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Old 14th April 2012, 12:24   #76
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

ADC, reading this travelogue, again, thanks for sharing your wonderful journey. Looking forward to the Arunachal travelogue!

P.S. rated 5 star
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Old 23rd April 2012, 12:40   #77
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
Superb travelogue as usual. You are becoming a legendary figure in East India and many people are enquiring about you.
Yes, He is not becoming but he IS an iconic figure already . We have to take him with us next time we plan out.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 23:52   #78
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Originally Posted by debarshim View Post
Yes, He is not becoming but he IS an iconic figure already . We have to take him with us next time we plan out.
Just imagine the tremendous pressure of driving with him in the passenger seat .
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Old 28th May 2012, 23:17   #79
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Hats off & congrats to you, your family and your determination.
You chose to explore those areas which only a wanderer can dream of and even locals wouldn't dare to go.
Few years back this place was infested with militancy.
Good to see the changing face of kashmir.
i am quite familiar with Kashmir & its terrain,but seems like you are miles ahead in terms of knowledge & experience.
I have been to kupwara & gurez at time when it was not a calm(read terrorism) as it look today.
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Old 18th August 2012, 18:09   #80
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

What a fantastic travelogues ADC. I read all of it in a go and can't find adjectives to match the superbness (I know that this isn't even a word) and awesomeness of this travelogues. I know you just have been busy but I in fact we all would want to read the rest of the story especially the clutch problem that you'd encountered due to which you had to drive for extended and long stretches of time.
Please try to complete this travelogue when you get the time. Cheers

Edit. A very well deserved 5 stars
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Old 24th August 2012, 13:12   #81
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
Why thttp://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/112842-self-drive-exploratory-expedition-zanskar-unknown-kashmir-off-season-october-2011-a-6.html#post2881340he delay? Must be the Year end tax and book reconciliation hassles. Hope to read the rest of the Travelogue soon. (Please please)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
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
======
Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
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!
Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
ADC, reading this travelogue, again, thanks for sharing your wonderful journey. Looking forward to the Arunachal travelogue!P.S. rated 5 star
Quote:
Originally Posted by harjeev View Post
What a fantastic travelogues ADC. I read all of it in a go and can't find adjectives to match the superbness (I know that this isn't even a word) and awesomeness of this travelogues. I know you just have been busy but I in fact we all would want to read the rest of the story especially the clutch problem that you'd encountered due to which you had to drive for extended and long stretches of time.
Please try to complete this travelogue when you get the time. Cheers Edit. A very well deserved 5 stars

Its a shame that this writing about one of the best journeys done till now got an abrupt stop - thanks much to all the readers and really overwhelmed by the appreciation. After c pox and this and that, just lost interest on writing! But anyway so much to write about this travel still - so many experiences. I do not grade a travel - as i consider any travel is a good travel as we get out of the grind and meet new people and travel distant lands - but then sometimes one does an exception - till now the best travel till date!

Quote:
Originally Posted by h.s.r View Post
Good to see the changing face of kashmir. i am quite familiar with Kashmir & its terrain,but seems like you are miles ahead in terms of knowledge & experience.
I have been to kupwara & gurez at time when it was not a calm(read terrorism) as it look today.
Thats exactly why the travel was undertaken. Just like any past travel or travels done later on, the local interaction has been amazing whether be it in Kashmir, Ladakh, Chhattisgarh or Arunachal just to name a few places.

The way we were welcomed into each and every house in Gurez, Bangus and Lolab was heartwarming to say the least, simple rural people of Kashmir valley invited us to their houses. Some great stories coming up!



Quote:
So travelogue restarts again and hope to finish it now!

Tangole to Padum, Zanskar, 14th October, 2011



After a long goodbye with Mr Haider, caretaker of Alpine Hut, we left Tangole and the memories of Kun and its trek, around 9 am. It was a beautiful sunny mid October Zanskar morning

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And we moved on crossing Parkachik towards Rangdum

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Amazing Zanskar mountain pattern - this I have enlarged and framed - the colours and stripes mesmerizes in this intimate landscape picture of the Zanskar mountainside.

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Mid October not a single tourist or traveller as a local Zanskari farmer and the horse checks us out..

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Chortens of Randgum village

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A typical Zanskari village house

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And the journey towards Pensila for Padum continued

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Suru river basin near Rangdum

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Contrast made me take this B/W of monastery. Rangdum Gompa is 7 km up on a hillock.

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And the incline journey continued towards the Pensila Pass. Rangdum to Pensi la is 27 km of ascent.
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And we cross reflections and the lake - dont recollect the name!

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Approaching and at Pensi la at 14,600 ft/4450 m
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Just beyond Pensila we stay focused for the one and only Drang Drung glacier - majestic as it comes up on the turn...

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Quote:
The Drang-Drung Glacier is likely to be the largest glacier in Ladakh other than Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range, with a maximum length of 23 kilometres (14 mi)[4] and at an average elevation of 15,680 ft (4,780 metres). The glacier lies in the north eastern Himalayan Range known as Zanskar Range, situated 142 kilometres (88 mi) south from Kargil and 331 kilometres (206 mi) east from Srinagar the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Drang-Drung Glacier is the long river of ice and snow, a source of Stod River which is a tributory of Zanskar River and Zanskar River is a tributory of Indus River.[6] The Doda Peak with an elevation of 21,490 ft (6,550 metres) rises from the glacier. - Wikipedia
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Z3 peak looms in background at the head of the glacier - never anywhere will you see a glacier so up close

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And being on a mid October "off-season" travel, the glacier ice was quite intact

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The glacial lake at Drang Drung

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From here one now descends down towards the valley again, the descent is steeper than the ascent.
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contd...

Last edited by adc : 24th August 2012 at 13:40.
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Old 24th August 2012, 16:53   #82
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Originally Posted by adc View Post
Its a shame that this writing about one of the best journeys done till now got an abrupt stop.............................................. ............

.................................................. ..
towards the valley again, the descent is steeper than the ascent.
contd...
Anirban, Glad to see that this TL is back on its track. As always your description is a treat to the eyes and the mind. Waiting for the next post.
Cheers Mate
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Old 4th September 2012, 10:39   #83
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Towards Padum, Zanskar, 14th October, 2011 contd...

Crossing the magnificent Drang-Drung, we continue towards the administrative town of Zanskar, Padum
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And of course one is left bewildered by the rock patterns and landscapes
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We are travelling in the off of "off-season". In mid October all hotels are closed, the JKTDC said we could stay but the water is frozen in pipes and so handpump water has to be carried. He, however, said to try Marq guesthouse as it is not only the best out there in Padum but also has hot and cold water running.


And what a beautiful place it is to stay. Got a great discount as we were the only tourists in Padum at that time! The onwer himself has a Safari too, used extensively to travel to Srinagar/Kargil and beyond.

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Had a great meeting with owner who is himself also has a keen interest in sports particularly archery. Seen here at this office at Marq guest house

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Contact : www.marqinnzanskar.com


Tomorrow we go ahead and go around Padum towards Zangla and beyond and also towards Reru as much as the road goes. There are no travelllers or tourists at this time. We have the whole of Padum and surroundings for ourselves.


contd...

Last edited by adc : 4th September 2012 at 11:03.
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Old 4th September 2012, 11:43   #84
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Padum and towards Zangla and beyond.


As said, morning after a hearty breakfast we go around towards Zangla and beyond as far as it would be possible. Stongde and Tsa Zar are monasteries are the stops en route for monasteries.
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Natural rock and hard mud formations on the way to Zangla

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We were headed beyond Zangla as far as the road is continues

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This road is being constructed by side of River Zanskar on which the Chadar Ice trek is done. So once that road is complete and connects Leh via Nimmu, the Chadar trek would be lost. Had been there in February 2012, and it is an amazing trek. --> http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...adar-trek.html (A Royal Enfield Bullet ride, a Flight and a sub-zero Ice Trek! [Zanskar Chadar trek])





And our journey till as much possible continues along the narrow road that is still being constructed.
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With middle of October winter almost in Zanskar there's no one around.

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We stop so often and who would not with such varied and bewildering landscapes.

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As one goes more and more deeper, the track beside Zanskar river becomes more narrower.
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Finally the first human contact after some travel in that desolate road, a BRO worker who stops us as there is some blasting going ahead in front. As said, this is the road that is being constructed to connect Zanskar with Leh

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And so from here we turn back towards Padum again, having explored the track beyond Zangla

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The weather change quite a bit as clouds gathered on the horizon, but then the vistas still stopped us often for a view and a click

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MacKenna's gold - evening sun dazzles the Zanskar mountain side
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With winter approaching, the grass and ground vegetation takes on a unique yellow colour

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We are back to Padum again after that drive, we now explore the other side of Padum, towards Reru and beyong along the river Tsarap chu

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contd...

Last edited by adc : 4th September 2012 at 12:06.
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Old 4th September 2012, 12:38   #85
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Padum, Zanskar, and around contd...


Again a bright sunny yet just a bit cold October morning, we venture towards Reru and beyond as possible along the River Tsarap Chu which joins with Stod river to form River Zanskar.

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Leaving Padum one enters the canyon of Tsarap [also known as Lingti and Lungnak] river

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A village on the opposite bank, some greenery in otherwise absolutely barren mountainside
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Quote:
Bardan Monastery or Bardan Gompa is a 17th century Buddhist monastery, approximately 12 kilometres south of Padum, in Zanskar, Ladakh, northern India. It belongs to the Dugpa-Kargyud monastic order and was one of the first monasteries of this sect to be established in Zanskar. The monastery also ran several smaller hermitages in the area.

The monastery consists of a large Dukhang or assembly hall which has some grand statues of Buddhist figures and several small stupas in clay, bronze, wood and copper.
The monastery of Bardan suddenly comes into view.
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Again here some road maintenance work was going on..

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We turn back from here from around Reru. The road does not continue till Phugtal monastery, the brilliant cliff-hanging monastery as I have seen from images.
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Again brilliant landscapes as we return back to Padum, definitely again we stop so often - the vistas are such!

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What a fantastic drive it was, and this image is one of my favourite as Tsarap Chu makes a brilliant turn in the Zanskar mountain lands

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We head back to Padum and evening time we go towards Karsha Gompa, the important monastery of Zanskar

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contd...

Last edited by adc : 4th September 2012 at 13:05.
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Old 4th September 2012, 12:46   #86
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Equally beautiful clicks here. If it was not for the severe lack of vegetation I guess one should see the equivalent of fall colors in abundance like they see in the New England area of the United States. I do see some isolated streaks but I guess the barren landscape just has its own beauty and colors on offer captured here and the other travelogues.

Something tells me mid-September to mid-October is probably a better time to visit Ladakh. How are the day temperatures at this time? Is the sun equally harsh like that it is in July? Frankly when we did the trip in July the sun was working overtime to peel off our skins. How about the passes, Zoji La and Rohtang? Are there risks of these passes closing down during this period?
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Old 4th September 2012, 14:12   #87
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Equally beautiful clicks here. If it was not for the severe lack of vegetation I guess one should see the equivalent of fall colors in abundance like they see in the New England area of the United States. I do see some isolated streaks but I guess the barren landscape just has its own beauty and colors on offer captured here and the other travelogues.
By popular conception, Zanskar is the poorer cousin of Leh-Ladakh. However, once seen there are some subtle and some big differences between the two landscapes and Zanskar does stand out by its own. Where anywhere would you find a majestic glacier coming down on the road side or the mountain peak of Nun and Kun, the yellow grasslands of Suru and Zanskar valley in Sept-October and the golden mountains and blue waters beyond Padum!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Something tells me mid-September to mid-October is probably a better time to visit Ladakh.
Absolutely, and that's where the misconception is there like as if these places are forsaken and should not be travelled to in Sep-October time.

We have been travelling to Zanskar and Ladakh including remote Changthang around October only for the two consecutive years of 2010 and 2011. Both wife and son get their respective holidays due to Durga Puja around this October time and thus also by default the month of October gets selected.

Our first trip to Chandratal lake, Ladakh and Changthang was in October 2010 and it spanned the complete month.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-oct-10-a.html (Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10)


Being off season we were the only few travellers around and may be the only self-driven travellers towards Chusul, Hanle, Koyoul and beyond.


What I have gathered experience like and from this Zanskar trip in mid October

1. No tourists, so hotel personnel and all are relaxed. Good discount.

2. No extra pressure about permits with huge groups from taxi drivers to self driven motorcycle groups or cars clamouring for permits.

In fact, we got that most elusive permit of Demchok and Koyoul [India-China LAC border from where Indus enters], as there were almost none travellers in the permit area and thus the permit personnel were much more relaxed. They in fact filled up my form and told me to meet the DC for that great drive.

3. Brilliant and clear weather.


However as per my experience also gathered from travels in those lands in October is that the best to finish up the trip by latest around October 3rd week or better by 15th of October. This is because there is always the first serious snow fall around that time or around end of October.

We were getting out of Ladakh via Zojila by around the last few days of October and got stuck for over 36 hours at 11000 feet. This is all documented in the pictures and video in this post of the Ladakh Changthang travelogue .

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2412837 (Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10)








So, all said and done, the best window for travel to Ladakh is in fact from September till the middle of October.



Quote:
How are the day temperatures at this time? Is the sun equally harsh like that it is in July? Frankly when we did the trip in July the sun was working overtime to peel off our skins.
Day temperatures are around 5-8 C and night it goes down to may be around 1 to -3 or -4. The sun is of course strong over in those lands as the atmosphere is much thinner but may be not like in July.





Quote:
How about the passes, Zoji La and Rohtang? Are there risks of these passes closing down during this period?
Rohtang closes much earlier than Zoji la. Rhotang mostly around middle to max 3rd week of October.

Zoji la closes around middle of November.

What I have seen by trend is that there is one big snowfall after 3rd week of October. Now this snowfall closes both Rhotang and Zojila. However, towards the Rhotang side, snow is much heavier and plus there are some more higher passes on the Manali-Leh route and is not cleared but Zojila it is cleared soon enough in may be around 2 days maximum and again vehicles ply till it is anyhow possible for the BRO people to keep the clearing process going. However by mid November the snowfall and blockages become more frequent and finally officially the pass is then closed for the next 5-6 months or so.


So as seen September-October are my favourite months for Ladakh and Zanskar, and that goes too also for Kinnaur-Spiti-Kaza-Manali loop road.

Last edited by adc : 4th September 2012 at 14:41.
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Old 4th September 2012, 18:02   #88
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Anirban, eagerly waiting for Lolab / Bangus / Gurez, you know why

Absolutely stunner this log is, yes I am taking all my courage to point it out among all your brilliant and superlative logs.

Please wrap it up as it's been a year now we are waiting for this.

I am completely in agreement with your opinion that the best time to travel HP and J&K (or any Western Himalayan destination) is between Mid Sep to Mid Oct, the transitory month when wind flow direction changes from easterly to westerly. That's the time when infact many of the Himalayan summits are targetted and 2nd most critical window after May that is another transitory month when wind flow changes from westerly to easterly.
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Old 4th September 2012, 22:36   #89
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Quote:
Originally Posted by kshil View Post
Anirban, eagerly waiting for Lolab / Bangus / Gurez, you know why

Absolutely stunner this log is, yes I am taking all my courage to point it out among all your brilliant and superlative logs.

Please wrap it up as it's been a year now we are waiting for this.

I am completely in agreement with your opinion that the best time to travel HP and J&K (or any Western Himalayan destination) is between Mid Sep to Mid Oct, the transitory month when wind flow direction changes from easterly to westerly. That's the time when infact many of the Himalayan summits are targetted and 2nd most critical window after May that is another transitory month when wind flow changes from westerly to easterly.

Kaushik, never knew you are a member of team bhp, this is a pleasant surprise.

This indeed has been the most amazing travel done by us till now. We went from Khajjiar to Sach Pass to Pangi of Himachal and then to Padder and then to Margan and Inshan of Kashmir - and when then turned towards Zanskar and end of roads and now again we will enter the amazing lands of Gurez, Bangus and Lolab. We were the first travellers over in these lands in some decades of turmoil. What a journey it has been and till now have just completed somewhat half of the travelogue!

It was criminal of me to abandon the travelogue midway as I lost interest in writing and and such and now as i convert images of Gurez so many memories come forth. Similarly of Bangus and Lolab. Would definitely finish before you venture out, definitely hope you have a great journey.

Last edited by adc : 4th September 2012 at 22:58.
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Old 5th September 2012, 01:17   #90
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

In the second half of the day, we were headed towards 14th century Karsha gompa or monastery.
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One can drive till the base of the monastery after crossing the river
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Panoramic views of valley unfolds from the top of the Gompa
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The complex is of 14th century with imposing whitewashed buildings clinging on to the ascending hillside

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And we spend some time over there and also going up and seeing the prayer room

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While in Padum, at mid October this was only eatery that was open. In all the 3 days that we stayed over here they took great care of us, trying to cook up a different meal every day..

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Mid October and with cold winter nights, by 7 pm Padum streets empty out. But then for us it is great time to travel as we revel in places like these with less crowds.

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Today was our last day in Padum as we leave tomorrow for the return journey. But who knew there was a big rally group coming up that would close the Zanskar valley exit and entry for the complete day.

contd...

Last edited by adc : 5th September 2012 at 01:21.
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