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Old 8th October 2011, 18:47   #346
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I realised yesterday that I have driven 4 times to Ladakh in cars that were over 2 lakh kms old!

Need I say any more?
You need not. I'm getting a feeling that you'll do the same and with this same car again.

Fantastic reports guys!! Superbly covered.

Only gripe if I have any is this.. There are way to many apple and orchards pictures.
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Old 8th October 2011, 19:25   #347
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

on a side note - here is a linkie of a guy doing the same Sach pass - on a cycle
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Old 8th October 2011, 19:31   #348
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on a side note - here is a linkie of a guy doing the same Sach pass - on a cycle
And where is the link Hitangshu?
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Old 8th October 2011, 21:30   #349
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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


Kaza, Aug 17-19, 2011, 291 kms

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4 nights in Kaza

Roads closed. Will take "10 days" to clear. Many stranded, some dead. "Shall we go via Srinagar?" If we go on, If we have fresh land slides, If we get stuck between landslides, If we run out of food & water, If we have to live to our astrologers' predictions.....Don't you think Spiti Valley will still be around next year?

To crunch this babel, maybe the Param super computer would have been enough?
Who says our trips are hectic? Breakfast every morning, lunch (so what if it is Maggi?) and a roaring time at the dinner table every night! Thus, we helped the local economy in the Valley flourish.

The highest petrol pump in the world

3670 metres - beats the so-called Highest Petrol Pump in the World at Leh, which is only 3420 metres high.

The highest motorable village in the world - Komik

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Till recently, Khibber (4125 mtrs) used to be the highest village in the world connected by road. Now Komik (4525 mtrs) has usurped its position, and there is a lovely dirt road all the way up.

Searching for Under-sea fossils at Tashi Ganga

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If you have read about the HImalayas being under the sea many years ago, but never believed it, maybe now you will - go pick up fossils in Tashi Ganga. TS spent a couple of hours walking around and found some great ones.

Herbal tea in Ke Gompa

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Can a car drive up there? Yes, it can. Don't try it in winter though, the Gompa is shrouded in snow and the junior lama who made us herbal tea does not see sunlight at least for a full month.


Maggi Noodles in Dhankar Gompa

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Photo by KSM-Vtec

The Gompa is great, but we were famished too, and how do you expect the restaurant to stock so many Maggi noodles when an army like ours descends on them?

Radiator leaks in the Green Pin Valley

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During our drive to the Pin Valley, I spent more time napping in the Gulling Village in the while Jeep Captain experienced the power of steam as his Bolero radiator cap blew up. And beyond Telang bridge before Mud, the small cars wallowed in mud.

Repairing Scorpios & Boleros in Maruti's service station

Choked up air filters, engine foundation bolt that had come off, loose suspension bushes, missing radiator caps.....and a wash after many days! Remember the old Maruti GYpsy ad - well, Matuti just opened its highest service centre in Kaza. More Mahindras there than Altos.

Jamaica is in the Himalayas

Thinking of the Caribbean? Well,this Jamaica is always with the Israelis. Runs a small hotel in the Kaza bazaar, a man for all seasons and all purposes. Hires you rooms. Organises treks. Every taxi driver is his friend. Helpline in the Spiti Valley. Surprising, he is always on the mobile while we are struggling to get network coverage!

Snowfall & landslides, deaths & stranded motorists in Lahaul Valley

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Kaza looks like a ghost town. Maybe 2 more days for the onions to run out of stock? Taxis getting much-needed repairs as they take a break during the peak season. Taxi Driver Union chief playing the good samaritan doling out predictions on reopening of the road ahead. Accost taxi drivers on the road,"Khul gaya kya?" and they smirk.

Meeting other team-bhpians in workshops & restaurants

This Safari from Gurgaon - he was stranded for 2 days between landslides near Batal, just got into Kaza. He was a member. His friend who I ran into at the workshop was a member. He knew me too! Megazoid from Bangalore was dining at the same restaurant, we knew each other!


Hotel Spiti Sarai. Hotel Delek House. Hotel Tashi Delek.

Our hotels in Kaza. Good rooms, courteous people, car parking. All rooms negotiated for under Rs 1,000 a night for a double room, some shared triple to a room.

Jeep Captain - Kaza to Leh via Kochi

Aug 12 - Dubai
Aug 13 - Rampur
Aug 14 - Chitkul
Aug 15 - Pooh
Aug 16 - Kaza
Aug 17 - Kaza
Aug 18 - Recong Peo in transit to Delhi
Aug 19 - Kochi, via Delhi
Aug 20 - Delhi
Aug 21 - Sonmarg, via Srinagar
Aug 22 - Kargil

1 Swift to Hyderabad, 2 Swifts from Bombay. 1 Innova to Shimla, 1 Bolero to Manali
24 In, 13 Out


2 go, 4 join. The AP Swift decides to go back to AP. The Mumbai Roadsters finally meet up with us.
The UP Innova goes back to Haryana. Ask akaush how. There go 3.
The Dr RK calls it a day.
PD says he prefers a Cosmos bus tour. Not possible here, we say, he leaves.
The 4x4 Bolero Stinger coaxes bull-dozer drivers, camps out in their blue tents, forces its way through the snow-laden roads in Lahaul Valley and slide their way through the mud flats of Rohtang Pass back to Bangalore. Minus 4 heads.

Photo by TS
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Last edited by hvkumar : 8th October 2011 at 21:37.
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Old 8th October 2011, 22:20   #350
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Well said HVK. The situation - the dilemna - the decisions - pullouts & thumbs' ups. Good post - a good balance of great snaps & precise narration.

Last edited by naren_gs1 : 8th October 2011 at 22:24.
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Old 8th October 2011, 22:47   #351
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Log Book of Day 6, Kaza-Pin Valley-Dhankar Gompa-Kaza

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Log Book of Day 7, Kaza-Ke Gompa-Langza-Komik-Hikkim-Kaza

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Log Book of Day 8, Kaza-Khibber-Tashi Ganga-Khibber-Kaza

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My Scorpio's odometer started malfunctioning because the speedo sensor wires below the car got abrased by all the muck that was thrown up to it - helped by all those water crossings - and the wire broke, so I had to keep mending it till Kaza, when I finally got a good mechanic to fix it. Therefore, you may notice that there are breaks in the odometer readings, but the distances were computed using data from milestones and my previous log books of visits to the area.

Last edited by hvkumar : 8th October 2011 at 22:50.
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Old 8th October 2011, 22:49   #352
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

So you guys where stuck for 4 nights in Kaza, and the group dwindled down? So who all finally went from Kaza towards Leh?
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Old 8th October 2011, 22:54   #353
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So you guys where stuck for 4 nights in Kaza, and the group dwindled down? So who all finally went from Kaza towards Leh?
Yes, I think the uncertainty factor and the possibilities of time overruns perhaps worried some members of the team, so the team was reduced from 24 to 12 (since Jeep Captain also decided to fly temporarily to Kerala and back from Kaza for some urgent work! He rejoined the team later), and 3 cars also decided to go their own way. Therefore, on the last night at Kaza, we were just 5 cars - Scorpio, Bolero, 2 Swifts & Alto.
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Old 8th October 2011, 23:40   #354
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Thats a very crisp note HVK Sir !

Here is my side of the story. I reached Kaza injured and decided not to go for Pin valley and Dhankar Gompa with others. We did roam around a bit taking a few pics. The only place I and Pawan went to was Komic Village which remains the highlight of our short trip. We had to return back from Kaza as the roads ahead had not opened till then and family back home was getting worried.
Here are my pics from Kaza and Komic village.

This is what we woke upto in Spiti Sarai
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Another view ! I must have taken about 50 pics of this view, uploading just two of them.
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This was the view opposite the previous views.
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Kaza Monastry
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Another nice view
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Some view, had to drive 10 kms early in the morning to click this one.
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Innova at the bridge towards Pin Valley
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View from Key Monastry
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Enjoying our herbal tea with Tenzing R at Key Monastry
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Stylish Nobin
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Group Photo !
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HVK's Scorpio
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World's highest dog? (Just kidding !! Only dog we spotted at the world's highest village)
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Komic Village
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The team at Komic Village
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Old 8th October 2011, 23:40   #355
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Some more info on the places we visited:

Pin Valley

This Valley opens out from the Spiti Valley, from Attargo (where you cross the Spiti River) and then you enter via the road on the banks of the Pin River. The road is a mixture of tar and mostly dirt and after Saganam, its condition deteriorates sharply. The Swifts got stuck there as did the Alto. In any case, we had to turn back before Mud because a landslide had closed down the road for some days. Very interesting rock formations, sudden greenery in parts, stunning snow peak views and cliffs crumbling of minerals, maybe iron ore, since it was bright red.
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We visited the Kungiri Gompa too. Saganam Village looked fascinating with its green fields and its high population put some of the other villages en route like Gulling & Mikkim (populations under 100 and 250 people respectively) to shame.

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To go to Pin Valley, you have to go back towards Tabo and cross the river Spiti at Attargo.

Dhankar Gompa

Go further down the Tabo road and before Sichling, start the steep ascent to Dhankar Gompa. Spectacular views of the Spiti Valley from vantage locations and also the sangam of the Spiti & Pin Rivers. As KSM-vtec's earlier photos show, the road is all rubble and a car can lose its footing anywhere and hurtle down into the steep valley below.

The Gompa itself is very ancient and like other Gompas, they levy a entry fee ostensibly to maintain them! There are a couple of guest houses to stay there, one of whom gave us a "delicious" Maggi meal. The restaurant we checked out earlier did not have enough Maggi to feed us and even in the one which had, some Maggis were found hidden in some loft somewhere up!

Ke Gompa

It is the most spectacular looking structure in Spiti Valley, perched on top of the conical hill almost falling off. And you can drive up all the way there. As in most Gompas, the prayer and other important rooms are kept locked and a junior lama shows you around as you arrive. They insist that we partake in a cup of herbal tea, which was very very tasty.

The views form atop the Ke Gompa are something to die for! Sweeping views of the Spiti Valley north of Kaza, you can theoretically see even the high mountains that surround the Kunzum la on the road to Manali.

Komik (4525 mtrs)

Sometime last year, they completed the dirt road to Komik, making it now the highest motorable village in the world. Villages like Komik and Khibber (the earlier highest) have residents throughout teh year even as the mercury dips down to (-) 35 C, and houses are virtually buried under the snow!

There are hardly any houses in Komik, but the Gompa is a prominent structure. And the road leading to it is via Langza Village which has a large Buddha statue that stands out in the wilderness. One of the best places to watch sunset in the hills as the fading sun lights up in gold the snow-clad mountain tops.

We took the alternative route back to Kaza via Hikkim. This is entirely chick-pea ("Mutter") country side and you see bags and bags waiting to be loaded onto mini-trucks going to the upcountry mandis. If you thought the roads were steep, the locals use steeper "short-cut": paths that will take them gurtling down faster than you can turn the corner.

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Khibber (4125 mtrs)

It has slipped down form its earlier pedestal of being the highest motorable village in the world. But watch out, a new road is being built to Chicham which promises to be anoter exciting ride. And if you dare, there is a guest house at the entry point to the Khibber Village.

Tashi Ganga (4415 mtrs)

Surely an exciting discovery during this trip, thanks to TS. A small settlement of houses, the slopes around it are cluttered with fossils for those who have the patience and the sharp eye. Definitely one of those high places you do not want to be after the sun goes down.

I also drove up a new road in teh making towards Tiddim, where I crossed 15,000 feet at one point which perhaps is the highest motorable point in the Spiti Valley. BTW, that is higher than Kunzum la itself, which is nearly 500 feet lower! Maybe this will be another exciting dit road next year!

They are also building a new road to connect Tashi Ganga with Komik, which you can see just across the valley.
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Old 9th October 2011, 10:21   #356
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My assessment of roads so far, through Kinnaur, Baspa, Spiti & Pin Valleys:

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- The Kufri-Narkhanda roads were miserable

- Dam construction work around Wangtoo-Karchcham has meant bad roads for last few years, hopefully should become better from here on

- Inner roads to Chitkul was good, although you have to be careful of some slushy sections. Expect this road to be closed during heavy rains due to landslides

- Worst of the lot is the Karchcham-Powari road which is being widened and has long sections of muddy track, can be tricky for 2WD cars

- After Powari, roads can be good and bad, there are several landslide-prone sections towards Pooh

- Malling Nullah is now a tamed water crossing, but can become ferocious any time

- Once you enter Spiti Valley, expect some dirt roads but most of the sections are good

- All roads around Kaza are dirt roads, and in the Attargo-Mud road, expect landslides and bad sections that can deter small cars

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Old 9th October 2011, 13:08   #357
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Some useful info about Kaza:

1. BSNL network works

2. 3-4 workshops there, including a Maruti Service Centre, Khangsar Motors 01906-222275/9459981151. This is located 1 km before Kaza town as you come from Tabo/Shimla side. JK Motors, near HPTDC (on the other side of town, towards Manali) is also an all-purpose workshop (does starter repairs also) and Mr Khardo 9418119538 is a very friendly and helpful man. Sonam Motors in the Kaza Market immediately after the bus stand stocks spares of several vehicles, including M&M. I did not see any other spares shop. Kaza is the only place after Rampur where you can get any serious work done if your car breaks down.

3. Local vehicles are mostly M&M Boleros, Sumo Spacios and the ubiquitous Maruti Altos, M800s, Omnis & Wagon Rs.

4. Several hotels & guest houses to suit every budget. HPTDC Hotel Spiti is good, but relatively expensive. If you have the connections, the Circuit House is a nice place to stay in.
Hotels where we stayed in:
- Hotel Spiti Sarai 01906-222670/9418439247/9418294439/9418250945, Ramesh Lotey 9418439247, Kaku 9459519654
- Delek House & Restaurant,01906-222348/200325/9418448485/9418927348 Phunchog Negi
- Tashi Delek Guest House, Main Bazar/Jamaica 9418200183

5. Kaza has one petrol pump which is the only one for over 300 kms from Rampur side and 200 kms to Keylong/ Manali side. Petrol pump is NOT open 24 hours, and normally closes by 7 pm.

6. Lots of trekkers and Israelis visit Kaza, primarily because of the Parbat Valley trek that originates in Kulu Valley and comes through Pin Valley. Besides, there are several treks ending at Chhatru from Manali side. I was told that Dorlum Dorje, Tabo Monastery, 09459483185, www.spititrek.in is a good guy to contact for treks.

7. Those planning to stay in Chandra Tal too use Kaza as a base and many of the trek organisers are based in Kaza.

8. You can visit Kaza throughout the year, since teh road from Shimla side remains open even as KUnzum la from the Manali/Keylong side gets snow-blockaded for over 6 months a year. However, the Spiti Valley will be shrouded in snow and most hotels are shut down, you won;t get even water in Kaza as the pipes freeze.

9. Kaza is a Buddhist place and you can visit any of the Gompas in the Valley.

10. Facilities outside Kaza (and Tabo) are zero, and you cannot stay in places like Tashi Ganga, Komik or Mud.
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Old 9th October 2011, 13:15   #358
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Wonderful details HVK

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Some useful info about Kaza:

1. BSNL network works

2. 3-4 workshops there, including a Maruti Service Centre, Khangsar Motors 01906-222275/9459981151. This is located 1 km before Kaza town as you come from Tabo/Shimla side. JK Motors, near HPTDC (on the other side of town, towards Manali) is also an all-purpose workshop (does starter repairs also) and Mr Khardo 9418119538 is a very friendly and helpful man. Sonam Motors in the Kaza Market immediately after the bus stand stocks spares of several vehicles, including M&M. I did not see any other spares shop. Kaza is the only place after Rampur where you can get any serious work done if your car breaks down.

3. Local vehicles are mostly M&M Boleros, Sumo Spacios and the ubiquitous Maruti Altos, M800s, Omnis & Wagon Rs.

4. Several hotels & guest houses to suit every budget. HPTDC Hotel Spiti is good, but relatively expensive. If you have the connections, the Circuit House is a nice place to stay in.
Hotels where we stayed in:
- Hotel Spiti Sarai 01906-222670/9418439247/9418294439/9418250945, Ramesh Lotey 9418439247, Kaku 9459519654
- Delek House & Restaurant,01906-222348/200325/9418448485/9418927348 Phunchog Negi
- Tashi Delek Guest House, Main Bazar/Jamaica 9418200183

5. Kaza has one petrol pump which is the only one for over 300 kms from Rampur side and 200 kms to Keylong/ Manali side. Petrol pump is NOT open 24 hours, and normally closes by 7 pm.

6. Lots of trekkers and Israelis visit Kaza, primarily because of the Parbat Valley trek that originates in Kulu Valley and comes through Pin Valley. Besides, there are several treks ending at Chhatru from Manali side. I was told that Dorlum Dorje, Tabo Monastery, 09459483185, www.spititrek.in is a good guy to contact for treks.

7. Those planning to stay in Chandra Tal too use Kaza as a base and many of the trek organisers are based in Kaza.

8. You can visit Kaza throughout the year, since teh road from Shimla side remains open even as KUnzum la from the Manali/Keylong side gets snow-blockaded for over 6 months a year. However, the Spiti Valley will be shrouded in snow and most hotels are shut down, you won;t get even water in Kaza as the pipes freeze.

9. Kaza is a Buddhist place and you can visit any of the Gompas in the Valley.

10. Facilities outside Kaza (and Tabo) are zero, and you cannot stay in places like Tashi Ganga, Komik or Mud.
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Old 9th October 2011, 16:10   #359
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While the IPHE team was forced to chill out in and around Kaza, SS and me were getting ready to leave from Mumbai.

Day 1: Mumbai to Chittorgarh. 17th. August 2011

Having slept only at 1:00 am, I am up by 2:30 am, so a 3:00 am departure is out of the question! Finally leave at 4:00 am sharp. Luckily there wasn't very heavy traffic on NH8, that early in the morning and just intermittent rains.

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Made good time and crossed The MH-GJ border at around 7:15 am. after a tea & breakfast break. Remembering HVK's advice on not taking the Bharuch bridge on the NH8, we turned into Ankleshwar and crossed the Narmada on the Golden Bridge.
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A refuelling halt at Baroda, onto the NE1, (Baroda -Ahmedabad Expressway), bypassing Ahmedabad using the ring road. Halted for lunch at a small roadside dhaba/ restaurant and then back onto the beautiful roads in Gujarat!
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Had a bit of a scare just after passing Shamlaji, the alternator nut holding the alternator to the bracket had fallen off/ broken!
Luckily could get a new nut fixed at Shamlaji and we were back on the road in no time.
Crossed into RJ, again on some beautiful roads. Having crossed/ bypassed Udaipur before 6:00 pm., we were very much on our way to reaching Kishangarh.
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-ladakh-trip-013.jpg
This is Ronak Filling Station at Bhatewar, around 10 kms. after Udaipur Airport. Important for me, cos I've refueled here every time on my drive to the North! Spent a lot of time here, having snacks & tea, and sometime in between the snacks & tea decided to cut short our drive and stay the night at Chittorgarh!
HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-ladakh-trip-014.jpg

Reached RTDC Hotel Panna, Chittorgarh at around 8:00pm. Distance covered 917 kms.

to be continued..
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Old 9th October 2011, 17:20   #360
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

oh darn - https://sites.google.com/site/bicycl.../tour-of-2011/ was the link of Sudipto.

HVK saab - brilliant pics. as if your brilliant driving was not amazing enough. This is a new standard by you. What's transpired, eh? You're not allowed to take your eyes off for so much time off the road

EDIT: here's the sach pass crossing day log: https://sites.google.com/site/bicycl...undi-to-kilaar He's got bums of steel to ride a cycle on that track!

Last edited by phamilyman : 9th October 2011 at 17:24.
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