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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:21   #1
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Default How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

How hard can it be ? This is a phrase commonly used by one very popular BBC presenter, Mr Jeremy Clarkson when they attempt something preposterous like crossing Africa in FWD cars or driving to North Pole OR (in my case) driving a Fiat Linea across the length of India and up and over some of the most difficult passes in the world. Here are some teasers

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-008.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-018.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-177.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-247.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-323.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-1074.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-1149.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-1300.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-080.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-093.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-258.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-283.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-1206.jpg   <div style=
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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:35   #2
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Q: How hard can it be ?
A: Thanks for the pictures, I mean the answer.

Literally brought tears in my eyes seeing the lovely car in such a exotic location. You ARE a lucky guy.

Hope you have planned a writeup too to complete the travelogue.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:49   #3
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

WoW man, Those teasers are amazing, I am glued to this thread

I can see the answer in the pics. All the above pictures make, A beautiful car look more beautiful

Waiting for more to come. Amazing pics, so is the thread title.

Cheers,
Sameer
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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:49   #4
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

How hard can this be?

I'm hoping it was not too hard.

Just this evening I was discussing with my friend on the possibility of driving our Fiat Linea from Bangalore to Leh and when I come back home and log in to T-Bhp, I see this thread. Is that a signal for me?? I'm hoping so. Waiting for the full log to come up.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:52   #5
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Awesome! Just what the doctor ordered! Was thinking whether it'd ever be possible to get a small car to go to Ladakh and Leh. Was seriously eying an SUV.

BTW ran into this the other day: http://www.ghumakkar.com/2011/05/06/...nd-leh-ladakh/
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Old 2nd September 2012, 23:19   #6
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Epic! That first pic is a classic teaser.
I'm sure you had great fun.
Waiting for more updates.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 23:23   #7
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

One more Linea (J Ravi) that had done the Ladakh trip last year:
http://www.myfiatworld.in/showthread...Via-Khardungla
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Old 3rd September 2012, 00:23   #8
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Amazing teasers Rohittunga !

The wilderness of the terrain and the breathtaking vistas re-evoke a deep ache somewhere deep within, reminding me that I too have to be there sometime, in this lifetime.

Great pictures indeed !

The Linea looks right at home with the stark & imposing landscape. The first picture piques one's curiosity to no end ! If it was at an attempt to get readers interested, trust me, you've got them hook , line & sinker ! Pic # 10 (got to see it on full screen to realise the full import of the landscape juxtaposed with the beauty of the Linea) ) sums it up in every sense - it's haunting, it's eerie and yet it's strangely comforting and familiar, as if I've been there - a sense of long forgotten deja vu...the goosebumps reappear!

Waiting for more , eagerly!

Cheers !

Last edited by Ironhide : 3rd September 2012 at 00:36. Reason: Adding some more emotion
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Old 3rd September 2012, 00:45   #9
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

rohittunga

Love the Linea up there.

Only one question, is this a 160mm ground clearance linea or more?
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Old 3rd September 2012, 00:57   #10
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Awe-inspiring stuff Rohit! Already hooked and salivating for more! She looks right at home in enchanting Ladakh

Respect buddy. And not without a small measure of pride - being a Linea owner too like yourself!

Keep 'em coming...
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Old 3rd September 2012, 23:26   #11
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Default Re: How hard can it be ? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Before I start posting more details about my travelogue, I would like to humbly thank each one of you for your best wishes.

Right, so here it goes. Ever since I became a Team-BHP addict, I used to literally drool over pics from the Leh Ladakh region, and after reading each travelogue my desire to travel there grew stronger and stronger. One fine day I decided that if they can do it, then so can I BUTTTTT all the travelogues that I saw involved vehicles like Safari or Scorpio or an Innova and I have a Linea. So I took a brave decision and decided to just do it. Guess what, the only people "brave" enough to accompany me was my mother and two aunts (both of whom are aged above 60)

D-Day Minus 2 Weeks (29th July 2012)

After we decided to drive there, I didn't want to turn back and decided to prepare the vehicle for it. The first thing that came up to my mind was Ground Clearance. Now do I spend 14k and get extra GC but in the process ruin the perfect stance of the car or do I get the GC kit and breathe a sigh of relief as well as spoil the looks of it a bit. Initially thought it was necessary and booked it as well and within a few days got calls from Concorde that the kit has arrived. Here again, took a brave pill and decided NOT to go for the GC upgrade and face whatever the Himalayas throws at me and the car head on.

Also the car had run 50k kms on stock tires and they were literally bald. So went to Madhus and bought 4 brand new Apollo tires for Rs 4875 per tyre. Even the alignment and balancing was done there and I was pretty satisfied with the overall experience there.

D-Day Minus 1 Week (5th Aug 2012)

One week to go and I went shopping for car parts. Went to JC road and took the most commonly required parts like fluids, fuses, bulbs, toolkit etc. Also got a 20L can for carrying extra fuel along with funnel. Some pics of the items bought

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-003.jpg <br /> <u><b>D-Day Minus 1 Day (11th Aug 2012)</b></u><br /> <br />
Our scheduled departure date was 12th Aug 2012. So that previous evening (being a Saturday) I could calmly arrange all the luggage in the correct order. Believe me, the boot of the Linea swallows more that you might think. No matter how much more bags we added, there still was room for more. Did a very rudimentary checks on all the fluid levels and oils. Also put in a new air filter. Installed the GPS and loaded all the routes (a Big thanks ho HV Kumar sir for sharing such good routes with us). <br /> <br /> <i>Old and New Filter</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-001.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-004.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-010.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-011.jpg <br /> <u><b>D-Day (12th Aug 2012)</b></u><br /> <br />
Woke up at 1 in the morning and by 2 40, all  were ready and anxious to leave. Time for history to be created <img src=
Started off with the usual NH4 (boring) roads all way the way till Vapi, Gujarat. Had breakfast at Kamat's in Ranebennur and moved on towards the beautiful roads from there till Nippani. Encountered heavy to very heavy rainfall throughout which only slightly hampered our roads. By 12 pm we entered Maharashtra and as expected our average speed dropped from 80 kmph to 70 kmph thanks to traffic and longer queues at toll plazas. At exactly 4 pm we entered Mumbai and took almost 2 hrs to come out of it. From there on, it was just a 200 km sprint towards our hotel in Vapi. Eventually reached Vapi at 8 in the evening and just crashed into the bed. Day 1 of my epic journey completed.

How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-020.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-021.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-039.jpg <br /> <i>Spotted the Mini Xylo on the Expressway. Was being driven very rashly. I couldn't keep up with him.</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-041.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-042.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-049.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-050.jpg <br /> <i>These were the stats from Day 1</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-052.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-053.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-054.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-055.jpg <br /> <i>A quick word on our hotel: Hotel Woodlands in Vapi<br />
We had already been there once before and absolutely loved it for its cleanliness and its location. Its located on the highway so there is no need for any deviation. We also get a complimentary breakfast along with the rooms<br />
Room Cost : Rs 1200 for a double bedroom with AC and unlimited breakfast</i><br /> <br /> <b><i><u>Route Taken : Bangalore - Tumkur - Davangere - Belgaum - Pune - Mumbai - Silvassa - Vapi</u></i></b><br /> <br /> <b><u>Day 2 (13th Aug 2012)</u></b><br /> <br />
Having a sound sleep the previous night and an even better breakfast ("free") we were all set to leave Vapi by 8:30 am. In a minute we were on the 6 lane  part of the golden quadrilateral and made rapid progress towards our next destination. With heavy rains accompanying us all the way, we could see the roads starting to deteriorate as potholes started to form. Soon we were on the National Expressway 1 and what a road it was, absolutely amazing. However I made an error in judgement here. We had last tanked up in Satara and thought of filling up next in Ahmadabad but was a bad decision. When we were approximately 40km from Ahmadabad, the fuel needle was completely down. Had to literally crawl at speeds of 50-60 kmph when cars like alto and nano were overtaking me left right and center. Fortunately found a reliance pump towards the end of the expressway and filled for Rs 300 as the fuel was expensive there. Then the GPS safely guided me onto the ring road where I found the petrol pump and filled it to the brim. Because of the slow driving we almost lost 45min ~ 1hr and it gets worse. While filling up the attendant points that the rear left type had a puncture. First I thought of repairing it myself as I had the repair kit and air pump, but later thought it to be un necessary and time consuming, instead found a near by puncture repair shop and got it fixed.<br /> <br />
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.<br /> <br /> <i>The best Rajasthani thali that I've ever tasted</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-084.jpg
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. <br /> <br />
At that time came another major decision. After seeing the disgusting rooms in Kishangarh, we were in no  mood to look at any other hotel in that city. So the only realistic option left was to head back and find accommodation in Ajmer. But I didn't want to go back and took a decision to drive full night on the Kishangarh - Bhatinda mega highway. Full night drive was something that I promised that I'd never do, but promises are meant to be broken right ? But even I didn't expect it to be broken on just the 2nd day of the trip. So we decided to drive all the way till Amritsar<br /> <br /> <br />
Since the Mega Highway deviates from the Golden Quadrilateral, we had to bid a sad farewell to those brilliant 4 lane highways. As soon was we exited Kishangarh town, we were on the mega highway but it wasn't smooth at all. Lots of potholes in the first 5 km and to add to the misery it started to rain heavily. When we reached the toll plaza, I said that I'll be heading to Hanumangarh and so he gave me the toll receipt in which the amount was Rs 190. Was totally shocked and inquired with the attendant as to whether he has given me the toll receipt of a truck or something, but nope it was for a car only. 190 bucks for a simple 2 lane highway till Hanumangarh was too much is what I felt. Moving on, the road condition improved gradually and drove on through the night taking only a couple of short power naps.<br /> <br /> <i>As dirty as a car can get. All thanks to rain and bad roads.</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-088.jpg <br />
An amazing morning beckoned us and along with it a surprise as well. After day break, we were just 70 or 80 km short of Hanumangarh where there was a big pool of water on the road. Pulled over to the side to see how the truckers manage. They drove along the middle path of the road where there was a couple of BIG potholes. After seeing them, I was ridiculing them for driving over the pot holes and tried to outsmart them by driving on the extreme left side of the road there by avoiding the potholes. What a stupid mistake it was. Almost immediately the car sank into 1ft of slush and mud, I tried to rev the car, but disaster was about to happen. The car gets stuck, unable to move front or back. At least now I acted wisely and decided not to try driving as it was of no avail and also save my clutch. So here I was in the middle of Rajasthan driving on roads as smooth as runways yet stuck. Thankfully I was fully prepared for such an eventuality and took out my 3 Tonne rated tow rope and before I could flag down a couple of truckers, they already stopped and were very kind and helpful. Thanks to those kind hearted souls, we were out of the slush in no time. Thanked the HR reg trucker a million times.<br /> <br /> <i>As you can see the car was on the extreme left side in the slush while the "correct" path was on the middle part of the road</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-0971.jpg <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-098.jpg <br />
This was my first experience of getting stuck somewhere and it gave me goosebumps. If on such good roads, I get stuck, then what would be my condition while climbing Zoji La, Fotu La, Khardung La, Chang La and the worst of all Rohthang. Trying to divert my mind from all these thoughts we drove on on the super smooth roads. The roads were so smooth that a Jumbo jet could easily land on it. Have a look at the pics and decide for yourself.<br /> <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-095.jpg <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-096.jpg <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-099.jpg <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-101.jpg <br />
Later we found ourselves a good spot to have a breakfast and decided to stop there. I took this opportunity to do another round of checks for any damages. To my luck there was none, however during the mud bath a lot of mud was stuck on the wheels which badly affected the wheel balancing. The steering wheel would shake violently when I crossed 80kmph. At first the wheel balancing didn't strike me. What I thought was the wheel weights might have come off during the mud bath phase which was causing the steering to wobble.<br /> <br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-102.jpg <br /> <i>This slush which hardened causes the wheel balancing to go haywire</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-124.jpg <br /> <i>Our breakfast spot</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-minipicture-107.jpg <br />
By 8:00 am our breakfast was done and Amritsar was still some 350 km away. The roads were still good but  I was exhausted after a full night drive and so that 350 km seemed like a 1000km for me. Huffing and Puffing we somehow made it to Amritsar at 1:00 pm, a full 10hrs ahead of schedule. We reached our hotel which was very near to the golden temple and as soon as the luggage and people were moved out of the car, I set the GPS for the nearest Fiat Service Center to check the wheel wobbling issue. The GPS pointed me to Automobile Kapoor's which was 5 km away. Reached there by 3 pm and explained the problem to him. Even he suspected that the extra mud is the culprit and took the car inside for a much needed car wash. 15 min later he calls me for a test drive and voila the wobbling is gone. I asked the bill for washing but he refused to acknowledge and told it was totally free. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, I return to our room for a much deserved break to freshen up.<br />
Took a nice hot water bath and by 7 pm we were out of our hotel to roam the streets of Amritsar by foot and cycle rickshaws. We visited golden temple that evening itself and found it to be a serene calm and clean place. Of course the lighting of the golden temple was spectacular to say the least. Had the prasad there, which was fine for me, but for my mom and others who are born, brought up and stayed all their lives in Bangalore. they were missing rice, sambar and curd rice the most. Did have some Amritsari lassi and came to our rooms by 9 30 pm. Thats all I remember. <br /> <br /> <i>Golden Temple in the night</i><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-126.jpg <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-131.jpg <br /> <i>A quick description of our hotel : Hotel City Castle<br />
AVOID !!!! Booked it using MakeMyTrip and paid Rs 3800 for 2 rooms with AC for 2 nights. The area was filthy, there was no parking at all. My poor Linea had to stay on the road the whole night. The rooms were stinky, smelly and cramped. The staff were not courteous at all. It still ranks as the worst hotels in this trip.</i><br /> <br /> <b><i><u>Route Taken : Vapi - Ahmadabad - Udaipur - Kishangarh - Hanumangarh - Fazilka - Ferozpur - Amritsar</u></i></b><br /> <br /> <b><u>Day 3 (15th Aug 2012) Independence Day and we were going to Wagah Border. The ceremony was an awe inspiring spectacle. More details coming soon...</u></b><br /> <a href=How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea-picture-301.jpg   <div style=

Last edited by rohittunga : 5th September 2012 at 23:00. Reason: As requested by GTO, I'm adding the details of Day 2 in my travelogue.
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Old 6th September 2012, 14:05   #12
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th September 2012, 14:25   #13
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

You action speaks for itself. My salute to you and your partners in the "act". I just can't wait to see more of your posts after you tread the deadly passes. Keep going.
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Old 6th September 2012, 14:59   #14
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Keep it going. I always dream of taking my linea to Leh but something pull me back. I throughly enjoyed my Pune-Tirupati-bangalore-ooty-mysore trip in my linea.

Gladly now i have 2 options to conquer leh. Safari and Linea. I always find linea reliable
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Old 6th September 2012, 17:51   #15
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Default Re: How hard can it be? Bangalore to Ladakh in a Linea

Very nice travelogue and it is people like you who amply demonstrate that it is the determination that matters the most.

Eagerly waiting for the rest of the pictures and story.
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