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Old 18th September 2012, 22:38   #76
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Day 11 (23rd Aug 2012)

Today was the day when one of my dreams was going to get fulfilled, driving on the world’s highest motor able road. This is one achievement that I can take credit for. The day started with us getting ready by 6.00 am itself so that I can avoid the “peak rush hour traffic” while climbing Khardung La. We were so desperate to get this thing done and dusted that we didn’t even bother to have any food at all, just popped a diamox tablet with tea.

Khardung top was just 34 kms from Leh and we started driving slowly towards South Pullu where the permits were being checked. The roads till South Pullu were smooth tar and I was wondering whether it will be this way all the way to Khardung la. The 18 odd kms from Leh to South Pullu was smooth and the climb wasn’t too steep. However we could see Leh town in the distance getting smaller and smaller until a point where Shanti Stupa was just a dot. To accompany us till Khardung La were a group of 5~6 bikers who had come from Gurgaon. Amidst them was a Thunderbird which caught my attention as it had KA registration plates.

By 8.00am we were at South Pullu where I had to submit the permit and this process took no less than 5 minutes. From here on, the roads deteriorated and soon we were on complete dirt tracks. At places we could see BRO personnel using their JCB’s to clear the road from landslides and this showcased to us that we were in a hostile environment. Our respects to those personnel grew even more and thanked silently as they made our journey that much more comfortable.

South Pullu onwards I was driving on 1st gear almost all the way till the top. Here I got to know the engine characteristics even more. I usually thought that in 1st gear the car can pull itself out from literally any speed and on lower altitudes it probably will. But while climbing those steep gradients in such high altitudes, the engine wasn’t getting enough air and this accentuated the turbo lag. Learnt this the hard way.

There were lots of boulders on the road and as a result I slowed down almost to 5 kmph carefully navigating through those boulders and immediately after those boulders the road became very steep. I depressed the accelerator pedal fully but because of the lack of air or something the car didn’t respond normally and the inevitable happened. Khat-khat-khat and stalled on that steep road. To my luck there wasn’t any other vehicle behind otherwise even they had to wait for me. So I switched off the car and started again, this time I slotted the gear in 1st gear and built the revs to about 2500 rpm and then slipped the clutch. I knew this would eat my clutch but I had no other option. From here on I tried keeping the engine in its sweet spot which is 1800 – 2500 rpm and avoided lugging the engine. What also worried me the most was that the car was running on stock clutch plates and it had already clocked 55000km by then. The worst thing that could happen was the clutch plate failing and this made me ensure that the RPM never drops below 1800 rpm.

Gateway to Khardung La
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-115.jpg

Such terrain gave us a glimpse of the hostile environment that we were travelling
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Driving cautiously we were nearing the top but just ahead there was a Tata 207 pickup truck going very slowly on those roads (maybe he was driving full throttle ). I tried following him for a few meters but since he was travelling very slowly (probably at 5~10 kmph), I had difficulty in keeping the RPM in its sweet spot and started lugging the engine. So I honked at him a couple of times showing my intension and the driver probably understood that and at a reasonably wide place, he allowed me to pass through. Now it was a clear run to the top and we made it to the top without any more hiccups.

I almost had another heart in the mouth moment when the pick up truck was going too slow for our liking
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-128.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-129.jpg

And we make it to the top at precisely 8.36 am. It was absolutely amazing and quite literally breathtaking. Just the feeling of being on the highest point on the highest motor able roads made me feel like I was in heaven. I'm sorry but I've got no words to describe the joy and the sense of accomplishment I had on the top.

To give you a sense of perspective just see from where we came and where we are now !!!!
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-map.jpg

Here is a GPS log file of our climb to Khardung La
GPSLog2012-8-23_6-54-11.kml

When I first had thoughts of driving to Khardung La, everyone and I mean EVERYONE thought I was crazy and out of my mind and said its impossible. Well, I proved them wrong !!!!
Here are the pictures from my most favorite location

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The Thunderbird was also from Bangalore and the Ashok (the one on the right) drove from Bangalore SOLO. Hats off to him as well
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I had the idea of purchasing some souvenirs at Khardung La, but unfortunately it was closed
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The altitude shows Khardung top at 5358m (17578ft). I guess their claim of 18380ft would be from the small temple on the hill top
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Its a chilling 7 degrees morning
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How do they do it ?
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We spent a good 20 minutes on the top and could have spent an extra 15 min, but my mom was suffering from AMS and hence decided to head back to Leh. Before leaving, I took this shot to demonstrate why leaving early is so very important.

See the tourist vehicles coming on your left side of the picture
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The green stuff you see on your Left is Leh city. If you look closely, you can also see Shanti Stupa !!!
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-191.jpg

To be contd in next post ...

Last edited by rohittunga : 18th September 2012 at 22:43.
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Old 18th September 2012, 22:53   #77
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Wonderful shots !!! This is a mighty achievement. You have inspired my dream to drive to LADAKH.
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Old 18th September 2012, 23:25   #78
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Contd from previous post...

See how high Khardung La is
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The descent wasn't tough at all. The only thing to worry was to give way to the oncoming traffic. While descending the mood inside the car turned from being tensed and apprehensive to calm and relaxing and for a change enjoy the scenery, which even now doesn't fail to impress me. I have to admit that we were gifted with absolutely lovely weather throughout. Not a cloud in the sky and the sun shining, we have to consider ourselves very lucky indeed. The weather did play a few tricks with us later in our journey, the result being DRAMATIC to say the least. I will reveal at the appropriate time

The traffic was gradually picking up as the day progressed.
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Spectacular and scary !!!
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As we descend Leh becomes more visible
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Ahhh.. The famous Khardung La frog
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By 11.30 am we were back in Leh and went to our Guest House for brunch and slept. Unfortunately the health condition of my mother didn't improve as she was suffering from fever now, so we decided to take rest till 5.30 pm. This also meant that my plans of visiting Shey or Stok Palaces were shelved. In the evening, after taking a heavy dose of anti biotics things were slowly limping back to normalcy. So in the evening we just went to the busy streets of Leh and purchased some souvenirs to take back home and spent one last lovely evening in Leh.

Tomorrow we would leave for Pangong and stay overnight there and from Pangong to Tso Moriri. This meant that we get back to rooms as early as possible in order to leave early the next day. Accordingly, our shopping and eating was done by 7.30 pm and by 8 we reached our rooms. I went downstairs to settle the bill with the owners while the ladies took rest in the rooms.

So all dues cleared, it was time to sleep. I still feel that Leh was incomplete and thats a good enough reason to visit this lovely city again . Pondering on this thought, Day 11 of our epic journey comes to an end.

As I said previously, the weather was extremely good at all places that we visited. However at Pangong, things were a bit different. It rained and then it stopped and then this appears. Good Night

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-400.jpg
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Old 19th September 2012, 11:27   #79
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Lovely pics bro, hats off to ur perseverence. The dal lake looks so calming.

Had a random thought: That one pic of two shikaras going together and you have clicked from behind, it would look super cool if one of the shikaras had a Got Bhp ? sticker on it .
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Old 19th September 2012, 21:20   #80
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Rohittunga,

A word of appreciation for the trip you undertook. Hats off to you! To do this trip with three elderly ladies all the way from Bangalore is something.

I have been following this travelogue for over a week now and thought i'd wait till it ends, to post, I couldnt control but to drop in a word after reading and looking at all the awesome snaps.

Good going, your a rare one. Waiting for the next part!
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Old 20th September 2012, 15:11   #81
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Day 12 (24th Aug 2012)

The trip to Khardung La had caused some health concerns to my mother which is why the previous evening was spent not doing much. But thankfully today morning it was much better (thanks to antibiotics) and we were ready to leave by 7.00 am. Bidding goodbye to Leh and our wonderful guest house was sad but we had to move on. This drive to Pangong lake would take us across the mighty Chang La.

We had no intention of coming back to Leh from Pangong and hence the previous evening I had to fill up the tank as well as the 20L can for additional fuel since our original plan was Pangong – Tso Moriri – Manali. So our next fuel station would be in Tandi. With 65L of diesel, I thought it was more than sufficient to undergo this journey. Soon after leaving Leh city we were on the Leh-Manali highway which was reasonably good. We passed through Shey Palaces and some other palaces ebn route. Soon there was a deviation for Pangong lake which I took and ahead was a checkpost where my permits were being checked.

The officer asked a few basic questions like how many people are traveling and from where I had come and so on. Then he asked me what vehicle I came in to which I replied Fiat Linea. That officer was more used to writing Scorpio/Innova/Safari but my guess was that he never heard of Fiat. Then he peeped out of his chair and saw the car parked below. With perplexed look on his face he said “You came in that vehicle??” By now I was used to such expressions on peoples face and wasn't surprised at all. The officer then took the permit form and asked me to drive with a big smile on his face.

Now we deviated from the Manali highway and were driving towards Chang la, the “mighty” Chang La. The roads were superb for most part of the climb but it was very very steep.

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The views just got better and better as we climbed further up the mountains. Then looking back, I find that famous Z shaped road

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Just check out how steep the road is
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Just a few kms before Chang La the tar roads stopped and it was the familiar mud and stone roads. Since we always leave early, we found no traffic either ways which helped me a lot. Also while climbing Chang La was my first experience of a water crossing, so took it very cautiously indeed. Soon we reached the Chang La top. Now I know why people call it the "mighty" Chang La, its pretty steep. Took the complimentary black tea which the Army offered. We also purchased mugs as souvenir from that place.

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The outside temperature was 6 degrees. More importantly, I got a FE of 11.3kmpl from Leh to Chang La which is very good considering that I was on 1st or 2nd gear most of the time during the climb
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A few patches of snow on Chang La
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The descent from Chang La was more tough than the ascent The road was just a variety of boulders and this meant that I had to tread through them with utmost caution. However one thing that I've observed while ascending/descending passes is that the number of hits to the car is very little which climbing when compared with coming down a mountain. Chang La was no different and there were several brutal hits to the underbelly of the car. Fortunately the car withstood all that punishment very well.

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From here on all the way till Pangong the roads were just fantastic. I think these roads were maintained by the army which explains their superb quality. At almost every corner they had a hoarding which had some very meaningful words written.

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Then at a nearby town ( don't know the name of the town) we had breakfast. The Maggie as super good as usual and the scenery from the place was even better.

An arrow straight road
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The GPS was showing that Pangong Lake was another 6 kms away which meant that the famous board which says first view of Pangong Lake is another 2 kms away. But between me and it laid a huge pool of water which at first I thought was impossible to cross. I couldn't gauge the depth of the water and the fact that it was mixed with sand increased my chances of getting stuck. So I waited patiently for another 10 min when an Innova came from the other side. Much to my relief, the depth of the water wasn't too much and watching the Innova come by gave me a lot of confidence. So I slotted the car in 1st and maintained a steady speed over the large pool of sandy water.

I observed how he drove and took exactly the same path.
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-292.jpg

Here is the video from that location. Note that this video was taken while coming from Pangong.



I tried to get a shot of the water but couldn't find a suitable path to go there
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How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-296.jpg

Contd in the next post...
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Old 20th September 2012, 15:40   #82
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Contd from the previous post...

After we crossed yet another water crossing, it was becoming a little difficult to spot the road as most of it was covered with sand.

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Then came the board which said “First View of the world famous Pangong Lake”. Seeing other logs, I always pictured myself standing next to that board and today it became a reality. Felt on top of the world at that moment. However the view of Pangong Lake was a bit disappointing as the waters were pale blue in color rather than the bright sky blue that I remember seeing on other logs. Took loads of pictures at this location.

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-310.jpg

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So beautiful
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And at half past one in the afternoon, we finally get to see the mighty Pangong Lake, the most spectacular lake that I've seen. I couldn't digest the fact that this lake runs into hundreds of kms and end in Tibet. Now we were driving by the magnificent lake's edge hunting for a room. I decided not to stay in those tents owing to the fact that it gets quite chilly in the night and my mom had only just recovered from her illness. Hence my only realistic option of finding proper accommodation was in Spangmik village which was also on the shorelines of the magnificent lake

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En Route Spangmik village
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Spangmik village was just a collection of tents and some small buildings. I had already done my research on finding accommodation here and went straight to Padma Guest house. It was a lovely cozy little guest house with a view of pangong lake worth dying for. We were the first customers there and the lady gladly allowed us to stay there overnight at a very nominal price of Rs 200 per person.

Took this photo from Lake side to show how near our guest house was to the lake.
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They had a restaurant next to the guest house and quickly ordered Rice and dal for a change. Instead of having our lunch at their restaurant, we decided to walk towards the lake and have lunch by the lake side. Where in the world would I have lunch with this view

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Lunch over, we stayed back at the lake side discussing our trip so far and the ups and downs of it. Then suddenly mom spots something going on in the background

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All of a sudden clouds start to form and almost immediately it started to rain quite heavily. I quickly ran towards the car to get the umbrellas while the ladies took temporary shelter by ducking under the mat that we used to sit on. By the time I walk back to the car, open the boot and hunt for the umbrellas, the rain stops. To be on the safer side, I took the umbrellas just in case it starts to rain again. Now when I head back to the lake, OH MY GOD

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I see a superb rainbow being formed, that too at such a low level. As the rains stopped the rainbow became more brighter. I cursed myself for not getting a better quality camera that can capture this spectacle better than my old Canon 8MP camera
Anyways now with the sun back on and the rainbow showing all its wonderful colors, it was a sight to remember.

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Note that the red colored bag on your left side was ours which flew just as this picture was being clicked. We promptly took the bag and ensured that the place was as clean as before
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After witnessing one of nature's best shows we head back to our rooms to decide what next to be done.

Some panoramic shots from our guest house
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To be contd later...
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Old 20th September 2012, 17:15   #83
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Awesome shots and Nice narration

BTW I am not able to view the video, It's displaying that it's private, Please make it public, So that we all can see.

Waiting for more to come.

Cheers,
Sameer
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Old 20th September 2012, 17:51   #84
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by sameerg001 View Post
Awesome shots and Nice narration

BTW I am not able to view the video, It's displaying that it's private, Please make it public, So that we all can see.

Waiting for more to come.

Cheers,
Sameer
Thank you so much Sameer. You can watch the video now as I've made it public
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Old 20th September 2012, 18:26   #85
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Awesome Review. I have been thinking to do this trip from last 9 years and still stuck thinking. Waiting for next lot.
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Old 21st September 2012, 12:41   #86
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Awesome travelogue Rohit, just the one at the right time to kick in plans for Leh next year on the Manza from Bangalore

By the way I took the liberty of slightly post processing couple of your images I hope you dont mind. Posting them here below.

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-1932.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-10542.jpg
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Old 21st September 2012, 14:29   #87
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Awesome travelogue Rohit, just the one at the right time to kick in plans for Leh next year on the Manza from Bangalore

By the way I took the liberty of slightly post processing couple of your images I hope you dont mind. Posting them here below.
Wow nice work there motomaverick . The pictures look awesome. Thanks again!!!

You can easily drive your Manza to Leh and I'm sure you'll love it. Just make sure that you fit a sturdy sump guard just to be on the safer side because I think the Manza doesn't come with a guard like the Fiats. It looks like every T-Bhpian is on a mission to Leh this year. So all the very best to your trip and do post a log when you are back.
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Old 21st September 2012, 14:36   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rohittunga View Post
Wow nice work there motomaverick . The pictures look awesome. Thanks again!!!

You can easily drive your Manza to Leh and I'm sure you'll love it. Just make sure that you fit a sturdy sump guard just to be on the safer side because I think the Manza doesn't come with a guard like the Fiats. It looks like every T-Bhpian is on a mission to Leh this year. So all the very best to your trip and do post a log when you are back.
Actually the Manza does come with a sump guard and the bottom of the car is pretty much plain except for the slightly protruding jack points. But the main thing is the suspension travel as it is quite soft plus the low front over hang but seeing the roads you have traveled I dont think it will be a problem.

Anyhow the trip is planned for next year as this year by the time I can go the season will close. Eagerly waiting for your return trip log as you mentioned you traversed it via the Manali side.

Last edited by motomaverick : 21st September 2012 at 14:39.
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Old 24th September 2012, 22:36   #89
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Contd from previous post

I must confess that i'm not a Photoshop expert so kindly excuse me if the modifications done on the next set of photos are just too much.

Modified the levels of contrast and saturation
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-336.jpg

After this, my original set of photos look like black and white :(
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-400.jpg

I had last left the action after witnessing the rainbow on the banks of Pangong. So after that moment was over, we got back to our cozy little rooms and took rest for an hour or so after which we got bored there. Hence we decided to explore our surroundings and got out of our rooms. We stopped by those lovely 6 wooden cottages built by the J&K tourism and decided to walk down to the lake as it "appeared" to be near. But boy it was far, very far indeed. We kept on walking and walking but the lake never seems to get close. The lake felt like it was a mirage and we must have walked at least 3 kms from the place where we parked the car.

The place where we parked the car and decided to "endlessly" walk towards the lake
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-433.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-435.jpg

Find the car !!
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-438.jpg

But the views were ....
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-437m.jpg

As we neared the lake side, the views just got better and better
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-460.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-439.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-461.jpg

Finally after what felt like an eternity, we reached the lakeside.
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-464.jpg

This was the only moment throughout the whole trip that I wished I was in a bigger vehicle like a Scorpio or an Innova. Just seeing them having all the fun at the lake side made me a little jealous as the poor Linea had to watch from such a long way away. We spent a good 45 min at this place after which it started to get very chilly and we also had to trek back all the way upto the car again. After this little excursion was over, we went back to Spangmik village for a hot plate of maggie and dal roti.

Our restaurant where we had dinner and breakfast the next day
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-465.jpg

The car safely parked with our room just behind the car and Pangong Lake in the background
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-466.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-468.jpg

Having an early dinner, we retired to our rooms and played cards for some time after which even that got a little bored. So we again went out of the room and chatted with our Guest house owners and listened to their hardships that they face each and every day. Those guys struggle so hard under such extreme weather conditions just for filling their stomachs. So no matter how much they overcharge us, we felt that it was probably worth it. By now the temperature was in single digits and the time was 8pm, bedtime

Had this trip been made with friends, the party would have just started, but no, not here. However, now looking back it was a very wise decision for what laid ahead for us the next day.


Day 13 (25th Aug 2012)

Some early morning shots of the lake
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-001.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-002.jpg

Today our destination was unknown. All we knew was that we'll be heading out of Pangong and drive on till it becomes dark outside. Since there was no hot water facility in our rooms (was a long shot anyway) we decided to skip bath for that day as the water was literally freezing !!!. Instead we freshened up and had breakfast at the restaurant and left the magical Pangong lake at sharp 8.00 am.

Some parting shots of the car and the lake
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-009.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-016.jpg

Oh and btw, this is how far Pangong Lake is from Bangalore
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-030.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-031.jpg

As Pangong lake was behind us, my aunts were retrospecting on how wonderful the lake was and also the thought that it would (in all likelyhood) be their last visit to this lake. Hopefully it should not be my last visit to this wonderful lake. Anyways now Pangong wasn't even visible and we were heading back to the Manali Leh highway. Soon we were at the muddy nallah and this time I crossed it in a flash (the video that I uploaded in my previous post).

Saw these little fellas playing
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-035.jpg

Yaaaaak !!
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-040.jpg

Just before the climb to Chang La began, we had to go over a part of the road that was full of football sized boulders. This stretch didn't pose any threat while coming down, however it was quite a challenge while climbing over it. So here is the familiar picture. I slow right down to carefully navigate through those boulders and in the process I didn't observe the rpm which was hovering around 1000 rpm. So when I needed that instant power to climb over a boulder, there wasn't any and it stalled right in the middle of the steep incline with boulders surrounding us. I thought lightening couldn't strike twice but it has and now I have to deal with it. So I started the engine and built the revs to 2500 rpm before slipping the clutch (read frying the clutch plate). Since we were in a midst of boulders, the front tires couldn't get any traction and was simply spinning. This wasn't gonna work and so I reversed the car a little and then launched the car. This time I was lucky enough to get enough traction and we were out of that place.

With this incident happening again, I got a little worried as we had to climb Chang La and it wasn't an easy climb. Even descending from this pass was like hell. So climbing that required me to drive with my fullest concentration and not repeat the mistakes that I had just committed. Thank heavens I made it to the top without any further incidents and was desperate to get off Chang La. This time around we did not even stop at the Chang La top and just drove on. We knew that the difficult part was over and now the drive towards Manali will be easier now.

We reached the Manali - Leh highway where we had to take a left towards Pang and Sarchu. That highway was also superb in the beginning as the pictures below suggest

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-059.jpg

Soon it was lunch time and I began hunting for a good place to eat. We just entered a village called Latu and in that village there was just one good looking restaurant which was Latu guest house. Stopped the car and went to inquire about the food and was told (as usual) that only maggie was available. Since our options were very limited, we decided to have lunch there itself. The vegetables were literally "farm fresh" and we dined in typical Ladakhi stype dining hall. I also took this opportunity to fill the 20L of extra diesel that I had bought along. After lunch we drove towards Taglangla and for a change it wasn't the usual path of rocky stones and muddy ruts. It had been laid with a fresh layer of tar which was Butter smooth. Have a look


How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-061.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-063.jpg

This picture was taken just 10 kms short of Taglangla
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-069.jpg

However 4 kms before Taglangla top, the tar road stopped as they were still in the process of laying it. Even still it was wide and flat road which caused no real cause of concern. Then at exactly 3.35 pm we reached the top of the second highest motor able road in the world. There was absolutely no human activity there unlike Chang la and Khardung La and the top was a very desolate place to be. While clicking pictures on the top, a biker arrived from the Manali side heading towards Leh. I sparked a conversation with him asking him about the road conditions that he had come from and his answer scared me. He said that Rothang is at its worst ever thanks to the incessant rain for the past 2 days. It took almost 6 hrs for them to ascend the 14 odd kms to Rothang pass. My only consolation was that getting down usually isn't that difficult as climbing up.

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-073.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-077.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-078.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-079.jpg

To be contd in the next post...
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Old 24th September 2012, 23:49   #90
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Contd from the previous post...

At Taglangla Top
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-080.jpg

Weirdly the GPS shows this place (5370m) to be higher than Khardung La (5358m).
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-082.jpg

It was 10 degrees at 3.45 pm... The wind blowing across just increased the chill factor.
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-083.jpg

The roads were like this for most part of the descent. This was one pass that we didn't face any difficulty at all
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-084.jpg

Then comes More Plains which is short for "Make your own road". Its just the Tyre marks that you follow and drive as the crow flies.This place was fascinating with breathtaking views all round. Sad that our old little point and shoot camera couldn't capture the real beauty of these places. Again lots of construction activities were going on which meant that we had to drive on and off the road for a long time. Then came the place called Tso Debring which is the deviation place for visiting Tso Moriri. However it was going to get dark soon and at that instant we dropped the idea of going to Tso Moriri and instead drive towards our overnight halt place at Pang.

More Plains... Does it need any introduction ?
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-086.jpg

Here you drive like the crow flies!
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How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-096.jpg

This was one of the many off road drives thanks to the construction of a double road
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-102.jpg

And this is what it did to the car. Just see the amount of sand on the door sills
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-105.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-106.jpg

As we drove on towards Pang, there was another diversion on the road. Here things work out differently as there are no boards saying that there is a diversion ahead. You have to figure that yourself. One more than one occasion I drive upto the roadblock, get out of the car and then hunt for an alternative path, which is a couple of hundred meters behind the roadblock. So I reverse the car and then drive on the diverted path.

However this roadblock was a little different. As I stepped out of the car, I began hunting for an alternative path but found none. But right next to the roadblock was a route that other bigger vehicles used to take and it was a pretty steep one. I wanted to reverse and find an easier spot to take the diversion but to my dismay there was none. So this had to be it.

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-119.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-120.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-121.jpg

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-122.jpg

Thankfully the road works are done after this and it was smooth sailing almost till Pang. However a thought still lingered in my mind about the accommodation options at Pang. The print outs that I carried of various accommodation options showed that at Pang you can find a tented accommodation at best and thats the only option. This thought kept me worried till Pang.

Saw this wonderful creation just before entering Pang village
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-123.jpg

We reached the Pang village at 6.15 pm and found a couple of Dhabas on the road. We decided to have an early dinner and over the course of the dinner, decide the next course of action. While we ordered Roti and dal, I requested the Dhaba owner to show the tents where we were supposed to stay for the night. The tent was in a bad condition with several cuts in its structure allowing cold air to enter through. I wasn't happy at all, but we didn't have any option. The light was already fading and the next town was Sarchu which was still 80 kms away or a 3 hr drive. To our utter surprise there was a Tata sky connection at the Dhaba and I switched on some news channel to catch up on whats happening in the rest of the country. The moment I switch on Aaj Tak channel (the only news channel available), the news reporter says that river Yamuna had risen above her danger mark and posted a threat to Delhi. Then Jaipur faced its highest rainfall since 3 decades or something. Then she goes on and says that even the Jammu Srinagar highway had been shut down due to flash floods and finally said that things are even worse in Manali owing to the torrential rain. Also she said that the situation could worsen as more rains are forecasted in the coming days. This piece of information literally sent shivers down my spine.

What if we get stranded in the middle of nowhere or worse still get trapped in a land slide or a flash flood. The situation was very very grim. Then later when I showed the tent to my mother and aunts, they were disgusted with it and decided not to stay in those tents no matter what come may. They were ready to spend the night in the car but not in that tent. At this time comes THE most dangerous decision ever made, the climax of this epic journey. I decide to drive through the night

Thats right, at 7.00 pm when its already dark outside, I start the engine of my car and drive. So Pang - Lachulangla - Nakeela - Gata loops - Sarchu - Baralacha la -Zingzing bar - Countless water crossing - Jispa - Keylong was all done in the DARK!!!!

The beginning of one of the most dangerous and risky drives ever !!!
How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-127.jpg

To be contd later...
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