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Old 28th February 2013, 00:52   #16
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post
It is a Very practical & concentrated travelogue. As we are having many photograph on many threads of that area, the tings described by you are direct answer of many questions.
Thanks Alok.
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Originally Posted by infotech58 View Post

Very nice write up!

Given the quality of pictures so far, I expect many moire pictures to come.
Also detail the things you carried with you on the trip, and also mention till what point you got the GPS signal up there?
Thank you. Yes more pictures coming up as I put up the travellings of each day. In the end I ll put up an entire to do's and things to take along list for anyone who wants to do a similar trip. GPS signal was available everywhere on the entire trip, even in remote places like Kargil but the Map my India GPS unit we had taken is utterly useless. It could not find its way around Amritsar, even while we were reaching Kargil, it deviated us from entering Kargil city almost making us reach the LOC until a vigilant taxi driver coming from the opposite side saw our car and asked us to turn around for our safety.

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Originally Posted by Swifdeep View Post
Great travelogue!!!
Lots of info being copy and pasted from here.
Eagerly anticipating lots of boundaries and sixes from Sachin's camera.
Thank you, Yes lots more pictures to come.

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Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Excellent writeup.
Each Ladakh travelogue is unique in itself. Very professional touch to photographs. Mind sharing the gear used? And what generic post processing was done?

Waiting for more. Specially with regards to Swift performance!
Thank you. A Canon 550 D with Sigma 10-20, Canon 55-250 and a 50 mm prime were used for the pictures. All the scenery pictures were taken from the Sigma 10-20 with a Hoya HD circular Polariser attached. I have increased the contrast, saturation and sharpness a bit in some of the of the pictures using CS4

I will post a detailed review regarding the Swift's performance at the end. Everything did not go as flawless as planned until we reached Mumbai. I ll write about that.

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Originally Posted by rajeevn View Post
Nice going there, my friend. Wish I had the time and the guts to take this on. Nevertheless, I am traveling with you on this one. Bring on some more pictures, and do keep the write-ups coming in nice and thick.

Thanks.

Thank you.

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Originally Posted by anekho View Post
Really really nice log, humyum. And great photos! Your journey has well... err... rekindled my love for Swifts! Can't wait to pick one up, this summer.

Waiting for the rest of the story.

Thank you, Do write about your swift when it comes. I have the Swift since 4 years and we have had our ups and downs but on the whole, I am as excited about driving the car as I was on day one. Its a highway star for sure.
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Old 28th February 2013, 01:22   #17
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Day - 6--> Kargil

The entire day was spent in Kargil walking around the town. Its a very small place with absolutely nothing to do but I kid you not, there is a Maruti Showroom in Kargil and a service station right behind it. There were some Maruti cars kept in the showroom kept on display too. I asked inside on the delivery schedule and he said cars will be driven to Kargil from Srinagar whenever a delivery has to take place. It was an awesome surprise as Kargil is so small, I can share the entire town in one picture. Here it is taken from a hill top next to Kargil.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kargil.jpg

Early morning was spent raising the car up on their lift and checking the underbody for any damage. They checked the suspension and tightened everything again. The mounting of the exhaust had come lose and it was promptly tightened.

I also opened the air filter and cleaned it myself, it had gathered a lot of dirt from the 3 thousand kilometres plus trip till Kargil. I had replaced it with a brand new one a day before we left for the trip.

Here are some more pictures of the people in Kargil I clicked while we were roaming around.

This guy was sitting on the mountain where we had gone to photograph the entire expanse of Kargil

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-dudefinalupload.jpg

I struck a conversation with him and asked him just to know what he thought about living here and the hardships they faced because of a constant threat of shelling, terrorism, army missions etc.

He just told me one line "Hamare Bharat ke liye hum kisi bhi mushkilo se guzarne ko tayar hai". What a proud moment that.

These were some kids going to school wanting to be clicked

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kidsfinalupload.jpg

and thes were some kids playing next to our hotel. Made them stand for a picture.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kids.jpg

And here is a picture of a girl going to school.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-school123final.jpg

With day 6 ending, we were ready to face the journey towards Leh tomorrow. We were 2 days behind schedule, but we were okay with that as travelling by a Swift all the way till here does take a toll on you physically/ mentally and it did. We wanted to take it easy from here even if that meant that we had to skip visiting some of the places.

Last edited by humyum : 28th February 2013 at 01:25.
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Old 28th February 2013, 08:26   #18
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by humyum View Post
GPS signal was available everywhere on the entire trip, even in remote places like Kargil but the Map my India GPS unit we had taken is utterly useless. It could not find its way around Amritsar, even while we were reaching Kargil, it deviated us from entering Kargil city almost making us reach the LOC until a vigilant taxi driver coming from the opposite side saw our car and asked us to turn around for our safety.
The best GPS in India is to pull over and ask someone! Kargil is reasonably well equipped with roadsigns, but every year the place changes a bit and you don't recognize parts from a year before.

Lovely pics and writing. I'm reminded of my first trip in those regions, solo, in a Swift. It may look like a racy hatch, but it is one tough vehicle.

You have put the 10-20 to good use and what I liked best is that unlike people who normally shoot with a wide angle, you've not gone bonkers with it. Really dislike the distorted proportions that some of the pictures shot with a WA can produce.
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Old 28th February 2013, 10:53   #19
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

One of the best pictures posted on forums. I love it.

And yes, please do more pics (if you have) of the (so called) boring stretches of high-ways. I simply love them.

Any more pics of Wagah Border with rains & Swift?

It was wise to go to places where a hatch can rather risk & get the gear-box/sump take a hit.

Your Dal-lake pictures are out of the world mate Please keep sharing more.
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Old 28th February 2013, 11:41   #20
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kargil1.jpg

Fantastic Picture. I love the hues and the colors—almost gives it a fictional character. Humyum, you are making me read your posts while I am in office. Loving it!!

:-)
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Old 28th February 2013, 19:14   #21
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by humyum View Post
....
Rolled back a bit, decided on the path as the road was littered with big stones. Gunned the accelerator to 4 thousand rpm ( Sorry Swift ) and dumped the clutch, she climbed half way and lost traction with the front wheel spinning hysterically and the car going behind. DAMN Now what ?....
Excellent write up. I am so eager to take a similar journey but from Chennai.
With respect to skidding, the best way is to move the car in 2nd gear instead of conventional 1st gear. This will have reduced torque than the first gear but will be adequate to move the car without skidding.
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Old 28th February 2013, 19:31   #22
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by humyum View Post
GPS signal was available everywhere on the entire trip, even in remote places like Kargil but the Map my India GPS unit we had taken is utterly useless.
Why would the GPS signal not be available in Himalayas? Doesn't the satellite signals reach to those places? Or you were explaining from the signal jamming perspective?
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Old 1st March 2013, 13:31   #23
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by codelust View Post
The best GPS in India is to pull over and ask someone! Kargil is reasonably well equipped with roadsigns, but every year the place changes a bit and you don't recognize parts from a year before.

Lovely pics and writing. I'm reminded of my first trip in those regions, solo, in a Swift. It may look like a racy hatch, but it is one tough vehicle.

You have put the 10-20 to good use and what I liked best is that unlike people who normally shoot with a wide angle, you've not gone bonkers with it. Really dislike the distorted proportions that some of the pictures shot with a WA can produce.
Thank you, Yes the best GPS is to pull over and ask, but the thing is, we reached many a cities at odd hours. For example, while going and coming back we managed to reach Amritsar at 3 am and everything is so deserted, Jammed city at 1:30 am hence we thought the GPS would come handy. Kargil was well kind of scary for us to reach as darkness and bad roads along with mountains are a deadly combination for a hatchback.

Do post about your trip. It would be fun to read.

The wide angle at 10 did create a lot of barrel distortion hence I decided best not go to the extremes.
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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
One of the best pictures posted on forums. I love it.

And yes, please do more pics (if you have) of the (so called) boring stretches of high-ways. I simply love them.

Any more pics of Wagah Border with rains & Swift?

It was wise to go to places where a hatch can rather risk & get the gear-box/sump take a hit.

Your Dal-lake pictures are out of the world mate Please keep sharing more.
Thank you Sheel. I am glad you liked the photography. To tell you the truth, I am just learning.

Yes I do have some more pictures of the highway, will post them in the coming instalments. Sorry, I don't have pictures of the Wagah border, it was too much rain for me to risk the camera gear.



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Originally Posted by rajeevn View Post
Attachment 1056607

Fantastic Picture. I love the hues and the colors—almost gives it a fictional character. Humyum, you are making me read your posts while I am in office. Loving it!!

:-)
Haha, will take you away from work even today

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Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
Excellent write up. I am so eager to take a similar journey but from Chennai.
With respect to skidding, the best way is to move the car in 2nd gear instead of conventional 1st gear. This will have reduced torque than the first gear but will be adequate to move the car without skidding.
Thank you. Yes, that would work in case of SUV's which have massive low end torque, but sadely in case of the Swift, she would not even move an inch in first gear without me rev dumping her, On the Zozila pass, even 1st gear could not make her climb some of the stretches and she had to be pushed. Its the massive turbolag that plays a spoil sport in such mountains. The task is to make her reach 2000 rpm in 1st gear for her to maintain the momentum, anything less and you are moving towards a stall.

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
Why would the GPS signal not be available in Himalayas? Doesn't the satellite signals reach to those places? Or you were explaining from the signal jamming perspective?
Oh, that was just a question which I answered which infotech58 had asked.
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Old 1st March 2013, 14:36   #24
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Reading Leh travelogues !!! Such an enchanting thing to do, even at office hours Its such a proud moment for every one to reach those heights, by themselves. Kudos and hats off humyum. Let me say, excellent pictures till now. Raring to be there, and hoping for more and more shots from you
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Old 1st March 2013, 14:41   #25
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Day 7 --> Kargil To Leh--Distance --220 kilometres

Early morning at around 7 o clock, we set off from Hotel Zozilla for Leh. We were told that the roads were fantastic and we had nothing to worry. From our earlier experiences we had realised that their definition of fantastic and our definition of fantastic is poles apart.

The first 10 kilometres or so were..well fantastic according to us too with sweeping corners which were properly banked. I had fun taking the Swift through her paces as there was just a Santro and us going towards Leh in our periphery. The Santro guy once overtaken matched my speed and line with his speed and constantly kept us company in-spite of his Santro being on stock tyres and mine shod with soft Michelin 185's. People here sure are excellent drivers.

The next 10 kilometres and gravel roads started coming back in patches. What I learnt after passing some of these stretches was, You damage the car more if you take each of these stretches at 1 and 2 kmph, its best to maintain some momentum and that's what I did, started passing these stretches at 30's and 40's and we could hardly feel anything inside the car because of that.

Here it how the roads pretty much were till Leh after the first 30 kilometres or so.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2697.jpg

Here is a picture of the highway clicked from a mountain pass. Notice how small the trucks and buses appear from here.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kargilleh.jpg

One more

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-rohan.jpg


Soon we stopped to click pictures of kids who were on their way to school near a village.

Here they are

Her name was Fatima.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kid.jpg


Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-kidfinaluploadfinal.jpg

And here is a group picture

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2708.jpg


After we passed this group, we were on the foothills of Fotula Pass, A Maruti 800 had been pushed off the road by an on coming truck and the car lying on the embankment more than 3 feet below the highway. Around 10 people had gathered around with an uncle in an Ikon figuring out how to get this 800 out. We stopped and offered to help. Connected the rope they had to the Swifts read end and pulled the 800 out in no time as at these altitudes we were no way going to help them push the car out. Exertion is a killer here and we hardly had the strength most of the times to pull ourselves.

Now the next problem he faced was, damage to the 800. I being an automotive engineer, checked his car and certified it drivable. The only damage to his car was the oil sump which resembled a micky mouse's head now but it was nothing which needed immediate attention. With a downslope in the opposite direction and me in the drivers seat, I started his car with some clutch dumpings in second gear and he was on his way.
Phew.

The climb to fotula pass is a road filled with sand but nothing to sweat as it was just lose sand and had no boulders or stone beneath them. But yes, the dust storm it creates due to passing trucks can create breathing problems and the windows are best left closed.

Here is how it was.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-car123.jpg

Finally making it up, when we got out of the car, we did have visual blackouts and breathlessness. We decided to not stay here any longer and proceeded.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-fotula.jpg

Getting down, we came across this woman walking on the road, we stopped the car to click her picture. We even ended up having a conversation with her, she did not know Hindi that well, but enough for us to communicate, but she told us she had come to Mumbai when she was a kid and asked us to take her with us in the car. We realised it was time to scoot

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-grandmomupload.jpg

On the way we stopped at Lamayaru Monestary. It was okay, we did not find it that exciting as we were more of highway scenery guys than monument, culture ones. Never the less, I did click a picture of the monastery from afar

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2794.jpg

Proceeding further, Leh was still a cool 110 kilometres away and Rahul was feeling sick because of the constant turns on the highway along with the altitude changes. It was lunch time but we could not find anything on the way and the canteen in Lamayaru was closed, so we just proceed further. We had electrol powder and Rahul started drinking water with that powder as he started feeling extremely sick as minutes passed. He decided that sleep was the best medicine and had a nap which lasted till Leh

Now the roads were brilliant most of the time with only bad stretches appearing when you cross a village on the highway. I had to get down many a times to clear stones from these stretches, with Rahul asleep and sick, there were traffic jams many a times behind because of me having to remove stones, get back in the car and repeat the ordeal whenever these patches appeared. Never the less, the last 50 kilometres towards Leh are an absolute delight and on some of the stretches I touched a cool 140 to 150, stretching the cars legs after long.

We had India's flag which we had placed on the rear window of the car flying all the way with us from the moment we left Kargil, here is a picture I clicked of the flag on the car when we had stopped the car at magnetic hill.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-ndtv.jpg

We entered Leh at 4 and parked ourselves at The Oriental Guest House. It costed us 1600 bucks per day including breakfast for both of us. Room was big, clean and had a large flat screen TV in them. Wifi and internet connection too, but that worked only in the Hotel lounge which had a small library attached to it too. Tired, we just slept off, only to be awakened by the dreaded headache and breathlessness again. Before entering the hotel, we had stopped at a chemist and asked him for a remedy to these headaches and breathing problems, he had given us a strip of pills which he best described as 'Oxygen Pills', increases the oxygen content in your blood. We took them in the night and next day we did feel like superman's.

More on our exploits further as the travelogue continues.

Last edited by humyum : 1st March 2013 at 14:44.
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Old 1st March 2013, 15:15   #26
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Absolutely mindblowing pictures. And I love your narration. Devoid of all the literary crap that we see around here a lot these days. You just get to the point and leave it there.

Rated this thread a super 5 stars. Hope there's more!
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Old 1st March 2013, 15:26   #27
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Hi
At some stage if you have not already planned, please do list out what stuff/equipment you had and what you should have had (and did not have). I mean tow rope, shackle, air pump, spare tube etc.
Also, did you carry any spare fuel or you came back via Kargil? We will wait for the part on Swift's performance.
Great going. Nice pictures and always lovely to see another Leh TL.
Cheers
Rajain
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Old 1st March 2013, 15:42   #28
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Some excellent photographs with good narration there Humyum. Every Leh TL is unique in itself and I never get boared to read them again and again. Also, thanks to the good samaritan in you that helped the M800 back on the road.

There are certain things, which possibly I do not like the way you drive, but then it's my own opinion and apologies in advance if you don't agree.
1. Your car seemd to be aquaplaning quite often. Is it related to the high speed driving tendency?
2. The tinted glass issue. It has been over an year that this has been implemented. Ideally you should have stripped off the tint long ago and if required, there are 2-3 threads in the DIY section to help you with.
3. Attempting to pay bribe and actually paying it as you've admitted isn't setting good example.
4. Driving on the wrong site in the event of a jam - this is something which aggrevates the jam situation and quite often we've seen situations where the jam could have been avoided altogether. Then think of the situation when you've yourself caused the jam!

Enough of preaching now, let the further log and pics come!
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Old 1st March 2013, 16:21   #29
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Wow man, this is simply superb.
The narration is excellent and to top it up with crisp snaps is just icing on the cake.
Could you please share with me the full resolution picture of snap of the India flag on your car, if possible.
Waiting for the rest of the log to unfold .

Cheers

Last edited by Schoudhury : 1st March 2013 at 16:22. Reason: typo
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Old 1st March 2013, 18:21   #30
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Hello,

Great travelogue & equally great photos.

You have set the Driving & photography benchmark a step above for us. These travelogues to Ladakh only motivate me to undertake this jounrey this year itself. Thank you for these spectacular pictures & crisp narration.

Regarding altitude sickness I believe it is advised to take Diamox tablet everyday during the trip. Did you followed this schedule? Also generally it is Air travellers to Leh who suffer from altitude sickness. People who visit by Car are already used to high altitudes.

Thanks,
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