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Old 9th October 2011, 17:53   #361
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
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!
Saar, none of these photos are by me, I have given credits after every photo or else they are watermarked. I drove all the time, but not the other 15 or so lensmen in the team!
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Old 9th October 2011, 20:55   #362
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Day 2: Chittorgarh to Amritsar. 18th. August 2011.

Blissfully unaware of the happenings with the IPHE group in Kaza, we leave the RTDC Hotel Panna, Chittorgarh at 4:30 am., after a very good nights sleep! Its going to be a long drive to Amritsar via a road I have not traveled on before.
The normal and oft taken route would be: Chittorgarh - Kishangarh - Jaipur - Delhi - Panipat - Ambala- Jallandhar - Amritsar, using NH8 & NH1. Instead we had decided to use the Kishangarh - Hanumangarh Mega Highway, which connects to Bathinda and goes on to Amritsar. Using inputs from Deky (through HVK) and Satan & jaysmokesleaves, who had just used this route a few days earlier, and vouched for it being a fantastic road, albeit a 2 lane road, without dividers! Thanks guys!

Reach Kishangarh at around 7:40 am. and get on to the Mega Highway after a small tea break.
Off to work! Who says that only the trains in Mumbai are overcrowded!
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The fantastic Mega Highway.
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Its already become sandy!
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This happens to be SS's partners ancestral village!
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Not having had breakfast, we stop for an early lunch, just outside Sardarshahr.
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More sand!
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We cross into Haryana at around 4:00 pm, to be greeted by Chauthala village. yes it is the village of the erstwhile CM's of Haryana, Shri Devi Lala and Shri Om Prakash Chauthala. But looking at the condition of the road passing through, it is hard to believe that this is the village of One Former Deputy Prime Minister/ Chief Minister and One Former Chief Minister! Cross Mandi Dabwali famous on T-Bhp for Dabwali Jeeps! Got to see quite a few of them too!
Enter the state of Punjab at around 5:05 pm and the road conditions improve considerably, and we cross Bathinda in no time.
Thermal power station at Bathinda.
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Lake @ Bathinda.
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Good roads towards Amritsar!
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We reach Amritsar at 9:20 pm., and the first thing on the agenda is to pick up AR, who has been waiting there, after having arrived from Delhi in the morning. Easier said than done, after many phone calls back and forth and near misses, we finally locate him and head off to dinner at Chawla's Restaurant. Tandoori Chicken and Cream Chicken alongwith Naan is our dinner. (Very good and highly recommended!) We head to Hotel Singh International near the bus stand (Not recommended), where AR has been put up and has got a room for SS and me.

While we were heading towards Amritsar, AR has spent some time at the Golden Temple!
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After dinner we reach Hotel Singh International at 11:45 pm. and get into bed.
Distance covered: 952 kms.

to be continued...
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Old 10th October 2011, 12:46   #363
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Exclamation Team Play - IPHE 2011

I know this post is out of place and breaks the flow of this travelogue but i cant resist myself from posting my thoughts at this stage, because the travelogue has reached the point where we are meeting rest of the team in Kaza for the first time ever.
_______________________________________________

Team Play - IPHE 2011

Everyone in the IPHE team other than HVK was new to me. Few people did know each other in the virtual world, but now we were going to spend 20days together...its like how life changes before and after you get married to your girlfriend....living together is a different ballgame altogether...there can be many completely new surprises/shocks.

To be honest my friends KP, YP & AP met HVK for the first time in Mumbai just 5 days before the trip only for about 2 hrs over dinner. They did not even know the names of the other team members.

They had agreed to join (since we were anyways planning Ladakh) the IPHE team drive only because i pushed for it, will they be comfortable with going in such a big diverse team (with the commitment the team demands)?? or are we better on our own in our 2 swifts doing our own thing with HVKs guidance?? It was my self-assumed duty to make sure they are comfortable and are having a good time/driving holiday.

So the question was...how are these people going to be?? will we slow them down or will they slow us down??

Will such a wide difference in the age of different people matter?? Will there be generation gap issues??

Will they want to spend a lot more on stay?? (We were on a tight budget for sure, disadvantage of running petrol cars) It is important to try and stay in the same hotel as the others...as the team bonding, coordination, saving time, fun at dinner table is great for sure.

Will there be coordination issues and difference of opinion on stay, food, convoy order, route planning preferences, wake up time, driving hours per day??

Will they want to spend more time in places we dont want to (eg Gompas..lol)??

I am sure such must be the questions crossing everyones minds but they decided to go for it like everyone else....and so did we!


And now we are in KAZA....

We still havent travelled a single KM with the IPHE team and not even stayed in the same hotel since we had meet everyone in Kaza for the first time and we were yet to meet more people later..

Quote:
Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Blissfully unaware of the happenings with the IPHE group in Kaza...
Who was BolBolero? have we met him before? who are the people are they Tbhpians?? Will all of us make a good team??

Answers to all these questions would be know in a few discussions/posts that we have planned for this travelogue....believe me its the most important part of group travel.

But looking back i would just like to answer all the above questions in 2 word ..... Happy Family

Thanks a lot to each and every team member of the IPHE2011 for making it happen....

Lol... its not the end of this travelogue guys, we will thank eachother again....so far its only been the trailer....picture abh baki hai mere bhai....the movie is yet to start...

Last edited by KSM-Vtec : 10th October 2011 at 12:54.
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Old 10th October 2011, 13:30   #364
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Default Re: Team Play - IPHE 2011

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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post

Team Play - IPHE 2011

Everyone in the IPHE team other than HVK was new to me. Few people did know each other in the virtual world, but now we were going to spend 20days together...its like how life changes before and after you get married to your girlfriend....living together is a different ballgame altogether...there can be many completely new surprises/shocks.

To be honest my friends KP, YP & AP met HVK for the first time in Mumbai just 5 days before the trip only for about 2 hrs over dinner. They did not even know the names of the other team members.


So the question was...how are these people going to be?? will we slow them down or will they slow us down??

Will such a wide difference in the age of different people matter?? Will there be generation gap issues??

Will they want to spend a lot more on stay?? (We were on a tight budget for sure, disadvantage of running petrol cars) It is important to try and stay in the same hotel as the others...as the team bonding, coordination, saving time, fun at dinner table is great for sure.

Will there be coordination issues and difference of opinion on stay, food, convoy order, route planning preferences, wake up time, driving hours per day??

Will they want to spend more time in places we dont want to (eg Gompas..lol)??

I am sure such must be the questions crossing everyones minds but they decided to go for it like everyone else....and so did we!
Yes, KSM-Vtec has outlined what was the challenge in travelling in a team.
This was a collaborative effort, never a conducted tour.

None of us had any commercial interests, we were just a group of people coming together thanks to the bonding of existing friendships - and the power of online networking. None of us had our families with us although we did have a father-in-law-son-in-law pair and a brother-brother pair. However, we all found that the common interest in driving to Ladakh and the sheer love for travelling bonded us together and I guess we made friendships that are probably going to last a long time, not like any conducted trip where you say bye and forget the guy thereafter.

BTW, our eldest guy was 81 years old, we had 3 other senior citizens of 64 years and our youngest was 23.
The collective age of the members in my car was 228 years!

Each person in the team had his own deadlines and time lines to get back, so it was very crucial that we planned the trip thoroughly without any time overruns. For example, both TS and Jeep Captain had to fly abroad after the trip on pre-determined days. Lalu KS had a firm booking on a flight back to Bangalore from Bombay, as had some others.

Trip plan was frozen before the trip began and despite the dislocation in Kaza, we maintained our overall schedule and itinerary to the last exactly as per plan. We had enough buffers to cushion against any route uncertainties and possibly a solution for every twist in the tail.

We made no prior bookings except in Rampur and Chitkul, a challenge in itself since it was always a hit-and-go situation finding rooms for a minimum of 16-20 people in places which did not even have that many hotel or tent rooms.

We moved as a convoy almost all the time, which meant that everyone had to be up and ready within a certain time band so that they did not delay others. We were very clear at the outset that if anyone suffers from illness or his car breaks down, the rest of the team would go on ahead except to provide some help and wait only if the overall schedule was not getting affected.

Very importantly, we had several pre-trip briefings online - and over phone - so that there was clarity on our daily drive plans and logistics, and also consensus on important issues like medication, car care and tooling. We also eliminated redundancy by pooling our resources - car tools mainly - so that we reduce our payload and also have better co-ordination.

Therefore, even when it demanded cars to be towed out of sticky situations, the team was ready with tow ropes, towing SUV and so on. This level of information dissemination and preparedness for any adverse situation helped make a very smooth drive.

Needless to say, in endeavours like these, there are lots of angry words exchanged but then when so many people are copped together in a tour, such psychological aberrations are normal. We bonded like a happy family, we also fought like only brothers will!

We had set a budgetary estimate for the trip, and we stayed at the best places during the trip. Despite that, I guess most of us were within budget. We shared costs for each car & each hotel room. We did not have a common treasurer and each paid for his own, although there was some pooling and cashiering in each car or group.

Last edited by hvkumar : 10th October 2011 at 13:33.
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Old 10th October 2011, 13:42   #365
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Day 3: In and around Amritsar. 19th august 2011.
"Part I"
Being a day of relative ease and not much driving, all three of us got up pretty late around 8:00 am. Post the morning rituals, we decided to walk down to Jallianwala Bagh and The Golden Temple, which was just a stones throwaway from the hotel.
Will let the pictures do the talking:

First Stop.
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The Memorials at Jallianwala Bagh
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Bullet Marks
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The Martyrs Well
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Close up of Bullet Hole
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Entrance to The Golden Temple.
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Sri Harmandir Sahib / Sri Darbar Sahib
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Before taking a Holy dip!
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Kar Seva
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Sikh guard of Sri Harmandir Sahib
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Akal Takht.
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SS and BolBolero
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SS and AR
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After taking Darshan at the Temple, we headed for the Langar, to be served with a simple but delicious and filling meal.

Headed back to the hotel to collect the car and drive down to The Wagah / Attari Border.

to be continued...

Last edited by BolBolero : 10th October 2011 at 13:52.
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Old 10th October 2011, 14:09   #366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Day 2: Chittorgarh to Amritsar. 18th. August 2011.


We reach Amritsar at 9:20 pm., and the first thing on the agenda is to pick up AR, who has been waiting there, after having arrived from Delhi in the morning.
AR joining the BolBolero team at Amritsar was another piece of networking. AR had called me just a fortnight or so before the trip through a common friend expressing a desire to come too. We looked at his dates and our seats position and much as we tried, it was impossible to fit him into what he called the "full" circuit that the HVK Scorpio & co was doing through Kinnaur Valley, etc. So the next best alternative was to team up with BolBolero somewhere en route. Therefore, AR flew down to Delhi, took a fast train to Amritsar and joined BolBolero and SS there! S they were 3 in the car, with one more to be picked up in the next 600 kms or so..........

BolBolero, tell us more about the rich Kulchas & butter chicken that you guys devoured at Amritsar?
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Old 10th October 2011, 16:16   #367
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Congratulations to all!!! I just cant stop reading this thread, 5 starts to the entire team. Cant wait for the other posts to come.
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Old 10th October 2011, 18:04   #368
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Everyone in the IPHE team other than HVK was new to me.
In my case, I had met BolBolero once at the Mumbai-Pune TBHP meet this year; and trailed him in my car! Apart from that and a few conversations on phone and the internet, I didn't know much about anyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
Happy Family


Now, getting back to Kaza!

16 August is when we hit Kaza and halted at Spiti Sarai in Rangrik. This is a wonderful place for shutterbugs - it’s at some distance from Kaza town, and you get a clear view of all natural features around.
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17 August began with a few sunrise clicks (wonder how I managed to wake up so early!!)

First Light on the distant snow-capped peaks (somewhere near Kunzum La, 5:50 AM)
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I kept clicking until the peaks were eventually bathed in the warm light.
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Let there be Light” – A chorten up the slopes
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Cloud Play
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Sun rising from behind the hill
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CV posing with the mountains behind
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The travel plan was Pin Valley - Dhangkar - and back to Kaza
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The drive through Pin Valley was scenic with river on one side, hill on the other, dotted with the occasional snow-capped peaks in the distance.

Spiti River just before the Spiti-Pin Sangam
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Rock Sheets forming the hill range
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Remnants of an avalanche?
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That's how snow cuts!
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A short while after entering Pin Valley, JeepCaptain had overheating and had to stop his Bolero. The radiator cap had been blown away and was nowhere to found! JC was well prepared for such a situation and quickly pulled out plastic clips that would hold a plastic bag as a replacement radiator cap. We were also lucky to find a hand-pump from where we filled up the radiator with water.

JC & NJ doing a stop-gap fix on the radiator
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After fixing this, we continued further.

A green oasis in the cold desert!
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Road to the Top?
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The going was smooth until we reached this point with fairly thick slush. The top looked benign. Only a warning from JeepCaptain who’d just crossed this section made us aware of what lay beneath. We tried pushing and when that didn’t work, we towed both my Alto and the AP Swift of CV with JeepCaptain’s Bolero.

BM and I push the Alto, while VB takes the wheel
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Soon as we crossed this point, we saw HVK’s Scorpio coming in the opposite direction. He’d waited in Mud for 30 minutes and seeing us missing for so long, he turned back – and advised that we should turn back and head to the next stop (Dhankhar) as there were couples more landslides up ahead on the road to Mud.

So we turned and got back to the same slush spot! This time, we put some rocks on the slush with the intention of keeping the wheels on the rock and pushing if needed. This plan and some added muscle power (read LALUKS!) do the trick this time!

laluks, NJ and I pushing the Alto; VB driving; while BM scampers away after putting some large stones under the wheel.
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CV then decides his AP Swift has to do this without any pushing – and bulldozes through the slush!
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Splash! (VB driving, me clicking)
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We then head off to the Dhankar Gompa (which is 1000+ years old, and on the World Monuments Fund watch-list of most endangered sites. The road to Dhankar takes you from an altitude of 3421m to 3879m in 8km.
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Dhankar Gompa
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Spot the Scorpio!
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Prayer Flags at Dhankar
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CV Posing atop the Gompa
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Late lunch (Maggi noodles!) - Served in a “not made in China” bowl
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Spiti River at sunset
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to be continued!

Last edited by no_enthu_da : 10th October 2011 at 18:08.
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Old 10th October 2011, 18:26   #369
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Day 3: In and Around Amritsar. 19th August 2011.
"Part II"

Returned from The Golden Temple to the hotel to collect the car. Next stop, Wagah Border to watch the Beating the Retreat ceremony, one of the three must do things, if one visits Amritsar! The other two being the visit to The Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh.
One of my wife's classmate from B-School is a Customs/Central Excise officer. Luckily for us, he was posted at the Wagah border. On contacting him, he asked us to come to his office at Wagah much before the crowd begins pouring in. So there we were at around 3:30 pm at his office.

Heavily decorated Pakistani trucks in India at Wagah.
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SS and JSB (centre in mufti with cap)
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A New Zealander coming into India from Pakistan via Wagah!
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Crowds waiting to get into the viewing arena!
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Crowd Control BSF style!
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BolBolero, JSB & SS
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Run to the Border and back!
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Stern BSF officer in full regalia!
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Crowds on the Indian Side!
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Crowds on the Pakistan side!
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Dancing at the Border!
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BolBolero, AR & SS
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BSF women officers
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BSF officers getting ready for the ceremony
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Pakistani Rangers getting ready for the ceremony
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to be continued...
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Old 10th October 2011, 18:53   #370
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continued...

18 August - Kee Monastery, Komic
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Right to Kee, Left to Kibber
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NJ clicking the Spiti Valley (or was he just posing?!!)
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Lama Tenzing at Kee Monastery (wearing VB’s glasses). This wonderful gentleman was eager to serve us tea. And too fascinated by the 70-300 lens I was carrying. He said “isse toh gaon mey sara aadmi ko dekh sakta hai!!” (you can see every face in the village with this!)
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NJ on the roof of Kee Monastery
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Spiti Valley - clicked on the way down from Kee Monastery. If you look closer, you'll spot the river too!
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Then, the climb up to Komic began - the view is amazing and a total treat to the eyes. Also, the drive has steep climbs and narrow dirt roads - which I didn’t experience as we left the Alto back in Kaza. VB and I joined CV in the AP Swift. BM chose to stay back - and explored the Kaza market!

Mountain, crevasse and somewhere in the picture - a road!
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Probably the highest peak en-route Komic
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The Buddha sitting peacefully in the Himalayas
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Eventually we reached Komic
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... at 4528m above sea!
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VB with the “world’s highest dog” - as named by akaush!
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19 August : Tashiganga - Kibber
19th was the second day on which I did zero driving! This day, some people decided to just relax, JC and gang went up to Komic and some turned back. I joined HVK sir on the drive to Kibber and Tashi Ganga.

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“How did you manage to hit 4642m when you were supposed to go to Kibber which is just 4125m?” you might think. Well, we took a wrong turn (just to see where it led us to!) on the way to Tashiganga. This was a road being constructed to another village.
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On the road beyond Kee monastery which went to Kibber, we noticed this; Clouds everywhere we saw - and the hint of rain. This only meant more trouble towards Kunzum La and further down the road to Keylong. What was going to happen to the rest of our journey was beyond me and I focused on enjoying whatever we got to see!
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Stream snaking down and joining the Spiti River
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As we headed up, we spotted this family of mountain goats (names anyone?)
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And this injured young Yak (or was it a Dzo?) which ran down the slope when we got closer
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Chief with DB and SS at 4642m (15230 ft) above sea - the highest we’d gotten so far
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Love them or hate them, clouds paint amazingly beautiful pictures!
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They give you the rainbow too!
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Chasing the Rainbow! - this one's for you HVK saar!!
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and this too!!
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We then turned towards Kibber, with the sun beginning to set before we could reach the erstwhile "highest motorable village".
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The sight at Kibber was like this. Though not clearly visible, there's a milestone on the right which says Kibber - 0
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At Kibber there's a "Tashi Zom" guest house. Details in this picture.
PS : i am in no way connected to this guest house!
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Old 10th October 2011, 19:44   #371
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

What a travelogue!

Truly HumbLeh'd I'd say!

The pictures are absolutely fantastic. Three cheers to the lens-men. The text is wonderful to read too. I'm still on page 14 so I'm going to take a while. Thanks for sharing this travelogue with us. It's EPIC!
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Old 10th October 2011, 19:56   #372
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Thumbs up HumbLeh'd II

Day 3: In and Around Amritsar. 19th August 2011.
"Part II"


Beating The Retreat
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Lowering of the Flags
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BolBolero & SS
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SS & AR
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BolBolero, BSF & SS
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AR, BSF & SS
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Border Closed!
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We left from Wagah at around 7:35. While we were at Wagah, it rained very heavily in Amritsar and many of the streets in Amritsar were flooded. Managed to get to Crystal Restaurant (suggested by JSB) and after a wait of nearly 30 mins. finally got a table. Looked like a very happening place, but frankly speaking, we were not too impressed by the food! Chawla's was much much better and the pricing was good too!

Back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep. An early morning start tomorrow for Srinagar.


to be continued....
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Old 10th October 2011, 21:00   #373
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

A few pics of the 3 day stay in Kaza from my side ...i guess let the pics do all the talking

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Old 10th October 2011, 21:03   #374
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

a few more.....


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Old 10th October 2011, 21:29   #375
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Wow, these are great photos. Looks like I missed a lot when I was driving, I would love to go there again and see these places too!!!!!
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