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Old 15th July 2012, 13:03   #1
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Default 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

Yes/No/Maybe was what we did for 3 years. High dollar cost, higher overseas trip costs it was final Leh it would be this summer. Once it was decided the research started, blogs were read, expert opinion (read HVK) was sought, paper was flying of the printer.. plan was taking good shape. 5 souls would be travelling 3 from Pune and 2 would join in Jaipur. 2005 Pajero would be used.

Plan would be dep 10-6-2012 from Pune-Jaipur-Jammu-Srinagar-Gulmarg-Sonamarg-Kargil-Ulleytokpo-Leh-Pangong-Leh-Nubra-Leh-TsoMoriri-Sarchu-Manali-Jaipur-Pune by 30-6-2012. Thanks to HVK routes got finalised within no time.

As usual ladies got to plan the Clothes/food/medicine part while the gents got into getting the wheels/tools/maps/hotel bookings ready. Everything was a GO 15 days before departure. Only worry was that the vehicle would be using tyres that had done 45K (Michelin ATX). Dealer was approached for a view on this his response "Saab North jao South jao and phir North Jao to bhi chalega" gave some confidence. Was not keen on having to change tyres at high altitudes hence continued to be worried about this.

One teaser to keep you interested. (Can claim some from HM for free advertising)

Frequent LEH travellers... Guess the location.

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Started early 0400 hrs from Pune, it was me alone who was going to drive the next 1400 kms to Jaipur. Journey on the excellent roads was uneventful and based on good advice saved a lot of time avoiding the Bharuch toll naka+It was a sunday+It was very hot... managed to reach home in Jaipur 1930 hrs. 15 and 1/2 hrs was not bad.. my personal best between Pune and Jaipur.

Had to add this Golden Bridge across Narmada in Ankleshwar.

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11-6-2012 was taken to be a pit stop.. blew my rear break light for the third time. Guy said "Saab holder loose hai and yeh type Jaipur mai nahi milega" had him tape the blub and the holder together to avoid loose contact. By evening some more luggage got added for the persons joining and the rear was looking crowded. Nobody was interested in putting the stuff on the carrier as it would be check-in and check-out everyday from now on and loading/unloading would be a pain.

12-6-2012 early start of 0400 hrs. Route would be Jaipur-Chomu-Sikar-Ratangad-Hanumangarh-Abohar-Kotkapura-Moga-Jalandhar-Pathankot (850 kms). Plan was to stop driving at sunset. So no bookings enroute whereever sunsets we find a place for the night.

Jaipur-Chamu was a bit of a pain with all the road widening works going on and progress was slow. Post Chomu pace picked up, after Ratangad we were buring serious rubber all plans of breakfast halts/lunch halts went for a toss. This Kishangarh-Bhatinda superhighway was amazing... no great 3-4 lanes just very wide 2 lane highway with excellent tarmac. Overtaking with oncoming traffic was a breeze. 468 kms to Abohar was done under 4.5 hrs. and it was still not lunch time.

Some snaps on the way.. sorry not many as was too hot and nobody wanted to step out of the car.

Some Dune bashing enroute

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Road ahead...

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Somewhere between Ratangad and Hanumangad

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Abohar bypass was in bad shape but soon we were on the way to Muktasar-Kotkapura. Lunch was taken here excellent resturant (Green star something). Next big town would be Jalandhar. This has no bypass had to go through town. Took the right.. took the left (following the GPS) but still ended up in the wrong place maybe were distracted by all the ads on FM "Visa for Kanada". Asking around got us back on route to Pathankot.

Jalandhar-Pathankot stretch reminded me of the Surat-Bharuch of old times left.. diversion-right.. diversion it was slow going and stressful. Managed to reach Pathankot by 1700 hrs. No sunset yet so continued on to Jammu. Managed to get booking at Hari Niwas using 3G and Makemytrip. Checked in at 2100 hrs. Long drive ahead next day... to be continued.
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Old 15th July 2012, 13:57   #2
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

wow!
There are many Leh travelogues here on BHP but i never read those from start to end due to 'n' number of pages that each have.
But, i will keep glued to this one from start to end.

Only request from me, thoda zaldi zaldi post karo![ please update this logue little faster].
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Old 15th July 2012, 14:17   #3
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Looking forward to this thread as i am planning a leh trip next year with my wife and kids in my xuv 500

most threads feature a guys only expedition , hopefully this one will help me convince my wife to move from 99% to 100% confirm

will be looking forward for more updates & pics

Last edited by vaibhavdalal : 15th July 2012 at 14:21.
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Old 15th July 2012, 14:34   #4
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

The travelogue is coming up in good shape.

I am surprised if not shocked to know that you covered 1400kms in 15 and half hrs. Thats incredible with an average of almost 85-90 kms an hour. Never travelled on that route so no idea.

BTW you seem to be coming back to T-BHP after a long time.
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Old 15th July 2012, 14:48   #5
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

Thanks Ashish.. will try and keep pace with your reading speed but do bear with me need to do some work too after a long holiday.

13-6-2012 The extra 150 kms done overnight called for a late start from Jammu and late start it was 0900 hrs. About Hari Niwas 2-Star rooms, 3-Star breakfast/restuarant and 4-star rates. But right outside the gate simple right turn and you are on your way to Srinagar. As usual one of the most crowded highway. Going was slow, stretches after Katra crossing are bad.. too many people eating rajma chawal in khud while parking their vehicles in the narrow road. Bottom-line MESS. Took ages to reach Jawahar Tunnel.. 2700 mtrs of marvel (thankfully otherwise was getting boring climbing another mountain with the traffic).

Some snaps enroute
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Hit Srinagar outskirts at 1630 hrs took another 2 hrs to reach Ghat-16 of Dal Lake. Read in the papers Kashmir had the highest number of tourist this year and it showed. Masses everywhere no place to park. Unloaded at the Ghat and found a paid parking told the guy extra for washing which he gladly agreed (INR 250 was quite steep).

Some snaps on the ride to the houseboat

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Man and his Ferrari
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Traffic here too!!!
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Done for the day..
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Houseboat was located and we were safely on board. Alsambhai was considerate enough to keep the doors locked so the rooms were minus the mosquitoes. Though only 350 kms were done we felt more tired. It called for early to bed. To be continued...
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Old 15th July 2012, 18:27   #6
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14-6-2012 Woke up early to catch life on the lake, was not disappointed as got some nice pics

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off to school
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breafast time
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Since it was the first time in Srinagar for some of us, local sightseeing was in order. Finalised on Nishat Gardens, Shankaracharya Temple and some Shikara rides.

Here goes

Entrance to Nishat Gardens
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Some blooms
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Better side of the lake
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Life on the Lake
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Sunset over Srinagar Fort
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Day done, ladies got busy shopping.. we had invited some Pashmina manufacturers to the House Boat. This works out better as there is no pressure on you to buy,onus is on the guy to make his trip worthwhile. Bargaining is to your advantage. Try it...

All agreed Srinagar overrated, dal lake too dirty and if no care taken will be just a lake full of weeds in a few years.

Next day would be Gulmarg.. to be continued.
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Old 16th July 2012, 04:36   #7
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

Awesome pictures and doing this 7000 Kms is no mean feat. Were there kids as well in the trip?

Eagerly waiting for the rest of the story to unfold and more pictures. The snow covered pictures at the top, is that Rohtang Pass?

A well deserving paanch sitara.
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Old 16th July 2012, 08:15   #8
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

Lovely start of TL.
With some planning you could have stayed at Mansar JKTourism huts and avoided Jammu totally by taking Samba-Udhampur link. Shorter and lesser stress as it also bypasses Katra. Also from all I gather leaving Jammu early is important as the traffic builds up by eight nine onwards with trucks, buses and all the taxi cabs. This makes the journey more enjoyable and shorter.
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Old 16th July 2012, 09:56   #9
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Many thanks to all who responded. Mayank youngest was 17 so kid no more and no it is not Rohtang.

Sudev that route was discussed but not taken and yes agree with you Hills or no Hills better to make a early start in the summers.

I am still waiting for some one to identify the location.

15-6-2012 Yesterday had made bookings for the Gulmarg ropeway at Srinagar itself so was a lazy start... what only 52 kms!

some pics enroute
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Roads to Gulmarg specially the climb are patchy, but views make for the discomfort.

Check-in at Grand Mumtaz, the less said about this place the better.

Looking at the crowds lined up for the cable car ride, paid a guy to stand in queue for us. Money well spent i think. Idea was to do the first stretch to 10K feet as it was already paid for... ignore the second part taking you to 12K ft. as we were pretty sure that would be hugely crowded and with less number of cars on that stretch it would have been utter waste of time.

Some pics while lazing around at 10K feet - Gulmarg level-1

Gulmarg Overview
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Level-1
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No snow pictures taken as it was very dirty and since we had bigger ambitions why waste film here. Overall impression.. Gulmarg should be visited in March/April less crowds and better snow cover.

16-6-2012 Started for Sonamarg early in the morning as everybody was already starting to get sunburnt. Bypassed Srinagar and had a leisurely drive to Sonamarg.

Some pics enroute

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Live Pashmina
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Check-in at Hotel Glacier Heights. And decided to walk around the town. Plan was to get an idea about convoy timings. Met some Army guys who informed that make an start between 0700-0730 and you should be fine.

Sonamarg some Pics.

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Nothing much to say about Sonamarg just a pit stop place if going towards Leh.

Zojilla tommorrow everybody was excited and pensive at the same time. to be continued...
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Old 16th July 2012, 11:20   #10
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Intro pic from Zozila?
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Old 16th July 2012, 11:32   #11
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Crisp and short. I like your style of writing. However please do update us on how your beast handled it. Although the logue is good a little more detail on the driving experience will make it perfect. Waiting for your next post.
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Old 16th July 2012, 12:08   #12
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16-6-12 As adviced started at 0700 hrs from the Hotel.. guess what the traffic had been stopped as the Convoy was to start descending 0900 hrs. JK police was manning the post and was surprising to see that he was letting JK-10 plate taxis go but stopping trucks and all other private vehicles. A few harsh words were exchanged with JK police and threatening noise about making some calls, we were through.

Route to Amarnath Base Camp
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Let the pics do the talking
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Had read that Zojilla was tough.. guess what it was. Too narrow at places, too steep, crater size potholes. Only place in the whole 7000 kms we drove did I manage to brush my front skid plate.

This was the test of both Man and Machine. Man was doing fine except a bit tense.. machine was well belowing a lot of smoke as we climbed, steep climb meant a few creaks from the chassis. Overall nothing performance as expected from a icon.

As soon we crossed the Army convoy started its journey down. Z-Top we decided to have our own picnic.

Some pics at Z-Top
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Next stop Drass..
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Old 16th July 2012, 12:13   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Intro pic from Zozila?
Sorry wrong again, keep trying you will get it
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Old 16th July 2012, 12:25   #14
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Wonderful

BTW for the teaser pic question , somewhere near changla, based on the super smooth background snow sheet, very typical to Changla view when you look towards direction of Leh.

Do you see the similarity
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Old 16th July 2012, 13:26   #15
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Default Re: 7000 kms- Trip of a Life Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Wonderful

BTW for the teaser pic question , somewhere near changla, based on the super smooth background snow sheet, very typical to Changla view when you look towards direction of Leh.

Do you see the similarity
Attachment 957310

Attachment 957311
You got it rajeev.. excellent pickup guess the smoothness of the snow gave it away. Off the 11 passes done during the whole trip this was my fav for quite some time till it got surpassed..
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