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Old 30th July 2013, 11:13   #196
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Tanveer,

As already thanked you for the well written "Guide' and your reply but on reading further posts of the other travellers on this route-please advice on the following:-

a) Is it adviceable, as well as feasible to drive to Pangong Tso, in my Ritz, to & fro in a day? Will the Ritz take that road? Or should I hire a Cab?
Its a 6 hour run one way and Ritz can easily do it. The deadly Pagal Nallah now has a nice bridge over it.

Quote:
b) Plan to stay at Leh for 4 days-two for acclimitization and visiting tourist spots within it and two for sight seeing around Leh-any advice keeping the Ritz in view?
c) Planning Srinagar-Kargill (stay 2 days) and then onto Leh? Or just one day at Kargill?
One day is more than enough! You can spend one rest day in Leh, no need to spend 3 nights, 2 is enough

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d) Way back-is Leh sonamarg possible in a day?
Takes 12-14 hours of driving. I have done it.
Quote:
e) Please recommend some staying options at Sonamarg, Kargill & Leh-mid segment or budget please.
Sonmarg - JKTDC
Kargil - JKTDC
Leh - Lots of guest houses (Shanti, Oriental, Thongsal etc.,) in your <1000/night budget. When are you planning the trip?

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f) Is Nubra Valley feasible in the Ritz? Is a day enough?
Thanking you in anticipation.

Jude
Nubra day trip means start at leh at 6am, reach nubra by 10, spend till 4pm at Hunder, and reach Leh by 8pm.
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Old 30th July 2013, 11:55   #197
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Dear Tanveer,

Starting from Bangalore on 15 Aug-via Amritsar. Srinagar-Kargill- Leh, to & fro from 21 Aug to about 01 Sep, as will be stopping at ASR (wife's place) for 04 days and A'Bad for 2 days. Can extend, if advised, as time is no constraint. Be back much before 21 Sep (60th B/Day) as Children want us back as soon as possible.

Jude
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Old 30th July 2013, 12:36   #198
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Can extend, if advised, as time is no constraint.
Having gone there all the way from Bangalore and with no time constraint, it does not make sense to just do a day trip to Pangong. I would suggest you stay one night there. Start early from Leh and reach early afternoon, and leave next morning around 10/11 AM. Take a walk along the bank - or drive along the lake towards Man/Merak and come back - or just sit there on the bank and enjoy. Be there when the sun goes down, and be up early in the morning again - you won't regret it.
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Old 30th July 2013, 13:53   #199
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Tanveer,

Starting from Bangalore on 15 Aug-via Amritsar. Srinagar-Kargill- Leh, to & fro from 21 Aug to about 01 Sep, as will be stopping at ASR (wife's place) for 04 days and A'Bad for 2 days. Can extend, if advised, as time is no constraint. Be back much before 21 Sep (60th B/Day) as Children want us back as soon as possible.

Jude
Extend!!
Keep atleast 15 days for ASR-LEH-DEL circuit.
It make no sense to drive so much and then simply not do ladakh
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Old 30th July 2013, 23:21   #200
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by bullrun87 View Post
Are you driving to leh or going to board a flight. If youre going by road I dont think you need 2 days to accalamatize. we paid 14500 for a mahindra xylo for 3 days
day 1 leh sightseeing
day 2 leh-nubra-leh
day 3 leh-pangong-leh
We will drive from chd-manali-leh. thanks for the taxi rates.
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Old 31st July 2013, 01:02   #201
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Tanveer,

As already thanked you for the well written "Guide' and your reply but on reading further posts of the other travellers on this route-please advice on the following:-

a) Is it adviceable, as well as feasible to drive to Pangong Tso, in my Ritz, to & fro in a day? Will the Ritz take that road? Or should I hire a Cab?
b) Plan to stay at Leh for 4 days-two for acclimitization and visiting tourist spots within it and two for sight seeing around Leh-any advice keeping the Ritz in view?
c) Planning Srinagar-Kargill (stay 2 days) and then onto Leh? Or just one day at Kargill?
d) Way back-is Leh sonamarg possible in a day?
e) Please recommend some staying options at Sonamarg, Kargill & Leh-mid segment or budget please.
f) Is Nubra Valley feasible in the Ritz? Is a day enough?
Thanking you in anticipation.

Jude
a/f) I drove to leh in the first week of july this year in a Chevy beat. we decided against taking the car to pangong and nubra and hired a cab instead as we were advised by locals that our tiny hatch would not fare well in the tough terrain and that it would take a lot longer for a small hatch to reach these places as compared to a high GC xylo/scorpio/innova. we were really short on time we had to do leh-pangong-leh and leh-nubra-leh in a day each so we took the cab. But I have to say even though the roads were bad I saw several altos/swifts/santros treading these roads. Your car will take a few hits underneath but it can be done in a small car.
b) one day is more than enough for acclimatization
d)we did leh-sonmarg in 13 hours in the beat. road was good. The car did take a couple of hits at zozilla though.
e)we stayed at JKTDC guest house in sonmarg. it was really good.
just one day ought to be enough in kargil.
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Old 1st August 2013, 17:12   #202
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Hi All,

Just reached back last night after completing Delhi-Manali-Leh-Srinagar-Delhi in my VW Polo (1.2 Petrol). The route that we took was Delhi-Manali-Leh-Srinagar-Jammu-Pathankot-Jalandhar-Delhi. While I will be writing a detailed travelogue in a few days, here are a few pointers, route updates and highlights from the trip:

Timelines:
- We left Delhi on Saturday, 20th July, reached Leh on Monday 22nd July. Started our return on Monday, 29th July and reached back by Wednesday night, 31st July.
- Overnight stoppages (1 night each) were at Manali, Jispa during the onward journey to Leh. Srinagar and Jammu during the return journey.

Permits:
- Manali - Leh permit was taken care of by the guys with whom we booked our accommodation for the night. Checked with Drifters Inn who refused to get the permit and so we finally stayed at Red House cafe where Raj got the permit for us. As an alternate, one can also get this done by the guys at Hotel Ibex in Jispa. There booking office is in Manali and they can meet up with you on your way and give you the permit.
A third option, which I got to know of only while entering Manali was, at the environment/green tax payment booth. While you pay a 200 INR green fee while entering, the clerk at that office offered to give us the permit right there based on a license and RC copy and it was close to 10 PM that time. So for everybody, who gets a little delayed in reaching Manali, this option is worth a try so that the wait for the SDM office to open up does not delay you the next morning.
- Inner line permit for places around Leh (Nubra, Pangong, Tso Moriri, Turtuk, Panamik etc.) - Issued only in Leh. I parked the car in Leh at our hotel as it had some workshop related work and decided to use rented taxis for the visits to the above mentioned places. The taxi guy secured the permit for us and did not charge extra for it, as we had negotiated a deal for quite a few places with him. But from what he told me, you just need any id proofs for all travelers (PAN Card, License, Voter Id, Passport etc etc) and easily get the permit in about 20 minutes. So nothing to worry on this front. Not sure if something extra is needed for further places like Chushul and Hanle.

Road Conditions:
- Delhi to Manali - Good roads. A few bad patches before entering the Himachal border, but those could be due to the downpour the previous night. Also, before reaching Manali, we crossed a longish patch of kacha roads. Not really sure if that is the main route and if there was an alternate, better route.
- Manali to Rohtang - Good roads for the first 80% of the route. Worst stretch of the entire journey for the last 20% of this stretch. The heavy rains on Friday (19th July) caused a huge slush deposit (around the Rani Nallah area). It seemed longer, but it lasted easily for a couple of kms. I saw larger vehicles like a Duster and an Innova also struggling in it, so I was almost certain that my Polo would have to really push hard to get through. It did get stuck for a bit, however the reverse & forward technique to build momentum and a little pushing by the locals took it through. Based on the advice from a local cabbie (which I later realized, I shouldn't have taken), pushed the car on a high RPM and very low clutch release. It did get the car through, but ate massively into the clutch plate. Could feel the clutch becoming really loose after that patch. It did not however give up then, and took me safely and delightfully to Leh. But this slushy patch, set the expectations right and we hoped and prayed that we don't get more rain on the way.
- Rohtang - Khoksar - Bad roads. Infact, some stretches there are no roads. Itís just a kacha road, with a lot of sand and stones. Slight slushy areas were there as well, but nothing to beat the rohtang stretch. There was some road clearing work being done by the BRO which held us up for about an hour, but nothing major.
- Khoksar to Keylong - Same story. No roads to bad roads. There are some short stretches of great roads but they end suddenly and abruptly, leading to stones and flowing water filled patches. Doable, but with caution. Itís a good idea to ask your co passengers to get off and walk if you are doing this in a small car with not the most luxurious GC. The underbelly will definitely take a few hits.
- Keylong to Jispa - We were told that this patch would be very smooth, however it wasn't. The same gravel and stone roads as a result of double laning in progress. Only about 5-6 (maybe 10) kms before Jispa, did we find great roads where we could think of accelerating.
Overnight Stay at Hotel Ibex Jispa
- Jispa to Barlachala - Good roads, with small patches of no roads and 2-3 famous water crossings (including the one at Zing Zing Bar). By now, we had seen and done enough and a good thing that we started pretty early in the morning. So this was not a worry. A little caution and low water flow due to early morning, allowed us to cross these peacefully.
- Barlachala to Sarchu - Mix of good/bad/stone/gravel roads.
- Sarchu to Pang - Good stretches along with bad ones. At places, the roads are quite narrow (single lane). So be a little careful if there is a vehicle coming in from the other side.
- Pang to Tanglang La - This is the last hurdle and a pretty long one too. While the Moore plains will give you a wide smile and lots of happiness, but this lasts only for 15-20 odd kms. You can speed up nicely and try to make up for the lost time till now in the first half. After this however, the road is still under construction. So the delicious tarmac ends, and you are back on a sand and gravel road which lasts for a good 30 plus kms before you start your ascend to Tanglang La (second highest pass). As it is with all passes, the ascends and descends are the painful bit. A long climb, this one, full of sand/gravel/pot holes and possibly some slush (if it has rained recently).
- Tanglang La to Leh - After the first rough 2-3 kms, this road is blissful. New, dark grey tarmac and you can quickly cover this stretch till Rumtse. From Rumtse till Upshi, the roads are fairly good with small sections of bad/no roads or sand/gravel filled roads. Upshi to Leh is smooth, through the army cantonment and alongside Indus river.
- Overall - About 70% bad roads, 30% good to great roads.

- Leh to Srinagar - Much better roads for the majority of this stretch. If you have done the Manali - Leh stretch, this is going to be a cake walk. Leh to Lamayaru are perfect roads. you will cross the magnetic hill, pathar sahib gurudwara and the indus-zanskar confluence at Nimmu. You can speed up and quickly cross this stretch. Roads are fine between Lamayaru to Kargil as well, barring a few bad stretches around Fotu La (the standard mountain pass issue). Roads from Kargil to Dras are fairly okay and it is after Dras that the road condition deteriorates. Not as much as anything on the Manali-Leh route, but it will slow you down none the less. I am not sure, which part was this, but you again get a very good & scenic patch with excellent roads for about 20-25 odd kms (with an armed jawaan patrolling the roads every 100 meters) after which you start approaching the Zoji La.
- Slightly bad roads to begin with and then you reach the cemented brick roads area. Once that finishes, the road conditions worsens. There was a part of the road, which the BRO guys had just cleared and it had quite a steep climb after a mud filled stretch. While SUVs crossed it easily, it was sufficient to give any small car driver a nightmare. I crossed that with both my co passengers off the car. The descent is pretty bad too, but once you are closer to the base, the concrete makes a much awaited come back. From Sonamarg to Srinagar, roads are good. You can speed up and cover this in about an hour and a half.
- Try and cross Zoji La before 3 PM on any day, as the BRO usually undertakes maintenance activities between 3 to 5 every day and you will have to stop if this is on. We waited for almost 2 hours at this stretch
- Overall for this route - 70% Great roads, 30% a mix of not so good to bad roads. Zoji la is the only major obstacle.

A few inputs from my end:
- I did it in a small car, possibly the one with the least GC (VW Polo). So I cant say it is not doable, but be prepared for a lot of under belly hits and tense moments in case there is slush and heavy water crossings. For SUVs it's a pleasure and for the ones with 4X4 it is a cake walk.
- Before starting each leg, check with locals about the weather ahead. Advisable to hold back if there is rain
- Travel light, the lesser the weight in the car, the better will it be
- Start early on all mornings, specially after Manali. This will ensure that all major water crossings are light on water level/flow. It usually increases as the day progresses.
- Meat-Chawal at Chandra Dhaba at Khoksar is a must have.
- Neither of us were affected by any AMS, after Jispa, or at Sarchu or at Leh. We did take a Diamox while leaving Jispa but that's the only time we took it. However, do carry them with you and also pick up disposable oxygen cylinders.
- After having taken a Diamox, a friend still kept complaining pins & needles in hands/legs. We thought, it was a symptom of further AMS and kept giving oxygen to counter it. Nothing happened, and it was only later that we found that it was one of the side effects of Diamox

Will post some pictures along with a travelogue shortly. Safe travels to all those who are planning it. Be adequately equipped and advise caution while doing it.
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Old 2nd August 2013, 13:05   #203
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There are news about cloud burst in Kargil. There have been landslides between Kargil and Drass. Exact details of the destruction are still unknown but the highway is closed.

People planning to do this route, please be careful.

Sources:
http://freepresskashmir.com/cloudbur...l-town-213401/

http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/cloudb...-many-rescued/


Cheers!
Irish

Last edited by Irish : 2nd August 2013 at 13:12. Reason: added source links
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Old 4th August 2013, 11:17   #204
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

Finally after reading so many travelogues I am taking the plunge too.

Starting on August 15th and planning to take Delhi - Srinagar - Leh - Manali route. Accompanying me is wife, 5yr old daughter and a friend in Punto. Have leaves up to August 30th.

Some questions?
1) Any thing particular I should keep in mind for my kid in case of AMS apart from the normal medicines listed.
2) Although I am pretty comfortable in night driving on hills but don't really want to do it along with wife and daughter, so what would be the best halt options for me which would allow me to travel in days. Planning to spend a day or two in Srinagar too.
3) The punto was serviced at 15 k couple of months ago and right now the meter is at 21k. Should I get the service done again before trip or just normal checkup would be fine?
4) I have got the normal maitenance stuff with me such as Air Pump, Jumper Cable, Puncture Kit, Bottle Jack, Car Inverter, Tow Cable (Which is better Nylon or Steel one?) and planning to take air filter and coolant. Anything else should I take? Which coolant for Punto? Do I really need to keep engine oils and oil filters.

Anybody else during the same time?

Anything else I should take care of before leaving or keep in mind while being there.

Last edited by humans : 4th August 2013 at 11:18.
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Old 4th August 2013, 11:32   #205
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by humans View Post
Any thing particular I should keep in mind for my kid in case of AMS apart from the normal medicines listed.
Drinking plenty of water and keeping ourselves hydrated will reduce the chances of AMS.
Quote:
Should I get the service done again before trip or just normal checkup would be fine?
Normal check up will do.
Quote:
Which coolant for Punto? Do I really need to keep engine oils and oil filters.
In my Linea, coolant level did not decrease even after 8 k km trips. But, my Linea always carries spare fuses, engine oil, coolant [Paraflu] and windshield cleaner fluid for topping up only. You don't have to carry oil filter as you may require engine oil topping up only.
Quote:
Anything else I should take care of before leaving
Umbrellas, eatables like dry fruits, raisin, nuts, biscuits, drinking water, fruit juices, torch light, tyre pressure gauge, spare fuses, etc.
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Old 4th August 2013, 11:48   #206
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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1) Any thing particular I should keep in mind for my kid in case of AMS apart from the normal medicines listed.
In case of Headache due to Altitude, do not take Disprin, the Army Doctor at Pang told this to me.

Even before properly acclimatized, i had to spend more than an hour at Baralacha La, i even had to exert to dig the Ice+Snow to make way for us. A truck had stalled middle of the way on a Icy incline, it was too slippery for it to climb, another one braked at the same place and skidded off the road, the road was blocked, this almost near the B-La top. After waiting for some time, and no hope of any help arriving to clear the road, i along with 2 other Drivers dug up a makeshift crossing and we crossed this stretch.

While the work did not involve too much effort but the temperature outside was sub zero, and i was not properly acclimatized. This resulted in a Headache, which became severe close to Pang, so i went to Army medical center, the Doctor checked my Oxyzen levels, BP etc and gave a Paracetamol to me, he asked me not to take Disprin for AMS. I parked my car at Moreh Plains, took the PCM tablet and dozed off for a hour's sleep. Woke up absolutely fresh with no headache.
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Old 4th August 2013, 12:52   #207
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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1) Any thing particular I should keep in mind for my kid in case of AMS apart from the normal medicines listed.
It is difficult to predict when and how AMS can strike even if your child is at 5 yrs. It may not strike at all too. But keep watch on tantrums/changes of any kind, any facial changes, color changes around lips etc.

Do not carry anything for AMS as medications. Carry Crocin Syrup, I am not suggesting even crocin/paracetamol tablet even if she may be used to it. There is homeopathic Coca 30 drops bottle, good for children, procure one if you can.

Crocin syrup will serve for taste change, easy to swallow and effective in those places for headache, nauseating feeling etc. If and when you observe anything, better will be to let her have a dose of it and try to make/keep her active with playfulness, long and deep breathing making her follow you playfully. Do not be frantic or let her feel that way.

Quote:
2) Although I am pretty comfortable in night driving on hills but don't really want to do it along with wife and daughter, so what would be the best halt options for me which would allow me to travel in days. Planning to spend a day or two in Srinagar too.
You have plenty of time in hand still to plan the stays. Read suggestions from this thread well. Moreover, keep them at low altitudes always especially with the kid with you.

Atleast a days stop at Leh at about 12k' to get better acclimatized and then proceed to further destinations.

Quote:
3) The punto was serviced at 15 k couple of months ago and right now the meter is at 21k. Should I get the service done again before trip or just normal checkup would be fine?
Check HVK's checklist first. Check if the engine oil and filter needs to be changed, it is advised to change even if it may have been changed in last service. Most importantly, check the health of your tyres and make sure they have decent tread.

Quote:
4) I have got the normal maitenance stuff with me such as Air Pump, Jumper Cable, Puncture Kit, Bottle Jack, Car Inverter, Tow Cable (Which is better Nylon or Steel one?) and planning to take air filter and coolant. Anything else should I take? Which coolant for Punto? Do I really need to keep engine oils and oil filters.
Tow cable - take a metal one with D-shackles preferably. Nylon also serves good.

Air Filter - should suffice to regularly get it cleaned en-route, at night stops after each outing.

Quote:
Anything else I should take care of before leaving or keep in mind while being there.
Just in case required en-route some ready to cook food packages, noodle cups and hot water in a large 1 ltr thermos.

Last edited by parsh : 4th August 2013 at 12:56.
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Old 4th August 2013, 14:27   #208
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Drinking plenty of water and keeping ourselves hydrated will reduce the chances of AMS.......
Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
In case of Headache due to Altitude, do not take Disprin, the Army Doctor at Pang told this to me.......
Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
Do not carry anything for AMS as medications. Carry Crocin Syrup. There is homeopathic Coca 30 drops bottle, good for children, procure one if you can..............

Check HVK's checklist first...........
Thanks Ravi, Anshuman, and Parsh for replies.

@ Parsh: For daughter, Crocin Syrup is already in list of my carry to medications. Thanks for the homeopathic drops name, will definitely get those.

Also going through HVK's logs and checklist from past 2 months. Just wasn't sure if need to go for service again after just 5-6k when schedule is of 15k in Punto. Will be going for checkup only I think now. Tyres are absolutely fine with good depth in threads, so not really worried about those.

Regards
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Old 8th August 2013, 00:09   #209
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

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Originally Posted by Irish View Post
There are news about cloud burst in Kargil. There have been landslides between Kargil and Drass. Exact details of the destruction are still unknown but the highway is closed.

People planning to do this route, please be careful.
no big deal, talked to hotels in the area and they said it was only a minor thing, traffic was affected only for a couple of hours. leh.nic.in also shows both routes open.

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Anybody else during the same time?
i dont think you need to get car serviced, checkup will be okay.
I will be back on 18th from srinagar.
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Old 12th August 2013, 13:16   #210
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Default Re: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide

My trip to Ladakh is going to start in 3 weeks and looks like there is a lot of tension along Kashmir region, especially in Kishtwar , Poonch and to some extent in Sri Nagar. Everyone at home is worried and asking me to drop the plan. So considering this, is it OK to go ahead with the plan or should I drop the plan?

In case I go ahead with the plan, I hope that the permits to places around Ladakh are still given. In case I drop the plan, my plan for Ladakh will only be in next year September.

Thanks in advance for all the advice.
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