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Old 24th August 2012, 13:19   #211
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
When I saw the glaciers & snow walls on the road, I heaved a sigh of relief – I had foolishly assured Lalu before the trip that we would see snow during this trip, not being sure of course! Lalu appeared to be satiated with all the snow walls that we drove through, although I did hear him muttering that he wanted the Scorpio’s Yokos to also crunch some of the snow/ ice on the road!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Lalu, are you going to accompany HVK again?
Yes, Have to accompany HVK again, his promise of snow on the roads is yet to be fulfilled
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:01   #212
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Seriously HVK sir, these are some questions lingering in my mind and may be in others for some time now and more so following these amazing TL and all the talks of 4WD vs 2WD-
  1. Why or when does one need a 4WD if such terrains can be driven by a 2WD (also treaded by humbler Boleros or Maxx)
  2. What is the advantage if a 4WD is driven in these conditions instead of a 2WD?
  3. What is the ideal power that a vehicle should have to cover these types of places and stay clear of some tricky or difficult situations (understanding that the skills matter more than the vehicle)
  4. And lastly for now, does one need any prior experience driving (like a statutory warning - dont try this by yourself) on such terrains before attempting it or can be done by anyone?
Not sure if some or all of these questions have been answered before else it would be really good to know for prospective trippers like many of us.

Last edited by girishglg : 24th August 2012 at 14:05.
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:09   #213
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
some questions lingering in my mind ...
What I can infer from my drives through these terrains are Skills matter most. A good ground clearance and nice torque helps you greatly here.
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:20   #214
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Fantastic videos. Chaap rasta at its best!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
ADC, your TL of that drive was on my desktop for a long time as I prepared for this one!

Now that is something I can say around the town. Its overwhelming feeling - a trip report on HVK's desktop!! Its does not get any bigger than this and that's a fact.



Quote:
Alas! We tried to go to Gurez too, but unluckily for us, there was some firing (and deaths) in Bandipora and curfew clamped down the day we were to travel, so no permits, etc. So that will be another trip.
Oh! well, those are troubled areas. I met the magistrate who directed me to additional magistrate and who then directed me to SP who directed me to ASP with an hurriedly handwritten application paper - hopping from one administrative building to one!!!

The ASP was very much surprised but being a fine young Kashmiri gentleman who connected with our adventure and wanderer spirit - seeing a husband-wife and small child team and some first tourists after years, allotted us an armed guard for going towards Bangus and of course had to get army permission who were so bemused - said go to Gulmarg, Bangus is too uncertain area!


Towards Bangus LOC, armed guard escort travel, late October 2011
Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts-img_0388.jpg



Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Will upload the next set by today evening.
Seriously - at certain places the road is just wide enough for the vehicle and you look out of the window down to the sheer drop
and with a wide body safari, it was touch and go!! Amazing road journey - a must drive place for any driving enthusiast.

Enough said and interjected, do continue with wonderful travel story.

Last edited by adc : 24th August 2012 at 14:36.
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Old 24th August 2012, 14:34   #215
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
  1. Why or when does one need a 4WD if such terrains can be driven by a 2WD (also treaded by humbler Boleros or Maxx)
  2. What is the advantage if a 4WD is driven in these conditions instead of a 2WD?
  3. What is the ideal power that a vehicle should have to cover these types of places and stay clear of some tricky or difficult situations (understanding that the skills matter more than the vehicle)
  4. And lastly for now, does one need any prior experience driving (like a statutory warning - dont try this by yourself) on such terrains before attempting it or can be done by anyone?
Most of the routes we have in and around the Himalayas are very much doable in 2WD. 4WD makes it a bit easier and stresses the engine and drivetrain lesser in those sticky situations. Honestly, in my numerous drives to the Himalayas the only time I have felt a route to be impossible without 4WD was the Hanle to Tso Moriri via Chumur route. Everything else is more about having a good ground clearance, reliable vehicle and a sensible/able driver.

The local drivers, especially in the hills, are entirely different beings. If we attempt to do what they do, even in their 800s and Altos we won't make it too far. They know the terrain and vehicles like nobody else. It would be foolhardy to attempt these things only because they are capable of doing it.

More than power, good torque is what you need and helps in significantly reducing driving fatigue (about 35% reduction at least in gear changes between smaller petrol engines and 2L+ diesel engines). Otherwise, knowing the limitations of your vehicle and not pushing it beyond that is most important. Regular drivers stuck in a rut will try to gun it and eventually destroy the clutch. Experienced drivers look to see how they can get maximum grip before attempting to put down any bit of power.

But experience, ability and keeping a level head trumps everything else. One of the best bits of driving in a 2WD I have seen is by the famous ADC A 4WD Safari would have made it out a bit easier, but it still takes a lot of skill to keep from getting stuck in places like those.

Edit: And ADC himself lands on the thread right when I was composing this reply!

Last edited by codelust : 24th August 2012 at 14:36.
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Old 24th August 2012, 17:26   #216
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Seriously HVK sir, these are some questions lingering in my mind and may be in others for some time now and more so following these amazing TL and all the talks of 4WD vs 2WD-
  1. Why or when does one need a 4WD if such terrains can be driven by a 2WD (also treaded by humbler Boleros or Maxx)
  2. What is the advantage if a 4WD is driven in these conditions instead of a 2WD?
  3. What is the ideal power that a vehicle should have to cover these types of places and stay clear of some tricky or difficult situations (understanding that the skills matter more than the vehicle)
  4. And lastly for now, does one need any prior experience driving (like a statutory warning - dont try this by yourself) on such terrains before attempting it or can be done by anyone?
Not sure if some or all of these questions have been answered before else it would be really good to know for prospective trippers like many of us.

Experts permitting, I would like to take on these questions.

First two are interlinked so would like to answer them together:-

Consider a vehicle with both 4x2 and 4x4 options. Take it up a slope with a perfect road, will there be any difference in climbing ability of the vehicle when using either of the options, the answer is NO. Because it is engine power which take the vehicle up and that has remained the same. Then what is this talk of 4x4 vehicles? Well, devil is the road!

For a vehicle to move on any road, torque of the engine is transferred on to the wheels which grip the road and vehicles rolls on. Better the grip, better is the performance of the vehicle. This grip part is however dependent on the wheels and the condition of the road. Since we can’t do much about the roads as they are made by respective works deptts for lesser mortals, so we thought of doing something to the wheels.

Imagine a condition, if you are going in a 4x2 car and one or both driven wheels lose traction, due to gravel on the road, or water or an open manhole, options are plenty for you to think, your car would come to a halt. The relief comes in the form of 4x4, your other two wheels have traction, you can curse the works dept and still push on. Well it is as simple as that, rest of the story and various permutations I leave you to conjure up.

Third question:- What is the ideal power required for going over the mentioned terrain? God never made an ideal world so there is no such thing as ideal power. The aspect one needs to consider is power/weight ratio. In this regard old M800 had one of the best ratios when seating two light weight individuals, and it could climb any mountain road with aplomb. If the things get heavy just junk your partner and the car climbs. (That is what our first love is, isn't it!)

Last question:- At its most basic, there is only one fundamental of driving in the mountains which is different from driving in the plains and that is “maintaining momentum” of your vehicle in a climb or while coming down. It involves monitoring ever changing road condition from the movement of your seat pan, strict adherence to the road rules, continuously monitoring traffic and all other variables you see on the road and accordingly ensuring correct engine rpm at all times to keep vehicle in control with reserves of engine power and braking efficiency as the situation demands. You need to keep your nose and ears open for all smells and groans that emanate from your vehicle. Precision manoeuvring in confined road space and nimbleness while changing gears helps.

Well is that complicated? I never said ‘skill was not required’. But don’t worry it is not ‘IT’, it is simple silly old world mechanics, so go ahead and let’s hear your TL soon, don’t worry about the vehicle too much.

P.S: ‘Safety first and always’ should be the motto while on drive in hills.
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Old 24th August 2012, 19:53   #217
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts



Can we please keep the thread for the travelogue part only

Discussions about 4x2 and 4x4 is already done in the 4x4 sections very elaborately.

Also let us not open any Safari Vs Scorpio discussion in this thread.


Thank you.
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Old 24th August 2012, 21:42   #218
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

Woke by 05:30AM. Today was a route which HVK have put through from his discussions and also with the help of some maps. We were going to check it out. I was quite thrilled. We felt like Colombus heading out for the next discovery

From the window of our room I saw the route to be taken

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That's the place where we stayed

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HVK setting up his camcorder
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We were rolling by 06:00AM

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I guess this is the place in IPHE we went straight ahead by mistake in the night
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We need to take the turn here
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The roads deteriorated after a while

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Saw another road washed away by landslide
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continued...

Last edited by laluks : 24th August 2012 at 21:46.
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Old 24th August 2012, 21:52   #219
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
[b]Day 3
25 - July - 2012

I guess this is the place in IPHE we went straight ahead by mistake in the night

We need to take the turn here
During IPHE 2011, as Lalu said, we missed this sharp right turn in the dark - it was around 745 pm - and went off track for 10 kms (on this "Devkot road") before turning back! That was quite an experience which cost us an hour in drive time last year
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Old 24th August 2012, 21:56   #220
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

Wow!
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Direction boards

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Narrow roads

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More direction boards
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A beautiful flower
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Beautiful roads
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Another direction board

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Langurs
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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:02   #221
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

We drove on
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Another Board, we turned towards Koti
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We drove on
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We reached Koti Circle
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We stopped for break fast here. It was 08:45AM

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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:07   #222
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

By 09:45AM we drove towards Langera
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Madam Safari closely following us

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We drove on
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A risky overtaking!
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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:15   #223
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

We drove on
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We crossed a bridge!
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S for Sexy Road
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S for Safari too
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A small stream

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Another Sign Board
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We drove on

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Could be an old guest house?
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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:23   #224
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

A wooden bridge
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Bhandal Forest range
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Bhandal

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ITBP at Bhandal? What's the story?
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Beautiful Bhandal

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We drove on

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continued...
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Old 24th August 2012, 22:29   #225
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Default Re: Cliffhanger Himachal, Hidden Kashmir and a search for Mughal Ghosts

Day 3
25 - July - 2012

We drove on
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We stopped for a small photo session
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There is a small waterfall near the curve
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A panorama
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A fruit? Smelled like strawberry, Was afraid to taste
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Thorny
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We drove on
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Beautiful
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continued...
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