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Old 4th August 2014, 12:41   #1
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Default Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-tata-safari-storme.jpg

Backgound


"You were born awesome. Please don't die average." - Robin Sharma.

“I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking 'What have I achieved?' rather than 'What have I enjoyed?' " - Unknown writer.


I have printout of above 2 quotes on my desk and they give me positive energy to choose less travelled path everyday.

Chasing the Lama was our (co-rider Prashant and me) 6 year old dream, first we thought of doing it on Royal Enfield however it didn't happened till 2014. We got buried under the responsibilities and were going through a usual cycle of typical common man.

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And it happened! It was a casual tea time and the dead hearts started speaking about unfulfilled dreams. I was owing a Thar CRDe at that time so we decided to take chance this season and lets see how it goes. We were not 100% sure about success because of past failure but still we started the planning with full energy.

The first and difficult step was to convinces our respective better-halfs as they were going to play a major part at home in our absences. We are still clueless that how it happened however we got permission and we started the actual planning.

The Thar CRDe was technically capable of doing such expedition however I was not sure about comfort because of very bad experience on long drive with family.

Lots of things happened in between and somehow I decided to part with Thar, posted advertise and got a good deal as well but the issue was then in which vehicle we will attempt this ride. So we decided that we will attempt it in Prashant's ride the Italian tank Linea.

Discussed with family and took a painful decision of selling the Thar but a good news was we decided to replace it with family SUV. Everything happened like a magic and we brought a brand new Safari Storme EX for us.

First thing first, got the blessing from Highway king Kumar sir for long miles on Storme.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-kumar-hv.jpg


Now things started rolling very fast, two close friends Shashikant and Gajanan joined us which gave some relief about overall cost involved. I was having empty pocket because of Storme purchase however Shashikant assured us to bring in more cash for trip which was big boost in overall planning. Gajanan dropped out on 11th hours because of urgent work at office and our journey started with 3 occupant in a best in class SUV the Safari Storme, we wanted to see a lots of ice so we started on 24th May 2014 @ 10 PM from Pune.

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Introduction, Prashant (wearing RayBan) yours truly (wearing Army cap) and Shashikant (we call him financier).

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-we-three.jpg

Out 4th humble occupant who capture a lifetime memories of our trip.
Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-img_0341.jpg

To be continued...

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 17:48.
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Old 4th August 2014, 14:32   #2
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama... The Journey Pune - Ladkha - Pune, 7000+ km

Everyone in our family was curious to learn why we drove across half the country to see the place Ladakh so we created small video narration for them, here is the copy on you tube. Have a look before we start with actual travelogue.

Special composition of Zozi La drive.



Special composition of Khardung La drive.


Special composition of Chang la drive.


Some selective clicks.


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Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-zozila.jpg

To be continued...

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 17:49.
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Old 4th August 2014, 17:31   #3
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama... The Journey Pune - Ladkha - Pune, 7000+ km

Itinerary:

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Kumar sir made this itinerary for us considering our available days, our driving capability etc. First of all it looked very difficult as both of us did not had any long distance driving experience in a CAR as we are primarily bikers however Safari Storme made it very easy for us and we were cruising effortlessly days and nights. Our minds were set for Thar ride however we got Safari on time so everyone in CAR was blessing Safari for its comfort.

Preparation:

We three are physically fit still we collected all the required medication which resulted in 2 first aid boxes.

Safari was new and I wanted to complete first servicing before leaving on this expedition so planned a Kokan trip with family which clocked 1000 km in just 10 days. Got the first servicing done , educated myself with all the primary check point in case of break down from ASC mechanic in first service.

Planned second servicing at Jammu ASC, a HVKian friend Ajay Wali praji helped a lot to get it done within one hour so that we do not waste a day.

Things Purchased/collected:
  • A tow rope and D shackles.
  • Got 2 litres of engine oil.
  • PUC
  • CAR and individual insurance
  • RTO letter of registration as I didn't received RC book
  • A litre coolant.
  • Brake oil.
  • Grease and random fuses.
  • Did not found a jump start cable though however it was not show stopper as vehicle was brand new.
  • Car inverter
  • Full DIY tool box
  • Two 10 lit cans and funnel.
  • BSNL Post paid card.
  • Dry fruits, Chocolates, Biscuits, Maggi Noodles.
  • Four box of packed drinking water.
  • All types of winter clothing.
  • Dash cam - Thanks to a TBHPian Gautam Khadse for offering his dash cam on last minute.
  • Tamron 70-300 mm, 55-250 mm lenses and ND, Polariser filters for DSLR.


Fuel consumed and total cost:

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-fuel.jpg

Our budgeted fuel cost was around 50000 Rs however Storme proved very fuel efficient and we saved around 10000. On an average we got 13+ km/lit mileage on highways and 11+ km/lit at Ladakh region.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner T breaks and Accommodation.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-accomodation.jpg

Road Toll :

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-toll.jpg

To be continued...

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 17:54.
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Old 4th August 2014, 18:45   #4
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama... The Journey Pune - Ladkha - Pune, 7000+ km

Disclaimer: Henceforth the narration is in present tense to give a live feel of the travel. Hope you will enjoy it.

Day 1: Pune - Mumbai - Vadodara - Ahmedabad- Himmatnagar - Udaipur -Chittorgarh - Kishangarh - Jaipur.

Target Km: 1353.

Took a day off from a work for preparation, vehicle washing and cleaning done, bags packed. Had some sleep and now waiting for Prashant and Shashikant to arrive. Got calls from parents and relatives for best wishes, Gajanan and Kiran came down to give a bid adieu.

I am bit nervous as I will not see my beloved family for next 15 days. My toddler have guessed that something is wrong and he made a face which is stopping me from my dream journey.

Clock is showing 10 PM and we left Pune. Sent Whats app message to Kumar sir about our departure. I am still feeling sick as I am missing my son badly.

Express way ahead and we sent one more status update to Kumar sir and here comes first vasuli of the trip (read it toll).

Soon we received a Route O map to bypass Mumbai. We are now following this map cautiously and we hit a first traffic jam at Ghodbandar.

Everyone on board is silent. Why? yes we all are missing our families.

Soon the jam got cleared and we reached MH boarder.

How we recognized that we entered GJ yes, as everyone says. The top quality roads.

Feeling need of tea, we have home made coffee in flask with us.
First tea break of the trip and we realised that we forgot the important yellow strip on headlight. Do not want to take risk with cops. After searching luggage I got an innovative idea.

HiWaykings will recognize it very well.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-img_03341.jpg

Prashant was working for whole day so he is felling sleepy so again I took charge of wheel. We are passing through Gujarat, awesome over bridges, awesome roads. We got the daylight, after driving for whole night I am still fresh like a kid.

We are near Bhurj so stopped for nature calls and a first breakfast of the trip, tried fafada however quality is not good so didn't liked it, Safari is showing hunger so got it filled to the brim just after hotel. And we are on road again.

We are entering RJ the land of Rajputana, roads are narrowed down from 6 lane to 4 lane however no traffic at all.

Soon we are felling hungry as someone talking about Rahasthani dalbati etc. . Quick enquire on toll plaza about authentic food place and here are enjoying the food at Sharma Dhaba.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-sharma.jpg

I am feeling bit sleepy now so Prashant is on wheel and cruising through empty Rajasthan roads.

Instead of harsh sunlight we are getting cloudy weather here and soon the rain is going to hit the land.

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A typical overloaded truck on RJ roads.

We reached our today's milestone before the scheduled time Unloaded the truck, got ourself freshen with hot water and headed for nice dinner.

We thought of having quick go through from Jaipur however went to bed very early as we have to cover almost same distance tomorrow as well.

A shot from hotel room.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-hotel-jaipur.jpg

Good night !

Mod Note: Post Edited. Smiley usage is restricted to two per post on Team-BHP. Please do NOT use more than 2 smileys in a post.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 29th August 2014 at 09:38.
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Old 5th August 2014, 13:53   #5
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Day 2: Jaipur - Jalandhar - Pathankot - Jammu.
Target Km: 1200+

We had breakfast at same hotel and started bit late 7.00 AM.

Early morning at Jaipur.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-jaipur.jpg

And some authentic Rajasthani autowala.

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We are on 6 lane road and started cruising again however soon we hit the road block and traffic diverted to a very bad single lane road passing through villages of Rajasthan.

And we saw small desert

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-rj-3.jpg

Now we realised that we are behind the schedule because of late start and then bad roads so we decided and engaged the top gear and decided not to stop until we feel very hungry.

We entered Punjab and roads become good to worst. Uneven roads, unexpected bad patches and no traffic sense. No offence but it is true.

When its Punjab its time for food at dhaba. So called it off for lunch.

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Its more than half of the day and we still have lots of km to cross. So no stop till Jammu except nature calls.

we reached Jammu around 10 PM, got confused because of rush from Taxis. Finally found our hotel around 11 PM.

After having nice rajama chaval we called it a day.

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 18:01.
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Old 5th August 2014, 14:25   #6
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Day 3: Jammu - Srinagar.
Target Km: 228

Today we have appointment at TATA ASC for second free service of our Safari. Got a sms from Ajay Wali sir about our schedule and he promised to see us at ASC.

We checked out the hotel and decided to have a nice breakfast as ASC is opening at 10 AM.

Nice Chole Batura at local food joint, amazing taste.

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We reached ASC did formalities and left vehicle. We communicated out requirement and schedule to SA however as we all know the personality behind word SA. After watching them for sometime we thought that these guys are going to eat our whole day just for washing however soon Ajay sir came and assured us the fast delivery. He directly entered the directors cabin and then to the work lobby. He is respected personality in TATA ASC, suddenly everything started moving fast and we got the delivery of Safari in just half an hour.

We passed our best wishes to Ajay sir and left Jammu.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-ajay.jpg

Today's challenge is not the km but the bumper to bumper traffic jam in ghat section after Patnitop.

Roads are nice and lots of flyover and tunnel work is going on, looks like in 2/3 years Jammu to Srinagar travel will be reduced to 2/3 hrs.


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We got advice that to stay at Batot and start early however we are not in mood to spend one more day here as we wanted to see Ladakh as early as possible.

After tunnel traffic situation looks improved, roads are still bad however we rolling fast and can reach Srinagar late night.


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Finally we are at Quazigund toll plaza and our today's destination looks achievable.

Soon we are entering Srinagar from a narrow bridge and there is huge traffic jam. We are hoping for the best situation ahead.

Finally we reached the hotel, unloaded the truck and headed for dinner.
Now short pants are gone in bag and full pant and warm cloths are out. Yeah its Kashmir Valley.

As suggested by Kumar sir ordered Srinagar's special food, Vazwan

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-img_0383-.jpg

Today was most hectic day so headed direct to bed. Tomorrow's start time is 5.30 to reach Sonmarg and the challenge is mighty Zozi La.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 29th August 2014 at 09:34. Reason: extra smiley removed
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Old 5th August 2014, 15:06   #7
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Day 4: Srinagar - Sonmarge - Zozi La - Dras - Kargil.
Target: 234 and Mighty Zozi La.

Woke up at 4.30 AM, today is no bath day because of cold weather.
Headed to meet a relative at Army cant, had breakfast some photo shot from highest place in Srinagar.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-srinagar-1.jpg

Bird eye view of Srinagar.

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And we left for Sonmarg, after enquiring 2/3 times we finally on Sonmarg road.

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Soon we hit the first hurdle of the day, villagers are on hartal and they blocked the road. We wasted around 20 min till the Army arrived, ruled the situation and opened the road.

Tensed environment but still posting.

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We are entering Sonmarg, the heaven on earth.

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Here are the first snow mountains of the trips. We are excited and enjoying the environment however there is bit nervousness as we are in front of mighty Zozi La which we are going to cross in next hours or so. It will be test of driver, navigator and The Safari Storme. We have updated that the road is in bad condition and dug by trucks, once snow starts melting it creates slippery and slush condition.

We are standing in line of Taxies and trucks to cross the Zozi La. And we got the green signal.

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And we did it, over all experience was mind blowing. Storme conquered the Zozi La like a battle tank. Time for some clicks.


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To be continued...

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 18:10.
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Old 5th August 2014, 16:41   #8
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

We are passing by the battle ground tiger hill and we salute the best men of our country. For more information click here

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We are on the ground of Kargil war memories, a Army person is narrating the whole story with grate respect and honour for the shahid soldiers. We decided to stay here for sometime so ordered some food and tea, purchased some souvenirs to keep the sprite alive from Army shop. Rajma Chawal and Channa batura is very nice prepared by Army people.

Time to take leave as sun is about to set. We reached Kargil city around 7 PM and checked in to the hotel. Kargil is very cold today and its hard to take bath so again settled on just face wash and headed to market for STD. We are out of network for whole day today so have to update family regarding our where about.

Note: Idea postpaid/prepaid do not work once you enter J&K. It connect to Aircel which have very less coverage and very costly. Only BSNL postpaid on roaming activated works here.

We bought BSNL postpaid before leaving Pune however was not sure about roaming and out BSNL got dead when we actually needed it.

After wondering in Kargil market came back to hotel, had a nice dinner and called it a day.

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Old 5th August 2014, 17:00   #9
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Day 5: Kargil - Lamayuru - Leh
Target Km: 240

Now our minds are set to consider that we are nomads and our home is Safari Storme. Today will be easy day considering the road condition, kms to achieve and the places to see.

We have no exact plan and all the camera gears are out now. So enjoy the pictures.



Kargil city situated on the bank of Suru River (Indus)

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Mighty Safari Storme posing with the Kargil city in background.

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Awesomely maintained by BRO the NH 1

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Mighty Safari Storme standing tall on the topmost highway of country with HiWayKing and TBHP support.

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Indus and zanskar came together here.

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To be continued...

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 6th August 2014 at 18:15.
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Old 5th August 2014, 17:33   #10
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The historic Lamayuru greet us in the Lama country.

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Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-lama-5.jpg

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Then comes Magnetic Hill, we spent very less time here and rolled straight to Leh.

Finally we are in the Lama city after driving long 2500+ km.

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Last edited by Thar4x4 : 5th August 2014 at 23:11.
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Old 7th August 2014, 10:49   #11
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Day 6: Leh. No target and just rest.


We covered Gompa circuit on this day.

Woke up early and reached Spituk gompa around 7 AM to see the plans landing and take offs as suggested by TBHPian friends Amit. It was amazing experience to see this activity closely.



Hotel garden flower.

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Clicked from hotel room around 6 AM.

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Clicked at pearl market

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Spituk gompa adjacent to airport.

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Runway view from gompa

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Came back to market, had nice breakfast at Gismo restaurant and headed to Hemis.


Hemis monastery.

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The uniform

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The Monk

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After spending sometime at Hemis monastery and the museum we decided to came back so that we can spend some time for Safari washing and cleaning as tomorrow'a target is worlds topmost motorable road Khardung La.

Car washing centres in Leh are fully occupied with Taxi and local vehicle and they at least take 2 hours for single vehicle. They literally spray water inside cabin.

After some convincing and waiting we got the Safari cleaned.

Shopping in Leh is nice experience considering you approach right Ladakhi shop. There is small mall in main market and the first shop there is owened by Ladakhi/Tibetian man and he is very genuine.

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 7th August 2014 at 11:13.
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Old 7th August 2014, 11:50   #12
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Default re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Day 7: Leh - Khardung La - Diskit - Turtuk.

Target: Worlds highest motorable road and 242 Km.

As advised by Kumar sir we have to start very early to bit the 3 idiot crowd, so woke up early at 5.30 and loaded the truck however we have forgot to refill the Safari and reserve cans so rushed to fuel station however there was long line of taxies.

Finally we refilled the Safari and the 20 litre can and left towards might Khardung La. I am bit panic because of the road the Diesel smell in my new Rs. 12.5 L car

Stopped at first check post for entry and tried to put some more plastic paper to pack the can. This is South Pullu check post and we are banging on window on check post for entry as we are first rolling towards Khardung La. Soon police person came out from his den and got us recorded in a notebook and here we started climbing again.

Here is the video captured with dash cam.

While climbing we saw a convoy of SUVs from Mumbai and Bangalore stopped for nature calls, we thought that we have company to the top so kept going and soon we saw a India gate.

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-k-2.jpg

Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms-k-1.jpg

We were under so much pressure of driving on deadly road as we saw derbies sliding on road couple of time.

we reached the top however we were not sure about it, so looked at some boards and then confirmed that we have done it. The boards were in very bad shape as it was just a start of season.

We started clicked pictures and soon one HR passing Duster arrived. They asked us if we are from the same convoy as there was one Storme of same color, we said no we are alone and he told us that some vehicles return back from half way as derbies sliding from mountain hit their vehicle.



Dream, Determination, Planning and Support

We are on the worlds highest motorable road and pass.

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It is very cold, less than 1 deg however as per the plan we removed warm cloths to show ours identical T shirts with Khardung La text and image.

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"Sky is the Limit" yes it is.

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Coming up Nubra Valley.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 29th August 2014 at 08:52. Reason: Extra smiley removed
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Old 7th August 2014, 16:08   #13
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th August 2014, 17:35   #14
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama in a Safari Storme: Pune - Ladakh - Pune, 7500 kms

Another beautifully narrated Leh travelogue. Excellent snaps and very informative. Keep it rolling bro.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th August 2014, 18:15   #15
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Default Re: Chasing the Lama... The Journey Pune - Ladkha - Pune, 7000+ km

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thar4x4 View Post
Itinerary:

Congrats on completing your dream trip to Leh.

Good photos & am enjoying reading your travelogue to Leh Ladhak.

Few Questions,
1. Did you find any issues crossing the nala / pass overflowing with water.
2. Did you carry any wooden planks and use it. if yes, of what sizes.

waiting for further updates on your travelogue.
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