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Old 8th September 2012, 22:12   #46
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

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Originally Posted by LP640 View Post
Amazing pictures. The first one almost brought tears in my eyes! I felt so happy for you!!
And great write-up too.
Please do share the issues faced on your car being a saloon amongst MPVs and SUVs. I mean,could you just post a list of things to double check when taking a saloon to Leh terrains!
Thank you so much.
I don't know what to say, I mean I did no "precautionary checks" as such. Just opened the bonnet and checked the oil level and the fluid level and ensured that the engine guard is intact. Thats about it. Perhaps I was lucky
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Old 8th September 2012, 22:50   #47
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea


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Originally Posted by sathyaprakash View Post
Hi, Mas I am also planning to do Leh-Chennai trip in my Duster can we club together if possible.

When do you plan to leave yourself? by the way i live near Ashok Nagar.
I would love to go to Leh and would be great fun if we could form a team. But I'm not sure when this is going to happen. At present, work is taking away all my time and have been travelling on weekends. Hope things clear up quickly so that I can cement my Leh plan.

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
OT:We will most likely do a BLR-Leh-BLR in an Endy starting next weekend. Interested to join us?

I would love to. Thanks for the invite.

How I wish I could throw away all the work; jump into the Endy and drive down to Bangalore. But I have a foreign colleague in India for next two Weeks followed by a visit to Brazil (where I plan to test drive the new Eco Sport)

Last edited by MAS : 8th September 2012 at 22:52.
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Old 8th September 2012, 23:17   #48
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Day 6 (18th Aug 2012)

As mentioned in my previous post, I came back from Vaishno Devi literally as a dead person. Slept in our room for good 6 hrs and was ready to vacate the room and head to Srinagar. Had to pop a painkiller to give me temporary relief from the excruciating pain on my legs. Somehow we left the room by 1 pm and set my GPS to our hotel in Srinagar. As we entered the highway, disaster !

An accident had caused huge pile ups and this being India, people started to drive on the wrong side of the road to go as far ahead as possible, thereby causing even more delays for people like us and lorry drivers who had parked one behind the other.

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This tavera poked its nose behind our car. To our surprise, the occupants were from Bijapur and were confused on seeing a KA reg car there. They thought we sent the car via a truck or something and started driving from Katra. They couldn't comprehend my plans at all and I don't blame them!!!
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This is what had caused the huge traffic jam
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Took almost 2 hrs to get past the jam and were on the highway NH1. It was a supremely scenic drive and to compliment it was the sparse traffic. Thoroughly enjoyed the drive. By the time we entered the much famed Jawahar tunnel, it was already dark and so the "first view of Kashmir valley" spot was given a miss as we drove on to our hotel.

Somewhere near Patnitop
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After what seemed like an eternity, we were safely guided by GPS and reached our hotel in Srinagar by 10 pm. Couldn't make out much about our surroundings as it was dark, but our rooms were very nice and cozy. Had a great sleep and was all ready for an action packed day.

Day 7 (19th Aug 2012)

This was our only day in Srinagar and we wanted to make use of it to the fullest. So by 6:00 am we drove to Shankaracharya Temple which was just 6 km from our hotel. I must admit that the security arrangements in Srinagar was very tight. To enter the Shankaracharya hill, we all had to get out of the car and pass through security checks. The small hill drive was so nice and peaceful, especially at that time of the day when Srinagar was just waking up. Here are a couple of pics of the route to the temple

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The temple was simply fantastic and still has the old world charm that some of the temples down south are missing. Also the views of Srinagar city from the hill top are also superb. Darshan over, it was time for breakfast and this time we asked the GPS to find a good Indian restaurant and it guided to Krishna Vaishno dhaba near Dal Lake. Had the usual parathas and poori and to top it all, a glass of Lassi. As per our hotelier's recommendation, we visited Chashma Shahi the first and what a pretty place it was. It wasn't all that big, but was somehow beautiful and also had mountain spring water flowing through it. Now comes a barrage of photos from that place.

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Next garden was Nishat Bagh. Again, these ancient gardens are so beautiful that I cannot describe in words and the pics just showcase 1/10th of their real beauty.

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Final garden visit was Shalimar Bagh. Simply Beautiful !!!!!!

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Met a lovely Ladakhi family there.
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Old 9th September 2012, 00:07   #49
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

contd..

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Mother and son duo
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The three gardens that we visited felt like heaven. Of course to pull us out of heaven were the near by shops selling clothes. Had a very interesting conversation with one such shop owner. As the ladies were discussing about the shawls, salwaar and god knows what else in kannada, the shop owner looks at me sitting quietly in one remote corner of the shop and asked "ootha aitha ?" which means "Did you have lunch ?" I was taken aback and that was the last thing I expected from his mouth. He then said that majority of the handicrafts and clothes manufactured here goes to Bangalore and he has his shop in Safina Plaza. However, things did not work out the way it should and he was forced to shut shop and move out of B'lore. In his brief stay in B'lore, he learnt a few common Kannada phrases and relishes his stay there. As usual he appreciated B'lore's weather and the cosmopolitan nature our our city. I really felt happy hearing good things about our city.

Anyways, by the time shopping got over, it was 6.15 pm and time for the famous Shikara ride. I parked the car and negotiated a deal for a 2hr shikara ride for Rs 500. His services was so good that we ended up paying Rs 550
Sunset on the Dal lake was stunning (i'm running out of adjectives to use). We timed our shikara ride to perfection. Just as we started to ride, the sun began to set and what a glorious moment it was. Let the pictures do all the talking.

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Our friendly guide
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That is the Shankaracharya Hill
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Shikara ride over and we get back on land with a heavy heart knowing the fact that the sunset that we saw was the best ever sunset and it was over.
I'm so glad that I was able to capture it on camera. The sunset picture with the boat in the middle is getting enlarged and framed and will be put up in our living room. Came to our room by 10 30 pm and thought to myself that this day was one of those days which we made complete use of.
On that note we call Day 7 of our epic journey a day and go to sleep.

Day 8 sees us getting out of Srinagar and that would signal the end of our comfort zone. Next up ZOJI LA ...

A quick word on our hotel: Hotel Season Palace
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
We payed Rs 3700 for a family room (non AC) for 2 nights and 2 days. Booking was done using MakeMyTrip. The hotel was just 5 min walk from Dal Lake and 10 min drive to the entrance of Shankararcharya hill. The location couldn't have been any better. The rooms were impeccably clean and was carpeted from wall to wall. The owner is one of the nicest person that I've met. Definitely worth going for it.


Route Taken: Katra - Udhampur - Banhihal - Jawahar Tunnel - Srinagar
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Old 9th September 2012, 16:10   #50
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Hi,
Glued to your wonderful travelogue.Hats off to your courage. Superb pictures. Thank you very much for sharing.
Regards.
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Old 10th September 2012, 17:37   #51
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Although this is off topic, how that safari accident was happened? Having a breakdown/ accident in that location is very bad. They need to tow down the vehicle to workshop first!
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Old 10th September 2012, 19:23   #52
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Hi,

Have been hitting the F5 key quite a few times today. Please update the next chapter at the earliest. The pics are really fabulous. Keep it coming.
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Old 10th September 2012, 23:07   #53
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

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Although this is off topic, how that safari accident was happened? Having a breakdown/ accident in that location is very bad. They need to tow down the vehicle to workshop first!
I think the Safari collided with an army truck. The accident didn't happen on a remote road. It was on the NH1 connecting Udhampur to Srinagar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sami316 View Post
Hi,

Have been hitting the F5 key quite a few times today. Please update the next chapter at the earliest. The pics are really fabulous. Keep it coming.
Thanks for the compliments. Will be updating on Zoji la and drive towards Kargil very shortly
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Old 11th September 2012, 12:23   #54
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

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After nearly losing out 2 hrs, we were badly behind schedule of reaching Kishangarh by 8pm (before leaving B'lore that was the deadline we kept which of course we followed..... only for 1 day). From Ahmadabad the roads were great all the way except for small patches here and there. Entered Rajasthan by 6 pm and were heading towards Udaipur for dinner at Natraj. The drive till Udaipur was quite monotonous and we reached Hotel Nataraj at sharp 7pm. This place is absolutely superb and the traditional Rajasthani thali that they provide is one of the best one that I've ever tasted.

The best Rajasthani thali that I've ever tasted
Attachment 981371
After a sumptuous meal our next target was Kishangarh which was over 200 km away and it was already 8 by the time we left Udaipur city. After another uneventful drive till Kishangarh we checked out the Hotel Panaghat which was pathetic disgusting and absolutely horrendous. The rooms that they showed us had pan stains all over the room and even on the bed. That place was pretty revolting and we just wanted to get the hell out of there.


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Fantastic travelogue! Not to take away anything from you, but i must mention that the ladies in the car really have guts and determination to undertake a journey of such magnitude. It speaks a lot about the mental strength (in this case the physical fitness as well). I salute them

I will be traveling to Udaipur next month and couldn't help noticing about the "best Rajasthani lunch" that you have had at Hotel Nataraj. Can you let me know the location of the hotel. Any other recommendations for places to eat in and around Jodhpur and Udaipur?
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Old 11th September 2012, 13:20   #55
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Superb Travelogue & awesome pictures. I have done plenty of road trips with friends but never been on a long one with family. I guess I'll start planning one soon too.
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Old 11th September 2012, 13:55   #56
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I congratulate you for this enormous feat. This is an achievement, to say the least. Having no other male companion during the journey is again adding to your achievement. Our brains are wired different when compared to ladies, and you managed to complete this enormous feat with three other ladies by your side. Kudos . . .
I am glad that you did not face any issues with the car(as per what you have posted till now) otherwise things would have been a bit difficult I presume.
Please convey my regards to the three ladies(elderly, as per the perception of time that we humans understand, but young at heart) for embarking upon this journey and completing it. All three of them are among the rarest of the rare.
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Old 11th September 2012, 21:08   #57
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Day 8 (20th Aug 2012)

Today was the day when we leave the comforts of Srinagar and enter Ladakh. The real adventure begins from today starting with a quick visit to Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal district of J&K. This was just 30 km from Srinagar and we made it to the temple by 6.45am. At first we were a bit skeptical about the surroundings of the temple, but as soon as we entered the temple complex, it was an altogether different story. It was huge, had a small river flowing through it and extremely calm. Had a good darshan and also had breakfast within the vicinity of the temple.

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By 8.30 am we left Kheer Bhawani and drove towards Sonmarg. The roads were fantastic and since that day was Eid, the traffic was almost nil. The weather gods were kind on us as it was bright and sunny which helped us immensely on climbing Zoji La. After we crossed Sonmarg, started the ascent towards Zoji La. That deadly pass has already been discussed much on this forum and no wonder they call it the “dreaded Zoji La”. The first few kms were fine with smooth tarmac, but after a while the tarmac just stopped and it was a dirt track.

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Loved this shot
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The problem with dirt tracks was the huge ruts that are left behind from trucks. If I try to drive on the ruts, almost certainly the car was going scrape. So the only other option that I had was to put one when in the rut and the other one on the gap between the two ruts. This picture will show what I’m talking about. Drove almost 70% of the pass titling the car on one side. To be on the safer side, I was driving in 1st gear throughout and could literally hear the engine scream for mercy.


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It took an agonizing 2 hrs or something to climb the 30 kms and as I have said before, we were lucky. Not one vehicle was coming from the other side throughout the 30 kms and it was sunny all the way. The moment we crossed those 30 odd kms, we see a huge convoy of military trucks who began to descend Zoji la. Had there been rain, all the dirt tracks would’ve turned into slush, which increases my chances of getting stuck. The ascent was finally complete when dirt track was replaced by interlocking tiles. Once we reached there, what a relief it was. The views from the top were simply breathtaking. Have a look

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To be contd in the next post...
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Old 11th September 2012, 22:22   #58
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

contd from previous post

More pictures from Zoji la top.

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Having satisfied ourselves with enough photos we decided to move on and observed how the mountains were becoming barren. The roads in sections were simply out of this world. I would rate this route to be more driveable but less scenic when compared to the deadly Manali-Leh road. After climbing and getting down innumerable small hills, we were nearing Drass. Stopped at a shop to have some chai when to my surprise I find some Australians there in a Ford Endeavor. That vehicle belonged to Australian embassy (I assume) and they were in Leh for some humanitarian works.

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Break over, we drove on stopping only when the scenery becomes even more beautiful.

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At about 1.00 pm we enter Drass. Took a picture of the welcome board for formality sake. The town was very very small, nothing special there. Since we were hungry, we purchased some bananas at Rs 6 for each. From there on the road works are going on in full swing which meant driving on freshly laid tarmac for 1 km and drive 5~6 km on yet to be tarred horrible roads. Hats off to those hard laborers for working under such hostile environments.

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They claim Drass to be the second coldest place on Earth. But on that day, it was very hot at 34 degrees.
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Slowly negotiating the bad sections, I some how nurse the car to Kargil War Memorial

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This flag post was recently constructed commemorating the 13th Anniversary of Kargil War
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We had our lunch at their canteen itself. The people looking after the memorial were so humble and replied to my silly questions with utmost respect. Really felt nice after meeting kind hearted soldiers and as expected were completely perplexed on hearing from where we came and more importantly "how" we came. Our destination was Kargil town which was 2 hour drive away. The drive was uneventful with road surfaces alternating from nirvana to Bangalore roads.

A raging river accompanied us all the way till Kargil. It looked mighty ferocious and should I say a little scary as well, especially when I took a picture of the raging torrent from a bridge.
As soon as we entered Kargil town, our hotel hunt begins. I had set the GPS to hotel D'Zojila and was guided correctly to the place. However found the place to be overpriced at Rs 2000 per room for a night. So we rejected that hotel and went on to Hotel Siachen. Even there the price was too high but we bargained a lot and got it down to Rs 3200 for 2 rooms. I desperately needed a break as the stress of driving on a high altitude road had got the better of me. Day 8 comes to an end at Kargil

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Thats me standing on a rickety bridge taking this pic
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A quick word on our hotel: Hotel Siachen, Kargil
GOOD. There are very limited options available in Kargil and almost all lodges are overpriced.We chose this place as the rate was comparatively reasonable and most importantly had a safe compounded car park facility. The price we paid for 2 rooms was Rs 3200 per night.


Route Taken: Srinagar - Ganderbal - Sonmarg - Zoji La - Drass - Kargil
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Old 11th September 2012, 22:37   #59
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Originally Posted by MaverikMahesh View Post
I will be traveling to Udaipur next month and couldn't help noticing about the "best Rajasthani lunch" that you have had at Hotel Nataraj. Can you let me know the location of the hotel. Any other recommendations for places to eat in and around Jodhpur and Udaipur?
Hotel Natraj is very easy to find. Its 200 mts from Udaipur city railway station. This hotel was very good. Since I've not been to Jodhpur, I do not know any good places to eat there. However one advice that I can give is to buy the book Highway on my plate. They segregate the tasty food from the rest. Follow their advice with eyes shut and you will not be disappointed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaustav View Post
I congratulate you for this enormous feat. This is an achievement, to say the least. Having no other male companion during the journey is again adding to your achievement. . .
I am glad that you did not face any issues with the car(as per what you have posted till now) otherwise things would have been a bit difficult I presume.
Thanks for the compliments Kaustav. As I've said before we were lucky, especially the weather gods. We faced most of the rain fury on the plains itself and bright sunshine on almost all passes (except the descent from Rohthang).
About the car, well we all know its a tough car and it proved itself on this trip. The car had 4 adults and boot full of luggage. So apart from scraping , the suspension didn't groan or bend or crack.I never had to open the bonnet once. All the car needed was diesel and she was ready to go.I was seriously worried about engine overheating as I drove almost 30kms of Zoji la in 1st gear. When we stopped the car, the fan was running continuously. But it never overheated nor did it refuse to start on one cold morning in Pangong Lake.
Now the Odo stands at 59500 kms in 1.5 yrs and the car feels like new. What build quality !
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Old 12th September 2012, 13:54   #60
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Awesome travelogue Rohit Rated the thread 5 *s and awaiting updates. Also, please do post the total amount spent on this trip including splits for the fuel and accomodation.

Theres another similar thread with a guy in his linea in MyFiatWorld:
http://www.myfiatworld.in/showthread...Via-Khardungla
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