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Old 8th July 2012, 09:00   #1
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Default A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best

Ladakh is a land of barren beauty. For those willing to endure the long and trecherous journey, they will experience beauty beyond imagination. What I try to do in the next few posts is to give a day to day account of my personal experience and give you a glimpse of the region. This is not even 1% of the real beauty. Though there are many travellougues and million of pictures of this region, but trust me, pictures can never do justice. I used to be mesmerised with pitures, but when I saw the landscape infront of me, I became speechless. Therefore I urge you to go and visit this place and experience it for yourself.

Ever since I had logged into team-bhp, and started reading about Leh and Ladakh travellouges of HV Kumar and others, I had a dream of travelling to these places some day. Since 2008 I had been making plans to drive through this region. I have a passion for driving and visiting new places, and this would have been the ultimate journey that I could possibly take to fulfill my dream. Every year I kept making plans, but they never fructified. Either I did not have a car, or I did not find the right company to travel with me, or family created issues about driving such long distances.

In 2011, I finally decided that no matter what happens, 2012 was going to be the year when I fulfill this dream. Though my wife would not be able to travel with me, she did support me finally. In November 2011, I bought the Tata Safari VX 4*4.

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One of the many reasons for buying this vehicle was for a trip to Ladakh. However, company was not decided. I still went ahead with making all plans, preparing a detailed itenary, preparing checklists and so on and so forth. In March 2012, my friend Santanu and my Brother-in-Law finally agreed to join me for this trip. I was super excited. I had the car and I had company. So then it was time to make a detailed list of requirements that I need to carry with me. After reading through numerous logs on team-bhp and bcmtouring and detailed discussions with SS-Traveller, I created my own checklist.

Personal Checklist - UPDATED JUNE 8.xls

You can add or remove stuff from the list depending on the number of people travelling and your car condition. My car was almost brand new (6 months) and we were 3 travellers.

Slowly over the next few weeks, I had arranged for everything. Right from towing ropes, emergency lamps, diesel cans, medicines, to food supplies, spade, oxygen cylinder etc. Thanks to SS-Traveller for lending me the oxygen cylinder, gas cylinder and spade.

As the month of June arrived, my heart started pounding everyday. My wife is also a lawyer, so she had 2 months summer vacation. On June 13th, she and my daughter left for Kolkata. I was slated to leave on June 15th (late night) or June 16th (early morning). My packing was done by June 15th, car serviced the weekend before, and my friend and Brother-in-Law arrived on June 15th evening. I also got an MTNL connection during the week. On June 15th, I had to go to office. Somehow I managed to wriggle out of all the work and reach home by 8pm. Santanu and Bro-in-law were waiting. We decided that instead of waiting till 16th morning, we could head out on 15th night itself. Anyway we will hardly get any sleep that night, and waking up with 2-3 hrs of sleep would give more of a headache.

So with bags packed, music loaded, we were ready to go.

A brief summary of the journey is given below, followed by a detailed description. Unfortunately, I mistakenly reset the odometer during the middle of the trip while cleaning the dashboard, so the total distance travelled has not been captured. We also did not make detailed time and distance logs of every place we passed by since they are all captured in various places across the team-bhp website. And by the way, the picture quality is not awesome. Most of them were taken from inside the car, while in motion and by an amateur.

June 15th night – Start from Delhi at 11:15pm
June 16th – Reached Srinagar at 7pm
June 17th – Stay at Srinagar with day trip to Gulmarg.
June 18th – Start from Srinagar at about 7am and reached Kargil at about 4:30pm
June 19th – Start from Kargil at about 7am and reached Leh at about 3 - 4pm
June 20th – Stay at Leh with local sight seeing
June 21st – Start from Leh at 7:30am and reached Hunder (via Khardung La) at about 4pm
June 22nd – Start from Hunder at 7am and reached Pangong (Spangmik) at about 4pm (via Khardung La, Leh, Karu)
June 23rd – Stay at Pangong with visit to Marisimik La
June 24th – Start from Spangmik at 6:30am and reached Tso Kar at about 5pm (via Man, Merak, Chusul, Tsaga, Nyoma, Tso Moriri, Sumdo)
June 25th – Start from Tso Kar at 7am and reached Manali by 9pm
June 26th – Start from Manali at 10:30am and reached Delhi just after midnight.

June 15th to 16th
We started off from Delhi (Chittaranjan Park) at exactly 11:15pm on 15th night. Our first halt was about 70kms from Delhi for tea at a highway Dhaba. SS-Traveller had told me about Sumitro (Blackpearl) travelling in his Bolero all the way from Kolkata and passing through Delhi the same day. After a couple of phone calls and coordination, we met Sumitro at about 2:30am just after crossing Ambala, and chatted up for a short while. Roads were smooth on this stretch. Our next stop for tea was at about 6am just before entering Ludhiana. While proceedings towards Jalandhar, we mistakenly took the flyover towards Amritsar. We had to take a U turn from the next flyover, and again mistakenly entered Jalandhar town. Finally, we took the correct route to Pathankot. Roads were 50% good, with some stretches having very bad roads.

After crossing Pathankot, we paid toll at the Lakhanpur border (Rs. 130), for up to Srinagar. Soon we reached Dyala Chowk from where there is a right turn to reach Udhampur (bypassing Jammu). Its very easy to miss this crossing, so be careful and keep asking locals. We were informed by locals at Dyala Chowk, that the bypass roads were very narrow and in bad condition. They advised us to head down about 25kms to reach a place called Samba, and take a right turn from there (which is again a road bypassing Jammu to reach Udhampur). After deliberating, we took the Samba route. To our surprise, the roads were absolutely terrible on that route. It was filled with potholes and deep craters while steadily ascending towards Udhampur. It took us almost 2hrs to reach Udhampur from Samba. Low GC cars will definitely hit their underbody in certain portions of this stretch. From Udhampur, we reached Patnitop at about 1pm. Prior to that we missed having Patisa (the very famous sweet available only at Kud) at Kud due to heavy traffic and no parking space. We decided to move on.

Just before reaching Patnitop, we were stuck for about 30mis because some new army buses (which I guess were being tested and which were travelling downhill in a convoy), decided to take U turns at a particular spot.

Right after Patnitop, we found a small Dhaba by the highway, beautifully set in the middle of pine trees. We had our lunch here which consisted of chicken and chappatis. The food was delicious and we had an amazing experience having lunch in such lush green surroundings.

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This was the Dhaba.

After lunch, we set off for Srinagar at about 2:15pm. Nothing much to report until we reached Jawahar Tunnel, except that the roads leading up to Jawahar Tunnel was quote bad. It was a 3km long tunnel which is supposed to be the longest tunnel in the country. There were some checking going on just before entering the tunnel, but we just crossed them without stopping.

As soon as we crossed the Jawahar Tunnel, we hit the Kashmir Valley. Our first pit stop was the Titanic View Point overlooking the valley.
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The first glimpse of Kashmir lived up to its expectations, but was nothing compared to what was in store ahead. Beyond this, that the roads were in average to good condition. At about 5pm, we stopped for tea at a Dhaba by the highway. After this, the approach to Srinagar was extremely crowded and punctuated with traffic jams. We reached Srinagar at about 7pm. We had a difficult time finding a decent hotel within our budget. After much effort and negotiations, we checked in at Nehru’s Hotel in front of the Dal Lake. Cost of accommodation was Rs. 2800 (for all 3 of us), excluding food. After having dinner, we just called it a day. I do not know about others experience with this hotel, but mine was nothing to write home about. I was quite disgusted with their service quality and attitude.

June 17th

Our first morning in Srinagar started off with a day trip to Gulmarg. This was an unexpected plan that was hatched in the morning itself. We set off for Gulmarg at about 10am. The roads to Gulmarg were very good.

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On the way we had a close shave with a careless biker who decided to stop in the middle of the road to chat with a local. Anyway, fighting with locals, especially in an unknown town, is defintetely not advisable, and especiallly in Kashmir (explanations later).

Gulmarg was a super pleasant surprise. The drive from the bottom of the hill was simply stunning. The roads were bad at certain places. However, the scenic beauty around was breathtaking.

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That's my friend Santanu

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When we finally reached the top of the hill, it had started drizzling. We were planning to take the ropeway to the hill top where there was snow. However, to our great disappointment, that particular day the ropeway was closed. We had cups of tea out there before we set off for our hotel.
We were really hungry and wanted to have lunch at Srinagar.

We left Gulmarg at around 1:30pm and reached Srinagar by 3pm. Our lunch was at Mughal Darbar (though we wanted to go to Ahdoos Hotel where they serve the most authentic Wazwan, we just did not want to take the risk of the restaurant being closed by that time). The menu was widespread and had Wazawan dishes on it. Our Wazwan consisted of Mutton Sheek Kabab, Tabak Maaz (mutton ribs shallow fried), Rista, Gostaba, Kashmiri Pulao, and Naan. Our desert was fruit cream. The Wazwan dishes were not very much to my liking except the Tabak Maaz. Frankly, I do not like meat balls.

Anyway, after finishing our lunch, we did some local shopping for saffron, handicrafts, and cookies from EssDee Sons bakery. EssDee Sons is a great place, if you want fresh cookies and I would strongly recommend it(specially their coconut cookies). Subsequently, we headed back to the hotel. At about 8pm, we went to Khyam Road (Gali) for some Mutton Sheek Kababs and Mutton Tikkas. Kyam Road is pretty close to Dal Lake. Hardly 5 mins driving. Had heard about this place on some food show on NDTV Profit about 3 weeks prior to this trip. We had amazing Kababs with Roomali Rotis and an assortment of five different dips. It is strongly recommended to visit this place for mouth watering Kebabs and more strongly recommended to sit and have it there itself (instead of carrying back to hotel). We also had superb Chicken Fries, and Chicken Biriyani. I loved the taste of food out here. And trust me, the food is cheap. I do not recollect the exact price, but it was not at all exhorbitant. Even Mughal Darbar had turned out to be pretty light on pocket. Anyway, we ended the day with some dark fluids being gulped down hurriedly.

Here are some pictures of the hotel where we stayed, the Dal Lake infront, and some general pictures.

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Thats Santanu and my brother-in-law
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Thats Hotel Nehru's where we stayed
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June 18th account will follow shortly...
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Old 8th July 2012, 10:51   #2
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June 18th

We checked out of Nehru’s Hotel by around 7am this morning. Our target was to reach Kargil. The drive across the Dal Lake early in the morning was really beautiful (see the previous pictures). The backside of Dal Lake (towards the Mughal Gardens) has got un-spoilt beauty with no hotels and hardly any tourists. There were a lot of morning walkers though.

A couple of kilometers outside Srinagar we stopped for tea at a local tea stall. The guy served us tea and some delicious home made cakes. We spent about 30mins and then headed off. A picture of the Safari loaded with luggage was also taken at this point.

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The drive towards Sonamarg was like a picture perfect post card with snow capped mountains, green fields, rivers, small streams and roads lined with trees. We halted numerous times to take pictures.

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Soon we reached Sonamarg which was not as picturesque as we thought, probably because the snow had receded. Lots of staying options out here. The roads were quite decent with hardly much traffic, until we started climbing Zojila Pass.

The climb up to the Zojila Pass was one of the most horrible stretches I have driven on. It did appear that a new road was being built at a higher level (which we took), so as to ensure two ways traffic at all times. At that time, all trucks were made to take the route at the lower level, and smaller cars were diverted to the uphill road. We had to engage 4/4 low multiple times to avoid getting caught in the slush. Just at the Pass, we had to halt for about 15mins to let an army convoy go by. This was likely at about 11am. Pictures follow:

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Old 8th July 2012, 11:08   #3
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Zojilla Pics continued...

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Beyond Zojila the drive towards Kargil was horrible again due to bad roads, and construction work. We stopped occassionally for pictures and tea breaks.

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contd...
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Old 8th July 2012, 13:16   #4
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We halted for lunch at Drass at about 1:30pm and had Sheek Kababs, Mutton Rogan Josh, Rice and Chapattis. Surprisingly, the bill was about Rs. 1300! I guess these guys just looted us since we did not ask them for menu or ask them price before ordering. My suggestion for all travelers would be to ask for the menu card and see the price, or ask them the price upfront and then decide.

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On way to Drass

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On way to Drass

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The restaurant where we had our lunch

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After Drass, we had stopped at the Kargil War Memorial and spent about an hour. An army jawan gave us detailed explanation of how the war was fought. As per him, Tiger Hill has now become half the size of what it used to be due to Bofors shelling by Indian Army. A few pictures of the Kargil War Memorial and Museum follow:


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The parking lot

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Tololing hill in the background

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The momorial

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Names of martyrs enshrined forever

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Enemy ammunitions recovered. There were many other such articles of which I had taken pictures of. Am not posting all of them.

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My name on the visitor's book

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Tiger Hill

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The bunker upto which the enemy had occupied position

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Just to give you a perspective, the bunker is in the middle of the picture. Just see how close it was to the war memorial (which is on the highway).

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The jeep on which some army senior guy came in while we were waiting.

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Tiger Hill and Point 4375 views from the parking lot

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The KWM main entrance.

As said before, the approach road to Kargil was extremely bad and narrow. We checked into the Hotel D-Zojila at about 4:30pm. Tariff (after negotiations) was Rs. 2800 (for 3 of us) with buffet dinner. We tanked up in the evening for the next day’s journey. I noticed only one operational
petrol pump, but also saw a new one being built at Kargil. Surprisingly, BSNL connection worked just after Kargil War Memorial and before Drass, but stopped working beyond Drass. There was network coverage
at Kargil, but calls never went through.

Some pictures enroute to Kargil follow:

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The Beast parked on the road

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Good roads initially
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Another view

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Another view

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contd...
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Old 8th July 2012, 13:43   #5
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Nice writeup!

By the way, not everyone carries an Oxygen cylinder in the car on Leh trip. And I hope that it is not mandatory for everyone?

By the way, All three were driving from Delhi till Srinagar on Day 1?

Cheers!
Irish

Last edited by Irish : 8th July 2012 at 13:45.
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Old 8th July 2012, 13:46   #6
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Beautiful vistas all around. The green grass and snow capped mountains were mesmerizing.

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The 3 of us. This was a lovely spot so we posed for quite a numbr of pictures.

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Approaching Kargil

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Kargil Town from a distance

June 19th

On 19th morning at about 7am, we left Hotel D’Zojila Hotel to head towards Leh. A funny thing happened. There was a room service guy whom we had asked the night before to clean our car from the outside. Next day morning I saw the car quite clean. When the room service guy helped us put in the luggage in the car, I asked him if he cleaned the car (since I had to pay him some money), but he said he did not. When we were leaving, he (it seemed like) came up and asked for money. When we confronted him saying that he did not clean the car since that’s what he mentioned before, he pointed us to another guy and said that the other guy was the room service fellow, who did not clean the car. Then we realized that both the guys were twin brothers, with exactly same looks,
build, haircut, and style of speaking.

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hotel d'zojilla

Anyway, the journey from Kargil to Leh was mind blowing. We crossed Namik La and Fotu La (highest motorable pass between Srinagar and Leh). The landscape was changing every few kilometers. I wondered why would anyone go outside India to see similar landscapes, when everything you wanted to see, and more, was right here in our country. A pictolouge of this stretch is given below:


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contd...
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Old 8th July 2012, 13:59   #7
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Default Re: A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best

Roads towards Leh (from Kargil)

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Old 8th July 2012, 14:22   #8
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contd...

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Can you imagine that those dots appearing on the mountain are actually sheep grazing around? I just do not understand how they are able to keep standing on such steep slopes!!

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Sheep again...

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After Fotu La, a stretch of road began which, though smooth, passed through a very narrow gorge like environment. The mountains on both sides were very very rugged and it seemed like as if they were falling on us. And along side was a river with strong currents. It reminds you of the Grand Canyon in the US. A few pictures are as follows:

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Before reaching Leh, we found this wonderful stretch of straight road with no traffic in sight ahead or behind. I did not have second thoughts about stopping the car in the middle of the road and taking a few pictures. You should take a look at it to believe it. But mind you...do not try to speed up on this stretch. There are lots of ups and downs, and after a certain distance, the roads become winding again.

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This looked like an endless inter-state American highway

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Can you see the sudden curve (which you may not see out there). Though the road appears to be straight, it may have such sudden curves. Be careful.

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That's the Leh airport boundary wall on your right side.

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Reached Leh!!!
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Old 8th July 2012, 14:29   #9
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Default Re: A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best

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Originally Posted by Irish View Post
Nice writeup!


By the way, not everyone carries an Oxygen cylinder in the car on Leh trip. And I hope that it is not mandatory for everyone?

By the way, All three were driving from Delhi till Srinagar on Day 1?
Cheers!
Irish
Thanks Irish.

Carrying oxygen cylinder is not mandatory at all. I just took it for precaution since all three of us were smokers. Never had to use it on the trip.

About driving, well...Santanu does not know how to drive. And my brother-in-law has never driven in the hills, or driven an SUV.
So I was the sole driver on the entire trip right from the time we left home on 15th night, till we came back. And trust me, I was not tired. I could have gulped down many many more miles!!!
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Old 8th July 2012, 14:45   #10
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Default Re: A journey through Leh & Ladakh – Barren beauty at its best

Excellent travelogue Sourav.

Pictures are awesome and can only imagine how beautiful it will be to see it personally.

How did the Safari perform? Any issues with altitude sickness?

It seems that most of the roads have been newly laid by BRO? Could you tell how would small cars like the Vista fare on such roads.
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Old 8th July 2012, 15:07   #11
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Excellent write up. Pictures are quite good, resolution more than adequate for net viewing!!
This is one trip, which every driver worth his salt, dreams of. So congrats on the dream trip, and wish you many more in your new steed.

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Old 8th July 2012, 15:42   #12
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...not everyone carries an Oxygen cylinder in the car on Leh trip.
High altitudes have a way of suddenly making you feel ill due to lack of oxygen. Whether stopping for 30 minutes on top of K'La (17k+ feet), or staying the night at Tso Moriri (15k feet), lack of oxygen can suddenly make you feel breathless and go blue at the lips. Doesn't happen to everyone, but the unexpected is best prepared for. Carrying oxygen has the same purpose as carrying a tow strap, or a spade, or driving a 4wd, or carrying a stove and rations - it helps you cross a hurdle or survive an unplanned situation, and not leave you helplessly stranded. I know of at least one family (with a doctor on board, no less) who had to cut short their road trip and fly back from Leh because one of the members fell acutely ill due to lack of oxygen - a completely avoidable situation if a little oxygen were available.
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Old 8th July 2012, 15:44   #13
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June 19th continued...

We reached Leh between 3 – 4 pm I think. SS-Traveller had given us the reference of Kidar Guest House at Leh, but the manager mentioned that it was full. It was my mistake that I had not called and booked it earlier. So we searched for other hotels, and finally ended up at Hotel Hilltown on the Upper Tukchey Road right in the heart of the main market area. The hotel guys wanted to charge some Rs. 4000 per night, but we finally settled at Rs.3000 for 3 of us. Luckily the Hotel had ample parking space. The room was fairly large with a clean bathroom. Hot water was available only from 7pm to 10pm and then again from 6am to 10am. This is standard in Leh.
After checking-in, we relaxed a bit, and then headed to eat out. Based on my Lonely Planet guidebook, we landed up at this small place called Gesmo on the Fort Road (pictures would follow). The day we reached, they were serving veg food all across Leh. Apparently it was some holy day as per the Buddhist calendar. Anyway, we had a good meal of pizzas, sandwhiches and juices. Food was definitely nice, and pizza even better than what we are used to in Delhi. And prices were quite reasonable. After eating out, we went out to do some local shopping. I got a turquoise necklace from Stanzin (main market, next to SBI ATM) for my wife (again referred by SS-Traveller).

Finally we settled down at the hotel and took a hot bath in the evening. At night, we felt hungry only around 11 or so. Me and Santanu went out in search of food, but all eateries were closed. Finally, on Fort Road, there was one restaurant that was just about to close. After a lot of pleading, they allowed us to have some roti and dal, which was to be consumed in 15mins. Thanks to them we slept with a full stomach.

We called it a day at around 12:30pm. Next day, was to be the big day when we go for our permits.

June 20th
We woke up pretty early (by our standards) at about 7am. By 9am we were all ready and headed for breakfast at Jeevan Cafι (Changspa Road). Breakfast consisted of sandwhiches, omlettes, pizzas and tea. Again good food at reasonable prices. It was the best pizza I have had in quite a long time. All pizzas in Leh were made in wood fired over, had thin crusts, and were delicious.

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At Jeevan Cafe (Changspa Road)

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Omlette (Pizza came late so no pics of that)

We then proceeded to the DC’s office. At the DC’s office, we filled up the necessary forms. My friend was writing names of all the places in capital letters. I had to tear the form away and wrote afresh, with the names of Chusul, Nyoma, Marisimik La etc in small letters and bit illegibly. I had heard the previous night from Sammi (the bcmtouring guy) that he was refused permit to these places the day before. And based on updates from various people and travel sites, I got to know that permits for these sectors are not being issued. So I just took a chance that the guys at the counter may just oversee the small names. The names that I had put on the permit were Nubra Valley, Shyok Village, Pangong, Marisimik La, Chusul, Tsaga, Nyoma, Tso Morini, Tso Kar, Mahe. After paying the Red Cross Fee (and something else also), we approached the section officer. He kept saying, ‘ so you are going to Nubra, Pangong, Tso Mori?’, and I kept saying ‘yes, and to other places in between’, without explicitly mentioning Chusul etc. Luckily he did not strike down any name. He asked me to get the form signed by the DC. We went upstairs where there was a lady who was to sign the form. She appeared quite busy. When she saw us, she just called, signed the forms, and handed over to us. We were super excited. But that was not the end. The section officer still had to put a stamp on the permit form. We went down again, handed the form to the Section officer, he stamped and gave it to us. Just to be sure, I asked him again, ‘is there anything else I need to do?’, and he said No. Again I asked him, ‘so I just show this form at various checkposts and I am through?’, again he said, ‘yes, make photocopies and hand them over’. The section officer was quite nice in the sense he elaborated everything very well.
We came out of the DC office and jumped in joy. We called up Harsh Vardhan and Dr. Sengupta to let them know that our permit was arranged. Attached below is a scanned copy of our permit.
Chusul Permit.pdf

After that we visited the Stok Palace at around 12:30pm. They were closing for lunch at 1pm, so we were asked to hurriedly finish our tour. Well, if you are expecting anything similar to a palace in Rajasthan, you can just forget it. This is like a huge building, with small, dark rooms (your head may bang into the ceiling), wooden or stone staircases etc. The artifacts were quite interesting, especially the head gear worn by woman. The museum person told us that the kings of Leh first used to stay at the Leh Palace, then moved into the Stok Palace, and then finally settled at the Shey Palace. The present king also stays there most of the time (his son is studying in Delhi), but was not there that day since he had gone to Delhi to collect his son for holidays.

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This little girl was so adorable. All ladakhi kids have such tomato red cheeks. Santanu just could not stop taking a picture with her.

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This was a compliation of the history of the Ladakh kingdom and its palaces.

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Inside the palace. Courtyard on 1st floor.

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Central courtyard. Museum rooms are on the left corridor. The straight passage leads to the chambers where the present king resides.

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Outside view from the palace

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Another view overlooking the valley

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View of the palace from the outside

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Thats me with the background.

After Stok Palace, we visited the Thiksey Monastrey. Though Shey Palace was on the way, we did not stop. Thiksey Monastrey had a beauty in itself. From the outside it looks like a cluster of small buildings. But from the inside, its a single structure. The rooms inside where various images, wall paintings and idols were kept, had almost no light. It was difficult to see even with naked eyes. Photography with flash is prohibited. Somehow managed to do some low light photography to capture the images.

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Thiksey Monastry

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Entrance

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View of the valley from the monastry

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another view of the valley from the monastry

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Prayer wheels. Turn them clockwise for good luck

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Inside the monastry

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lovely wall paintings

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This red wooden door was looking awesome in contrast

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paintings

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The monastry was filled with smallstatues like these. They were not just of the Buddha, but various other gods and godesses.

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The view from the terrace of the monastery was absolutely superb. Though it was sunny, we spent quite some time there to take photographs. We also saw the statue of a huge Buddha (probably over 40 ft) covering two floors. It was quite a sight to behold, though not peaceful due to the huge number of tourists.

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Both the above are pictures from the terrace

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The 40ft Buddha statue

We spent about 2 hours at the Thiksey Monsatrey and then headed back to Leh.

Just before entering the main Leh town, we stopped at the TMASS. Well, they were not really a service center as such. They catered only to commercial vehicles, and the manager inside mentioned that no one was available that particular day. We wanted to get the car washed, but because the waiting time was about 2-3 hours, we wanted to move on. I took out the air filter myself, and got it cleaned using a blower available there. Tons of dust had accumulated by then.
At Leh, we again went to the Gesmo restaurant for a late lunch (pizzas and sandwiches). After that we reached the hotel, cleaned the car ourselves, and rested for the evening. At around 8:30pm, we went to the Chopsticks restaurant (chinese food - above average quality) for dinner (on Fort Road and good food), and retired for the night.

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The Gesmo restaurant on Fort Road. Good food. Would definetely recommend.

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View of fort road. Though Chopsticks restaurant signboard is on the right side, the restaurant is actually further down the road (backside), on thr right hand, and on 1st floor (they also have open terrace sitting).

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You will see advertisements like these all across Leh. Trekking for 14 days etc is out of the question for me...
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Old 8th July 2012, 15:56   #14
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I got a turquoise necklace from Stanzin (main market, next to SBI ATM) for my wife (again referred by SS-Traveller).
Hope she liked it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by souravdebiswas View Post
The Gesmo restaurant on Fort Road. Good food. Would definetely recommend.
I would too. They also dish out a lovely tuna pizza, for those with an attraction for fish!
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June 21st

This day, we were supposed to cross Khardungla and head towards Diskit/Hunder. We woke up early again (by about 6am) and checked out of the hotel by about 7:30am.

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Thats the Hotel Hill Town

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Nice small garden. The room on the 1st floor in the middle ofthe picture is where we stayed. Lots of staying options on this road.

The drive towards Khardungla was uneventful. The first checkpost where we submitted our ILP was at South Pullu. The drive up the pass was through some bad roads (but manageable). At the top, we took our customary photographs, had maggi and tea at the canteen, and then proceeded towards Diskit. ILP had to be submitted at North Pullu checkpost again. The climb down was again through some bad roads. The bad roads actually started from South Pullu and ended after North Pullu. Rest of the stretch of pretty smooth. Photographs follow:

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Initial climb was on smooth roads

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Good roads and beautiful views around

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Good roads and beautiful views around

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Good roads and beautiful views around

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South Pullu checkpost. Bad roads start here on...

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The climb up. Beauty beyond imagination...

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Reached the highest motorable pass

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The maggi story...

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The 3 of us at the top

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What a lovely view around

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Climb down begins

contd...onward journey to Hunder
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