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Old 28th June 2011, 12:14   #166
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Fukche/Koyoul - Demchok [Indo-China border]-Nyoma-Leh contd...

So the return journey starts with the track that goes close to River Indus
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And images of the return journey as we go towards Loma check post through Dungti.
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And cross that water crossing again
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And the vistas continue but clouds and winds are picking up speed as we move ahead.
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Ritual skulls, wild horses, fluttering flags and mineral mountains!!
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and the return journey continues...


contd...

Last edited by adc : 28th June 2011 at 12:15.
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Old 28th June 2011, 12:26   #167
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Demchok has been in the news lately...

Quote:
Demchok—located at an altitude of 5009 metres—is a tiny village just adjacent to the LAC in Ladakh. The other side of the LAC is known as Demqog, which is in the Ngari prefecture of Chinese-occupied Tibet Autonomous Region. The nomadic villagers of Demchok were building the road to get easier access to their summer pastures. After half of the road was completed, the soldiers from a PLA forward post across the LAC warned the villagers with dire consequences if they did not stop work.

“The villagers stopped work and informed us about the incident. We brought it to the notice of the state government and Centre through proper channels. But New Delhi did not react to it at all till media reported it,” said the LAHDC chief.

From Ladakhis deplore Krishna’s remark on Demchok road
Quote:
Gurmet Dorjee, who represents Demchok in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Developmental council says his people are feeling cheated, and let down. He believes that the higher authorities cannot dictate the life of the thousands of people who are living in the area. Gurmeet clearly mentioned that people are very angry with such kind of decisions been taken by the government. They want an explanation, he said. Gurmeet also mentioned the fact that the Chinese men are continuously building across the border and India wishes to only see and watch. Dorjee showed NDTV pictures of the Chinese army in the Demchok area, and the buildings coming up in the Chinese controlled area. But Dorjee and his people after the MHA order, now, can’t even build residential houses in the area till it is cleared by New Delhi. The people living across the border want more aggression and decisive steps from the government rather than such defensive strategy.

However all Indian projects near the border have been abandoned. All constructions have been stopped and it is said that India does not want to build any material near the border and similarly want to show their trust on China and win them over.

From India moves back from any construction near the Indo-China border | MAARS News
Quote:
[FONT=Verdana][SIZE=2]Demchok, which is in Nyoma block in Ladakh, has a population of 7,000. The Line of Actual Control runs here. In December 2009, China had lodged its protest with India regarding construction of a road in Demchok. According to locals, China is building huge blue-roofed all-weather structures here that can house up to 100-125 soldiers with their supplies during winter months. The Tribune has obtained pictures of Chinese soldiers holding red-coloured banners to warn local residents in the area. “This is the Line of Actual Control, you are on Chinese Territory,” read the banners. “We are often threatened by the Chinese while our government doesn’t even allow nomads of local Changpa tribe to graze their sheep along the LAC,” says Dorje. “We’ll have to relocate if the government is unable to solve our problems,” he adds.[/SIZE][/FONT]

From The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Main News
...and adc, you might be one lucky civilian to have ever visited there! You didn't meet any Chinese soldiers or see their constructions out there, did you?
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Old 28th June 2011, 12:34   #168
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Fukche/Koyoul - Demchok [Indo-China border]-Nyoma-Leh contd...

Sometimes we pickup a little more pace to become slower again, just to see that much more still of this land
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We see a dust storm gathers at a distance till we run into, before Loma.
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We reached Loma post close to 4 pm, diesel filled, and with still 250 km on mountain roads, we are looking towards another late night entry into Leh
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As dusk falls, son goes to sleep on back seat and night envelopes us for rest of the journey beyond Nyoma, we silently make our way on the inclines of Nyoma-Leh road - it so quiet with no vehicles around and a lone Safari headlight cuts through the mountain roads with the gorge of Indus beside us, but then we have our thoughts of the last 2 days of well spent in the best journey of our life till date.
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Reached Leh late at around 10:30 pm, another welcome by the couple owners of Leh - and as we had late dinner they also eagerly asked about those lands - few Lehites have even gone to those places. Dead tired and a sound sleep, we were now finally ready to start our exit out of Leh/Ladakh via Dah-Hanu. We are already 6 days beyond our schedule but Dah-Hanu has more surprises!


contd...

Last edited by adc : 28th June 2011 at 12:36.
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Old 28th June 2011, 16:11   #169
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That's one cool ride into the wilderness mate! Hats off to you & your family on doing this desolate stretch. But then, Wanderers are this kinda people.

And as Rajiv has correctly mentioned, you have also made my travel plans that I'd until now go down the drain. Gotta go back to the drawing board now!

Another query: If I carry a letter of recommendation (for visiting Fukche/Demchok) from some high up Army brass in Delhi HQ itself, would it suffice or does one need to get a letter from local personnel only?

Another question in general: If I carry a letter of recommendation from some high army brass for visiting various places in Ladakh, do I still need permits? I'm a bit doubtful but still hopeful.
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Old 28th June 2011, 19:16   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Demchok has been in the news lately...

didn't meet any Chinese soldiers or see their constructions out there, did you?
My observations are just on what I spent there for 1 hour and with some talk with the soldiers, so the basis of my conclusions are not at all definite.

But what I learnt out that there peace prevails over there. Frankly speaking the India structures, the village and military camp is closer on the border than the Chinese. But the Chinese have a big camp of soldiers some distance beyond the borders, just like in Bum la.

The other part of the village, Chinese side of Demachok, was not to be seen or at least immediate to the LAC - they may have relocated it. Just as one dirt track ends at the hot spring, the Chinese track goes all along the border side.

Both here and in Arunachal, the Chinese have metaled road almost to the border and they had done this fast and some years back and now when India is trying to do, they do object with technicalities.

But of course they do raise objection and hinder on the construction projects that goes on the border, as they consider that as very close to the border and as per no-mans land or something.

And also "activities" from both side do take place, sometimes they "test" each others alertness - soldiers keep themselves busy but definitely it is not frivolous.

Surveillance is most important thing, gadgets from like high resolution cameras to foot patrol is what takes place routinely and diligently.

Again all these observations are just on the 1 hour spent, no investigative reporting I was doing there, so all those words can be discounted - but all in all peace prevails and all the responsible soldiers and intelligence people out there were relaxed and thats good enough for us as citizens. The borders are well guarded!

And the best proof that if things were on the edge, we would not have been given the permission from the military base of Fukche.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Another question in general: If I carry a letter of recommendation from some high army brass for visiting various places in Ladakh, do I still need permits? I'm a bit doubtful but still hopeful.
In all likely, if you have from some high Army brass, that should do or at least you have a much brighter chance than just going and asking.

The Koyuol permit has to be taken from DM office and if you accompany it with a Army recommendation, it should definitely do the job when you go and meet the additional DM who signs the permit. In tourist season times, a recommendation would just do the job. Off-season months all are more relaxed, the permit people in fact filled up some of the permits for me!

Last edited by adc : 28th June 2011 at 19:41.
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Old 28th June 2011, 21:22   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Another question in general: If I carry a letter of recommendation from some high army brass for visiting various places in Ladakh, do I still need permits? I'm a bit doubtful but still hopeful.
Allow me to answer this one, based on a first hand experience.

A few army officers decided to holiday in Ladakh, and being army personnel, decided unilaterally not to have permits issued. However, they were not on official duty, and hired a cab to ferry them around. Other local cabbies from the Leh Taxi Union caught them at (IIRC) the Durbuk checkpoint, and raised a massive ruckus for not having the usual permits - to the point of following them back to Leh and demanding a lot of money (Rs.10,000 I think) for not having permits. The Leh police refused to intervene saying they would rather not have a fight with the Taxi Union guys, and the men were forced to pay up.

So, to answer your question: Yes, you do!
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:54   #172
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@adc - You setting a great precedent for Jr, wishing him great adventures as well !

Though, what caught my eye was the fact you din't have to blank your number-plates for the forum, mother nature did for you. I am referring to your shot with the title :


We reached Loma post close to 4 pm, diesel filled, and with still 250 km on mountain roads, we are looking towards another late night entry into Leh


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Old 29th June 2011, 12:03   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
So, to answer your question: Yes, you do!
Thanks for the enlightenment SST!
So will carry permits (to be safe on legal side) and recommendation letter (for trying to visit places not easily open to civilians).
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Old 29th June 2011, 14:01   #174
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Leh - Dah [Brokpa village] and the Bona-na / Bono-na triennial festival

Some info from Wikipedia


Quote:
Dha and Hanu are two villages situated in the Dhahanu valley where they are found. They are also scattered in other parts of Ladakh. Part of the community are also located in the Deosai plateau just across the LOC in the Baltistan. Like the people of Gilgit, they speak an archaic form of the Shina language unintelligible with other dialects of Shina. They are originally said to have come from Chilas and settled in the area generations ago. They are predominantly caucasoid in contrast to the Tibeto-Burman inhabitants of most of Ladakh. They are nominally Buddhist, however animist and Bön rituals still survive.


Minaro is an alternate ethnic name. 'Brokpa' is the name given by the Ladakhi for the people.

Quote:
Dah-Hanu: Down the Indus, between Khalatse and the Shayok-Indus confluence, live a people, known as Drok-pa, who are Buddhists by faith, but racially and culturally distinct from the rest of the Ladakhis. Two of the five villages inhabited by them, Dah and Biama are now open to foreign tourists. The approach to this area follows the Indus down from Khalatse, past the villages of Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang, along a fairly good road.

The Drok-pa constitutes a small community of Indo-Aryan tribals, who appear to have preserved their racial purity down the centuries. Their culture and religious practices are more like those of the pre-Buddhist animist religion of the Tibetan Plateau, known as Bon-chos.

They have preserved the saga of their ancient traditions and way of life partly through the celebration of the triennial Bono-na festival, and partly through the songs and hymns. Their language is derived from archaic Shina, a language still spoken in Gilgit, and by the Shin immigrants now settled in Drass.



If you would like read more in a summary, please go through this great article the Tribune newspaper.

Quote:
A chosen people: The Brogpas are said to be of Indo-Aryan stock and came down the Indus centuries ago. Whether it is German women who seek Brogpas for racially pure progeny or anthropologists researching their life, these Aryans continue to fascinate. Continue reading here: The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum



Snowy winter is setting in Leh as we enter the 4th week of October, 2010
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Said goodbye to the wonderful couple owners/hosts of Shanti Palace, Leh. Though located absolutely at the premium area, opposite the only 3-star hotel of Leh, The Grand Dragon - we got a great discount due to the off-season time.

Enough of newbie photography, the 450D is back in JPEG auto mode and no worries like why Tokina has so much flare or lens change or such thoughts - just a relaxed drive now


It is a beautiful morning and we just drive along these wide, beautiful well-laid mountain roads. We stopped at couple of food joints, first for some stretching at a tea shop and then for some quick breakfast.
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And soon the customary photos, of the magnetic hill and of the Zanskar[muddy]-Indus[greenish-brown]
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Due to the most relaxed drive, we follow the "Road to Kargil" to reach finally Dah village along the Batalik route, late evening. There is a 25-mt walk from the Batalik road to reach the village up in the mountains. The village and the fields are like cut into the mountain side.
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And what luck we are in for. First we reach late evening and all the guest houses closed, we find a fantastic guy, who just plainly told us, Dont worry, stay with us!! This is amazing, as said the experiences never end! And we find out why everyone is so excited and heading towards the small field that they have.


Quote:
"They render their folk traditions once every three years during a special celebration in the Bona-na festival. This event is a testimony to Brogpas’ rich historical antecedents which they seemingly trace from Central Rome."

It's a festival that takes place every 3 years in the Dah village, and we have come on a day with another 2 days of festivities to go on. What will follow will be a series of images of that festival, the warmth, the joyfulness and simple fun.


The women folk were there in their traditional dress - made of sheep’s wool, handmade jewelry and ostentatious head gear.
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The men were there too
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Even the foreigners who were trying to document, were there
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The local army commander was the chief guest and he and his family were welcomed warmly
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And everyone waited for the festivities to start and started soon....
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contd...

Last edited by adc : 29th June 2011 at 14:30.
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Old 29th June 2011, 15:39   #175
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Leh - Dah [Brokpa village] and the Bona-na / Bono-na triennial festival contd...


It seemed that we were the local tourists and the festival was full on


The headman had some welcome words for us.
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Different floral head gears mesmerizes as the dance continues..
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contd...
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Old 29th June 2011, 15:50   #176
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fascinating costumes ! must have been a charming experience to see the folk dance.
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Old 29th June 2011, 16:40   #177
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Leh - Dah [Brokpa village] and the Bona-na / Bono-na triennial festival contd...


Some more random pictures of the Bona-na festival
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The local Doordarshan TV persons are soon there to interview
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And the festivities and revelry continued till late night
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We were there almost till end. Again these fantastic experiences continue on this one fabulous travel.


As said, we were staying with local guy in their house, a homestay but again a personal house in itself. Tomorrow, a start for Kargil on for an exit from the district of Ladakh.



contd...

Last edited by adc : 29th June 2011 at 16:45.
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Old 29th June 2011, 17:00   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vshetty View Post
@adc - You setting a great precedent for Jr, wishing him great adventures as well !

Though, what caught my eye was the fact you din't have to blank your number-plates for the forum, mother nature did for you. I am referring to your shot with the title :

Hey thanks for the wonderful words. and yes Mother nature did that that absolutely!



Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
fascinating costumes ! must have been a charming experience to see the folk dance.
You bet it was! And thinking like what are the chances of bumping on to a festival in Ladakh that takes place once in 3 years.

Experiences continue on this wonderful travel and they dont end even now as we exit Ladakh!
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Old 30th June 2011, 12:10   #179
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Dah [Brokpa village] to Kargil


Late night sleep for the festivities and an early morning rise, still you dont feel tired over here. The air fresh, stream waters are brilliantly clear, and again a beautiful day of journey.


The homestay/residence we stayed
Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7647.jpg



We gather at the common room for tea and a fully filling local breakfast.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7654.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7645.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7656.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7661.jpg




And get a first-hand detailed description of the dress, the dance, and the festivities
Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7657.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7658.jpg




And then a walk back to the "car park" from the village. It is really amazing to see a fully self-sufficient village cut off but ensconced in a mountain side.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7663.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7666.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7671.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7686.jpg



It was finally time to say goodbye to these wonderful hosts, the most friendly people you would ever meet anywhere.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7689.jpg



And nothing much we move on, again just drive that we did and a few stops here and there.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7699.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7728.jpg




The road through Lamayuru was closed for repairs and we were diverted through some small winding roads as such we missed the close view of the lunar landscape. But we will be back on these roads in the travel of Zanskar, so a much better view will be there at that time.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7770.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7774.jpg

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7793.jpg





And Fotu la crossed, we reached Kargil evening. Tanked up before entering the town and soon we retired for the day.

Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10-img_7812.jpg




So next all routine, like Zoji la and Sonmarg and then through Kashmir to Delhi. But who knew events were not just routine still. This unplanned travel has more unplanned situations up ahead. That sleep that we got at Kargil was one of the last good rest for over the next 48 hours.





contd...

Last edited by adc : 30th June 2011 at 12:18.
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Old 30th June 2011, 13:13   #180
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
The road through Lamayuru was closed for repairs and we were diverted through some small winding roads as such we missed the close view of the lunar landscape. But we will be back on these roads in the travel of Zanskar, so a much better view will be there at that time.
As of 8th June 2011, the road through Lamayuru is still closed, and traffic is diverted above the town along a narrow road.
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