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Old 24th April 2013, 15:03   #1
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Default Escape to Pangong Tso

Life is moving by fast and I want to explore the incredible India. At the same time I was very much influenced by the Tata Safari advertisements as to if its possible or not.

The following posts will unfold this incredible journey to Pangong Tso lake from Pune via so many places i have seen and stayed

I always wanted to see the fully glory of the Pangong Tso lake.

Wikipedia says that Pangong Tso, Tibetan for "long, narrow, enchanted lake", also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.
Special thanks to HV Kumar, Tanveer & his travelogues, Anand P and Bruty for their heads up and timely help in making this trip a true lovely memory.

The bug was waiting to bite me and its bitten me for sure. I am aww'ed and mesmerized by the beauty

This is what i want to see again and remember always
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The trip was done in June 2013.

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 17th July 2013 at 09:47.
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Old 16th July 2013, 20:38   #2
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Default Prologue

One night sometime in 2012..A plan was born

Courtesy Tanveer

A thought came which became a dream.. i saw myself and Khardungla.. there was a road ahead and a road back to leh.. i was excited and was thinking whats beyond Khardungla.

Half awake at 5am in morning, i sat thinking about it. I was there 20 years ago with my dad.. full 2 months of joy oh boy!

I have to make this a reality now come what may #

Soon, I got sucked into an interesting conversation with Brother In Law. So, I thought I'd share it with you... word for word.

Me: Hey whats up..
BIL:C'mon its 7AM everything and everyone is up and running, whats up with you so early in the morning?

Me: blah blah
BIL: what no! Blah Blah.....

We disagree on just about every major thing two people could disagree on.

Me: OK, fine lets do this that we go together.. minus the ladies and the kids.. what say !
BIL: Hahahahaa.. i am sure you gonna be having a ride of your life soon.. Lolz..

Anyways, moving on.. twinkle in eyes, i used to lookup to Tanveers escapades, HVK's stories and ogle at the very thought of making it a reality of my own.

Soon 2012 ended and 2013 came with a sparkle of new year and wishes come true etc and what not...

Some time in January..2013

BIL: Ladakh requires couple of weeks not like your earlier 2 weeks rushes. Atleast 20 days...
Me: What.. ok so you are in.. smirking...I ll try to manage, you do the same.

Couple of weeks later, a good news came ( oh cmon not that one !)

BIL: June chalega?
Me: Of all seasons June ?

BIL: If it works tell me else i have full schedule for the rest of year.
Me: Ok, will get back in a week.

Weeks became Weeks and Weeks became couple of more weeks. The leaves were secured.

PS: We haven't told the ladies and kids yet..

Rest i guess you reading this out there can very well imagine what happens or happened..when the news was given to them that we have taken leaves during June for Ride of Life in each others company. Enjoying life to the fullest.. no ifs, not whats and certainly no buts...

Soon i was emailing the people who know the route best and came up with a plan, a plan which can wither the not so brave, but once done will always stay in the memories of you and the in memories of ours lifetime & beyond.

The plan looks this this..

Start Pune and end. Generally it takes 3 day to reach the Jammu from Pune. We drive sedate

Day3 - Katra
Day4 - Sonamarg
Day5 - Rest something like that
Day6 - Drass
Day7 - Leh
Day8 - Rest Day
Day9 - Khadungla/Nubra
Day10 - Pangong So
Day 11 - Hanle
Day 12 - Jispa
Day 13 - Manali
Day 14 - Ambala
Day 15 - Rishabdeo
Day 16 - Pune

Buffer 5 Days (Well you know, you never know when it may come in handy)

Trip is approx 6500km +- few hundred kms.
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But the ride.. what about the ride.. what about it ! It has to be readied. it nearing 60k service.. everything needs to ready and checked to be War Ready.. cmon this terrain aint so forgiving.. one mistake enroute it all ends.

The logistics the x , the y and the z all in order.

But then will it be possible ? Its damn summer season and hot and its gonna rain.. Monsoons are predicted to be normal this time says the economictimes.

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 17th July 2013 at 00:07.
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Old 16th July 2013, 21:09   #3
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Default Day 1 and Day 2

Now the original plan was to go via Mumbai, but due to personal reasons we changed the plans to go via Jabalpur. The plans of reaching Jammu still remained same but instead we start from Jabalpur was the change.

Now Jabalpur is approx 1100km from place in Pune.

Since many pictures and narrations about Pune - Nagpur exist, so am going to skip it. However it rained a lot during the journey. The roads were good. However the roads from Nagpur to Jabalpur are good in sections and washed / poker marked due to rains which really irritated me.

Some pictures to do the talking taken near Pench. Its was lush green and rainy

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Old 16th July 2013, 23:25   #4
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Default Jablapur-delhi

Today is 17th June and we start our real journey

With all the best wishes from friends and family we set our next destination to New Delhi. The accommodation has been reserved in advance.

Time check 630AM

Route: Jabalpur-Damoh-Sagar-Lalitpur-Jhansi-Shivpuri-Gwalior-Agra-YEH-Noida-Delhi, 990 kms

I must say that the State highways in MP are much better than the national highways. The only exception to this is the wonderful north south corridor. Amazing.. I don't have words to express but during monsoons the route looks like this below

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Below is a dhaba on the North South corrridor. A lovely one though.

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Soon after in the evening, we manage to get into a huge traffic jam near Gwalior Bypass and it forces us to take the route from inside the city. We loose couple of hours there.

How can I miss this lovely resturant. in the chambal ki ghaati. Lolz.
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Chhota Bheem any one.. for Dholpur?
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If this wasnt enough then Agra was even bad, i swear. Its maddening and especially when you are tired, it bitterly makes you swear.

Soon we hit the YEH. This i must say is a marvel but the most yawning and boring drive i ve ever had. Serious. I was yawing all the way to glory during those 165kms.

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& finally we reach the destination in dead of the night and call it a day. For tommorow we proceed to Jammu and then onwards to Katra.
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Old 16th July 2013, 23:39   #5
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Default New Delhi - Jammu - Katra

By the since we have covered almost 2000kms by now a quick glance at fuel expense sheet gives us a avg FE of 14kmpl. Thanks to 80-90 kmph speed limits we are excercising.

Route: Delhi-Panipat-Ambala-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Pathankot-Jammu, 648 kms

Now this is a favourite route, nothing special to mention though it was a breeze to drive on NH1 as always. One thing which surprised me was less traffic.

Started around 7ish AM after a peacock call and reached Jammu in the evening by 6. It was quiet a leisure drive. No hurries types
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The ride

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The rest of the road to Jammu

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After spending night in Jammu next day we proceed to Katra to pay visit to Ma Vaishnodevi.

Near Bhairon Nath
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Can you spot the Deer dear?

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Tired we have a nice sleep in the JKTDC hotel only to wake up next day to find a nail in the tyre.

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 16th July 2013 at 23:41.
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Old 17th July 2013, 00:06   #6
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Default Katra - Srinagar - Sumbal

Route: Katra - Srinagar - Sumbal

Last night

Me: We have to go to a symbol ?
BIL: Yes, its just ahead of Srinagar ! You will see

All set and done after a nice leisure breakfast, we start loading the luggage only to find that there is a huge nail in the tyre and its loosing pressure.

Still tired from yesterdays climb, we manage to put the spare tire and put a plug to the main tyre as well. Then go over to tyre shop in downtown Katra and get the air filled to the specs and then put it back to the original location.

Now the big question. We haven't got the air foot pump. We forgot. Ok we will get it in Srinagar

But worry not we have two spare tyres. We calculated the odds and it played with us. Not that i am saying its risky but we gambled and got away with it in the end.

Below are the pictures of the route all so familiar now
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Soon after crossing Srinagar bypass, we reached our symbol destination for the night.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day a big ride. For we climb the might Godzilla aka Zozilla pass. Get the airfilter crammed and choked due to fine dust, do a wheelie due to misjudged undulation near actual Zozilla pass and more over clear landslide in the night and make a run for our lives.

Last edited by moralfibre : 21st July 2013 at 13:59. Reason: Deleting extra smiley.
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Old 17th July 2013, 11:31   #7
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Default Re: Escape to Pangong Tso

Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th July 2013, 15:12   #8
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Arrow Sumbal - Sonamarg - Zozilla - Batalik

Route: Sumbal - Sonamarg - Baltal Part1

After good dinner and sleep we lazily woke around 7 and got ready by 8AM to proceed for the next destination in Batalik sector.

That place is very near to Hanuthang. But before that we need to cross the mighty Godzilla Zozilla Pass and then onwards to Drass and then onwards to Kargil and beyond

Some pictures en route. The sun is bright and harsh and its hot.

Starting off

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Apple orchards along side the beautiful road towards Sonamarg

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Spot the various colors in pictures of the mountains. The hues.. Amazing
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As Zozilla was near, a fear of getting stuck is always on the mind so we fill up to the brim of the fuel tank at Khullian. The diesel is of not so good quality, but beggars cant be choosers here.

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Welcome to Sonamarg. We spend some moments there have tea, buy some chocolates and chips for the rest of the day and move on to the next level of "The Art of Climbing Zozilla"

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To the right side of the vehicle, you can see the road to Baltal

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The weather is so good and sun is bright as you can see from the pictures, that we stop by and take many pictures as much as possible.

Coming up.. The fallen Godzilla and the rise of the Black Elephant
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Old 17th July 2013, 15:20   #9
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Default Re: Escape to Pangong Tso

Lovely pictures Rahul, especially of Sonmarg and of glaciers. Captured Kashmir beautifully. Looks like another wonderful Leh travelogue in the making. Keep posting and Thanks for sharing.

~ Manjunath
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Old 17th July 2013, 16:37   #10
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Default Re: Escape to Pangong Tso

Congratulations for achieving your dream.
Thanks a lot for the fantastic pictures and nice travelogue.
Will be glued to this thread.
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Old 17th July 2013, 17:25   #11
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Arrow Baltal - Zozilla - Kargil

Route : Baltal - Zozilla - Kargil Part 2

Some view of the Baltal as we rose above it on the Zozilla road.

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And so the the climb started from Baltal, it was dusty as heck. So dusty that i had to wash my face with ice cold water in Zozilla as i had literally turned to grey color driver of the equally grey interiored colored black elephant. On top of it, it was hot and due to the dust we had to roll up the side windows.

Why it became an elephant, because of the lousy TML Tata Safari air intake design inside on the RHS wheel arch. It kept feeding fine dust from the wheels to the air filter and a as a result the it started to choke.

Therfore, When we started climbing Zozilla, i had to litterally whip the elephant with 2000RPM to boost it to climb the steep inclines.

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Mighty Zozilla Pass

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Some time later we reached the top and there was a almost flat cemented tarmac where i litteraly steped on the pedal. As a result, a misjudged undulation led the elephant to fly for a spilt second followed by a huge thump and cloud of dust. Just like when the dog shakes off the dust off their body. Lesson learnt

But the we had Godzilla (Zozilla) we conquered it. The elephant rose and the Godzilla fell.

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A behive of tourists enjoying the glacier at Zozilla Pass. Can you count how many ?
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Batalik here we come. Catching a breath & change of Airfilter for the elephant to transform it back to Tata Safari 2.2
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Welcome to Ladakh
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With due Respect and Thanks comrades.
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Sovernieurs from Kargil War
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After nice warm tea and refreshments, we continue towards the our destination.
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Coming up, the various colors of Batalik. The most beautiful i have witnessed. The harrowing time and mighty climb to 14k feet over narrow bridges and no roads.
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Old 17th July 2013, 17:35   #12
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Default Re: Escape to Pangong Tso

Superb pics and narration Rahul. Glued to the thread
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Old 17th July 2013, 20:12   #13
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Arrow Kargil - Batalik

Route - Kargil - Batalik - Hanuthang - xxx

Soon we reach the bridge on river near Kargil from where we need to take a left turn on it and proceed towards destination.

Time Check 1700hrs

As we leave Kargil town in background, the view from the top is breathtaking. The most beautiful evening sunlight i've ever seen.

Images Courtesy: My Brother in Law Apurva.

See how beautifully the evening sun bathes the valley below. Its so beautiful. However as the sun sets its starts to get cold. Very cold..

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The road ahead.. all the zigs and the zags.. we need to negotiate. Can you spot a truck up there ?

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Where we came from... Kargil below
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During flash floods of 2010 imagine what would have happened. The remnants of that fury is still there. See the landscape.

We go beyond those mountains. Now its a downhill journey. Its getting dark now.
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Everything goes well for the rest of journey beyond but then there is always a catch. The perils of such journey.

See the video below to ascertain the duress one could go if in such a situation. However, one this is certain here that due to adrenalin rush, we could move that 300+kg stone to the side to safely pass the landslide, shooting rocks area asap. It seemed eternity, but we made a run for it.

Batalik Road and clearing the Stone

Once the stone is set aside, we help each other cross that section and bid goodbye for the night.
Finally we reach our destination and retire for the day.
The altitude is 4000meters according to GPS. Its a cold and clear night.

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Our hosts for the rest of time we spend there at xxx.

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Somehow, we manage to snore at that altitude all the way to glory.

For tomorrow its Leh, but it can wait, its near from here and only 5hrs so

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 17th July 2013 at 20:37.
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Old 18th July 2013, 20:58   #14
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Default Hanuthang - Leh

Time approx 2 PM / Altitude 4000m

Route: xxx - Hanuthang - Leh Part 1

Yesterday night was cold. Very cold and it was a strange night. From Srinagar to 4000m directly had to had some affect.

But the thing was we were doing very well. We got the BP and oxygen measured, something called BPNA something, and all was good.

After a hearty breakfast, headed out to see brilliant harsh sunlight. The pictures are taking with Hola Polarizer filter attached to FZ35

The black elephant needed to be transformed again and giving a mahaut wash at 4000m. Airfilters were cleaned too. It took approx 1 -2 hrs, which i used to take a nap again.

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We decided to have some chicken biryani specially arranged for lunch and then proceed to Leh.

The weather was awesome and clear with little shades of cloud which will give us a chance to see from where we came from
During the descent, we see the after affects of the Aug 2010 cloud burst.

The entire area was washed off. Imagine the situation what would have happened. Nature as they say. Its back to normal now. See the village down there

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This stream looks so beautiful isnt it. The water is also pure in a sense that its drinkable directly. We had a glass or two of it. Awesome taste

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Soon we reach Hanuthang, from here we go towards Khalste.

The most exotic visuals I have managed to capture. Enjoy the pictures
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Coming Up.. Nimmu and Magnetic Hill Antics

Last edited by Rahulk76 : 18th July 2013 at 21:01.
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Old 19th July 2013, 00:05   #15
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Default Re: Escape to Pangong Tso


Envy you! Congrats on doing the journey.

Hooked to the TL.
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