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Old 26th April 2013, 23:25   #46
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Great travelogue, brother. I'm really jealous of you :-) (in a good sense). I'm planning to do a trip to the Himalayas but not sure if this is possible from down south in a car(i'm in Bangalore)May be I need to find some like-minded friends who have the time and interest for such journey.Wish you good luck on more such journeys. Your write up and pictures really inspired me to do a trip for sure in the next month or so somewhere,if not Himalayas for now.
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Old 6th May 2013, 14:59   #47
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Sorry guys for keeping this travelogue dormant, My mom was extremely ill and in the hospital since around 2 months, So i had to tender to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Alok) View Post
Good going humyum. It is really courageous to drive alone (I mean alone vehicle) in Himalaya. Were you driven all the time or it was changed by Rahul (your buddy)?




Please add information for Fuel Stations also in your posts.
I was driving all the time, Well, I am super possessive about my Swift. Yes, the fuel station informations are coming up in the next post

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapsi View Post
It looks like the answer to your aquaplaning problem lies in your reply. You have said that since you have to cover long distances you maintain a speed of about 120 - 130. This is OK in ideal conditions but it appears that you maintain this speed irrespective of the weather conditions. I believe that if you had adequately slowed down whenever the conditions were wet or when you saw some water on the roads, you would not have had the aquaplaning problem to this extent.

In addition, there are couple of things which I follow when on highways which I would like to share. One thing is never to set a target time for the destination. A target time leads to stress and makes one hurry which results in a higher probability for making mistakes. It is best to go with the flow and reach when you reach.

It is also a good idea to avoid driving on highways between 2am and 6am. It is better to stop and get some rest during these hours. Even if you are well rested and alert, it is possible that other drivers on the road are tired and sleepy and they could cause an accident.

Hope this helps.

Cheers!
I agree, I should slow down during the rains. Point taken. Damn, the Michelins are so grippy, they make you over confident during bad weather too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Awesome pics man! Nature captured at it's best!! I wish the car was clean so compliment the pics (ya ya, I know it can't ).

Rating 5 stars!! Thank you for a feast!
Thank you, You know, I wanted to keep the car matching with the theme of the road trip, So i decided to not wash it at all until I got back to Mumbai and IMAGINE, we got caught in Punjab twice while returning for the number plate being invisible to the cops because of the muck and mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Well, some of us like the Car in its elements, sometimes & on occasions such as this, it appears perfect

Needless to say, a thread is dedicated to it, here

And this thread deserves *****
Thank you. Rightly said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
I would have loved if it was a SUV! That would have gone with the character & the location too, rugged! But difficult to imagine a hatch there!

Between, thanks for the link - my car would have already been featured there had I come across it before.
An SUV would have been excellent, but it would have been a cake walk, this was more adventurous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhijitvp View Post
Very nice travel log humyum. All Ladakh travel logs have some charm in them so as this one. Pics are too good as well as the narration. I am surprised to see you struggling with your Swift on the way to Kargil. Was there any issue with the clutch or it’s because of lack of oxygen or too much of luggage? I am also planning to do Ladakh in my Swift VDi hence bit concerned.

Please share preparation, performance of the Swift and leanings.

Rating this thread well deserved 5 stars.
Thank you. Yes because of the height and lesser oxygen content, the turbo used to spool at higher rpm than the usual 2200 in 2nd gear or 2000 in 3rd and so on. On many occasions a clutch dump required. The turbo lag of the DDIS is a pain many times over at these heights

I ll update with the preparations and performance and learnings as I progress. Boy lots to write there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
Interesting that you started writing the travelogue the very next day you left for the trip. Lost the connectivity somewhere?

Those pictures are just master class. Kudos to you guys for doing this on a swift. One can never be tired of reading the Leh logs. It just rejuvenating and makes one want more.

I'm curious to see how you guys tackled Chang La and the last 30 odd kms before Tso Moriri. Waiting for the rest of the travelouge to unfold.
Thank you. Yes, after Srinagar, there was absolutely no connectivity for the Tata Indicom dongle we had.

From Leh to Pangong Tso, we went by a cab which was organised by the other tourists in our hotel, we tagged along .I was too tired to drive as both of us being photography enthusiasts wanted to click pictures and the driving seat kind of tied my hands from that mission.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley2 View Post
I really don't want to spoil the mood here, but my few certain points..

At any case you need not rev the engine to shoot the car at 2000 rpm. Simple logic - the more you raise more vulnerable to loose traction.
Swift has enough low end torque for it to go places ( read as torque to weight ratio and not mere torque figure) .

Ok, let me stop here. Waiting for more details on travel. After a very long time I am following a travel story. Keep going.
I agree with what you are saying, low end torque is phenomenal in the Swift but with practical happenings is what I describe. On those Zozila Pass Steeps, I initially tried just letting the clutch go as I usually do when I start the car from a stand still and all that happened was stall. Infact, when I used to rev it till 4000 rpm on some of these slopes and let the clutch go completely, after like 150 to 200 meters of the rpms dropping slowly slowly with the accelerator pressed, she used to stall again and I had to clutch, rev and drop again for it to climb some more meters before the extreme slopes ended.

Anyway, I ll continue with the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Diamox three times a day? Srinagar-Leh route is way more slow and gradual climbing than the other side. Three tablets a day probably an overkill. But that also depends from person to person.

Lovely pictorial coverage! But why so slow with your posting?
Thank you for the compliment sir, coming from you who is such a mind blowing photographer, it means a lot.

Yes, we chose the Srinagar - Leh route because of its gradual climbs but the head aches and breathlesses started the moment we landed in Kargil and the same happened in Leh, Dimox 3 times a day was suggested by the Hotel guy in Kargil as both of us could not even close our eyes the first night as we were struggling to breath. I think it could also be because of the stress involved in driving a hatchback on those terrains with the tension involved. I am extremely careful with my car and hence the bad roads kind of were getting on my nerves

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Great travelogue especially the pictures. But no updates for long, come on dude finish the log and give some pointers for others who are planning a trip the mountains this year.
Thank you. Will update everyday from now on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narsi_6989 View Post
Hi,
Such a nice travelogue and kudos for completing the trip successfully . Please keep the log tricking. I plan to take my Fabia all the way this year and this log will be of immense help. What are the extra precautions to be taken for a Hatch?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotham_City View Post
Thanks humyum for sharing the Leh experience on the forum.

Some of the photographs are worth million bucks.

Must say, you had some real hair-raising experiences on those hilly terrains. Your swift took those harsh punishments in its stride and came out well.

Not sure, how many of us will have the spunk do such tough terrains in a hatch back.
Thank you. Yes, the Swift did take a lot of beating but guess what, Its 74 thousand kilometres old now, around 16 thousand km run after the Leh trip and the only thing I have touched in the suspension is stabiliser bars worth 1400 bucks, thats it. No suspension noise, no overhaul, nothing !

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeethucj View Post
Great travelogue, brother. I'm really jealous of you :-) (in a good sense). I'm planning to do a trip to the Himalayas but not sure if this is possible from down south in a car(i'm in Bangalore)May be I need to find some like-minded friends who have the time and interest for such journey.Wish you good luck on more such journeys. Your write up and pictures really inspired me to do a trip for sure in the next month or so somewhere,if not Himalayas for now.
Thank you, you can do it from Bangalore, another 2000 km more to the entire trip, that's it. You ll have a time of your life if you go in your own car as compared to a taxi or a flight, trust me.

Last edited by humyum : 6th May 2013 at 15:09.
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Old 6th May 2013, 20:39   #48
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Day 8--> Leh

It was usual sight seeing, we had reached our final destination where we would plant ourselves as base camp.

We wandered around Leh with two other Indian's who we had befriended in the hotel in the morning.

About the Hotel --> Its Oriental Palace and we were paying a 1600 bucks per room including breakfast for 2. It's really classy, good neat rooms and bathrooms, has a UK style radiator heater in the room, A flat screen TV, room service and whatever amenities you can expect from a good 2 to 3 star hotel. It has been rated good by trip advisor too and it was an unexpected find as we were planning to stay in Shanti Guest house next to it.

Internet is available in the lounge area and if you are not carrying your laptop, they have internet cafe type pc's too for use at very nominal rate. The Lady at the desk will arrange whatever travel requirements you might have. I would recommend this place although prices I assume would be high during the main tourist season.

We decided to visit the monasteries around Leh today and also take the car to a Maruti Service Station as there was a minor sound coming from beneath like something was lose and I wanted to take no chance. She had scraped her belly at a number of places too while on the drive from Kargil to Leh, so a customary up the lift was a good idea.

First Stop - Maruti Service Station, There are like 2 or 3 in Leh and they all stock all running items and there would be no worry if something was actually wrong with the car when it came to nominal items. Seeing the car, the owner personally got down, spoke to us and asked our car to be inspected asap

It was raised and an exhaust mount found to be lose and promptly tightened, a plastic front bumper fairing was lose, it was fixed back. Suspension was re tightened and the car felt brand new again. The body beneath had some dent marks from stone hits, but nothing to sweat.

Off we went to our hotel, picked up our new friends and went on a round around Leh, they wanted to go to Khardung La which was just 40 km away but I was sceptical of taking the Swift there with 4 adults on board so that idea was aborted

Here is Thiksey Monestary

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-thiksheyfacebook.jpg

and this is the climb which gets steeper and steeper until the big steps come in and you have to stop and catch your breath for a minute or two after every few steps.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-sunfun.jpg

and here is a picture of a Monk who smiled at our state when we reached the top and I took a picture.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-monk-2.jpg

And here is a view from TOP of the Monestary. A sight worth all that climb

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2876.jpg

A cat gave a pose and I was up for it at the right moment

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-catuploadfacebook.jpg

From here we headed to one more monestary which was ahead of this one, Sorry I don't remember the name but it was smaller as compared to Thiskey and it was located off the main road at a very secluded place.

This was the bridge right before the Monastery

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-bridgeupload.jpg

This was the view from the Monastery.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-imaginethat.jpg

A picture of the Swift standing next to its smaller cousin. I observed that in Leh, people would either have SUV's like Xylo and Scorpio, MUV's like Innova or Maruti and Hyundai brand of vehicles. No VW or any of those varieties.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-cousins123.jpg

Our new friends which we met in Leh. They accompanied us to Pangong Tso too.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-chaltechalte.jpg

The picture of the Swift right after the bridge near the entrance of the Monastery. The sun adds a little drama to it.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-123.jpg
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Old 16th May 2013, 18:15   #49
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Day 9 - 10 - Pangong Lake

This time, we decided to give the Swift a break as there was a taxi headed for Pangong Tso from our hotel and there was place for 2 of us at 1200 per person. Driving on these roads is tiresome and hence the cab. The cab was a Xylo, perfect ground clearance and power for these kind of terrains.

It takes around 5 hours to go to Pangong Lake from Leh, we had also planned a stayover there as it was off season and tents would be dirt cheap.

On our way to Pangong Lake, we witnessed something which can almost be called a miracle, A monastery dug and constructed in between the mountains, check this out. It was taken from the moving Xylo. The Canon 55-250 works really well in the day light.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-imaginethat-2.jpg

Finally we reached Chang La and what a feeling. You are short of breath, you don't know if you are feeling cold or hot as the sun is right over your head where as the winds are chilly cold.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2940.jpg

We stopped to have chai and maggi and there was this dog which belonged to the hotel owner. He was playing around with every customer like a child. I am generally very scared of dogs, but this one somehow gave me the confidence to go near and shake his hand. Infact, these pictures are clicked with a 10-20 Sigma for which I had to go super close to his face with the lens and still it did not feel scary at all.

Here are some of his pictures

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2948.jpg


Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2952.jpg

We left and as we went further I realised HOW LUCKY I was to have kept the Swift at the hotel. The slopes were dreadful and they were filled with armour piercing stones of humongous proportions. I thought our Xylo guy will slow down to negotiate them but he just gunned it, all of us moving like ping pong balls in the car, on asking him 'Why he did not slow down'? he said 'It would not climb if he slowed down for the bad roads', I realised that my Swift would have its underbelly hit from every direction if I went over these like he did. This continued for a good 2 kilometres after which good roads were back.

We witnessed some Mormots on the way, Hulk Hogan versions of squirrels but quite bindaas in their attitude. Some came as close as our hand to take some biscuits we had.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2964.jpg

Now Pangong Lake was appearing in the Horizon and what a sight it was.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-pangong.jpg

And here is one more from a closer periphery of the lake

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-pang.jpg

This is where we stayed. IF I would have seen this picture in a magazine, BY GOD would I have been envious or what.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2994.jpg

An Indian army boat patrolling the waters.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-pangongboatuploadfacebook.jpg

The winds were chilly, the family in the tent made good dinner for us and we were all struggling with the cold inspite of the warm clothes we had. I had just landed from UK before some days but still I found it extremely chilly.

We had a small party in the night around a bon fire with guitaring and singing.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_3032.jpg

Our Xylo Driver Sonam who became our dear friend even after we left with calls being exchanged during festive occasions. Very sweet chap.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-sonam.jpg

All in all an enjoyable day. The tents had a built in bathroom, twin beds and blankets, pretty neat. They were going for 1000 rupees a day on twin sharing basis. We left the next day morning and crashed in our hotel.

PS: Our hotel guys did not charge us for the day we were away even though we kept all our luggage and everything in the room as it was. How cool is that.
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:32   #50
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You are a photographer by heart, driving just ignites the passion. The frames are just awesome to say the least. The UWA shots are just wow, enlarge them please.
Congrats on the Leh trip, this seems to be the pilgrimage trip for most Tbhp members.
Five star rating.
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Old 17th May 2013, 13:32   #51
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Originally Posted by himadrimondal View Post
You are a photographer by heart, driving just ignites the passion. The frames are just awesome to say the least. The UWA shots are just wow, enlarge them please.
Congrats on the Leh trip, this seems to be the pilgrimage trip for most Tbhp members.
Five star rating.
Thank you, I will enlarge them.


Day 11 - Leh to Kargil

We shelved going to Nubra valley as Rahul had a job to get back to and it was a long 4 to 5 day drive back home.

We started at 9 o clock while tanking up in Leh, the mileage figures on these mountains is amazing, we got 20.5 driving solely in the mountains.

The roads seemed less bad this time as we had learnt the trick to negotiate bad sections, rather than slowing down to 1 and 2 kmph, if there are not big stones on the road, you should pass these sections at 30's and 40's, that way the impact inside is nominal, anyway the roads are much better on this leg than compared to the Kargil - Srinagar section.

Here are some pictures we clicked on the way.

A picture of the Swift at Magnetic Hill. The Indian flag waved with us throughout.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_3102.jpg

This looked quite dangerous to say the least, but trucks were travelling on it so who were we to complain with a Swift ?

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-bridge-1.jpg

An Indian army convoy was passing through and stopped when they saw the MH number plate. I managed to grab a quick picture.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-trucks.jpg

A picture of a base right next to the highway

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-trucks_1.jpg

A place where one river meets another. Don't know the river names

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-raftingfinal.jpg

A village on the foothills of the mountains. IMAGINE THAT.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-houseupload.jpg

All in all we comfortably reached Kargil and stationed ourselves at Hotel Zozila. My parents could not ring both of us because of no network so they were dead worried. We called them using the cell phone from the hotel guys.

Next day was - Kargil to Srinagar and the dreaded Zozila Pass

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Old 17th May 2013, 20:36   #52
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Originally Posted by humyum View Post
A place where one river meets another. Don't know the river names

Attachment 1084590

This is at NH1D and along the confluence of Indus and Zanskar at Nimmu
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Old 18th May 2013, 01:32   #53
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Day 12 - Kargil To Srinagar

Although Taxi drivers do the entire stretch from Leh to Srinagar in one day if asked to, it was not possible for us as we had a small car.

We stared of at 9 o clock in the morning. Be warned tyre pressure cannot be touched at these places if you don't have your own reliable tyre pressure gauge as there were no electronic ones here and the mechnical ones were grossly in accurate.

For example. In Kargil, right next to our hotel, this guy checks the pressure in one tyre and says its '49' PSI. IMAGINE 49 PSI when the car has not even run more than 200 meters and looking at a tyre I can judge what is over inflated and what is not. I ask him not to touch anything after that. He puts his meter in the stepney and says '49 PSI' again. I just let the pressure be as it were even though I somehow felt a PSI or 2 had got down over the trip from the steering feel.

This was a board right outside the Kargil village. Made a lot of sense.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_3141.jpg

Swift with its dirty look

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-awiftupload.jpg

The river flows side by side as you are driving out of Kargil towards Srinagar.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-facebookkargil.jpg

This is how the roads were practically for 30 to 40 kilometres but we were used to it so the frustration level was down to a minimum

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-uploadfinal.jpg

Team bhp to add a little spice with the terrain

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-swiftupload12345935325353.jpg

The roads right outside Drass village

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_3173.jpg

These were the 2 soliders we met in the Kargil War Memorial. One of them took lift from us till the village so that he could go to the cyber cafe in Drass. Cool chap

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-soldiers123.jpg

A matter of pride

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-img_2590.jpg

Zozila pass was conquered with ease this time as there were two roads before the ultimate descend. One with a sharp dive down and the other which went a little up and then slowly descended down. A Getz guy behind us took the upper one so we followed and realised that this is the road we should have taken while going up too but the army guys had closed it down for some excavation work and hence we had to go through the difficult one. None the less, this was a cake walk now.

Reached Srinagar by evening, crashed at Hotel Malik to leave for Amritsar the next day morning. Home was still around 2700 kilometres away and
it seemed like it would take forever to get back.
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Old 18th May 2013, 07:27   #54
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A place where one river meets another. Don't know the river names
That aquamarine coloured one is Zanskar river and the other one is Indus.
Colours will be just opposite in a month time from now. Name of the place is Nimu.
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Old 18th May 2013, 16:49   #55
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Day 13 - Srinagar to Amritsar

Distance 460 kilometres

We were tired from all the travelling, so we left from Srinagar at a latish 12 o clock not realising that this would not be a cake walk because of the traffic we would face on the way.

With Ghats for 300 kilometres all the way till jammu and constant truck traffic, progress was slow and we reached Jammu only at 9 o clock in the night by passing it as instructed by HVK sir. We thought of staying over in Jammu for the night but if we kept stopping over short distances, Mumbai would take even longer, pushing on we reached Amritsar at a cool 3 am in the night.

We followed a Tavera through the ghats for almost 200 kilometres as he was driving safely with ample speed to keep munching miles.

Day 14 - Amritsar to Hanumangadh

Distance 290 kilometres

This time we left even late at 3 am after munching some awesome food and Chaas in Amritsar. Roads were good and we did this in 4 hours with a stay over at Rajvi Palace which had authentic Rajasthani food along with the ambience and rooms too palace like. Having a good nights sleep we decided to much leave early the next day and munch as many miles as possible. Still Mumbai was a cool 1600 km away.

Day 15 - Hanumangadh to Baroda with a tyre puncture and break down.

Today we started at 6 am and made rapid progress as the roads were fantastic to say the least. We were munching miles like a jet plane and I was really having fun with the Swift when the first tragedy struck.

A tyre puncture around 80 kilometres from the Udaipur Bypass and at 8 in the night. The centre portion of the Michelin was ripped apart with a 2 inch big hole. Got it changed and as an emergency, had the tyre guy who was stationed some kilometres away repair it. This was our first puncture in the entire trip and taking all the luggage out to get the spare wheel, put things back in place etc etc took the life out of us.

By 9:30 we were done with this ordeal thinking, all is well. Had lots of water and we were fresh again. We wanted to drive the entire night to see Mumbai by morning but the Swift had other plans.

After Udaipur by pass, the Airavalis started and we were making good progress on the ghats when tragedy struck, but this time it was not a small one. Firstly, the 5th gear refused to engage and returned back like it would happen if you would not time your clutch and gear shifting right.

I tried again and this time it went into 5th and got jammed inside. In the whole tussle, the car had slowed down to 60 and was slowing down at a rapid rate, trucks were honking from behind for me to move over and I was trying my best to get the gear out from 5th, until finally I lugged the engine from 30 in 5th gear with the Swift almost about to stall but still moving slowly and we stopped at a bunk on the left of the road which appeared like a knight out of no where.

We were deciding what to do, either stay in Udaipur and risk an unknown Maruti service station with maybe a major gearbox failure or drive down to Baroda where in a relative was a GM of Hyundai Service station and had contacts with all the Maruti guys around. But for all this to happen, she had to move out of 5th first, otherwise it would be a tow from in between no where.

Rahul asked me to try muscling the gear lever out of 5th and the first time it did not budge, the 2nd time she moved out of 5th and came to neutral but made a constant metallic pinging sound the moment I released the clutch. Initially I thought it was a synchronising ring which had broken and was rotating around in the gearbox and will damage the other gears if I kept on driving around with it, but with no option left, I drove the entire night from Udaipur to Baroda from 1 to 4 gears and at a constant 80 and 90 in 4th gear.

These speeds on empty highways really gets the sleep bug going but Rahul and me chatted away the whole night while driving and we reached Baroda with a sigh of relief.

Rahul had to report to work the next day so he took a bus and left to Mumbai while me landed at my cousins place who immediately summoned the Amar Auto guys who took my car.

They called after some hours saying they had found the problem and a plastic clip in the gear shifter had been broken and needed to be replaced. I asked them to replace the brake pads too as they were near the end life. Got a bill of 2200 rupees with 1300 being for brake pad replacement and I was back and ready for the final leg of the trip, albeit this time alone.

Started early morning the next day from Baroda, this time being extra careful as I was all alone and reached Mumbai by late afternoon.

All in all, the last day of the trip turned out to be super eventful, although we thank our stars that none of this happened in some remote areas of Kashmir as that would have damped our spirits beyond repair.

No pictures as we did not click any, we had passed this stretch while going to Kashmir and the sceneries here did not interest our photographic cells that much as Kashmir did.

Last edited by humyum : 18th May 2013 at 16:52.
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Old 19th May 2013, 09:45   #56
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Excellent write up and lovely pics. Some of the pics are so good that they appear fake .
The worst part of any long road trip is the coming back part. I always find it difficult to motivate myself for the return drive. Nevertheless thanks a lot for taking us all to Kashmir via this thread.
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Old 20th May 2013, 11:54   #57
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Zozila pass was conquered with ease this time as there were two roads before the ultimate descend. One with a sharp dive down and the other which went a little up and then slowly descended down. A Getz guy behind us took the upper one so we followed and realised that this is the road we should have taken while going up too but the army guys had closed it down for some excavation work and hence we had to go through the difficult one. None the less, this was a cake walk now.
Excellent photographs humyum. Thanks for continuing the log. Do you have exact locations for this diversions (both side)? Let us know which one to take. I will mark them in my maps.
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Old 20th May 2013, 12:12   #58
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Excellent write up and lovely pics. Some of the pics are so good that they appear fake .
The worst part of any long road trip is the coming back part. I always find it difficult to motivate myself for the return drive. Nevertheless thanks a lot for taking us all to Kashmir via this thread.
LOL, thanks, Glad you enjoyed the journey. Yes, getting back is a task, specially when you are drained and battered.

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Originally Posted by abhijitvp View Post
Excellent photographs humyum. Thanks for continuing the log. Do you have exact locations for this diversions (both side)? Let us know which one to take. I will mark them in my maps.
Thank you abhijit. Well, while getting up from Srinagar after say 2 to 3 kilometres of Zozila Pass starting there is a very very steep right hander, there is a road which goes straight on that right hander. Take the straight one and not the right hander. That is the easier one while going from Srinagar.

While getting back from Kargil to Srinagar, you will unmistakeably see 2 roads with around 15 to 20 minutes from your starting the descend. The road which goes to the left will dive down at extreme angles while the one going up on the right will be a little gentle.

People assume that the one going up goes somewhere else so they don't take it, but that is the one you are supposed to take, its sand paved with a gentle downslope all the way, way easier.

But be warned, many a times they close the easier route for army convoys, construction work and if it does happen that you are passing by from that stretch at those unfortunate times, then well, the harder one it will be.

Let me state the preparations we made for this trip:

1) Got the car serviced a week before the trip. Oil and oil filter change.

2) Brakes cleaned, suspension re torqued.

3) Alignment and balancing done.

4) Made a short drive to Lonavala to check if everything in the car was P for perfect. Everything seemed fine

5) 1 litre can of engine oil, one can of coolant, one small bottle of engine oil.

6) One 20 litre plastic can, a filler neck.

7) A Belkin charger which plugs into the lighter and gives 220 volt output on the other side, proved to be a boon for charging camera batteries.

8) Borrowed a friends Map My India, proved to be useless. Hardly showed the correct direction in the cities up north. Took us the wrong way towards the LOC in Kargil too. Shut it down after that to never be used again. Google maps is more accurate and cell phone maps wherever there was reception beat the hell out of Map My India. Of course the Human GPS aka HVK sir beat the world out Google maps too

9) Spare headlight bulb, some fuses, a torch

10) We forgot to take a rope but hatchback drivers should take one along with the attachment for the tow hook to be connected to the front of the car. It comes with the tool kit of every car now.

11) A detailed plan of the entire plan with stop over points which HVK sir gave us.

I guess that would be about it, in the next post I will give a detailed lesson learnt part for people who are travelling in the near future.
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Old 20th May 2013, 13:30   #59
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

Lesson Learnt

1) Limit your luggage as much as you can. With 2 of us in the Swift and the whole boot and rear seat filled with luggage, we could not recline our seats behind which took the life out of us when we were tired and wanted to sleep in the car for sometime.

2) Whoever told you this trip will be easy, forget about it. From Srinagar onwards be ready for your car to get a lot of battering. The best trick on rough patches is to drive a little fast ( 25 to 35 kmph ) rather than slow down to a crawl. You ll feel the bad roads a lot less. I for one am very finicky about my car and hence the stress level was high which won't be the next time I do this journey, be prepared to start this trip with a mentality that nothing in the suspension is expensive and there is nothing in the car that money can't fix, you ll enjoy the trip the fullest then.

3) Be vary of areas where you think your car is going to bottom out or hit the centre portion. Go very slow and if it does start hitting, reverse and chose a different angle of approach. Do not hesitate to halt the entire traffic behind to pick up stones on the road and move them aside, the truckers will keep honking but proceed at what you think is best for your car and you.

4) Trucks in the hilly regions tailgate slow moving cars, they are the kings here, let them do their thing and do not get scared. Move over when you are comfortable to give him space to pass.

5) Areas like Zozila Pass, Chang la etc are best covered during dry weather. Zozila pass in a hatchback during the rains is a disaster, best not attempted

6) Maruti service station at Kargil and Leh caters to almost everything within their reach.

7) Do not exert here, your head will start paining.

8) If you are going in a hatchback, do not take more than 2 at max 3 passengers with luggage. Bottoming out is a risk here.

9) Letting you photograph Military convoys is at a discretion of the people in the convoy. Many a times they ll advice you from their moving trucks to not click, please obey.

Well, I guess that would be it.

Lastly here is a picture of Rahul and me.

Rahul scouting for magazine worthy pics.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-rahul.jpg

And here is me, Rahul discretely took this picture while I was observing the shepards do their thing.

Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!-final123.jpg

Thank you all for being with us throughout this travelogue. Special thanks to HVK sir who telephonically kept with us throughout the trip. Without him Ladakh or going to mars would have meant the same.
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Old 21st May 2013, 15:28   #60
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Default Re: Raiding the Himalayas - Swift style!

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Originally Posted by humyum View Post
Lesson Learnt

be prepared to start this trip with a mentality that nothing in the suspension is expensive and there is nothing in the car that money can't fix, you ll enjoy the trip the fullest then.
Nice quote!
Thank you very much for this fantastic travelogue.
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