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Old 9th August 2014, 11:57   #16
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Originally Posted by BLACK1 View Post
Toyota Innova. I think so.
Correct, its Innova. Couldnt ignore your city, bhpians are growing in Jaipur. Probably we can set up a meet now.

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Great. This is the first time, I see a Khardung La sign board clicked in the night.
I guess that speaks volumes about the fun we had in our trip!

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Originally Posted by Traveller Nayak View Post
Any specific guidance / advice for a 2WD? I have a Fortuner Automatic.
There's a fine line between being adventurous and being stupid. Just dont cross that, and I'm sure you'll do just fine. As for 2wd just look at the terrain, assess and decide. keep the revs high and momentum going, 1/2 hit might not do as much damage as getting stuck middle of nowhere.
Though only batalik sector off roading up the hambotingla was something that scared us. If you stick to roads/ trails, 2wd can go everywhere. The no road scenario will follow in the coming days which I describe.
Keep in mind almost all taxis are 2wd, so no issue there.
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Old 9th August 2014, 15:41   #17
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DAY 8 - Drive to Pangong

This was the day we finally checked out of our hotel, as we were saying bye to Leh. We start on our return leg, and the route from here would be -
Leh-Changla-Pangong
Pangong-Chulshul-Tsagala-Tso moriri
Tso Moriri-keylong
Keylong-Manali
Manali-Delhi-Jaipur.
Since we would be covering some 850 odd kilometers from Leh to Keylong on 3 days, and there would be no fuel station, meant we had to stock up. We had 2 Army Jerrycans with us, but we still purchased 1 more for this leg. So we had approximately 65l of diesel apart from 55l tank of our storme.

By the time we left leh it was already 12 noon, and we were behind schedule. have to reach Pangong before sunset, else it would be a waste, as we will be staying only 1 night. Some photographs on our way -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-0.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg

As we start our climb we see some green pastures in the valley.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

It is very interesting when we look back at the winding and climbing roads.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg

At one of the water crossing on our way up, we saw a biker struggling and his friends waiting for him. We also stopped and gave them time to clear. As we crossed and were pulling ahead one of the guys shouted "Jaipur", and we stopped. Had a little chit chat, they were on a Jaipur registered bike.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg

Meanwhile the UFO stopped to pose!
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7a.jpg

Soon we scaled the Mighty Changla. The bikers gave us company till the top.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7b.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

ChangLa baba ki jai! (All hail ChangLa)
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8a.jpg

The road up and down Changla had lot of water, and slush at some places.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg

We were getting late and hence decided to stop our photostops and rushed straight to Pangong. Since I was driving a little faster, my fellows started the legendary laugh invented on this trip. Every time they got scared or felt bad they used to say - "He He He", and many other notions like -"mitran de ud gaye tote" (dont ask me to translate that), so as to remind me to take care and slow down. Sometimes without any reason also!
and I said the same when we saw this -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12.jpg

We spent some time photographing and then moved on.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12a.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-13.jpg

This was very interesting, and we all said - "Some Day".
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-14.jpg

as we moved ahead, clicking the lake, we saw an off road route going towards the lake, and how could we miss that.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-15.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-16.jpg

As we reached the beach, we looked for a firm place and the UFO landed there.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-20.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-21.jpg

Some people alerted us that a 2wd car had stuck hardly few meters away from our parking spot, so we should also go back. But we knew where we had parked, it was solid area with no loose sand. So we enjoyed and took snaps of the sunset.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-17.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-18.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-19.jpg

After the sunset we went and checked into the hotel of a certain Lamaji. This place had been "Fuglicized".
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-23.jpg

View from our room's window.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-22.jpg
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Old 11th August 2014, 13:36   #18
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Day 9 - Pangong-Chushul-TsagaLa-Hanle-Tso Moriri

This day began with me getting up early to photograph sunrise at Pangong. But the two others decided to stay in the bed. And leaving them behind I went and took the UFO with me. Despite extreme cold weather, UFO started in a single crank everywhere. I left it idling for about 10-15 minutes so as to warm up and then left for the photo tour.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

After spending some 30-40 minutes there, I came back to the hotel. Woke up everyone and we left the hotel by 8am. The plan was to drive alongside pangong lake to Chulshul, through Maan, Merak.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg

We took a lot of stops on the way for photgraphy. Pathan enjoying the view.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg

This is an amazing drive with only dirt/stone tracks and a lot of trails. You have to keep watching the road ahead and plan your way accordingly. We only found 3-4 taxis, that too till Maan, from there onwards no vehicle was seen till chulshul.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-13.jpg

At Merak checkpost, with the guard -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12.jpg

The water is so clear, it gives so many breathtaking shades of blue.Some more images on our way.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-14.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-18.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-19.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-15.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-16.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-17.jpg

With 2wd, it becomes essential that we keep our momentum, and rpm high so as not to get stuck in sand pockets or slushy areas. But the problem is that at some places the road is eroded due to streams that might have come from the mountains. So watching the road is the key.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-20.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-20a.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-21.jpg

At Chulshul, we showed the permits to the Army checkpost, but they stopped us from going ahead. The justfication given by the Jawan posted there was that the Chulshul-TsagaLa-Hanle route was redlined by Army and noone can pass. He made us turn back to Leh. He also suggested that we take the Chulshul-Erath-Tangtse-ChangLa-Leh route back, as it was tarred. But where was the fun in that. Frustrated we went back without any photostops, except when we spotted these.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-22.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-23.jpg
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Old 11th August 2014, 17:57   #19
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Day 10 - Hanle Again!

Today's Motto - " Aadmi agar than le, to dur nahi Hanle"

After the disappointing finish of Day 9, we started early from Leh but through a different route -
Leh-Upshi-Chumathang-Mahe-Nyoma-Loma-Hanle.
and come back to Mahe and then take left to Sumdo, and continue to Karzok for Tso Moriri by evening/night fall.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

The flying UFO was stopped by a BRO people clearing the road and making it better for the days to come.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3a.jpg

This road will tell you how hard they work to keep us happy!
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg

We actually flew past everything on this day to reach Hanle. And stopped only for such significant creatures -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4a.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5a.jpg

We were very happy when the Check post at Mahe allowed us to go to Hanle. We simply did not want to come back without visiting the Astronomical Lab. Finally, first look of Hanle.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11a.jpg

The Lab is located upon a hill, and you have to park your vehicle a bit below at a designated area. The lab is open for visitors till around 5pm. View down from the Lab, notice how far the UFO is parked.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11b.jpg

The 2m telescope of the lab.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg

The beauty of the place is such that you dont need a fancy camera gear to capture it. Even the 5MP camera of my iphone4 is good. The proof is here -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11.jpg

After the visit, we started on our journey back to Mahe, satisfied!
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-13.jpg

And also 'came' to this (adult) place -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-14.jpg

We saw an SX4 moving at snails pace down a hill, we pulled over next to him and asked if he needed any help. The guy was an army doctor with 2 ladies and a kid. He had lost 3 tyres on TsagaLa route. He had also sent his friend with 1 of the tyres to Chumathang for getting some help from army base. Since it was getting dark (around 6pm), we offered to drop them to next TCP. The guy asked us to take the child and ladies to safety, whilst he stayed with the car. We dropped the family at the next Mahe checkpost and turned to our next destination- Karzok.

Since it was getting dark, we hurried up but were stopped by a local biker. His head light wasnt working, and asked us if we would allow him to move ahead of us in our lights, which we did. Hence we got pretty late on our way, and reached around 9:30pm at the hotel. Tired, satisfied with the result of today, we clicked few images of the amazing star studded sky and went to bed.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-15.jpg
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Old 12th August 2014, 02:22   #20
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Wonderful write up with good pics. Few pics are wall paper stuff.

How was the light throw from the Hellas? Do you feel the placement of Hellas was good?
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Old 12th August 2014, 10:22   #21
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Amazing adventure, brilliant photographs and a really captivating way that you guys have shared it with us , thanks for taking me on a virtual drive though the beautiful route.
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Old 12th August 2014, 11:16   #22
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Another travelogue on Ladakh, and its yet another perspective. It never fails to impress. Brilliant trip. The photos are some of the best I've seen.
3 men on a safari, suits me any day.
I just wish...
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Old 12th August 2014, 15:41   #23
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Day 11- 5 Passes and 3 Lakes

A big day with the most difficult drive was ahead of us. The plan was to leave Tso Moriri(karzok), and reach Manali, if possible, else as far as we can make. What stood between were 3 lakes and 6 passes, and a yellow route (High GC must, 4x4 desired).
As we came out of our tent, we skipped a beat, looking at the Tso Moriri Lake, which was not visible in our night drive.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg

After Breakfast, we left for some fun around Tso moriri lake.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg

We also found these ducks near the lake. Probably these are called Brahmini Ducks.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg

And we leave for the next lake in today's journey -Tso Kiagr. A small but beautiful lake. and we had a lot of fun alongside the road.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg

What's in your mirror?
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

The first pass that we crossed was not even marked, Namashang La. It was there on our map only. We realised this when we reached Sumdo, from where we took left turn for Tso Kar, and the yellow route starts. The road wasnt very good and once again had a lot of off-road trails along with it. Suddenly we spotted water and smoke coming out in the field, some 500m off the road. Assuming a hot water spring, we decided to land the UFO and check it out.

The field as it looked was covered with grass, but had a lot of water and not all of the grass patches were stable, which we realised when we had reached almost halfway. Still determined to check out the spring, we mangaed to just peice together a perfect way to reach it. And there it was -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-13.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-14.jpg

Try Spotting the UFO in the following images
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12.jpg

The water was boiling hot and if you look closely the grass near the spring has burnt. We spent some time here and started our journey towards the UFO. The green swamp was a good grazing ground for a lot of cattle and horses.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-15.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-16.jpg

This secluded, un-commercialized hot spring was a great experience for the 3 of us. We started our journey towards Tso Kar again, but were greeted by snowfall somewhere around our second pass - Polokongka La.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-17.jpg

As we reached Tso Kar. we were very disappointed as we had seen larger lakes than this one. Even Tso Kiagr had more water than this.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-18.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-19.jpg

The yellow route came to an end and beautifully tarred road greeted us in Moreh plains.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-20.jpg

As we end the moreh plains, there's a giant canyon.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-21.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-22.jpg

Phototstop and we move on to scale the next two passes - Lachulung La and Nakee La.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-23.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-24.jpg

We came across this truck and immediately pulled over to drive(forget it) pose in it.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-25.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-26.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-27.jpg

The drive ahead took us to the Famous Gata Loops. The tempting part was the numerous off road trails.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-28.jpg

As we get down from gata loops, the landscape starts changing. and soon you are in Sarchu.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-29.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-30.jpg

continued...

Last edited by stormerider : 12th August 2014 at 16:06.
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Old 12th August 2014, 17:13   #24
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continued....
The drive to one of the most difficult pass - BaralachaLa began and we soon understood why this is serious. Treacherous road, completely snow clad, lot of slush and water, big ditches, snow walls, down the hill traffic, and a lot of breathtaking views, and snow fall to top it all make this a memorable drive.
  1. Treacherous Road
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-31.jpg
  2. Completely Snow Clad
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-32.jpg
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-38.jpg
  3. Lot of Slush and Water
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-34.jpg
  4. Big Ditches
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-35.jpg
  5. Snow walls
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-36.jpg
  6. Down the hill traffic
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-40.jpg
  7. Breathtaking views
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-33.jpg
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-37.jpg
  8. Snowfall to top it all
    Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-39.jpg

If you go through all this all you get is Nirvana! Some ditches were so deep that even trucks were bottoming out. and the water does not allow you to see how deep they are. Hence you just cannot rush through these roads, even we took couple of underbody hits despite careful driving. Everything looked like an articulation challenge! But when you look around, you forget everything, thats how magical this is.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-41.jpg

And we reached Suraj Tal - Lake of the Sun, apparently without the sun.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-42.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-44.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-43.jpg

We continued our journey after scaling this mighty pass towards the next one -Rohtang Pass or as much closer as we can get.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-45.jpg

When we crossed Keylong it was already 8:30, but we moved on. We stopped at a small place called Sissu for dinner and decided to stay there for the night.

Rohtang - another day!

Last edited by stormerider : 12th August 2014 at 17:16.
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Old 12th August 2014, 17:16   #25
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Nice travelogue and some awesome pictures. It is a dream journey and feels good that you have achieved it. I too have been planning this awesome dream journey for very long. Lets see how it goes.
What things do you suggest one needs to ensure getting checked in the vehicle before this journey. Any specific suggestion for storme owners?
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Old 12th August 2014, 17:28   #26
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What things do you suggest one needs to ensure getting checked in the vehicle before this journey. Any specific suggestion for storme owners?
I would suggest a thorough checkup of the vehicle and lights. Best would be to get the filters changed - air, fuel, oil. I made this mistake of getting the air filter cleaned. Rest is normal stuff like alignment, fuses etc. Its a great vehicle, drive carefully, and it takes everything in its stride. A true mile cruncher, we drove/flew for several hours on every day of this journey comfortably.

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The photos are some of the best I've seen.
3 men on a safari, suits me any day.
I just wish...
Thanks for the kind words. 3 men and safari- priceless!

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Originally Posted by JoseVijay View Post
How was the light throw from the Hellas? Do you feel the placement of Hellas was good?
They throw a narrow spot with good range. we had them pointed towards road for the NH1 part, as fog lamps for closer visiblity. And had used them as High beams in Batalik, KhardungLa and other night drives as it was completely dark.
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Old 12th August 2014, 22:43   #27
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A-W-E-S-O-M-E Pics!! Storme is looking magnificent as always..

Am glued to your thread. Leh is a dream for motorists and you lived it, Congrats man..
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Old 14th August 2014, 11:59   #28
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Excellent travelogue ! Enjoyed every bit of it... This trip is on my To-Do wish list It is travelogues like these that help muster the courage needed to go ahead with such amazing trips.....
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Old 14th August 2014, 14:21   #29
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OUTSTANDING…Beautiful pics..Especially the one with the three aliens and the UFO..Great travel log keep it coming..Must have taken a lot of concentration and focus to drive through the treacherous roads and big ditches..

CHEERS
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Old 15th August 2014, 21:23   #30
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Originally Posted by stormerider View Post

At Chulshul, we showed the permits to the Army checkpost, but they stopped us from going ahead....
He made us turn back to Leh.
Once again excellent photographs and travelogue. Appreciate your attitude to visit the places as planned inspite of these hiccups. I know at times these are quite frustrating but the "go attitude" is what keeps going.

I believe the army jerry cans would be of 20 lt each & metal ones? Which was the 3rd one you bought - plastic and of 25 lt capacity?
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