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|28th June 2013, 22:53||#16|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 8, 17.Aug2012: Kargil-Leh (Part3)
By the time we left from the sand-trap, it was 3:30PM. I continued at the wheel.
a little later, we encountered the first stoppage of our trip. not a big one but a stoppage nevertheless
A big boulder had rolled down and had fallen on the road blocking half of it.
Earth moving CAT vehicle had come and was clearing and making way. It took 10 minutes all the traffic regained its normal flow
A little further we came across a village where some ladies were selling some fresh apricots from the adjacent farms. we bought some
The sun was gradually coming down and it was time for light play. It was by far THE MOST BEAUTIFUL landscapes I've ever seen in my life.
I was enjoying driving and soaking up all the beauty around me. True to its name, this was Heaven.
The Safari's interiors were resounding with the shutters of the camera clicking their best photos.
Very soon we were at the Magnetic hill. The phenomenon that defies gravity!
You park the vehicle at the bottom of a dip and it climbs up the gradient all by itself.
We also parked our car and it climbed up even when switched off. I was able to see it but the others were not able to make it out!
"Oh no, not again!"
After 2 3 times, Vishwa and Sushruth were slowly able to see this and they even started checking a magnetic compass.
I told that they will not find anything different. Vishwa started a discussion with me about what might be causing this.
While we were talking, a group of 3 Activa riders came to the spot, they actually poured water at the place and it came up instead of going down!
This aided me in my explanation to Vishwa that there is nothing "Magnetic" out there.
At this particular place, the road slightly goes upwards and then goes upwards again(a little steeper this time) in the next step
Because of the steeper gradient rise second time, the first gradient rise looks as though its going down and not upwards
So whatever you place at the end of the first step, seems to climb up whereas actually it is coming down!
Just because it seems to be attracted by a magnet, its called Magnetic hill
The discussion lasted for at least 15 mins even after we left he point. Finally he seemed to understand there is nothing "magnetic" about it, its just pure Optical illusion.
It was coming up the hill on its own
Not interested in the discussion, Avinash took his truck atop the hill adjacent to the Magnetic hill.
Its one of the most common photos we find of any tourist with an SUV at the Magnetic hill. So much so that many people actually think that it is the Magnetic hill!
We spent some 15-20 minutes at this point and left from there. The beautiful landscapes continued. Every cm of this road is an absolute treat for your eyes.
Now that I was in the back seat, I was confused if I should see it with my eyes or through the lens.
Layers of colours
For the next hour, till we reached the outskirts of Leh, the mountains were looking like they were made of gold.
For all the efforts we took to drive this long, it was more than worth it. The Live to Drive sticker gets its true meaning here
First view of the valley
Oh my gold!
A few kilometres towards Leh the next sightseeing point we come across is the Gurudwar Pathar Sahib just on your left.
Mythology has it that a demon who lived on in the opposite temple tried to kill Guru Nanak ji by throwing a stone at him when he was sitting and meditating there.
But the stone turned into wax and a shape of Guru Nanak ji sitting was created in the stone.
We did not go inside this Gurudwara, I just read this story on the board outside and we moved on
Live to drive!
someone has lit a fire!
Fire in the mountain...run run run!
In an hour from here and more photographs, We passed the Leh Airport and a huge military area and entered the City of Leh.
the GPS device and a phone call took us to our hotel without much problems.
Hotel Caravan centre...its a very nice hotel with warm rooms. We checked in and made ourselves comfortable.
Hotel caravan centre
In the bath room, I realised the actual damage done to my body while were were waiting for the clutch plates to cool.
The sun had burnt my exposed skin (without sunscreen). The difference was like the first and last shade of the fair & lovely shade card
Sorry I don't have a good flaunt-able body worth posting here...so no pictures!
By 7:30PM, we left the hotel to roam around the city and have the dinner there itself.
Just before going out, we handed over all the necessary documents to the receptionist for getting us the permits for our next days in Ladakh.
We walked around the city streets, which resembled the streets of Goa. I say Goa because we saw a lot of western country faces.
We had some snacks and finally entered a good restaurant. This restaurant had a bakery attached to it and the customers were mainly foreigners.
The server boy came to us to take our order. Everyone of us were hungry and we ordered 1 main course each.
He took some 15 minutes and got our order. We pounced on it but very soon we observed that we could not eat much.
Not that the quantity was too much but somehow we could not eat. Avinash had also ordered brownie from the bakery when we got the main course.
By the time the brownie came, we could not eat more that half of the dishes we had ordered and we asked him to pack the brownie.
After dinner, we were tired and headed back to the hotel. At 10PM, Avinash opened the Cadbury's Celebrations packet.
He had kept this specifically for celebrating when we reach Leh. We had achieved this with close to no problems at all.
The chocolates seemed more sweet that day. We called it a day and buried ourselves inside the thick and warm blankets.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:45.
|29th June 2013, 16:37||#17|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 9, 18.Aug.2012: Around Leh
This day was planned to be a leisurely city tour cum acclimatization day
We got up at 8, got ready and got going. We had decided that we'll breakfast after visiting the Shanthi stupa.
So we headed straight to the Shanti stupa just on the outskirts of Leh. By 9:15 we had reached Shanthi stupa.
This Stupa is visible from quite a distance.
Its a beautiful WHITE piece of architecture sitting pretty on a small hill overlooking the city and with mighty barren mountains set as a background
If you ask me, its nothing but an artist's imagination made into reality.
Ours was the first vehicle of the day. we parked it, entered the campus.
Some distance on foot just before the actual stupa there is a hall with a golden sitting Buddha statue.
The calm expression on the statue will give you a soothing feeling. The only sound heard was that of our camera shutters.
Not from Microsoft these
I'll give you light even though I burn myself
After some 10 minutes, we walked further up to the main stupa.
Its amazing to see a clean white structure in the backdrop of beige coloured mountains.
No human can stay without appreciating the beauty he sees here. No wonder many movies are shot here.
What a location!
You may climb up if you wish to
Looks like a saree
climb up to nirvana!
Caption this please!
The first round
To the next level
Colours of prayer
By this time the sun was beating own on us and we were feeling hungry. We saw a canteen inside the campus and we went there.
unfortunately it was still not open. So after some more photos, we headed back to the city.
En-route we also stopped at the Leh city palace. it was undergoing renovation but still was a good looker. explored the palace and spent time till 11AM.
down the lanes of history
Those eyes speak so much
Watch over the kingdom
The Shey Monastery
Avinash wanted a wash for his Safari. so we went inside the Tata service station. it was for trucks and buses, so we though we can get it washed there.
After we went inside and seeing the broken down look of the area, we realized, it was the wrong place. This was confirmed by some guy working there.
So we came out soon. By this time we were terribly hungry. so we parked our car there itself and walked across to a dhaba kind of building.
We couldn't eat much here also. we must have eaten one Paratha each and nothing more went inside our mouths.
We paid him the bill and started walking towards the truck. All 4 of us started feeling terribly tired and every step was tiring
The loss of appetite the previous day and the tiring steps we took for no hard work of ours were tell tale signs of HAMS.
Explaining it is difficult but it was a sick feeling. We were not gasping for breath but we were not feeling good at all.
Everyone looked at each other and we all had the same thought-We cancelled all our sightseeing plans for the rest of the day and headed straight to the hotel.
Soon after we parked at the hotel, Everyone of us took a diamox tablet and went to sleep.
After I went to sleep, a few hours later, I head somebody calling me. I reluctantly got myself out of my bed and saw Sushruth, calling me.
I asked him what and he said "get up you guys lets go for dinner".
Nothing much got registered on my mind except the word dinner and asked him "What? dinner? what about lunch?"
He told me "its 8:30PM and food at this time is called dinner"
I just checked my watch and yes it indeed was 20:30 hours. we had slept for close to 8 hours.
Sushruth was trying hard to wake every one up but we three were not waking up! he had called the receptionist and he had told that dinner will be open till 9:30
He had also collected the permit documents
Even after 8 hours of sleep, we were not feeling hungry nor were in a mood to get up.
All 3 of us asked sushruth to go and have dinner and said we will sleep. anyways the alarms were set to 5 the next morning.
Sushruth started watching TV-This is the last thing I remember about that day.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 19th July 2013 at 15:02.
|3rd July 2013, 17:11||#18|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 10, 19.Aug.2012: Leh-Khardungla-Nubra-Leh (Part1)
At 5 the alarm started to ring...everyone got up after a Kumbakarna-esque sleep
We had slept for close to 17 hours!!!Luckily for us, everyone were feeling fresh.
we got ready within 30 mins and sat in the vehicle. The Safari started at the first crank! wonderful.
The engine was idling while we packed the car. We sat inside and meantime also came to know that even sushruth just ate some fruits and had slept.
At by 5:45 the Airavatha moved out of the hotel just when some taxis also came in to pickup other tourists from the hotel.
All the other 3 excluding me took one more diamox as a precaution. I was feeling good and I didn't take any
Very soon we were at the city centre and on to the Khardungla top or K-Top as it is fondly called. the top is around 32kms from the city centre.
I started the day at the wheel. the mountains were still waking up and the safari chugged along the twists. as we ascended the mountains, I could slowly feel a drop in power.
Initially I thought that it could be just a feeling but soon the safari started to make a feeble whining sound and the power drop was evident.
It was audible but not loud enough for us to worry.
Soon we arrived at South Pullu, the first check-post for verification of the documents. no one actually stopped us and no barricades were closed.
I identified the check-post by memory of watching the "perilous journeys" Program. I stopped the vehicle and Vishwa got down and made an entry and came back.
We moved on slowly. the roads were all dug up and in a bad condition.
At 6:40am, K-top was 1Km away. the many boards and notices started to give you a feel of it.
Gateway to Nubra
Not a shortcut
Good news for 2013 himalayan raiders
one km more
At 6:42am on the 19th of August 2012, The Sepoys had reached the top; THE KTOP. driving all the way from Bangalore and it had taken 4332 KMs to reach here.
The highest motorable road on Earth. Yes! we had done it. the outside temperature was 7 degree centigrade and all four of us got out of the Airavatha;The hero of the trip.
Airavatha had brought us safe and comfortable; to a place that we had dreamed of driving to. No other Indian car could have done it better than this.
I gained a huge respect to this vehicle after this. the rugged beast had proved once again why it has sustained for more than 2 decades in our country
Yes, We finally reached there
Battered but not dead
Avinash and his Airavatha
Take 2 minutes to read this
Spot lamp on the hero
I did it!
For the record
4224Kms from home
There were nobody except the priest of the temple still opening the doors of the temple.
The Highest cafeteria in the world, the Highest Souvenir shop in the world, everything was closed. later We only spotted 2-3 soldiers other than the priest.
Don't know if the tablets were helping or if it was the sleep, but we were absolutely fine and had no symptoms of HAMS whatsoever were seen.
Knowing fully well that its recommended that we should not be staying at the top for long, we hopped on to the vehicle and continued our journey after having spent 20-30 mins there
Our farthest point of the day was Hunder. We started to descend the pass to the other side. Here we saw some ice on the road and it was a little slippery
By 8AM, we got down to North Pullu...the second of the check-post for our permits.
We stopped the vehicle and got the entry done at the check-post. the temperatures slowly came to double digits and we decided to breakfast in the adjacent small hotel.
I sat in the sun for some warmth and we ate Maggi, sandwiches, omelets and tea.
9:30am and we continued...close to 2 hours of driving another 30 Kms got us to Diskit.
Here we visited the Maitreya Gompa. This has a big statue of a Buddha sitting on a pedestal.
This Buddha is dressed like a king and this whole statue is build on a small hill with the mountain range serving as a background.
I parked the car and went up to the huge area around the statue.
Avinash came after 5 minutes. he was talking to some other tourists on the parking lot.
Avinash came to me and told that the other tourist was a TBHPian. He spoke to him seeing the LTD sticker on our car.
He didn't remember his handle but it seems that that guy reads my posts. So it would be great if he can identify himself after seeing this travelogue
We started our usual picture taking exercise and after spending some 25mins her we resumed our journey towards Hunder. I gave the keys to Avinash.
Time for some photos:
Straight as an arrow
All for a view
Buddha-Means the Enlightened
to be continued...
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:47.
|11th July 2013, 20:00||#19|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 10, 19.Aug.2012: Leh-Khardungla-Hunder-Leh (part2)
Some 30 minutes later, we reached Hunder sand dunes. For a "Leh-uneducated" person, if you say you went to a desert in the midst of Himalayas, he might laugh at you.
Such is nature's creation. Himalaya means Home of snow and you have desert and sand dunes at the centre of it all! and a river flowing right beside it
Sushruth took a camel ride and Vishwa and I went on a photograph spree while Avinash drove his Airavath straight inside the Nubra river for a much needed bath.
As clear as glass
I'll walk with you
No customers till now
"Make it my FB profile pic"
After posing for some photos, the Airavatha was parked at the centre of the river and all 3 of us got together in giving the white elephant a refreshing cold water bath.
By this time Sushruth returned from his camel ride.
Cooling its heels
The beast finally gets a wash
Kai po che
The time was 12:00 and we started our journey back to our Leh hotel. a little away from the sand dunes, we saw a military canteen "Cafe 125" and we decided to have our lunch.
Sushruth went in first and his face lit with joy...He saw Dosa on the menu! He wanted nothing more.
We all ordered the same. we also started to chat with the guy making these dosas...we asked him how Dosas came to this part of the country.
He told us that the majority of the soldiers in that regiment were from Kerala and Tamilnadu and hence they make Dosas.
Apart form Dosas we had Jalebis and Tropicana juice-it was actually a breakfast menu for lunch but it certainly did fill our stomach
By 12:30PM we started our return journey.
Till Diskit, the car was normal but soon after crossing Diskit, we heard the whining noise and Avinash also could feel the loss of power.
It just proved that it indeed was the effect of high altitudes.
Back to Diskit
From Diskit, we took another 3 hours to reach K-top; twice in the same day. Avinash and I both had the satisfaction that we had ascended and descended the K-top.
Compared to the descent early in the morning, we came across some filled "nallas" or water crossings filled with water.
Although the water level was high, nothing was big enough which would worry the Safari. we crossed all of these Carefully but cheerfully!
Military truck of a Spec of dust
"Donate my parts after my death"
With rising sun, rising waters
look back at the Nubra valley
Finally at 4:00PM we reached K-top for the second time in the day
When we were there in the morning, the souvenir shop and the cafeteria was closed, but now it was open.
We stopped our vehicle, bought some souvenirs and spent some time drinking tea at the cafeteria.
What the names mean
I bought this
Everything here gets a "Highest" tag automatically!
We added to it by making a "highest dustbin throw in the world", "Higehst pee in the world", "Highest diesel refill in the world using a can" etc. etc..
Highest diesel refill
After more photos, we started our last leg of journey for the day.
it took a little more than an hour for us to get down and by 5:30 in the evening we were back is the valley.
Since we did not roam around the city the previous day because of fatigue, we parked our truck in one of the roads and walked around the Market area.
Did some shopping in the stores, ate some street food and passed time.
I also went in an ATM to try my luck with drawing some cash. It was a J&K bank ATM and hurrraay, I succeded this time.
I took a little more cash than what I initially planned as a precaution.
Then we also filled the 'Airavatha' with diesel. 40 Litres to the vehicle and 10 more to the cans. At ₹46.18/ltr it was the costliest diesel at a fuel station of our trip yet.
Costliest diesel of the trip
We then went back to our hotel and relaxed a bit before dinner. During this time, we planned our return journey.
Remember, we had not booked any hotel for our return journey. I had not done this to give ourselves some flexibility and some room for any hold ups.
Fortunately for us the weather was absolutely wonderful and no landslides or any such things had come in our way.
We expected the same for the next day (20th Aug). On 21st we were supposed to depart from Leh.
I Initially had planned Leh-Manali on this day. After having driven so much in this part, we had by now experienced that the average speed we can do is 20kmph most of the times and 30kmph sometimes.
So we decided to travel only till Keylong in HP.
We had already shortlisted the hotel as Chandrabhaga as they had an online booking facility also.
Although our hotel in Leh had wifi, it was only in the lounge and it was terribly slow. So we plugged in the Tata photon dongle and tried to connect.
Tata photon was useless..no coverage!! So I called home and asked my BIL to book it. He booked one big room with 4 beds for 2900 and sent us an SMS confirmation
He also sent an email PDF confirmation and asked us to download if we succeed.
That done, we went down for the Buffet dinner at the hotels restaurant. A decent spread of veg and non-veg dishes ensured 4 satisfied stomachs.
We got five mineral water bottles of 5 litre capacity and filled it up with aqua guard water in the restaurant.
After dinner, we went back, relaxed and slept. If this day started at 5:30, The next day had to be an earlier start.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 15:11.
|11th July 2013, 23:14||#20|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 11, 20.Aug.2012: Leh-Pangong Tso-Leh (part 1)
The last day in Leh, The Climax. It had to be in Pangong-Tso; just like in the famous movie. The only difference here was its 3+1
We got up at 4:45 and within the usual 30 minutes we were ready and raring to go.
At 5:15, We woke up "Airavatha"... He started in just one crank. that's a wonderful start for the day!
we gave him 5 minutes to warm up while we packed the boot, filled the water and completed other activities.
Again we were the first people to move out of the hotel. Like most of the days, Avinash started the driver duty for the day.
Starting at 5:30, We took the Manali road and after 45kms in one hour we reached a small town Karu.
At Karu we have to take a leave the Manali road and take a left. We got our permits checked and made an entry at the check-post.
There was another check-post at Zingral, but no one asked any permits there
it took us two hours to reach Chang-la; "The third highest pass in the world"
It was much colder here than what we had seen in K-top. We all were smoking even without cigarettes
World's third Highest pass
17586ft above MSL
We stopped here at the restaurant for breakfast. he was just then starting the business and we were had to wait a while for him to prepare.
We had the usual Maggi and also omelets and sandwiches. Maggi is my favorite and I was enjoying it but others were having it without liking it much.
The guy had some nice comic Hindi remixes and we enjoyed that more than the food.
By the time he prepared tea, I got our laptop and took his pen-drive and copied all songs.
Apart from the comic remixes, there are some nice Ladakhi and Kashmiri songs in my collection now.
After a hot tea, we resumed our journey down into other side of the pass. It was now me who was driving the beast while Avinash dozed off at the rear.
The roads were an absolute beauty to drive on, no it was not very smooth everywhere; that's what made it interesting.
The twisties near Darbuk were one of the most enjoyable for me. at each hairpin bend, I used to see some off-road short cuts created by other vehicles.
Even we tried some and it was a nice outing for the safari but definitely not smooth.
We saw many water crossings but none troubled the big white elephant. I thoroughly enjoyed each one of them.
Last we came across the pagal nallah...with the name I had expected a difficult drive but with the bridge it was a breeze.
is this "Rain" from the movie Spirit?
Pagal nallah bridge
In the next 10 minutes, we got the first sight of the World famous Pangong Tso.
Pangong tso-Tibetan for "Long Enchanting lake" is one of the longest lakes in our country and its a salt water lake.
It spans 150kms in length (roughly the distance between Bangalore-Mysore) of which only 1/3rd falls in the Indian territory while the rest is in China
The different hues of blue will take your breath away if not anything.
The huge span and the clean blue shade of water...ah! its the perfect place to discover "naak beech me nahi aati".
Love at first sight!
post processing inspiration from Bhpian aviorp
Since we could not do the "naak beech main nahi aati" test, we just stopped our vehicle had a walk on the border of the lake.
There was a place where salt was being extracted and we went there and sat there basking in the sun.
Salt extraction at pangong
all shades of blue
This lake never ends
Bue and White
The white elephant one with nature
Beige and blue-wonderful combination
Nice home they've got
Getting a feel of the lake
Let's go to China?
wonderful feel t have the water hitting your feet
What's this? I'm poor at birds
Come to me!
We heard a voice calling us.
It was some local guy calling us and telling that we were not supposed to walk around that area and told us to go little farther.
We just went a little farther and spent some time. But before going, we asked him the actual 3-idiots point and he told us its around 3 kms ahead.
So our next stop-3 idiots point.
to be continued...
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 19th July 2013 at 15:30.
|11th July 2013, 23:20||#21|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 11, 20.Aug.2012: Leh-Pangong Tso-Leh (part 2)
After some 2Kms, Avinash told us to continue while he would want to take photos from far away.
From this point we were supposed to drive on the dried lake bed with lots of stones and we literally had to make our own road!
Ready to shoot
This drive was one of the real test for an SUV. the lake was full of stones with little streams of water flowing here and there.
I enjoyed driving in this area and it was a wonderful experience to say the least.
Just before the lake, we say a police bus from Maharastra stuck in sand and 20 people were trying hard to get it out.
With our previous experience, we didn't dare to take our vehicle there. A little farther away, we also saw two Punjab jeeps with one struck in sand again.
But these guys were having fun and it seemed as though they had intentionally sunk in one jeep.
Initially they tried hard with just the 4-wheeling capabilities to get it out but then it was stuck real bad and then they had winches on both cars and they connected them and tried.
After 20 mins, they finally got it out. We had parked our vehicle close-by in a safer place and watching the winches at work.
Off-roading with jeeps is thrill at a totally different level I must say! Lucky guys.
How can I forget this?
What Avinash saw!
What a place to get stuck!
Van on the left and jeep on the right
1 for each idiot
What a view
The climax of our movie was coming to an end.All the attractions for which we had driven all the way till here were covered and the next day we had to head back south.
After some time, we left that place as 3 peaceful and contented souls. On the return drive on the lake bed, we came across another innova with four 50+ gentlemen in a hired innova.
seeing our number plate, they stopped and we had a chat in Kannada for 1 minute. Talking to strangers in a away-from-home place in your native language gives you a wonderful feeling. Words can't describe that feeling.
This return drive was captured by Avinash in the Handycam. Have a look
It was noon. we picked up Avinash, drove back to the starting of the lake and there are 10-20 tents which serve as lodging and restaurants for tourists like us.
I'm sure most of these have cropped up after the 3-idiots movie. The names were also influenced by this movie.
I saw Rancho restaurant, 3-idiots restaurant, Virus restaurant, Aaal izz well restaurant.
We stopped at one of these tents and had our lunch. not a extravagant menu but we got jeera rice, veg pulao, soup (which was also maggi) and parathas.
After these decent lunch when we came out we saw a convoy of caravans coming to the lake. there were at-least 10 caravans.
When we asked a server boy he told us that Sharukh khan was coming there.
With so many vehicles, we thanked our luck that we had come earlier than them because if they had come earlier, the rush would have spoiled our experience.
Some months later I came to know that they were there for the shoot of Jab tak hain jaan. We were not interested in taking a picture with SRK or any other stars.
As soon as some 4 caravans stopped near the tents, we started our journey back at 12:45PM. We checked out a military souvenir shop but found nothing worth buying.
By this time Vishwa couldn't resist not driving, having seen the roads in the onward journey, he wanted to drive.
He drove back till Chang-la.
Guard of honour 1
Guard of honour 2
All these while I had never spotted a Marmot. I spotted one during this drive between Pangong and Changla.
But unfortunately it was dead and it looked like it was road run over by some vehicle. I don't know why but I hate to see any animal deaths on roads.
Even dogs dying on the road sadden me (Hope the media doesn't make a big issue out of this statement)
By 2:45PM we were in Chang-la. we stopped again at the pass for the complimentary tea from the military. After spending some 15 minutes, we resumed.
2nd time for the day
Refreshing...more so when its free!!!
Avinash took the driver's seat and traced back the path that he had done in the morning. He took another two and a half hours to reach Leh by 5:30.
The green carpet
In Leh, we did some last minute shopping in the leh market the fuel tank was in between the 3/4th and 1/2 mark.
When we entered the fuel station there was a huge rush.
Our destination for the day was Keylong 265Kms away and since we also had 10 litres of diesel in our spare tanks, we decide not to wait in the queue and returned back to the hotel.
We asked the receptionist to settle the bill as we would checkout early the next morning.
Finally the last day in Leh had come! we had completed our dream drive. On the dinner table, we just recollected all the good times we spent and had the most contented meal of the trip.
I decided that I'll come by flight with family the next time and spend more time around Leh while Avinash decided not to repeat the same places.
After the dinner, our final bill was ready. We clipped the dinner bill to it and settled the entire amount and headed back to our rooms. the hotel experience was very good except that the wifi never got going.
We had no complaints and I would suggest anybody wanting a nice and comfortable stay.
We packed our bags and Avinash opened the second pack of cadbury's celebration pack and celebrated our completion of the trip.
The return journey back to home was all what was remaining.
We sat down and started deciding our journey after Keylong. I had plans of covering Udaipur with all our reserve days still fortunately not utilized.
But the other three were missing their family and they didn't want to spend more time sightseeing and wanted to drive everyday and reach as soon as possible.
For them that would also ensure 2 days rest before going to office.
I was disappointed but then I thought I can cover Udaipur in my Punto some other day. So I agreed.
Since the room for the next day was already booked in Keylong, we decided that the stop after that will be at Chandigarh and so we booked the hotel.
That was the end of the day and 4 happy minds slept.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:49.
|12th July 2013, 00:14||#22|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 12, 21.Aug.2012: Leh-Keylong
We got up by 6 and packed our bags and were ready to head out by 6:30. though it was early, compared to the previous days, it was a relaxed start for us. Avinash was the driver.
We had a little over 1/2 tank of fuel and 265kms to go. with all the previous days calculations we thought that we can make it even without refilling, but we decided to fill at any fuel station available.
We had spotted 2 fuel stations on the same road the previous day. Unfortunately for us, they were not open at the time we started.
We passed the Karu junction from where we now had to continue straight...A little further down, we spotted the trishul on the hill top belonging to the military regiment by the same name
This day would be our last day in J&K. WE were given a fantastic farewell by a double rainbow. For a colourful trip to the crown of India this was like a Kohinoor on the crown.
Jewel on the crown
It took us an hour and a half to reach Tanglang la-The second highest pass after Khardungla. It was cold at 5 degrees.
It was deserted with no one except us. We took some photos and started soon and the driver seat was occupied by me.
Lowest temperature we saw
He got us to the second highest pass in the world as well
Top 3 conquered
From here the roads were mostly loose gravel type roads and construction of roads were underway. it was a slow descend down to the valley.
After half an hour and some 10 kms from Tanglang la, we came across a small village with some 4-5 houses which was also a cheap food&shelter option.
We stopped there for breakfast and ate some Maggi and omelets as usual. it was hot and for the temperatures outside, it was just wonderful.
A pickup truck also came in we saw that they purchased Diesel form this guy. The truck also had a good lesson on its windshield :-D
Biking at its best
Bed and breakfast
A lesson that everyone fails to learn!
The loose gravel here and the dust raised by the vehicle prompted me to take some photos of the same. Here it is:
After this fun exercise and our breakfast, we left the place. I took the wheel
the road after this became more loose and with road construction still in the initial phases, we were forced to take many deviations.
Many of these deviations were like rising on dust mounds with no roads at all. this is where the Safari's "make your own road" tagline takes its meaning.
With already an "experience" with sand earlier, it was frightening for the other three while I was enjoying every bit of it.
Someone had told me prior to going to this trip that near Sarchu there were literally no roads. I had noted this but we understood that they actually meant every word of it.
In 2013 the construction should be over and Sarchu should be easier to negotiate.
Some places there were stones(read boulders) and I was looking out for these boulders and driving over them because they were better than pure sand areas.
It was now sunny outside and we could not close the windows. we had not switched on the AC for we wanted every bhp of power that the engine could churn out.
So I had the windows kept open.
At one of the places where we had a steep climb over a sand dune.
I was in third gear and I engaged 1st and started the climb at a fast pace. As soon as I was at the top, I saw that there was more deep sand..it was a fine dust rater than sand.
I somehow felt that the vehicle will get stuck if I continue in that line. On my left I spotted a stone laden path and I quickly turned left.
This sudden left on top of the gradient made sure that the vehicle tilted almost 30 degrees.
Since the climb was fast I had raised sufficient amount of dust and this change in path made sure that most of that dust came inside the vehicle through the open windows.
We all were coughing and Avinash in the back seat must have skipped a beat seeing all the dust inside his beige interiors vehicle.
He was not happy with me for doing this but the navigator Vishwa knew why I took a left and supported my cause and Avinash didn't tell anything.
He was still sad about the beige interiors of his lovely beast soiled though. I closed the windows and switched on the AC thereafter
After many such sand experiences (but no more inside the vehicle) we hit a good patch of road near the Moreh plains.
We drove on!
I was hopeful to find wild horses but none were to be found. Disappointed, we drove on.
After some time we were coming close to Pang and here we spotted the famous needle like formations by the river side.
They are monstrous needles
These must be one of nature's craziest creations. From the shapes of these, its evident that its because of the sliding sand form the top the mountains into the river
They are really HUGE.
Pretty soon we passed pang byt 11AM.
Pang me Bhang would be wonderful I guess
In the next 90 minutes I drove along Nakeela, Lachulungla and a couple more small 'la's Ladakh means "land of passes" and today was when we saw most of the passes
driving further from there, at 12:30 AM, The Safari reached the 11000mark on the ODO. exactly at this point we were at the top Gata loops (15302ft above MSL i.e., 4667mts)
If you love driving on the hills, this area is one of the wonderful places to drive on. In around 10Kms it has 21 hairpin bends and it descends 500mts within this stretch.
We dropped two people on top of the loops, and I drove down some 4 bends for a photograph, After that I came back and picked them up who by then had walked down 2 loops.
Top of the loops
21loops start at 11K
spot the 2 TTs
The The TBHP attachment number of this photo is 1111111
There were two boys here patching up roads and they stopped our vehicle asking for some water. we gave them a 2 litre bottle which was 75% full and left.
Hard work it is for people here so that people like us can enjoy.
As soon as I descended the 21loops, the ODO was 11011-exactly 5000kms since our start.
With this nice figure on the ODO, I gave the drivers seat to avinash after having I had driven a little over 100kms
In another 90 minutes we finally reached Sarchu. We started to see some small food stopovers. none of them looked good for a lunch.
We saw a group of 20 bikes form Karnataka ready to ascend. They asked us about the roads. We told them that the loops are wonderful but after this, there were no roads at all in some places.
We now were slowly moving in search of a good place for food..we skipped 10 places hoping that we will find better ones. pretty soon we realised we had skipped all the places!
We now came across a lot of tents which is synonymous with Sarchu. We asked in one of the tents if they serve lunch.
but they informed that lunch will be served only for tent occupants. when asked he also told that there are no places further down for quite a distance.
By this time suddenly in 5 minutes, the clouds had accumulated over us. We were also really hungry by now
I saw a huge sintex tank there and I asked if we could cook our ready-to-eat meals in our own cylinder and just use water from the water tank.
He obliged. We removed our MTR ready-to-eat packets and the small gas cylinder for the first time.
We took a utensil full of water and started to heat water for the packets.
Maybe the smell was very nice that the rain gods also wanted to have lunch with us. It started raining heavily.
So we quickly requested him that we will take this stove inside his Kitchen tent.
He allowed us and we went inside the kitchen tent. The rain got really heavy by the time we could even enter the tent.
It was raining hailstones and the winds were so fierce that it almost blew the kitchen tent apart.
The camp guys braved this wind and actually reinforced the tent with more pegs.
inside all this we had two packets each of the MTR meals and finished our lunch. given the scenario, although the quantity was less, we enjoyed the lunch.
The two most photogenic Indian SUVs
After the rain subsided and after we finished our lunch, we left Sarchu. In 15 minutes we reached Killing Sarai.
I don't know why this name but it was a nice name :-)
After this, our next stop was Suraj Tal or Sun lake. It was a small but crystal clear lake.
We didn't get down to the lake but just stopped on the road for a small break. and soaked in a bit of fresh air.
This is the start of the Baralacha la. By this time, the fuel indicator had almost come to an end. Since we had the 10 litres spare, we had extended the range as much as possible.
We still didn't fill any diesel yet. We climbed up the Baralacha la and when we reached the top, we spotted a big essentials store / tea stall.
We stopped there for a cup of tea. I was really feeling sleepy and I didn't get down. The other three went in and came back soon.
I asked them if they had tea or not. They had just ordered.
In fact they came to refill diesel to the car and then again refill the tanks since this tea stall also had diesel.
That was a good news for us and would ensure no tension till we reach our destination.
We purchased 5 litres enough to fill one can at ₹50/- a litre (theoretically the costliest diesel of the trip)
After filling the 10 litres of diesel into the car and filling our stomachs with some amount of tea, we started again.
After some time the mountains slowly started turning green from Barren brown which was proof that we were entering Himachal.
Getting back home
Bye bye J&K
It took us driving 6:30PM till we reached the hotel Chandrabhagha. The hotel was not difficult to find as its on the main road itself.
By this time the diesel was close to empty again. we only had the 5 litres in one can.
Just after we stopped at the hotel, the manager was standing at the gate. Avinash wanted to drop us all and fill diesel as didn't like his vehicle's tank to be so low on fuel.
We asked the manager if we could go to Tandi and fill diesel. He told that the Tandi fuel station will close by 7PM and it was another 10kms.
He suggested that it would not be a wise idea to go there and come back empty handed.
Instead he suggested us to leave at 6:45 in the morning and reach Tandi just in time for the Petrol station to open at 7AM.
He had a point. So we parked the vehicle and checked in.
While checking in, he wanted a printed confirmation receipt.
But we only had the SMS, looked like he had not done anything like this before.. After some discussion he asked us to send a mail of the receipt to his mail.
So we agreed and called my BIL to send it to him as we didn't have data connection.
He gave us a big 2 bedroom suite. By dinner he had seen the mail and was confirmed that we were not imposters
This hotel is like a Government IB and the lodging was decent. By dinner time, there were a bus full of foreign passengers and the hotel was near full.
Evening view from hotel Chandrabhagha
Foreign passengers will generally mean some good food. It was the same case here. A decent buffet spread was enough for us to have a nice dinner.
We finished Dinner, settled the bill and hit bed. The feeling that the next day we would be leaving the hills and entering the flat lands was strangely a sad one.
Last edited by Rehaan : 29th July 2013 at 11:22. Reason: 4 smileys (as reported)
|15th July 2013, 23:03||#23|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 13, 22.Aug.2012: Keylong-Chandigarh
This day was again a relaxed start with everyone getting up at 6AM and getting ready by 6:30.
Since we had told the manager that we would be leaving early, he told us that he'll arrange for a packed breakfast since service will only start at 7:30AM
A nice gesture that and he arranged for some hot aloo parathas and we leisurely left the hotel at 7AM after filling the last 5 litres of diesel we had with us
Avinash started the day as usual and in 20 minutes we reached Tandi. We were on of the first at the fuel station and we topped up the vehicle.
Since we will now be heading to the mainlands, we decided not to fill our cans anymore. the vehicle itself drank 57litres of diesel at ₹41.9/ltr.
Snow for the last time
Diesel @ Tandi @ ₹41.9/Ltr
A little later we stopped at a beautiful spot and ate the packed breakfast. It was just enough to fill our stomach.
Then we started our drive down south on beautiful green mountains. The mountains were filled with mist and with every climb, the visibility was reducing drastically.
Important note for people going towards Leh
The day had begun
Over the clouds
Slowly we drove for another 2 hours and we reached the top of the mountains. We reached Rohtang.
We were the first vehicle from this side and we were stopped.
we thought it was a toll but he told that the road was being cleared and vehicles were not allowed because of too much slush.
So the 13th day of our trip we encountered our first roadblock. 13 did prove unlucky
Grounded @ Rohtang
We were stopped here for 2 hours at least. Initially we spent some taking some photos but after a while it started raining and we were forced to sit inside the vehicle.
we caught up with some sleep, and passed time. There was no mobile network as well.
Waiting and waiting...
Wake me up when the road opens!
Finally at noon, after a buildup of sufficient vehicles, we were allowed to move forward.
We allowed only 3 local vehicles to go ahead of us so that road conditions would be much clear for us and also they would be paving a tyre path for us.
It was one of the best decisions we made. The road was filled with slush and the car was almost skiing on the road.
It was one of the most wonderful experiences for us as passengers and for Avinash as a driver. All the while he was saying that the vehicle was like floating on the road more than driving.
The Worst (or rather the best) roads were reserved for the last. In an hour from here, we didn't know that we had crossed the Rani nallah and reached Manali.
Finally Black roads!
Waiting for Jesus I guess...
Water falling from everywhere
Steel is nothing in front of nature
Saying "Tata" to Tata!
Just before Manali we were at a place called Kothi. Kothi, means "Monkey" in Kannada and we were 4 together
*Kothi means Monkey in Kannada
and the 4th one
Sine 3 out of 4 of us had seen Manali on separate occasions, we had no plans of staying there.
We crossed the town of Manali and stopped at a nice restaurant on the outskirts of Manali.
We had a sumptuous and delicious lunch and spent 45 minutes for this. Having Maggi noodles had stopped much to the relief of Sushruth.
Avinash continued as the driver and decided that he'll drive till he gets tired/till night fall whichever is earlier. I was supposed to do the night duty.
Surprisingly the night fall arrived first. He had driven from Manali and then Bhunter and later Aut and finally till Sundernagar. He had driven a little over 250kms for the day
So after a small tea break, The night rider (that is me) took over the wheel.
I don't know if the trucks in the country had organized a meet, in this part, but it looked like all the trucks in the country were present there.
We must have at least seen 2000 trucks in this stretch. it was one hell of an experience. there was no empty patch of road longer than 100 mtrs without a truck
I drove through all these trucks for close to 2.5 hours till we reached the Punjab Border somewhere near Kiratpur.
In one place where the visibility was good and a straight road was available, I overtook several trucks at the same time. At the end of this straight road was a small town bus stand.
After I completed my overtaking move and joined my lane, a Police stopped us. He had seen my big overtaking move of mine since he was at the other end of the straight road.
He warned me to drive slow. I did not make a sudden lane change or dangerous overtaking or headed into any opposite vehicle but even then he felt my driving rash.
Even though I don't know till now what mistake I did, one "sorry" solved all the problems.
I was never rash but I must admit that my driving style was not defensive either.
We took the Sundernagar>Swarghat>Kiratpur>Rupnagar>Kharar>Chan digarh route and we reached Chandigarh at 11PM.
Avinash desperately wanted to go have KFC chicken and I stopped at the first KFC we spotted. I don't remember the exact sector and other details.
Since it was 11, the parking attendant left us without collecting any fees. We entered KFC and we were among the last customers.
We ate whatever were available in veg and non-veg depending on our individual eating habits.
After this we headed towards the hotel. the MMI navigator took us close to the hotel but then started going round and round. we called the receptionist and got to the hotel in 5 mins
The truck traffic was really tiring...I took a shower to freshen myself up.
After this, I took the Tata photon dongle which was working fine by now and plugged it into the laptop.
At 00:30 hrs I booked the hotel in our next stop Udaipur for the next day (in fact the same date)
Once done we all slept at 1AM. the next day we planned to leave by 7AM.
Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd August 2013 at 01:33. Reason: As requested.
|15th July 2013, 23:08||#24|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 14, 23.Aug.2012: Chandigarh to Udaipur
We got up at 6:00 and were ready by 6:30. To our surprise the complimentary breakfast was also served to our rooms at this time.
Since the booking was done online and we had done nothing but sleep, there were no payments to be made and the billing took no extra time.
Our hotel in Chandigarh
We hopped onto the vehicle at 7AM and started to do what we were used to do now...counting numbers! (Those numbers were nothing but Kilometers)
Since we were now in the mainlands, Vishwa drove while Avinash and I slept at the rear.
We again avoided The national capital by getting off the grand trunk road at Panipat and Driving through Haryana via the Rohtak>Rewari route and rejoining the GTR at a place called Shahjahanpur.
High tension Haryana!
Vishwa drove 200kms till a little farther than Panipat and Avinash drove from there on.
The diesel that we had filled in Tandi was still in the tank and the warning light came on after we had driven 600kms. This was one of the best FE on the trip
While filling, we had seen the colour of diesel which was crystal clear like water. Avinash had read somewhere that this "clear"diesel is the purest forms it seems.
We decided that we will extract the most out of it and check how much we can drive on this diesel.
so we decided to run it till its dry and so purchased 5litres of Diesel for reaching the next station after it dries up.
Finally the purest diesel ran out after we crossed Rohtak after having driven 720Kms for 60litres (12kmpl was the best FE of the trip)
We put the 5 litre in the can and stopped at the next fuel station (we had driven around 15kms). The Vehicle tank consumed 59.95Ltrs! it was a 60litre tank!
This fuel at Rohtak was ₹43.37/ltr.
By the time we joined The GTR at Shahjahanpur, it was 1PM and we stopped at a big dhabha for lunch.
We had a leisurely lunch, bought some refreshments and continued with our journey. The temperatures were really high and the birds were always on the lookout for shade...wherever available.
Give me some shade
I once again asked the other 3 if we could extend our stay in Udaipur and cover that place as well.
One more reason for me to insist for a stay in Udaipur was that it would give nice break after 3 continuous days of driving.
But they were really not interested. They were happy with the memories from the Himalayas. They were OK to drive for 5 days at a stretch.
So with that we decided that after Udaipur which we would reach that day, we will stay at Pune.
I called up a hotel in Akurdi which is our regular hotel for visits to Pune on official duty. He would also give our company employees discounts.
I booked two rooms in Pune. This was supposed to be our last hotel stay.
After this there was not much activity except 2 persons sleeping in the rear while the driver was busy driving and the navigator was busy paying tolls.
We reached pink city by evening and called up the Udaipur hotel confirming him that we will definitely come there to sleep!
We told him that we are on in Jaipur right now, his voice clearly suggested that he was shocked
After some more time, when it was dark we had crossed Jaipur and were approaching Kishangarh. Her we spotted the fist Traffic Pileup of our trip.
There was some birthday function of some Politician and one side was entirely closed and all the traffic was diverted to one side (we were on the correct(left) side). It was a huge pileup and no vehicles were moving.
Just where we had stopped, there was a median. One local Scorpio went across the median and with no traffic on the right side, he sped away. Vishwa and I asked Avinash to do the same. Avinash refused.
He instead suggested that we have dinner in the Dhabha just beside us till the traffic clears. But all 3 of us insisted on moving forward since the pileup was already looking big.
Finally Avinash listened and we crossed over to the other side drove on the wrong side but which was actually closed.
It took us 2 complete minutes to go past the pile up on the road side and it was easily 2-3Kms long and didn't show any signs of clearing!
So it was a good thing that we didn't waste our time in this. It would have been criminal to waste good time when we had not encountered any jams in the last 13days
Its so easy for one person to block a NH in our country to celebrate his Birthday
Next we stopped at a Dhabha for Dinner. As soon as we ordered Rotis and dal and sat on the cots, we were surrounded by 6 people.
Initially they started to ask where we were coming from and seeing the Karnataka number one of them told us that he also used to work in Bangalore.
It was here that we also came to know that the function was a politicos Birthday.
All these men seemed drunk. We were not answering them in a nice way as we were not interested get into anything. But since they were drunk they didn't leave us and kept on talking to us.
Slowly they asked us if we were vegetarians and then they moved onto caste subjects.
We were aware that Caste related problems are a plenty in Haryana. So we were not feeling comfortable with 6 men surrounding us speaking to us about caste.
We soon ate the 2 rotis each and didn't order anything more and paid the dhabha guy and left from there avoiding any further talks with those guys.
After this we hardly stopped anywhere and ate biscuits and other snacks left in the car. we drove straight to Udaipur.
Some 50Kms before Udaipur, Avinash asked me to drive after having driven for 535Kms...His highest for a day.
We woke up the Hotel guy in Udaipur and reached the hotel (Hotel Rangniwas palace) at 1AM.
This hotel is actually a small palace and converted to a hotel. It looked nice from all angles but we couldn't see much in the dark.
The rooms wore a royal look but we just slept after having checked in.
That ended the 3rd continuous day of driving
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:52.
|16th July 2013, 21:07||#25|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 15, 24.Aug.2012: Udaipur-Pune
We got up leisurely at 7AM and got ourselves fresh by 7:30. The Breakfast was served to our rooms although there was a restaurant attached.
We saw more of this nice hotel. I would've loved to stay here another day but then, there's always another day.
Fusion of old and new
Live life King Size!
After breakfast, for settling the bill, here again he asked me for a printed copy of the make my trip voucher.
We could show him a mail, a PDF on our laptop and an SMS. But he wanted a hard copy.
So he took me to another hall which had printer and he told me to connect the printer to my laptop and give him a printout.
This hall is actually a Royal Library and had thousands of books and there were other exhibits like guns and other stuff which you would except in such places.
It took me 10minutes to download the driver and print the voucher and give it to him.
Although this was unnecessary waste of time, we didn't worry too much.
After a while just before leaving, I made another friend there that day.
Man's best friend
At 8:30AM, we were out of the hotel. And in 1 hour we crossed Rajasthan and entered Gujarat.
See you again!
Although Gujarat had the fastest roads we saw till now, There were walking speed breakers here and there on the highways like the photo below
There were other Fauna as well
After an hour of entering Gujarat, we reached the outskirts of Ahmedabad. we filled diesel at the same fuel station which we had used in our onward journey
Back to the same fuel station
Vishwa took the vehicle and by noon we were moving fast and we were on the Surat Bypass. There are a lot of good AC restaurants along this highway.
When we have so many choices and when all looked good, we decided to choose the hotels by its name!
Hotels here have very good names. Some of the names that caught our eyes are "Cha Cha", "Releif", Baba Ramdev"!!!, "Lucky Punjab", "Nashta", "Panchamrut"
But finally jab we ate, we ate here...
Jab we ate
Since I was not driving and was sitting in the back row, I cleared all the backlogs with respect to sleep. I don't know what the other 3 did
No driving for 1.5days
Have you heard of Registration plates?
After sometime, when I got up, we stopped to take a snap of a milestone...Not a milestone exactly but a distance signage I can say
We had seen this in our onward journey and missed taking a picture...
Binary play..Jaipur was 1001 from here!
After I saw this distance board, I realized how many kilometres we had covered over the last 2 weeks.
I started reliving all the wonderful moments of the trip. all the images of the trip was playing in my mind
I had to pinch myself that I had finally completed my dream trip of Ladakh after so many years of dreaming about it.
I also thought that I can have a Ladakh travelogue of my own on TBHP.
As soon as I got this thought, I felt that my travelogue will also get lost among the many Ladakh travelogues on TBHP.
I envied people living in Delhi and surrounding places for they could do so much more in so less time.
I felt I could not visit all places. So I started asking myself "how can I make it a little different?", "how can I make this trip stand out among others?"
Or better, as Sharukh khan, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan singh say, I asked myself... "Have I made it Large?"
Then a wonderful thought came to my mind. Since we would be reaching 2 days ahead of our initial plan, I thought to myself that we can use it somehow.
I thought that we can make this trip into a Kashmir to Kanyakumari trip instead of just a Ladakh trip.
"Just a Ladakh" trip would be unfair because a Ladakh trip in itself is a big one but a Kashmir to Kanyakumari would make it even bigger I thought.
It was my life and I decided to make it large.
I told this idea to the other 3 and they were like...Are you serious!!!
I told yes but still they were not ready to believe. Vishwa and Sushruth dropped out of the plan and so did Avinash.
I tried to convince them but none seemed interested.
So I decided to make it on my own. I decided to take my Abarth to Kanyakumari the next day after reaching Bangalore.
I called my home and told them about this. I asked my wife to apply for a leave and plan for a 2 day excursion to the end of the earth.
She was initially shocked but then since she is used to such things from me, she was ready!
Seeing this, Avinash finally understood that I was really serious. So he told me that he would also join me.
Although he wanted to take rest for 2 days, he understood that we cannot do this everyday.
He also called his wife and asked her to prepare for this trip.
This would also be a good consolation to our wives. They could no more complain that we didn't take them our mega trip (or so we thought)
So after the plan was frozen I searched www.makemytrip.com and booked shortlisted a hotel in Kanyakumari.
By this time we were close to Mumbai, we used the same Mumbra-Thane route to avoid Mumbai.
And by 8PM, we were on the Mumbai Pune Expressway. We stopped in the refreshment lay bye, had some snacks and Purchased some Chikki.
After this, in another 2-3 hours we reached our hotel booked in Akurdi. It was the closing time of the restaurant.
Since its the regular hotel used by my company during office visits, I had called the receptionist and told that we will order food as soon as we come there.
As soon as we reached the hotel, we checked in settled in our rooms and ordered food.
By the time food came to our room, we were all collectively recollecting good memories of the trip.
Vishwa decided that he would get down in Hubli at his in-laws house where he could spend time with his newborn baby.
Sushruth would be dropped at his house. So that meant that this night would be the last night that all 4 of us would be together.
So, Alemaari opened his Last packet of Cadbury celebrations! We celebrated the successful completion of the trip...but for Avinash and I it was not yet finished!
I also booked the shortlisted hotel in Kanyakumari and by then we had dinner and we ate to our heart's content.
We slept at the stroke of Midnight and decided that we will start the next day after breakfast at the hotel.
This was the first day on the trip that I did not hold the steering wheels in my hands!
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:53.
|16th July 2013, 21:12||#26|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 16, 25.Aug.2012: Pune-Bangalore
We got up at 7, and leisurely got ready and had the Buffet breakfast at the hotel
We packed the car and the hotel attendant had cleaned our car. I settled the bill and by 8:30, the White beast started running.
There was nothing much interesting in this day's drive. Just straight 4 lane roads and tolls for the same.
Avinash first started the day and drove till Karad where he stopped for a water break and I was sitting in the navigator's seat.
I wanted to sleep and he told Vishwa to "sit in front". What he meant was "navigator's seat", but Vishwa understood it at "Driver's seat"
He sat in the driver's seat and asked for the key. Although Avinash wasn't tired or he didn't want to change the driver so soon, He gave the Keys to Vishwanath.
The vehicle was driven non-stop till Kittur.
That's 8K on the trip meter
For lunch we decided not to go to any hotel. We decided to finish the remaining MTR ready to eat packets.
We stopped by a lake in Kittur, filled the utensil with water and put the packets in boiling water.
within 20 minutes we had 8 packets and we ate 2 each.
The last view of the packed boot
After this lake side lunch, Vishwa continued till Hubli where he got down. He had finished his 2-week trip.
His in-laws and wife breathed a sigh of relief seeing him safe but they could easily see that he had become a shade or two darker.
We were served some snacks and refreshments while Vishwa was busy with his child.
When he told that his in-laws that we 2 were headed to Kanyakumari, they must've have thought that their son-in-law has got crazier friends than himself
we spent an hour at Hubli and by 4:30PM, we left Hubli.
After one and a half days of rest, I finally got my turn at the wheel.
Dinner stop was not needed as we were headed home. So I drove non-stop to Bangalore till I dropped Sushruth at his home.
It was 10PM when he got down. His entire family was at the gate to receive him.
For a guy who had never ventured out of Karnataka on jolly trips, this was a Huge one!
This was evident even on his Family members' faces. After getting down, He told that Avinash and I had not finished yet.
When he told of our plans, the expressions on their faces is one that I'll never forget.
Next stop, My house. we reached my home at 11 and emptied most of the boot. our luggage for the next two days for the last leg of our journey was already separately packed.
My Wife and Mother were awake. After I got down, in another 20 Minutes Avinash also reached his home.
Avinash would come to my home the next day (A Sunday) at 6:00 for us to depart to Kanyakumari.
We finally closed the day and all 4 of the Sepoys were not together after 15 days.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:53.
|16th July 2013, 21:18||#27|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 17, 26.Aug.2012: Bangalore-Kanyakumari
Avinash and his wife Shilpa were bang on time at 6AM. As per our plan, Avinash, Shilpa, My wife Shwetha and I left our home at 6:30AM.
We were onto the NICE road and then joined the Bangalore-Kanyakumari road in 20 minutes
Our first stop was at McDonald's near Krishnagiri. We had our breakfast in around 30 minutes
In all the 16days, the vehicle was silent apart from the engine noise or songs from the music player.
But in 2 hours we realised that with two females in the vehicle, its a different story altogether.
These two females who also happen to be colleagues had not met in office for some days and they had a lot to catch up to
Avinash and I were in the front row and we couldn't hear the songs at all!!!
Pretty soon we realized that the fastest road in Gujarat where we clocked an average speed of 83Kmph was not the fastest in India
The fastest is the one that we were driving. With all cities having a bypass, we don't waste any time in traffic
We reached Madurai which is 450kms from Bangalore in 5.5 hours with a stop for breakfast and a small water cum driver change break.
We filled diesel for the penultimate time on this trip on the Madurai bypass
That's a half Century
After this with another 250 Kms left, and the straight empty roads ahead, I took the White elephant to its top speed of 170+kmph
Most of the times I was cruising at 1.5 times the smallest possible 3 digit figure.
Even at this speed one car came and overtook our car. He waved at us. while the other 3 didn't know why, I understood why. He was a BHPian.
I asked Avinash to take a picture and showed him the LTD sticker. This is the best could manage. Its a Maroon Elantra TN02XXXXXX
BHPian, if you happen to see this, please identify yourself
...and he overtook us.
Some other photos en-route:
Khulja Sim Sim!
Time for a Service!
Staright and fast!
By 3PM we almost reached our destination. We first one windmill. I stopped the car and took the below photo
On the other side there was another and I took this picture...
A little further down, we saw this...
I can't count so many
And then this...
Forget it they are in lakhs
I stopped counting. There were not hundreds, but thousands of windmills all around. We spent some time enjoyinf the views and taking some photos.
they are everywhere!
Live to Drive
My favorite FB profile picture
For any good photo it takes some effort!
At 15:30hrs, we finally reached our hotel in Kanyakumari. We checked in and settled in our rooms before going to the restaurant in the ground floor of the hotel.
It was a heavy lunch this time. We went back to our rooms and we rested for an hour or so. The views from our rooms were absolutely beautiful.
From our hotel room
Memorials of two great men
At 5:30 we headed out to the cape comorin. This is the end of the mainland India. This is the last the Safari could drive on land.
Literally WE RAN OUT OF ROAD! this is how the title of this thread came to being. I had finally achieved my childhood dream of traveling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari!
We ran out of Road!
With a nice feeling, we parked the car and walked down to the beach for sunset view
One day I'll ride this beast
My record is that whenever I go to a sunset point, the sunset is not visible clearly and the sun is always hidden behind the clouds.
That record stayed intact. The sunset was not visible as well as one would have liked it to be seen.
Waiting for the sun to set
With one final photo for the day, we placed the cameras inside the vehicle and headed to the famous Kanyakumari temple
By 8PM we went to the temple. While both the females went to have a darshan, Avinash and I were roaming around in the market around the temple.
There was a roadside vendor who was making key chains with letters/names on seashells.
Avinash got one keychain for all his colleagues and friends as a gift from the trip. I purchased some other stuff from the market.
After this purchase, and after our wives had finished darshan, we went back to the hotel and had our dinner by 9PM.
By 10 PM, we wound up the day...this was the earliest we had slept in the last 17days!
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:54.
|16th July 2013, 21:22||#28|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
Day 18 27.Aug.2012: Kanyakumari-Bangalore
For the sunrise, our room window was itself the sunrise point.
At 6AM, Avinash called up on the intercom and woke me up.
I woke up but the sun had not. we waited for him to rise sitting in the window.
After 10 minutes, he finally came up. As soon as he came, the horizon started to change its colours.
What a wonderful sight it was! I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Waiting for Mr. Sun to get up
Finally, he comes
A perfect V!
Enjoying the view
After breakfast by 8AM, we were ready to go out. we headed to the boat jetty.
There was a huge queue to board the boat to go to the Vivekananda Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar statue.
Capturing the patterns
look girl, we will go there
It took us 1 hour to board the boat to these two memorials.
After spending around 30 minutes in each of the locations, we came back by 10AM to mainland.
On our way up to the hotels, there were again those shell shops with carvings.
They actually paint the design that you need and immerse the shell in an Acid (Looked like HCL)
The Acid burns and removes the top layer and exposes teh white inside layer. The area below the paint remains intact
Wipe off the paint and you reveal the dark top layer of the shell showing the design you wanted.
The guys here are really fast in doing the letters and small designs.
I slowly walked past many shops and stopped by a shop where there were better designs than others.
Avinash wanted more key chains...So he ordered some 15 of them. I wanted something different.
Since we had ordered 15 keychains, he was responding to me better than otherwise so I requested him to give me a design that I want.
I sent the other three to the rooms and they took rest in the nice AC room. I sat in the sweltering weather in the shop getting my shell done.
You can see the final result in the last picture of this post.
I came back by 11:30. I took a shower once again and by that time Avinash had settled the hotel bill for the last time on the trip
At noon, we left the Hotel. in 10 minutes we were on the outskirts of Kanyakumari.
We stopped for this photo...
This guy can go anywhere
We finally did it!
With a happy and contented feeling, we hopped on to the Airavatha and dashed on the straight stretch towards our Home.
After a lunch break at Tirunelveli, we reached home in Bangalore at 23:00hrs of Monday, the 27th of August 2012.
The next day we had to leave early to office so we slept soon after we came home.
That ended our 18 day mega trip!
Ah yes, the shell...scroll down
The complete story captured on a shell
I have tried to put the entire story of the trip in a nutshell...er...sea shell!
"From Ktop to K bottom in a Safari from 10-08-12 to 27-08-12"
For all the trouble I gave the shell vendor, I was satisfied with the end result.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 23rd July 2013 at 13:55.
|20th July 2013, 00:39||#29|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
THE JOURNEY NEVER ENDS
From K-top to K-Bottom, From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, From Top to Tip, From North to South, We had driven the entire length of the country on a Tata Safari fondly called as Airavatha!
We had traveled from the highest motor-able road on India and Earth and the Bottom cape last point on Indian Mainland covering close to 10000Kms in the process.
We had seen and interacted with people in over 9 states and an Union territory. I had fulfilled one of my childhood memories!
A comparison of our planned route and the actual route with the final twist
Twist in the tale
Following two collages are some nice lessons we were fed throughout the trip
HORN OK PLEASE
Luckily the nature was kind to us and we were able to complete the whole trip without any mishaps or delays. This couldn't have been more perfect
And for successfully completing this trip. Aviansh's relative and our friend, gave each one of the Sepoys a wonderful gift.
On the 28th August 2012, I woke up a little late than usual and informed my company cab-mates that I'll come a little late.
I sat in my Punto...it was a strange feeling. I was feeling like I was sitting very low; the visibility, the gear ratios, the power, acceleration everything felt so different.
I was feeling like I was on an alien planet. In fact it took me close to a month to completely reunite myself with my car.
As soon as I entered my office I went straight to the canteen. My boss was the first to see me and around him were other team mates.
Their look spoke only 2 words..."CRAZY GUY"
All of the 20 minutes during breakfast , I had all the attention of 6 people on the table.
My boss told me, "I could digest you going to Ladakh, but after coming back to Bangalore and then going to Kanyakumari; just unbelievable"
After this, I went to my desk and was surrounded by my team mates asking my experiences of the trip and then some guys were surprised to hear that it finally turned out to be a K-K trip.
I gave everyone dry fruits from Amritsar and that day I must have spoken about my trip at least 10 times with different people.
In two days I shortlisted some photos and shared it with my colleagues and the narration started all over again for some more days
The remaining 3 sepoys had the same experiences in their respective work areas.
This feeling is something that words can't describe but simply put we were feeling happy about ourselves.
It took us another 10 days for uploading our photos on facebook and this was all we spoke for at least two months in all the family functions or when friends meet
By October end I also got a big photo album made of the entire trip. This was one thing that did rounds for quite a few days to friends and families alike.
This was the conversation starter to any of the guests at home
Hard copy of the memories
I wanted to start the travelogue as soon as possible but weekdays were hectic every weekend had something or the other lined up for me.
For some 4 months, this continued and after that I somehow couldn't start anything.
In January, my company magazine asked everyone for anything worthy of sharing. This egged me write the travelogue.
I managed to compile a 6 page word file with pictures. But it was too big for that magazine.
I was asked to compress the whole thing into as few words as possible. Although it was tough, I somehow managed to do it.
Finally I had got complete 3 pages which itself was a record in the magazine's history.
But then that travelogue served as the foundation for this detailed travelogue.
From March this year, I slowly started to develop the short travelogue for my company magazine into a detailed one and one that could be published on TBHP.
Then last month when 2013 ladakh travelogues started to trickle down, I decided to complete this come what may.
Everyday I dedicated time for this and pushed everything else down in my priority list.
I wanted to complete it at least before the anniversary of our trip which is less than a month from today.
THE NUMBERS GAME
Our trip finally had come to an end but the memories will last for a life time...So does the statistics.
Below are some statistics and graphs that I've been able to generate
A pie chart showing the percentages of different categories of expenses
A breakup of the expenses
Individual expenditure including personal shopping
Diesel prices wherever we filled
Altitudes as shown by Avinash's Casio protrek watch
HOTELS AS WE SAW THEM
The night after our departure, we stayed at one of Vishwa's friend's BACHELOR'S ROOM in Pune and on the 16th night of our trip we were at our respective homes.
Apart from these, we spent the remaining 15 nights at 10 different hotels.
Here's a short review of how we saw them.
1. Hotel Kesar D'villa, Jaipur
This hotel was booked by Avinash since that's the recommended hotel in his office
This is the one used by people in his office while on Official duty to Jaipur
This ensured that we get good discounts for good rooms.
We reached there at 5AM and left at 11AM. We only slept there after a 23-hour drive.
This is near the World trade centre of Jaipur and is in what looked like a residential gated community.
Even at odd hours, we didn't face any difficulty in checking in of any such matters. The area is not noisy and helped us in getting a much needed good sleep
the rooms are more like a studio with kitchenette as well. It is a good corporate hotel.
It has lifts, Online booking facility, wifi connection and study table and other good amenities.
Rest rooms were small but clean like you would expect in any corporate hotel with hot water.
A small restaurant is also located in the building
Parking for around 3 cars inside the compound and rest can be parked on the road without any problems
Although we didn't see see much of it, I would rate it 3.5 of 5
E-15, Kings street, 1st avenue, lal bahadur nagar,
jln road, Jaipur, RJ 302018
Double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹1900/night
2. Hotel Sapphire, Amritsar
This hotel was selected based on the good reviews in www.makemytrip.com (MMT) and it didn't disappoint us as well.
The best thing about this is the location. located adjacent to the Golden temple, it also offers parking space in the adjacent small lanes enough for an SUV
Driving through the small lanes will take a bit out of you (some construction was going on while we were there) but not impossible.
Since we were there in odd hours, we were better off.
You can park here and cover places like Golden Temple & Jalianwallah Bagh by walk.
The AC rooms and rest rooms were small but enough for two members.
Restrooms were clean and had 24hours hot water. The staff were courteous and helpful.
It has got lifts and online booking facility but no restaurant. Totally a good option and definitely recommended.
I would rate it 4 of 5
Opp. Shri Guru Gobind Singh N.R.I Yatri Niwas
Amritsar - 143001 ( PUNJAB )
Telephone : +91-9592450270
Double occupancy room ₹1400/night
3. Hotel Centre Point, Srinagar
Its a 4 storey building located close to the city centre.
The staff are courteous but expect good tips in return. They let you know straight away if they are not happy with the tips
This was also seen in another restaurant in Srinagar.
The double bed rooms are decently sized. Bathrooms are big and COLD.
Rooms have wooden flooring since in winters it can get really cold. they had heaters also.
They have an attached restaurant in the ground floor with decent veg and non veg food and a lounge with Television
You don't get Wifi connection or also online booking facility.
However you can call them and transfer advance through NEFT (50% of the rent) to any of their bank accounts and get an email confirmation (which is how we did)
Shortlisting was done on make my trip. I didn't see any lifts. Parking for 3 cars inside the compound and rest can be parked on the road without any problems
I would rate it 3 of 5
Hotel Centre Point
Bishamber Nagar, Dal Gate Srinagar, Srinagar, JK
Mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹2200/night
4. Hotel Greenland, Kargil
Its one of the few good hotels in Kargil. Most people use this town for a night over destination and hence there are very few options in this town
We had specifically asked for a room in the new block and it was a nice one. The rooms have carpets on the floor to deal with the temperatures.
The rooms are decently sized but bathrooms are big. We did not go to the dining hall but we ordered the food to our rooms. Food was decent.
There is parking for 10-15 vehicles depending on the size of the vehicles.
There are no lifts, Wifi connection or Online booking facility
However you can call them and transfer advance through NEFT (50% of the rent) to any of their bank accounts and get an email confirmation (which is how we did)
Overall I would rate them 4 of 5
LAHDC Street, Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir-194103
Double occupancy room ₹1500/night
5. Hotel Caravan Centre, Leh
I wanted a good cozy and comfortable hotel in Leh even if it was slightly expensive.
I selected this on MMT and had good reviews.
The rooms were well carpeted and also had heaters and with thick blankets along woth these, they have made sure that we will be warm
The rest rooms were big and had hot water anytime.
There are no lifts and online booking facility but hey had Wifi in the front desk. We never saw the Wifi working though.
Here again NEFT transfer is the best option for booking.
They arrange for your permits to go around if you give them the necessary documents and 1 working day's time
They also arrange for sightseeing packages.
The restaurant is big enough for 50 people and their buffet had some nice menu with different dishes on each day of our stay
Parking is not a problem though the approach road is a little small (as is the case with many hotels here)
At ₹3179/day it is a good hotel though it may look a tad expensive.
I would rate it 3.5 of 5
HOTEL CARAVAN CENTRE
Skara, Leh -194101, Ladakh (J&K) INDIA
Tel/fax: 01982-252282 / 251814
Cells: 09419181260 / 09906985540 / 09910105091
Deluxe double occupancy room ₹3179/night
6. Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong
This is a HPTDC hotel and was shortlisted based on reviews in many forums and My BIL booked it for me from Bangalore when we were in Leh.
Online booking was available from HPTDC website. Although while check-in, I was asked for the Printed confirmation voucher, they agreed after seeing the SMS and the booking code.
This is more like a government IB. We got a big room; in fact it was a 2 bedroom apartment.
The floor is carpeted. No lifts or wifi. The bath rooms are decent with old age white tiles. in places where it was dull they had painted it white!
This tile-n-tint combination did give us a shocker when we saw it first, but as we realised that its paint, we gave a hats-off to brilliant idea it was
The restaurant had a decent menu and the food was bland mostly to suit foreign tourists of HPTDC
If people want a tent experience there are at least 10 tented accommodations outside the building
On the whole for ₹2900/- for 4 persons per night in this town, I would rate it 3 of 5
Keylong, Distt. Lahaul & Spiti (H.P.)
(01900) - 222247, 222393
Double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹1450/night
7. Hotel orbit orange, Chandigarh
This was booked through www.cleartrip.com by my BIL. it was a hotel in sector 34A of Chandigarh.
We only spent 7 hours here with 6 hours of sleep. the room was really clean and more like a corporate hotel with all modern amenities like lifts, wifi (though we didn't use it)
The rooms and bathrooms though small were really sufficient for 2 people. The complementary breakfast was nice and 24hr hot water were all nice.
Parking is not a problem at all in all of Chandigarh I guess.
Of whatever I saw, I will rate this 4 out of 5
Orbit Hotel Orange
Sector 34-A, Chandigarh
Deluxe Room Special with complimentary breakfast ₹1450/night
8. Hotel Ranganiwas Palace, Udaipur
This hotel was booked through MMT. This is a actually a small palace of some royal family.
When we reached it was around 1AM in the night and the manager got up and opened tha gate for us
the rooms were good and had all the looks of am authentic Rajasthani royal family home.
From the cot to the table lamps to the bathrooms; all had the classic looks.
The breakfast was also nice but it was slower than we would have wanted it to be.
For billing they needed a printout which I didn't have.
So, I was taken to another big hall which was actually a library with many books and other exhibits which you would expect in a royal home
It also has an attached restaurant which looked decent. Since we were there only for a night, I don't know much about the taste of the food there.
Lifts are not present but it would have been a mismatch it were present. well maintained and good value for money
I would rate them 3.5 of 5
Hotel Rangniwas Palace, Udaipur
Lake Palace Road,Udaipur,313001, India
Contact : 91-0294-2523890
Deluxe double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹1400/night
9. Hotel Brahma regency, Pune
This is the officially recommended hotel of our company. Any people traveling to Pune are booked to this hotel.
Hence I got a good discounted pricing.
The rooms and bathrooms are sufficiently large for a corporate hotel.
The food in the restaurant Vedas is good. It has the almost all the amenities needed in such a kind of hotel.
Parking is a little tough and hence all the lanes around the hotel are filled with by Valet
I would rate this 4 out of 5.
The Brahma Regency,
Opp Bajaj Auto, Mumbai-Pune Rd, Akurdi, Pimpri Chinchwad, Maharashtra 411035
Double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹1700/night
10. Hotel Sea view, Kanyakumari
I booked this in a hurry while on the move based on the rating in MMT. Very much satisfied in the end
The best thing about this hotel is the direct sunrise view from all the rooms. There are 4 rooms at a corner which give you both the sunset and sunrise view.
Very big rooms and bathrooms, very tidy and clean. The hotel had good lift and also the restaurant attached was serving good multi-cuisine menu.
Parking is also good enough. The boat jetty to the vivekananda memorial and thiruvalluvar statue, its at a walk-able distance to the Gandhi Bhavan and Kanyakumari temple.
That makes it a wonderful location also. This ticked all the boxes for a hotel room and hence I would rate this 5 out of 5.
Hotel Sea View
East Car Street, Kanyakumari, TN 629702
+91 4652 247 841
Deluxe double occupancy room with complimentary breakfast ₹2900/night
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 25th July 2013 at 13:44.
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|20th July 2013, 21:22||#30|
Distinguished - BHPian
Re: We ran out of road!
I'm finally able to present you with the experiences of my dream drive. Hope you guys like it.
I thank TBHP and it moderators for publishing this.
It's also a wonderful coincidence that I'm able to publish it on July 26th 2013; the 14th anniversary of the Indian army winning the Kargil war.
I'll end my travelogue by dedicating this to the Indian army.
Last edited by hemanth.anand : 22nd July 2013 at 12:02.
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