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Old 29th October 2011, 19:36   #766
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

That's one L'LEH' (read reverse) lot of a parallelogue.
Nice moments, nice pics & nice presentation, Thanks All of you.

Started reading this 2 days back. By the time, I complete reading till now, Chennai also became cooler through the pics of snowy mountains and cold terrains all along your trip. Awaiting to read 'the still to come'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Some pictures from this very trip. This is indeed a serious topic.

Bottle La
Attachment 832644

Shame on this guys!! Look how they dump their waste on the roads!! Shameless characters!!
Attachment 832645


Let us do our bit, Anyways!!
I've been telling HVK, coke, Maaza, etc.. while he was driving. Initially he did not understand, but later he realized that I am talking about left over bottles on the roads!!
I used to take drinking water from home on most occasions. Now I have planned to purchase a mobile water purifier(RO), purified water out of which will certainly be better than direct water from taps. Also if required a induction stove to boil the water. Purchasing tens of water (plastic) bottles on every trip can be compensated by getting this once interms of expense. Let me give back something to our Mother Earth to save it from further destruction
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Old 29th October 2011, 23:38   #767
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post
So the best season is Aug-Sep, but this travelogues shows the challenges even at this time. God, how will it be in the October?

BTW, have you been at all those seasons?
Ladakh is a challenging drive any time of the year, always be ready for the worst roads and extreme conditions.

No, I have avoided the peak months of Jun-Jul and stuck to Aug-Sep-early Oct on all my trips.
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Old 30th October 2011, 13:30   #768
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Default One of those breath taking moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Day 09
20th August 2011
Kaaz
[b]a - Jispa

By 09:45AM we reached the fork where we have to take a detour to Chandrataal or continue straight to Batal

Attachment 830298

I was probing HVK can we at least go till where we can go and then decide? He says OK. Asked TS to joins us and asked all the other team members to wait at the fork till we return. We drove off towards Chandrataal.


continued...
Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Day 09
20th August 2011
Kaaz
a - Jispa

Initially the roads look good towards Chandrataal
Attachment 830299

After about 7Kms from the fork we had to turn back here
Attachment 830300

Boulder on one side and the edge of the road fallen off. Very dangerous proposition
Attachment 830301

HVK took some 20+ iterations to reverse the Scorpio in this narrow road, with me shouting over my throat and running back and forth giving HVK precise position of the front tyres.
Chandrataal - we will return back to you for sure.

We returned back to the fork by 10:30AM and continued together with the convoy towards Batal and reached Batal by 10:45AM. We stopped for a much deserved breakfast break here. 5 hours of drive and 86Kms drive from Kaaza.
One of those breath taking moments during our Trip! For HVK Lalu & TS.!

Just wanted to share some more pics of this U Turn which Lalu mentioned on the way to Chandrataal and some extremely difficult maneuvers done by HVK with help of Lalu. All pics from camera of TS.


With no road to go forward -only option was to turn back.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0057.jpg

With the road barely the width of Scorpio it was not possible.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0058.jpg

But HVK decided to take the call and turn around

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0059.jpg

But It wasnt easy!

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0060.jpg

Moving To & Fro inch by inch.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0061.jpg

With a 2WD Scorpio!

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0062.jpg

One wrong move or and extra inch will throw you 1000's of metres down.

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0063.jpg

With experienced navigator Lalu spotting for HVK. They managed to do it!

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0064.jpg

Finally after some breath taking and heart stopping moments, HVK and his Scorpio is back on track. Look at the road behind completely washed down. It would have been impossible to do it even with a bike

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0068.jpg

The joyous & relieved HVK

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-dsc_0069.jpg

All this info was from what I heard and saw in pics. I wasn't there to witness this. May be HVK can elaborate more on this scary situation.

Last edited by JeepCaptain : 30th October 2011 at 13:55.
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Old 30th October 2011, 13:44   #769
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Default Re: One of those breath taking moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
One of those breath taking moments during our Trip! For HVK Lalu & TS.!

Just wanted to share some more pics of this U Turn which Lalu mentioned on the way to Chandrataal and some extremely difficult maneuvers done by HVK with help of Lalu. All pics from camera of TS.


With no road to go forward -only option was to turn back.

Attachment 834454

With the road barely the width of Scorpio it was not possible.

Attachment 834455

But HVK decided to take the call and turn around

Attachment 834456

But It wasnt easy!

Attachment 834457

Moving To & Fro inch by inch.

Attachment 834458

With a 2WD Scorpio!

Attachment 834459

One wrong move or and extra inch will throw you 1000's of metres down.

Attachment 834460

With experienced navigator Lalu spotting for HVK. They managed to do it!

Attachment 834461

Finally after some breath taking and heart stopping moments, HVK and his Scorpio is back on track.

Attachment 834462

The joyous & relieved HVK

Attachment 834463

All this info was from what I heard and saw in pics. I wasn't there to witness this. May be HVK can elaborate more on this scary situation.

This is stupendous.

Our Innova went through here on 8 Oct onto ChandraTal and then to Manali, lost the Front Guard Bushes while managing to squeeze thru the road brushing on the sides every so often, one wheel literally into valley at times, the scariest of the roads but my bro thought he will do it while the family in the car was clinging onto their life. It would have been a terrible thing to reverse the Innova too if it was so difficult for the Scorp. There is a video and pics too taken of this road, will try upload soon.
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Old 30th October 2011, 14:01   #770
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Default Re: One of those breath taking moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCaptain View Post
Just wanted to share some more pics of this U Turn which Lalu mentioned on the way to Chandrataal and some extremely difficult maneuvers done by HVK with help of Lalu. All pics from camera of TS.


With no road to go forward -only option was to turn back.

But HVK decided to take the call and turn around

But It wasnt easy!

Moving To & Fro inch by inch.

With a 2WD Scorpio!

One wrong move or and extra inch will throw you 1000's of metres down.
With experienced navigator Lalu spotting for HVK. They managed to do it!

Finally after some breath taking and heart stopping moments, HVK and his Scorpio is back on track.
Yes, this was one of the scary moments of the trip. The gradient was very steep and I had no room to turn around. The ground became wet with Lalu's sweat as he gave me inch-by-inch directives to turn around the Scorpio without slipping off.

The spot below - with the rock jutting out, as been mentioned by tsk1979 - was where I decided to turn around. I surmised that I would be able to go down, but coming up is another proposition altogether because the rock would be on one side and the steep fall on the other and I would be unable to get a good judgement of the left side else I may gash the sides of the car. So, I decided to turn back.

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All photos are thanks to TS - Lalu was busy directing me on the turns!

And a big thank you to Lalu for the great "spotting"

Last edited by hvkumar : 30th October 2011 at 14:26.
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Old 30th October 2011, 17:14   #771
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Default Re: One of those breath taking moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Yes, this was one of the scary moments of the trip. The gradient was very steep and I had no room to turn around. The ground became wet with Lalu's sweat as he gave me inch-by-inch directives to turn around the Scorpio without slipping off.

The spot below - with the rock jutting out, as been mentioned by tsk1979 - was where I decided to turn around. I surmised that I would be able to go down, but coming up is another proposition altogether because the rock would be on one side and the steep fall on the other and I would be unable to get a good judgement of the left side else I may gash the sides of the car. So, I decided to turn back.
@HVK sir
Valorous effort.
Thatz why, You are called a Darling of Indian Roads (not only to Captain. Gawri )

BTW, She resembles the current Pakistan Foreign Minister(Hina), isn't she?

Last edited by ramanan.skr : 30th October 2011 at 17:17.
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Old 30th October 2011, 22:22   #772
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Default Re: One of those breath taking moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parsh View Post
This is stupendous.

Our Innova went through here on 8 Oct onto ChandraTal and then to Manali, lost the Front Guard Bushes while managing to squeeze thru the road brushing on the sides every so often, one wheel literally into valley at times, the scariest of the roads but my bro thought he will do it while the family in the car was clinging onto their life. It would have been a terrible thing to reverse the Innova too if it was so difficult for the Scorp. There is a video and pics too taken of this road, will try upload soon.
In case you get any other thoughts, I seem to have missed the vital info that the stone in the pic was removed by the time the Innova made its way on this road.
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Old 31st October 2011, 12:31   #773
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
The discussion has strayed a bit from the travelogue but one last question. I was wondering if we could manage with the 20 ltr. cans of bottled water that you can exchange, when it gets empty, for a filled up can, when you travel in that region. This way one does would not create plastic waste.
I have installed a water purifier at home, made using BARC technology that requires no electicity. Only a few feet of water-head is good enough for water flow through the filters. I was told that a portable model could be available to filter water on the go. It seems they use nano filters to stop even viruses from coming across. Here is a link to a site Bhabha Atomic Research Centre : AKRUTI Technology Package for Rural Deployment :TECHNOLOGY PACK: Domestic Water Purifier (DWP) Hope this will reduce plastic waste.
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Old 31st October 2011, 15:32   #774
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

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

Well, Leh is not a "hill station". There are no gardens, fountains or walkways.
It has a lot of "highest" things in the world - highest civilian airport, highest petrol pump (wrong, since Kaza is higher) and so on.
It can also be a very inhospitable place with the sun mercilessly beating down on you in summer and the sub-zeros biting you in the other months.
For me, Leh is a city very dear to my car - or any other car for that matter - since it has service centres and workshops and is definitely a "rejuvenation spa" for the cars sore from the relentless beating they have taken in the past few days to reach Leh.

So you thought we will take it easy this 11th day of the drive? How could we - we had already lost 2 days to the Kaza-Keylong road blockages and our "appointment" with the rest of the team - BolBolero and RB - was scheduled for Aug 22 at Kargil, so we had no day to spare, we had to go on.

What was the plan?
Zanskar Valley - one of the least visited regions in Ladakh, is off Kargil on the Leh-Srinagar road. It would have been logical to plan the excursion either when coming to Leh via Srinagar or if exiting from Ladakh via Srinagar. Both we were not doing. So we decided to go and come back to Leh.

Some changes were made in the team for this "short" 4-day excursion to Zanskar Valley:

- 2 of the senior citizens SS and DB decided to take a well-deserved break in Leh, and excused themselves from coming to Kargil, Padum & back. (although I suspect that the volatility of the stock markets that week must have tempted the "younger" DB to test his trading prowess gained over his 64 years, sitting in an internet cafe in Leh!!!)

- The Mumbai Roadsters decided to give their Swifts a break and not break their backs in the terrible roads of the Suru & Zanskar Valleys on the Kargil-Padum road

Therefore, we packed everyone into 2 cars - my Scorpio and JC's Bolero - with the "Baby" Alto deciding to come along till Kargil where he would hop onto the 3rd SUV, the BoloBolero one coming from Sonmarg!

The cars shed weight as most of the baggage was offloaded at Leh and stored in the room DB and SS were staying at Santhi Guest House.

The previous night, I had met my friend-agent A Khan who had procured the permits for the Batalik sector, but since TS had not given his passport, he did not have a permit to go through Batalik. Therefore, we had to plan such that my SCorpio and the "Baby" Alto go through Dah-Batalik, but the JC Bolero (with TS in it) go on the conventional route to Kargil via Lamayuru. We also decided to do the Batalik sector on our way to Kargil, because the permits were dated to expire on Aug 24, 1 day before we were scheduled to be on that route again.

A little bit of geography lessons here - there are 2 ways to get to Kargil from Leh. The conventional route goes via Nimmu, Khaltse, Lamayuru & Mulbek, whereas the longer route takes you via Nimmu, Khaltse, Dah & Batalik along the POK border, a route not normally used by all but the driving enthusiasts like us.

But before we set off, we had to visit the "doctor" to examine our mauled cars, especially the "Baby" which had taken a big beating and was suffering multiple organ irregularities, such as suspension, gear box, etc. JC's Bolero also required some infusion of oils, etc and so we decided that we will all go to the Lehling Nawang Auto Engg, the official Maruti dealer and the unofficial M&M dealer too (and that does not prevent him from servicing any other vehicle that is "orphaned" in Ladakh for want of its own official service centre. "Baby" shot off first thing in the morning at 830 am or so, while we had breakfast and unpacked luggage from the cars and stuffed it into the SS/DB room.

Both the SUVs topped up some coolant and oil at the service centre, while the Alto also fixed some suspension components. Since the JC Bolero was going on the shorter route, my Scorpio and the "Baby" Alto left separately earlier at 12 noon.


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Photo: Gautam Basak[/center][/i][/b]

It is a superb road to Nimmu, but for a few places where presumably the cloudburst of 2010 has washed away a few bridges and left the roads also scarred. What fantastic roads - we left the "Baby" far behind as we reached the 130s on the long straights. We did not stop at the Magnetic Hill (we planned that for the return journey) and within 30 minutes we were at the point where we could overlook the sangam of the Rivers Indus and Zanskar, just before Nimmu.

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The explorer bug in me was waiting for this opportunity for a long time - I wanted to drive along the newly-constructed Nimmu-Chilling road which is part of the grand connection that will transform Ladakh region forever, but more on that later.....this road went along the Zanskar River and will ultimately go to Padum in the Zanskar Valley.

The River Zanskar is one of India' wildest rivers, starting from the Darang During Glacier, flowing through the Zanskar Valley and merging with the River Indus at Nimmu, but not before giving us some of the best river water rafting rapids between Chilling & Nimmu. As we took the narrow road along the banks of the River Zanskar towards Chilling, we could see many rafts in the water, but it was exciting to drive on this narrow road overshadowed by steep cliffs on one side and a deep fall to the water on the other. The rocks on the cliffs themselves were "bleeding" red with their mineral content. We could see workers sculpting the new road out of the mountain face. 30 kms from Nimmu is Chilling, which is now the base station for river rafting, but we found the road become dirt and go on, so we went on another 8 kms when the road ended! Further ahead, the road is being blasted for what will ultimately be the shorter route to Padum, 100 kms away. It is always good to know you have come to the end of the "road", particularly a road that will soon transform the entire Ladakh region, a road that is being built through some of the toughest mountain terrains in the Himalayas. One of the contractors' supervisors we met on the road was quite sceptical when we asked him when the road would be completed - 2016, 2017 or something of that sort!

It is 2 pm when we turn back, we have a long difficult run ahead to Kargil, don't have much time to burn. Going in the border areas is definitely not something we would like after dark.

Back to the main road at Nimmu at 3 pm. The road is lovely as it winds along the River Indus past the other river rafting towns of Saspul & Basgo where the road almost comes down to the water's edge. You can turn off for Alchi after Saspul. Aching from driving on twisty steep mountain tracks the last few days, it was a rare pleasure to be speeding on flat smooth roads. One of the traffic blockade points in this route is just before Khaltse town where some bridge is being contructed and the heavy truck and military convoys can hold you for long. Imagine, we got through easily, but the Alto which was just 10 minutes behind, was held up for 45 minutes, eve as we stopped over at Khaltse town to have a leisurely lunch of rajma/egg curry/rice at 5 pm!

This is the turning point - beyond the town you cross the River Indus Bridge to the left bank if you wish to go direct to Kargil, keep going straight to go to Batalik. There is a check post here where you are supposed to show your permit but no one stopped us and it took some time to realise that what we did could have dangerous consequences were we to be caught!

It is a spectacular route from here on wards towards Batalik all along the River Indus to the border. No traffic, but several small villages, first few of them being Buddhist with gompas like Dhomkar & Hanuthang. All along, we are running close to the LOC, and you can see right turns leading to border posts (not visible from the road though). Quite a number of army camps, but we are stopped at only the largest, Biama, but no one asked us anything beyond confirming that we are civilians.

It was getting late - I had some grandiose idea of reaching Kargil by 8 pm, but at 730 pm, we were still 25 kms or so short of Batalik. Just short of Biama, the road to the left goes to Khangral on the conventional Leh-Kargil road, but I have no idea whether the permit I am carrying will let us go that way or not.

One of the reasons for taking this route was to also visit Dah near Biama - this village is one of the few whose inhabitants are descendants of one of Alexander's army batallions, the people look so different (Greek looks) and have distinct cultural habits, it seems. However, this village is a little away from the road and no point would be served by trying to find it in the night, so we dropped the idea and kept going.

Batalik - a very well-known name today because this was one of the major theatres of the 1999 Kargil War, where fierce battles were fought between Indian and Pakistani troops. Also the place where the River Indus finally leaves India and sneaks into Pakistan on its long journey to the Arabian Sea near Karachi, having spawned the Indus Valley civilisation in its wake many 000 years ago. Lots of armymen were on their way to the mess, so I slowly honked my way around and was out of the town before I knew it. BUt something was strange here - the road was so good, now it is looking faded out and seemed to be going in the wrong direction!!! I expected the road to curve to the west, instead we were going north!! Doubt in my mind, where were we going? We found the answer soon enough 5 kms later when the road sort of ended - or ran into - something which looked a construction site, but with lots of ballast and several scruffy men who looked shocked at seeing us!! Thank goodness, these were not the Pakistanis, but this looked like some gun battery. I got off the car to ask for directions and they shooed me back the way I came, looks like no civilian car had ever been there before! Yes, we were very close to the LOC and I guess this must be one of the defence positions overlooking the Pakis on the other side, but down in the valley (we were perched on the heights).

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THis is from no_enthu_da's Android phone

We turned back, but by the time we got back to Batalik, there was a welcome party for us - but they cooled down on seeing 5 petrified guys in a black Scorpio, and showed us off towards the right way. The mistake that happened was that there was sharp U-turn curve to the left which we missed totally and the TCP there must have been napping!


It was a long drive after that - we must have crossed several small villages, all dimly lit in the total no-moon darkness - and my anxiety increased thinking what will happen if the Khaltse check post had reported to the check post at the Kargil end of some "terrorists" having gone through the CP without showing their permits - but then since the police were in Indian time zones, they must have been fast asleep by the time we reached the Kargil end, no one stopped us anywhere.

We reached the Kargil petrol pump at 1015 pm, over 2 hours later than my planned time. The only thing of importance in Kargil is the petrol pump - and we not only tanked up, but also filled in our cans for the next day's journey to Padum (because there are no petrol pumps in the 550 km round journey)

BolBolero, JC, SS & AR were already in Kargil and they had also requsitioned extra rooms for us. They were also doing "dharna" in the restaurant whiling away time - because the restaurant guys threatened to down the shutters at 10 pm - so that we could get dinner!! What a gesture that was.

Hotel D'Zojila,01985-232227/232360/9419176212/9419176260/9419176249 Fida Ali Majaz

Last edited by hvkumar : 31st October 2011 at 15:40.
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Old 31st October 2011, 15:43   #775
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Log Book of Aug 22, Leh-Kargil, 343 kms

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Old 31st October 2011, 15:54   #776
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 11
22nd August 2011
Leh - Kargil

The previous night we had met Mr. Ataullah Khan for the permits, and handed over to him the required documents to process the inner line permits for the team. We had already sent him scanned copies 1 week in advance so that we do not waste any time for permits in Leh. He had taken the permits for our first segment that is to Dah and Batalik route to Kargil.

Since we were stuck at Kaaza and the permits issued earlier, the last date in the permit was 24th, and there was no possibility of coming back via these route from Kargil, as our return from Kargil was to be on 25th. Moreover TS being a foriegner was not issued a permit since his Passport had to be presented for the same. So the decision the previous night was that TS and Discovery Bolero go directly to Kargil and the rest of the team go via Batalik to Kargil.

Also it was planned to take the cars for a checkup at the service centre before proceeding to Kargil.

The plan being this I was sure the day was going to give me some time in the morning, since the cars would be at the service centres.

The Shanti Guest House where we stayed was very near to the Shanti Stupa and I had made a note of how to reach there the previous night.


continued...
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Old 31st October 2011, 16:05   #777
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Day 11
22nd August 2011
Leh - Kargil


Woke up very early by 05:00AM and headed to Shanti Stupa. There was a steep climb of many steps to reach the Stupa. Huffing and puffing I slowly started the climb, taking as many stops as I wished on the steps. Whenever I stopped to catch some breath I enjoyed the views around there. Being at a height gave a tremendously beautiful overview of Leh.

Sun yet to rise on the snow capped mountains
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Leh is all green now
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Leh Palace at a distance
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Another Stupa
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Leh Town
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Open space
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A school
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A Gompa, midway to Shati Stupa
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Shanti Doggy
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Hmm...
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continued...
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Old 31st October 2011, 16:17   #778
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 11
22nd August 2011
Leh - Kargil

These were commonly called apricots in Leh
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But I believe these are peaches - any one?
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The roof of the Gompa
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Reached Shanti Stupa by 06:00AM, almost 1 hour of climb
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There was a lady ahead of me there at the Stupa
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Shanti Stupa
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Some paintings from the Stupa
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continued...
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Old 31st October 2011, 16:35   #779
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Day 11
22nd August 2011
Leh - Kargil

From the top most point of the stupa I looked around.

Leh Palace
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Moon is still visible
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I heard the sound of an aeroplane
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Soon I found him landing in the airport - Spot the plane. Anyone ?
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I find by then another one is readying to take off
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Taxiing
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Take off - How tiny it looks amidst the mountains
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Then I see this bird
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Birdie landed at the airport
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After seeing how the aeroplanes were landing, I found it very tricky to the pilots. They have to cricle around the mountains and come into the airport through a small opening and land on a very short runway which has an upward gradient. Amazing stuff!!

continued...
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Old 31st October 2011, 16:48   #780
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
After seeing how the aeroplanes were landing, I found it very tricky to the pilots. They have to cricle around the mountains and come into the airport through a small opening and land on a very short runway which has an upward gradient. Amazing stuff!!
This is how the flight path looks like:

HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)-leh-aport.jpg

The planes have to squeeze in between the 2 big hills on either side of the approach path, almost touching the prayer flags on Spituk Gompa to the right wing (bottom of the photo) and the other hill to the top, curving in as they land.
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