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Old 25th May 2012, 20:30   #2371
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Let me illustrate the various route options I had from Pathankot that morning, to reach Kishangarh:

Route 1: Pathankot-Jalandhar-Ludhiana-Ambala-Delhi-Behror-Jaipur-Kishangarh, 852 kms
Pathankot, Punjab to National Highway 8/NH8 - Google Maps

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Route 2: Pathankot-Amritsar-Faridkot-Bhatinda-Hanumangarh, 803 kms
THIS IS THE ROUTE WE TOOK
Pathankot, Punjab to Ajmer Road - Google Maps

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Route 3: Pathankot-Amritsar-Faridkot-Abohar-Hanumangarh, 803 kms
Pathankot, Punjab to Ajmer Road - Google Maps

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Last edited by hvkumar : 25th May 2012 at 20:33.
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Old 26th May 2012, 11:17   #2372
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Which is the best route to take from West/South India to get to Kashmir, is an question one is often asked.

Conventional wisdom was to take the Jaipur-Delhi route which was all 4-laned and fast. But not any more, at least for some more time. Road widening in the Jaipur-Delhi and Panipat-Jalandhar sectors cause major traffic jams & slowdowns. Besides, many are nervous about going through Delhi since it does not have a bypass.

The Bhatinda super highway answers those concerns, and provides an alternative route without going via both Jaipur & Delhi. The NH1 north of Delhi is also very congested. It may be very difficult to reach Pathankot the same day from, say, Kishangarh even, but with the new Bhatinda super highway, it is now possible to travel at your own speeds all that distance in 1 day. The bad things is that facilities are super-poor (hotels, restaurants, workshops) on this route.

Although it is called the Bhatinda super highway, it does not begin in Bhatinda, it is entirely a highway connecting north & south Rajasthan and is a RJ Govt State highway, starting from Hanumangarh - connecting in the north/west with Bhatinda/ Jalandhar/ Ludhiana, Abohar/Amritsar, Sriganganagar/Bikaner - and connecting in the south/east to Jaipur/Jodhpur and Kishangarh/Udaipur.

My friends have driven Udaipur-Amritsar in one day using this super highway. We drove Pathankot-Kishangarh the same day using this super highway. If the drive is planned well, you can reduce time taken by all those doing the long haul on their way to Ladakh & Himachal from west/south India.
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Old 26th May 2012, 14:06   #2373
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

lucky me, I live in delhi.
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Old 26th May 2012, 14:19   #2374
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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lucky me, I live in delhi.
Lucky we from far South, we can bypass Dilliwale...
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Old 26th May 2012, 15:12   #2375
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I have no love for delhi or dillwalas. am indifferent to criticisms of the city or its inhabitants :-)

I meant only that between my place in Delhi and in chandigarh, and my farm thats half way between the two, I can get to srinagar quickly, without having to figure out subcontinent crossing journeys.

My biggest worry is whether to drive all day and take one day to reach jammu, or whether I should stop over at my place in chandigarh and do a leisurely drive the next day.
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Old 26th May 2012, 15:44   #2376
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Let me illustrate the various route options I had from Pathankot that morning, to reach Kishangarh:

Route 3: Pathankot-Amritsar-Faridkot-Abohar-Hanumangarh, 803 kms
Pathankot, Punjab to Ajmer Road - Google Maps

Attachment 931912

HVK,
So from Cochin my route is: Cochin-Salem-Bglr-Chitradurg-Hubli-Kolhapur-Pune-(Nashik-Surat or Mumbai bypass Surat)-Vadodara-Ahm'd- Gandhinagar- Udaipur-Ajmer (if I need to have a look at Jaipur, divert and return throu Sikar to hope into GQ again) and continue. Correct?

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that is of course understood
So you got a great Farm full of fruits and all en-route. But I miss it if I follow HVK's expert advice !

Last edited by Eddy : 26th May 2012 at 16:10. Reason: Please use the edit / multiquote option instead of posting back to back posts within 30 mins. Thanks.
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Old 26th May 2012, 15:53   #2377
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HVK,
So from Cochin my route is: Cochin-Salem-Bglr-Chitradurg-Hubli-Kolhapur-Pune-(Nashik-Surat or Mumbai bypass Surat)-Vadodara-Ahm'd- Gandhinagar- Udaipur-Ajmer (if I need to have a look at Jaipur, divert and return throu Sikar to hope into GQ again) and continue. Correct?
Partly correct.
It will be as follows:
Cochin-Salem-Bangalore-Chitradurga-Hubli-Kolhapur-Pune-Bombay/Nashik-Surat-Baroda-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Chittorgarh-Kishangarh.

From Kishangarh, you can decide which route to take, whether via Jaipur/Delhi or Hanumangarh.

Driving from Cochin, you can target Hubli/Belgaum on Day 1, Baroda/Ahmedabad on Day 2, Sardarshahr/Hanumangarh on Day 3, perhaps Patnitop on Day 4, Srinagar/Sonmarg/Kargil on Day 5 & Leh on Day 6.

If you choose to go via Delhi, then you can consider reaching Delhi on Day 3, Patnitop on Day 4.

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Old 26th May 2012, 16:03   #2378
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

what is your view on carrying a tent and sleeping bags to camp on route?

I ask because I have a tendency to want to want to go slow, and stop and hang about at every place to really take in the experience. As an example consider that I have been travelling the jammu srinagar route for 37 years, but last summer, I decided to really take it in. I stopped so often that it took me 10 hours to go from Jammu to Srinagar. And I enjoyed it and gained a level of familiarity with it that I had not even imagined possible. But you can't do this on the way in or out of ladakh or towards Kaza unless you want to drive at night. and that is one thing I absolutely will not do because i am there to drink it all in, not to let it pass by in the darkness.

So I got to thinking that if I equip my vehicle for camping, I can meander along, and start looking for suitable camping places (adequately distant from the road) around 4 or 5pm, be tented and chilled out by 6.30. spend the evening, writing, arranging photos, cooking, chatting, etc, and then be off again in the morning at first light.

My concerns are safety primarily. The last thing I need is to have a black bear make a meal out of me, or some local thug take the opportunity to slit my throat. And often there are no camping sites. I can't think of any between Jammu and srinagar that are far enough removed from the road and from human settlements.

What are you thoughts?

Last edited by Harbir : 26th May 2012 at 16:07.
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Old 26th May 2012, 16:12   #2379
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Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
what is your view on carrying a tent and sleeping bags to camp on route?

I ask because I have a tendency to want to want to go slow, and stop and hang about at every place to really take in the experience. As an example consider that I have been travelling the jammu srinagar route for 37 years, but last summer, I decided to really take it in. I stopped so often that it took me 10 hours to go from Jammu to Srinagar. And I enjoyed it and gained a level of familiarity with it that I had not even imagined possible. But you can't do this on the way in or out of ladakh or towards Kaza unless you want to drive at night. and that is one thing I absolutely will not do because i am there to drink it all in, not to let it pass by in the darkness.

So I got to thinking that if I equip my vehicle for camping, I can meander along, and start looking for suitable camping places (adequately distant from the road) around 4 or 5pm, be tented and chilled out by 6.30. spend the evening, writing, arranging photos, cooking, chatting, etc, and then be off again in the morning at first light.

My concerns are safety primarily. The last thing I need is to have a black bear make a meal out of me, or some local thug take the opportunity to slit my throat. And often there are no camping sites. I can't think of any between Jammu and srinagar that are far enough removed from the road and from human settlements.

What are you thoughts?
Camping out in Ladakh means the following to me:

1. After a long day's drive, do I have the energy & patience to erect a tent?

2. I am already carrying lots of baggage in the car, do I have the space to carry a tent, the poles, stoves, etc, etc?

3. A tent out in the cold?

4. Beside a river? These mountain rivers are notorious for sudden surges in water flow & are known to have swept away anything & everything in its wake

5. For eco-considerations, security considerations and what not, in some places, camping is restricted. e.g. you are not allowed to camp out in Tso Moriri Lake area anywhere except at Karzok village. Do we know where the restrictions are?
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Old 26th May 2012, 16:18   #2380
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

All legitimate questions. I'll have to come up with good answers to all of them because the alternative is indeed to go dashing between places that can provide accomodation and thats precisely what I am hoping to not do.

I'll explore this further and share what I learn and experience. Thanks!
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Old 26th May 2012, 16:40   #2381
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Partly correct.
It will be as follows:
Cochin-Salem-Bangalore-Chitradurga-Hubli-Kolhapur-Pune-Bombay/Nashik-Surat-Baroda-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Chittorgarh-Kishangarh.

From Kishangarh, you can decide which route to take, whether via Jaipur/Delhi or Hanumangarh.

Driving from Cochin, you can target Hubli/Belgaum on Day 1, Baroda/Ahmedabad on Day 2, Sardarshahr/Hanumangarh on Day 3, perhaps Patnitop on Day 4, Srinagar/Sonmarg/Kargil on Day 5 & Leh on Day 6.

If you choose to go via Delhi, then you can consider reaching Delhi on Day 3, Patnitop on Day 4.
Ok.
However since I got confirmed travelmates from Bangalore, our day one starts from Bangalore (and Cochin-Bglr is my extra run).
1. Then we can cover Bangalore Pune or even Mumbai outskirts in day 1, with a vigorous 4 am start. No? Means we can reach Leh by 3rd day, or 4th for sure?(I prefer to call it a day by 10 pm on continuing drives, not to waste the huge advantage of the 4 am empty road advantage.)

2. Thus utilising 3 early morn drives, can't we push max. to reach somewhere near Leh, if not Leh? Which way better, Srinagar-Kargil-Leh or Manali-Keylong Leh? How many days it take to complete either of this way, if we start 10th of August ?(or should we avoid August 15th extra troop movements/ road blockage by Army and police?)
3. Within 16 day tour, which other closeby attractions can be covered, given ideal conditions existed?
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Old 26th May 2012, 17:26   #2382
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Ok.
However since I got confirmed travelmates from Bangalore, our day one starts from Bangalore (and Cochin-Bglr is my extra run).
1. Then we can cover Bangalore Pune or even Mumbai outskirts in day 1, with a vigorous 4 am start. No? Means we can reach Leh by 3rd day, or 4th for sure?(I prefer to call it a day by 10 pm on continuing drives, not to waste the huge advantage of the 4 am empty road advantage.)

2. Thus utilising 3 early morn drives, can't we push max. to reach somewhere near Leh, if not Leh? Which way better, Srinagar-Kargil-Leh or Manali-Keylong Leh? How many days it take to complete either of this way, if we start 10th of August ?(or should we avoid August 15th extra troop movements/ road blockage by Army and police?)
3. Within 16 day tour, which other closeby attractions can be covered, given ideal conditions existed?
On Day 1, I would target Vapi and not Bombay/Pune.
On Day 2, it would be Kishangarh or at best Ratangad/Sardarshahr
On Day 3, I would be in Amritsar or Pathankot
On Day 4, Srinagar or Sonmarg
On Day 5, Leh

I prefer Srinagar-Leh for (a) better aclimatisation, (b) avoiding Rohtang Pass, and (c) wasting half a day on permits for Rohtang Pass.

Having counted 5 days either way (10 days lost only to and fro Leh), in 7 days you could cover D1-Leh, D2-Pangong, D3-Nubra Valley, D4-Leh, D5-Tso Moriri, D6-Sarchu & the rest to come back via Manali
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Old 26th May 2012, 23:29   #2383
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On Day 1, I would target Vapi and not Bombay/Pune.
On Day 2, it would be Kishangarh or at best Ratangad/Sardarshahr
On Day 3, I would be in Amritsar or Pathankot
On Day 4, Srinagar or Sonmarg
On Day 5, Leh

I prefer Srinagar-Leh for (a) better aclimatisation, (b) avoiding Rohtang Pass, and (c) wasting half a day on permits for Rohtang Pass.

Having counted 5 days either way (10 days lost only to and fro Leh), in 7 days you could cover D1-Leh, D2-Pangong, D3-Nubra Valley, D4-Leh, D5-Tso Moriri, D6-Sarchu & the rest to come back via Manali
5+5 days for travel alone !
Well, what about coming back by some other route to avoid monotony and to see something different, say via Delhi?
And, do you think the roads at the proposed routs are somewhat good, sothat I need not have to leave Linea to hop into other vehicle, if bad which stretches? (Its important: consuming extra time either way, if NON-TARRED stretches exists ! If tarred, even broken, she can manage...)
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Old 27th May 2012, 00:54   #2384
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5+5 days for travel alone !
Well, what about coming back by some other route to avoid monotony and to see something different, say via Delhi?
And, do you think the roads at the proposed routs are somewhat good, sothat I need not have to leave Linea to hop into other vehicle, if bad which stretches? (Its important: consuming extra time either way, if NON-TARRED stretches exists ! If tarred, even broken, she can manage...)
You can come back via the Central India route - maybe Chittorgarh-Indore-Pune - which roads should hold good during the rains also.
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Old 27th May 2012, 09:20   #2385
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HVK Scorpio
Aug 12, Bombay-Behror, 1402 kms
Aug 13, Behror-Rampur, 692 kms
Aug 14, Rampur-Chitkul, 144 kms
Aug 15, Chitkul-Pooh, 207 kms
Aug 16, Pooh-Kaza, 178 kms
Aug 17-19, Kaza, 291 kms
Aug 20, Kaza-Jispa, 236 kms
Aug 21, Jispa-Leh, 374 kms
Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms
Aug 23, Kargil-Padum, 248 kms
Aug 24, Padum-Kargil, 275 kms
Aug 25, Kargil-Leh, 259 kms
Aug 26, Leh, 148 kms
Aug 27, 2011, Leh-Turtuk, 241 kms
Aug 28, 2011, Leh-Pangong Tso, 445 kms
Aug 29, 2011, Pangong-Hanle, 203 kms
Aug 30, 2011, Hanle-Tso Moriri, 188 kms
Aug 31, 2011, Tso Moriri-Keylong, 375 kms
Sep 1, 2011, Keylong-Chamba, 341 kms
Sep 2, 2011, Chamba-Pathankot, 158 kms


Sep 3, 2011, Pathankot-Kishangarh, 877 kms

Hanumangarh. 300 pm. The beginning of the Bhatinda-Kishangarh super highway.
Hanumangarh Fort. The town has some nice hotels, an ideal place to stay on this route.

The super highway is a Rajasthan state highway that has been upgraded in the last 2 years or so, still unknown to most, even the truckers hardly use it. I was tipped off about this road by our deky and some of our friends had tried it & amazed at its good quality and speeds.

The toll gate issues a through toll ticket for Rs 195 all the way to Kishangarh, which is over 400 kms away, that gives you passage through 6 toll gates - Rawatsar, Sardarshahr, Ratangad, Didwana, Makrana & Kishangarh. Saves you some money and also the bother of having to dole out change every 50-100 kms or so.

What a road it turned out to be. Reasonably broad 2-laned road, excellent surface, good signages & no traffic. The smaller towns like Rewatsar do not have bypasses but all the larger ones do. Facilities are not great, but you will get petrol pumps at decent intervals. No restaurants or dhabas. You have to plan in advance if you want to stay somewhere en route. Apart from Hanumangarh (Hotel Rajvi Palace), I have found good hotels in Sardarshahr (Hotel Kuber Palace) and Ratangad (RTDC).

This is the kind of highway where you can turn on the cruise pilot in your car, if you have one. Yes, there are those cow crossings from time to time, but rest of the country-side is well-behaved and I don't remember a single sudden-braking episode.

At Rewatsar 335 pm, I stopped by to find a electrician to fix my battery terminal, and that fixed the problem for the time being.

You can use this highway to branch off to various places in Rajasthan like Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur. The Kuber Palace hotel in Sardarshahr is a swanky place which is supposed to have one of the largest halls in the country, but we did not stop by to check!

There were a few annoying railway level crossings, but then we quite enjoyed the break amidst all the monotonous driving. I am sure during summer time, this entire route must be burning at 45 C+. A minister's car convoy irritated us no end, but we overtook it and banished him from our sight. One can never be sure what can happen if the lord gets displease at someone else overtaking his chariot!!

By 7 pm, the sun had set and the traffic also increased, so anyone uneasy about driving in 2-laned highways with oncoming headlights dazzling your eyes, may note to plan your schedules appropriately.

We reached Kishangarh at 845 pm, having covered around 400 kms comfortably in a little over 5 hours without touching any super speeds.

The highway ends in a mess just before Kishangarh on NH8, which is being widened and looks like a battle zone. For those looking to get into this highway, note that when you are coming from Udaipur side on NH79 (via Bhilwara), you must turn left towards Ajmer and then travel 7 kms past the toll gate and the railway overbridge to get to this junction on Kishangarh bypass. There is a prominent overhead sign board announcing the road to Bhatinda.

I had initially planned to go on to Bombay, but pleased with the good progress made this day, we decided to afford the luxury of stopping over for the night. The BolBolero & Mumbai Roadsters were far behind, at least some 5 hours trailing us, and they had teamed up at Hanumangarh and coming together towards Kishangarh which they were not expected to reach till late at night.

We checked into the Hotel Panagad, had dinner & retired for the night.
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