money or more I don't know!

We reached Srinagar Dal lake at 3 in the night. There was complete silence in Srinagar and peace. No civilians were outside. We were again stopped at the exit of Srinagar. It seems Ganderbal a small village located just outside Srinagar city is infamous for protests and more. The NH1 Highway is just a truckwide and leads into narrow alleys with mountains on both sides of the road and houses on top of the mountains. If someone decides to throw stones on us from the top we could be easily killed in the narrow alleys itself without having any chance to cross the village.

We had to wait there for half hour and then we proceeded further and reached Sonmarg by Morning 5:30 am.

It seems the zone between Bannihal tunnel and Srinagar ie.Avantipore, Pampore is known for violent protests. Again the zone between Srinagar and Ganderbal is famous for violence. Beyond Ganderbal the locals gradually start supporting India as during the Kargil war, Pakistani firing had damaged their houses and livestock.

Beyond Ganderbal we could sense a feeling of security and relief.

This is my experience we had during my 2010 Leh trip.

My views:
1) Do not trust the Local police, they misguide you or discourage you from visiting Kashmir. For them we are additional headaches coming from India! They do not like us.

2) Locals too do not like us (Hindusthani's), but they know that their tourism industry is dependent on us so do not try to hurt us. But they too are not very trustworthy.

3) For terrorists we are amarnath yatra group members, so easy target to shoot, kidnap or whatever!

4) Well the only one you can trust there is Indian army for any need of yours! Be it a help required with your vehicles, protection or even food and shelter to stay! The army men wants us all Indians to come there as its a part of our country. Back in 2010 the vehicular traffic and Indian tourists visiting Leh-Ladakh was far less as compared to now, so we were more than welcome for the Army men there. They are extremely friendly and always eager to help us in any kind. A big salute to the Indian Army!

Thanks
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Old 17th July 2016, 06:40   #10
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Personally I would not venture to tread in these places whilst there are fires burning.
Why take a chance?
After all, you're going to a place to make good memories.
Why bother going to a place when you know there is plenty of strife around there?
Better be prudent and wait for a better time, unless of course, you're one of those Adventure Junkies who is into Stress Tourism or Danger Zone Tourism whatever that new fad is called...
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Old 17th July 2016, 07:41   #11
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Not worth trying in this current situation. The road from Gund (south of Jawahar Tunnel) till pantha Chowk is heavily regulated. More over except for essentials and Amarnath Yatra vehicles no other vehicles are allowed. The curfew is strictly imposed and unlike 2010 this time there is no concession. I don't think they would allow him to move beyond Ramban. And worst part is that mobile services are down so in case if he gets stuck he can't ask for help too. I would suggest Manali route as Sach pass is very bad with incessant rain and two wheelers will have torrid time. If he still persists tell me in advance(DM me the details). So that I can keep a track and he can contact me. But with rickety mobile connection even I will be of little help. After Srinagar situation is ok but not very good. I have seen all the agitations from 2008-2010 and have had my share of few hits too.
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Old 18th July 2016, 00:36   #12
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
Been there done that! I was there in 2010 when the entire Kashmir Valley was burning. Add to it the Amarnath yatra was going on which is not looked down good upon by the locals and a mouth watering target for the terrorists.
Hi amit_purohit20, your writing skills are great but I have been through J&K many times but I really cannot digest the fact that you ran away from the police and they did not take any action. Buddy if you had tried this stunt anywhere ahead of patnitop in the year 2010 be rest assured you would not be alive to write in this forum. I am sure it was not permitted to move in the night in J&K then as there was no road protection given by Army in the night. So your escapades at night seem far fetched and I really salute your spunks that you managed to escape from places protected against terrorists and that too at night.

I may be wrong in criticising you but God save that kind soul who takes your advice and ventures into J&K. Please do not misguide others by such confident posts.

Believe you me I am speaking with lot of experience, trips to that place can be best avoided it is no point being irrational. Listen to other members who have posted & please wait a few days for things to improve

Sorry amit_purohit20 if I was harsh I don't intend to prove that you are wrong but I sincerely wish I don't prove myself right. Peace brother.

Last edited by GTO : 18th July 2016 at 13:36. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 18th July 2016, 01:11   #13
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

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Originally Posted by RajeVenu View Post
Hi amit_purohit20, your writing skills are great but I have been through J&K many times but I really cannot digest the fact that you ran away from the police and they did not take any action.
If you do not trust me its fine, I get nothing by faking things here! Whatever I have written here is truth 100%.

Quote:
Buddy if you had tried this stunt anywhere ahead of patnitop in the year 2010 be rest assured you would not be alive to write in this forum. I am sure it was not permitted to move in the night in J&K then as there was no road protection given by Army in the night. So your escapades at night seem far fetched and I really salute your spunks that you managed to escape from places protected against terrorists and that too at night.
I have tried this stunt ahead of Patnitop. I have tried this stunt three times:
1) Ramban, photo attached one with the bhandara going on.
2) Khannabal where we were forced to stay in the FCI godown
3) Ahead of Khannabal at the intersection of the road leading to Pahalgam where we were again stopped by Police.

I have attached pic of the FCI godown with the make-shift shiva temple.

I have also attached pic of the place where we first put our bikes to a halt in the morning at Sonmarg. The pic with the Bullet standing without a wheel is the place where the bifurcation goes to Amarnath through the other route via Baltal.

Offcourse I have not clicked pics in the night when we were running away. I am not sure if there was curfew or not, as I had no sources of information to tell me for sure as to which places had curfew and which did not. We were just informed about police/army that there is curfew going on at some places. The places looked deserted, no soul to see, all shops closed and no windows doors open.

I was accompanied by the bullet gang of 3 from Delhi, one of them was working with a NGO in Leh and had been to Leh more than 5 times already. It seems he had seen more bad times than what we were seeing then. He was the guy who prompted us to proceed beyond Bannihal Tunnel upto Srinagar.

Quote:
I may be wrong in criticising you but God save that kind soul who takes your advice and ventures into J&K. Please do not misguide others by such confident posts.
I have nowhere shown confidence/ over confidence. Neither I have recommended anyone to take up this journey/route at such difficult times.
I have just shared my experience. I have even tried personally messaging the guy that he should drop the plans.(But it seems his Inbox is full with messages)

Quote:
All wannabe travellers believe you me I am speaking with lot of experience,
You might have more experience than me, but that does not mean that my experience was a false one.

Quote:
trips to that place can be best avoided it is no point being irrational. Listen to other sane members who have posted & please wait a few days for things to improve
I agree with you and second that.

Quote:
Sorry amit_purohit20 if I was harsh I don't intend to prove that you are wrong but I sincerely wish I don't prove myself right. Peace brother.
I do not want to prove any point here, neither I had any intention of showing it off or trying to persuade members to take up the journey at this juncture of time.

Forget about confidence, we were afraid in that situation and did not know what decision to take. Its just that we took our chances and it worked some-how!
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Old 18th July 2016, 01:25   #14
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

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Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
If you do not trust me its fine, I get nothing by faking things here! Whatever I have written here is truth 100%.
Sorry bro it seems you have misunderstood me I never doubted your having undertaken the trip. It was just that your statements of running away from police during curfew and escaping in the dead of night did not gel, So I had pointed this out. If what you have written is correct then you are one of the luckiest person to have come unharmed, my advice you can be lucky once so please do not try again for your own safety.

Last edited by GTO : 18th July 2016 at 13:37. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 18th July 2016, 16:40   #15
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Default Re: The Srinagar situation: Safe for lone bikers?

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Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
Been there done that!
Thanks
This is OT:
Dude, that is among the craziest stories I have heard! Why would you not make it into a movie

BTW, agree with the views on Indian Army in J&K, they are the only ones who will be your friend. It's really hard to trust anyone else.

And my blood begins to boil when people say - 'Yeh hindustan se aaye hain' (They have come from India). That is a strange place
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