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Old 28th November 2015, 20:44   #91
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Day 4 : 23rd September 2015
Ghastoli - Mana Pass


We have come ahead 2 kilometers from Deo Tal board. I thought this was it. That we have done the pass. Wow!!


But what followed was amazing and beyond words.....

The two ITBP jawans who accompanied us in the convoy asked us to stand in a line in front of the mountain wall. We obliged.

Then they took out the bullets and started loading the machine guns they carried with them. We were speechless

SILENCE all around, just the snapping sound of bullets as they were loaded.


Once done, both the jawans asked us to listen to them carefully. We had to follow certain rules from now on. One of the Jawans will go ahead first and signal the second to continue. We had some hand gestures as codes, to follow, to stop, to stick to the mountain wall or to lie down on the ground.

Once we were familiar with the codes we decided to move on. It was told to be around 2KMs of trek till the International Border (IB). It was already 11:30AM by now. We need to cover this distance of 2KMs before 12:00 and have to return as after 12:00 it is the turn for our neighbours to visit if they wish.

Altitude at this point was already 5500m (18050 feet). Many of us were already having difficulty with breathing. Half of the team dropped the idea of the trek. But for me the feeling was I have come this far, I don't want to try this again for that last mile.

The movie Everest and certain scenes flashed in my mind. I was reminded of Rob in the movie, and his statements...

"I can do it.
It's right here, man.
It's right here.
I'm not coming back next year, man.
It's my last chance.
You got to let me do this.
Let me do this.
"

Yes it was right there, and a trek of around 2Kms separating me from it.

What followed was an ardent trek up the hill. Slowly but steadily we moved on. It was not easy. I was walking like a Zombie, breathing through my open mouth. My brain was deprived of Oxygen, I was not walking in a straight line, I was moving zig zag, and at time was at the edge on the mountain, only to be shouted at from some one already ahead or behind me.

After a few minutes of trek, we found the trail was dug up. Probably not to allow any vehicles ahead. Climbing over that pile of mud was almost like scaling a huge mountain for me. I can see and feel what's ahead of me. But a certain numbness in my brain. I was not thinking, I was just walking as if some one hypnotised me to do that.


A little later we found the trail dug again. With all difficulty I climbed over it. Suddenly I notice a mile stone, painted in white out of no where. It was covered in snow. I forced myself to read , it was just white. The member ahead of me cleared the snow, and it read "Mana Pass 700 m"

It was already 20 minutes of walk, and the thought of another 700m, it scared me. But I kept moving, I was tired, I was hallucinating already, I could not breathe, and my head was paining and felt like it was all puffed up. My eyes were watering, I was panting. But that human desire, that understandable "EGO" pushed me and said from with in "Do it, man. Push it". Rob's end was not in glory, I know that. But that human desire, after all I have not yet got control over my emotions, pushed me.

I moved on slowly, and just across the bend I could see rejoicing of a few of our members already. They were ecstatic. That gave me some motivation. I slowly inched on ahead.

By now I could see another mile stone painted in white ahead of me. Our guys were smiling and cheering at me to inch on.







Finally I crawled myself to the milestone. The coveted Zero Point!

Yes! I have done it, I have reached the IB at Mana


The zero point was at an altitude of 5634m (18485 feet)





Tilak hugged me, he was very happy. The ITBP jawan shook hands and congratulated us. The jawan told us we were the first Civilians to have reached the IB in a long time.


By now I sat down on the milestone itself, gaining my breath and taking in the beauty around us. I really missed my camera. The snow covered glaciers on the Indian side and the Purple coloured mountains on our neighbour's side, the place looked magical. It indeed was.

By now it was already late and we had to rush back. I was in no mood to walk back. I almost dreamt of a chopper taking me down to Badrinath.

Some of us collected some souvenirs from there, and thanked Tilak for the great adventure and the Jawans for the great support and we started back.





We slowly walked back and reached the point were we parked our vehicles. We were received by the waiting members and we shared our happiness. We all regrouped and started our journey down hill.

We could see many jawans walking up hill by now. A few of them requested Alok to drop them ahead. Alok left me near Deo Tal and obliged to their request.

I found a flat stone and I just lied down there. I dozed off for a while.

Meantime Alok went ahead for dropping the jawans. He moved further ahead from the place we stopped initially and moved on much ahead, making his Thar the Civilian 4x4 (4 wheeler) which has gone farthest to the IB at Mana till date.

Alok returned back after dropping the jawans, and called out to me. I was not able to lift my head, I was not able to get up. I struggled. But I realised I was very much near to the waters at Deo Tal. I forced myself to the lake drank a few mouthful. It was cold, but it was sweet. It felt so pure.

Tilak offered his prayers to the lake.

I slowly followed Tilak and reached our vehicles. Tilak offered me some rice to eat. I was not able to eat, and hence I declined much to his annoyance. The Fortuner team offered me an apple. An apple never tasted beautiful before in my life.

In a few moments we regrouped and started our return journey.

It was a mission accomplished




We did it for us, we did not do it for any records, and neither we have any intention to claim any, though all the fourteen of us know what we have achieved and certain truths and facts at this time. We did it because we dreamed, because we dared and for the brotherhood.


continued...
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Old 28th November 2015, 21:07   #92
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Day 4 : 23rd September 2015
Ghastoli - Mana Pass

We were on the IB. Google maps shows the same
Mana Pass :  A dream come true-manapass.jpg

The elevation profile
Mana Pass :  A dream come true-our-drive.jpg

For records, we have reached 5634m (18485) in this adventure, which is incidentally higher than Everest Base camp (5364m, 17598 feet) and Kala Pathar (5545m, 18192 feet)
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Old 28th November 2015, 21:29   #93
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

I have ethically and honestly completed my adventure trip to Mana Pass obeying the laid down rules as an obedient citizen of India, and respecting the Army for the great service they had done to our nation - by handing over my cameras to the ITBP check post at Mana Village.

But it comes as a shock to me that the very next day the laid down rules were breached for getting into record books. The pictures of Mana Pass were taken and shared on social media. It is indeed shameful that honesty and ethics take a back seat, and only your selfish achievements and records matter most than our country's interest. It is more shameful when it is breached by those related to our brothers in uniform.


For us, we get some pictures for our story, without breaching any law .



The following pictures which were publicly shared are downloaded from Facebook Page "The Indomitable Rider" on 28.11.2015 21:10 hours and shared here for story telling.

Copyright rests with the photographer and is unconditionally acknowledged.


Mana Pass :  A dream come true-12232819_449109401944484_3004901093536362407_o.jpg

Mana Pass :  A dream come true-12248029_449111725277585_5057752819740348560_o.jpg

Mana Pass :  A dream come true-12291080_449110725277685_6291146265963287307_o.jpg

Mana Pass :  A dream come true-12304518_449110911944333_8874392506769302991_o.jpg
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Old 28th November 2015, 21:37   #94
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

We do have a penchant for glory and records and break rules, otherwise why would you even mention Mana Pass as the highest where as it is actually not ? Starting from Kardung La, we have fudged a lot of truths!!


Yes you read it right.


Mana Pass is not the highest road in the world . The highest road is the one in Utururncu, Bolivia. They do not claim it to be the highest motorable road, but the highest bicyclable road. They have underplayed the glory, even when the support vehicles for the cycles reach the top. It has been conquered many times over. It is at a height of 5775m (18947 feet), where as in Mana Pass the max height we reached till the International Border was 5634m (18485).

You can read a beautiful travelogue about Utururncu here

The Support vehicle at 5775m
Mana Pass :  A dream come true-p_20131109_133232.jpg

Picture source is the travelogue above, and copyright belongs to the blogger and is unconditionally acknowledged
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Old 28th November 2015, 21:50   #95
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Day 4 : 23rd September 2015
Ghastoli - Mana Pass

We continued our descend to Ghastoli after our successful completion of Mana Pass. We dropped the jawans at Jagraon Check Post and after thanking them we moved on. We reached the point where the support vehicles and bikes were parked. We took our bikes and continued on wards to Ghastoli.

On reaching Ghastoli, since many of us including me was showing signs of fatigue, we decided to stay for the night at Badrinath instead of Ghastoli as previously planned.

We packed our tents and luggage and continued on to Badrinath. We reached Badrinath around 19:00 hours. Our rooms were ready and we were happy to get a bed to rest. i took some rest and took a hot water bath and refreshed myself. My headache was getting better and by 21:00 hours we all went for hot dinner. After dinner I felt a lot better.

We chatted for a while recollecting our adventure. Tomorrow we will be heading in different directions to carry on with our mundane life

By 23:00 hours I called it a day and went to sleep, satisfied with memories of a great adventure.
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Old 2nd December 2015, 11:43   #96
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Awesome end, you really pushed yourself to achieve this feat. Kudos!
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Old 2nd December 2015, 18:29   #97
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Excellent travelogue and some uncharted territories covered. Kudos to you!
Excellent pictures to match the narration as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Mana Pass is not the highest road in the world . The highest road is the one in Utururncu, Bolivia. They do not claim it to be the highest motorable road, but the highest bicyclable road. They have underplayed the glory, even when the support vehicles for the cycles reach the top. It has been conquered many times over. It is at a height of 5775m (18947 feet), where as in Mana Pass the max height we reached till the International Border was 5634m (18485).
One question here. Isn't Marsimik La a bit higher than both (other being Khardung La) at 5777 m (18953 feet)?
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Old 3rd December 2015, 21:07   #98
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead_mait View Post
One question here. Isn't Marsimik La a bit higher than both (other being Khardung La) at 5777 m (18953 feet)?

I have not been to Marsimik La. So I cannot tell you the actual altitude. But a trusted travellor has recorded 5580m(~18300 feet). So it should be lower than Mana pass.


Khardung la recorded 5372m (17623 feet) on my device but what is stated everywhere is it is 18380 feet

We fudge numbers for Glory
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Old 28th February 2016, 21:00   #99
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Day 5 : 24th September 2015
Mana - Srinagar

After a very good sleep, woke up leisurely. Team were already awake and was doing the packing up for the long journey home.

Neelkant peak in the morning
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Some guys decided to get some sun
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I checked out Gurkha's heart
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Who caught who?
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Gurkha getting checked for the journey back
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continued...
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Old 28th February 2016, 21:24   #100
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Default Re: Mana Pass : A dream come true

Day 5 : 24th September 2015
Mana - Srinagar

We decided to get some souvenirs before heading home
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He comes
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He goes
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continued...
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Old 28th February 2016, 21:46   #101
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Day 5 : 24th September 2015
Mana - Srinagar

Dilli abhi door hai yaar
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When we came up to Mana, our enthusiasm made us ignore the roads
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The famous junction for turning around to Valley of Flowers
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Roads continued to be treacherous!
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Finally we crossed the bridge.
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continued...
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Old 28th February 2016, 22:05   #102
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Day 5 : 24th September 2015
Mana - Srinagar

We continued the drive
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Dilli abhi bhi door hai, looking at it Srinagar at 153Kms was a safer bet
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Winding roads along the river with beautiful views
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We reached Joshimath
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Delhi still over 500Kms
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Some power plant under construction?
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Ah!, finally Delhi is sub 500Kms
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continued...
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Old 28th February 2016, 22:15   #103
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Day 5 : 24th September 2015
Mana - Srinagar

Inside the Support vehicle
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Scooterman
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Biker men
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Bikerman
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Chai break at Karna Prayag
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Karna Prayag
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We were near Srinagar
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Sunset was already over, would have been nice here
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By 20:00 hours we settled into our hotel at Srinagar. After a refreshing bath we joined together in a room. Tilak projected some photos from his various treks and narrated the history and mythology of those places. It was very interesting to know such places exist. Thinking someday will do one by one said goodbye to the team and retired to my room for a good nights sleep.


Tomorrow we hit the road to Delhi
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Old 29th February 2016, 21:39   #104
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Day 6 : 25th September 2015
Srinagar - Delhi

Woke up early for our drive to Delhi. Hugs and Bye byes later we were ready to roll.

Caught this map at the hotel
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We stopped for breakfast at Daniel's Dip Restaurant

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A nice place with cottages overlooking The Ganges
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It is rafting time everywhere here!
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continued...
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Old 29th February 2016, 21:55   #105
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Day 6 : 25th September 2015
Srinagar - Delhi


We took a detour
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Via Chilla
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Specifically to take rest under our favourite tree

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We drove through Rajaji National Park
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Some clicks from there
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Nice treed pathways
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This sticker was so

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Reached Delhi by 15:00 hours. I was booked at a hotel in Kaushambi. After a refreshing bath went to Pacific Mall.

Pacific mall
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From the foot over bridge
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Took tickets to an English movie and whiled away my time.

Some ads before the movie
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Movie was not very good as expected, since the first in the series was very well shot and this one was a disaster!!

Had dinner from the mall and reached hotel and had a very good sleep.

Next day was my flight to Bangalore.


Day 7 : 26th September 2015
Delhi - Bangalore

Took Metro from Kaushambi to Dwaraka Sector 21. After a cool 2 hours reached Dwaraka. Took Airport line to Aerocity, and took a shuttle to T1.

Got into the flight for an uneventful trip to Bangalore.

Got into a Airport Volvo service and reached home in an hour. By evening screened another movie at home munching home made snacks and bidding high altitudes good by for now!!


Never did I know that I was to return to the Himalayas in three months for Christmas

The End.
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