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Old 6th August 2012, 15:26   #61
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Day 6 contd.

Sarchu - Leh


Where every turn you take ....


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Unfolds something special infront of you..


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Where every loop you climb..

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Gives you new challenges

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The Gata loops..


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On top of Gata loops


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The road to Nakeela


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Old 6th August 2012, 16:36   #62
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Day 6 contd.

Sarchu - Leh


The "high"way to Leh keeps climbing Sarchu onwards. After Nakeela it was Lachung La. The road is dusty throughout. Not that we were complaining. The weather was perfect and we just drifted with the meandring roads.


The mighty Lachung La.


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Barren, arid and yet so beautiful.


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Maximus wants more of such terrain but he was disappointed at the Whiskey nullah for there was no whiskey or rum.. a dry day for him!


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OH yeah... we sure are happy to drive here.. thanks BRO..the smile on our face is like .


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Hunger "Pang"s and we had our packed lunch here. Mind you the cook at Himalayan Saga had done a good job. Pang is the next stop where you will find very basic accomodation however its even higher than Sarchu and problems of AMS are more severe here. You will get food like dal / rajma and rice , maggi, omlettes etc in the numerous dhaba there. Also there is Army presence where you can make an emergency phone call back home. Remember you are out of mobile coverage .




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Beyond that Table Top lies the More plains


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The start of More plains


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Day 6 To be contd.

Last edited by noopster : 7th August 2012 at 10:00. Reason: Posts merged- pics now showing
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Old 6th August 2012, 18:15   #63
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Default Re: Driving in Thin Air

Now that's what I really call a magical trip! Awesome pictures, am totally mesmerized!!

Despite being from J&K, so far I never had a chance to travel upwards, but never say die is the word when it comes to Ladakh. Someday definitely it'll be drive extreme north for me, until then am just enjoying your pictures, keep them coming mate!
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Old 6th August 2012, 22:18   #64
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Keep going Columbus - delightful...errr...could be a little faster though.
Waiting to hear about that rock which came hurtling towards you. Feels as though right now the rock is suspended somewhere in mid air or mid slope waiting to come crashing down. So hurry up dear chap - the rock hasn't got all the time in the world !
Unable to the see the last set of pictures - for some strange reason.

Last edited by Guderian : 6th August 2012 at 22:21.
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Old 6th August 2012, 22:49   #65
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this thread is inclining me more towards the TFORT and also make a himalyan Trip.

Excellent pictures and narration. I am glued on

Are you running stock tyres or is it upgraded. I am curious to know how your tyres (assuming stock) performed on 4X4 terrain
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Old 7th August 2012, 00:56   #66
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Rated this thread a well deserved 5 starts Ravi. I am glued on and looking forward to the remaining updates on these forums. Excellent review and excelent photographs, al these has made me realize on what I have been missing and fired my zeal to do this trip atleast once after having read numerous T'logues on the post.
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Old 7th August 2012, 11:38   #67
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Day 6 Contd.

Sarchu to Leh


More Plains

This perhaps is the most amazing section to drive on the Manali - Leh highway. A vast open 10 lane expressway. Choose your own road. And all roads to lead to Taglangla... The road in the Murray plains was completely dug open. . When you have tracks like this who wants to drive on a road .


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The exit from the plains was bad with loose mud everywhere. Trucks stranded with broken axles reminded us of the treachorous terrain. For us it was happy cruising in 4H in the mud. No 4L required here. After crossing the mud bath Maximus was all brown in colur. Asked a BRO tanker watering the new road to wash the windsheild and he happily gave Maximus a much needed bath. Bless you guys ..Love your spirit

The approach to Taglangla was rough but nothing serious. Maximus despatched it in a jiffy and before we knew we were bowing our heads at Taglangla Baba Temple. There was not much of snow left at the pass. We gave lift to a BRO officer who informed us that most of the snow had melted only during the last week. It was good chatting with the guy. Came to know somethings about their constraints in working in such a harsh environment.


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The final frontier had been conquered. Beyond this was Leh...


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The effects of last years cloud burst was clearly visible from Upshi onwards. Washed bridges, huge cracks on the roads .. the progress was slow. At Upshi we dropped the BRO guy and made our first phone call home after 2 days. We had also taken the number of a certain Mahe guest house from a Mumbaikar in Solang who had just returned from Leh. We enquired about a room availabilty and a car park. Both were affirmative and we knew we would not reach Leh before 7 in the evening we decided to book it. It turned out be a fantastic place to stay. We finally reached Leh with some golden hues in the sky...



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We have arrived at Leh. And what an experience it had been. All i can say is that i am short of words for describing the feeling. It was party time

Last edited by columbus : 7th August 2012 at 11:44.
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Old 7th August 2012, 18:12   #68
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Your posts has hooked me on! Finished reading all posts in one seating that too during working hours!

Very well narrated with superb pictures. It felt like visiting the place in person. May be one day I will have courage (and permissions from the cabinet !) to plan such a trip.

Eagerly waiting for you next posts.
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Old 7th August 2012, 20:53   #69
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A brilliant narrative Columbus. Giving it a well deserved 5 stars. I especially like your way of systematically building the travelogue - starting with a photo "Table of Contents", followed by an "Introduction" and eventually detailing the individual "Chapters" for each day.
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Old 8th August 2012, 09:38   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hocuspocus View Post

It's an ultimate test for man and machine in a beautiful playground. I'd read that smaller cars have taken the trip and survived to tell the tale but it seems sensible to be in a 4X4 for these kind of terrain's.
At any stage, did you feel that you will not be able to cover the distance because of the road/terrain/height/etc?
Also, the booking for tents at Sarchu, can it be made in advance?
Thanks hocuspocus

Yes its a test for both man and the machine. It was only on the first day that i felt tired. Rest of the days it was pure joy. Infact never felt so refreshed after a trip even after driving for 18 days. Such is the beauty of Ladakh.
Yes its good to have a 4x4 but high GC vehicles easily do Ladakh.
Yes i think you can book the tents before hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeash.vk View Post
Absolutely awesome Travelogue. This is my first post after receiving the much coveted membership and I think I am posting in one of the best threads - at least as long as Tlogs are concerned.

Loved the pictures the most! Thank you for the post and waiting for the rest of the log. Can't wait!
Thanks Jeash.vk.
Welcome to Tbhp. Trust me you will be addicted to this forum very soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverikMahesh View Post
Not to mention the thrill and risks involved getting Leh'd for the first time and that too through unknown territory Congratulations!
Thanks MaverikMahesh
"Unknown territory " Good choice of words mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asethi View Post
Now that's what I really call a magical trip! Awesome pictures, am totally mesmerized!!

Despite being from J&K, so far I never had a chance to travel upwards, but never say die is the word when it comes to Ladakh.
Thanks asethi.
Don't wait long. Fire your cylinders . You will not regret it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post
Keep going Columbus - delightful...errr...could be a little faster though.
General. Thanks for appreciating the log. Pls don't send your Panzers or the Luftwafe after me. Going as fast as possible. Its the huge number of photographs uploading which takes lot of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
this thread is inclining me more towards the TFORT and also make a himalyan Trip.
Excellent pictures and narration. I am glued on
Are you running stock tyres or is it upgraded. I am curious to know how your tyres (assuming stock) performed on 4X4 terrain
Thanks bharath.
Yes i am running on stock Dunlops. They performed decently at most of the terrain. Just one puncture in the entire trip. Also suits my needs of 90% city drive and 10 % offroad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dass View Post
Excellent review and excelent photographs, al these has made me realize on what I have been missing and fired my zeal to do this trip atleast once after having read numerous T'logues on the post.
Thanks dass. It was the same with me to. Just do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutvij View Post
Your posts has hooked me on! Finished reading all posts in one seating that too during working hours!

Eagerly waiting for you next posts.
Thanks rutvij. Take the cabinet along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrishik View Post
A brilliant narrative Columbus. Giving it a well deserved 5 stars.

Thanks hrishik and welcome to Tbhp.
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Old 8th August 2012, 13:24   #71
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Wonderful thread Columbus. Finally get to read in details after the first mention about it in the ownership thread.

Kudos to you on doing the entire driving all alone.

Keep it flowing.
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Old 8th August 2012, 15:19   #72
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Dear Columbus !!

Would really like to know if I can pass on one of my leaves to you so that you can finish the Log !!
Great travelogue, nicely built up.... !!
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Old 8th August 2012, 16:41   #73
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Not taking away anything from columbus, but I've got almost used to seeing the pictures - so many of them. . I really appreciate your patience in compiling this thread. That in itself gives a measure of patience and perseverance you had when you undertook this trip. Kudos to you columbus
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Old 8th August 2012, 16:55   #74
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Day 7

Leh

We slept like logs. Woke up late and had a delicious breakfast. Mahe guest house was sheer value for money. Good large size room with window opening to the Stok range. Attached Bath with running HOT water, decent furniture, superbly clean linen and to top it all delicious food. The vegetables come from the garden infront, food is cooked by the women in house. You can tell them your taste..spice.. no spice..and they will make it to your specification. Just like home. The catch is Veg is fantastic and Non-Veg not so good.
Rijin the owner of the GH said that he will get the permits for us for a nominal fee. We were also not very keen in going to DC office and spend an hr or two in getting the permits. However on seeing names like Turtuk, Chushul, Hanle, Tsaga la he said that its better that you personally go there .
So after gorging some fantastic Aloo Parathas and omlettes we were at the DC to get the shock... Saab aaj DC office close hai . It was some local holiday which we were not aware of . DC office close means the complete plan goes haywire. My mind was furiously working what to do... replan the whole trip. Then came the good news that because of tourist rush the DC office would open at 2:30 in the afternoon for permits. Phew !

It was already 11 and we decided to give Maximus a much needed bath. Toyota now has a service center at Leh. I thought that i will get the Fort checked up and get a top wash. We had a good chat with the General Manager there about issues in working at Leh. The most severe conditions these vehicles have to face. Another issue they had that Ladakh has now a booming tourism industry and locals don't want to work as mechanics since the pay is nowhere near what they can make in one season time.

A local Travel operator had brought his Etios for some fitments. He owns vehicles from all the three brands Toyota, M&M and Tata. Some interesting things he narrated about vehicle scenario in Leh.

1. Toyota rules. Innova has a waiting period of 3 months and some times more. A qualis running 2 lakhs kms in Ladakh commands a resale price of 5+ lakhs.Toyotas are the only vehicles which have proved there mettle in these severe condition.

2. Mahindras come next. Locals say that Scorps, Boleros and Xylos do have issues which crop up time to time but are manageable. But being cheaper than Innova they are maximum in number.

3. Tatas are a complete failure there. None of the TATA SUVs are a success there. Worst performance from Safari where most of them were sold off with in a year or two because of numerous problems.

Another interesting incident he narrated where a Team from M&M had come to Leh in winters when the temp went down to -20 deg to check their vehicles performance in extreme conditions. All the M&M vehicles had starting issues. However an Innova lying under cover for last 1 month fired up in half crank..!! Needless to say people are mad about Toyota.

I will again repeat here that these are NOT my inferences. I am just narrating what was told by the Travel operator.

The mechanic said that Maximus has no issues and only needs a bath which unfortunately will not be possible here since their pumps are not working. So off we went to Choglsmar area where there are couple of car washing joints. After a refershing Bath Maximus was came back in his original colur after a gap of 7 days.

We still had some time so decided to checkout Shey palace.


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A pano of Leh valley from Shey palace

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The DC office was swarming with people. We did manage to place our forms at the top. The clerk asked : Aap govermnet employee hain ? me said yes. Chushul bhi jana chahte hain ?? me said yes. hmmm..OK go. Paid the fees and got the permits from upstairs. Made 25 copies and enjoyed our lunch at Leh view restaurant.

Came back to the hotel and slept for a while. In the evening strolled in the market. Leh has very nice relaxed atmosphere. Choose from many of the specialty cusine restaurants and enjoy the meal with some nice music and dimm lights. Though we came back to our hotel and had our dinner there.

Tomorrow we set out to make our date with K Top.
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Old 8th August 2012, 17:01   #75
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Indeed its paradise for Photographers. Lovely Scenery's & Lovely Landscapes.
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