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Old 22nd March 2012, 11:11   #2011
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
This was one of the great reasons why I chose to do this trip.

The second one being Chandrataal. Now that seems I have to go back again. Probably Chamba - Sach - Keylong - Chandrataal - Chitkul - simla route. That would be one hell of a drive as you would have figured out. Probably exend that to a bit into UK, hmmm...dreams already!!!!
Sounds perfect!

Even i haven't had the opportunity to do these even after getting so close. We missed the beautiful views of Sach Pass, the trek and camping at Chandrataal and the simplicity and silence of Chitkul

We can pack some good amount of UK into it and make it a 23day trip again.

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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:16   #2012
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
This was one of the great reasons why I chose to do this trip.

The second one being Chandrataal. Now that seems I have to go back again. Probably Chamba - Sach - Keylong - Chandrataal - Chitkul - simla route. That would be one hell of a drive as you would have figured out. Probably exend that to a bit into UK, hmmm...dreams already!!!!
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Sounds perfect!

Even i haven't had the opportunity to do these even after getting so close. We missed the beautiful views of Sach Pass, the trek and camping at Chandrataal and the simplicity and silence of Chitkul

We can pack some good amount of UK into it and make it a 23day trip again.
Sach pass from the Chamba side, Chandrataal once again and Sangla, Chitkul for the first time & some Uttarakhand. "WAH KYA BAAT HAIN!"

BTW do you think we can drive from Chamba to Keylong in one day or should we stop at Khillar, probably at the PWD Rest House, which I had so thoroughly researched???
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:22   #2013
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Sach pass from the Chamba side, Chandrataal once again and Sangla, Chitkul for the first time & some Uttarakhand. "WAH KYA BAAT HAIN!"

BTW do you think we can drive from Chamba to Keylong in one day or should we stop at Khillar, probably at the PWD Rest House, which I had so thoroughly researched???

So why is no one talking about the Kishtwar-Khillar road?

Chamba-Khillar looks an ideal drive, because it will be difficult to do Tindi-Udeypur after dark and a tragedy to miss the beauty of Lahaul valley after Udeypur by driving in the dark.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:32   #2014
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Originally Posted by hvkumar

So why is no one talking about the Kishtwar-Khillar road?

Chamba-Khillar looks an ideal drive, because it will be difficult to do Tindi-Udeypur after dark and a tragedy to miss the beauty of Lahaul valley after Udeypur by driving in the dark.
Seems like you guys have already started planning for the next drive :-). Let me please know if such a drive is done again. Will try to join the convoy.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 13:40   #2015
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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So why is no one talking about the Kishtwar-Khillar road?

Chamba-Khillar looks an ideal drive, because it will be difficult to do Tindi-Udeypur after dark and a tragedy to miss the beauty of Lahaul valley after Udeypur by driving in the dark.
Perfect. But since I wanted to see Chamba Khillar in Sun light, I did not dream about the other route. Knowing you, I know a solution will be available to incorporate all dreams
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Old 22nd March 2012, 23:39   #2016
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Whew. Finally reached the most current page of this amazing travelogue. For the past one week I had put on hold most things in life excluding eating and sleeping, even work was at a pause to get through this amazing piece of storytelling. What has been covered of Ladakh here will put even Lonely Planet to dust

Hats off to this incredible team of adventurers who braved unthinkable challenges and answered the call of their hearts. The way this travelogue has been put together it is like an engaging thriller all the way and if possible should be made into a book or even a (documentary) film. I am sure it will sweep international awards. Its an eye opener for me at least to the mettle of HVK sir guiding such a diverse team drawn from all over the country and giving them the best time of their lives. I salute you sir, you are really a true and inspiring leader. And I hope I get that 4WD fast enough to join you on one of your expeditions soon as I see the eastern part of India is not yet represented in your team, I am discounting BolBolero sir ji for now as he too is from Mumbai.

This travelogue brought back memories of my own trip to Ladakh in 2010, though we chose a very wrong month to go there because of issues with leaves at office. July as HVK sir said is peak snow melt time and we encountered so many of them on route everywhere. We had to turn back from our Khardungla->Deskit->Hunder trip because of slides just after KLa which turned out to be a blessing. We went there the next day and the state of the roads were somewhat like the routes to Sach pass. We went to Spangmik in Pangong Tso which was the last allowed point in 2010 for tourists and stayed in the only brick and mortar "hotel" run by JKTDC. The road to Spangmik from Lukung of about 13 kms was another scary affair back then. Please allow me to post some pictures from our trip back in 2010.

Leh skyline I shot covering the Zanskar range and the Ladakh range when we waited in futile trying to get to Hunder through KLa stuck because of slides and high water flow.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-leh-skyline-panorama.jpg

Just before reaching Hunder we were lucky to see the convoy of His Holiness Dalai Lama who was visiting the area the same day. In between the bowing and clicking pictures, I only got the back of his head. Incidentally he too was on a Scorpio
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dscn0556.jpg

Bactrian camels are used for rides over the Hunder sand dunes. Yes, the one with the nose ring is a female. We were told we cannot go beyond Hunder. Was travel to Turtuk open in 2010?
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dscn0565.jpg

On the return path through KLa, it had received a fresh coat of snow in July, so yours truly decided to do some snow sliding but after a point I decided no point getting frost bites.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dscn0676.jpg

The marmots reminded me of my encounter with them on the way to and back from Pangong. Apparently these ones were very curious of tourists and one of them wanted some Lays from me. The rest were snuggling around our feet.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dscn0842.jpg

Sorry for hijacking this excellent thread. This has been a real inspiration to me to see what very few eyes have seen like this amazing team has done. Please continue unfolding this thriller.

EDIT: Could the members of this team please post the equipment used for taking these stunning photographs?

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 23rd March 2012 at 00:02.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 09:49   #2017
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Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post

This travelogue brought back memories of my own trip to Ladakh in 2010, though we chose a very wrong month to go there because of issues with leaves at office. July as HVK sir said is peak snow melt time and we encountered so many of them on route everywhere. We had to turn back from our Khardungla->Deskit->Hunder trip because of slides just after KLa which turned out to be a blessing. We went there the next day and the state of the roads were somewhat like the routes to Sach pass.

Yes, the first 2 months after Ladakh reopens for business are always full of disruptions & disappointments, one of the reasons I have always chosen the Aug-Oct period since i9t minimises the chances of road blockades or not being able to go as per original schedule. It is a tragedy to turn back from a place.

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Was travel to Turtuk open in 2010?
Yes, Turtuk & Chushul were opened to tourists in 2010, but maybe the permits were not being given easily at that time.


Quote:
The marmots reminded me of my encounter with them on the way to and back from Pangong. Apparently these ones were very curious of tourists and one of them wanted some Lays from me.
Well, the Marmots will have to go hungry from this year onwards since plastics - like tetra paks, bottles & presumably, Lays packets - have been apparently banned in Ladakh this year onwards.

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Could the members of this team please post the equipment used for taking these stunning photographs?
That is something I am also keen on knowing too. Having spent so many days with Lalu in the same car, I can't even recollect what camera he was using! All I remember is he had those shoulder-held "missile launcher" of a zoom lens which weighed a ton & maybe cost me a few feet in mileage too!

Last edited by hvkumar : 23rd March 2012 at 09:52.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 10:42   #2018
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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That is something I am also keen on knowing too. Having spent so many days with Lalu in the same car, I can't even recollect what camera he was using! All I remember is he had those shoulder-held "missile launcher" of a zoom lens which weighed a ton & maybe cost me a few feet in mileage too!
Well, it was an consumer level DSLR Nikon D90 with its unassuming kit lens 18-105mm most of the time. Had a 200-500mm from Tamron which was used at some instances for the Kijangs.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 11:23   #2019
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Yes, Turtuk & Chushul were opened to tourists in 2010, but maybe the permits were not being given easily at that time.
I guess that would be the case. We were told we couldn't go beyond Spangmik and only villagers were allowed beyond that point. Even hired cabs wouldn't go there. Good to know that these new areas have opened up for the interested travelers willing to venture there. One point of concern is the very aggressive moves by the Chinese army. I had read about an IAF air strip in Chushul which has now been usurped by the Chinese. Would increased tourist presence in these areas blunt the aggression of the Chinese in these places? Who knows. Same goes for Tawang which I had visited in 2005. Nathu La was another incredible experience.

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Well, the Marmots will have to go hungry from this year onwards since plastics - like tetra paks, bottles & presumably, Lays packets - have been apparently banned in Ladakh this year onwards.
Good to know that these steps are being taken to save the fragile ecology there. Call it fate that just after a week we returned from Ladakh, the massive cloudburst and slides killed hundreds. The barren landscape with loose soil we felt were a recipe for disaster to happen. Its heartening to see that the resilient folks there have recovered so well. I hope Ladakh remains as virgin and exclusive as possible and doesn't get too commercialized ever.

Lastly these marmots on this stretch seem to have adapted to human food very well. If wafers or packaged food is not available, they are happy with donated bananas or even homemade biscuits. Note how it has learnt to hold the biscuit properly in its fingers.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dscn0862.jpg

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 23rd March 2012 at 11:26.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 13:07   #2020
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Lastly these marmots on this stretch seem to have adapted to human food very well. If wafers or packaged food is not available, they are happy with donated bananas or even homemade biscuits. Note how it has learnt to hold the biscuit properly in its fingers.
Hopefully they don't turn like the monkeys at Nandi Hills
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Old 23rd March 2012, 20:34   #2021
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The marmots reminded me of my encounter with them on the way to and back from Pangong. Apparently these ones were very curious of tourists and one of them wanted some Lays from me. The rest were snuggling around our feet.
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Lastly these marmots on this stretch seem to have adapted to human food very well. If wafers or packaged food is not available, they are happy with donated bananas or even homemade biscuits. Note how it has learnt to hold the biscuit properly in its fingers.
Pls Don;t take any Offense for my comments Below as they are in good faith , more over being from Hills, i take it as my moral responsibility to make Tourists aware about Do;s & Don;t in Hills.

In all it;s fairness, Don;t feed marmots or for that matter any animal. we are Not helping them by feeding but destroying their natural eating habits by making them used to eat chips and all. Marmots generally are shy animals by nature but thanks to these free feeds , they are changing their behavior ,which is not good. there is a reason why there is Monkey menace everywhere & we all are trying various methods to get rid of them.

Will appreciate if you understand your responsibilities as a tourist and respect the eco system of that place.

Last edited by .sushilkumar : 23rd March 2012 at 20:36.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 20:56   #2022
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Pls Don;t take any Offense for my comments Below as they are in good faith , more over being from Hills, i take it as my moral responsibility to make Tourists aware about Do;s & Don;t in Hills.

In all it;s fairness, Don;t feed marmots or for that matter any animal. we are Not helping them by feeding but destroying their natural eating habits by making them used to eat chips and all. Marmots generally are shy animals by nature but thanks to these free feeds , they are changing their behavior ,which is not good. there is a reason why there is Monkey menace everywhere & we all are trying various methods to get rid of them.

Will appreciate if you understand your responsibilities as a tourist and respect the eco system of that place.
Absolutely no offense taken. Actually we came across a board much later (probably had failed to notice it) about not feeding any animals when we realized we were actually inside a protected park area, so desisted from any more stopping near marmots after that. Thanks for highlighting it here.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 23:34   #2023
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wonderful updates coming

BTW its sad to see people feeding marmot for fun. Its basically playing with there ecosystem. Human food was never part of there chain, and alot of them are getting habitual of it, Specially the one between Changla and Lukung.
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Old 24th March 2012, 12:36   #2024
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@HVK and Others:

Just today, was surprised to discover the entire Sach Pass road-route marked clearly in the Wikimapia Site - here: Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!

Again - Sach-Pass
.
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Old 24th March 2012, 22:17   #2025
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HVK sir ji, when you got the permits to areas like Turtuk and Chushul done, were there any special considerations to be taken of? Are permits given to everybody who requests it or does it need some special jugaad or in your case a solid track record of driving experience ? Appreciate if you could shed some light on these aspects.
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