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Old 4th July 2014, 16:28   #1
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Default Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

Quote:
"agar firdaus ba ruay zami ast, ami asto, ami asto, ami ast"
if there is a heaven on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this
If this is how Emperor Babar described Kashmir, then I presume he never went to Laddakh region. Pity. But we went and explored this region.

Time for introduction -

THE MEN
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
From left to right - Anmol aka Launda, Abhinav aka Stormerider & Shantanu aka Pathan!

THE MACHINE
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg
Tata Safari Storme aka UFO


THE MISSION
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

THE ORIGINAL PLAN
Day -10000 to Day0 - Drooling, Planning, Home Ministry permits, Car prep
Day1 - Jaipur-Delhi
Day2&3 - Delhi - Sonamarg - No night halt, bypass Jammu & Srinagar.
Day4 - Sonamarg-Zojila-Kargil-Fotula-Leh
Day5- Kargil-Fotula-Leh
Day6- Leh
Day7- Leh-Khardung La-Nubra-Leh
Day8- Leh-Chang la-Pangong(Spangmik)
Day9- Pangong- Maan Merak-Chulshul-Tsagala-Hanle
Day10- Hanle-Tso moriri- Tso kar
Day11 - Tso kar-baralachla-rohtang-manali
Day12- manali-delhi
Day13- Delhi-Jaipur

But can we plan everything? Would we still call it life if everything goes as per the plan? Well lets see what happened!

PS: Special Thanks to Tanveer(tsk1979) for the detailed report which motivated and guided us all along.

Last edited by stormerider : 6th August 2014 at 17:36.
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Old 6th August 2014, 14:01   #2
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Default UFO flies to Heaven (Laddakh)

I have been drooling on Leh Travelogues for years now, but something or the other always came up and spoiled the plans. This year when Pathan called me up in April to ask if I want to go ahead and complete this insatiable desire, My first answer was that my lil angel is not even 12 months old, so wont be possible this year. Then he said -"lets do a Boy's trip!", and I was like - "get real Man!"



But I decided to ask my wife, and to my surprise she said that I must go, so as to assess the situation and terrain before taking our angel there! Hence the plan was confirmed with Pathan and we decided that we will leave around mid June(June 13 or so).



The biggest hiccup in this trip came around 28 May when our 10.5 month old daughter was diagnosed with chicken pox. The doctor told us that it usually takes 2 weeks to subside. But there was no significant result till 8 June, and we had thought of delaying our trip. But, god's grace, she started recovering and on 11 June, my wife pushed me to take off as per the original plan. Had got the car serviced on 7 May with 37500 km on ODO. Oil top up(400ml), filters cleaned, general check up and alignment done.



DAY 1

So with no time left, on 12 I got a set of Hella 700FF fixed on our UFO for the trip, was thinking of LED strip, but had no time left. Post which we left Jaipur for Delhi to meetup with Pathan. To our surprise it started raining, much needed relief from the hot weather. Reached Delhi around 11, and slept after small chit chat and discussing plan.



DAY 2

We woke up around 10 and left for market to buy the basic supplies for the trip around 12. As we reached the market, we got a call from Pathan's wife asking us to come back as the windshields of her car were shattered. Probably something fell during the rain and storm (not the Storme) which had came last night. So we went back to help her and hence got delayed.

Finally we left Delhi around 3:30 pm.

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg



NH1 as always is an amazing drive, we decided to sit back and let the Launda drive this stretch. Saving our energy for the night drive and the hills. But to our surprise it started raining like hell, and it was time to test our new fog lamps.

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

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DAY 3

'3 guys and a safari' was such a great combo. It meant 2 guys can drive while the third can rest, if he so pleases. We exploited this advantage many times, especially in this 24 hr dash to sonamarg. We drove through the night to say hello to the Sun in the morning.

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg

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As we were approaching the Jawahar tunnel, I found a dirt track going down to the river, I took it. Woke up Pathan who had slept around 5 am, and we all decided to take a small plunge and get refreshed with the fresh river water. But the water was very cold and we just washed our face and hands. Spent some time there and moved on.

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By around 3 pm we reached sonamarg and saw snow for the first time in the trip.

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg

Thereafter we checked in to a hotel and retired for the day.

Last edited by stormerider : 7th August 2014 at 22:38.
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Old 6th August 2014, 15:33   #3
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Day 4 - The Road to Heaven
We had asked the hotel staff about the opening and closing times of the checkpost, and were informed that we can leave before 6am or after 2pm. None of us is a morning person, so was difficult, but we managed to get up early and leave. Hence we saw Sunrays saying hello to the Moon, which was hiding behind a mountain.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-0.jpg

We rushed to the checkpost(5:45am) but were stopped and sent back.
So we decided to explore the local pony/jeep track which the locals charge you for and no private vehicles are allowed to tread upon. This track leads to a grass plateau and river. Some amazing views around sonamarg.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
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Since, we had nothing else to do, we sat there in the sun, and then decided to go back to the hotel to have breakfast and take rest.
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Around 8:30am, we got a chance to speak to one of the policeman who had come to our hotel for something. He told us that he will be lifting the barricade around 10am as today was Sunday. We thanked god and him, as the day was saved!
Soon after leaving Sonamarg, we found ourselves climbing the first pass -Zojila. The perfectly paved road gave way to dirt track.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg

Imagine I had to stop atleast 5 times on my way up, just to let the dust settle down, as I wasn't able to see the road ahead.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

Can anybody identify the make and model of the vehicle in front?
Soon we reached the Zojila top which had nice road and snow all around.
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As we started our descend from zojila, the views start getting better.
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Some reflections.
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Soon we reached the Famous Kargil war memorial.
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We had lunch at the army canteen here and decided to head to Leh, instead of staying at Kargil. But through the batalik region!
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-18.jpg

It was 'the road less travelled, and it surely made the difference'.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-19.jpg
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Even for our Pathan, this was new and he had not covered this sector in his past 5 visits.
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We had a lot of fun in these uphill/downhill dirt tracks.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-23.jpg
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And we scaled our second pass of the day - Hamboting La
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-24.jpg
Not even a single human soul in sight!

The UFO on one of the climbs, gave us a missed beat, and we realized that the air filter was choked. Hence got down and cleaned it ourselves. As we started our descend towards batalik, we had our first and only flat tyre, which took toll on our driving time. But we found this legendary cafe-
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-25.jpg

By the time we came out of this sector through Dah and joined the main highway at Khaltse, it was already dinner time. So no images after that.
We contemplated to stay at Khaltse, but finally after talking to the hotel which Pathan had booked in Leh, we decided to push to leh and reached at around 11 pm or so.

Last edited by stormerider : 7th August 2014 at 13:23.
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Old 7th August 2014, 13:02   #4
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Default UFO flies to Heaven (Laddakh)

DAY 5 - Good Morning LEH
This was supposed to be our rest/acclimatization day, hence we woke up pretty late. This is how the UFO looked like before service.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-0.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-0a.jpg

Had our breakfast and took the UFO to a nearby garage for air filter replacement, washing & general checkup. This garage didn't had the air filter for storme, and sent us to Tass. To our disappointment Tass was for commercial vehicles and that also turned us down and guided us to the market. Where we finally found the right filter and got it changed at the local shop.
We also decided to get our flat tyre checked as it had run some 250m before we stopped and was completely flat. It was in bad shape and we decided to purchase 1 tyre and replace this one and employ the spare tyre(which was new) for the trip. This decision gave us good grip from our RWD in the rest of the trip.
By the time the car got ready, it was 4pm. We went back to hotel, got fresh and rushed to Shanti Stupa for some evening fun.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
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Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

View of the Leh city from Stupa
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg

Some images of UFO with the Stupa.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5a.jpg

Got back to hotel and had our dinner and decided to stay in Leh for 1 more day and visit palace and nearby monasteries. Since noone was sleepy, we went out for a spin to Magnetic hill around 11pm. We also did the off roading at this time . Time for some photos -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7a.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg

It was already 12pm, and we were thinking of going back to hotel. Suddenly Pathan asks -"Are you guys sleepy?"
we -"No"
Pathan - "Lets go to KhardungLa!?!"
We- "Lets do this!"

Dont know what we all were thinking, but we went ahead. And imagine just outside Leh, Pathan asks us to pull over and goes to the back seat to sleep! Anyways we continue on our voyage. At South pullu, woke up the poor guards (sorry guys) to do the entry and keep on climbing till the top. We reached there around 3:15am. Try to wake up Pathan, but....
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7b.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

It was very cold, but this is what UFO was showing -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg

Started back for our Hotel. Saw a couple of Fox on our way back, but couldn't click. Reached back to the hotel at 6am, and slept.

Last edited by stormerider : 7th August 2014 at 23:09.
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Old 8th August 2014, 14:16   #5
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DAY 6

As you already know how the day started with our 6 hour drive to KhardungLa and back, so we slept till lunch time. This was a lazy day and all we did visited was Leh palace and get the permits for visiting Chulshul, Hanle and Tsagala. The DC office was on our way and getting permits was hardly half an hour job. but gives you complete peace of mind.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg

The articulated entrance porch.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg

The palace has beautiful architecture and serves as an Art gallery now a days.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg

The views around the palace are breathtaking as you look at the city, barren land, river and mountains in a single panorama.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg

View of the Shanti Stupa from the terrace and some brave people trekking.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg

After visiting the palace, we went around the city for some window and souvenir shopping, and slept early as tomorrow's going to be a long day.

Last edited by stormerider : 8th August 2014 at 16:52.
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Old 8th August 2014, 15:39   #6
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DAY 7 - Nubra valley & Turtuk

We started early today, as it was going to be a long day. The plan was to visit Nubra valley and go all the way to Turtuk and come back to Leh by night, Sheer Driving Pleasure .
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-1.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-2.jpg

Something we had missed in our night drive to KhardungLa - The traditional silk route.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-3.jpg

And we scaled the so called highest motorable road for the second time.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-5.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-4.jpg

It was completely white all around.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-6.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-7.jpg

As we made our way down towards North pullu, there was a small jam. Everyone was stuck because of misplaced metal sheets and large boulders in a small water stream. Two of us went and lifted the boulder and carefully guided the UFO over the metal sheets to clear the jam. The views started changing as we got down.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-8.jpg

We had our breakfast(maggi and omlets) at North pullu and moved on.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-9.jpg

Time for some photo stop.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-10.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11.jpg

As we proceed to hunder, the road passes through a flat area, probably river basin.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11a.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-11b-copy.jpg

and the scenery starts changing, you start seeing green around water/river.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-12.jpg

Amidst the sand dunes of this valley.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-13.jpg

But we did not stop here, and moved on towards Turtuk.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-14.jpg

Some beautiful sand deposits we found on our way.

Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-15.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-16.jpg

The road goes through Defence land which I do not want to describe in the interest of National Security, but you feel so proud when you see all that. The landscpae is a bit greener in this part.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-17.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-18.jpg

At the end we reached the Turtuk, and climbed on till we were sent back by army and this board -
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-19.jpg

The wooden bridge of Turtuk which connects the main village.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-20.jpg

After spending some time here, we started our journey back as we wanted to see the double hump camels also. on our way we saw this huge dust storme coming towards our Storme!
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-21.jpg

We crossed this and reached the camel riding area.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-25.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-22.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-23.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-24.jpg

We saw 2 Punjab registered fortuners, doing some dune bashing here, at very high speeds. Suddenly one of the fortuner jumped from a heap and came down on the ground, and the fun stopped! probably something broke.
After talking to an army driver, we decided to rush for KhardungLa. We reached North pullu around 7:15, and the guards were kind enough to let us pass and asked us to drive carefully. Which was needed as it snowfall started after a couple of kilometers. The stream which we had cleared during the day gave a nasty bump to the engine guard of the UFO. Nothing happened and we moved on to scale KhardungLa, once again.
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-26.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-27.jpg
Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh-28.jpg

Reached our Hotel at night and dozed off.

Last edited by stormerider : 8th August 2014 at 16:49.
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Old 8th August 2014, 17:18   #7
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th August 2014, 20:38   #8
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

Am enjoying reading your travelogue.

I have a question about the air filter.

You got the air filter cleaned before start of the journey and why it had to be replaced at Leh?

how did you realize that the air filter was choked i.e. what symptoms in the UFO? How easy / difficult it to clean the air filter by self and what were you carrying alongwith you to clean the air filter on the move.

How much did you pay for the permits (Rs200+Rs20 per person?)

Waiting for rest of the days of your travelogue.
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Old 8th August 2014, 21:17   #9
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Great trip guys and nice photographs too.
By the way the vehicle moving in front of you in the dust is Toyota Innova. I think so.
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Old 8th August 2014, 22:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vittal View Post
Am enjoying reading your travelogue.

I have a question about the air filter.
How much did you pay for the permits (Rs200+Rs20 per person?)

Thanks for the kind words.
Air filter is still a mystery to us, it was replaced on 30k service, got it cleaned at 38k before leaving, how the hell did it choke at 41k? Though I admit, we did a lot of dusty driving in batalik, zojila, but seriously. The manual also recommends a change at 10k if driven in dusty environment, so that's my best bet. As it is being an architect I have to go to lot of dusty sites.
The symptoms were dropped torque and rpm not going beyond 1800 in neutral. We just opened the box with screwdriver and blew some air using tyre air compressor, and smashed it (lightly) against a tree trunk. It was totally choked! All in all 20mins or so, and the UFO breathed freely.

For permits if I remember correctly 200+20+50 per person or so.

Last edited by Technocrat : 9th August 2014 at 02:17. Reason: Please quote selectively when quoting a large post as it causes inconvenience to our mobile readers, thanks
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Old 8th August 2014, 23:56   #11
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

A Very interesting and crisp travelogue and feels good to see people getting the max from their refined beast. Even i am planning to do ladakh on my Storme and your thread inspires and generates confidence in me to go ahead. An all boy trip like this is priceless and from your write up it looks like you had a quality time. How are the Hellas performing? Do you plan to have them always installed or for special trips only and how are they attached to the vehicle?
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Old 9th August 2014, 00:29   #12
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Wonderful travelogue. Excellent photos. May I ask which camera +lens combination was used?

Any information on the breakdown of one of the PB registered T-Forts?
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Old 9th August 2014, 00:32   #13
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Default Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

Quote:
Originally Posted by NST440 View Post
A Very interesting and crisp travelogue and feels good to see people getting the max from their refined beast. Even i am planning to do ladakh on my Storme and your thread inspires and generates confidence in me to go ahead. An all boy trip like this is priceless and from your write up it looks like you had a quality time. How are the Hellas performing? Do you plan to have them always installed or for special trips only and how are they attached to the vehicle?
I would say- "just do it"
When you return, you will have a lot of respect for storme. I am getting my turbo changed under warranty, have waited for 15 days for it, for which people are complaining in the official thread. But I can forget all this because I spent those 2 weeks with the beast, saw it conquer everything and bring us back. Salute.

Boys trip- priceless! I am not writing about a lot of fun, enough said. We did a lot of stuff we might never do with wife n kids, but responsibly.

Hellas were the right investment, at 7k with fitting, they are worth every paise. I have kept them permanent, as mine is lx and does not come with fog lamps. Keep them covered, and open when needed in rainy night drives. Will post the images of fixing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAS View Post
Wonderful travelogue. Excellent photos. May I ask which camera +lens combination was used?



Any information on the breakdown of one of the PB registered T-Forts?
I am using Nikon d3100 with tokina 11-16, sigma 70-300. Didn't use the Nikon 18-55 even once.
Probably 1 of the front shocks took the beating of the monster landing on the front 2 wheels at speed of 35-40 and almost 5ft fall. They were looking at it when we left, as we had to come back to leh, we didn't bother.

Last edited by stormerider : 9th August 2014 at 00:38.
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Old 9th August 2014, 09:00   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormerider View Post
We reached there around 3:15am.
Great. This is the first time, I see a Khardung La sign board clicked in the night. Excellent travelogue.
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Old 9th August 2014, 09:42   #15
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Default Re: Tata Safari Storme flies to Heaven - Ladakh

Thanks for the write up and the pictures. I am to travel scheduled end of August (30th). Any specific guidance / advice for a 2WD? I have a Fortuner Automatic. The bit on air filter was helpful.
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