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Old 19th August 2011, 23:26   #1
DKG
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Default REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

I was going to write the usual travelogue on the Mahindra Adventure Monastery Escape but seeing how well the event was covered by Zig Wheels on ET Now, I feel its a better idea to share that video here and perhaps add some pictures that I feel communicate the essence of this adventure.

The Mahindra Adventure Monastery Escape took place from July 31st until August 11th 2011. There were 22 cars in total for the expedition with 16 participant teams, service personnel, media teams and organisers.

Here's the video coverage, enjoy !



The itinerary was as follows:

July 30th: Participants arrive at Delhi, check into the hotel, take their assigned cars and assemble at a nearby mall for a ceremonial flagoff
July 31st: Delhi Manali drive
August 1st: Manali Jispa drive
August 2nd: Jispa rest day
August 3rd: Jispa Sarchu drive
August 4th: Sarchu Tso Moriri drive
August 5th: Tso Moriri Leh drive
August 6th: Leh rest day
August 7th: Leh rest day
August 8th: Leh Srinagar drive
August 9th: Srinagar rest day
August 10th-11th: Srinagar Delhi Drive
August 12th: Return home

Last edited by DKG : 25th August 2011 at 14:39.
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Old 23rd August 2011, 14:11   #2
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Default Re: Mahindra Adventure : Monastery Escape July 31st to August 11th 2011

All the participantys got to drive brand new Scorpio VLX Micro Hybrid 4x4's. All cars in the convoy had CB radios fitted which made managing things such a breeze. The expedition started at 5 am on Sunday 31st July 2011 and our first halt was Manali.

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We were alloted Adventure 9 and that also was the call sign to be used for the rest of the journey to identify yourself over the radio

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My nephew and me with Adventure 9

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Chilling out at Jispa entailed going for early morning walks, great conversations and fun over meals, pointing out the constellations in spectacularly dark and starry nights, and some offroad fun near the river

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Offroad fun beached !! These two machines were so deeply stuck in clay like silt that we had to call in a JCB to literally haul them out !!REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)-mahindra-adventure-234-1024x683.jpg

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Last edited by DKG : 23rd August 2011 at 21:43.
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Old 24th August 2011, 10:54   #3
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Default Re: Mahindra Adventure : Monastery Escape July 31st to August 11th 2011

Usually they say high altitude can affect most people adversely and give you headaches and other ails. In our case I don't know about people getting afflicted by AMS but surely we had enough evidence of acute mountain madness !!

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Our first view of army convoys just as we reached Sarchu and settled in

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In the distant foreground our camp at Sarchu

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I don't know about the real wild asses of the Himalayas but we sure had to contend with the four wheeled mhawk variety kicking up a crazy dust storm !

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Sunrise at Tso Moriri was magical. I was spellbound as this most amazing explosion of orange transformed the skies. Its very difficult to verbalise the experience effectively as it was too panoramic and too many aspects to that morning to capture in pictures or words. Awesome !!

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Last edited by DKG : 24th August 2011 at 16:39.
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Old 24th August 2011, 15:55   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra Adventure : Monastery Escape July 31st to August 11th 2011

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Having spent a splendid morning at the lake enjoying a surreal sunrise I was back at the camp having some hot tea and enjoying the view when from the hills in front of me I heard the most enchanting sound, that of a group of monks blowing the conch, playing the bass trumpets and drums as they walked down the slope toward the town. What a sight !! I didn't have a zoom to take a picture but somehow that moment completed my experience of Tso Moriri. It was truly beautiful. The sound of their music is so appropriate for the Himalayas. I was so drawn to it !!

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Just before reaching Leh we stopped briefly at Thiksey Monastery. Later the next day we came back to explore Thiksey and Hemis in detail. I was completely captivated by the beauty of the Thiksey Monastery adorning that hillock. The way the buildings have organically grown over the centuries gives it a complex appearance that no architect can conjure up in one go. Outstanding example of Tibetan Ladakhi architecture. I could spend days just gazing at the Monastery.

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If the Buddha ever rides into Ladakh on an Enfield I am pretty sure he will disband all these monasteries and send them all home ! I would !!

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The Leh market was a huge surprise. I was totally fascinated by it. Simply loved the many lanes and quaint little shops all around and ofcourse the amazing German bakery ! I have never in my life tasted a better cream cheese and potato soup as I did in Leh at the German Bakery. The pizza and lasagna was delicious too. I would love to revisit Leh and just spend three four days chilling in that market meeting/chatting up people and having fun over great food. The place was teeming with people from around the world and had a vibrant feel to it

But the most amazing experience we had was 22 kms of white water rafting down the Indus river. Having grown up reading so much about the Indus and the beginnings of the Indian civilisation along its banks I was in complete awe standing beside it. Then to actually row in a raft in this mighty river with friends tackling its many rapids and eventually jumping into the river and swimming in the cold waters was something I will never forget. It was almost a sacred experience to view the Himalayas from the Indus !

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The drive from Leh to Srinagar is truly spectacular. Never in my life have I seen such amazing vistas. It almost seemed like I was looking at a painting around every corner. For the first time ever I saw a sky with two shades of blue. The actual sight stunned me !!

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The visit to the war memorial at Kargil/Dras affected many of us very deeply. The harsh reality that the Pakistani soldiers had moved in so close to the Leh Srinagar highway was chilling. We met two jawans who had fought the battle to regain control and heard the story of the war fought there. They lived to tell the tale while so many didn't. Its all a very harsh and chilling reality that India as a country has to face constantly with its neighbours.

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Last edited by DKG : 25th August 2011 at 15:27.
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Old 25th August 2011, 11:54   #5
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Default Re: Mahindra Adventure : Monastery Escape July 31st to August 11th 2011

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Old 25th August 2011, 12:29   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra Adventure : Monastery Escape July 31st to August 11th 2011

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Fun and masti Dal lake style !!

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Can you ever think of doing this on a bus in a busy town? Come to think of it the shikhara was his ride and what a way to enjoy it !!

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Crossing Patnitop was a gorgeous drive. I would love to come here once a year with my motorcycle and rent a cottage and spend a week or ten days just riding around and relaxing. Divine country !!

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Last edited by DKG : 25th August 2011 at 13:40.
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Old 25th August 2011, 15:56   #7
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Mind-blowing report! Thanks for sharing. Have moved your report posts to a new, dedicated thread.
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Old 25th August 2011, 16:11   #8
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Hi DKG,
As always, a passionate report out! Thank you for the wonderful pictures and the blissful sights.
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Old 25th August 2011, 20:00   #9
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

DKG Sir,
You must have done real good in your life that you are on such a heavenly trip. I am the most jealous man on earth after enjoying every bit of your pic and report. But how can a commoner like me get into a trip like this (I do not own a Scorpio)?

I would love to accompany you on a break as you said on your bike for a week or 10 days on those mountains, rent a cottage ... some day for sure.
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Old 25th August 2011, 20:09   #10
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulfi hansi View Post
how can a commoner like me get into a trip like this (I do not own a Scorpio)?
Just like a commoner like me did !! None of us owned any of the cars you see here in this expedition. They belong to Mahindra Adventure and anyone can sign up for this trip.

Quote:
I would love to accompany you on a break as you said on your bike for a week or 10 days on those mountains, rent a cottage ... some day for sure.
I always believe in the power of dreams Patnitop really was such a splendid area, well worth going back just to chill there !

Last edited by DKG : 25th August 2011 at 20:13.
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Old 25th August 2011, 20:24   #11
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
Just like a commoner like me did !! None of us owned any of the cars you see here in this expedition. They belong to Mahindra Adventure and anyone can sign up for this trip.

I always believe in the power of dreams Patnitop really was such a splendid area, well worth going back just to chill there !
So I need to be alert on when the next opportunity comes by for such expedition. But how do they select? I mean apart from the the basic rule of the participant being above 18 or 21 & having a DL. Would love to stay at Patnitop, what a chill break it will be.
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Old 25th August 2011, 20:30   #12
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Great,read about this already in the other forum(participant in this drive).
I also see a Black Scorpio SLE,was that also a 4X4???
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Old 25th August 2011, 20:36   #13
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Some superb photos there and very good narrative through pictures.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 26th August 2011, 05:49   #14
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

@Adventure 9 i am blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the pictures and the narration. This 12 day drive must have been real fun. I see the stays were tents, wasn't it cold in the night?

On one of the Adventures getting stuck in water, we saw a similar sight when we were at the Sangam, looks like the mud sometimes gives away and even a 4x4 looses traction of all four wheels.
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Old 26th August 2011, 08:11   #15
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Default Re: REPORT : Mahindra Monastery Escape (July 31st to August 11th 2011)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I see the stays were tents, wasn't it cold in the night?
Sarchu and Tso Moriri were tent accomodation (although I had a room at Tso M) These are very nice tents and they have a attached bathroom with wc

Yes Sarchu was cold. 1.5 deg C early morning, should have been colder in the night. There was quite a wind at Sarchu. Interestingly the tents do a superb job of sealing out the elements. It was nice and cosy inside and we slept very comfortably.

Quote:
looks like the mud sometimes gives away and even a 4x4 looses traction of all four wheels
In slush and clay/heavy silt situations you need flotation. So you need balloon tyres and ideally you should air down to get a real wide contact patch. And you need to maintain a steady momentum. But then again in a river crossing like this its not easy to maintain momentum as the water slows you down. The tractor went in like a hot knife in butter. I was standing at a distance so couldn't shout out to stop digging in as the driver kept trying and and from a distance you could see the tractor simply sinking in and not progressing. Clay/Silt is very difficult. To add to your woes it acts like a glue sucking onto any surface in touch with it and simply refuses to let go. We literally had to lift both the cars out with the JCB. The JCB snapped the strap trying to pull. Its only when he lifted the cars did they come unstuck !
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Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
I also see a Black Scorpio SLE,was that also a 4X4???
I wouldn't know, Vinod Nookala can answer
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