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Old 4th August 2012, 09:36   #16
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Default Route and Hotels

This one is about the current status of the hotels that we have stayed in during the trip. Tried to rate them based on the service and cleanliness. Hope it is of some help to the people traveling this year. Service at some places like Diskit was extra ordinary while at some like Sterling resorts was pathetic.
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A pdf of all the images Route and Hotels.pdf
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Old 5th August 2012, 19:55   #17
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Superb captures, Thanks for sharing, By the way did you buy any chappels/shoes from Pandhi stores
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Old 6th August 2012, 23:16   #18
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Quote:
current status of the hotels
Thanks Indian, appreciate it!
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Old 7th August 2012, 11:58   #19
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

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Originally Posted by joshuakeys View Post
Superb captures, Thanks for sharing, By the way did you buy any chappels/shoes from Pandhi stores
lol. We did buy some but not there. The climate in Srinagar was so good for photography that amateurs like me can take decent shots. It is a heaven for professional photographers

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Originally Posted by getsurya View Post
Thanks Indian, appreciate it!
You are welcome man. The service provided in Kashmir is Top Class. No wonder tourists who visit there want to return again.
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Old 8th August 2012, 19:22   #20
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Default Day 10 Pahalgam

June 10th Srinagar - Pahalgam - Srinagar, Day Trip
A preview of the location

Lidder
Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam-1-dscn8496.jpg

Aru Valley
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Our trip to Pahalgam started @ 6:30 am with us carrying the stuff needed for night stay in the Houseboat. Most of our luggage was left in the hotel with instructions to store it in cloakroom. The highway from Srinagar to Ananthnag is a single lane with heavy traffic;
Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam-3img_3634.jpg

one has to be extremely wary of the local trucks. 2 of them almost crushed me when I was overtaking. An Etios was pushed twice onto the shoulder (mud road) and almost ran over once. I know local truck drivers in cities drive fast/rash but this was extremely dangerous for others.

After driving for an hour, I started feeling feverish and switched places with Sunny. My Sisters got worried and asked if we should go back but I assured them it was nothing and continued to the drive. Around 35-40km from Srinagar, we reached a T-Junction with one road leading to Ananthnag and another to Pahalgam. A signboard was mentioning apple Orchids on the road to Pahalgam. On enquiring about the orchids, locals informed this road is good and a shortcut. We decided to do this road with hopes to see Apples trees as none of us have seen them before. But what a bad road it turned out to be, very few apple trees with hardly any apples. Not worth at all. Another Innova, family of 4 from PB, came in the same route towards Pahalgam. They were looking lost and were really happy to see us. They were also planning to do rafting, so they decided to tag along with us. The shortcut took more time than the main road.

We asked directions for the Rafting point when we were misdirected towards Pahalgam. We turned back on the road to Ananthnag after we realized it; here we lost the other Innova. After driving for 12km from Pahalgam, @ 9:45 am we reached the rafting point on Lidder River.
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Lidder is very clean with good looking rapids.
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It was the first white water rafting for the rest of the gang and all of them were super excited to do it in Himalayas.
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It was already decided that I will drive down to the rafting end point to join them. In Srinagar, we heard that it was approx. 10 km ride, but it turned out to be only a 10 min ride, 2 km.
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The ride was real fun for them but length of just 2km was disappointing. we need loads of pics to overcome that
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Also oars were with the guides only. It is not worth getting your clothes wet here with the ride. Manali is a better rafting point and you get long rides at damn cheap rates too. In Lidder rate was Rs350/person.We had brunch and started towards Pahalgam with plans to do Aru Valley or Chandanwadi.

A beautiful Lidder River in the afternoon
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Me with Pushpaka Vimanam
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In Pahalgam, base camp for Amarnath Yatra starting in July was getting ready. We drove to Aru Valley, en route which a 10km stretch was extremely narrow roads. Due to high vehicle movement and traffic jams, even at places as narrow as 12 feet, vehicles were crossing each other. This is road is not for the weak hearted; but is a totally must do for the adrenaline rush it offers. It is literally driving on the edge.
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The valley is stunning to say the least with crystal clear water in the stream that joins Lidder River. At Aru valley, all of them took Horses to go to the top of a hill while I was resting in the car.

The Climb
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Three's Crowd
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So let us make it 4 and party
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I was running a temp of 102F now, but I decided not to tell the gang as they will be worried and not able to enjoy. After an hour they returned and we started the drive back. For them Aru was not as much fun as the drive in the valley.

Sona and Deepthi planning how to take this horse back with us
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While returning, we halted 3km from Pahalgam on the banks of the stream near Island Pick Spot.
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Girls Eating king of fruits
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This is a beautiful setting to relax and unwind.
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Akka with baby sheep. 10 bucks for a pic
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I wanted them to do Chandanwadi next but got vetoed as the gang started worrying about my health (I was looking very weak now). We started our return journey to Srinagar @ 3:30 pm and had a pleasant view of the fields in the setting Sun.

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We were super hungry by the time we reached Srinagar and @ 7 pm we entered Stream Restaurant. Stream has very tasty food with great service; waiters were very cheerful all the time.

@ Stream
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If we spend more time in Srinagar, we decided to do it again. Trip advisor rates in #2 in their list, totally Justified.

Next halt was near Nehru Hotel where our House Boat Hilton Kashmir was moored. We unloaded the luggage and Sunny went to park the Car. Here we met a group of CRPF soldiers from Hyderabad who were having off day. They were really surprised to see the car driven all the way from Hyderabad. We talked for some time while my sister offered Mangoes (from Hyderabad).
JawansMiddle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam-28-img_3654.jpg


Sunny took almost 45 min to join us as 3 parking lots were full and he had to walk almost a km from parking lot. After saying goodbye to the soldiers we took Shikara ride to the HB. Hilton Kashmir was built in 1976 and it was supposedly the first 5 bedroom HB in Dal Lake.

I was feeling dead tired and took rest immediately after taking a Dolo. Temperature has reached 103F by now. If my fever was not under control by next day morning, we will halt for one more day and get tests done. My Sisters was really worried about me as I was hospitalized for fever some time back. They took great care of me that night.

With that we were done for the day, worried that the trip may have to be shelved. If I was not there they did not want to continue the trip. Drive of 200 km
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Old 8th August 2012, 21:12   #21
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Hey a really nice detailed travelogue!! Must be a really awesome trip with siblings and cousins!! The pics tell the story how much you guys enjoyed!!

Cheers. Keep us posted!!
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Old 9th August 2012, 11:28   #22
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

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Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
Hey a really nice detailed travelogue!! Must be a really awesome trip with siblings and cousins!! The pics tell the story how much you guys enjoyed!!

Cheers. Keep us posted!!
Thanks man. It was after a long time that I was doing a trip with siblings and cousins. It was fantastic trip. The whole holiday went to a lot better than I had planned or anticipated.
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Old 9th August 2012, 11:43   #23
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Default Re: Day 10 Pahalgam

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Originally Posted by indian21r View Post
June 10th Srinagar - Pahalgam - Srinagar, Day Trip

Akka with baby sheep. 10 bucks for a pic
Attachment 966944
10 INR for a pic with a baby Sheep? Come on mate! It isnt a tiger cub. The breeders have sheepishly looted money out of you guys. Utter ridicuolous. It is not a big amount of money but think of it, you guys were 5, and suppose each one of you wanted to take a pic, then the fellow has easily earned INR 50 just by letting you people take a pic with his sheep. At the end of the day, the sheep will any way be fed with grass and hay!

Fantastic picture heavy travelogue.Thanks for your hotel and rates info.
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Old 9th August 2012, 16:36   #24
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Default Re: Day 10 Pahalgam

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10 INR for a pic with a baby Sheep? Come on mate! It isnt a tiger cub. The breeders have sheepishly looted money out of you guys. Utter ridicuolous. It is not a big amount of money but think of it, you guys were 5, and suppose each one of you wanted to take a pic, then the fellow has easily earned INR 50 just by letting you people take a pic with his sheep. At the end of the day, the sheep will any way be fed with grass and hay!
he he. that is good money to make in a really short span. But not everyone is keen to take such pictures. Out of the 5 of us only 1 took. Potential is huge but realization is low.

Quote:
Fantastic picture heavy travelogue.Thanks for your hotel and rates info.
Thanks man.
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Old 26th August 2012, 12:36   #25
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Good going bro. Nice TL , Am going to get LEH'ed via srinagar on 1st sept on my Safari with wifey , MIL , FIL.

It's a 9 day trip and i want to catch up on all places in this route. Looking forward for speedy movement of your TL
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Old 26th August 2012, 21:53   #26
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Hey Rahul.Thanks a ton for the call , i felt i was virtually there while you were explaining everything :-)

So friends here is what rahul (indian21r) has suggested basis his experience and it was so kind of him to give me a call within few hours of me sending him a PM ( This is the kind of enthusiasm that travellers like us share and it looks like i've found a new friend )

DAY 1 -
Delhi (6 am) - Jammu (6 pm) 600 kms

DAY 2 -
Jammu - Srinagar - Sonmarg (350 kms)

DAY 3 -
Sonmarg - Zozilla Pass - Drass - Kargil - Lamayaru (150 kms out of which 30 kms of bad road)

DAY 4 -
Lamayaru - Leh (130 kms, magnetic hill on the way, apply for permits for Khardungla, Pangsong lake, Nubra valley)

DAY 5 -
Leh - Khardungla - Nubra Valley - Diskit

DAY 6 -
Diskit - Leh (fill diesel) - Changla - Pangsong Lake

DAY 7 - RETURN OPTIONS (2 Options)

Option 1 - (If Rohtang pass is open) Pangsong Lake - Tso Morori

DAY 8 - Tso Morori - Sarchu - Tsokar - Kelong - Manali

DAY 9 - Manali - Delhi


Option 2 - ( If Rohtang is closed) Pangsong Lake - Lamayaru

DAY 8 - Lamayaru - Srinagar/Jammu

DAY 9 - Srinagar/Jammu - Delhi

It's people like Rahul who change the game when it comes to helping fellow travellers go through a smooth trip.

I owe you one Bro
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Old 26th August 2012, 23:09   #27
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Default Re: Middle Earth to Paradise in Pushpaka Vimanam

Harish, Thanks man. I am just doing my bit here. Rest of team here can guide you even better. Have a safe trip. Try for 2 more days; will make it more relaxed and fun too)

Some added inputs highlighted in bold
Quote:
Originally Posted by harishnayak View Post
DAY 1 - Delhi (6 am) - Jammu (6 pm) 600 kms, try for halt at Udhampur or Ramban as you can start even by 3 am from Delhi.

DAY 2 - Jammu - Srinagar - Sonmarg (350 kms) , start early again.

DAY 3 - Sonmarg - Zozilla Pass - Drass - Kargil - Lamayaru (150 kms out of which 30 kms of bad road)This is 250 km so will take you a day. Some amazing stretches intercepted with non existent roads.

DAY 4 - Lamayaru - Leh (130 kms, magnetic hill on the way, apply for permits for Khardungla, Pangsong lake, Nubra valley) you can do local sight seeing and see the festival if possible

DAY 5 -
Leh - Khardungla - Nubra Valley - Diskit - Hunder also with halt in diskit. You can stay in Olthang Guest house. wonderful service provided by Rinku and his team

DAY 6 -
Diskit - Leh (fill diesel) - Changla - Pangsong Lake hectic but easily doable from what the locals told me. Try to cross chang la by 3 or 4 pm and kardung la by 9:30 am, start early as road will having very little traffic till North Pullu.

DAY 7 - RETURN OPTIONS (2 Options)

Option 1 - (If Rohtang pass is open) Pangsong Lake - Tso Morori, easily doable

DAY 8 - Tso Morori - Tsokar -Sarchu - Kelong - Manali Manali will not be possible the same day. Maximum upto Keylong, start early by 6:30 am with target to cross barcha la by 4 pm or early.

DAY 9 - Manali - Delhi Keylong to Manali around 3-4 hours if there is no traffic Jam near Rhotang. Manali to Plains another 5-6 hours. Since you are comfortable with long drives, you easily do Delhi the same night.

[i] Option 2 - ( If Rohtang is closed) Pangsong Lake - Lamayaru very comfortable. See if you can get acco near Mulbek. But I doubt. Lamayuru, you can stay in Moon Land Hotel good service and very tasty food.

DAY 8 - Lamayaru - Srinagar/Jammu Maximum upto Anathnag or where you can find acco. Do not drive these ghats at night; too heavy traffic.

Just check Zojilla status (for return in evening) while going to Leh to get a clear status. From what I was told my army guys, they were planning to open the new road also along with the existing one near Zojilla pass.


DAY 9 - Srinagar/Jammu - Delhi Srinagar Delhi will be too tight. Once you cross the Ghats though roads should be a lot easier to drive. Though you may have to drive through night, 2 drivers and your experience will surely help. But may be tired also considering the previous 8 days. Overall this is a little tricky scenario for you. I Hope Rhotang will be accessible and you do not miss Tso morriri
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