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Old 6th January 2014, 11:34   #46
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Default Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 1.1: Serthi/Sakti to Chang La

Apologies for taking so long to post the next update.. got busy with some professional and personal assignments. Here's the next...

Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 1.1: Serthi/Sakti to Chang La

We woke up early and finished our daily routine with the two buckets of water that was kept in the washroom. There was no more water, so there was no question of getting a bath or shave even. Since we wanted to get rid of the place, we didn't even opted for tea and knocked the room of the caretaker. He was too surprised to see us ready early in the morning, but we had to go. We settled the bill with him and then he came to open the gate of the guest house.

By 0605, we were out of the guest house, ready to load our luggage.

Below is the approach road from the guest house to gate, so hidden by outgrowth of shrubs that you can't even imagine that there is a guest house!

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The gate was locked and so we had to call the caretaker. Interestingly, the caretaker came and lifted a heavy stone kept to stop the gate swaying. Below the stone were the keys! By 0610 Hrs, we were out of the guest house premises. Fortunately, the caretaker had informed us last night that the road within Serthi village was closed due to repairs and to reach Karu, we will have to take the bypass road which was about 2 kms back before the village started. So we took the bypass.

Serthi monastry on hill just opposite the road.
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The morning air was fresh and misty. Some views enroute
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By the time we reached Karu, it was drizzling a bit. First we rushed to the petrol bunk as we didn't wanted to be in a situation where the diesel wasn't available at the bunk. And since thereon we wouldn't get any petrol bunk till Tandi (our plan was Karu-Pangong-Chusul-Mitpal Tso-Tso Moriri-Tso Kar-Sarchu-Keylong-Chandratal and further), the idea was also to fill the two 20 litre cans with diesel.

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On way to Petrol Bunk
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We got our ILP checked and details entered at the checkpost and proceeded towards the petrol bunk. We informed at the checkpost that we do not intend to come back from Pangong as we'll be going to Tso Moriri via Chusul. The person manning the checkpost stated that people are not allowed to go past Merak. Will see! When we reached at the petrol bunk and removed the tarpaulin on the carrier, we noticed that the burner of the gas which was mounted on the small cylinder itself, fell somewhere. Also gone was the tow rope. One more task added to the list -- find the burner in local market. We got the diesel tanked up and came back to Karu market.

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Since it was too early for breakfast (only 0650 Hrs), we decided to skip it at the moment as we could have it later anywhere. However, this being the last decent market till at least Keylong, we decided to procure the burner. To our dismay, the only shop which dealt in gas stoves, didn't had it. What the shopkeeper offered was the single burner gas stove. He said that it would fit. We too, in hurry, procured it along with a gas tube without giving much thought. This however, would not fit the regulator (something that we discovered later) as the diameter of the rubber tube and the regulator were different! Having procured it, we started our journey to Pangong.

An inscription at Karu. How true!
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I was a bit worried that it was still drizzling and the sky was full of clouds. If the day remains like this, then we'd not be able to capture reflections at Pangong.
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We proceeded on the same way to Serthi/Sakti and Oh Boy! What a dramatic change the light has brought to the landscape!
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We didn't took the bypass back to the village, rather proceeded towards Chang La and soon reached the T-point where the road from Serthi village was meeting.
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Just a bit ahead, the road took a left turn..
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and the ascent started!
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Not too ahead, I captured what appears to be a dilapidated, old fortress.
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Looking back, this is how it appeared..
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Pretty soon enough, we reached above the clouds..
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The signs indicated further ascent..
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... to that road...
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And we did reached there...
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A look below saw what was painted Yellow and Green..
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We crossed some streams and kept driving...
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Past a milestone announcing arrival at Zingral in couple of minutes..
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But before that, the road itself turned into some signs...
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A closer look.. The "Z". Now is this announcing arrival at Z for Zingral?
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Soon through the clouds...
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CONTD...
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Old 6th January 2014, 12:04   #47
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Default Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 1.2: Serthi/Sakti to Chang La

Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 1.2: Serthi/Sakti to Chang La

...Zingral announced itself!
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This lion, painted as a tiger was out of his den.. so we didn't stopped. Or was it a Tion?? Or a Liger??
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And then ascent from Zingral started with a warning.. You are approaching avalanche prone area!
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Soon the road disappeared in the clouds.. cloud 9 is it?
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Not sure since the road literally disappeared!!!
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Actually!!!
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But soon a board declared.. We've reached the Mighty Chang La. The time reads 0850 hrs
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We caught some Lamas by surprise...
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While some Lamas caught one of us.. Avi!
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It's not raining here, so I don't need any wind-cheater. What? The temperature is freezing with strong winds and traces of snow? Man! I'm built for this place!! So let's mark our presence here.
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And wait, we have to meet Chang La Baba..
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So let's go there..
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And why are we suddenly feeling hungry? Oh! We didn't had anything since morning (well actually last noon to be practical, the dinner at Serthi was a disaster)!! Let's have some free tea and boy! it seems there is something to eat too - Mok Mok. What's a Mok Mok? We'll know shortly.
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But who's gonna wash your glass in which you just had the Tea? Well, at least as a goodwill gesture, you should.
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Something to eat? Mok Mok! Ok, Mok Mok is nothing other than dumplings/momos, though they have soya filling. They are really yum!
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While we have yet another round of the free black tea, the weather outside is still cloudy, misty and windy.
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We come out and meet two little permanent residents of Chang La pass, and they readily agree for a pose. Obliged, we say "Thank You!"
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It's almost about an hour that we spend at the top and then decide to proceed. Bye bye Chang La, since we would not be coming back, we shall meet you on our future travels.
The Yayawar Group wanders in Ladakh & Spiti-10.50.jpg

Next: Chang La to Tangtse and the Pangong!
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Old 17th January 2014, 15:54   #48
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Default Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 2.1: Chang La to Tangtse

Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 2.1: Chang La to Tangtse

I had read somewhere that Chang La souvenir shop sold only K-top marked caps and merchandise. I thought to check and find out. One reason was also that I really wanted to get something which is hard to find. So I entered the shop and asked for Chang La cap. They said that it wasn't available and all the merchandise were marked for Khardung La. I insisted them to again check and so they opened a metallic trunk and behold - they pulled out a Chang La cap! Got it for 150 bucks.

Having done that, we embarked on our onward journey, marked by presence of ice on road side and peaks, cloud and fog everywhere and of course running streams on the road. Some shots
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But just before that, we were also reminded of entering in yet another avalanche prone area!
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Pretty soon, around 1015, we reached Tsoltak.
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Now, every Tso in Ladakh is associated with a Lake, but where is the Tso in Tsoltak?
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There? Is it?
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Here it is!
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Though not too big, but it is a Lake!
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Let's get going... and as we travel, the clouds are giving company, and so does the changing landscape.
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A stream crosses path and then travels along...
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giving us competition
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And suddenly it widens. Could it be feeding into the Pangong? Have we approached Pangong? Not sure, but lets enjoy the beauty here.
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The stream is just besides the road and approachable too. So we stop our car and get down for some photo-op. I want to embrace the pristine water. It's ice-chilled glacial water.
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And then the though strikes my mind. Never else we would get the opportunity to gulp this water. So let's have some down our throats. I take out my travel folding glass and drink a full - Sweet it is! And so I make everyone drink it. We also fill our bottles for further usage.
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As we ride ahead, we see the vast plateau created by nature. Of course Pangong is not visible and then it comes to my mind - we have not reached Tangtse yet!
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We also look back at times...
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Soaking in the colours of Ladakh, we descend further and notice the road turning into serpentine, leading to a small settlement.
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Darbuk it is and Tangtse is still 6 kms to go. And Pangong further ahead at 41 kms!!
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Old 17th January 2014, 16:03   #49
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Default Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 2.2: Chang La to Tangtse

Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 2.2: Chang La to Tangtse

We keep on driving, enjoying the nature, clicking at random...
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... and meeting someone who advises us to Train Hard and Fight Easy...
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We shoot a horse (ok, no wild hunting here.. our shooting equipment measures in mm and not bore)..
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And climb down to see a settlement..
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Someone advises us to Never Give Up.
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We drive further...
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Through the settlement
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And then a road sign welcomes us to Tangtse.
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We drive a little further and reach Tangtse CP for ILP check after crossing a bridge.
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We're also hungry, but surprisingly, no shop is open yet. While Avi gets our ILP verified and submitted, we stretch out our limbs. There was only one group of tourists with two vehicles there apart from us.So we capture the nature..
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and people (our own Tony in different mood)..
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And we drive ahead... and the time reads 1210 hrs.

Next: Tangtse to Lukung and the Pangong!
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Old 6th August 2014, 11:23   #50
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Default Re: The Yayawar Group wanders in Ladakh & Spiti

What an awesome travelogue with most amazing pictures. but why the abrupt end ? Can you please take some time out and complete it.

After reading this travelogue I definitely plan to go to Turtuk for those Apricots. Simply Amazing !!
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Old 8th August 2014, 14:50   #51
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Default Re: The Yayawar Group wanders in Ladakh & Spiti - Prelude Continued

Excellent photos & wow 8 cameras for this trip !

I know its been a year since you traveled and look for your complete travelogue. In the meantime, I have few questions if you can clarify.

1. what happened with the XUV - breakdown & reason for the same.

2. how did you manage to get XUV towed at such a remote place.
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Old 8th August 2014, 15:05   #52
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Default Re: The Yayawar Group wanders in Ladakh & Spiti - Prelude Continued

Excellent photos & wow 8 cameras for this trip !

I know its been a year since you traveled and look for your complete travelogue. In the meantime, I have few questions if you can clarify.

1. what happened with the XUV - breakdown & reason for the same.

2. how did you manage to get XUV towed at such a remote place.
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