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Old 27th September 2013, 19:51   #16
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Kudos to your spirit! A solo trip to Ladakh and that too in an Alto, is not easy. I recently did a solo trip of ~3700 KMs and realised how overrated solo trips are Listening to the same songs, eating alone at Dhabas, not having anyone to talk to, etc can result in the drive becoming boring. Luckily for you, the changing terrain would have kept you interested/excited.

Don't forget the tripod while purchasing your DSLR. It will prove handy during your solo trips.

Cheers,
Biraj
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Old 27th September 2013, 20:54   #17
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Fanatastic Travelogue. You did it alone and you did it in an Alto! And you make it sound so easy.I look forward to more such trips and more such write ups from you.
Regards,
Ashok
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Old 27th September 2013, 21:58   #18
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

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Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Hats off spiritofmars, you have shown the door which others can take heed and follow. Now that you have tasted the Ladakh air, more trips should be a piece of cake. I envy that you stay in Delhi and can hit the mountains at a moments notice.
Thanks motomaverick it's one of the compensations of staying in Delhi. And yes, more trips are definitely in the air. The Himalayas are like the lyrics from Hotel California - "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave " ! You just can't keep going back, you never really leave

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Originally Posted by aneezan View Post
Great driving spiritofmars, and a great travelogue. Two things that stand out, you are in an Alto and you are alone. Things that others would rubbish the moment they hear it.
Wonderful and hats off to you!
I too have an alto(pre-gen) and am extremely pleased with its reliability and ease of use.
Visiting the mountainous side of our country has really been my dream. It is yet to be realized. Hoping that I can achieve it sooner than later.
All the best for your future "solo" adventures.
Thanks aneezan ; the Alto's a great car. I never really mind the solo part ; company if present is good, if not present, I am cool with that too. Driving alone gives you a chance to reflect and think over many things, and thats all good. All the best for your dream to hit the mountains - make it happen soon !

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamendangered View Post
This has to be on the top of the 'You did what ??' category of travelougues


Its great to see that all those cancellations did not deter you from going ahead with the drive, I am a firm believer that the journey & company matter more than the destination, your Alto proves great company indeed

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to reading about Leh 2014
Thanks iamendangered ; the Alto is super company indeed. Leh 2014 will certainly have more photos, as I missed a DSLR badly during this trip


Quote:
Originally Posted by samarth.bhatia View Post
Thanks AbhishekB86, for pointing out the thread!
And thanks spiritofmars for putting it up.

Abhishek and I can understand only too well that this short travelogue inspires both of us immensely. Leh 2014 may see us spoiling any plans of yours to travel alone :P

And dude, let's catch up soon at one of the upcoming meets. It'd be good to know more details..

Good stuff!
Oh, and you went the Manali way! Even better. Loved reading this.

Cheers,
Sam
Thanks Sam - would love to meet up! The t-log is so short as I am still rewinding and replaying - bunch of details I haven't put up, like how it feels to take the 21 switchbacks of the Gata loops, stopping at the top, whooping and then moving off again with a little "wheelspin of celebration" !

It's an awesome road, and do join in for Leh 2014. The reason I planned it so late was because small cars stand the best chance late in the season.

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Originally Posted by AutoAficionado View Post
Kudos to you, spiritofmars.. Definitely worthy for a 5* rating

I have ready many travelogues of Leh trips done by so many of our TBHP-ians in SUV, XUV, Jeeps, Vans, Sedans, Hatchbacks, Bikes and what not.

But completing the trip in a small hatch, that too an alto is a real feat achieved and I bow to you man. HATS OFF!!!!

Was the vehicle able to climb the ghats/mountains with such a low torque and power ?? Any other experiences with the vehicle ??

Anybody planning to do a leh trip on a M800 ??? Waiting eagerly!!

Cheers!!!!!!!!!
Thanks AutoAficionado ; the Alto faced no problems at all climbing the ghats - if anything, I drove a little slower with more margin for the idiotic hill traffic I encountered. The car's got enough power - it's just a matter of knowing your gearbox and revs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biraj View Post
Kudos to your spirit! A solo trip to Ladakh and that too in an Alto, is not easy. I recently did a solo trip of ~3700 KMs and realised how overrated solo trips are Listening to the same songs, eating alone at Dhabas, not having anyone to talk to, etc can result in the drive becoming boring. Luckily for you, the changing terrain would have kept you interested/excited.

Don't forget the tripod while purchasing your DSLR. It will prove handy during your solo trips.

Cheers,
Biraj
Thanks Biraj ; I will definitely remember the tripod. This was one solo trip I didn't mind at all, because yeah, the landscape alters your mindscape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashphil View Post
Fanatastic Travelogue. You did it alone and you did it in an Alto! And you make it sound so easy.I look forward to more such trips and more such write ups from you.
Regards,
Ashok
Thanks Ashok - It was not too difficult as I had planning it for quite some time. More trips are definitely on the anvil - what's the point of living in Delhi if you can't explore the neighbourhood ! The next one will probably be Nepal - I am still trying to figure out how to drive there, but it will happen in its own sweet time.
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Old 27th September 2013, 23:20   #19
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

This is really cool spiritofmars!! Have always been looking for answer if a hatch can take this route, and your travelogue answers that. Did you have any scary moments.. from your car taking a hit perspective?
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Old 27th September 2013, 23:52   #20
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

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Originally Posted by Nagesh View Post
This is really cool spiritofmars!! Have always been looking for answer if a hatch can take this route, and your travelogue answers that. Did you have any scary moments.. from your car taking a hit perspective?
Thanks Nagesh ; are you asking about underbody scrapes or near-accident situations? The Alto scraped its underbody just once, before Rohtang, I think the place is called Rani Nallah. But I was driving as slow as 5 kmph, so it was more of a gentle brush than a hard hit.

Scary moment perspective, yes, there was one while driving from Leh to Srinagar, when some local moron decided it was a good idea to overtake on a blind corner while climbing uphill. He was unprepared for any car coming from the other side, which was me in this case. I had anticipated meeting such drivers, slammed on my brakes and stopped the Alto atleast 15 feet away from him. He however panicked, fishtailed the car and nearly crashed into the mountain, finally ending up with two wheels in the ditch beside the road.

The silly moron even smiled inanely and grinned at me, as if he had done something clever. I was tempted to get down and blast him, but contended myself with cursing him and moving off.
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Old 29th September 2013, 09:02   #21
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Yes - was asking about the under-body hits. Just a minor one is not bad at all - am sure your driving style matters a lot!! On a different note.. I have taken more hits in Bangalore in my liva . Reason I was asking was that I am planning to do a trip next year and was wondering what to expect. Everybody say don't even think without a SUV, but experience like yours tell my instincts a different story!!

Your scary moment is really scary. Can't believe these people, given that they are locals, still lack basic sense. Great anticipation from you.
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Old 29th September 2013, 11:33   #22
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Spiritofmars thank you for the advice given. Will definitely look into Tanveer's thread. How long did it take you to plan this trip and what purchases were made for spares etc as a precautionary measure? Could you list down a few so fellow hatch owners like Samarth and I can make a list
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Old 29th September 2013, 12:33   #23
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
“Are you crazy?” was the common refrain thrown at me when I talked about my planned trip to Leh. Driving solo through unknown highways, the reputation of the Manali-Leh stretch, the car in question, were all brought up. Many people planned to join in, then cancelled, one guy who seemed very eager went down with dengue, one of my pals had to fly to the Gulf on family business, and so it went till 19th Sep dawned and saw me en route, in my Alto K10, solo and quite happy for it.

Call me crazy, but I like to think my car as something more than a heap of metal and fabric. I care for it and it cares back.


I am no mechanic and despite much advice, did not learn any minor mechanical fixes ; given my limited knowledge, I am more likely to create additional problems than fix anything by trying my hand at any amateur mechanical breakdowns. In case something went wrong, I decided my best bet was Maruti road-side assistance or hiking to the nearest town. I did take along some fuses, extra lamps, a puncture repair kit, tow rope and a jerrycan of petrol. The car had been recently serviced as well.


Breakfast at Murthal – the paranthas are nothing like home-made, but far better.
OK. I think this is not you but me writing! So many things are the same for you and me. The last one takes the Parantha..err..the cake!

..but you are brave and lucky to have finally taken the plunge and go for it SOLO. In my case I am still waiting for friends and cousins to NOD yes and then to take the plunge.

Your ALTO and YOU are a heavy dose of inspiration for all to 'take up the journey'.

Actually have not gone through the Travelogue except for the first photo of chai but could not resist posting the above. So, now back to the Travelogue and will be back soon.

- Sai
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Old 30th September 2013, 10:56   #24
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude – A Solo Drive (Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar - Delhi) in my Alto

You're really brave and gutsy to take such a decision.
Congratulations to you for successfully completing the trip without any problem. This I hope would encourage many more on the forum to take the plunge next year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
Started off from Manali by 7 am, after a quick breakfast in the market. The route from Manali to Gulaba is in excellent shape and I was so engrossed at looking at the meadows on the sides of the road, that I completely forgot to snap even a single picture – something I will regret till I return next year, armed with a DSLR camera. The fabled Rohtang pass was a walk over, and the pass itself was deserted. I kept moving, saw no reason to stop at all. After Rohtang, the road is being redone and is a pain. The Alto performed brilliantly; it didn’t mind that it was travelling over a surface that resembled something out of a dirt race. Rocks, mud, slush, small fords, were tackled with ease. Stopped for breakfast at this little cafι that is at the crossroads of the fork to Lahaul and Keylong.
Had read so much about the mess created at Rohtang by the slush. I'm quite astonished at your comment on the Rohtang being a walkover. Also what about the permit that is required to cross Rohtang from the Manali side- has it been withdrawn?
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:01   #25
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

just one word - "Brilliant!"
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:14   #26
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Superbly written t-log spiritofmars!

It is these kind of narrations that inspire fellow Alto K10 owners like myself to take the next step to touring with it.

Have been driving around Chandigarh - Dharampur, Kausali areas, but always with the Accent as was unsure of the capabilities of the Alto K10. Reading your t-log has given me much more confidence in taking our Mini Cooper out.

Kudos to such adventurism and who knows, you mind get company during Leh 2014!
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Old 30th September 2013, 13:38   #27
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Kudos man! Rated the thread well deserved 5 stars. This has to be one of the most inspiring threads on Leh. I am also planning to take my Hyundai Accent to Leh sometime next year. What's your take? Can an Accent do it without serious damages?
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Old 30th September 2013, 18:01   #28
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Awesome Feat SpiritofMars!!
A solo drive to one of the World's most treacherous terrain that too in an Alto is a worthy appreciation. I hope your 2014 trip is much more adventurous and get many more better photos (with your DSLR) in that Travellogue.
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Old 30th September 2013, 18:56   #29
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude: Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar in my Alto K10

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhishekB86 View Post
Spiritofmars thank you for the advice given. Will definitely look into Tanveer's thread. How long did it take you to plan this trip and what purchases were made for spares etc as a precautionary measure? Could you list down a few so fellow hatch owners like Samarth and I can make a list
Here's the list I carried

1. Tyre puncture repair kit with air pump
2. Tow rope
3. Extra fuses, spare lamps for headlights & taillights
4. 20 litre petrol jerrycan
5. 5 litres drinking water
6. Medical kit
7. Swiss army knife
8. Emergency lamp
9. Thermal wear, gloves, heavy sweaters & hiking boots
10. Heavy blanket
11. Matches (don't forget these!)
12. Photocopies of Driving License, ID, Company I-card, Car insurance, registration & PUC
13. Printout of route map (in case GPS fails)
14. Spare keys for car & gear lock, always to be kept on person (incase I locked myself out with the original keys inside)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vihari View Post
OK. I think this is not you but me writing! So many things are the same for you and me. The last one takes the Parantha..err..the cake!

- Sai
Absolutely, Sai - Murthal's paranthas are to die for

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
You're really brave and gutsy to take such a decision.
Congratulations to you for successfully completing the trip without any problem. This I hope would encourage many more on the forum to take the plunge next year.



Had read so much about the mess created at Rohtang by the slush. I'm quite astonished at your comment on the Rohtang being a walkover. Also what about the permit that is required to cross Rohtang from the Manali side- has it been withdrawn?
Thanks Sommos ; The permit hasn't been withdrawn and I got it at the Green Toll tax barrier outside Manali. Rohtang was a walkover because rain had stopped and there was not much slush - nothing the Alto couldn't handle. I chose late Sept precisely for this reason - small cars stand the best chance at this time. Fortunately it worked out perfectly, and the weather gods blessed my trip

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Originally Posted by arjab View Post
just one word - "Brilliant!"
Thanks arjab !
Quote:
Originally Posted by prateekswarup View Post
Superbly written t-log spiritofmars!

It is these kind of narrations that inspire fellow Alto K10 owners like myself to take the next step to touring with it.

Have been driving around Chandigarh - Dharampur, Kausali areas, but always with the Accent as was unsure of the capabilities of the Alto K10. Reading your t-log has given me much more confidence in taking our Mini Cooper out.

Kudos to such adventurism and who knows, you mind get company during Leh 2014!
You are welcome to join in for Leh 2014 , prateekswarup, am glad you enjoyed the t-log! The K10's a good car ; it's quite reliable and a real pocket rocket

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotham_City View Post
Kudos man! Rated the thread well deserved 5 stars. This has to be one of the most inspiring threads on Leh. I am also planning to take my Hyundai Accent to Leh sometime next year. What's your take? Can an Accent do it without serious damages?
Thanks Gotham_City ; an Accent can probably make it as well. You will need to drive extremely carefully and pick the right time to visit. I wouldn't recommend it early in the season, but late sep/early oct should be definitely doable. Whenever you feel the car may bottom out, just walk ahead, remove any rocks out of the way, scout the water crossings on foot first, and ensure your car's in top shape before Leh.
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Old 1st October 2013, 14:32   #30
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Default Re: Solo-Leh-Tude – A Solo Drive (Delhi – Manali – Leh – Srinagar - Delhi) in my Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritofmars View Post
I drove back to Delhi, making plans for Leh 2014, this time with a DSLR and more time, to visit Hanle and Tso Moriri. My Alto had proved equal to the challenge ; this entire journey, it proved completely reliable and did not stutter once or suffer even a puncture. Who says you need an SUV or anyone else's company to experience Leh !
Fantastic - your experience just answered a big question mark I had. I own the K10 too and its a brilliant little machine that I have taken a liking to. I always wanted to know if Leh would be possible on the K10.

I have read a lot of Leh'd-logues till now and I see two main routes to the awesomeness of the hills - one on the Amritsar-Srinagar-Kargil route and the other via Manali. I wanted to know which one is more suited for the K10? I agree with your point of taking the Alto late into the season when most of those tricky nallas and water crossings have dried up or have become small enough for the Alto to pass through. I just want to know which route is the best one to be done by the K10. I have always fantasized about taking my K10 to Leh ... but from your travelogue, it looks like that fantasy may become a dream and then into reality!!!

Can you share other details of the car like
  1. Underbody protection (if any) with pics
  2. Headlamp upgrades? (With Specifications)
  3. Tire upgrades? (With Specifications)
  4. FE you got on the trip (highest/lowest/avg)
  5. Any other car feature/extras I may have missed out

It looks like you just opened a can of worms in my head now!!! Are you planning to do the trip in 2014 on the K10 again? If yes, then I guess we can start some planning starting now!
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