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Old 2nd October 2012, 22:28   #1
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Default Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-kissing-glacier.jpg

Ladakh, can be addictive. One can never be satisfied with a single run to this mystic place. Those unknown curves on winding roads, magnificent valleys, bluish skies, snow capped mountains, magical lakes and if these were not sufficient, the treacherous terrain itself is an invite to experience the chills & thrills of the mighty Himalayas, though, its a challenge for both the man and the machine. This time however, I dreamt bigger.

Before I share this year's story, this is what happened last year -

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dscn1381.jpg

All the way from Bangalore to Turtuk, we were on schedule and everything went according to the plan, before getting stuck enroute to Wari-La. Clearing snow with bare hands, digging out stones to support the rear wheels, trying to find where the road was and worse, trying to breath, changed my whole perception about this place.

After spending a couple of hours, sitting on a stone, at a height of 17K feet, the fear just grew in me, thinking about the worse. I was so lost, that despite having maps, I dint realize I could have visited Hanle, taking the Upshi road, as I was wondering about the Chusul route.

This episode alone helped me a lot to prepare well equipment wise and also mentally, to think clearer.

This is what HVK sir mentioned, when he was following my thread last year :

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I remember when you were heading for Pangong, the situation was very uncertain and there was no reliable info on the state of Tsaga la and the regions beyond, I think what you did was best by turning back and going on to Manali. Had the weather deteriorated further, you could have been in bigger trouble in the remote areas of Chumathang Valley.

Ladakh is not a single trip affair, it is like an addiction, every time you go there you discover new places and I am sure you must be itching to go back - so Tsaga la and Hanle should definitely be in your plan next time! Pat yourself for going to remote places like Turtuk!

I only wish you had gone on to Padum in Zanskar Valley, but then there is always a next time!
Well, what you said is absolutely true and you're one of the major factors inspiring me to do this again.

Link for the complete story - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...tinations.html (Bad Roads Lead To Good Destinations!)
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Old 2nd October 2012, 23:58   #2
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Default Preparing and planning

The Planning Stage

Trying to be content for too long is not easy, once you drive to Leh and when you read travelogue's like these, it just gets harder to convince yourself.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...er-2011-a.html (Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011)

Along with this, the IPHE thread made me dream about Ladakh again. What a fabulous travelogue that was. I'm sure this thread alone would have inspired hundreds of people to take up an adventours trip.

Sometime around April/May, after finalizing the plan, I shared it with my family and the most obvious question was - Why again?

Honestly, I dint have an answer but had to convince them by saying, will be covering a lot more places. Well, that dint quite convince them but they agreed anyway.

Finding a suitable partner has to be the toughest process during an expedition like this. The usual 'Yes, No, Maybe' began with most of my friends. Probably because they did not trust my driving ability but my wife had no choice.

A couple of my friends had almost finalized but had to drop out few days before the trip but one of them did keep his word.

Whats planning without hic-cups? The first one was - the plan was close to 25 days and wife could get leaves for only 16 days. So, had to book a flight and we would leave a week earlier than her. Will share the details a little later.

Out of the blue

I was washing my car on a weekend, sometime in June, when I caught with my friend, who lives in our apartment building. We were having a chat and I told him about the plan. He said, he will get back to me in a week's time. I knew, he was going to come back and say, 'Not this year, may be next'.

Well, the next week, he comes along with his friend and said 'We are in'. I was like, 'did I hear you right' types. I was surprised and was delighted to have a company. The best part was, they wanted to drive their car, a Swift Dzire. Also, another friend of theirs would also join, which makes it 3 of them. Soon, I shared them my plans and fortunately, they agreed. We discussed about the various stuff - Route, Food, Stay, Cost etc. and pretty much got everything soughted out in a month.

Preparing my Scorp

Pretty much the same as last year, got him serviced a couple of weeks before the trip.

1. Replaced the engine oil and oil filter
2. Flushed and replaced the coolant
3. Replaced air filter and fuel filter
4. Checked and cleaned brake pads/liners
5. Battery and all other electricals checked
6. Wheel alignment/rotation/Nitrogen

Accessories/Equipments

1. GPS device
2. Power adapter
3. Engine Oil/Coolant - 1 litre each
4. Additional Air filter
5. Brake and clutch fluid - 500ml each
6. Power adapter
7. Puncture kit/Foot pump
8. Tow rope
9. Shovel/Gum boots
10. Plastic Jerry cans (2*30Ltrs)
11. Jack/Jack rod/Spanner/Screw drivers/allen keys

Medical Kit

1. Paracetamol (Fever)
2. Coldact/D'Cold (Cold)
3. Vicks (Inhaler)
4. Diamox (AMS)
5. Avomine (Anti-Nausea)
6. Brufen/Nise (Pain killer)
7. Digene (Gastric)
8. Cough Syrup
9. Band-Aid/Cotton/Bandage/Plaster
10. Eldoper (Diarrhea)
11. Glucon-D/Prolite.

Last edited by aviorp : 3rd October 2012 at 00:07.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 01:10   #3
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Default Preview

The excitement of driving to Leh was probably more because of some new routes and new places.

Here is a preview of the places we traversed (This one is going to be quite long)

Day 1 - Aug 18th : Bangalore - Thane

Easy guess!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-1.jpg

Day 2 - Aug 19th : Thane - Chittorgarh

No, we are not heading in the opposite directions

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-2.jpg

Day 3 - Aug 20th : Chittorgarh - Amritsar

Wagah!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-3.jpg

Day 4 - Aug 21st : Amritsar - Khajjiar

Majestic Khajjiar!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-4.jpg

Day 5 - Aug 22nd : Khajjiar - Chamba - Bairagad

Mystic!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-5.jpg

Day 6 - Aug 23rd : Bairagad - Sach Pass - Tiyari

Valley of Glacier!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-6.jpg

Day 7 - Aug 24th : Tiyari - Gulabgarh

Unbelievable roads!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-7.jpg

Day 8 - Aug 25th : Gulabgarh - Kishtwar - Sinthan Top - Srinagar

Multiple water-falls!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-8.jpg

Day 9 - Aug 26th : Srinagar - Kargil

Beautiful Dal Lake!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-9.jpg

Day 10 - Aug 27th : Kargil - Padum

Respect!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-10.jpg

Day 11 - Aug 28th : Padum - Kargil

Tough Life!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-11.jpg

Day 12 - Aug 29th : Kargil - Leh

What a Road!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-12.jpg

Day 13 - Aug 30th : Leh

Peace!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-13.jpg

Day 14 - Aug 31st : Leh - Nubra

Bactrian Camel!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-14.jpg

Day 15 - 1st Sep : Nubra - Pangong - Leh

She is a Beauty!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-15.jpg

Day 16 - 2nd Sep : Leh - Hanle

Sky is the limit!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-16.jpg

Day 17 - 3rd Sep : Hanle - Tso Moriri

Beyond me!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-17.jpg

Day 18 - 4th Sep : Tso Moriri - Keylong

Phew!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-18.jpg

Day 19 - 5th Sep : Keylong - Chandertal - Kaza

Crystal Clear!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-19.jpg

Day 20 - 6th Sep : Kaza - Chitkul

B'day special!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-20.jpg

Day 21 - 7th Sep : Chitkul - Shimla

Mighty!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-21.jpg

Day 22 - 8th Sep : Shimla - Agra - Jaipur

What an Architecture!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-22.jpg

Day 23 - 9th Sep : Jaipur - Surat

Still a long way away from home!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-23.jpg

Day 24 - 10th Sep : Surat - Tumkur

He is never been this dirty!
Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-24.jpg

Day 25 - 11th Sep : Tumkur - Bangalore

Last Sun-rise of the trip!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-day-25.jpg

Just a rough sketch of the places we traversed.

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Will share the day wise logs from tomorrow.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 10:20   #4
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Another trip to Leh from Bangalore! I am planning a trip too, but my confidence is just about 5% right now. I will be glued to this travelogue now, to see if I can do it too.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 12:03   #5
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Another Leh-Ladakh TL on the forum, simply fantastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post
Ladakh, can be addictive. One can never be satisfied with a single run to this mystic place. Those unknown curves on winding roads, magnificent valleys, bluish skies, snow capped mountains, magical lakes and if these were not sufficient, the treacherous terrain itself is an invite to experience the chills & thrills of the mighty Himalayas, though, its a challenge for both the man and the machine.
Very beautifully said Aviorp and beautiful start for your TL. Let the mystery of magical Ladakh open up and please don't make us wait. Hope to see many pics of the mighty Himalayas.

Will be glued to your TL.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 12:28   #6
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

That was a fabulous opening thread, beats any of the James Bond 007 pre-credits skits!

Looks like we are not only going to see some fabulous places in this threads but also listen in to how the Scorpio & the Swift performed in this tough unforgiving terrain.

Please do not forget to share with us details of the highway road conditions, hotels where you stayed in and the state of facilities
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Old 3rd October 2012, 12:38   #7
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Wonderful Avinash.....I second the comments by HVK. This will definitely be a feast for the eyes. Rated five stars! We know what is coming
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Old 3rd October 2012, 14:57   #8
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Wow, what a start to your TL Avinash. I'm glued. Your photographs are going to be wallpaper stuff.

Let us on to your trip details. Awaiting eagerly.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 17:35   #9
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Beautiful photographs man. You can make any professional photographer run for their money, Unless you are one actually.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 18:18   #10
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Hey Avinash,

Nice start, you pretty much traced what I had initially planned for my trip this year and a few more places too. It does look like the weather was a little better wrt to the skies given that it was end of August.

One question, did you face issues to get the permit for Hanle? I know the DC office had stopped tourist permits to that area this year.

Waiting for your full report!
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Old 3rd October 2012, 18:42   #11
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Almost a month away from the forum - and this is what I see. WOW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
That was a fabulous opening thread, beats any of the James Bond 007 pre-credits skits!
You are absolutely right HVK sir. This trailor will keep us all spell-bound to the movie

Quote:
Originally Posted by aviorp View Post

Ladakh, can be addictive.
Not only Leh is addictive - even the Travelogs are addictive as well.

Post lots of photos (do I have to say it?); also mention how the D'zire faired on the terrain - I have no doubts about the Scorp + the road conditions + fuel and total exp.
Will keep coming back to this.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 18:53   #12
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bharat4ever View Post
Another trip to Leh from Bangalore! I am planning a trip too, but my confidence is just about 5% right now. I will be glued to this travelogue now, to see if I can do it too.
Dont plan too much, just drive, your confidence will increase on its own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
Another Leh-Ladakh TL on the forum, simply fantastic.

Very beautifully said Aviorp and beautiful start for your TL. Let the mystery of magical Ladakh open up and please don't make us wait. Hope to see many pics of the mighty Himalayas.

Will be glued to your TL.
Thank you Sommos. There is a lot of pics, but have very little time. Will do my best to post as many as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
That was a fabulous opening thread, beats any of the James Bond 007 pre-credits skits!

Looks like we are not only going to see some fabulous places in this threads but also listen in to how the Scorpio & the Swift performed in this tough unforgiving terrain.

Please do not forget to share with us details of the highway road conditions, hotels where you stayed in and the state of facilities
Thank you Chief. Will definitely share all the possible details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Wonderful Avinash.....I second the comments by HVK. This will definitely be a feast for the eyes. Rated five stars! We know what is coming
Thank you sirji. Wont disappoint you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Wow, what a start to your TL Avinash. I'm glued. Your photographs are going to be wallpaper stuff.

Let us on to your trip details. Awaiting eagerly.
Thank you arup.misra. Lot to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidd25 View Post
Beautiful photographs man. You can make any professional photographer run for their money, Unless you are one actually.
Thanks sidd25. Naah, photography is just a hobby. I'm glad you guys liked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Hey Avinash,

Nice start, you pretty much traced what I had initially planned for my trip this year and a few more places too. It does look like the weather was a little better wrt to the skies given that it was end of August.

One question, did you face issues to get the permit for Hanle? I know the DC office had stopped tourist permits to that area this year.

Waiting for your full report!
Thank you amolpol. The weather was just perfect. Absolutely no problems anywhere.

Permits are not given for Chusul but can visit Hanle via the Upshi/Chumthang Road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
Almost a month away from the forum - and this is what I see. WOW.

You are absolutely right HVK sir. This trailor will keep us all spell-bound to the movie

Not only Leh is addictive - even the Travelogs are addictive as well.

Post lots of photos (do I have to say it?); also mention how the D'zire faired on the terrain - I have no doubts about the Scorp + the road conditions + fuel and total exp.
Will keep coming back to this.
Thank you advaitlele. You bet, lots of pics and yes, I will share all the details, including the Dzires run.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 19:22   #13
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

Hi Avinash, great to see your Scorpio traverse such trecherous but supremely beautiful locations. Have been following your thread right since you acquired your beast and good to see it being put to the ultimate road trip.

Also very curious to get your account of the Tiyari section after seeing what it has got from the epics from HVK and adc. Eagerly waiting for more!
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Old 3rd October 2012, 20:10   #14
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Default Day 1

Before starting off with the day wise details, let me introduce you to the crew :

Satish - He is only guy who showed immense interest in travelling to Leh this year. He was the reason behind pulling the other two guys. The most ishtylish of the lot and loves photography. He likes it so much that he bought a Sigma 10-22 wide angle lens just for this trip.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0064.jpg

Badari - He lives in the next lane and know him through Satish. The first day I met him, he dint know much about Leh but a week before the trip, he knew pretty much everythging about the names of the places & routes. Super photographer and keeps everything organgized.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0051.jpg

Deeraj (DJ) - Just blessed with a baby boy and he celebrated that in style by driving to Leh. His son sure will be proud of him. Super cool guy, gadget freak, Techsavvy and a workaholic. He was actually working, from a dhaba somewhere near Udaipur. Loves photography and has a wide range of lenses.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0063.jpg

Pandu : Known him for 6 years now. The most chillax guy and a super tech. Loves movies and especially the movie 'Rocky'. He likes it so much that, he plays it every night. My navigator for 3 weeks.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0091.jpg

Shilpa : Poor soul that had to agree for all my plans. I once made fun of her that she doesnt know much about cars/driving and she immediately applied for a t-bhp membership. I said, she would never get it but to my disbelief, she got it in a couple of days. She missed it last year but had a blast during this trip.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0104.jpg


She managed to get 16 days of leaves. Hence, we booked a flight to Srinagar and she would join us on the 24th. Flight was booked around May/June and the flight cost was 5.5K.

So, bags packed and with our cars ready, we left Bangalore around 6AM and the day's target was to meet the 'Boss'.

Day 1 : 18th Aug, 2012

Route : Bangalore - Tumkur - Davangere - Belgaum - Pune - Thane

The red beauty getting a pooja done

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-20120817_190338.jpg

All set!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0011.jpg

Long way to go but NH4 is a bliss to drive.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0012.jpg

Lunch break in the middle of a highway. Our breakfast was something similar too.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0013.jpg

Probably the only day he was gleaming!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0019.jpg

Red hot beauty.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0020.jpg

The weather was just perfect for the first day. No sun, cloudy and super breeze.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7522.jpg

Wonder how he would replace a flat tyre?

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7505.jpg

IFO - Identified Flying object

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7511.jpg

Belgaum's Vidhana Soudha

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7530.jpg

Hottie!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7538.jpg

I have done NH4 thrice before and this is the first time I was driving in the day time. It was just awesome.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-dsc_0023.jpg

Rajini wouldn't like this!

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7562.jpg

Sunset somewhere near Pune.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7589.jpg

We got held up in a traffic jam and we were running late to meet the Boss. However, the only 'Boss' in the world who would patiently wait and give directions. The moment I stepped out, I just hugged him. I just couldn't help. I was just delighted to see him.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7609.jpg

We had plans to meet for dinner but we reached Thane around 10. He waited for us for more than two hours and took us to a super restaurant. The best part was, it was on the highway to Surat, so we dont get lost in the city.

As always, helping out someone.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-img_7602.jpg

The most humble, simple and kind HVK.

Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!-hvk-meet.jpg

We left around 12:30 AM. We crossed Ghodbunder and must have gone about 30Kms, when it started raining like crazy. The worst part was the muddy water splashing the windscreen from those massive trucks. I was just straining myself too much and told DJ, who was driving the Dzire to pull over. We stopped at a petrol bunk for the night and slept in the car for a few hours.

Will shortly resume the 2nd days run.

Last edited by aviorp : 3rd October 2012 at 20:17.
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Old 3rd October 2012, 20:19   #15
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Default Re: Heights of Paradise - Leh Redefined!

I've been wanting to ask for a while now, what is that yellow strip on the headlamp cluster? I've seen that on a lot of Bangalore cars.
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