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Old 5th October 2013, 19:45   #151
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Default Re: 25-0-40 DownUnder to UpOver - LEH'd 2013

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Originally Posted by rkhare View Post
oh for a moment I thought Sathya we are discssing here and action thriller narrator Sathya_sc are same. I was wrong and now glued to his travalogue as well.
I think the only way to get rid of the Leh bug is getting leh'd.
Yes, I already started planning for Leh, in May, 2014. Sathya sc's adventure encouraged me to make Leh trip, a family trip. But, plans are always plans, as the saying goes, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans". I have to wait and see. I think you may be interested in reading the official guide of Team-BHP for Leh. It is very useful with a wealth of information. Link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ate-guide.html (Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide)
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Old 8th October 2013, 16:06   #152
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Default Day 13 - 4th Sept

DAY 13 – Group Driving
Sept 4th - 6:30am
Location: Leh
Destination: Srinagar
Route: Leh – Nimmu – Lamarayu – Fotula – Namikla – Mulbek – Kargil – Dras – Zojila – Sonamarg - Srinagar


After a blissful and relaxed day yesterday today was another for early starts. We all got ready by 6:00AM, checked the car for any issues before embarking on the return journey and also broke to the news about the Manali route to Jaswant. Apparently he had received a message from Nariman confirming the same. It was sad that we might not be able to go through Manali but then it was also prudent to go via Srinagar and not risk breaking the car as there was a long way to go for home.

Narsi & Mohan were already waiting for us near the airport as they had to leave Sathya there for the early morning flight. After having conveyed the same news to Narsi about the change in plans and to reach Srinagar today, we proceed on the Leh Srinagar highway once more but this time in daylight.

beautiful early morning setting for a drive
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We found the petrol bunk near the airport and thankfully the guys there had fuel, so SX4 topped up over there. After that it was a breeze to drive early morning on that highway. The roads are super smooth, zero traffic and the views are out of this world. We quickly passed the Zanskar & Indus confluence & the straight roads of Nimmu. It was nice for once again to drive in a convoy with all the 3 cars visible, so we were able to quickly make some ground and stopped for our early morning tea at Nimmu. It is a small guest house but pretty new & clean. We were made to sit in the drawing room.

The Indus & Zanskar confluence
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Approaching magnetic hill
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Gurudwara Pathar Saheb
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After Nimmu straight roads I think
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Post the short break, the next target was for breakfast. But when we reached Khaltse, we decided to proceed as it was still early for breakfast and no one wanted to stop.

After Khaltse, driving along the Indus
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But we faced a slight jam just before Lamarayu due to some road work. We waited some 30 mins as there was a huge convoy of army trucks which were allowed to pass first. But thankfully the delay was not much and we quickly moved ahead. I was leading the pack with a half wounded car as there was plenty of black smoke when accelerating, more than usual plus the engine heating scenario as the coolant mixture was not more appropriate with more water than coolant. But thoughtful driving of not pushing the car too much and moving to higher gears when I could, ensured that the car did not pose any issues. Bad roads were anyway not a concern over what we learnt in ChangLa and previous climb in Zojila.

Mr. Superman in a rueful mood at the jam
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So moving ahead, FotuLa came and went, we never realized it apart from when Venkat told me that the sign board mentioned FotuLa, next NamikLa was out again in no time. We were making very good time. Our target was to cross Zojila early evening or if possible late afternoon. Since we were so close to Mulbeck and the time was probably 12.00Pm or something, so we decided to proceed towards Kargil and do a brunch there.

Reached Kargil in another hour due to bad roads in the section, though Jaswant somehow went ahead not to be seen till Kargil. After reaching Kargil, we quickly tanked up at the same bunk and proceeded towards the town to have our brunch. After a little bit of stress and chaos of finding parking spot in the tight congested market area we finally went down towards Hotel Siachen. The restaurant was closed but they were ready with meals so without delay we spent some 45 mins there and finished tanking up our tummies.

As you might be reading we were hardly stopping unnecessary and were in fact moving like a well-oiled machine changing places as and when required. This well placed driving ensured that after Kargil we were actually making up even better time as the roads improve. But the time makeup that we did in the Kargil – Kargil memorial section is soon lost due to getting caught up in an Army convoy. This was probably the longest convoy I have ever seen as I lost count of how many times I had overtaken the army trucks sometimes 2-3 at a time. But it was not much of an issue overtaking them as they were more than willing to give our way. I did not even have to honk at most of the trucks, they saw my DRLs and when space allowed let me & the Duster through.

You must be wondering where the SX4 went, well they were ahead of us probably the flying Sikh driving it. But we soon caught up with them at Dras where they had stopped but we forced them to restart as stopping would be allowed the convoy to move ahead again and we certainly did not want to climb Zojila with the convoy ahead of us. However, the trucks ended soon after Dras and again it was an empty road.

Reached the Zojila check post sometime at around 3.40PM, the peak was looking all gloomy and the first question I asked the guard there was if the pass is open and he said this happens every day and yes the pass is very much. This was encouraging as we did not want to get stranded there. But moving ahead we faced rain, first lightly and then heavy and then it turned to hails, thankfully those were small hail stones hence, no damage to windshield or the car.

All the while that we were climbing up towards the pass, I had a prayer in mind to keep the pass dry. Probably the first time I was praying in a roadtrip. But thankfully the prayers were answered as the rains & hails stopped on top of the pass and after that it was completely dry on the Kashmir side. If you are thinking how come no drama when climbing up Zojila well the answer lies in geography because Ladakh region is on a higher plane than Kashmir so you actually do not climb up to Zojila from Ladakh side but rather drive more or less on flat surface after the initial few switch backs.

Zojila War Memorial
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Sheep crossing in the rain, look at those puddles, they look ordinary but can swallow the front tire. Raining before reaching the pass top
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Yes, it was cold that day. We had the heater on inside the car
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Once the cobbled path at the top of pass was done with, it was a downhill drive on some of the most challenging roads. Add to the spicy mix was the oncoming traffic of a few trucks. We were taking the route slowly and surely, SX4 leading, Duster in between (Mohan was driving it and he wanted to in the middle), swept by the Manza. After a few initial truck crossings when stopped at a view point, it was a “Pehle Aap” situation between the 3 of us but again we ended up maintaining the same formation. There is a saying, it is always good to learn from experience and if its someone else’s experience it’s even better, so there we were Duster driven by Naris & Mohan & the white whale prodding on the footsteps of the SX4.

Sun at last after crossing the pass top. Yes, those are the roads we will be traveling in some time
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We don’t know how we crossed these oncoming trucks on those narrow roads or paths
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There you go, LOTR scene once again
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Narsi all ecstatic after crossing a very tight situation
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below two pictures taken from a video shows why was so excited later
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It took us some 1 hour to cross Zojila and arrive at Sonamarg. We stopped for much needed tea at around 5:15PM at Sonamarg. All the 7 of us were thrilled as we had crossed all the 3 passes and came from Leh on the same day with close to 2 hrs of daylight to spare, in fact when we calculated we did this route in close to 11 hours. This was quite a feat considering the fact that we took close to 16 hours when going from Sonamarg to Leh (if we minus Kargil War Memorial). To rub salt on wound we messaged our counterparts in the Sumo over at Keylong that we reached Srinagar.

Sonamarg can be seen slightly down below
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Final shot for the day, sun setting down on Sonamarg
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While sipping tea, the topic came up of driving beyond Srinagar, but I was strongly opposing it as my mind was not ready to drive more, I guess the reason was the goal was Srinagar and we were just 80 kms from there so it was shut to any ideas about driving further. But we decided to keep moving towards Srinagar if it gets too dark we will stop, but those 80kms took us some 1.5 hours which ensured that it was dark by the time we took the bypass.

Taking the bypass was another bad decision because we had to go towards Boulevard Road near Dal Lake and taking the main highway would have been shorter. But what we ended up doing is spending some 2 more hours to come around entire Srinagar and back into Dal Lake road.

Here an interesting thing happened with us and Gmaps. We had put Hotel Bloomingdale on Old Garibagal Road as the destination since it had good ratings in Tripadvisor, once we reached the Dal Lake road, it wanted us to take a left somewhere, for sure we missed it, and so taking the next left we ended up in a very narrow market road which thankfully was not crowded. Somehow navigating we reached a road which looked like a main road but actually it was the same Dal Lake road which we were on sometime. So the Gmaps had taken us in a circle. It was certainly not funny after grueling drive.

Anyhow to cut things short, we found a hotel on the Boulevard Road right opposite to Dal Lake and all of us except Hari had settled in the rooms. So where was Hari you might ask? Well while everyone was searching for a hotel our man disappeared with an agent to look at a houseboat. Harry came back later and informed that we can get the 3 bedroom houseboat for 2500 for the night. Hearing that Manoj wanted to stay in a houseboat to compensate for not going via Manali route. Well we had no issues, so we paid 500 bucks as a token for troubling Hotel Parimal fellows and came back to our cars.

As soon as I started the car, I saw the most dreaded sign on the dashboard. It was the “Check Engine” light which did not go off even after starting the car. Switched it off and on again but the light was still on. Despite that I drove it some 1 km to the houseboat parking spot, which incidentally was at a very tight place. Once our car were on the road, no one else could pass not even bikes, but thankfully they had a proper parking in an empty land off the road. Before turning off the car, I saw the coil sign also come on for some time but then vanishing.

Seeing this problem my mood was off as it meant the disruption of our plans for the next day. Next day we were planning to hit Amritsar by starting at 6.30AM and after todays coordinated drive we were confident of completing it. But this new development was a concern. Ultimately when you have Superman there will not be a dull moment, we had some gala time that evening along with dinner. It was probably the best evening of this trip, sitting there in the cold outside in the houseboat.

So the plan was to check the car early in the morning, reset the battery to see if the light goes away, if the light goes away, then we go according to plan and see where we reach. If the light remains then the car needs to be taken to Fair Deal Motors again in the morning to get it rectified. In the meantime SX4 will then start for home chucking away the Amritsar plan.

Distance covered: 422 kms
Time Taken: 12 hrs
Map:

Name:  maps_srinagar.jpg
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Size:  127.7 KB

With those thoughts in mind and a satisfying day, it was time to drift off to sleep. Next day was when we find out if SX4 stays with us or leave.
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Old 8th October 2013, 16:41   #153
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Default Re: Day 13 - 4th Sept

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Narsi & Mohan were already waiting for us near the airport as they had to leave Sathya there for the early morning flight. After having conveyed the same news to Narsi about the change in plans and to reach Srinagar today, we proceed on the Leh Srinagar highway once more but this time in daylight.
At first we in Duster were not aware of the change in plans. Immediately after dropping Sathya, we drove to the Manali road and were waiting there. After 10 mins of waiting we saw the SX4 come. The Superman informed us about the change in plans and proceeded on his way to tank up SX4. Only after this we came back to the Srinagar road to wait for you guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
below two pictures taken from a video shows why was so excited later
Attachment 1149679
Attachment 1149680
Man I was really excited. Never told Mohanan about the proximity of the drop . Just asked to hold steady and move forward. You might remember he slipped behind slightly causing a scare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
All the 7 of us were thrilled as we had crossed all the 3 passes and came from Leh on the same day with close to 2 hrs of daylight to spare, in fact when we calculated we did this route in close to 11 hours.
There was a beautiful co-ordination between the three cars and I do not remember a single instance where we lost visual of the other cars. It was really great to be in convoy, which I was craving to since the start of this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Ultimately when you have Superman there will not be a dull moment, we had some gala time that evening along with dinner. It was probably the best evening of this trip, sitting there in the cold outside in the houseboat.
It is a beautiful evening to remember. Having food facing the lake and chatting with friends really has its charm. The house boat was really economical and beautiful

Last edited by narsi_6989 : 8th October 2013 at 16:45.
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Old 9th October 2013, 15:23   #154
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Default Re: 25-0-40 DownUnder to UpOver - LEH'd 2013

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Yeah rightly said. Only way is to Get Leh'd yourself but you can never get rid of the bug. Once you go there the bug to go again becomes even more big. It is a vicious circle.
That's quite right. Have traveled to the heaven a couple times but still the thirst to explore more of it keeps getting bigger.
I hope to go again next year. Maybe drive down from Delhi on my Bullet

On a side note, this is a great t-log. Loved it right from the time you started writing it

Last edited by bblost : 9th October 2013 at 15:44. Reason: Excessive smileys
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Old 11th October 2013, 11:48   #155
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Default Day 14 -

Apologies for the slow posting, been busy with work and family. Will try to wrap things by this long weekend

DAY 14 – Delay
Sept 5th - 1:30PM
Location: Srinagar
Destination: Patnitop
Route: Srinagar – Anantpur – Jawahar Tunnel – Ramban - Patnitop


I woke up today with just one thought in mind, need to check the car and hopefully everything will be fine. I got out of the houseboat at around 6.30AM, went to the parking lot to see the cars drenched in early morning dew. It was pretty cold outside as well. Since we had brought all the necessary tools, I got down to business straight away. I started the car praying the check light will go off and it was only on due to dust but there it was still very much on despite starting the engine.

Mentally I made a list of steps that I need to check, so the first step I did was to jack up the car and see if there are any oil leaks underneath especially the oil sump. But the sump area and the metal guard were bone dry. Since the car was jacked I checked on the rubber spacers which had slipped down to the lowest level and readjusted them.

Next I inserted the key and did a on/off turn around 6 six times rapidly without starting the engine. The TASS folks in Bangalore had told me about this before going in case the check engine lights come up. But restarting the car the engine light was still there. The only step left with me now was to disconnect the –ve terminal from the battery and see. I did that but there it was the dreaded light still on and now it also had the coil light coming on intermittently.

By this time I had Narsi for company, he also woke up early and wanted to probably check on the car. With no other go I called up the TASS 24 hour Helpline. I was surprised to hear someone pick up the phone in one ring that early in the morning. They quickly got a technician online over the phone, that guy also advised the same routine which I did again to see if it mattered but the light was still on, so I was advised to take the car to the nearest TASS. I knew Fair Deal Motors, since we had used their service earlier, so the car was to be taken there. It was sad that all this had to happen now and the group had to break again as Jaswant & Manoj would not drive to Mumbai as was planned last night.

The House boat that we stayed
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The entrance
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Fully carpeted drawing room
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Small pantry area
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Carpeted and curtained passageway towards the bedrooms
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3 sharing rooms
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Since it was still early for us to take the car to TASS, we waited till around 8AM. By this time SX4 also got ready. Here another interesting thing happened. During the routine morning check of the car, Jaswant tried to check the oil with the dipstick but instead only the handle came out while the stick was still inside the container. Somehow with a sharp nosed plier they were able to take out the stick and then refit it. So much for parts falling off. An early morning scare for them as well. Anyhow, Narsi offered to come with me to the TASS, instead of me going alone I was glad he offered, so off we went to Fair Deals at around 8:15AM. Srinagar was starting to wake up by then but the roads were relatively free at that time. We quickly reached the TASS and as usual we got a SA within 5-10mins of us coming there that too without an appointment. It seems my car will be handled by the workshop manager itself but I had to approach this SA to get the job card made.

Well Fair Deal never stops to amaze me with their workers caliber, as soon as the SA turned on the car, he diagnosed that the check light is coming on due to glow plugs not working. Well it was certainly a good probability because the coil light kept coming on and off. With some more additional work suggested on the car, the car went inside the workshop. They told us it will take 2 hours at the minimum. So with nothing else to do we thought of having breakfast. Here again we gleefully utilized the Fair Deal canteen. Yup, it’s the first TASS I have seen that has a canteen which can be used even by the customers.

While having bread and omelet, I called up Venkat to inform about the delay, apparently the other folks decided to explore the market once again looking for walnuts & saffron. I think if I remember correctly they got Saffron from a reputed brand for 200 bucks a gram. An hour passed and I checked with the workshop manager about the progress and he informed that we found 2 of the glow plugs to be kaput and they were changed, we have also straightened the metal sump guard, the car should be done in another 30mins. I was like Wow! You take a non-appointment car and will deliver it before promised time, I was like “learn something Prerana, learn”. So as informed the car was done in 1 hour 40 mins, it was back to ship shape condition for the long haul back to Bangalore. The bill came to some 2200 bucks (each glow plug costing 800 bucks). After a test drive by the technician, we were ready to head back to the houseboat.

We reached the houseboat with the sun blazing down on us, at the house boat, we spent some more time sitting and deciding our next course of action. We decided to reach Patnitop today and then tomorrow push for Amritsar. Well on hindsight now that I think of it, we could have stayed another night at the houseboat and then pushed for Amritsar the next, which was very much doable if we started early. Well need to remember this next time planning to head to Srinagar. So at around 12:30PM we pushed out of the houseboat, since the rest of the 3 folks did not have anything to eat, before proceeding ahead they had a brunch. Yup, plan was to drive without stopping for lunch or anything to eat.

So finally at probably around 1:15PM, the remaining group of Duster & Manza, proceeded from Srinagar. But our quick getaway from this city got a jolt when we got caught up in a traffic jam near the Srinagar exit. There were no issues as such but simply a whole lot of cars going in all directions. With the temperature soaring close to 30deg, we had to finally turn on the a/c after some 10 days. The first thing that came out of the blowers was dust but thankfully the a/c was still in top condition and cooled the car quickly. Finally was able to get out of the jam with some soft road driving. The highway is your usual 2 lane one so it was a slow progress as we were having to keep overtaking one vehicle or the other.

Besides the slow progress we also got delayed due to apple purchases, we stopped at some 3 places along the way but never really purchased any apple as there was one or the other apple rotten in the box. By the way one box was costing somewhere around 500 bucks, and each box weighed some 15-16kgs. So 30 bucks a kg of apple. Among all these delays we were also flagged down by the J&K police, nothing much really just routine questions and paper checking. Finally we reached the Kashmir toll gate just before the Jawahar Tunnel. Our progress though delayed due to all these things, we still were able to manage good time.

Driving on towards the Titanic point we were again stopped at some police check post. Apparently it was the same folks who had stopped us some 7 days back. Here is how the conversation went.
Quote:

P: Kidhar ja rahe hain sahab? (Where are you going sir?)
Me: Leh say arahe hain aur Patnitop jarahe hain. (We are coming from Leh and going towards Patnitop)
P: Chalo paper saab dikhao, diccky kholo hame check karna hain (Ok come show me the car papers and open the boot)
Me: (Handing the papers), kya saab aapne toh humari gaadi ek hafte pehle check kiya tha jab hum Leh ki taraf jarahe the, do aur gaadi bhi tha (What sir, you had checked our car one week back when we were going to Leh, there were two other cars)
P: (Probably recognizing seeing the Duster and speaking to his colleague) Arrre yeh toh humare purane mehman hain, chalo chalo kya check karna (Hey they are our old guest, come what to check)
Other Guy: Arrre phir hume chai paani nahi peelaenge? (Then aren’t you guys going to treat us for some tea)
Me: (handing over 100 bucks) yeh ligiye, aap log peeligiye humlog thoda jaldi mein hain (Here you go, you guys have some tea, we are in a hurry)
P: Chalo chalo gaadi aage baddao (Seeing the money exchange hands, he told us to proceed ahead)
So ultimately instead being harassed it was amusing and light hearted conversation. We quickly crossed Jawahar tunnel and since from there it was mainly downhill, we covered good distance in the fading light. Stopped for some tea near Ramban, by the time we reached the climb to Patnitop it was already dark and there were line upon line of trucks. It was a harrowing time to drive in the dark overtaking the trucks and that too uphill. When we were having tea, we had somehow thought of pushing to Udhampur since we were early, but by the time we reached Patnitop, we were so tiered with the traffic that we decided to stay back as per the original plan at the JKTDC Alpine guest house.

Got the rooms and since we were early the restaurant was still open. Had a quick dinner and then went to bed for an early morning start tomorrow to Wagah border & Amritsar.

Just after arriving at the Alpine Guest House, evening mist
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Distance covered: 183 kms
Time Taken: 7 hrs
Map:

Name:  maps_patnitop.jpg
Views: 3474
Size:  139.9 KB

So were we able to finally reach a border town on this trip? Find out.
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Old 11th October 2013, 12:48   #156
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Default Re: Day 14 -

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Driving on towards the Titanic point we were again stopped at some police check post. Apparently it was the same folks who had stopped us some 7 days back. Here is how the conversation went.

So ultimately instead being harassed it was amusing and light hearted conversation.
Did you guys pay them both the times? 100 bucks each time? I don't understand why we should pay them even when everything is in order.

In my trip, I was stopped 3 times. Once in Rajasthan, once by Punjab Police near Punjab/JK border, and the last time by JK near Sonamarg. The Punjab Police extorted "100 ki patti" from us. The other two were just conversations.

Also, I think near Ambala, at Punjab - Haryana border, Haryana police tried to stop us. It was an intersection and they were standing near the divider on our road but it was a left turn for me that I took quickly and moved on. I felt somebody shouted "Oye rook oye".
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Old 11th October 2013, 13:30   #157
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Default Day 15 - Sept 6th

DAY 15 – Rough Roads
Sept 6th – 7:00AM
Location: Patnitop
Destination: Amritsar
Route: Patnitop – Udhampur – Jammu – Pathankot – Gurdaspur – Batala - Amritsar


Good Morning, a brand new day and a brand new destination. This is what I love about the roadtrips, everyday something to look forward to. Today’s destination was Amritsar a mere 350 odd kms from Patnitop with downhill all the way. We wanted to start by 6:30AM itself but as Indian Standard Time would have it, we were able to start only by 7:00AM. Breakfast and early morning tea was decided to be taken on the way to save time.

Early morning from our rooms
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Everyone was charged up on being able to see Wagah & Golden temple. Since it was just the 5 of us in the group, getting ready and taking off quickly was not too difficult. The day started well with less traffic, we reached Kud and decided to have our teas. Earlier we had received a message from Jaswant that Samba route to bypass Jammu has become worse and it was torrential rains near Lakhanpur, we anyways were not going to take the Samba route and this piece of news further confirmed our decision.

Preparing for Departure
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After crossing Kud
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Trucks are aplenty in this region
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Green hills of Udhampur in stark contrast to the Barren hills of Ladakh
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He loves to shoot the mirrors
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Till Udhampur we faced light truck traffic and since it was downhill it was easier to overtake the trucks as they would slow down to allow you to pass unlike uphill where one has to be very calculative on when to overtake as they will not break to lose momentum. We crossed Udhampur in an hour which was pretty good timing. Just after Udhampur, we say a empty hotel with parking and decided to have our breakfast. Breakfast was a simple fare of maggi and tea. Quickly wrapping up breakfast, we started towards Jammu. Now from here the road expansion work is going on and with lots of diversions. So by the time we cross Jammu it was already past noon. But one thing we can take heart is that next time we come here the entire stretch from Lakhanpur to Udhampur might be a 4 lane road reducing driving time drastically. I am sure there will be tolls as well. This expansion is a marvelous piece of engineering, wherein they are building bridges and boring straight tunnels through the mountain. Awesome work really.

A man contemplating something
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Low clouds add to the views of even Udhampur district
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Inside Udhampur town
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Jammu still some time away
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Taking the Jammu bypass instead of the Samba route was a good decision as it was pretty easy to bypass Jammu and the roads are really good. We were later contemplating near Kathua where we stopped for tea on why we did not take this same route while going. I guess it is better to rely more on forum road updates than locals.

Anyways, crossing Lakhanpur was easy in fact before we stopped for tea in Kathua, I had nice fun with a PB registered swift. No we did not race because the guy was never able to catch up once we crossed them. First off all I don’t know why his ego was hit when we overtook because there was no honking and clean overtaking, nonetheless, I saw him tailgate us after that for 2-3 times, so I just decided to drive full steam to maintain a gap, poor fellow was not able to catch until we slowed down after some 10-15 kms. When they were passing us I saw the passengers and the driver looking at us and smiling away. Yeah, man Tata can produce fast cars :wink:

So after crossing Lakhanpur and nearing Pathankot, we made one more mistake, we opted to drive straight ahead towards Amritsar with was 99 kms from there instead of going via Dasuya – Jalandhar (167 kms). Obviously the logical thought will be to take the shorter route but why was it a mistake? Well if we look at the Google maps even though via Jalandhar would have added 60 odd kms, the time taken would have been just 20 more mins. Yes, you have guessed it right, the straight road is in shambles with road diversions, expansion, craters, traffic, unruly road transport buses, and what not, while the other one is a 4 lane till Jalandhar (we had traveled on this while going) and then again a 4 lane Grand Trunk road.

Here is the Gmap of the route we should have taken
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Well this decision costed us a lot as we were never able to reach Amritsar outskirts in time to visit Wagah Border. By the time we reached outskirts of Amritsar it was 5.30PM and the function would have been long be over. So we decided to hunt for a hotel close by, freshen up and then visit Golden Temple.

Some local function
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No pictures of the horrendous roads but a little portion on the outskirts of Amritsar
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In the meantime we got an update from the SX4 that they were near the Rajasthan Gujarat border at Kherwara having driven non-stop and were still going strong.

So yeah, we got a good hotel on the highway itself before the main town. This Hotel Randhawa had a pretty upmarket feel to it but the rooms were pretty cheap, in fact Venkat, Hari and I stayed in a suite costing us 2500 a night (correct me if I am wrong), now where do you get such a cheap suite. In an hour we were ready to visit the Golden Temple which was some 5 kms away. We decided to dump the cars at the hotel itself and take local transport as we were informed that the area gets pretty crowded. So jumped into a shared auto, paid 100 bucks for the 5 of us to Golden Temple.

That’s the Hotel Randhawa, a really good place to stay
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All ready to visit the temple
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Narsi with the headscarf right from the hotel
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The hotel all lighted up in the evening
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Another interesting bit happened here, yes, there are so many anecdotes when you are on a road trip. The auto wala who was going on the main roads for some time, suddenly took a left inside an empty street which looked like some back lanes, at first we thought he is taking a shortcut but then we went further inside into some area that looked really deserted, all 5 of us were thinking our roadtrip is going to end here in Amritsar, but the good fellow was actually showing us a shortcut from where we can walk some 500 meters to the temple. Somehow we were not amused and only after entering the main lane to the temple did some relief come to our faces.

It was a nice evening with moderate temperatures and even better was to walk for a change without having labored breathing. We crossed the Jalianwala Bagh which was closed. Purchased the headscarves that you need to wear to cover your heads as a mark of respect and then proceeded inside the temple. It was a 2nd visit for me inside a Gurudwara after a long time I think some 15-20 years and it felt nice at the arrangements. Once does not need any ticket, any special passes to get inside, just walk in and you will be near the holy pond. We spent some 30 mins near the holy pond just sitting, relaxing and taking pictures. Then decided to proceed towards the main temple, there was a queue there but it was organized really well wherein they were allowing people inside in batches. Spent some 5 minutes near the shrine, got the blessings and came out of the main temple all without any hassles. Somehow the feeling of having visited a holy shrine was soothing more so because there was no money involved, pushing, and shoving. I must say someone who has not visited the Golden Temple do visit it once.

The first view of the Golden Temple
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A slightly closer view
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Completely zoomed to the main temple
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While walking clockwise towards the main shrine
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The back portion
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People sitting besides the holy pong
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A collage of the 5 of us with the temple as the background
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A fantastic view of the temple from the front, towards the left is where you form the queue
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Once we finished our visit, we wanted to search for the langer (temple food) to eat but somehow we could find it. All the sign boards were in Punjabi plus we found it awkward to ask someone about it. So we decided to come out of the complex and then search for a hotel. After coming out of the temple, I got some worrying news from home about our kid, she was apparently suffering from stomach upsets since yesterday and not drinking milk. Wife was worried and had visited her pediatrician who advised to change the milk powder. In fact at one point I thought I will fly over, but she advised to come without worrying too much as kiddo seem to be recovering. This news was a blow as we were planning to hit Bikaner and Jaisalmer from here, so the evening was pretty gloomy for me. After reaching the hotel I informed the others about the same and my intent to cover long distances from tomorrow to reach Bangalore at the earliest. Thankfully no one objected and everyone was in tune to do the same.


Coming out of the temple, going towards the shoe stand we have shops lined at one side
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Some construction going on alongside on the other end
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Shoe stand
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Night view of the streets near the Golden Temple
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We quickly wrapped up dinner so that we can sleep early and start early. Our target for tomorrow was Ajmer, which was some 784 kms from Amritsar.

Distance covered: 275 kms
Time Taken: 10.5 hrs
Map:

Name:  maps_amritsar.jpg
Views: 2276
Size:  241.6 KB
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:14   #158
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Stopped for some tea near Ramban, by the time we reached the climb to Patnitop it was already dark and there were line upon line of trucks. It was a harrowing time to drive in the dark overtaking the trucks and that too uphill. When we were having tea, we had somehow thought of pushing to Udhampur since we were early, but by the time we reached Patnitop, we were so tiered with the traffic that we decided to stay back as per the original plan at the JKTDC Alpine guest house.
I was finding it increasingly difficult to maneuver past the trucks. I and Mohanan were discussing this and decided to inform you about staying back in Patnitop. But thankfully you stopped in Patnitop. I was literally not able to concentrate. It was a never ending convoy of trucks.

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So after crossing Lakhanpur and nearing Pathankot, we made one more mistake, we opted to drive straight ahead towards Amritsar with was 99 kms from there instead of going via Dasuya – Jalandhar (167 kms). Obviously the logical thought will be to take the shorter route but why was it a mistake?
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Well this decision costed us a lot as we were never able to reach Amritsar outskirts in time to visit Wagah Border. By the time we reached outskirts of Amritsar it was 5.30PM and the function would have been long be over. So we decided to hunt for a hotel close by, freshen up and then visit Golden Temple.
I would rate this as the worst roads I have driven in the recent past. The 99kms took us nearly 3 hours. Driving on those roads were really painful and that too after a delicious lunch in Pathankot. I really would've loved to visit the Wagah and Jalianwala Bagh.

Last edited by narsi_6989 : 11th October 2013 at 14:16.
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:34   #159
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I would rate this as the worst roads I have driven in the recent past. The 99kms took us nearly 3 hours. Driving on those roads were really painful and that too after a delicious lunch in Pathankot. I really would've loved to visit the Wagah and Jalianwala Bagh.
Yeah it was the worst roads of the trip if you remove Changla

Besides we can park the places not seen in to the "To Do" list once again for next time.
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:38   #160
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Yeah it was the worst roads of the trip if you remove Changla
That is true. But we should not consider the roads up there. They offer such mesmerizing views which often makes you forget the roads that you are driving on. But such roads in plains and that too with the kind of traffic that we faced is ridiculous.
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:43   #161
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That is true. But we should not consider the roads up there. They offer such mesmerizing views which often makes you forget the roads that you are driving on. But such roads in plains and that too with the kind of traffic that we faced is ridiculous.
Yeah thats true and if you remember the BMW i think it was 5 series, poor fellow, either he was new and did not know the road conditions or he is a regular and did not mind it going super slow on a super fast car
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Old 11th October 2013, 15:13   #162
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Hi!

You didn't get your Manza's coolant topped up at TASS? (Fairdeal)
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Old 11th October 2013, 15:30   #163
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Yeah thats true and if you remember the BMW i think it was 5 series, poor fellow, either he was new and did not know the road conditions or he is a regular and did not mind it going super slow on a super fast car
Yup, I do remember the 5 series. I did not know whether to laugh or feel sad at him. If I remember correctly we overtook him, took a detour due to bad road markings, came back and he crossed us only when we were having tea. That was really a very long time. I was like, "Abbe, ye abhi ja raha hai?"
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Old 11th October 2013, 15:46   #164
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Hi!

You didn't get your Manza's coolant topped up at TASS? (Fairdeal)
No I did not because the reservoir was full and the only option was to flush and renew which I did not want because the engine temperatures were fine now. Only last week when I went to TASS here in Bangalore to flush and renew I learnt that some portion of the radiator is clogged, so flushing and renewing would not have made a difference unless the radiator itself is cleaned. So thats the only major thing Ladakh has gifted my car.
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Old 11th October 2013, 16:06   #165
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Default Re: 25-0-40 DownUnder to UpOver - LEH'd 2013

Great travelogue and nice to see a guy from chennai(a bhpian at that!) decided to join you guys on a ride to Leh and back (yep Narsi, i am looking at you ). Great travelogue motomaverick and some captions were apt and i smiled when i saw those little monks whom you followed and then the 3 idiots moment "taufa qubool karo" . Nice one anyways and 5 stars. I hope i am able to do something like this in the future.
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