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Old 14th September 2011, 10:52   #31
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Firstly I would like to start by thanking all the IPHE2011 team members for making this happen!!

A very special thanks to HVK for planning & executing this trip in the most perfect, enjoyable and safe manner.

Thanks a lot Lalu for taking the effort to click so many amazing pictures and also documenting the experience in this travelogue.

I my next post I will provide a background to the Mumbai Roadsters team and details on how and why we merged into the IPHE2011.
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Old 14th September 2011, 11:07   #32
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

This is an epic log and perfect day for me to get glued to it till the end. No boss in office means virtually no work, so I am looking forward to lots of posts and details very soon.
But I am not in too much of hurry though. Boss is gone for a week.
But thanks to HVK,Laluks and everybody else o the convoy for sharing with us such a wonderful journey.
Great clicks by lalu and am so looking forward for the pics.
Hope I'll make it to Leh-ladakh some day too.

Now guys, don't let my F5 button die today. Please post fast.
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Old 14th September 2011, 11:45   #33
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

This thread is going to be the "Ladakh Trip of 2011" at Team BHP.

Glued until I read the full travelogue.

@Laluks- I was a regular reader of your 2009 travelogue as well. And I know that this time the photographs would be better than before. All the best!

Cheers!
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Old 14th September 2011, 11:58   #34
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

What a travelogue!!

I am glued to this for the rest of my office hours.

Lalu & HVK sir this seems to me a travelogue sharing experiences of lifetime. The thrill to catch flight in last moment. Swifts delayed by a day and trying to catch up with main convoy.

Convoy having altos to boleros to scorpios and hopefully all of them covered the circuit. Mind-blowing!!

Bring it on!!
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Old 14th September 2011, 12:09   #35
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The craving to visit the Himalayas again started in me immediately after I got back home from my first trip to Ladakh in 2009. But unfortunately I had a few more destinations to visit before I could a second trip hence I had to suppress my desire and postpone it to a later date which happened to be August 2011.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...rld-gypsy.html (Mumbai Roadsters - Touring LADAKH "Roof of the World" in a Gypsy)

By this time my friends in Bombay had also realised what they were missing and decided to make a trip to Ladakh at the earliest. Now that I had company we started planning for the expedition by first zeroing down onto the members forming the team. As you all know we are also know as the Kalti.com team on team bhp and hence the probability of anyone from our group actually making it for the trip was less than 50%. This was the exact reason why I did not want to be a part of the IPHE from way one (even after knowing that they were planning to do Ladkah around the same time as we were).

Lot of ifs and buts about people, cars, dates, etc. and just 2 weeks from the scheduled (postponed multiple times) departure date we were still unsure of the people and cars making it for the trip. At one stage we were more than 10 people and a few bikes and a few SUVs, in fact I was considering the idea of building a gypsy again for this trip.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...-complete.html (My Army Spec "Demon Gypsy": Project Complete)

Even very late in the day we were not sure about who and how all we knew was somehow! Finally just 5 days before HVK was going to leave we have some clarity and the almost confirmed team and cars where figured out as below. But date and time of departure was still a question mark.

Team Mumbai Roadsters – Kunal Patwa – KP - (doctorque), Ankit Patel – AP - (anku), Yogen Payyar – YP - (Yogen), Kaushik Manghani – KM - (KSM-Vtec)
Our Cars – 2 Petrol Maruti Swifts, Silver belonging to YP and White belonging to AP.

All this time I had been planning the trip with HVK with a very casual and uncertain attitude because I was not sure of going till we actually cross MH and plus it was my second time so it was cool. (btw HVK has been very kind and gone out of the way to help me plan each and every kilometre of every trip that I have done).

Now that we were almost sure of doing the trip we meet-up with HVK on the last Sunday night before the trip so that KP, AP & YP can have a chat with him and get some last moment insights into how stuff works in the Himalayas. This is when (5 days before departure) we surprise him by saying that we are leaving just one day after he is and we will catch-up with him ASAP and be a part of the IPHE2011.

Coming up next from my side is details on our Day 1 ….

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st September 2011 at 19:40. Reason: Adding Yogen's handle on request ;)
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Old 14th September 2011, 12:27   #36
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

As in the 2009 drive (when we assembled 7 cars from all over India), this time too our team came form all over India.

How did the vehicles come together?

Bolero of Jeep Captain - left from South Kerala in the second week of September on a very long journey to Delhi, driven by Jeep Captain's cousin brother. They reached Delhi via Bangalore & Bombay on Sep 12.

Bolero Stinger - had an all-Kerala gang starting from Bangalore, left Bangalore along with Jeep Captain's Bolero, with 2 of the team flying into Delhi. They also reached Delhi on Sep 12.

AP Swift - driven by the youngest team members, it started from Vizag and left Hyderabad on Aug 11 morning and took the difficult Central India route - via Nagpur, Laknadon, Sagar, Jhansi, Gwalior & Agra - to Delhi, arriving after a non-stop drive through some of India's worst roads on Aug 12.

Baby Alto - VK drove it all alone from New Bombay, reaching Delhi on Aug 10.

HVK's Scorpio - we (including Lalu) left on the night of Aug 11 and drove non-stop to Behror, just short of Delhi reaching the night of Aug 12.

Mumbai Roadster Swifts - they left 20 hours later from Bombay, leaving the humid environs of Bandra's Carter Road on Aug 12 and to catch up with us 3 days later.

BolBOlero Bolero - he had a different drive plan, wantingt o come via Amritsar & Srinagar, so he left only on Aug 17 (1 week later) to join our group only on Aug 22 at Kargil.

That is how on the early morning of Aug 13, the HVK Scorpio, Jeep Captain Bolero, AP SWift, Baby Alto & the Innova met at the Pahalwan Dhaab at Murthal north of Delhi on NH1.

But more on our Day 1 of the drive.

Aug 11/12: Bombay-Surat-Baroda-Ahmedabad-Udaipur-Bhilwara-Jaipur-Behror, 1402 kms


When to do the Bombay-Delhi drive is always the big question. And how long to take for it.
I have been driving the Bombay-Delhi sector regularly for over a decade now and have preferred to do it always non-stop without any breaks, but whenever my plan has been to go further north, RTDC resort at Behror just 85 kms short of Gurgaon is my favourite overnight halt simply because I can escape the expensive hotels of the NCR and also cross Delhi the next day without encountering city traffic early in the morning before the rest of its citizens wake up. I also do not like the "short-cuts" to avoid Delhi (like the Rewari-Panipat road) because NH8-NH1 is simply too good and easy.

The best time to do this drive is an very important issue - optimise your drive time. I have taken anywhere between 17 hours (my best) and 22 hours to do the Bombay-Delhi drive, and the time variations are all because of the time of the day I have taken different sectors. IMO, leaving Bombay at around 9 pm gives you the best results guaranteed to reach you in Delhi in 18-20 hours despite the road widening mess in Bombay-Surat & Jaipur-Manesar. Unfortunately, we could take advantage of that time window since Lalu was scheduled to land in Bombay from Bangalore only past midnight and after delays, we could leave our home in Bombay only at 105 am.

The NH8 leading north from Bombay is one of the busiest road corridors this part of India. The road is being widened to 6 lanes till Surat and there are innumerable flyovers under construction. We plunged into peak hour traffic and got grounded for 2 hours just north of Bombay (at Vasai) with engines switched off waiting in a long 5-km line of trucks and took an unwelcome nap! It was also raining intermittently and the roads were already worn out by the incessant monsoons this year. But once we broke free of teh traffic logjam, it was a unbridled drive rest of the night, as we sped into South Gujarat via Vapi, Valsad, Navasari to Surat which we crossed at 700 am.

The River Narmada Bridge on the NH8 Ankleshwar-Bharuch bypass has been facing major traffic jams for the last few months and we decided to take the path of least resistance by going into Ankleshwar town and crossing the River Narmada on the Golden Bridge - built in the year 1881. Truly a great achievement of Britsh India, this bridge has outlasted the "new" bridges - one of which was shut down, causing the jams - and enabling us to continue our journey without any further delays.

None of us are the tea-drinking or snacking types, so we drve uninterrupted, once we hit the 6-laned beauty after Surat. With such wide roads, you have trucks all over the place and one has to drive zig zag to cross the recalcitrant behemoths that straddle the road. Crossed Baroda at 930 am and taking our first refuelling break before the rest of the world rose and shone. It is weird that there are no petrol pumps on the long Baroda bypass - on the left hand side, although there are several on the right side of the highway - and once the expressway to Ahmedabad starts, I know there are no petrol pumps for the next 75 kms! Therefore, we had a take a slight detour to refuel on the Baroda bypass.

Driving on the Baroda-Ahmedabad is always a pleasure although I think it is time they started widening work here too judging from the phenomenal increase in traffic. You do not have to enter Ahmedabad city, instead take the Sardar Patel Ring Road towards Himmatnagar/ Udaipur to avoid the urban jungle. We had crossed Ahmedabad by 1030 am, and had our customary photo session at the Tropic of Cancer line just before Himmatnagar. The roads were transformed into runways, traffic was sparse and our purses were rapidly getting emptied for all the toll that was collected, but we were mesmerised by the sight of greenery in Rajasthan as we climbed up the Aravalli Hills towards Udaipur. I took a small 10-minute nap as the midday heat slowly roasted us despite the overcast skies.

Our team had settled down by now - the head of the "household" was the octogenerian SSS from Ahmedabad who had taken complete charge of the food and hsopitality on board - since we carry packed food and do not stop at hotels - and Lalu was busy making up the wonderful photo album that will unfold as we go along.

The first 800 kms to Udaipur was up by 230 pm (excluding the 2-hour traffic jam time lost, 11 hours out of Bombay), and happily the Udaipur bypass was not jammed. The end of Udaipur bypass causes lots of confusion for many - Navigators and Maps and logic demand that you continue of NH8 towards Jaipur via Ajmer, but the GQ road is actually in NH76./NH79 via Chittorgarh & Bhilwara, which means you have to take a right turn towards Udaipur airport at the end of the bypass. Therefore, anyone using Navigators, etc, please note the change in highways.

The Udaipur-Chittorgarh-Bhilwara-Kishangarh-Jaipur sector (450 kms, drive time 5 hours) is the one I love the best, a superfast highway where you can make up all your lost time and definitely one of teh most boring of highways as far as landscapes are concerned. But before that, we tookm a well-deserved break at the BPCL Ghar petrol pump after Chittorgarh so that our team could catch up with their ablutions and a cuppa tea, their first ever since we left Bombay. Notwithstanding some sharp rains after that, we crossed Jaipur by 9 pm. The Jaipur bypass is all dug up as part of the road widening exercise but luckily that day, traffic was mild and we could make good progress.

We seldom make any advance reservations in hotels, but understand what facilities are available. When we crossed Kishangarh, we called up RTDC Behror and were assured that rooms were available and immediately, we made a telephonic request for a couple of rooms. On reaching Behror at 11 pm,. we scraped the vessels and got ourselves the last meal left for the day in their restaurant!

That was the end of a very satisfying day - Delhi was just round the corner and we were on schedule for the rendezvous with the rest of the team the next day morning....

Last edited by hvkumar : 14th September 2011 at 12:29.
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Old 14th September 2011, 12:29   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
The craving to visit the Himalayas again started in me immediately after I got back home from my first trip to Ladakh in 2009.

Coming up next from my side is details on our Day 1 ….
Great start of your part Kaushik. I have read your 2009 TL too with interest. Its important to share prologue detailing on all those 'ifs and buts' of such an epic trip. Such details help others get a realistic perspective that what it takes to plan such a trip, and more importantly, it shows that everyone passes through those moments. It can inspire others to gather courage for making their dreams a reality someday!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
..to avoid the urban jungle.

..we scraped the vessels and got ourselves the last meal left for the day in their restaurant!

....
Brilliant write-up HVK sir. I know you write such detailed account rarely, BUT, whenever you write and whatever you write, I like it for its crispiness and uninterrupted flow like a Himalayan stream, or to give a more apt analogy, your narration sounds much like your scorp crunches miles!! And, often I find some interesting and apt use of words/phrases like in bold above. Great reading!!

Last edited by benbsb29 : 14th September 2011 at 14:08. Reason: Merging back-t-back posts. Please use the Edit button if posting within 30 mins of previous post.
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Old 14th September 2011, 14:18   #38
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post

The group started forming - most of us were friends in team-bhp.com, Face Book or in real life too. As Lalu mentioned, our trip planning began in right earnest at least 3 months before the D-Day and that meant discussing routes, duration, driving conditions, medical issues, things to carry and car preparation.
@HVK Sir - I know it is too early but when is the group (if any) for next year being planned Been to Leh once and want more. It would be awesome to go with such a group.
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Old 14th September 2011, 15:12   #39
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10th August 2011
The ifs and buts were still around and KP comes up with a huge surprise or shocker i should say as he resigns from his existing employment at Porsche Mumbai and create a little more anxiety/confusion as he receives an attractive offer from the business rivals at Lamborghini Mumbai. But he makes everything look very stable and reconfirms his commitment towards making it for the trip. I guess one cant get more lucky than this, you quit and are relieved of all professional obligations – make it for a once in a lifetime trip – get back and join another pioneer in the industry.

11th August 2011
So while rest of the team had either reached Delhi or were on their way to Delhi on 11th Aug the Mumbai Roadsters were still in Mumbai and busy with office work and coordinating the last moment to do items on the checklist. We meet up that night on carter road like we do on any other night chill with the other buddies discuss the last minute pending things to do and decide to meet at 5PM the next day (12th Aug).
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/team-b...road-meet.html (Daily Carter Road Meet)

12th August 2011
Today was the D day and we and none of our friends could believe it that we are actually leaving for Ladakh today. KP and I are at work, YP & AP do the pending running around and then AP comes up with a surprise. He calls us and says that he needs to leave a little early as he needs to drop his wife in Surat, so now the plan is that AP leaves a little early, drops his wife and meets us on the highway. Time passes and KP and myself are still in office at 4PM and getting done with work. YP calls and asks to leave at the earliest as there is unusually high amount of traffic which can delay our plan of leaving the city before the evening rush hour starts.
So finally we are all set and ready to leave at about 5:30PM from Bandra when HVK and team are in the Bhilwara-Kishangarh section about 1000kms away from Bombay. Just then AP calls to enquire about our position and gives us the usual bad news about the traffic. We also get some news of a truck accident on the Western Express Highway in Mumbai and decide to avoid it by taking a longer and a slower detour along the western side of the city. Clobbered by the local traffic jams we finally make it to the outskirts of Mumbai only by 8PM and are on our way towards Surat where both the swifts would meet and we would reorganise our stuff.

AP at this time was having a delicious meal at his in-laws and we were feasting on the packed food we were carrying to avoid food stops and maintain average speed. After being delayed by the usual Vasai traffic jam (which cost HVK 2 hrs, we were lucky I should say) and nonstop heavy rainfall we managed to cross Surat and meet AP around midnight when HVK and team had finished “Scraping the vessels” and were fast asleep in Behror.

Coming up next…our progress on 13th Aug….
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Old 14th September 2011, 16:31   #40
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Good going to Lalu. I am glued to the thread.
Glad that we all could meet up in Chitkul. It was real fun!
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Old 14th September 2011, 16:44   #41
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Great stuff Lalu. Wonder if ever I will get a chance to make it there. Will surely try though.
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Old 14th September 2011, 17:10   #42
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

Hi guys,
Seems like you guys had an awesome trip. I see that you have deviated from your original plan. I had a exchange with HVK where he had mentioned that the convoy would be in Leh on 20th Aug, he had even shared his and Lalu's nos. which I tried to reach on the 20th from Leh but were not reachable...now I know why!!...am trying to find time to put up my own travelogue...hope to put it up soon!

Regards,
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:12   #43
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

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10th August 2011
The ifs and buts were still around and KP comes up with a huge surprise or shocker ....

....we managed to cross Surat and meet AP around midnight when HVK and team had finished “Scraping the vessels” and were fast asleep in Behror.

Coming up next…our progress on 13th Aug….
Excellent write-up Kaushik. I am enjoying your narration thoroughly. I am sure you'll continue writing with the same zeal and flow with which you took those brave swifts to that toughest terrain of this land!!
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:14   #44
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Default re: Humbleh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himacal Pradesh)

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Excellent write-up Kaushik. I am enjoying your narration thoroughly. I am sure you'll continue writing with the same zeal and flow with which you took those brave swifts to that toughest terrain of this land!!
Thanks a lot LDL, i will try my best to do so!

And i am sure the other team members also will..
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Old 14th September 2011, 19:53   #45
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Hi guys,
Seems like you guys had an awesome trip. I see that you have deviated from your original plan. I had a exchange with HVK where he had mentioned that the convoy would be in Leh on 20th Aug, he had even shared his and Lalu's nos. which I tried to reach on the 20th from Leh but were not reachable...now I know why!!...am trying to find time to put up my own travelogue...hope to put it up soon!

Regards,
When we reached Kaza, the road ahead to Gramphoo/Keylong was closed due to snow fall, landslides, etc, and we had to delay our departure from there by 2 days forcing a late arrival in Leh by 1 day (we reached on Aug 21 instead of 20). We left immediately thereafter and were back in Leh only on 25th night.
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