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Old 21st October 2014, 12:40   #1
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Default 4 idiots, 1 XUV500 and 2415 kms - From Amritsar to Leh

A preview of the beauty that ladakh is

When someone plans a holiday trip, what places does he/she look for?

1) Hills/snowfall
2) Lakes
3)Deserts/Camel rides
4)Beaches

What if we want to go to a destination which gives us access to almost all the above wishes?
Simple. Go to Ladakh.. Once you have been there, no other place will mesmerize you as much as it does. And it surely did mesmerize us.

PROLOGUE:

The idea of visiting ladakh had been in my mind for almost 2.5 years now, but due to one reason or the other it kept on being postponed. this year, i had made up my mind that come what may. ladakh will be conquered this time. And so the preparations started.
Initially there were to be three of us but as things panned out, ultimately the list expanded to 4. one more was interested nut 3 persons on the back seat for such a long trip would have been a bit too much for comfort so decided to stick with 4.
We checked out the various things needed for the vehicle, its check up, all the medicines and other things that have been so beautifully summarised in tanveer s thread. infact that thread became the bible of our trip. It gave us everything from all the above information plus various routes to take, routes to avoid, precautions, adventures and many more. Had it not been for that thread, i would still have been dreaming about this trip.
The dates were decided. we would leave on 5th sep fro amritsar via srinagar route and come back by manali. But as fate would have it, the srinagar tragedy occured and it seemed that this year too, we will not be able to go. The parents, relatives, friends all discouraged us from going but we were so adamant to go and that what we were called idiots and hence the title 4 idiots
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Old 21st October 2014, 14:01   #2
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Meanwhile, an interesting conversation took place between my and Sachin (my friend who as to go with us from jalandhar) wife:

Sachin s wife: Why dont you ask manas to cancel this trip? I talked to sachin and he says ," Lets see"

My wife: I cannot do that. All i can ask him is to be careful and not be too adventurous.

Sachin s wife: Why? Why cannot you ask him?

My wife: Because manas is so obsessed with this trip. he has been preparing for it since last 2 years and i am afraid if the trip does not happen this time, he may go into depression

So the whole itinerary of our trip changed. This was what we finally managed to do.


09/09/14: Asr to manali
10/09/14: Manali to sarchu (this was a mistake)
11/09/14: Sarchu to leh
12/09/14: Leh
13/09/14: Leh to nubra and back
14/09/14: Leh to pangong and back
15/09/14: Leh
16/09/14: Leh to manali (yes, we did it in a day)
17/09/14: Manali
18/09/14: Manali to asr

Day One:
Started early at 5.30 AM from amritsar. Had done all the packing in the vehicle at night only. The vehicle was packed to the brim including the luggage carrier. At 6.30 we reached jalandhar to pick sachin from his home and finally the real journey started.
We took the Una-Manali road instead of the usual road as this is a nice road with very less traffic. We reached Una at 8.45 AM and took our first break at 9.45 AM around 1 hr from UNA for our breakfast. The food was good and tasty too, so had a sumptuous breakfast there. till this time i was driving. thereafter sachin took his turn at the drivers seat. We two were the only ones who drove during the whole journey.
The rest of the journey till manali was uneventful and we reached there at 03.45 PM. the search for a hotel started and finally we checked in at hotel Mayflower. Its a beautiful hotel with large rooms. We booked a suite for the 4 of us which costed us a total of Rs 4500
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Old 21st October 2014, 14:16   #3
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These are the pics of our hotel where we stayed.

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DAY 2:
We decided to leave around 8 AM in the morning but lazy as we were, we could only leave at 9.30 AM. The last pic in the previous post was just before leaving.
The roads were good and we did not encounter any traffic jams on our way and hence reached Rohtang at 11.00 AM. Stopped there for the permits and a few snaps and drove off.
The roads were hell while climbing down from rohtang. infact i wont be wrong to say that at places there were no roads at all. This condition of the roads continued till sarchu leave aside a few kms here and there.
We tanked up again at Tandi petrol pump where we reached at 1.15 PM.
The journey continued further at a slow pace on these roads and we reached Jispa around 2.30 PM and stopped there for lunch. Now we had a choice to make.

1) Whether we stay at jsipa only and continue our journey next morning.
2) We continue driving and reach sarchu and stay there.

I had read in tanveer s thread that staying at sarchu after manali is a disaster waiting to happen and knew this to be true too. But when the devil get s into the head, sanity disappears. So unanimously, we decidied to reach sarchu. There were 2 resons for this.

1) A night before, a known of mine had rested at sarchu and further continued to leh.
2) Sarchu is almost halfway to leh whereas from Jispa, leh is around 340 kms ( total distance from manali to leh is around 490 kms). So we felt, it would be difficult for us to cover around 350 kms in a day if we stay at jispa. And hence we decided to continue our journey.

En route all this journey, we crossed Barchung La. We had to wait before starting our ascent to give way to around 100 army trucks that were on their way down (All army trucks were using this route due to srinagar tragedy)
Finally we reached sarchu at 6.45 PM. We were damn tired due to the roads that we traveled on and the AMS had also started to take its toll at this high altitude of around 14000 ft. The stay at sarchu was a nightmare to say the least.
We had difficulty eating our food. To pick up the spoon of rice and dal, bringing it to mouth and eating it was an effort.
In the night while sleeping in the tents, there were episodes of breathlessness. We were not able to sleep in one position for more than 20-25 min.
I thought that, finally the oxygen cylinder which we had bought with us would be put to use here. But thankfully, nothing of this sort happened. the nightmare passed and the morning was much better and we were ready to go. But because of all the difficulties that we encountered the previous night we were able to start only by 9.30 AM.
Following are the pictures taken enroute sarchu.

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Old 21st October 2014, 14:55   #4
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We also crossed two more lakes on our way, deepak taal and suraj taal.
A few more pics
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Old 21st October 2014, 16:13   #5
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Default re: 4 idiots, 1 XUV500 and 2415 kms - From Amritsar to Leh

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues Section. Thanks for the sharing
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Old 22nd October 2014, 09:58   #6
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DAY 3:
This is the day when we finally entered ladakh region and the real fun started.
As mentioned before, due to the problematic previous night, we could start only by 9.20 AM in the morning after breakfast. The camp owner told us that we are very late and all other people have already left.
Another problem for us was that after jispa, there was no mobile network and we forgot to tell this to our families. hence we were not in contact with them since 2.30 PM the previous day. So we enquire about ant telephone fcilities. there was one satellite phone in an army camp around 7 kms from there. We called up our families from there and were ready to move on at 10.00 AM
The landscape is all barren here on with very little traffic and absolutely clear sky. Its an amazing feeling for anyone who is visiting it for the first time. And we were truly amazed.
Then came the famous gata loops with lots of twists and turns. it was very exciting to drive on these loops. It had lots of shortcuts but as advised by tanveer, we refrained from taking any of these and continued on the usual route. The last time i had seen such bends was around 2 years earlier on my visit to ooty ( famous hair pin bends). We passed the gata loops at 11.15 AM
After this, we crossd 2 passes, NAKEELA and LACHUNGLA within 30 min. at 11. 45 AM and 12.15 PM respectively.
We reached Pang at 01.10 PM and stopped there for a quick lunch, as at 15280 ft height, we thought better to move on. There we met a german Cyclist, who had been travelling since the last 16 days and started from shimla

Post pang, we entered More plains. It s an awe inspiring feeling to see such plains at 15000 ft height. Unbelievable
We crossed another pass TANGLANGLA on our way and finally reached leh at 5.30 PM.
The roads after sarchu are mostly good barring a few bad patches here and there.
Started our search of hotel and finally checked in at ZEN LADAKH. Its a beautiful hotel with very courteous staff and excellent food.
Few pics enroute sarchu to leh.
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