The pristine nature of Kashmir and adrenaline rush of scaling the Himalayas has always been a coveted dream of adventure lovers. Persons serving in Indian Army being avid adventure lovers, it was a dream come true for all members of the two expedition teams, detailed to conduct two trekking expeditions.
As we delved deeper into history and researched further, the historical and military significance of these treks became apparent. General Zorawar Singh, a renowned Dogra General in the court of Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu was a great strategist, logistician and military leader. He led six breath taking campaigns from Chenab Valley region to Ladakh and Baltistan. His Army marched across the greater Himalayas, traversing treacherous high-altitude terrain. The feats achieved by his Army are unmatched, even till this day.
First expedition of General Zorawar to Ladakh was in 1834. After training in Kishtwar, he commenced his campaign from Inshan, annexed the Marwah Region through diplomatic stratagem. His Army crossed the greater Himalayas at Bhotkol Pass situated at an altitude of 14590 feet, reached Suru Valley, South of Kargil, and further advanced to Ladakh. Subsequently based on the experience of his first expedition, he planned balance of his five expeditions toward Leh through Zanskar Ranges, selecting Umasi La Pass which is at an altitude of 17622 feet as his point of entry.
General Zorawar throughout his life had mastered the art of war and the intricacies entailing it. He extended the Dogra Rule in to Skardu and Tibet, which was never before achieved in Indian History. Thus, tracing his footsteps with an aim to pay our unique tribute to this legendary General, and thereby commemorate his exploits 184 years ago, two expeditions of India Army were planned in the same region, thereby channelizing all our efforts to achieve this feat.
For the first expedition, Bhotkol Pass was chosen as the entry point into Suru Valley and an Indian Army Team of one officer and 14 Other Ranks conducted a ten days Trekking Expedition from Inshan to Tesuru, following the exact footsteps of General Zorawar Singh's Army during his first campaign. The duration of the same was from August 10-19, 2018.
For the second expedition, Umasi La was selected and an Indian Army team of one officer, one JCO and ten ORs conducted a four days Trekking Expedition from Machail to Umasi La Pass and back, from August 17-20, 2018.