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Old 13th October 2009, 18:05   #1
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Default Want to get Leh’d in 2010 for 30 days – Suggestions please

Mod Note : Please continue the discussion on TSK1979's excellent Leh & Ladakh Guide at this link (Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide)


Hello BHP Samaritans,

I was planning for my 3rd Leh-Ladakh trip next year and then started to follow the various Leh chronicles in this forum. I had been to Lahul-Spiti twice earlier and during my previous visits I was basically a passenger in a Qualis. This time around, I envisage driving myself.

I have followed the following travelogues:

HumbLeh’d (HumbLeh’d) – by laluks
Team Raid de Ladakh (Team Raid de Ladakh goes on Ladakh Expedition 2009) – by MileCruncher
5000kms and 12 Passes (5000kms and 12 Passes, a 20 day wild wild ride to the roof of the world!) – by Tanveer (tsk1979)
Been Leh'd & back – by lordofgondor

You guys are just some aliens. And I do not like you since I have now spent weeks leaving my daily work and reading over and over and over again the write-ups. It is mind boggling and has taken me to a different planet.

I am planning to drive and the details to start of with are as follows (there may be 4 other cars, mostly Swifts joining the convoy):

My Ride: Maruti Swift VXI-ABS.
Kms done till date: 55,341.
From: Bangalore.
Days at hand: 30.
Time in mind: September 2010 (flexible based on the suggestions from you).

The details I gathered from the above and speaking to my father, I have chalked out the details as below:

Day 1: Drive from Bangalore to Pune, approx 850 Kms. Night stay at Pune.
Day 2: Drive from Pune to Udaipur, approx 920 Kms. Night stay at Udaipur.
Day 3: Rest day
Day 4: Udaipur –Chandigargh, 900 Kms. Stay at Chandigargh.
Day 5: Rest day and wait for parent to join from Kolkata.
Day 6: Chandigargh – Manali, 275 Kms. Stay at Manali.
Day 7: Manali - Rohtang - Upshi - Darcha – Sarchu, 226 Kms. Stay at Sarchu Tents.
Day 8: Sarchu – Leh, 260 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Day 9: Sightseeing and Day for Inner Line Permits.
Day 10: Leh - Diskit – Hundar, 126 Kms. Stay at Hundar Tents.
Day 11: Hundar – Leh, 126 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Day 12: Leh - Pangong Tso, 170 Kms. Stay at Pangong Tso.
Day 13: Pangong Tso – Upshi, 154 Kms. Stay at Upshi.
Day 14: Upshi – Karzok, 191 Kms. Stay at Karzok.
Day 15: Karzok – Leh, 240 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Day 16: Leh – Kargil, 235 Kms. Stay at Kargil. The alternate route suggested by Tanveer was Alternate route through Dha (special permit to visit Batailik sector). Else the usual Drass route.
Day 17: Kargil – Padam, 174 Kms. Stay at Padam.
Day 18: Padam – Pankihar / Kargil. 107 Kms. Stay at Pankihar / Kargil.
Day 19: Rest day at Kargil.
Day 20: Kargil – Sonamarg, 190 Kms. Stay at Sonamarg.
Day 21: Stay at Sonamarg.
Day 22: Sonamarg – Udhampur, 275 Kms. Stay at Udhampur.
Day 23: Udhampur – Jalandhar / Ludhiana, 302 Kms. Stay at later.
Day 24: Jalandhar – Udaipur, 950 Kms. Stay at Udaipur.
Day 25: Rest Day
Day 26: Udaipur – Pune
Day 27: Pune – Bangalore
Day 28 – Day 31 (total 4) are Buffer days.

Glad to get your view on:

- any suggestions / changes that I need to do
- if a Swift can make it
- precautions / “angel” thoughts
- paagal nallah and other blockers that a Swift can have issues?

Just cannot wait to start the engine and drive. Thanks to all the above travelogues, I have gone wild.

Souvik

Last edited by GTO : 31st May 2013 at 10:33. Reason: Adding link to Guide
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Old 14th October 2009, 14:26   #2
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After reading Tanveer's plight to reach Padam, I guess I am sure I would have to tweak my plan to reach there in a Swift too. Not too sure, if in the next 8-9 months the road (rocks) there will be replaced by something else.

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Old 14th October 2009, 15:00   #3
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Provided you are able to reach Padum, then on return leg, come to Panikhar,
Next day drive to Sonmarg, taking Kargil Bypass from Sankoo, its ready

2 nights in Sonmarg are great.
Also try to push in 2 nights at Pahalgam.

From Hunder, you can cross over Wari la and go straight to Tangste, no need to waste another day in Leh
Road over Wari La is decent and it was being made when we went there.
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Old 14th October 2009, 15:22   #4
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Thank you Tanveer.

So I can make:
Day 11: Hundar - Pangong Tso (Via Wari La). Pangong Tso.
Day 12: Stay at Pangong Tso.
Day 13: Pangong Tso – Upshi, 154 Kms. Stay at Upshi.

Do you suggest that post few modification to the suspension and under body for the Swift, it can take on the Nallah?

With the buffer days at hand (and also keeping in mind the "uncertainties") I guess we can go to the heaven on earth - Kashmir as you suggested.

By the way, hopefully your back is shaping up well now.

Souvik
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Old 14th October 2009, 16:07   #5
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Quote:
Day 7: Manali - Rohtang - Upshi - Darcha – Sarchu, 226 Kms. Stay at Sarchu Tents.
Not Upshi, but Keylong and Jispa come on that route.

Quote:
Day 13: Pangong Tso – Upshi, 154 Kms. Stay at Upshi.
No place to stay at Upshi, possible to drive from Pangong to Karzok the same day.

Quote:
Day 15: Karzok – Leh, 240 Kms. Stay at Leh.
You are duplicating tracks, going up and down the Manali road. 2 suggestions: (a) come in from Srinagar instead of Manali so taht you can optimise your route and go to Tso M on your way to Manali, or (b) get a travel agent to get you permits in advance so that you can get it couriered to you in Manali and go to Tso M on the way to Leh, starting from Sarchu in the mmorning and staying at Karzok that night.

Quote:
Day 15: Karzok – Leh, 240 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Why not stay at Alchi or Lamayuru instead of Leh?


Quote:
Day 20: Kargil – Sonamarg, 190 Kms. Stay at Sonamarg.
Better idea to go on to Srinagar, has lot more things to do - Dal Lake, the Gardens, and so on, also give you some more time to re-equip after the tough Ladakh sojourn.
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Old 14th October 2009, 17:47   #6
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Thank you HVK. Your Scorpio Convoy was too good. If I would have been in Team BHP community a couple of months back, I could have had a Swift trail the convoy too. Sigh!

Day 7, Yes, you are right. My oversight. Changed that to:
Manali - Rohtang - Keylong - Jispa - Sarchu

Day 13: If I drive directly from Pangong Tso - Karzok, it is something like, 345 Kms. Is that right and something can be done?

Day 15: I would be going for Option B. And if I get that done, I will follow the plan as you said. But if I do not get that, I would have to do the Manali road a few times, since my parents have seen Kashmir and they would like to go from Leh side. They are adamant.

Also, on the 15th Day, my parents would like to leave me (in the Himalayas) and move back to Kolkata. So, yes, I can drive on to Alchi. Had not thought about it. Thanks again.

Day 20: I thought Kargil to Sonamarg is 190 Kms odd. Can we stretch to Srinagar?

The only reason I have kept the distances short is that I am on a Swift.

Souvik
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Old 14th October 2009, 21:33   #7
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We did Tangtse-Karzok, starting early morning and reaching Karzok at 4 pm. Problem is that there are no other places to halt till you reach Karzok, although I did see a tent camp in Sumdo before you turn off towards Karzok.

Kargil-Sonmarg is only 130 kms, and from there another 85 kms to Srinagar. You can easily do Kargil-Srinagar in a day even after stopping over at Dras.
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Old 14th October 2009, 22:00   #8
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Thank you HVK.

Do you think Swift can take the torture I am going to put him into for the above plan? From the travelogue Tanveer has posted, the pagaal looks really pagaal.

What about the other areas in the above plan that a Swift might have issues?

Last 2 times when I went to Spiti / Lahul, I did see small cars. But this is a new valley by itself.

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Old 15th October 2009, 08:45   #9
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Of course, the Swift is quite capable of doing the Ladakh trip. You can read many travelogues of Esteems, Swifts, etc who have done it. I myself have driven my Matiz twice to Ladakh in 2003 and 2004. September is the best month, the weather conditions stable, roads the best and crowds gone. The Pagal Nullah is also its tamest. I cannot think of any areas where the Swift will face problems as long as you are a skilled and careful driver. The entire Ladakh region is populated with M800s, Altos and Santros, the most popular cars owned by locals. Servicing of the Swift is also no problem.
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Old 15th October 2009, 10:48   #10
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Yes, the travelogues shook me off my deep slumber and hence getting ready. Now the last post from you shook me some more and full steam planning ahead.

I will rework the trip plan a bit more and post once done.

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Old 15th October 2009, 11:07   #11
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There is a lot of luck factor involved.
For example when we did pagal nalah, even 2WD Scorpios and safaris had to be pushed out. Water was very deep. All the car and sedan owners either went back without seeing the Tso, others parked their cars and took lift from passerby, or simply walked the 4kms.

Apart from that, sometimes water crossings get a little tricky, but mostly its doable.
As HV mentioned September is a lean month.

However I would recommend Gulmarg/Sonmarg over Srinagar. Srinagar is a crowded city, and the "margs" have better views etc.,

If you can somehow squeeze in couple of days at Pahalgam, and stay the night at Aru, it will be really nice. Roads in Kashmir are great, with every place well linked
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Old 27th October 2009, 13:22   #12
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Hi,

Did some more research and from the advice I got from you, I have modified the travel plan a bit. If I ignore how I reach Manali, from there on, the days (7th till 18th) would look like this - the location of overnight stay being the last destination in the list:

Manali - Rohtang - Keylong
Keylong - Jispa - Sarchu
Sarchu - Korzok
Korzok
Korzok - Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso - Hundar (Via Wari La)
Hundar - Panamik - Hundar
Hundar - Diskit - Leh
Leh - Kargil
Kargil - Padam
Padam - Pankihar

I am yet to plan the Kashmir leg and will do that soon (depends on the leaves etc).

For the month of travel, I understand that September would be a nice time to go. However, there are a few factors I need to keep an eye open too.

First Factor:
Primarily, I am also hoping to get some dates for the Ladakh Confluence (The Ladakh Confluence). Since the dates will be published in January 2010 (with high probability of July), I am just thinking on it.

Second Factor:
Also would be nice to get a glimpse of Raid-de-Himalaya 2010 version. So waiting for the dates to get published.

Third Factor:
Also, the Gyalwa Chamba, 105 ft the tallest statue in India, located at Disket Gonpa Phothang will be open in July and the word is that Dalai Lama would come for inauguration.

I might have to tweak my travel dates to cover any (or all three) of these events.

So, plan is on. Time and Month is open.

Souvik
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Old 27th October 2009, 13:39   #13
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Souvik, how will you get the permits? You need permist to go to Tso Moriri, Pangong and Nubra Valley.
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Old 27th October 2009, 13:46   #14
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Hi HVK,

I have spoken to a few travel agents who can get them done and fax it to me before I reach. However, I gather that, it may be an illegal way to do that.

Another option I am thinking of is speaking to a friend of mine - he is posted in Indian Army. May be take help from him to get the permits sitting in Bangalore.

If at all, all my tries become futile, I will probably have to go back to the original plan.

Any suggestions here that you think I should try?

Souvik
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Old 27th October 2009, 13:58   #15
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Though its too early to plan for it now for Sep 2010, still few comment s below
Quote:
Originally Posted by Souvik View Post

The details I gathered from the above and speaking to my father, I have chalked out the details as below:

Day 1: Drive from Bangalore to Pune, approx 850 Kms. Night stay at Pune.
Day 2: Drive from Pune to Udaipur, approx 920 Kms. Night stay at Udaipur.
Day 3: Rest day
Day 4: Udaipur –Chandigargh, 900 Kms. Stay at Chandigargh.
Day 5: Rest day and wait for parent to join from Kolkata.
If parents travelling with you, I suggest take Srinagar-Leh route instead of Manali-Leh route for Up Journey, Chances of AMS is less via this route
Day 6: Chandigargh – Manali, 275 Kms. Stay at Manali.
Day 7: Manali - Rohtang - Upshi - Darcha – Sarchu, 226 Kms. Stay at Sarchu Tents.
If you still plan via Manali-Leh, Sarchu is the worst place with high chances of AMS, plan accordingly
Day 8: Sarchu – Leh, 260 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Day 9: Sightseeing and Day for Inner Line Permits.
Day 10: Leh - Diskit – Hundar, 126 Kms. Stay at Hundar Tents.
Day 11: Hundar – Leh, 126 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Why are you coming back to Leh, why not direct to Pangong and stay at Tangste.
Day 12: Leh - Pangong Tso, 170 Kms. Stay at Pangong Tso.
Day 13: Pangong Tso – Upshi, 154 Kms. Stay at Upshi.
Day 14: Upshi – Karzok, 191 Kms. Stay at Karzok.
Day 15: Karzok – Leh, 240 Kms. Stay at Leh.
Day 16: Leh – Kargil, 235 Kms. Stay at Kargil. The alternate route suggested by Tanveer was Alternate route through Dha (special permit to visit Batailik sector). Else the usual Drass route.
Day 17: Kargil – Padam, 174 Kms. Stay at Padam.
Day 18: Padam – Pankihar / Kargil. 107 Kms. Stay at Pankihar / Kargil.
Day 19: Rest day at Kargil.
Day 20: Kargil – Sonamarg, 190 Kms. Stay at Sonamarg.
Day 21: Stay at Sonamarg.
Extra day at Sonmarg, I don't think its worth, you will have enough time on day 21 if you start early. Instead spend extra time at Gulmarg or Pehlgam
Day 22: Sonamarg – Udhampur, 275 Kms. Stay at Udhampur.
Day 23: Udhampur – Jalandhar / Ludhiana, 302 Kms. Stay at later.
Day 24: Jalandhar – Udaipur, 950 Kms. Stay at Udaipur.
Day 25: Rest Day
Day 26: Udaipur – Pune
Day 27: Pune – Bangalore
Day 28 – Day 31 (total 4) are Buffer days.

Glad to get your view on:

- any suggestions / changes that I need to do
- if a Swift can make it
Very Well, no problems, and September is best time, expect snowfall at passes, 50-50
- precautions / “angel” thoughts
- paagal nallah and other blockers that a Swift can have issues?
By then, you might have a bridge over Pagal Nallah, construction is in full swing

Just cannot wait to start the engine and drive. Thanks to all the above travelogues, I have gone wild.

Souvik
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