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Old 12th March 2012, 11:48   #61
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Quote:
Will be writing Zanskar experience in a way that mixes up our travel days events as well as it becomes a guide to the places around, so a bit more of text will be there




Sankoo to Tangole, Zanskar


So after a great night a Sankoo we move forward. Sankoo is the spot where two valleys of tributary streams of Suru [Kartse and Nakpachu] join the main river.

Kartse Khar village 7 km diversion from Sankoo lies at the start of Kartse valley and the village has a 7 m tall rock carving of the Maitreya Buddha that dates back to 7th century.

On the outskirts of Sankoo, located at Karpokhar, is the shrine of Muslim saint and scholar Mir Hashim


Quote:
The Suru valley is inhabited by 25,000 by people of Dard and Tibetan descent. In Kargil and the lower Suru Valley (ie Sanku, Panikhar and south as far as Parkachik), the majority of the population are followers of Shi'a Islam, having converted from Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century under the direction of Thi-Namgyal.[citation needed] Beyond Parkachik the spectacularly beautiful valley is practically uninhabited other than a couple of tiny settlements (Yuldo and Julidok) that consist Rangdum. People here are socially and culturally part of neighbouring Buddhist Zanskar and support the 18th century Rangdum Monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.] About 25 km south of Rangdum Monastery, the 4,400 m (14,436 ft) Pensi La (pass) leads into Zanskar - Wikipedia
Again a beautiful winter morning as we thank Hasan for the hospitality at this incredible value JKTDC and move forward, destination was either Rangdum or even before that, whatever serene place that we get. So not at all a great distance of driving we had planned. And as seen we after all ended up driving only 50 km!! -- to Tangole. Now how that happened is also interesting.

We were supposed to leave Sankoo at 8 am but the rear tyre left had a slow leak, changed, the tyre shop has not opened till then, but anyway we had 2 extra spares [one by default on rear door and one in the luggage space], so even after fixing another one was there.

Reached Purtikchey where details and vehicle no. were entered at the checkpost and got first great mountain views - and can it start any grander than the Nun and Kun.

After crossing Purtikchey and Panikhar, we stopped just ahead of the army camp to take in two men who asked for a lift. They turned out to be two teachers from Shopian district, Kashmir, who had been posted here. They had taken this posting which they will have to endure for 2 years at least, the bitter cold and remoteness and scarce transportation everything, since by this they will have a chance of promotion!

Moreover with the language of study being Hindi here in these schools and local children knowing only Balti - it was difficult for them to teach and students to understand. They sometimes even have to take help from the local teachers to help them communicate.

Among all the hardships among cold of Zanskar, they are also unused to walking which with scarce transportation and more so in October, they have to walk for hours sometimes - they longed to go back to their homes in Shopian! They miss their homes and families intensely now that the beauty and grandeur of the valley means little now. And we don't blame them - it is difficult for us as visitors who spend a couple of nights and move on to comprehend the effects of long-term residence in this intensely beautiful and harsh valley.


Among all these conversations, they let us know that Tangole, at a distance of only 50 km from our last stop at Sankoo, is a good place to spend a day or two- and one of our plans was to trek at least towards Kun base and when knowing Tangole was the best place to start, it was decided that we stay at Tangole JKTDC, and the best too is that it is located away from the village and with a magnificent view of Kun peak.

They local teachers, whom we gave lift, were in fact staying in a rented place in the Tangole village of Ghulam Haider who was also the chowkidar of the JKTDC Alpine Hut at Tangole.


We soon meet Mr Haider, a tall and affable man who was very happy to see us, very few stop at Tangole, much less popular than Randgum or Panikhar but again one of the best places to stay in Suru Valley of Zanksar.


The two teachers got down at Tangole and having thanked each other for all interactions, Mr Haider now came up with us from Tangole village to the Tangole JKTDC Alpine hut which is located around a couple of km from the village of Tangole. The Alpine hut has 2 bedrooms and a dining room on the ground floor, a conference room type on the first floor and a glass house where the first sunlight come up.


Pics of Suru Valley, Tangole and till Parkachik, which is another 25 km from Tangole. We stayed at Tangole, which forms the base camp for expeditions and also trekking towards the Warwan side and Pahalgam even after crossing the Zanskar ranges.

On towards Tangole and Panikhar from Sankoo

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Jagged yet beautiful, harsh yet alluring

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Suru Valley is at its most beautiful in the fall season of October, ventilation is ablaze with yellow tones and also long-tailed birds are thrive out here

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Turkish influence is seen on architecture here

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School children on their way, Suru Valley, Zanskar

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At Tangole village. The JTDC Alpine Hut is another couple of km ahead.
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Gunri glacier at Panikhar, 25 km from Tangole. the glacier descends from the saddle between Nun and Kun

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We stayed at Alpine Hut of Tangole. Great view of Kun peak can be seen here and we trek till the base camp tomorrow

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As evening came on JKTDC Tangole.
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A hurried night shot, again super cold and windy outside.
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So that day was the most relaxed day of driving for us, just 50 km of all of it but then again destinations and interactions were many. Today we take rest as the next day we do something different - leave the Safari VTT-TMT for a hard trek to Kun base camp and back again at Alpine hut. We have to leave early, all of us, my friend Surja, Asmita, Bambi and me. A huge adventurous day lay ahead tomorrow - a trek now in between a drive now!

Last edited by adc : 12th March 2012 at 12:18.
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Old 12th March 2012, 14:14   #62
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Sankoo to Tangole, Zanskar


Nice Write up!!! This is what I like about your logs. Your writing is really good. hope this has an effect from your profession!!!
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Old 12th March 2012, 17:27   #63
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Tangole - Kun base camp trek - Tangole


Quote:
The Nun-Kun mountain massif comprises a pair of Himalayan peaks: Nun, 7,135 m (23,409 ft) and its neighbor peak Kun, 7,077 m (23,218 ft).

Kun is located north of Nun and is separated from it by a snowy plateau of about 4 km (2.5 mi) in length. Pinnacle Peak, 6,930 m (22,736 ft), is the third highest summit of the group.


Italian mountaineer Mario Piacenza made the first ascent of Kun in 1913, via the north-east ridge. Fifty-eight years passed before the second recorded attempt on the peak, which resulted in a successful ascent by an expedition from the Indian Army.
So, as said, a chance encounter with a few teachers and then with Ghulam Haider, caretaker of JKTDC Tangole, I soon take up the possibility of a trek to the base camp of Kun peak - had this plan beforehand to at least do try this if weather was okay . Soon it was decided that we will be taking up another guide, Afzal, also from Tangole village, since a child is there and should they return back from midway so that another guide can accompany them - and that done we are ready and set to go.


Beautiful morning and what a view of Kun massif. Clouds stream across the peak and a dramatic B/W becomes a must then!

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And we are so ready and all set for a new experience altogether - Safari VTT is left behind, it's a trek day today.

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Just across the Tangole alpine hut, the bridge is crossed and we move to the village other side.

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As the last village is crossed, the incline becomes a lot steep. Seen here the complete team including Surja. Ghulam Haider is near and facing camera while Afzal holds Bambi's hand and is seen with the red backpack.

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One of few
self-pics I have in this travel - on the insistence of wife that I was not getting clicked myself enough!
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And as we gain height, Tangole village at distance becomes smaller and smaller

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And what a view it is from this height, two trekkers can be seen as speck on this magnificent vista

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And the vistas continue as we gain height

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And of course this calls for a few minutes of well-deserved break

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But again, soon we have to move on as we have to be back before sunset to Tangole, which at this height is just a small speck. We still had another 3 hours of trek.
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contd...

Last edited by adc : 12th March 2012 at 17:56.
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Old 12th March 2012, 18:05   #64
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Wonderful. It has been lot inspiring looking at your logs. Your little one accustomed to such journeys and enjoying thoroughly. Look like even I've to train my 6 years old for more and more journey and raise his excitement.

Keep them coming and we're reading and showing it to my family as well.
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Old 12th March 2012, 18:07   #65
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Lovely travelogue nice mix of pictures and narration. Only complaint - we want more!!
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Old 13th March 2012, 14:24   #66
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Tangole - Kun base camp trek - Tangole contd...


AS the trek path became more arduous and not that defined, Asmita and Bambi [very disappointed he was in not able to see snow] returned back from this position along with our other guide, Mr Haider

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A stiffer climb it was now as the trek path zig-zagged along the slope edge

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But the views from at that height was fabulous

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Two trucks are absolutely dwarfed by the rough yet colourful landscape of the Zanskar road towards Rangdum and beyond
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A lunch break of apples among some grazing sheep, themselves munching on the last bit of winter grass. Some 30 mts from the base camp, Surja had some breathing problems and stayed there, while Afzal and I carried on.

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It was much steeper now and a patches of snow came up

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All this is worth the try, as what view from up
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Afzal waits as I catch up to him. He has been climbing these slopes since age 16, and now has a wonderful family at Tangole

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And Afzal and I moved on

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Click image for larger version

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Finally over this mountain slope lies the first base camp of Kun expedition

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Base camp at 2 pm

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And a sense of fulfillment, clicked by Afzal. Someday may be will be back for a further trek up!

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But now its time to go back to Tangole, again. Wife and son are waiting!

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Catch up with Surja who was waiting some 30 mts down. The journey back of course is much faster.
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And we were at the Gulmotong vilage by 4 pm. Across the bridge and back at Tangole JKTDC

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The day ends with a fun game of cricket at the high altitude of Tangole, Suru Valley, Zanskar.
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So again, not a drive but a trek and what a day it was. This travel was surely becoming one of the best we have ever done. Tomorrow we leave for Padum in off-season of Zanskar, across the fantastic Pensi la and Drang-Drung.

contd...

Last edited by adc : 13th March 2012 at 14:33.
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Old 13th March 2012, 17:27   #67
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Thanks to all for the wonderful words. One of the reason to share is put out the fact that the interiors of Kashmir valley is much more amenable for a travel now, and not just Gulmarg or Pahalgam.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pushkark View Post
hope this has an effect from your profession!!!
Thanks much but my money work is far away from writing and this is more of a photologue. Was finishing up as much as possible due to a slow weekend of work.



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Originally Posted by rajeevn View Post
What wanderlust and exemplary courage to pull this off—every six months.
Now that's a stat that makes me think!


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Originally Posted by anujmishra View Post
Keep them coming and we're reading and showing it to my family as well.
Thanks so much for all the reading, and we three of us here are reliving the experience and travel again.

That's one of the reason I write nowadays -some of the past Royal Enfield Bullet travel tale has no picture or words. However, now going back to the texts and images of a travel thread again refreshes our memories and we relive the journey again.


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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Lovely travelogue nice mix of pictures and narration. Only complaint - we want more!!
the travel and the ride was so much easier, resizing and then giving words sometimes tests one to the limit, particularly when the 30 attachments suddenly go away! but still a write does go a long way to relive the experience.

Last edited by adc : 13th March 2012 at 17:48.
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Old 15th March 2012, 13:38   #68
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Thanks for the wonderful travelogue ADC! Went through the whole travelogue in the last two days, waiting for more.
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Old 15th March 2012, 15:18   #69
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Default Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

I have been waiting for this day for a while now. A day when i would log into team-bhp and see another travelogue from the legendary ADC.

Hats off to You, Your wife, Bambi (who has indeed grown considerably) and your Safari for your wanderlust and awe inspiring travels. What i really love about travelling is seeing new places and i must admit that in this episode you have taken me to places whose existence i was as yet unaware of.

It is heartening to note that the beautiful state Kashmir is slowly but surely returning to normalcy, which will no doubt help the local populace immensely in their quest for a better life.

I am truly in awe of your courage as you have taken roads which can scarcely be called that..i am referring to the cliff edge drive to Kishtwar from Killar. The youtube video left me with my mouth open and at the edge of my chair, especially as the vehicle seemed to stall at one point!

It was with great satisfaction that i have read this TL so far, slowly savoring every sentence and photograph.

I want to thank you sincerely and applaud you for taking me and indeed all of us along on this beautiful, majestic adventure. (Thread Voted 5 fully deserved stars)

I wish deeply that my Fortuner and your Safari can undertake one such expedition together soon. October is just 6 months away!

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Old 15th March 2012, 15:52   #70
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Awesome pictures ADC Da. I was going through your other travelogue (Zanskar Trek) and I am so jealous that I cannot write anything good on that thread . I had not been able to see the chap rasta video before, after watching it I think you can take the TMT to Sandhakphu. Lets do that trip real quick.
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Old 16th March 2012, 02:58   #71
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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It is heartening to note that the beautiful state Kashmir is slowly but surely returning to normalcy, which will no doubt help the local populace immensely in their quest for a better life.
This travel story as it goes again into the Kashmir valley of Bangus and Gurez, will show how much Kashmiris from the most interior parts of the valley welcomed, just like that - how they insisted that we spend at least some time in their house, have tea and dry fruits, or even stay in their own homes - it still amazes me.

One of the reason of this travelogue is for readers to know that one can travel to Kashmir and all, and can assure that some of the best moments of you as a traveller awaits there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
wish deeply that my Fortuner and your Safari can undertake one such expedition together soon. October is just 6 months away
Do travel over there in Kashmir in October, it is the perfect time with the fall colours running riot. I do plan to visit again these areas but would be in October 2013, as the Puja holidays, on which we base our leaves, would fall in the first half of October.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaguar.runs View Post
waiting for more.
Thanks again to all the readers, I just wished that had I continued with the travelogue in all the earlier months and it would have been done and over with, this travel happened some 6 months back.




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Lets do that trip real quick.
April 28-29, camping at Phalut - koi shaq!

Last edited by adc : 16th March 2012 at 03:11.
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Old 25th March 2012, 00:34   #72
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

All I can say is that people like you are very rare indeed and it was my privilege that I could get a tiny but satisfying portion of the excitement and pleasure of your trip through this travelogue.

Thanks for sharing. And keep it up!
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Old 26th March 2012, 14:26   #73
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Default Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

ADC Saaar!! Why the delay? Must be the Year end tax and book reconciliation hassles. Hope to read the rest of the Travelogue soon. (Please please)
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Old 27th March 2012, 04:12   #74
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Arrow Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Beautiful trek pictures and story capturing Tangole and areas around. Looking forward to your travel thro. Panzi la and what all you did in Zanskar.

Keep it rolling.

--Ramky
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Old 1st April 2012, 21:25   #75
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An abrupt stoppage and a delay it has been - as we three embarked on an exploratory travel of remote Arunachal that was planned as quick as the rains engulfed us here. We journeyed through places as diverse as Koloriang to Nacho to Yarlung to Gelling - in Dibrugarh today [and thus hotel wi-fi] for the last leg of travel towards Kibuthoo.

Would be back in Kolkata by this next Sunday to continue with the travelogue and all the replies.

A few pics that are right now readily available on the SD card.

Torrential rain made us drive through remote tracks
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Beautiful it looks as Safari VTT-TMT reaches us safely to the Inspection bungalow

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The Wanderers, at end of road at Yarlung, West Siang, Arunachal
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