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Old 11th October 2013, 16:08   #46
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Jispa to Leh the story continues

We came down from the heights of Baralacha and reached Sarchu.
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250 kms for Leh yet.. This is also the distance between Delhi and Chandigarh. On a good day it takes 4 hours. These 250 kms were going to take much longer i knew
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Sarchu was Etheral.. The drive ahead had a very calming and serene quality to it.
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We saw these natural formation which reminded me of Temple Spires. had seen them countless times before on Tbhp Travelogues in some stunning photography. I barely even slowed down.
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We climbed higher.. the famed Gata loops would be next. I was looking forward to the shortcuts i had heard so much about.
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Soon we crossed Twing Twing!
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We continued to gasp and snap photographs..
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Then two of the most well known Bridges among Bhpians
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We climbed the famed Gata loops
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..and every single time we saw a shortcut, we used low range and took it!
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and soon we were at the top!
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Parked up at NakeeLa
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Once we descended the climb for LachungLa would begin and once more instead of taking the normal road we took every available shortcut
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Soon we were at the top
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Lachungla pass!! Our third for today came up..
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When we descended we saw these grazing lazily. It felt like we were in some wild country now. The animals were not perturbed by our presence indicating that they were used to seeing traffic.
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We would soon be in the eerie valley of Kanglajal and onward to Pang where the Pajero we hoped would get some fuel.

to be continued..
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Old 11th October 2013, 16:34   #47
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Dear Obelix,

Thanks a ton for toiling on the grinding roads of Ladakh to help realise your master's dream ! Sorry ? not a toil at all ? oh ! okay, sorry, you seem to have made it look like a cake walk !! Congrats on that !

Wishing you miles and miles of more thirst quenching drives to lands never seen by your master and help him see all of India ! And yes, please remind him to pen crispy travelogues like these - he seems to have a way with simple, humorous and flowing captions. In turn, we get to see you too - in all your thunderous glory !!

Your achievement here deserves a five star, which you may pass it on to your master, if you wish to, for sharing this with us !!
Thank you for your kind words Roamingrao..i will tell Manuuj for sure! Lots more to go yet. Stay tuned!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sapeco View Post
I have no doubt you will turn that dream into reality

Well said.. Well said. Even i couldn't have expressed it any better. Obelix is one of the lucky few who have had the privilege to experience the real wilderness instead of our smoke filled city roads.


Note from Support: Quotes fixed
Thanks sapeco!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantdlv View Post
This is exactly what I'm doing right now!
Great travellogue Manuuj! Everything's picture perfect!

Even I aspire to climb the mountains through all the "La's" in my car one day! This TL is added to my inspiration list!

Waiting to experience the journey ahead!
Thanks Nishandlv..i hope you make this journey soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfanrld View Post
A great Travelogue for a Great place to visit for sure and maybe make it a Longer Visit.

Although I am from Way down South I would like to make the trip for Sure.

Thank you for sharing your experience and your pics were top-notch.
The trip lasted 15 days from 17th September to 1st October. Stay tuned for more soon starfanrld!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Nice travelogue with good pictures of the landscapes.

The most dreaded route from Kaza to Keylong has been pulled off nicely through. The short break between the mountains with the cooking tools after Chota dhara was good.

Awaiting your entry to Leh after Jispa.

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your kind words gajadonga!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaizanfan View Post
Manuuj, The tyre pressure inflator that you have, is it Portable LIMI Digital Tyre Inflator - recommended by Guderian? If not, please share the brand and model. Thanks.
Its not the one that Guderian recommended. I bought it three years ago in Kashmiri Gate Market for Rs.1700/- approximately. it has an Aluminium body and is of good quality. Sadly there is no brand name on the Pump.
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Old 11th October 2013, 17:19   #48
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

A Couple of Quick Questions.

1. Pointers on Clothing for the Journey.

2. Pointers regarding High Altitude Motion Sickness.
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Old 11th October 2013, 17:27   #49
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Wow! Can only be the word to start with.

I am already a fan of you. Indeed a 5 star thread and I did my bit. Previously I was following your thread on Bentley Continental GT as well. I was waiting for the travelogue of your Rajasthan trip in your Bentley . Nevertheless, we had our treat with this and in compensation of that trip.

I think you should seriously think about writing, because you have a writing style somewhat like Chetan Bhagat.

First of all, again and as expected, a very detailed and crisp narration. I think every reader can instantly connect to it and could imagine the trip like we were part of it. Can you please share the details about below mentioned points, if you don't mind:

1. Price of the Car Inverter, Steel Tow Rope, Electric Air Pump and Portable Stove (I remember it was given by Gaurav's Father).

2. As you have mentioned both Fortuner and Pajero got one puncture each. Did the Pyroil was used? Is it used to fully inflate the tyres or only part of it and rest is done by the air pump.

3. The refill / recharge bottles for stove are available in the market? If yes, are they available for all three type of fuels?

Last edited by db0009 : 11th October 2013 at 17:32.
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Old 11th October 2013, 19:03   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starfanrld View Post
A Couple of Quick Questions.

1. Pointers on Clothing for the Journey.

2. Pointers regarding High Altitude Motion Sickness.
Since we were going at a time when winter would set in soon we made sure we took warm clothes and vests along but since we were in a car most of the time we really did not need all the stuff we took. i would recommend you take

1. Track pants for everyday driving and use. They are low maintenance and dry fast.

2. Vests as a double layer for under shirts t shirts

3. Warm vests (which we did not use)

4. A heavy winter waterproof jacket that can handle snow.

5. Sleeveless jackets for daytime.

6. Denims. (i usually wore only track pants)

7. Warm socks and regular socks

8. Crocs (dry easily and are multipurpose)

9. I wore tshirts throughout the whole trip. Days were pretty hot infact.

10. I always carry my pillow and blanket from home.

11. Sports shoes.

12. Leather Gloves or woolen gloves. (used these at Khardungla, as u will see later in the thread)

13. Hat (a must during the day in the hot sun)

14. Sunglasses.

As a rule nights get pretty chilly so a Muffler warm jacket and some sort of hat helps when walking around at night.

USE LOTS OF SUNTAN and Lip Balm!! I cannot stress this enough.

As far as AMS or Hypoxia is concerned we did not feel any as we had driven up gradually and not just flown in. Still as a precaution we popped a Diamox daily once we left Simla till we hit Kaza. Some took just half. i took a full one.

Hope this helps!


Quote:
Originally Posted by db0009 View Post
Wow! Can only be the word to start with.

I am already a fan of you. Indeed a 5 star thread and I did my bit. Previously I was following your thread on Bentley Continental GT as well. I was waiting for the travelogue of your Rajasthan trip in your Bentley . Nevertheless, we had our treat with this and in compensation of that trip.

I think you should seriously think about writing, because you have a writing style somewhat like Chetan Bhagat.

First of all, again and as expected, a very detailed and crisp narration. I think every reader can instantly connect to it and could imagine the trip like we were part of it. Can you please share the details about below mentioned points, if you don't mind:

1. Price of the Car Inverter, Steel Tow Rope, Electric Air Pump and Portable Stove (I remember it was given by Gaurav's Father).

2. As you have mentioned both Fortuner and Pajero got one puncture each. Did the Pyroil was used? Is it used to fully inflate the tyres or only part of it and rest is done by the air pump.

3. The refill / recharge bottles for stove are available in the market? If yes, are they available for all three type of fuels?
Hi again db0009!! Good to hear from you again.

The Rajasthan Road trip did happen in the Bentley but there was not much to report more than a couple of flat tyres etc. There are photographs in my ownership review of Oblelix im sure. I was too caught up with work afterwards to make a decent travelogue. I hope i am making it up to you now!

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words!

1. The Lapcare power inverter was for 2199/- and was bought from Khan Market.
The company website is: www.lapcareindia.com/ sales@lapcareindia.com

The Steel Tow rope was for about 750-1000/- and sourced from the same shop i got the Tyre inflater from in Kashmiri gate, Old Delhi a few years ago. I dont remember the exact cost.

The Air Pump was for 1750/-

The stove was for 8000/- but was bought on sale for 3500/- by gauravs dad for his camping expeditions and was lent to us for the trip.

2. The Pyroil was not used as we had kept it for emergency purposes only.

The Pajero puncture was repaired immediately at Puh and mine i had done at Manali on the way back as it happened in Manali on the 2nd last day of the trip.

Pyroil claims to completely inflate as well as seal up the puncture from inside the tyre and is for Rs 550 a bottle which is for one time use each time.

3. The Stove Bottle comes empty and can be manually filled with whatever fuel one wishes.

Thanks again for your kind words. more updates on the trip tonight!
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Old 11th October 2013, 20:24   #51
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Jispa to Leh The journey continues..

Killingsarai, Sarchu Nakila and Lachungla had been seen. We were to enter the eerie valley between Kangalajal and Pang now before we hit the stunning and sublime Moreh Plains arguably the most photographed section on this route.

We crossed the grazing deer(?) and moved ahead.

I glanced at my watch. 5 hours of daylight left. I was glad we had left early. We had made good time so far.

We entered this barren valley and though it was beautiful in in its own right I found it to be quite eerie..
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Leh was under 200 kms now..after all these years so so close!!
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It was like a desolate moonscape..the wind whistled and with our windows down all that we heard was the low gurgle of the engine and the gravel crunching below our tyres. We discussed that westerns could easily be filmed here. It felt like something was going to happen suddenly and unexpectedly.
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Then we saw this face..frozen in a silent terrified howl
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The work of wind over centuries. It looked so familiar. Then i remembered i had seen these on almost every Leh T-Log.

Not to be left behind I clicked away too..
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A cave in the distance
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Soon we reached the unremarkable settlement of Pang
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We had some Wai Wai noodles and the Pajero was filled with 40 litres of Diesel at a highly inflated cost of 1300/- for 20 litres which came to Rs. 65 litre. The old lady was kind enough to give us good clean Diesel though and kept the bluish kerosene tinged Diesel for the truckers.

I guess a Rs.8/- litre premium isn't so bad once u factor in the costs of transporting it in small quantities to Pang from Karu or Leh. It costs around Rs.57-58/- there.
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It was past three now and we moved ahead towards the superlative Moreh plains. We say some cyclists also on their way to Leh.
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We left Pang behind and climbed into the Moreh Plateau
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Moreh plains were about to begin and i was really looking forward to them. Soon we were on a flat smooth dirt road and i knew they had begun.

For Moreh i will not say much but will let the pictures do the talking
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We soon reached Debring where parts of the road were still being made. We were soon to ascend to our final pass for the day. The second highest motorable pass on this planet. Tanglang La.
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The tarmac was replaced by a loose smooth gravelly surface which was fun to drive on.
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The road to Tanglang La on the Moreh side is super smooth and made of this gravel type dirt. The car has enough traction and one can take these at speed with a little bit of drifting action thrown in. If one likes drifting action with 200 ft drops on either side that is.
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At around 4:30 we were at Tangla La @ 17480 ft above MSL
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It was below Zero and there were tiny snowflakes falling that melted as soon as they hit the ground.
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We did not wait too long and moved on. It was too cold to hang about.

In the distance in that direction somewhere lay Leh.
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"Whats all the fuss about...eh??"
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The Stupa graciously welcomed us into the final leg of our journey today
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Leh wasn't far now..

to be continued..

Last edited by Manuuj : 11th October 2013 at 20:30.
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Old 12th October 2013, 03:23   #52
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Jispa to Leh The Final Leg..

After spending a brief few minutes at Tanglang La we began to descend quickly and soon a billiard table smooth mountain road greeted us.

In the distance Gaurav spotted a Bolero pickup slow down, reverse and then the driver of the Bolero shocked us with what he did next.

He drove off the mountain.

He was far away and we were left speechless for a few moments and just looked at each others faces. Then Gaurav spotted him diving and bouncing down the mountainside in a controlled manner.

It was the mother of all shortcuts and our faces lit up!!

We got to the same point and assessed the situation.

It was a pretty steep drop the first few feet and then alternating "axle breaker type" ruts for a few feet after that.

Then just to make a things interesting there were a few large loose rocks in the way. Two could be avoided but Two would have to be dealt with.

Once this was crossed it looked like a pretty gradual gradient all the way to the bottom where we hoped we would rejoin the road.

The Bolero pickup had done it. There was no way Obelix was going to shy away.

Here is a pic of the same place on that I clicked on the way up to Taglangla a few days later.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-0.jpg

Just to have some control over the descent I engaged Low Range 1st gear.

I eased my left tyre down and then the right. We rocked from side to side and I felt the diagonally opposite wheel lift up in the air as the end opposite it sank. One by one we crossed the axle breakers.

We then went over the two rocks one at a time..one on the left and one on the right.

After this we just had a sandy rutted track to follow and I engaged 2nd gear still staying in Low Range. Barely any brakes were used in this whole exercise to keep control over our rate of descent.

I stopped a little way down the track and pulled out my phone and handed it to Gaurav to make a Video.

We realized that we would be saving a really really long way by using this shortcut. Not a kilometer or two but almost 10-12 kms. We could see the Pajero far up on the mountain that we were almost at the bottom of now.

Soon we were at the bottom and rejoined the road in a most undramatic fashion and continued our journey slowly in order for the Pajero to catch up which they did, after Rumtse, almost 30 kms later.



Unfortunately Abhimanyu could not take any pics of us as we were too far below when they saw us using the shortcut. He told me Chandni was driving down the hill at 60-70 kmph on the wide flat tarmac that led them down the mountain.

This led me to calculate that we saved atleast 12-15 kms by using the shortcut. It really wasnt about saving time or distance in the first place.

It was a thrilling experience.

After Rumtse the Pajero stayed in front of us and we crossed Sasoma, Gya, Lato and Miru in quick succession.
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We saw these wild horses grazing and drinking from the stream
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This tributary of the Mighty Indus was on our right most of the time
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We reached Upshi around 6 and stopped to make entries into the register. Leh was under 50 kms!
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Soon after Karu it began to get dark and the traffic volume went up near Thikshey and Shey. This was my last click of the day.
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It grew dark by the time we had crossed Shey just before Leh.

At one point the road abruptly ended due to road works and we were diverted to our right. We negotiated some narrow gulleys and came out eventually on the Leh Kargil highway.

Choglamsar was completely bypassed.

We were pretty lost but a helpful taxi driver asked us to follow him. He led us straight to Leh Main Bazaar and we started to ask around for Jorcheung Guest House.

I called up the owner and he gave us some directions which were pretty difficult to follow.

We eventually got to Jorcheung after driving past it a couple of times as there was not sign at the gate to announce them!!

Once inside we checked the rooms which were very clean. The apologetic and polite owner informed us that his staff had left and they would not be able to even provide us tea let alone dinner.

My friends were put off by this.

It had been a long day and we were tired. The confusion while entering Leh had robbed us of the moment to savor it.

Moods were a bit low suddenly. It was almost anti-climactic.

We decided to check out the Hotel next door. It was called Mahe Retreat and looked much more expensive and well appointed.

We went in and were very impressed with the rooms and quality of the place. But the prices were pretty steep too. Almost 4500/- for a double room per night.


It was time to talk tough. I looked the manager in the eye and told him his prices were unrealistic as the season was over. He smiled and offered us a a 25% discount. It wasn't a bad start.

I told him that we would be staying here for a couple of days and then going out of town. Upon our return everytime from places like Hunder, Pangong, Hanle etc we would stay at Mahe only. He needed to do better with the rate. A 25% discount was not going to cut it.

I told him that the most we were prepared for was 1000/- per night per head. So Rs.2000 per night for each room. He smiled and shook his head indicating that that wasn't possible.

Then Chandni said "Look its not about the Money. We CAN pay you..but we just don't WANT to pay you that much"

I turned and looked at her with wide eyes and my jaw slightly agape. That was a brutally honest statement from her.

The Manager never stood a chance against her forthright and categorical argument.

He said he would go speak to the Owner and offered us tea in the meanwhile. A few minutes later he was back and asked his staff to unload our bags from the cars.

We were shown to our large clean and comfortable rooms. Each room had a large Flat screen TV and a dedicated Tata Sky connection. The Linen was very clean. The Bathrooms were large..but best of all, there was 24 hours running hot water!!

It was around 8 now and we were hungry. After a quick wash we headed to the market close by and had a kings feast at the German Bakery.

Roast chicken, Greek salad, Pizzas etc followed by a dark chocolate mousse and coffee rounded off dinner.

We came back to the hotel and chatted. It was decided that after 7 days of being on the move we would spend the next day and maybe even the day after that in Leh itself.

It was almost 11 pm when i went in for a hot shower and changed for bed.

Gaurav was busy on his Mac chatting with Eva on Skype. The hotel had free Wifi and the connection was pretty good too.

Soon it was lights out and Gaurav was fast asleep. There was a nip in the air and we were cozily tucked in. I had left the curtains open so I could see the starts above from the large windows next to my bed.

The smoke from my cigarette lazily spiraled up towards the ceiling.

I exhaled and smiled.

"So this is what Leh looks like"

Last edited by Manuuj : 12th October 2013 at 03:51.
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Old 12th October 2013, 07:49   #53
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Mahe retreat is a fantastic place to stay. Have been staying there both the time i have been there. First time in 2011 it was only a guest house just like jorchung but the rooms big and clean, 24hrs hot water, closed parking and a view to a kill from the window. It was damn cheap then.

2012 saw its transformation into a sauve Mahe retreat and was quoting a rather high amount on phone.
Exactly the same happened with me last year. Me and brother checked in Jorchung for a night. Wife was supposed to join next day from flight. Most of the staff had left and jorchung was almost shut for the season. So decided to check out Mahe. Negotiated hard and for a tad more than jorchung we had a luxurious room in Mahe. Benefits of off season travelling .
I am sure the view of Stok range in the morning would have brought a smile on your face.

Sorry to hijack your thread.
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Old 13th October 2013, 08:33   #54
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Hats off to you for such a beautiful travelogue, the pictures are just off the hook, but, as you mentioned pictures don’t do justice to the majestic terrain.

I am glued to the thread like a leech and posting even though I am only on page two since I started 15 minutes ago…

Rated 5 Stars (No Brainer).
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Old 13th October 2013, 14:24   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post
Mahe retreat is a fantastic place to stay. I am sure the view of Stok range in the morning would have brought a smile on your face.

Sorry to hijack your thread.
You are right columbus!! It sure was a wonderful place to stay and the staff were very friendly too. It sure did justify its name "Retreat". We thought about staying somewhere else also after a few days but only went back to Mahe everytime we returned to Leh.

It will be my home in Leh for the future too now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhil_Kapil View Post
Hats off to you for such a beautiful travelogue, the pictures are just off the hook, but, as you mentioned pictures don’t do justice to the majestic terrain.

I am glued to the thread like a leech and posting even though I am only on page two since I started 15 minutes ago…

Rated 5 Stars (No Brainer).
Thank you for you kind words and encouragement. More coming up today!

A teaser..
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-31.jpg
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Old 13th October 2013, 15:37   #56
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

We awoke to a cool and sunny day in Leh. The curtains that I had left drawn back at night let the sun rays in and they lit up our room. I opened a window and a cool breeze flowed in.

I looked and and was greeted by this view
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The Mahey Retreat, Leh (http://maheyretreat.com/)
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It was well past 11 when we had tea and went in for a hot shower. There was no need to rush. We had been on the move for the last 7 days and deserved a nice relaxing break.

We headed to the Main Bazaar 5 minutes away and parked up. The parking fee was only Rs.10. Much better than the Rs 250/- per day charged at Simla now.

Lunch doubled up as breakfast at the rooftop Italian cafe called "La Terrasse" bang in the middle of the main market. It was full of patrons who were mostly foreigners all enjoying a lazy lunch in the shade from the harsh Leh sun.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/ja...al/la-terrasse

Our table offered a view of Leh Palace and the Monastery above.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-11.jpg

The food in Leh is quite tasty and quite affordable. After Delhi prices it felt like we were eating for practically free!

After a good meal we walked around the market and shopped for Pashmina's and other gifts for the folks back home.

I then drove to the Toyota Service station and had the Air filter thoroughly cleaned with compressed air. There was a lot of dust in it. I had the underbody washed, and the front of the interiors also cleaned with compressed air and vacuum.

This done i went back to the Hotel and we all basically lazed around doing nothing much in particular.

Wifi was like a lifeline to the tech-starved group and everyone seemed to be on bbm/whatsapp/facebook etc.

After a while we were back in the main market and walked to a wonderful restaurant called "Bon Apetit". We had heard about it from some locals and i expected it to be some tiny cafe by the road that served good food.

I was in for a surprise.

It gave some posh Delhi restaurants a run for its money.

The place looked great and the menu of continental dishes looked very inviting too.

We ordered freely eating and drinking our way to nirvana.

Again it was quite affordable with a meal and drinks coming in at Rs.500/- per head for 4 people.

A walk to to the car in the chilled night air helped to digest the greedy follies of the past two hours..

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant...d_Kashmir.html

There was a Cultural Festival in the heart of Leh and we were keen to catch a part of it the next day.

Some chit chat and a nightcap saw us ensconced in our respective beds a few hours later.

It had been a very relaxing day indeed!

The next morning we had a light breakfast at the hotel and headed to the Monastery in the main market.
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It was full of foreigners and locals alike all eager to catch a glimpse of the action.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-13.jpg
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The rest of the day was spent getting good deals on gifts for everyone back home and generally lazing about.
Our permits were organised by the hotel itself at 350/- per head. It much higher than what we would pay if we went ourselves to the DC's Office.

Permits are actually free but come with a manadatory Rs.20/- donation for some local charity. We felt it was prudent to pay an agent as it would mean we would be free to enjoy the day instead of hassling ourselves with such matters.

By late afternoon we all returned to the Hotel for a siesta and genereally lazing about.

After a while we left Mahey For an early dinner..
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-16.jpg

A truly scrumptious lunch at the famous "Summer Harvest" prompted an encore for Dinner too. Lunch had been an Oriental affair but dinner was going to be Wazwaan Cuisine which we all enjoyed in an almost reverent silence.

http://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant...d_Kashmir.html

We received our Permits when we got back to the hotel and decided to leave for Hunder/Turtuk the next day via the famous Khardungla!!

to be continued..
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Old 13th October 2013, 17:15   #57
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

We awoke refreshed and energised. It was time to hit the road again. By 9:30 AM we were on our way to Khardungla Pass for our trip to Hunder.

The moon was visible in the bright morning sun
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-17.jpg

Unfortunately it was not to be.

We got to South Pullu Checkpost at 10:40 AM and were informed that the road was shut for maintenance work at 10:30 AM.

It was a new rule which was being enforced from today and our cars were the first to be stopped. The road would be opened again at 3 pm only now!

This was hugely disappointing and i was quite annoyed. There was no information of this anywhere on the route up to Khardungla.

I tried to reason with the guard but he remained adamant. In retrospect he was just following orders and i have no reason to hold a grouse against him.

We decided to head for Alchi Monastery for the day and return to the pass the next day. As we turned around many more taxis and private cars arrived and were asked to return. The taxi operators tried to protest but were firmly refused also.

We left for Leh. The views lifted our spirits and soon we had taken this setback in our stride.
Stok Range as seen from the road up to Khardungla Pass..
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-18.jpg
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Stok Kangri at an elevation of 6,153 m (20,182 feet) is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12 km southwest of the trailhead at 3,610 m (11,845 feet) in the village of Stok and 24 km southwest of the Ladakhi capital.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-20.jpg

Like and oasis in the cold desert
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Soon we were on our way out on the road towards Kargil.
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Within half n hour of leaving Leh we reached Gurudwara Shri Patthar Sahib Ji
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-24.jpg
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We enjoyed the "Langar" at the Gurudwara.

"Langar" is the term used in the Sikh religion or in Punjab in general for common kitchen/canteen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors, without distinction of background for free. At a Langar, only vegetarian food is served, to ensure that all people, regardless of their dietary restrictions, can eat as equals. Langar is open to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike.

We left soon and headed for Magnetic Hill. Which is more an optical illusion than anything else.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-27.jpg

Abhimanyu always happy with a chance to go offroad.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-28.jpg

Soon we crossed the village of Sasupul
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-29.jpg

Somehere on the way we say a sign for a Large Golden Statue of Buddha declaring it to be the largest Sitting statue in the area at a place called Ney somewhere down this road to the right. We were intrigued and took the right turn onto a broken road.

This is one of the advantages of Road trips. One has the freedom to explore any place that catches our fancy along the way.

Soon we came to a fork on the road and unwittingly took the right road which goes to a dead end.

But at this dead end lies another little gem of the area that we were lucky to chance upon.

The ruins of Ancient Basgo
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-30.jpg

Basgo Fort and Monastry. In 2000 the site was recognised as one of the world 100 most endangered heritage sites by the World Monuments Fund, and was repaired by local craftsmen under the supervision of John Hurd. The Basgo welfare committee, a social organisation comprising volunteers have taken up the responsibility for the preservation of Basgo, under the active guidance of the Tibetan classics translator guild of New York.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-31.jpg

We all parked up and decided to explore a bit more on foot
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-32.jpg

The ruins of Basgo
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-33.jpg

The site at Basgo consists of four distinct structures, three temples and a fort. The fort (Basgo Rabtan Lhartsekhar Castle) was built first and is the only structure made from rammed earth. Basgo was the capital of Ladakh before 1357, and it is possible that the castle dates from this period.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-34.jpg

The monasteries and Buddha images at the site began to be constructed around 1450. In 1550 the capital of Ladakh was moved from Basgo to Leh, but the site still retained military and religious importance.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-35.jpg

The first European account of Ladakh, by Portuguese merchant Diogo d’Almeida by just before 1600 mentions Basgo. The castle withstood a three year siege in 1684, but may have been destroyed by invading Sikhs in around 1819 and definitely by 1843.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-36.jpg

to be continued..
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Old 13th October 2013, 17:47   #58
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Leh-Basgo-Ney-Alchi-Leh

After a very fascinating visit to Basgo we found our way back to the fork and took the road to the Left this time which would lead us to the quaint village of Ney which lies 43 kms from Leh and reportedly had the largest statue of Buddha in the area.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-37.jpg

We were soon in Ney
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-38.jpg

and saw this..
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Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-41.jpg

"Yamaraj's ride?"
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-42.jpg

We soon left Ney behind..and headed back to NH1 that would take us to our destination for the day, Alchi Monastery. Basgo is visible from the highway..
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-43.jpg

We soon took a left and crossed the river and headed to Alchi.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-44.jpg

Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa is a Buddhist monastery, known more as a monastic complex (chos-'khor) of temples in Alchi village in the Leh District.

The complex comprises four separate settlements in the Alchi village in the lower Ladakh region with monuments dated to different periods. Of these four hamlets, Alchi monastery is said to be the oldest and most famous.

It is administered by the Likir Monastery.

Alchi is also part of the three villages (all in lower Ladakh region) which constitute the ‘Alchi group of monuments. The other two villages adjoining Alchi are the Mangyu and Sumda Chun (now in Zanskar district).

The monuments in these three villages are stated to be of “unique style and workmanship’, but the Alchi monastic complex is the best known.

The monastery complex was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. However, inscriptions in the preserved monuments ascribe it to a Tibetan noble called Kal-dan Shes-rab later in the 11th century.

Dukhang or Assembly Hall and the Main Temple, which is a three-storied temple called the Sumtseg, are built in Kashmiri style as seen in many monasteries.

The third temple is called the Manjushri Temple. Chortens are also an important part of the complex.

The artistic and spiritual details of both Buddhism and the Hindu kings of that time in Kashmir are reflected in the wall paintings in the monastery. These are some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh. The complex also has huge statues of the Buddha and elaborate wood carvings and art-work comparable to the baroque style.

Alchi Monastery
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By evening we were headed back towards Leh determined to make an early start so we may cross South Pullu Checkpost on time on our way to the highest motorable road on the planet.
Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!-51.jpg

"Tomorrow I would attempt to cross something off the list that I have had on it for 26 years, ever since I was 13 years old.." I realized as drove back towards Leh and my bed at Mahey.

to be continued..

Last edited by Manuuj : 13th October 2013 at 17:59.
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Old 13th October 2013, 20:06   #59
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Default Re: Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Thats an amesome travelogue and even awesome ride Manuuj. Your travelogue and ownership thread has made my decision to buy a Fortuner vs Pajero Sport clearer.
Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 13th October 2013, 23:33   #60
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Default Obelix (Toyota Fortuner) goes to Kinnaur, Spiti and Leh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiteshs77 View Post
Thats an amesome travelogue and even awesome ride Manuuj. Your travelogue and ownership thread has made my decision to buy a Fortuner vs Pajero Sport clearer.
Thanks for sharing!!
Do not underestimate the Pajero Sport buddy!! It is a very very capable machine with a superior suspension and brake set up when compared to the Fortuner.

Toyota After Sales is far ahead of Mitsubishi in India though.

The Pajero Sport also has the added advantage of an option to drive in 2wd mode when 4wd is not required.

I prefer the interiors and looks of the Fortuner though.

Im not helping am I ?

P.S Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Stay tuned for more

Last edited by Manuuj : 13th October 2013 at 23:35.
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