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Old 12th July 2012, 15:32   #151
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

Various Murals are built into the Shanti Stupa depicting the life and teachings of the Bodhisattva. When we visited the entire structure was being repainted and we had to restrict our photographs.
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The setting Sun set the countryside ablaze in golden light.
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The Stupa under the darkening skies shines like a huge Jewel.
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We took a last snap of the Idols inside the smaller Monastery below Shanti Stupa with the lit lamps. It was quiet dark by now and we left for Fort Road and the Offices of Overland Escape.
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Old 12th July 2012, 16:00   #152
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by MaverikMahesh View Post
Hi Coooolcat21,

BTW, what was the FE you got from Fortuner? I assume that most of the drive was on 2WD and 4WD was sparingly used.
The Fortuner comes with full time 4 wheel Drive. There is no option of switching to 2 wheel drive.
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Old 12th July 2012, 16:13   #153
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

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Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
The Fortuner comes with full time 4 wheel Drive. There is no option of switching to 2 wheel drive.
Thank you Manuuj for clearing that up, I missed replying to that query.

@MaverikMahesh: As to the FE i got about 11 KMPL on the Highways, about 10 KMPL in the Mountains and about 8KMPL on the worst of the climbs. However i confess, we did not keep a close watch on the FE. Regards.
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Old 12th July 2012, 17:07   #154
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Default Re: Reflecting on Driving Addictions - Bangalore to Spiti and Changthang

This was the 29th of August a Monday.
The previous night after spending the evening at Shanti Stupa, we drove over to Leh and the offices of Overland Escape to meet Mr. Tundup Dorjee. As I have said earlier they had everything in place and ready when we arrived.
We were handed over vouchers for our stay at Deskit, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. More importantly we had the Travel Permits to drive to these places.
I guess the purists may say that we missed the 'initiation' at the DC office to obtain the same in Leh. What can I say, we are basically a lazy bunch..
We additionally were supplied with two large Plastic Cans of 10 Lts each to stock Diesel for our Journey. We hoped that with a tank full at 80 Lts and 40 plus in the can we would be safe.
Our experiment with 5 Lts Bisleri Bottles had been not so happy additionally we could not get sufficient numbers of them that evening in Leh, It was a bit of a slip-up there, so we ended up with these two Cooking Oil Cans in the back of the Fortuner.
After a stroll in the fast closing Leh Market and buying a few things for the last stretch of our journey we drove back to our Hotel.
We had, early in the day packed up all our lugguage, so just had Dinner and hit the sack. We planned to get up early, load up the Fortuner, and then have a quick Breakfast before we left to the Desert Lands of Hunder and Disket. We would have plenty of time and it would be a leisurely drive. we were looking forward to the drive the next day.

A couple of shots of the Hotel where we stayed, It was nice and the Staff Courteous.
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We stuck to our plan and after loading the humongous amount of lugguage we carried with us, a quick breakfast and settlement of our Bill be drove to the Petrol Bunk near the Main Circle as one enters Leh to receive the Shock of our lives, they were out of Petrol.
So we drove to another Petrol Pump on the Manali Road just outside town and the story was the same.
Upon enquiry we were told that the trucks of Indian Oil that ferry the fuel from Manali and Srinagar side do not run on Sundays as the Indian Oil Offices are closed. The Fuel loads are supplied to the Petrol Pumps only after Indian Oil receives a DD for the full amount of the Cost of each load. So as the Banks too are closed on Sundays its usual to have the Bunks go dry on Mondays. That was the story we were given.
We were also told that it was useless to run over town seeking Diesel as all the Bunks were dry. So as there seemed to be a 'Q' forming near the Main Circle Pump we got in line and stood there till nearly Noon.
It was awful start for the day, it was hot and dusty and frustrating.
Finally just past noon a guy slid up to my Brother who was pacing up and down near the Road and whispered to him that Diesel was available on a Bunk towards the Airport Road..
We never got what the secrecy was about. The Bunk owners at the Circle had kept assuring us that the load of Diesel would be arriving anymoment. However we did notice that other than tourists none of the locals stood for long in the Q, we just assumed that their requirement was not that critical, therefore they were driving off to come back later.
We drove to this Bunk on Airport Road and had our Tank filled along with both the Cans, we pushed some Plastic Sheet into the lids of the Cans and tightened the same as much as possible, then stood them straight at the back of the Vehicle so that there would not be any spillage.
It was a disaster all the way to Pangong Tso which was when we finally managed to empty the fuel into our fuel tank.
We finally left Leh, hot and irritated at the delay, towards Khardungla.
The Diesel fumes followed us faithfully over the highest motorable road and over to the highest desert in the world. They were frightfully loyal that way.
Looking back at Leh Town as we begin our climb. Shanti Stupa can be seen in the far distance.
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Khardungla was 29 Kms away.
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We start the Climb marked by colourful Prayer Flags.
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A village as we climb, could be Ganglas, the milestone said it was a Km away.
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The Roads ahead.These unlike the roads before had a fair amount of traffic including substantial Army Trucks.
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The Khardungla Frog.
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Snow on the Mountain Face as we climb.
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Old 12th July 2012, 17:44   #155
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Finally the Highest Motorable Road, we were there.
We ran into a bunch of Bikers from Mangalore there. They were simply too stunned to find a KA registered Vehicle and a family of Sardars who spoke fluent Kannada.. The first thing they complained about was the lack of good food Punjab onwards. . They had come via Kashmir.
We of course agreed !! Aloo Aloo every where and not a 'Dosa' in sight. What was the world coming to ?
As it was late in the afternoon we had some Noodles and excellent Momos there at the Canteen. The Souvenir Shop was closed.
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The Tourist acting 'Pricy' after having starred in the photo-log and walking off the sets !!!
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Prayer Flags across the Road.
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Four Wheel Drive is for Tourists !!!
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The Skies.
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The Roads.
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Some repairs along the way.
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Looking Good !!
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Looking Stunning!!
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Grey Clouds at the Horizon.
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The Temple was in a truly stunning location, though it looked very touristy.
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A beautiful Village along the way.
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Old 12th July 2012, 18:28   #156
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We came to this structure near a village, which I think was Khardung, that looked like a Monastery. We were sort of rushing to Hunder to catch the Desert Sands in the evening light. We did not succeed. It was a dual loss, nor did we really enjoy the journey after crossing over Khardung in the rush till almost the end when it became apparent that we could not beat the Sun in its journey westwards.

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The turn off towards Agham, near Khalsar. No its not 2,400 Kms someone has missed the decimal point. (on the yellow board see....)
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Just so that you stop stressing, its really is just 24 Kms.
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We took the flat black top road to Diskit. We got to see some sand bars in the fading light.
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Panamik and Sumur were straight ahead, wished we had kept a full day for this part of the Journey, then remembered we had !!
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As the Sun set the Land put up its magic show once again.
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There was no doubt that this land had risen at some time from under the Sea.
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An Army Convoy, was it part of the logistical support to Siachen Glacier ? We wondered, however we did wave at each Truck and our Brave Men in Uniform.
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Old 12th July 2012, 18:52   #157
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We traveled on. The road runs across these sandy flat plains with a generous seeding of smooth round water eroded rocks all over.
The sand is dark in colour first but soon changes to a golden brown and silvery at places.
The road climbs steeply up the side of a Mountain and then goes down into a valley along a broad river bed to finally reach Disket.
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The Army Convoy from above, looked like a scene from an old WW2 Movie.
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The shallow waters of the Shyok River reflect Silver in the setting Sun.
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The Steeply climbing Road.
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Wild Berries
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This beautiful Reflection was in a pool of stagnant water on the road side.
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Old 12th July 2012, 19:25   #158
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After our amazing evening ride from Dhankar Monastery towards Kaza, this was the most amazing scene we had seen so far.
The magic of the golden rays of the setting Sun, the clouds, the sky and the Mountains had created a scene one can only dream about in a particularly colourful and vivid dream!!!

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Then it just got too Dark and we had not even reached Diskit. We simply had to move on and reach our Hotel.
We really were missing the Hunder Dunes after having come so far. This was the first real disappointment of the Trip.
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However tomorrow would be Pangong Tso Time and the chance to travel on Roads few had traveled over !!!
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Old 13th July 2012, 10:28   #159
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Amazing photo's - absolutely wall paper material! Could'nt help but comment on the diesel fumes in the car, you folks must have got a headache in few hours with the constant smell. The reflection photos with golden hues are outstanding.

The long shot of the Army convoy - priceless. It looks like you were watching the convoy on the cross hair of a bazooka
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Old 14th July 2012, 13:26   #160
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Amazing photo's - absolutely wall paper material! Could'nt help but comment on the diesel fumes in the car, you folks must have got a headache in few hours with the constant smell. The reflection photos with golden hues are outstanding.

The long shot of the Army convoy - priceless. It looks like you were watching the convoy on the cross hair of a bazooka
Hey Mahesh,
You are right the Diesel fumes were a real headache, as we could not find any used tube pieces along the way we traveled, to be used under the Plastic caps of the cans like a rubber insert, we just failed to make a proper seal. We even tried applying M-seal outside the cap and the can neck. Though it hardened in a iron like grip and had to be cracked open with a knife when we did want to open the cap, the leakage did not stop and the entire carpet in the rear was soaked. We just kept filling whatever diesel we could into the fuel tank to lower the level of the liquid in the can to reduce spillage while travelling.
Thank you for the continued appreciation. Regards.
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Old 14th July 2012, 14:34   #161
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We spent a comfortable night in Diskit, the Hotel was very well located within the Village itself and one could get a feel of village life. The rooms were large and cozy and you could see the surrounding mountains and the Diskit Monastery from the Roof.
We skipped the Monastery, which was otherwise on the list of things to do, due to the delay in our departure from Leh.
We did not know the time it would take us to reach Pangong Tso from here and there were rumors of road trouble. However it was truly a Road less travelled as even the locals were not very clear encouraging us to go back to Leh and then on to Kari Sakti route instead of the Agham, Wari La we were taking.
So taking no chances we started off early and traced our route back to Khalsar and the fork in the road that leads to Agham as in the picture posted earlier.

A view from the roof of the Hotel. The Village of Diskit.
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Prayer Flags
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The rising Sun puts up a morning show.
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The Diskit Monastery seen from between the trees
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The lush growth powered by the Shyok River.
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The Hotel Building and the Parking. There was one other party of tourist who appeared to have come from West Bengal.
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Monasteries are build to emulate remote and difficult mountain caves in my opinion. Insulation against the ebb and flow of normal life.
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I think that was the Hotel Owners House
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The Diskit Monastery close up.
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The newly installed Statue of the Bodhisattva.
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Snow against all odds. It was bright, sunny and warm.
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The River Bed as we traveled back to the Junction where the road to Agham forks away from the Leh Road.
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We descent down to the plains on a road hugging the Mountain side.
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We reached the Agham Road and were immediately aware of increased remoteness of the area. We did not see another single vehicle till we reached Sakti except for a Mahendra pick-up along the way.
We came across this beautiful Stream and had to fight the strong urge to just sit there with our feet in the water and watch the Sun arch across the Sky.
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The Ride. Still looking Clean after the Service at Leh
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The Stream again, it was very serene.
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Old 14th July 2012, 14:37   #162
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Wild Berries
Attachment 955594
Those are Leh berries (Sea-buckthorn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Diesel fumes - indeed they are so faithful in following one around, they refuse to go away even with windows wide open! You could perhaps have experimented with attaching the cans to the roof rack.
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Old 14th July 2012, 15:39   #163
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Those are Leh berries (Sea-buckthorn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Diesel fumes - indeed they are so faithful in following one around, they refuse to go away even with windows wide open! You could perhaps have experimented with attaching the cans to the roof rack.
Glad to see that the 'Masters' are finally taking notice. .
Thank you Sir for the update on the Berries.
The Diesel fumes were hell. Could not use the roof-rack as we had fixed a thule box instead, you can only store stuff in soft bags inside. Hard plastic cans would have been thrown all over and leaked as there is nothing to anchor such cans inside the box or keep them upright. you only get two belts that can be used similarly like the belts inside a suitcase to strap down a soft pile of clothes or similar things.
The 5 Lt Bisleri Cans are good but these too have to be kept strictly up-right.
We have since obtained imported Plastic Jerry Cans that are meant for such tasks, though they were a little expensive, have to test them yet though. Regards.
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Old 14th July 2012, 16:08   #164
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Glad to see that the 'Masters' are finally taking notice. .

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...nothing to anchor such cans inside the box or keep them upright.
Not inside, but strapped to the side of the box. A little spillage would not have mattered as the odour would not have filled the cabin.

Edit: P.S. - Which hotel was this at Diskit? Looks nice.

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Old 14th July 2012, 16:31   #165
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We continued on a Road that was in a surprisingly good order.
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The River-bed nature of the terrain continued.
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We were getting closer to the second fork in the road that would take us either through Wari La or the Shyok Village. A bridge on the way through Shyok had been washed away so we had but the one option.
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The Ride.
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Wild Flowers.
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The Tourist striking a pose.
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We were basically traveling through a wide valley with the road most of the time bang in the middle of it.
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A Forest Department Board with and age old philosophy, its was in English so I think it was more for the Tourist than a message for the local denizens.
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The land remained like this through out this region, susceptible to rain.
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Look Closely. Ther is a huge rock that seems to have rolled down the mountain, across the road and got stuck in the branches of some trees in the side of the road. It was Huge and Amazing !! The drop below was a few hundred feet.
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A picture of the rear view camera.
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We started seeing a few Chortens, signalling the approach to Agham.
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The Road Beautiful.
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Last edited by Coooolcat21 : 14th July 2012 at 16:49.
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