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Old 3rd December 2012, 18:26   #121
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Default Day 7 #2 : The high road, or the low road

In 2010 we took less than 6 hours from Diskit to Tangste, with actual driving time being close to 4.
We did not even cross any pass.

All this was made possible due to the Agham Shyok road, which goes along the river, and bypasses the high mountain range.

So no Wari La, and No Chang La.
This time also, this is our goal, No Wari La, and No Chang La.
But how to find out, whether this goal is attainable.

The simplest way is to head on the road and find out. But here lies the problem. That road is unstable.
Infact unstable does not even cut it. Imagine being hit by rocks while driving, with landslides happening on whim and fancy.
With narrow offroad track, (we actually hit the footguards on the rock), and tough rock crawling, this is not a track you want to do a U turn on.

Here is a video from our 2010 trip. The swift in background had to turn back. We barely scraped through



And this was not the end of it.
At a broken bridge we had to cross like this in 2010
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-p1000092xl.jpg

Yes, on narrow girders, with the raging river flowing underneath.

And later also, it was not all rosy
One of the good sections
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-img_3586xl.jpg

So now there was a dilemma.
Do we go forward, and turn back if required. It could mean wasting 2 hours, if not more. And what if we got stuck somewhere. What if the landslide blocked us?

The simplest thing to do is "ask".
But to ask, you have to meet someone.

The road we were on, there were no vehicles crossing us
It was just us and the white elephant, on endless black tarmac(which would not last)
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6252_lrxl.jpg

So Wari La... or Agham Shyok?
We decided its best to go forward, and maybe ask at Agham village, as there is bound to be a BRO camp there.

And then we met a tractor. The guy is in a tearing hurry, and I have to honk and wave to get him to stop.

"Is the route open" I ask him.

"My tractor could do it with slight difficulty". Came the reply. The gentleman looked to be a tearing hurry, and I could not coax out many details.

Just that, his tractor had "slight difficulty".
I have driven tractors. They do not know the world difficulty. you point, and shoot. Simple. If it can be driven over, you drive over it, if it can't you plough through it. Simple.
and that point and shoot had slight difficulty.
Not a good sign.

Nevertheless we trudge on, and then we encounter a bolero, again in a tearing hurry.
I frantically flash my lights and try to stop them.
Its full of locals, and before I can move my lips, comes a question. "Tractor kidher gaya?". or "where did the tractor go".
I tell them I crossed it few minutes ago.
"did he go to Nubra or Khardungla".

"I do not have the faintest idea".

Before the bolero guy can gun his engines, I ask him about the road.
He is clueless.
However, the passengers are helpful

"Hum Paidal aa jaate hain".
"We can come on foot, no problem"

With that cryptic answer, he guns away, with a launch which would shame a seasoned dragster.
I suspect that tractor guy ran away with their tractor or something.
Did they catch the tractor? I really do not know.

Is the Agham Shyok route open?
That also I do not know.

Till we come across an innova, not in a tearing hurry. Its a white innova with white seats ferrying couple of tourists, who look to be white with fear.

"Is the route open?"

"No, I brought them over Wari La. Land slide has blocked the road, and you have to go in the river, and a BRO truck had to be extracted with a dozer".

Now we understand.
One, the route is closed, we have to take the Wari La.
Secondly, why the passengers are white with fear.
They have done Wari La.

Suddenly, our no pass journey has turned into a two pass journey with Wari La thrown in the mix.

Speaking of Wari LA, what is it which makes people white with fear. Well, to be frank, its the toughest pass I had encountered till that point in time, which goes somewhere.

Yes, the toughest.
At the end of the climb, your vehicle whimpers, and your knuckes are white, and you are sweating, no matter how cold it is.
And its tougher when you do it from Nubra side.

So Wari La it is.
But why not stop and relax a bit, and enjoy the last glimpse of Shyok, as it rages along our still black top road
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6256_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6257_lrxl.jpg

A forest department plantation little before Agham
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6258_lrxl.jpg

Far away the mountains get a doze of some snow love
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6259_lrxl.jpg

And with that we move on. Our progress is brisk. Little past 11 we are at Agham, and then we start the climb... to Wari La...

The road is not a road, its paradise. Yes it is......
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Old 4th December 2012, 11:57   #122
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Default Day 7 #3 : The high road calls

Once I was looking for clues about Agham shyok road. At that time a friend joked "Looks like the road won't open, Chang La baba calling".

Well his prediction came true, and we were on the high road, climbing slowly up the steep black tarmac. It won't remain tarmac for long, and I inteded to make the most of it.

But how do you make the most of it when this is what stops you
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6260_lrxl.jpg

The valley was a riot of colors. Spring is the season of colors everywhere, but over here, it was autumn which had taken over that mantle
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6262_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6263_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6264_lrxl.jpg

Clouds play hide and seek with the sun, as our climb gets steeper
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6265_lrxl.jpg

And then we cross the dreded water crossing of wari la. Its dry, and the bridge is still under construction. We cross without hassle, waiving to the BRO chaps, and proceed
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6266_lrxl.jpg

We have now reached the point where the true climb starts.
A lot of people ask me whats so worrysome about the wari la. Is it just the name?
Well on paper this pass looks pretty tame. Its near 5100mts only, and your climb base starts at around 3100mts.

So whats the big deal?
The big deal is the steepness. the last 20kms of the climb are one of the steepest I have ever seen.
Infact, this is one of the few passes, and pop open the bonnet to cool down.
And so here we were climbing.

The white elephant was making grunting noises, which she always done when climbing like this. I had hoped to avoid this climb, but... "Chang La baba calling".

But first, to Wari La

As you gain altitude, the shrubs give way to grass, which is now brown
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6267_lrxl.jpg

And also become abundant are the Yaks.

I have never seen so many wild yak anyware in Ladakh. Wari La is Yak land
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6269_lrxl.jpg

There are points where tarmac makes an appearance, and you feel the ordeal is over, but do not rejoice. See those white hills? Thats wari La
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6270_lrxl.jpg

Its cold outside. So cold, that even at noon the streams are frozen
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6271_lrxl.jpg

Another view of the yak and the stream. Lookng docile?
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6273_lrxl.jpg

Do not be fooled, these animals are ferocious
Wanna see?

Ready
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6274_lrxl.jpg

Fight
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6275_lrxl.jpg

Here is a video


The D7000 contrast detect AF is not too good. So you can see defocusing at
some points. But all in all, a great fight!
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Old 4th December 2012, 14:14   #123
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Default Day 7 #4 : The Wari La

The fight was short, and we moved on higher, towards the La. There is some evidence of fresh light snowfall here.
We were lucky. Often Wari La gets a good amount of snow, even in September.

However, this time, it was just a little bit, and we were in october.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6278_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6280_lrxl.jpg

And then, quarter to one, we are at The Wari La, the most worrisome pass we had encountered till date.

Till date is a qualifier I use here, because few days later we would be really tested. But for now, this was the king

I can smell something burning, so I pop open the bonnet. Well lets see, what all ir burning.

First is the coolant. The overflow tank has overflowed, and sprayed coolant on the fan. And the clutch oil is also smouldering on the exhaust shield.

The coolant overflow is normal. Gain altitude with continuous run, and the safari expels some coolant. I decided not to bother with it, it was too hot to open radiator and top up again. Anyways, we were well above the min mark.

However, clutch oil smouldering on the exhaust shield is not normal. It did not take long to figure out the culprit.
The clutch oil reservoir cap had cracked.

How does a reservoir cap crack? Well its a Tata, anything can crack.

We being Tata owners were prepared for everything, so out came the "suitcase".
Yes, there is a suitcase in the white elephant.

It has clutch/brake oil, coolant, engine oil, power steering oil, duct tape.... and the kitchen sink.

Okay, I lied about the last bit.

We decided not to do any "repairs" here but just top up the clutch oil. It had gone down to mid level(still above min). This will hold till tangste, and there we will see what to do.

I also did an inventory of fuel. We were carrying 120 liters approx(including 65 in tank) when we started the trip. This may not be enough for our sojourn.

But there are no fuel bunks at the top, that will also wait till Tangste.
For now, we just wait for the white elephant to cool down a bit, and let her rest.

Wari La is a good place to rest.
Wari La : 0
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6283_lrxl.jpg

There are no signboards here. Well there was one, but now its no longer there. Only prayer flags mark the pass
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6284_lrxl.jpg

Fifteen minutes later, we march again, downwards. The valley is waiting, and our stomachs are rumbling.

The track down is easier. It always is. Gravity is a great thing.
And since it was cold, the temp guage settled at 1/4th mark. Yes, it was freezing, and the thermometer showed -2, in the height of the noon day sun.

i think night temperatures here would go below -10.

Another thing we noticed were the cyclists.
They usually go to pose with the Khardung, but now those seeking even more adventure attempt to climb the Wari La. I am told, may international professional cyclists come to train here.
I guess, with no permit restrictions(Wari La does not fall under "inner line" as it is not close to border), its simpler for them.
Let me tell you a secret too. If you ask for permits for Wari La, the guys at the DC office will be in denial. Dangerous and what not. However, you do not need permits for Wari La. Its not in the "inner line" areas. the inner line starts from Chang La and southwards its at Mahe.
South Pullu and north Pullu are also technically not inner line, but due to huge flux of tourists, there are two checkposts there.
I doubt many would seek wari La, except for the die hard adventure seekers. If you are lucky(or unlucky, depending upon your viewpoint), you can do an all white Wari La, as early as late August.

One pic from our downward run
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6286_lrxl.jpg
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Old 4th December 2012, 17:27   #124
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Default Day 7 #5 : To Chang La

We make haste. And that haste is made possible by the smooth black tarmac. Barring a few cyclists, we see no other vehicles. Its just us and the road. Tangste before sundown? Definitely looking possible.

Somewhere near Sakti
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6287_lrxl.jpg

Around 2 we merge with the main road from Leh. A Dhaba is open, so we decide to deal with the rumbling stomach.
the rear seat has also fallen down, and stuff needs rearranging. It takes us a good 15 minutes to do all this, and food is also ready.

When we say food, it usually means maggi, and this time its no different.
That said, its a lovely place to have maggi.
See for yourself
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6288_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6289_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6290_lrxl.jpg

There is a small shop open and we buy coke, chewing gums and chocolates and stuff. The gentleman sells everything on MRP. Good!

With our tanks full, and the elephants tank not needing any attention, we march on, towards Chang La.

After Wari La, its actually cakewalk.
The valley below
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6291_lrxl.jpg

The famous 'Z'
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6292_lrxl.jpg

The road quality has tremendously improved, and before 4, we are at Chang LA, sipping hot tea
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6294_lrxl.jpg

The "Army tea" at Chang La is a must have. One of the best black tea you will ever savor. We chat up with soldiers, and they show us their souvenir shop. I usually never buy stuff from souvenir shops, but a hat catches my eye. Too bad it does not say Chang La, it says "Khardung La".

Anyways I buy it. At 150 odd, its a good deal. After three trips to the region, the first purchase

We have answered the call of the Chang La baba
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6295_lrxl.jpg

I wear the hat, and get myself clicked
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6298_lrxl.jpg

Daylight is at a premium in this region, so we do not linger much. Its time to move.... to Tangste!
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Old 5th December 2012, 17:35   #125
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Default Day 7 #6 : Tangste

Its past 4 PM. The sun is going down. Some clouds also appear, but they do not seem to be the "trouble" kind.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6301_lrxl.jpg

However, its cold outside. Probably sub zero.

We come across a small water crossing. The stream is almost dry, but whatever remains is ice. This innova has a tough time has the driver just keeps spinning rear wheels. Then he changes his approach, and finally makes it after 2-3 minutes of back and forth
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6302_lrxl.jpg

This cow(or whatever) is oblivious of the cold. When you have such a thick fur coat, I doubt tiny matters like weather bother you
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6303_lrxl.jpg

With the sun going down, the shadows make appearance. They can take interesting shapes here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6305_lrxl.jpg

The road is now excellent. This region is safe from landslides and gets lesser snow than the passes, hence roads last longer, but they often get bumpy, so watch your speed
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6306_lrxl.jpg

A small lake formed by the glacial strams
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6307_lrxl.jpg

The valley beckons, Tangste is not too far now
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6309_lrxl.jpg

An easy shortcut on the way
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6312_lrxl.jpg

Almost there. Tangste takes just another 10 minutes from here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6313_lrxl.jpg

So at quarter past 5, we are at Tangste. Our destination is Dothguling guest house. Its our third time here, but the owner does not remember us at all. However, her husband does recall us.

We get our same favorite room, with a nice clean bed, and an attached toilet. She asks for 600. I do not bargain.
2009, we had paid 350, 2010 in season we had paid 500, and now in 2012, its 600. Well cost of everything from fuel to food has gone up, and 600 is a very very good price.

At this moment, we would have liked nothing better than to just lie on the soft bed and fall asleep, but..... there is work to do, a lot of work.
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Old 5th December 2012, 17:51   #126
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Default Day 7 #7: Work

Holidays are usually, drive click enjoy sleep, drive click enjoy sleep.....

However, not with the white elephant.
We had work to do, and I wanted to do it before it gets dark. I did not click any pics that day, but here is a later pic showing the first task
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-20121008_112820xl.jpg

Yes, the clutch oil reservoir. So how do you seal it. Wrap it in polythene, and then apply duct tape.
Well we did not do that at first.

We rummaged through our luggage, and found out all the air tight jars we had. Then we tried fitting all the lids we had with us. Yes, all the lids. None of them fit.

Then I tried repairing the yellow lid of the clutch resevoir, and it turned out to be a futile exercise. Oil and Adhesive do not work well with each other, and duct taping does not work on oiled surfaced.

So this was the last solution tried. Put back the lid gingerly, and then wrap polythene around it. Than go for rounds and rounds of duct tape to tightly secure it. Not perfect. But it still works. Why "still works"? Because I have not been able to find the cover of the clutch oil reservoir in the market. Even the whole reservoir is not available. Have asked the TASS guys to procure it, lets see if it works.

Anyways, I digress.
This job took us a good fifteen minutes.

Next item on the agenda was fuel. We had to buy some. The guest house people also run a ration shop, and getting diesel is never a problem. We buy some 20 liters, and also empty 10 liters from our tank. Before putting in fuel, I put in some diesel antigen BG 247 (about 50ml), this should keep the diesel liquid

This should get us going.

Last but not the least, was the seat. The safari seat mechanism(not just in the white elephant) has a mind of its own. Sometimes it locks, sometimes it does not. Ours does not, most of the time. So the rear seat would keep falling. So here we took our thick nylon rope, and tied the seat to the rear jump seat. No more falling seats.

Last but not the least, we wrapped big tarp on the front grill, and idled her for 15 minutes. This should keep her warm for the night. Temperatures here go -5 or even lower in october.

All jobs done, we were ready for a nice tasty meal, and the evening passed pretty uneventfully.

Tomorrow morning... we go to Pangong!
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Old 6th December 2012, 11:57   #127
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Default Day 8 #1 : The fourth lake

Second consecutive good night sleep. Yeah!
We woke up fresh, and had a good breakfast.

Thanks to the tarp, the white elephant woke up fresh, on the first crank. As we arranged our luggage the owner lady(seen in the pic) comes to us
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6314_lrxl.jpg

"Sell them to me"

For a moment I wonder what does she want to buy? And then she points again. She wants the small stools. We carry two of these cane contraptions on ladakh trips. They make nice sitting.

We are not really in a mood to sell, but she is quite adamant. She says, she has to get such things arranged from Srinagar and Jammu, and it gets very expensive. We can buy when we go back, easy for us.

On the question of price, I ask her to pay whatever she feels fit.
She pays us 300(they cost 500 new), and we have a little more space in the luggage space.

I also fill up some water for the car in one of the jerrycans, because the washer wipe spray holes have jammed. I could remove and clean only one of them, the other one refuses to come out.

And then we start our journey. Today we will first see the 4th lake of the trip.

"First see?" What does it mean?

Well let me explain. Pangong Tso lake is very famous. It was always famous, but bollywood has made it so famous that everybody is in a tearing hurry to go there. It appears as if free ladoos are being distributed at the lake.

On the excellent tarmac from Tangste to Lukung, you can see taxis ripping at a good speed, with one goal in mind, the Pangong.

Most people miss the tiny little lake which comes on the way.
Its a lovely lake, and you can drive to the banks if you leave the main road.

So that was our first destination. But before that, lets enjoy the view some more. You see, I am in no hurry to reach Pangong. After all, we have the entire day there, and a night too!

The wetlands on the way
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6315_lrxl.jpg

We are a month or so late, however, in sept you can catch some migratory birds here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6317_lrxl.jpg

There is one resident of these regions who is available for viewing 365 days a year. The mormots of course!
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6318_lrxl.jpg

These have been "trained" over years to run to tourists and strike poses, as they can often get food
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6320_lrxl.jpg

We spend a few moments watching them, before moving on
Another view of some wetlands
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6321_lrxl.jpg

The grass is brown now. Autumn is here after all!
Finally, almost an hour after we started, we get the glimpse of Chaghar Tso
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6322_lrxl.jpg

This little lake is a gem in its own right, yet I hardly see anybody here. In peak season also, you won't find anybody here. They are so focused on pangong
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6323_lrxl.jpg

I leave the elephant on the roadside. Do not want to have sinking moments like the Rann here.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6324_lrxl.jpg

couple of army trucks pass, we wave at them, and they wave back at us. In Ladakh, you can always have the "wave" communication with army and BRO guys. Esp during the off season, they are very very glad to see tourists. Life does get lonely here.

We spend some more time here, and I again wear the hat.
Hear you go
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6326_lrxl.jpg

Khardungla may not be going anywhere, but its hat is sure going places, eh?

And then its time to move on. Goodbye Chagar Tso. This is the lake which is right there, but invisible. Nobody sees it. Maybe there is some kind of worm hole which others pass through, which bypasses the lake, or maybe there is magic here, and it shows itself to only those who want to see it
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6329_lrxl.jpg

Well, if you want to see it, try searching for it 15 minutes before you hit this sign.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6331_lrxl.jpg

Yes, we are at Pangong, the 5th lake of our trip
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:22   #128
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Absolutely breathtaking pictures ! A critical factor that was on your side was the weather I guess. Fabulous !
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Old 6th December 2012, 18:20   #129
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Amazing Pics and quite an adventure...I also remember Chaghar TSo (did'nt know its name as yet) and its quite a jewel from my trip last year...saw a horde of taxis rushing by towards Pangong without even a glance..may be time complusions but I guess this place is off the tourist map as yet

Some pics of Chaghar Tso from my trip ( hope you dont mind me posting them here)

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-d9-9-lake-before-pangong-tso.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-d9-10-lake-before-pangong-tso.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-d9-11-lake-before-pangong-tso.jpg
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Old 6th December 2012, 22:07   #130
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Absolutely fantastic pictures Tanveer bhai, I have been reading your travelogues for a while now and was spellbound by your patience and dedication in building such wonderful travelogues. Hats off to you.

Please continue your good work and keep us delighted. Just saying "Thanks" will not do justice to your work but yeah I am indebted to you for showing us the wonderful world.
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Old 7th December 2012, 12:01   #131
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Default Day 8 #2: Pangong

We have an entire day, and an entire night at Pangong.
This is our third trip to the region, and this is the first time we would be getting so much time here.

So we decide to head north first, and take some views



We did not go till Phobran, simply because we had no intention of doing MarsimikLa.
Just a shot from here, the sand dunes north of Pangong
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6333_lrxl.jpg

After that its time to head to the lake.
Pangong is big. Big is an understatement. Its more like an inland sea. Once upon a time, it was mostly ours, but post 1962, a large chunk lies in china.

A shot from a little ahead of Lukung
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6334_lrxl.jpg

The lake can take many colors, sometimes its green, sometimes grey, and sometimes... its of the deepest blue
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6336_lrxl.jpg

So what do you do when you have the entire day here? Well you click. Our plan for today is to sweep the lake from Spangmik to Lukung, and click, and relax.

Its too cold to take a dip however. That is best left to summer
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6337_lrxl.jpg

The winds are high, and its biting cold. Sub zero in the warmth of the midday sun, obscured by clouds

The birds however, have no problem with the cold. They are locals
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6339_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6340_lrxl.jpg

Our first "pit stop" for the day is the sand breakers. Thanks to three idiots, this is a tourist spot. At this time of the year too, there are a few tourists here. The govt has also constructed some "view platforms". More on that later
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6347_lrxl.jpg

Water is still here, as compared to the rest of the regions
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6349_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6351_lrxl.jpg

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6355_lrxl.jpg

However, where there are tourists, there will be filth. Thankfully, we do not have to clean up much. In peak season, you can easily gather 50 bottles here. However, this time of the year, there are only a couple needing to be picked up, and disposed off.

18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6356_lrxl.jpg
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Old 7th December 2012, 14:06   #132
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Amazing pictures, a treat to the eyes.

These remind me of my treks in the Himalayan glacier regions. Im now motivated to complete my travelogue at the earliest.

Good work! (especially the night galaxy shots.)

Cheers,
Tapish
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Old 7th December 2012, 15:07   #133
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

I am always glued to your Travelogues for the tongue and cheek humorous narration and brilliant photographs.

One day , i hope to buy a SUV as my next car and get leh'd. I got the Leh bug due to your travelogues.
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Old 7th December 2012, 15:38   #134
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Default iDay 8 #3: More Pangong

Coming back to the pics, this is the structure created by the tourism guys. Some kind of red hut. Why? I wonder.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6357_lrxl.jpg

More pangong
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6358_lrxl.jpg

Its time to hit our favorite stretch, for one of my favorite shots. The snow capped range. This spot is never crowded, as 4x2s often get stuck here, so taxis never venture here
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6359_lrxl.jpg

The gulls venture everywhere
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6360_lrxl.jpg

And so do the shadows.
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The lone grassland of this region is bright yellow now. And it looks great with the blue lake
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6362_lrxl.jpg

Our ride
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Another view of the lake
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6365_lrxl.jpg

the lake changes its mood every minute. the color changes, the surface changes, the winds change, the clouds change.
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6366_lrxl.jpg

Thanks to strict no no on camping or any other activity on the lake side, its very clean. You can camp on the "right side" of the road when viewed from lukung. Towards lake side, its strictly off limits
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6367_lrxl.jpg

Rocks on the lake side. The yellow deposits must be some kind of fungus or mould
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6369_lrxl.jpg

We pic up some rocks from the lake, and throw them back... to make a splash
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6372_lrxl.jpg

Throwing the white elephant into the lake would have made a bigger splash, but I refrain, and leave her parked on the side, resting
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6373_lrxl.jpg

In a span of 10 minutes, the lake has changed colors again
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6375_lrxl.jpg

And with that, its time to move to another spot
We drive by the lake, on the dirt track
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6382_lrxl.jpg

Click some more
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6383_lrxl.jpg

Its time to head back to Lukung Army canteen, and get some grub. They have the best and cheapest maggi here, along with other food too!
18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again-dsc_dsc_6385_lrxl.jpg


In 2009, by luck, we had gotten the opportunity to take a boat ride in the lake. This time, we are not as lucky. Just like 2010, when we were not lucky to get a ride.

2010 was high season, and this time some army brass were visiting. However, I can still remember the experience of the boat ride. Its out of this world.

This time, however, we are content with Maggi.... and then we venture out again!
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Old 7th December 2012, 17:01   #135
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Default Re: 18 Passes, 15 lakes and 2 breakdowns : Ladakh and Lahaul call again

Mesmerizing, Captivating, Enthralling and the adjectives would never cease. The pictures are very refreshing. The quality and the look of the pictures speaks a lot about your photographic skills keeping aside your driving skills which is obviously good. Among so many threads and pictures and videos about Leh, Ladakh flashing all over the internet, yours and laluks scores the most.

They are different and that's where it makes the difference. 5 stars from my end as well.

Last edited by A.G.The Rambler : 7th December 2012 at 17:02.
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