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Old 20th November 2012, 17:32   #106
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Default Day 5 #7 : The journey so far... the night... and the Road ahead

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1250 KMS
Thats what we had done till now.
We had crossed 5 passes, and seen three lakes. Well to be frank, one lake and two ponds, if you make comparison.

The drive had its highs and lows. We had already visited a service center, and gotten the ball joint replacement done. Thankfully, it happened early into the trip. Up here, finding even such a simple part would have been an impossibility.

And we had camped, for the frist time in our lives. What a way to start camping, in the most inhospitable and cold conditions.

We also discovered that -15 degree C sleeping bags had the "-" sign misplaced. They are rather like +15 sleeping bags.
On the plus side, the tent had delivered.

The white elephant was also behaving fine now. Future is anybodies guess. So on positivity we entered leh. You can see our route marked in red. The first offshoot at the lower end is towards Anandpur Sahib, and the second offshoot is towards the lake of the moon.

In Leh, we were among the few tourists. Most had run away, and we had arrived. So we decided, why not savor some luxury. We are budget travellers, and prefer accomodation cheaper than 1000 a night. Off season meant, maybe we will get a luxury hotel within our budget.

But the first hotel I walked into broke this dream. 2000rs a night, off season discount included.

That meant we scurried to the guest houses. And when it comes to Guest houses, shanti guest house is among the best. The room was 500 a night. No need for bargaining, or haggling. Its on the third floor, so it meant lot of excercise carrying luggage up.

The guest house has a very good kitchen. Its eggetarian, but chicken can wait. For now, all we wanted was a hot shower and a warm bed.

The bed was warm, and there was even an internet connection, but the hot shower was elusive. No matter how strong the sun, the solar heating kind of never matches upto the electric heating.

But 500 rs a night... all is forgiven.
We have a nice meal, and chat up with our fellow travellers. One of them is an anthroplogy student from california, intending to hole up in leh for the winter, and study the local religions in general, and their festivals in particular.

I find it very amusing, that you will rarely find somebody from India studying such subjects. Its mostly engineering, finance, medicine, basically tools of trade and livelyhood.

We have forgotten the art of studying culture and history. Very few go willingly to study such subjects.
So in leh you will often find westerners, learning things about our culture, which we have kind of forgotten. Our sense of culture ends at what clothes women should wear, and what time of the day is not suitable for women to go out.

Nevertheless, I digress.
At Shanti guest house, I also chat up with our hosts about permits for Chushul. This is a quite a talked about subject nowadays. The Leh DC office has stopped issuing permits for the lesser known and far flung regions, so that nobody creates mischief. Lots of stories are doing rounds.
One is that a group of bikers went to china, and ate chowmein, and then came to haryana.

Then there is another one, that James bond went to sensitive region, and clicked secret pics of the region, and uploaded to M.

However, there is saner story also. Due to avalanche at chang La, lots of vehicles came towards leh from chushul route, and a few of them ended up where they should not be, and did some mischief.

However, we will maybe never know what actually happened.

But all these stories had one common factor. Permits for chushul were not being given. This meant a big problem. This meant for Hanle we would have to come back to leh from Pangong, wasting an entire day, driving on boring terrain. No more driving along the pangong.

So with worry and anguish, we went to sleep, all dirty from the days dust. Tomorrow morning, the sun will rise.
We will go to DC office, and see.

And then the night came, and the night went, and the sun rose again, on a cloudless sky.
We have eggs, pay our bills, and decide, enough of leh, we will staright away head to nubra after taking permits. The long sleep had rejuvinated us, and we did not need a day to rest in leh.

At 10am, we are at DC office. I fill the permit form as before. With everything. The gentleman there goes through our application with fine toothed detail, and then jumps, almost hitting the roof "CHUSHUL is not allowed".

We plead and plead, but he is unmoving "CHUSHUL is not allowed"

NOW What?
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Old 20th November 2012, 17:44   #107
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Default Day 6 #1 : Onwards, upwards... we march

"DENIED"
"DENIED"
"DENIED"

Every seen a 80s action movie from bollywood. Remember a middle aged Pran yelling "nahin", and then the voice echoing in the mansion for a hundred times.

This is the kind of effect, this denial is having on us. With this he takes a pen, which is mightier than a sword, and cuts chushul.....

And we look at him, with pleading eyes.
Maybe its our eyes, or maybe the fact that we are the only ones there barring a couple of local taxi drivers, something gives, and his humanity escapes.

"Okay, Ask Mr XYZ". I do not remember his name now, but he is not there at his seat, and he will come today, but what time, nobody knows.

The clock is ticking. Every second passing is creating tension. I remember the old Ramsay brother movies, where clock tics, loudly, and suddenly the monster awakes, smashing through the floor.

However, here just the clock ticks. Fifteen minutes pass. Still the seat is empty. Just sitting there, like all other seats, mocking us, taunting us.

The staff is ignoring us, hoping we will go away. But we also stand there, looking at the seat.
Finally, they have had enough. The seat is also getting tired staring at us.

"Go to ADC madam, if she says yes...."

Ray of hope here.

We both rush upwards, and politely knock and get in. She looks at us, and I have a feeling she already knew what we wanted. But we still present our case.
She looks at me, and then at my wife. then she asks us not to make mischief at chushul. Then she takes our permit form, and says, cutting won't do, and hands us a new form.

VICTORY!!

We fill the new form completely, go down to the office, and get our stamps. Our permits are approved! We will go to Chushul.. and Beyond!

Its almost 11:30am... we start for Khardungla. The road is high, the road is cold, and the road is waiting!

Goodbye Leh!
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6166_lrxl.jpg
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Old 21st November 2012, 12:48   #108
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

"chowmein in china"! classic!

my parents just recently went to arunachal. Escorted by some army contacts to the border, everyone including my mom put their feet in no mans land and came back. a civilian administrator would have quavered in the boots at that thought.

the benefits of opening up such sectors to tourism, the advantages of having tourists travelling over territories that are disputed by china - crucial soft geo political tactics still haven't been understood by Indians. Chinese on the other hand have been happily, using similar tactics in Kashgar, and Tibet for years.
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Old 21st November 2012, 12:57   #109
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
"chowmein in china"! classic!

my parents just recently went to arunachal. Escorted by some army contacts to the border, everyone including my mom put their feet in no mans land and came back. a civilian administrator would have quavered in the boots at that thought.

the benefits of opening up such sectors to tourism, the advantages of having tourists travelling over territories that are disputed by china - crucial soft geo political tactics still haven't been understood by Indians. Chinese on the other hand have been happily, using similar tactics in Kashgar, and Tibet for years.
The locals are not happy. In Hanle, a gent who runs a guest house(home stay) told me that after this ban, nobody comes to Hanle. Earlier, people used to come to Hanle directly from Pangong, and then go to leh or Tso moriri. Now its 2 day drive from pangong to hanle, thanks to chushul route being closed, as a result tourism has suffered greatly.
Ditto for chushul. There were a couple of eateries which have closed down, and owners are now working as help in some leh hotels. Earlier, those places used to get tourists almost daily, as people broke for brunch in chushul, before heading towards Loma.

Man and Merak have also suffered. Earlier, people used to stay in Man and Merak village, as it saved them 40 minutes in their onward journey along the lake. However, now people stay at lukung itself, and atmost till spangmik, because they have to go back towards leh.

But all these arguments fall on deaf years, as civilian bureaucracy is still living in "ban this" "ban that" age. As a result far flung areas of our country are never integrated fully into the nation.
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Old 21st November 2012, 13:20   #110
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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But all these arguments fall on deaf years, as civilian bureaucracy is still living in "ban this" "ban that" age. As a result far flung areas of our country are never integrated fully into the nation.
You are so correct. Can you imagine that something like sangla valley etc were off limits till 2 decades back.

People living in these areas are doubly troubled - (i) the ineptness of administrators at providing basic facilities like electricity at these areas, and (ii) to negate any citizen who does not want to depend upon the government, restrict their tourist/business income.

The Inner Line Permit concept needs to seriously re-visited. In ladakh, in Himachal, Arunachal, in Sikkim (and may be other places in the north east).

They inconvinience everyone. In the age of satellite mapping, no major military establishment is compromised because of tourist activity (you can't hide an airfield from a satellite). Smaller military observation posts are typically high up in inaccessible hills - so they are not compromised.

As for people breaking border rules, sign post it everywhere. Typically borders between India and China are either alongside water bodies, or high passes - unless someone carries a boat up there, I don't see where the issue is. The only concern can be evacuation of tourists in case of medical/natural emergencies - if that is the worry they could insist on tourism insurance, like is standard in any mountaineering expedition.

In some areas, like the Nanda Devi wildlife sanctuary, there is a delicate eco-logical balance which is being touted as a reason for banning tourism, but that is a cause for another day. Leaving that aside, there are enough and more areas which need to be opened up.

If you want, today, you can see cyclists along the Karakorum Highway, you have detailed photographic expeditions of the PoK. But on the Indian side, going to even Gurez valley used to be an issue till recently.

And the constitution of india says, freedom to move inside India is a fundamental right.
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Old 21st November 2012, 13:35   #111
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by manolin View Post

If you want, today, you can see cyclists along the Karakorum Highway, you have detailed photographic expeditions of the PoK. But on the Indian side, going to even Gurez valley used to be an issue till recently.

And the constitution of india says, freedom to move inside India is a fundamental right.
Gurez is not off limits in the letter of the law, but if you see the permit process, its off limits for most tourists. Its long drawn, and there is a chain of permissions needed, as a result, tourism has suffered again. For around a year, they relaxed it, and those regions got tourists for the first time, but again, now its a long drawn process
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Old 21st November 2012, 17:34   #112
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
The locals are not happy. -------most till spangmik, because they have to go back towards leh.

But all these arguments fall on deaf years, as civilian bureaucracy is still living in "ban this" "ban that" age. As a result far flung areas of our country are never integrated fully into the nation.
I heard from a local taxi driver that you can still get permit to Nama turn, from where you can travel further to Mahe (no need to go to chushul)(not sure if one can travel through Man & Merak or go back to tangtse and take the other road) . Dont know how much true it is.
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Old 21st November 2012, 17:47   #113
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

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Originally Posted by D-nav View Post
I heard from a local taxi driver that you can still get permit to Nama turn, from where you can travel further to Mahe (no need to go to chushul)(not sure if one can travel through Man & Merak or go back to tangtse and take the other road) . Dont know how much true it is.
The turn is at chushul. You will be stopped after merak check post. Then there is a check post few hundred meters after chushul, they are even more strict.
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Old 28th November 2012, 18:43   #114
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Default Day 6 #2: A sad little pass called Khardungla

The road is high, and the road is still black. BRO has been working here, and we make quick progress on black tarmac
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6167_lrxl.jpg

Leh gets smaller and smaller
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6168_lrxl.jpg

Autmun rules here, and thus its the land of yellow and brown, with some green still holding on, defiantly. It won't last however, but nature struggles where it can
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6170_lrxl.jpg

The white elephant is also holding on, munching the miles, noisily marching on with its diesel clatter, and the age old rattles
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6171_lrxl.jpg

We rise and rise, and the trees vanish, the grass vanishes, and all that remains are the browns and the blues
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6172_lrxl.jpg

Its almost noon when we cross the monstrority named as Khardungla frog. Somebody has a very warped sense of humor I think
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6174_lrxl.jpg

Far down below, the valley shrinks further
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6176_lrxl.jpg

And the road also vanishes, leaving us with our age old companion, the dirt track
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6177_lrxl.jpg

Finally, by one we are at Khardungla top
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6179_lrxl.jpg

Its a sad pass. Its sadness is understood. Once upon a time, before the GPS, there used to be Khardungla, the highest, the mightiest, the holder of records. With the advent of GPS, murmurs of higher passes in china started to rise, but Khardungla was not worried. Those were off limits.
Then the Marsimik La challenged it and won, but still Khardungla did not care, because it did not care.
There were others like the Mana, again Khardungla did not care, because those were inaccessible.
And then BRO swung into action, and there were two new passes, with a road, which actually went somewhere.
In its own backyard, its supremacy was shattered, as GPS showed it to be lower than its companions, the Kakasangla and the Photi La.
Hence its sad. Its no longer the record holder. However, it does hold one record, the record of the most prayer flags and signboards.
This is the pass of a million signboards, and every year thousands visit it like a pilgrimage.
Boys become men in their minds when they conquer the Khardungla.
Tourists jump around and get themselves clicked against its signboards.

It may not be the highest, but its surely is the most croweded, even in off season. But all that is just the light and show. Deep down it knows its no longer the highest, no longer the most challenging.

But there is one record it will never lose. No other pass will ever get so many signboards... and so many prayer flags
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6178_lrxl.jpg

So after a quick maggi, and no clicks with the signboards... we start off, for our destination lies beyond, in a little valley called Nubra
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Old 29th November 2012, 14:31   #115
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Default Day 6 #3 : Black Top Down

A feeble western disturbance few days ago left some snow. And the sun cannot melt it any longer. Its cold up here. Sub zero, even though the sun shines fiercly
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6181_lrxl.jpg

We endure the dirt track till north pullu.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6182_lrxl.jpg
"When are you coming back", is the question which is always asked.
"Not by this route, we will take the wari la" is always our answer

The road is fresh and the road is black. Its an invitation to squeal your tires
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6183_lrxl.jpg

But the mountain makes you stop and stare
http://tanveer.smugmug.com/Travel/La...6185_LR-XL.jpg

And when the mountain cannot stop you... the BRO will make you stop and stare. Up here these men and women toil from daybreak to sunset.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6185_lrxl.jpg

Not all are patient though. With rude honks and gunning engines some local taxis often push the workers away, as they cut lanes, and try to get ahead. I always let them. some sensible ones way, because they know five minutes here and there will not make a difference, the road will be open, when its open
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6186_lrxl.jpg

The road opens, and we begin our rapid descend. The grass comes up, and we give respite to our strained ears, whining with the pressure
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6187_lrxl.jpg

Over a rocky stream prayer flags flutter. What are the prayers saying?
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6189_lrxl.jpg

We descend, and descend.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6191_lrxl.jpg

At Khalsar we take a short break. Time for another maggi already. And some tea. A dog comes and makes faces at us. We give him a biscuit, and then 10 more dogs come. I do not give them any biscuits, because I also want to eat some

And then, quarter before 4, we are in the valley, the valley called Nubra
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6192_lrxl.jpg

The dunes are waiting.
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Old 29th November 2012, 18:51   #116
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Default Day 6 #4 : NUBRA

I really do not like Nubra much.
In 2009 we ended in Nubra because it was our first trip. And we got to saw rainbows.
2010 was a damp squib with grey skies, but we got to do the Agham Shyok road.
So with two trips, we had done Nubra, and see all we wanted to see.

This time we landed up in Nubra, because we did not spend two nights in Leh.
And then there was the call of doing that elusive road again.
Does it still exist, or does it not.

Nevertheless we were in Nubra, so it was time to look for accomodation, but for that, we should reach diskit first

So we stated on the excellent road
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6195_lrxl.jpg

This road offers some wonderful views
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6196_lrxl.jpg

In Diskit we stopped at the first big hotel we came across. We wanted some place with hot water. The hotel was nice, and rooms were offered for 1000rs, but they had no hot water. There was something called hot water from wood fired boiler, but past experience tells us this is not hot water.

So we decided to head to Stan Del. My wife was not very keen on going there, esp since our bad experience in 2010, but this is two years later, and they had geysers in the bathroom.

We end up there, and we are looking at 1500 a room, with no geysers.
This is again a no go.

So what to do? Waste time looking for hotel, or go to the dunes?

The dunes won, obviously, and we decided to pass some time there. No agenda really, just kind of roaming here and there.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6199_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6201_lrxl.jpg

We decided to skip the camel rides. Had enough of them
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6202_lrxl.jpg

Surprisingly, there were still many tourists there
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6203_lrxl.jpg

The taxi guys were washing their cars, and we also decided to get rid of some of the dirt piled on the white elephant.
We werent very successful though.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6210_lrxl.jpg

Some Army top brass was also visiting with family, and they had gotten their tent and all in the stallion
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6214_lrxl.jpg

We just sat on the dunes, and watched the sun go down.
another pic of the sun going down moment
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6215_lrxl.jpg

We still did not have any place to stay.
As it got dark, we decided to enter Hunder village.

Hunder village actually resembled like a ghost town. Most guest houses were closed, and there was hardly anybody living there.

We drove through the narrow lanes, and then I chanced across a building, with part under construction.

I walk in, and I am not sure whether its a house or a Guest house, but a cheerful local lady and her family welcomed us, and told us though the GH was officialy closed, they had one room ready and we could use it

"Do you have hot water?"

"Yes, we have geysers in the bathrooms".

I did not ask the price also, and we took the room, which turned out to be a steal.
Then there was the question of eating food. And guess what, they were cooking chicken.
Now this is as good as it can get there.
Great room - Check
Hot water - Check
Chicken - Check

Finally we could take a bath, get cleaned, and had a very nice dinner with the family.
For once, I was glad we were at Nubra. After this I knew, there was slim chance of anything resembling hot water or a warm bed for the next few days.

With spirits up, and the moon also up, we decided to go to the dunes. Not wanting to wake up the white elephant, I enquired about the shortcut to the dunes....


"Yes, there is one, just go past the graveyard".

Well "Lets go past the graveyard at 9pm in the night on a cold moonlit night in a ghost town". Sounds like fun eh?
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Old 30th November 2012, 15:09   #117
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

This is one hell of a thread!
Amazing photography

Keep 'em coming
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Old 30th November 2012, 18:33   #118
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Default Day 6 #5: The Graveyard shift

Day 6 #5: The Graveyard shift

Courage was needed.
First to brave the cold. It had gotten to -3.
Second to actually brave the graveyard.

So we started walking towards the dunes, with camera and tripod ready.
I could hear footsteps.
They were ours of course, but then with the wind, and the moon through the clouds and the silence, and the dark.... it was a scary job.

And two people with a torch going towards the graveyard, get the drift?
So all went went to was 100 meters from the guest house gate. Thats about it.

And I took this shot
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6217_lrxl.jpg

Two is company, three is crowd.We needed the crowd. So what to do, where to get the third person?

Well the white elephant was there, sleeping.

We decided to double back, and get her along. With the crowd of three, we drove in the dead of the night through the sleeping village, to the dunes.

The moonlit dunes

On a moonlit night, the camera can turn night into day
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6219_lrxl.jpg

Too bad there were so many clouds. Wish we had clear skies.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6220_lrxl.jpg

Thats the army/BRO camp at hunder
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6221_lrxl.jpg

Another shot of the WE
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_6222_lrxl.jpg

We spent an hour out there, till 10pm in the night.
And we decided, we will come to the dunes again in the morning, to see them under bright sunlight.
The dunes are the only thing which hold facination for us, with their soft white sands.

And tonight we could experience the the dunes in the solitude of the three is crowd.

That said, the graveyard route is the shortcut, which we did not take...
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Old 1st December 2012, 09:47   #119
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Default Re: Day 6 #5: The Graveyard shift

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And I took this shot
Attachment 1020402

On a moonlit night, the camera can turn night into day
HOW? These pics are just astonishing! I ask how? My wife looks at them and says.. "Nice pics.., but, what are those? stars! during the day? Is it like that in leh?" Just watching these inspires us to go there. Oh! I hate these travelogues! please write the next part and lets get over with it quickly.. i cant take it!
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Old 3rd December 2012, 18:00   #120
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Default Day 7 #1 : A fine morning

A hot shower and a warm bed can do wonders for fatigue.
And so we woke up fresh. The power did not go in the night, so our tiny heater could keep the room sufficiently warm.

However, there was one hitch. Due to a leak in their water tank, we were out of water. The streams were frozen early this year, due to lower volume, which the GH owners attributed to a dam upstream.

Neverthless, the bucket will do fine now. We had no use for the shower.

Breakfast was a simple but delicious fare, with ladakhi bread and butter, and before the clock struck 9, we were ready to go.

The bill was 900rs. yes, 900rs for delicious chicken, a warm room, hot shower, and an equally wonderful breakfast. I can safely say, in all our ladakh trips, this had been the most enjoyble stay.

Too bad I do not recognize the name of the guest house, but I am sure, if we ever go to Nubra again, it will be this place
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6224_lrxl.jpg

The road ahead was short if the "route" was open, and a long one, if it was not. But why worry? We decided to hit the dunes again

With the sun high, we took the graveyard route
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6225_lrxl.jpg

Funnily, I could not spot the graveyard. Maybe it spawns at night
It was not even 9 when we reached the dunes. There was nobody there. No camels, no tourists, just the solitude of us three
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6227_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6229_lrxl.jpg

Our companion
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6231_lrxl.jpg

Sandblasting
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6240_lrxl.jpg

I decided against hanky panky with our aging companion. The less hanky panky, the better

Fifteen minutes later, we hit the road. The first of the camels arrive
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6245_lrxl.jpg

Far away we can see the Buddha statue
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6246_lrxl.jpg

Thanks to an army convoy, its almost 10 when we reach here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6247_lrxl.jpg

This is the shot that defines the Nubra valley. White sands, and black tarmac. Too bad its too bumpy to really rip
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6248_lrxl.jpg

A view of the valley we leave behind
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6249_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6250_lrxl.jpg

The route is etched in our memories. Take the diversion from Khalsar, along the river, and we are on the road to Tangste
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6251_lrxl.jpg

However, a question remains. What of the Agham Shyok road?
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