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Old 24th August 2014, 12:53   #16
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 2 Continued

It was well in to 11 AM and we didn't have our breakfast. Beast had its belly full but we were running empty stomach. So though to have some Brunch kind of thing somewhere.

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Now just remember the name of the above hotel because it is a notorious hotel. Food was OK but the price it charged was like Tushar Kapoor demanding an Oscar for best actor. The price of the food was above the price list of a 3* hotel and a notch below 4*.

After 40 minutes leisurely chewing of some Alu and Gobi Paratha we are back on the highway again.

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Finally some rain for the day

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Nearing Ajmer

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Reached Ajmer around 2:30 and hit the beautiful Ajmer - Jaipur Expressway. The road again was a bliss and even before we could realize we were at the outskirt of Jaipur.

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Beautiful roads

To Be Continued...
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Old 24th August 2014, 13:37   #17
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 2 Continued

Now here we made a mistake. Well, mistake is an understatement. In fact we made a blunder and the veracity of which we only learnt later. From Jaipur we had two options. Either to take Jaipur - Delhi - Srinagar route or Jaipur - Sardasahar - Amritsar - Srinagar route. And for those who want to know which route to take, depending on the latest road conditions, then please do strike out Sardasahar from your travel map. Not only the roads to Sardasahar are bad, there by making you travel through many roadside towns with broken roads and horrendous traffic but also because, the town Sardasahar is as pathetic as it can get. Even calling it a town would be an over enthusiasm. There are no place to stay and if you are traveling with your family, you won't find anything remotely looking like a hotel for at least 150 Km in either direction. The only place good enough to halt for the night is Kuber Palace but their charges are little at the top. But then, after 1000 Km drive for the day, the least you need is a nice place to sleep and take a shower.

But you know what? We ignorant idiots took the Jaipur - Sardasahar route for reasons not even known to even ourselves.

The entire stretch of 250 Km were bad to partially worse with traffic as unruly as our Parliamentarians. Well, pictures don't lie.

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Just look at them

It was well into 9:40 when we reached Sardasahar after negotiating close to a million potholes and half a million free thought cattle on the road.

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Entire back glass is missing

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Threatening Rain

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It started raining cats & dogs

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Kuber Palace parking lot

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Now about the hotel -

A fine hotel with all modern amenities and the only hotel in 200 Km radius where you can stay without any fear for yourself or your car. At Rs 2500/- per night is little high but then that is the best you can get in that part of the world.

Ordered some nice food and crashed on the bed before 11 PM. Had a long day next day and were expecting to hit the mountains finally.

Stats for the day -

Name:  route.jpg
Views: 4142
Size:  153.1 KB

Distance Covered - 652 Km
Drive Time - 15 Hours

That concludes Day - 2 of our drive and with hope to hit the mountains finally the next day we slept into the night.

To Be Continued...

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Last edited by moralfibre : 25th August 2014 at 13:06. Reason: See note in post.
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Old 24th August 2014, 16:07   #18
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3

Woke up after a sound and peaceful sleep and headed out of the parking lot by 5:30 AM. It was still dark when we hit the road from Sardasahar to Bhatinda.

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Moon still up there

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More than decent roads

Soon we reached the small sand dunes outside Sardasahar and by this time Sun had already made its presence felt.

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Beast posing before the dunes

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Waking up early has its own problem for us tea lovers. Crave for a hot cup of tea made us stop at this roadside Dhaba

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After 15 minutes break we moved again. Filled the beast to the brim and moved ahead on some arrow straight roads.

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Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between-dsc_0389.jpg

To Be Continued...
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Old 24th August 2014, 16:35   #19
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued

After relentless driving for 2 hours, time was for some breakfast.

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My face tells it all about the taste of the food

Punjab and daredevils atop buses have a long association it seems

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This one is a double daredevil

Soon we were seen nearing Bhatinda

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Some straight roads again hit us till we came across couple of more daredevils, this time on a pick-up tempo

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Class acts

Soon we entered Bhatinda city.

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Not sure for whom that stop-look-go board was for

To Be Continued...
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Old 24th August 2014, 16:49   #20
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued...

There is nothing great to write home about Bhatinda city.

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Few More daredevils

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Looks like a Nuclear Reactor

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Soon we were out of Bhatinda and moving towards Amritsar

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After daredevils it was time for some street hawks

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Inviting roads

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Even rivers in Punjab were overflowing because of heavy rain

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Somebody thanked us for entering Amritsar around 2 PM.

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We contemplated visiting Golden Temple but refrained since our destination for the day was still far off in Srinagar. Soon we were seen heading towards J&K. We hit the Lakhanpur tool gate around 4 PM.

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Finally we entered J&K. What a feeling

To Be Continued...

Last edited by BeingCynical : 24th August 2014 at 16:50.
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Old 24th August 2014, 17:21   #21
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued

Soon we were welcomed in J&K.

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The excitement was not getting contained hence thought of informing back home that we finally reached the state of paradise. But hell, no signal on our cell phones. Then it struck me. How in the name of Neptune we could miss this all important point? All our phones are pre-paid connections and as per the wretched policy of J&K no pre-paid connections of outside states gets activated in J&K. So for those who may not be aware - Please do carry at least one post-paid connection when traveling to that part of the world.

Cursing our lack of going through finer details we moved towards Jammu but only to stop to relieve ourselves and our bladders.

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Live To Drive Bio break

Now we suddenly realized that we are hungry. The last food particle that went inside our system was back when Abay Kuruvila used to be the spearhead of our bowling attack. With no eateries in sight we decide to tear open our Bhel packet and prepare some Jhal-Mudhi.

After some yummy Jhal-Mudhi we moved ahead again. Not to mention, the greenery thickened up

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We hit a bridge after some time and the lack of water flowing underneath gave a contrast to all other bridges that we had crossed till now. Lack of rain in lower hills?

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To Be Continued...
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Old 24th August 2014, 18:54   #22
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Avidly waiting for the remainder of the journey B.C. Glad to know that there weren't too many hiccups encountered till at least Lakhanpur toll.
Yes , Pre-paid connections of other states don't work in J&K - for that matter in Arunachal as well. Something to do with the fact that these are both sensitive border areas.
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Old 24th August 2014, 20:20   #23
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued

Now here I don't want to reignite the debate but I am still in dilemma to decide if one should go straight to Jammu or should take the Jammu - Udhampur bypass. For me, to save just 40 Km, taking as wretched a route as the bypass is a foolish approach. I being a fool took the bypass and traveled through the road to hell and saved 40 Km extra journey but invited a lot of pain to my vehicle and my spinal cord. People may differ to my opinion but for me, taking the bypass is the biggest stupidity one can accomplish while travelling from Amritsar to Srinagar. As soon as we entered the bypass, all hell broke lose on the road. The scenic surrounding is unparalleled but the road; well give me a break.

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Some small temple

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Stopped near the lake for a cup of tea and did a chit-chat with the hotel owner over tea.

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Moved ahead and greenery got thicker and thicker.

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Evening was approaching with some speed but the scenes of beauty were forcing us to get out of our car and go on a clicking spree.

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Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between-dsc_0483.jpg

To Be Continued...

Last edited by BeingCynical : 24th August 2014 at 20:23.
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Old 24th August 2014, 21:27   #24
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued

The roads were winding and slushy but it still was fun driving through nature's beauty.

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The hell road I was talking about

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With more greenery enroute the sun started to go down.

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Nothing can be more beautiful than setting sun in the mountains

To Be Continued...
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Old 24th August 2014, 22:25   #25
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 3 Continued

The roads started to better out but fading sun rays weren't helping us make any speed. At an alarming rate, reaching Srinagar before 11 PM was looking bleak.
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Just when we were barely 5 KM away from joining Jammu - Srinagar highway again, I had this westernly disturbance in my stomach. Remember the Jhal-Mudi? Perhaps that did the trick. With no option in sight, I decided to do a trucker's act and contribute generously to the fertility of the hilly region.

No sooner I was in a towel and disappeared behind a big rock with a lota in my hand. So ferocious was the pressure that I was done with the act even before I could realize what I am doing. Like lighting fast, I am back near the car with a smile of relief on my face.

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All the above photographs were taken when I came back triumphant from behind the big rock. I even tried to be little philosophical.

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Not sure what I was looking at

After that it became too dark for any kind of photography. To top it, the roads became nonexistent. Except this bad boy in front of us, we never found anything great to click. And believe me, this guy was a real bad boy and acted as our bodyguard for quite some time.

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By the time we reached Ramban it was 11:45. Had some yummy Rajma - Chawal and inquired if we can get something decent to sleep for the night. The Dhaba chap directed us to go till Ramban town and search for a certain Regency hotel. All photographs of the hotel were taken next morning.

To talk about the hotel, it is again one of those pathetic kinds. even the look from outside would make anyone jittery. At Rs 1500/- night, it was a nightmare cave for me, you and everyone else. I am still in doubt if the A/C in the room was fitted with a Compressor or a Cryogenic engine.

My Advice - Stay AWAY from this hotel, if you want to call it that way.

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Since we already had our dinner we just crashed on the bed. Tomorrow is a leisure drive day hence a late rise from bed is on the cards.

Stats for the day :



Distance covered - 753 Km
Drive Time - 18 Hours

To Be Continued...
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:51   #26
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeingCynical View Post
Day - 3 Continued

The roads started to better out but fading sun rays weren't helping us make any speed. At an alarming rate, reaching Srinagar before 11 PM was looking bleak.
Fantastic T-LOG, and I have been watching the timings of your posts, Being Cynical! You have spent your entire Sunday to share this wonderful travel quest with us. Congratulations on a trip well and safely completed, and thanks for sharing a multitude of pictures and for the great narration.

Bring on the rest quickly, even though the new work week has begun!

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Old 25th August 2014, 16:48   #27
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Hi BC,

Amazing TL you got here and equally awesome narration. Really liked the way you have put the ferocious pressure bit ;-) Waiting for more. Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 25th August 2014, 19:45   #28
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Hi BC,

I really enjoyed the T log, that you have written. I really liked your oneliners, such as the 3 lorries overtaking each other, on our indian highways.

The jhal mudi effect, which i have done in my long trip from blore to ladakh and back around the same time last year on Jammu srinagar highway. I thought the road would have got completed, but looks like no development.

More one liners and t logue please....
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Old 25th August 2014, 20:31   #29
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Hey,
Fantastic travelogue. Nice images.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeingCynical View Post
Now I must mention a bit about this hotel and how looks could be deceptive. This hotel in one line - is a pathetic hotel. Just avoid it at any cost, even if that means sleeping inside your car. Rooms are smelly and nasty. The bedsheets are such as if never been washed from the day it is purchased. Least we talk about the bathroom is better. Just avoid it at any cost.
Just a small piece of advice/info to all readers. Do not ever try hotels just after Gujarat Border. Reason is quite obvious. Due to alcohol restriction in GJ, people just drive to nearest border! Hotel Kingfisher(Name itself screams) is a shoddy place infamous to quench alcohol thirst of Gujaratis.

Just imagine how drunkards use those rooms. Unfortunately you stayed in one of those rooms. I am not surprised that you found rest rooms unusable! After all they are used by people who are not even in state of standing perfectly

Hey one more thing. By thumb rule, always take Golden Bridge on Narmada. It also reduces your travel by good 4 KMs.
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Old 25th August 2014, 22:01   #30
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Default Re: Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between

Day - 4

Now this is a day where our drive plan is not that exaggerated. Simple and leisure drive was planned from Ramban to Sonmarg with lot of time kept reserved for photography and Kashmiri non-veg delicacies.

Though the plan was to sleep till 10AM and start around 12, the Cryogenic in the room worked wonders and we are all wake up by 8; even though we slept around 2 AM last night. Got ready quickly since we want to get the hell out of that place as soon as possible. The tout at the reception asked us for a feedback and who says looks don't express much? My look in response to his question perhaps said it all. Poor chap stopped then and there with his PR activity and vanished from our presence quicker than Sanjeev Nanda washed his BMW.

By 9:30 we are on the road heading towards Srinagar.

But we couldn't head much as we had to stop for some photography. By the way, I guess, now since we are on the hills, my blabber should limit themselves and give way to pictures to do the most of the talking. What say?

So here are the first lot

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We moved ahead but stopped again after 20 minutes to give all our best poses to get ourselves clicked with such beautiful backdrop.

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That is one heck of a pose

After having successful in capturing the attention of many truck drivers with our model like Avatar and wasting full 10 minutes we moved again. Vowed to click from inside the car till we stop for our ritual morning tea.

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Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between-dsc_0566.jpg

Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between-dsc_0569.jpg

Pune to Pune via Ladakh - The White Beast conquers everything in between-dsc_0571.jpg
By The Way, Road condition had improved by then

To Be Continued...
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