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Old 1st March 2015, 22:00   #31
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Default The Last night story

Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014-img_4337.jpg
Having discussion with the guys about yesterday and last night

The Last night story


So here's what happened with the guys last night.

When they loaded my bike in the truck and sent me off, they tried to remain and catch up with the truck, but that didn't happen.
Ishan was ahead of all till Tangste and was worried about my whereabouts.
He thought that by that time I must have got the puncture fixed and went ahead towards the lake.
So he kept on going ahead towards the lake looking for me.

Rest of the three guys, were way behind and when they reached Tangste they tried to find me but to no avail (if only they had entered the main village or checked the register at the checkpost), so they left message for me with some ITBP guys (who gave me the message) that they are going ahead towards the lake.

When Ishan reached Lukung, he tried to find me and even called my name loudly in darkness around the dhaba areas too.
Hearing him, the South guys came out of their tents and Ishan then told them about my bike's puncture and then Ajay was feeling sorry to have carried our puncture kit with him.
Ishan stood on the road and after sometime rest of the three guys caught up with him and then they discussed what to do next.
Somehow they thought after I got my bikes tyre puncture fixed, I must have gone on to Spangmik village. Although, when starting from Leh we never discussed we will be staying at Spangmik. It was discussed that we will find lot of accomodation options between Lukung and Spangmik.

Anyhow, at around 8pm in the night, with total darkness around them, and in such cold weather, Ishan and Mandhir went on towards Spangmik village but couldn't find me of course. As per them it was quite a scary ride at that time. Finally they decided to return to Lukung and find guesthouse. They were worried about me and I was in Tangste getting worried about Ishan (other three guys I knew were at the lake only). After a while, as it was way too cold and there was no one around them to restrict their urges for alcohol ( Read: ME ), they decided to have some. That's when Mandhir bhai said that if I turn up right now, then I will slap them all and say "Saalo, mein guma huya hu and tum log yaha baith ke rum ke maje le rahe ho" (Rascals, I was lost, and here you are enjoying drinks) Hahaha
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Old 3rd March 2015, 16:12   #32
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Default Day 12 contd

Moving on to Day 12


So after spending around 40-45 mins at the lake, we started our return journey.
Tushar was supposed to wait for all of us at Tangste, but we spent lot of time at the lake and it was around 2-3 hours later since I met Tushar, that we returned to Tangste.

I again stopped at Tangste army checkpost and thanked the guys there again and also waved to ITBP guys from the road with a thank you gesture. They were happy to see me riding the bike.

We then stopped at main entry point from the road towards Tangste and looked around for Tushar for some time. I even went inside the village to look for him but he was nowhere to be seen.
Another guy lost

Then I thought he must have joined the South team and continued on, as we took lot of time and he didn't want to wait any more.
So assuming that, we continued our journey, but I was still worried about Tushar and hoped that he didn't had any breakdowns and was not still at Tangste somewhere.

So we started our ascend to Chang La somewhere around 2pm.

Sharing couple of pics while ascending:

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The climb was just way too steep. Our bike's engines were roaring and begging at the same time to stop this torture. Anyhow, we reached the top around 3.30pm, sharing some pics clicked at the top:

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The weather was surely getting really cold and not at all looking good.

The descend from Chang La


I hurried everyone up, although Mandhir bhai wanted to have a cup of tea there, but I urged him to continue on and we will have tea somewhere down the road towards Leh. Still while descending, we stopped again to click some more pictures as it started slight snowfall by then:

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Everyone was happy to experience live snowfall but I was very wary of the fact that the weather can turn to worse within minutes, so I requested them all to hurry up and get down from the pass.
As soon as we started descending again, the weather turned worse. Rain, snowfall, fog, bad road full of slush, traffic and it was just too cold.
We couldn't close our helmet visors as it was just way too foggy.

I will never forget one particular moment.
As soon as my breath was touching the inner side of the helmet visor, it was turning into ice crystals on the visor.
That really scared the hell out of me.

Ishan's help to Arvind


While we were descending, it had started to snow heavily, just then I spotted Arvind on the left side of the road kicking his bike furiously. I stopped along side him. Ishan was behind me and he also stopped.
Asked Arvind what happened and he said his bike stopped and now it is not starting.

I turned off my bike at that time. *Big Mistake*

Arvind was in a bad state, his nose was running heavily in that extremely cold weather, he was not feeling well and said he felt like vomiting too. So, I spoke to Ishan and we decided that its all downhill now and we should push his bike with the leg. Ishan said he will push with his leg. Then i tried to start my bike and it didnt reposnd to the self start. I tried few times again but bike didn't start. Ishan asked me to try kick start. I must have kicked atleast 10-15 times when finally bike got some pressure and it came to half-life. Half-life, coz it was losing pressure fast and I had to keep twisting throttle up and down to keep it on. Ishan in the meantime started pushing Arvind's bike with his leg.

The scene was just too bad. Ishan pushing Arvind's bike, Arvind in bad state, too foggy and cold, snowfall on top of that, very less visibility on the road, and my bike running with jerking motions. I got scared that if my bike stalled at this point it will be just too horrible state to be in. So I waved Ishan that I am continuing on. During that time, Mandhir and Jatinder were way ahead of us.

So I kept throttling the bike up and down and kept on going with the bike running with jerks every second.
As I descended down a bit further, I could see Mandhir waiting on the road for us, I just passed by him and shouted to him that Ishan is behind helping Arvind and I am going on as my bike is not running fine.

Mandhir continued to wait there for Ishan. I kept moving on and on with the jerking bike and started using engine breaking all the way down and was mostly between 2nd and 3rd gear only.
As soon as I descended further down, bike gradually started coming to normal state and seemed to be getting the power back. By the time I reached Sakthi, the bike was back in full power. I continued on and stopped at Karu. Tried calling the guys, Ishan didnt pick neither did Mandhir. Jitta picked up his cellphone and told me he is waiting at Sakthi for Ishan and Mandhir. It was raining slightly at Karu. Just then, Tushar came from behind and told me he had been waiting for us at Karu for last one and half hour or so. I told him about what all happened while descending Chang La.

I then called Jitta again and told him that me and Tushar are continuing on and will reach guesthouse in Leh.
Me and Tushar continued on.

Some pics we clicked on the way:

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Me and Tushar reached our guesthouse in Leh and settled in our rooms. I tried calling Ishan but he didn't pick up. Called Jitta and he picked up and said they are all returning back to Leh.

When they reached back to guesthouse, I came to know that Ishan pushed Arvind's bike for another 10kms or so from that point in that bad weather. So, after descending a bit, Arvind's bike came back to half-life too and from there on he could manage to reach back guesthouse on his own.

So finally it was end of a very tough day for us overall.
Chang La baba tested us a lot but somehow we cleared the test.

Upcoming Day 13: Drop-outs in whole sale, Return journey, Tang Lang La, Night at Sarchu
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Old 10th March 2015, 16:26   #33
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Default Day 13

Day 13


The Dropouts

Now the night before only, Tushar decided that he won't be continuing the journey any further, will fly back to Delhi and send bike to transport like Vibhor did.

He was not feeling too well and had some complaint of chest congestion. We tried a lot to persuade him to complete the last but significant leg of the journey i.e. Leh-Manali highway, but he had made up his mind firmly. He spoke to his family, booked his air ticket from cyber cafe for one day after the current day. He already knew about Chinar transport as we had sent Vibhor's bike through them, so we weren't worried about his bike transport anymore.

Ajay from South team came up to our rooms and said that Hemanth and Sathya also do not want to continue the journey any further, as according to them they can't ride bikes anymore. After effects of Chang-La maybe

And now Hemanth is pursuading Ajay to join them on a taxi back to Manali.
They planned to book their bikes via Gati from Leh itself back to their respective home towns down South, reach Manali, stay overnight, take bus from Manali to Delhi and then they had train reservations from Delhi for a day after that.

Although Ajay wanted to do the Leh-Manali leg by bike, but Arvind wasn't sure especially after his bike failed to start while descending from Chang La, so his confidence was shaken a bit. So finally, although reluctantly, both of them decided to skip the remaining leg of the journey and join the other two guys from Leh to Manali in a taxi.

So after all these drop outs in whole sale, it was only Final 4 left for the return journey, i.e. myself, Ishan, Mandhir and Jatinder.

Start of Day 12

After settling up all dues with the guesthouse, bidding adieu to Tushar and South group, four of us started our return journey by 11am. As soon as we reached the circle from where we turn towards karu, I could feel less air pressure in rear tyre. Oh no, not again pleas God, I said. Got down, checked air pressure, it was little less, used my portable electrical air pump to fill air and then we continued on. Tanked up our bikes at Karu petrol pump and had breakfast at Karu town.

Couple of pictures from Karu when we stopped for our meals:

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Chowk in Karu, the wordings were so true.

It was around 12.30pm something when we started from Karu.
Initially roads were ok types, but then it got lot better before we started the ascend to Tanglang La.

Roads on the way to Tanglang La:

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The ascend towards the top was steep but nothing compared to what we did yesterday while climbing Chang La. Few kms before the top the roads got really bad but very less traffic.
We reached the top around 2.30pm I think.
The top looked deserted and it was only 4 of us at the top.

Sharing some of the shots at the Tanglang LA top:

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Soon we started our descend from the Tanglang La top.
The roads further were bad to worse but landscape around us was just out of this world.

A patch of roads which lasted more than 20kms felt like it was all speed breaker bumps.
Such a bumpy ride it was. The road seemd to be under construction and all of us seemed to be under cloud of dust. It was close to 3.15pm when we reached Debring (Moore Plains). We halted at the dhabas there for much needed tea break.

Some shots from our break at Debring:

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No, they didn't actually made tea or maggi, just posed
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Last 4 enjoying the Tea and maggi at the dhaba. Pic from Mandhir bhai's mobile

Upcoming: Moore plains, Pang, restless night at Sarchu
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Old 10th March 2015, 17:23   #34
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Default Day 13 contd.

Moore Plains


We then moved on Debring and soon we hit another runway it seemed.
For next 20 odd kms, road was awesome to say the least and the landscape around us, well it was just breathtaking.

We really enjoyed our ride at Moore Plains, slight drizzle also started at that time but nothing to worry about as such. Among all this joy and fun, couldn't click too many pics.

Sharing some of the shots at Moore Plains on way to Pang:

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Soon the descend to Pang started:


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We stopped for water break at Pang and then moved on.
After an hour so, we found ourselves at another La's top and this one seemed even more deserted.

Some shots at Lachulung La:

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Gata Loops Ghost saved Jatinder


Some time after we descended from Lachulung La, the famous/infamous Gata loops started.
Me and Ishan were ahead together, some metres behind was Mandhir and Jatinder together.

While I was crossing the first loop, I could see the short cut kuchha trails going down from one loop to another, it had some tyre marks too.

Just as I was about to finish one of the loops, I recalled that Jatinder took one such shortcut trail on his bike when we were descending from Khardung La and on our way towards Diskit, although that shortcut was a very small and simple one. But the ones at Gata loops were just too steep and risky to attempt at bikes. I just hoped that Jatinder doesn't take any shot at these.

I think it must have been third or fourth loop, when I finished the loop and took the U curve to start another loop. Ishan was right behind me at that time, and I couldn't see either Mandhir or Jitta coming from behind.

Just as I was nearly half way of the loop, I saw another sight which was yet another horror for my eyes

Mandhir was standing on the left hand roadside, Jatinder was coming down from the shortcut trail, his bike's front tyre got stuck in the loose mud at the short cut trail just before touching the main road, and he toppled over the bike and fell right in the middle of the road. His bike remained at the kucha road titled to the wall on the left hand side.

Immediately, we stopped and ran towards Jatinder who was shell shocked by that time. He stood up instantly, we checked thoroughly but he had no injuries, minor bruises at hips, jeans slightly torn.

Just then I looked up the shortcut trail they came by and was horrified to see that. It was a long trail and I can easily assume it to be at more than 60 degree angle, just too damn steep and risky. Mandhir also took that trail behind Jitta, at one point during the steep descend, he even overtook Jitta and luckily he was able to get back on the main road safely.

Basically Jatinder was fine, but I lost my cool a little bit there and literally shouted at both Mandhir and Jitta. All this while while on descending roads, they have been turning their bikes off and letting it roll down the road on its own. I told/requested them many a times to use engine breaking and keep bike on if they want to roll down. But they never listened.

At that point I literally folded my hands in front of them and shouted at the same time to keep their bikes ON, the fuel they think they are saving is not worth their lives; and for god sake forget about shortcuts.
Jitta could only mumble few words like he won't do this again.

Things could have easily turn life threatening, had the impact of Jitta's fall been more forceful. He could have rolled down further on the road and down the gorge all the way down to the next loop. Thanked God a million times for saving him.

Later on when we reached back home in Delhi, I joked with Jatinder on facebook that the following Gata Loop ghost was in good mood that day so he spared him

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Pic taken from the Himalayan Club group at Facebook

Sarchu


By the time we reached Sarchu, it was nearly dark.
Found ourselves accomodation at a tin dhaba.
We were full of dirt and the accomodation was dirt cheap too at 100/- per head.

Some clicks during our stay at the tin dhaba:

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The tin dhaba we stayed at, picture clicked next day morning

We had good time at the tin dhaba accomodation.
It was a very different experience.
We had lot of snacks from the dhaba and the dinner and of course some warming medicine was again the need of the hour.

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End of a good day overall, with a hiccup (Jatinder, the Shortcut Raja)

Upcoming Day 14: Mesmerizing Baralacha La, Rothang La the final frontier, Manali and the split.
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Old 17th March 2015, 16:50   #35
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Default Day 14

Day 14


Today's plan was to leave as early as possible as were aware of some water crossing which we will encounter on our way today. So as the day progresses the water flow will increase.
We were also aware of the possibility of long traffic jams at Baralacha La. So everyone was up by 5.30am, and by 6am we were all getting ready to leave.

Some pics at the dhaba and the views around:

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Overnight trucks which halted at Sarchu were already leaving

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Me and Jitta tying our luggage back on bikes

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Views around us

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Views around us

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Views around us

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The dust on our jackets are a testimony to the previous day's ride

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Cute little son of the Dhaba owner, made me miss my son even more

We had quick tea and breakfast at the dhaba and by the time we left Sarchu I think it must have been around 7am.
We went ahead and after few kms we could see lot of tented accomodations on our left of the road.
We could have stayed there as well last night. Maybe next time.

Some views we saw on our way to Baralacha La:

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Road to the top was bad, and lot of water was streaming from the side snow walls.
Didn't encounter any major water crossing as such.

The pass was pure white and clean. Whitest of all passes we had seen so far.
It was just mesmerising. There was no sign board at the top, but I knew when we reached there.

The semi frozen lake


As soon as we started the descend, the following signboard made us stop:

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Breath taking

To be continued.
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Old 21st March 2015, 11:05   #36
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Just WoW! Pictures speak louder than Words. What a travelogue. 5 Stars. Bravo Amit for your grit and determination. Waiting for more.
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Old 21st March 2015, 12:47   #37
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by SafariMan View Post
Just WoW! Pictures speak louder than Words. What a travelogue. 5 Stars. Bravo Amit for your grit and determination. Waiting for more.
Thanks a lot. Log will be coming to an end soon
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Old 22nd March 2015, 18:52   #38
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Day 14 contd


It was quite cold while we were descending Baralacha La. The landscape was white and and awesome around us.

Probably after an hour, just couple of kms before zing zing bar, we came across a water crossing which looked difficult.
The construction of an over bridge was on the way on this road side, but for now water crossing had to be crossed through. I am not sure if there is some name for that particular water crossing.

Mandhir went in first and crossed it within a minute, Ishan crossed after him.
Then it was turn of Jitta, he started crossing but his speed was just too slow, he must have been half way through it, when I started behind him, and he wouldnt have had crossed when I was very nearly behind him. I literally had to shout out to him to pull it, pull it (meaning get some speed) else he would have got stuck in it and water would enter inside the silencer.

Upon hearing me shouting from behind, he realised the same probably, and accelerated a bit to cross it. I too crossed it but water was surely chilling cold, size of rocks/stones at the bottom of the crossing was not small. It was surely the most difficuly water crossing we had to pass through so far. When we reached zing zing bar, we decided to take a tea break at one of the dhabas there.

While we were sitting there, two guys came inside the dhaba. They were coming from keylong and going to Leh, the bike was Yamaha FZS (same bike as Amar bhai's which couldnt climb Zozi La).
The guy who was pillion had this huge rucksack cum backpack with him.

All of us really wondered how these guys will make it to Leh
We did apprise them of the roads coming up ahead and also about the water crossing.

Anyhow, after our break at zing zing bar, we moved on. Crossed Keylong, Jispa, refuelled at Tandi and soon started our ascend for the last of the frontiers/Las i.e Rohtang.

Initially roads were ok types, but then it got bad, loose mud, slush and slight rain on top of that didn't help matter at all. It surely was a challenging stretch. Jitta found it most difficult ascend of all passes I think.
Probably 5 kms before the top, it all changed all of a sudden. Smooth tarmac road towards the top. Overcast weather, minor drizzle all the way, heavenly views, cold air, smooth road..all these made the ride to Rohtang top very enjoyable.

But all this joy and fun didn't last too long because as soon as we reached the top, it was pure mess. Vehicles parked haphazardly along the road, heavy tourist rush, dirty snow all around. Just mess, it was a sore to our eyes which had seen the pure white Baralacha La earlier in the day. It was nearly 3pm when we reached Rohtang.

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The final four at the final frontier

We took another break at one of the eating point. Just then started raining heavily for few mins.
We enjoyed our time and looked back at last few days and what all we have been through.

I really thanked the almighty for allowing us to complete the journey, as we were only 4 left in the end out of 12 guys who left Delhi at the start of the journey. Considered ourselves extremely lucky.

Just then Mandhir bhai said that he want to continue on and reach Yamuna Nagar by morning to meet his fiance, as it was her birthday next day :shock:

I really had to reason and argue with him a lot. Then finally told him, lets reach Manali and then decide.
My younger sister(Ishan's elder sister) and jiju were coming to Manali that evening with their friend, so we though to spend time with them if Mandhir bhai really had to go. Jatinder also had to join Mandhir bhai then.

We descended down further from Manali and stopped at one of the small dam whose name I can't recall now.

Just when we were having our discussion, Ajay came from behind.
I was shocked to know that the 4 South guys left Leh in a hired Innova at 3am same day and they reached that point by 4pm, in another hour they would be in Manali too.

I asked Ajay if their cab driver drove the car or flown it down the hill

South team had decided to stay overnight at Manali, take a bus from Manali to Delhi next day and then they had train reservations from Delhi.

When we finally reached Manali around 5.30pm, I was able to convince Mandhir bhai to continue journey but stay overnight at Mandi and then leave early morning for Yamunanagar.

So Mandhir and Jitta started their return journey immediately. Me and Ishan remained in Manali, searched for the hotel our sister had mentioned, but couldn't find it.

We were really tired by that time, and my feet were all wet and cold. Spoke to Ishan and decided to get room at some good hotel. We went to Johnson's lodge and luckily one room was available. Took it and crashed for the evening. Spent good evening with our sister and jiju and their friends gang.

Day 15


Next day spoke to Jitta in the morning and found out that Mandhir left at 6am in the morning, but he had to stay back as his bike's chain is making a lot of noise.
By 11am he was not able to sort out the problem, but he continued on the remaining journey alone. Later on in the day, he told me that he is heading towards his hometown in Punjab (near Bathinda).

Me and Ishan left Manali at around 12.30pm, I wanted to reach back home in Delhi and Ishan had to leave for Jalandhar, so idea was to split way at Ropar.
But by the time we reached Ropar it was close to 8.30pm and my uncle (Ishan's father) suggested that I should come back home with Ishan and go to Delhi next day.
After giving it serious thought, I decided it was best to ride back to Jalandhar with Ishan as it was really late, and I was little tired as well.
By the time we reached Ishan's place I think it was close to 1am. Next day I got up at 7am and left for Delhi alone by 8am.

When I was about to enter Delhi via Azadpur bypass, my mind went back to the early morning hours of our first day. 12 riders started from Delhi and I came back alone and so did Jitta and Mandhir.

*************End of the journey*************

End of a lifetime worth of memories of a journey.
We really did lived the dream we dared to dream.

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every person involved in this journey, people who had missed out I hope they get Leh'ed soon.
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Old 17th April 2015, 16:46   #39
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

Wow Amit, Brilliant Travelogue. It was like reading a well written, interesting novel!! Loved every bit of it. The pictures are just simply fantastic.

The attention to every little bit of detail in the journey made me go on a virtual tour. Really commend your determination and grit to complete the journey after many obstacles.

Deserves nothing less than 5 stars!!
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Old 18th April 2015, 08:27   #40
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Originally Posted by Mahesh Prasad View Post
Wow Amit, Brilliant Travelogue. It was like reading a well written, interesting novel!! Loved every bit of it. The pictures are just simply fantastic.

The attention to every little bit of detail in the journey made me go on a virtual tour. Really commend your determination and grit to complete the journey after many obstacles.

Deserves nothing less than 5 stars!!
Thanks for the kind words Mahesh.. Another ladakh trip is cooking for this year... Will come back with more pictures and stories 😊
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Old 23rd April 2015, 09:47   #41
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Default Re: Lived the dream we dared to dream: Ladakh ride in June 2014

What an experience you guys have had. Started this yesterday night before sleeping and before i realized, It was 3:00 Am. Your trip was amazing and gave a very layman insight of what to expect when you travel as a diverse group. So much to learn there. Pictures were fantastic. They will mesmerize almost every reader. Looking forward for the 2015 travelogue now
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Old 24th April 2015, 19:01   #42
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Originally Posted by joelchandra View Post
What an experience you guys have had. Started this yesterday night before sleeping and before i realized, It was 3:00 Am. Your trip was amazing and gave a very layman insight of what to expect when you travel as a diverse group. So much to learn there. Pictures were fantastic. They will mesmerize almost every reader. Looking forward for the 2015 travelogue now
Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you liked it.

The lessons learnt from last year, hopefully would be put to good use this year. June 13th 2015 is the date

Travelogue will be up sometimes in July surely.
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