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Old 8th February 2017, 14:07   #31
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

8th & 9th October, 2015, Kaza - Key Monastery - Kibber - Langza - Kommic - Kaza - Tabo - Nako - Rampur - Narkanda - Shimla - Himalayan Expressway - Chandigarh - Ludhiana - Jalandhar - Amritsar Part 2

A quick drive back to Kaza and it was time for lunch. Had delicious lunch near Kaza Bus Stand, followed by quick call back home. Now the most difficult time of the trip comes, we all were feeling uneasy, as we were about to leave the mountains and move back towards home, you know, that's the magic of Himalayas, it leaves you completely mesmerised, but there are people back home waiting for us as well, so time to leave Kaza for the return journey. When we started from Kaza, it was decided to drive as much as possible. We kept moving and reached Nako around 08.00 PM, a quick stop for tea and the drive continues. The roads were in bad condition all the way and further there was no relief till Narkanda, just before Rampur, Saurabh handed over the wheels to me. I kept driving ahead. I was tired by now and finally made it to Narkanda. A quick stopover at Narkanda for a power nap. 1 hours power nap and quick breakfast and we were ready to move, Saurabh got behind the wheels and made a quick dash to Chandigarh, finally we made it to Chandigarh and had a decent meal in the hotel booked by Saurabh's friend. It was time to adieu goodbye to Saurabh, it was an emotional moment for all of us. But than things end and give way for new things in life.

With heavy heart we proceed towards Amritsar, well bypassing Chandigarh without getting caught by local cops is always a task, with the help of local, we marked the exact way of navigating through Chandigarh, of course, keeping speeds under check as well, finally we were on the road to Amritsar, next 2 hours were one of the best drives of my life, wonderful roads of Punjab and green fields along the highway. By 5.30 PM we made it to the outskirts of Amritsar. Checked into local hotel. We were tired like hell, after a hot water shower, we just crashed as if there is no tomorrow.

Being in Amritsar and you don't go to Golden Temple, not possible. Around 8.00 PM we finally got out of the bed and proceeded towards Golden Temple. The sight of the Golden Temple in the night will make you forget every little thing, every pain, bad times, etc. Peaceful 1 hour at Golden temple, and we were on our way to try out local punjabi food. We were suggested by locals to try out food at Kesar Da Dhaba.

The appetite of people in Punjab will make us realise, we eat nothing, me and my friend were not able to eat 1 Aloo Paratha, however we made sure that we drink entire glass of Lassi, which was yummy. By the time we finished our food, we literally had no capacity to move out. We were full, just full. Somehow we made it to hotel and crashed for the day. Long day ahead tomorrow.

Goodbye Kaza
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Typical Spitian Mountain Formation
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Goodbye Mountains
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A way of Commutation
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Dhankar Monastery, not sure though
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Don't Know what it is
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The River
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More Closer
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The Shadow
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The last shot from the mountains
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A shot on Himalayan Expressway
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Golden Temple Entrance
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Old 8th February 2017, 14:32   #32
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Default Re: The Great Escape: Cliffhanger Kashmir, Valleys of Himachal, Mughal Road and much more

10th & 11th October, 2015, Amritsar - Ferozepur - Abohar - Hanumangarh - Kishangarh - Chittorgarh - Udaipur - Himatnagar - Ahmedabad Ring Road - Surat - Mumbai.
After a good night sleep, we were ready for the long drive back home crossing through the plains of Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Well, we missed Wagah Border yesterday evening and my friend Shyam was not happy about it.

So?
We were suppose to take route via Ferozepur and I was aware about the Hussaniwala Border. The drive was quick from Amritsar to Ferozepur and in no time we made it to Ferozepur and turned right towards Hussainiwala Border. Well we were not allowed to go all the way till fence, but we were quite close. There is Memorial built near the border in the memory of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajdev. We were deeply touched and the same time we felt proud to be an Indian. I was not happy, since I was not able to make it to the fence, so I gave it another shot, but all in vain, finally officer posted gave us an idea that go back on the same road you will see a post there, ask the jawan posted there, he can definitely help you. We followed his advise and made it to the post. Jawan gave us binoculars to watch the border pillar and I was more than happy. We spent 30 minutes at the post discussing about the life in BSF, Attempts of intrusion from neighbours, how the division of land has affected the locals, even today there are people, who have their agricultural land in Pakistan and they regularly go their for farming on the permits issued by BSF.

Well it was time to move ahead towards home. The route which we took was via Fazilka and Abohar. I was literally ripping across the Rajasthan running parallel to International Border. In no time we crossed Fazilka, Abohar and made it to Hanumangarh. It was time for Lunch, the heat was at its best and we were feeling it even more because we came from the mountains. Delicious Local lunch and we were ready for Kishangarh - Bhatinda Mega Highway. The road is just fabulous all the way with sparse traffic. around 8.30 PM we made it to Kishangarh and decided to move ahead, the movement was slow post Kishangarh due to bad roads around 10.30 we made it to Bhilwara and stopped for dinner. Dinner was Rajasthan Special, Dal batti. Stomach full and we were ready for the dash to Himatnagar, my hometown. Around Chittorgarh, felt the need for power nap, so we pulled over to Petrol Pump and decided to take a quick power nap around 02.30 AM. When our eyes opened it was 06.30 AM, couldn't believe it, we slept for 4 hours, I immediately glanced at my phone, some 20 missed calls (dad, brother and cousins). I knew what was coming my way. I called back and was fired by dad. The whole story goes like this, It was just a power nap for us, so we didn't inform back home that we have stopped for a quick nap but tiredness took over and we were awake only after 4 hours and people back home were worried. After all this drama happened, we started moving towards Udaipur, my friend had to buy some local sweets from Udaipur. After quick breakfast and sweet shopping, we were back on NH8 towards Himatnagar. We were warmly welcomed by my cousin, had a quick shower, lunch followed by sharing the experiences of the trip. Around 01.00 PM we bid adieu to my cousin and drove to my village for thanking Lord Shiva for the amazing trip.

The drive on NH8 was superfast as usual, we quickly crossed Bharuch - Ankleshwar Sector without getting stuck and made it to Surat. Post Surat, we were welcomed by rains which lasted all the way till Mumbai. Around 11.00 PM we made it home safely with wonderful memories.

Information on Memorial
The famous National Martyrs Memorial marks the location where Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were cremated on March 23, 1931 on the banks of the Sutlej river. It is also the cremation place of B.K. Dutta (Batukeshwar Dutt) (died 1965) who was also involved in bombing theCentral Legislative Assembly with Bhagat Singh. His last wish was to be cremated at the place where Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev where cremated. The mother of Bhagat Singh, Vidyawati, was also cremated there in accordance with her last wish, and later she was awarded the title ofPunjab Mata (Mother of Punjab). The National Martyrs Memorial, built at Hussainiwala in memory of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru

The National Martyrs Memorial Hussainiwala, built in 1968, depicts an irrepressible revolutionary spirit of the three National Martyrs, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The memorial is located just one km from the India-Pakistan border on the Indian side and has memorials of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. After Partition, the cremation spot went to Pakistan but on January 17, 1961, this martyr's land was received when India gave 12 villages near the Sulemanki Headworks (Fazilka) to Pakistan. B.K. Dutt was also cremated here on 19 July 1965 and in accordance with his last wishes. Bhagat Singh's mother, Punjab Mata Vidyawati, was also cremated here in accordance with her last wish.

This memorial was damaged by the withdrawing Pakistani troops in 1972. The memorial was restored in 1973 by the efforts of the then Punjab Chief Minister, Zail Singh.

Every year, on the 23rd of March, the Shaheedi Mela is observed at this National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala, in which thousands of people pay their homage. The day is also observed across the state of Punjab.

Information Source: Wikipedia

On the way to Husainiwala Border
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At Husainiwala Border
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The Memorial
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The Railway Station
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Railway Track
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The Railway bridge that was destroyed during the war
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The Bullets Shot visible on the wall
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The Border Pillar
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My Native Village Campus
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Lord Shiva at my native Village
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The drive would have been impossible without my family’s permission. Kudos to their confidence level in me. Thanks Mom, Dad and Bro.

Shyam Sojitra, Thanks would not be enough. In spite of all the difficulties before the trip you didn’t give up. Your yes made this trip possible and we would cherish the memories of the trip for our entire life.

Saurabh Tyagi, Again Thanks would not be enough. Your navigation skills / guidance were vital which enabled us to complete the trip safely, your presence made my job easy. And thanks for being the co-driver.

Kumar HV, I don’t have words for him. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without your continuous support from planning stage till the Completion Stage. At least we had confidence that Kumar HV is tracking us. I remember the tips that you gave me when we met at your place before the trip, “Steep Descend me reverse me utaro gadi ko” , “Keep an eye on shoulders, so that you can adjust yourself when any vehicle comes from opposite direction” and “don’t keep your car on cliff side, tum andar ki side pe rehne ka, let the vehicle coming from opposite direction go from Cliffside”. All this tips very immensely useful. Thanks for tracking me throughout the trip, your message of “Location Update?? Was always on my mind. I always told my friend put a message to Kumar Sir, nahi toh he will shout. Your routes were accurate to the core. Thank you Kumar Sir, I owe the success of this trip to you.

Central Hotel Desk: The entire mechanism is just fabulous. I was 100 kms from Pathankot and called up CHD and in next 5 minutes, I got a message of hotel being booked along with the route, same thing happened at Kishtwar and Amritsar. Thanks Kumar HV.

Nitin Mendiratta, In my view he is one of those people who understand mountains very well. One tip from him was super useful, “Don’t loose the momentum and keep the engine in Torque when you are approaching any steep ascend”, “Don’t sleep at Chandrataal”, we didn’t and it was the best decision which we took, since one of my co passenger started getting symptons of AMS while coming back from Chadrataal Lake. “Be prepared for broken engine guard”, it actually was hanging when I left from Kaza.

Madhu Sudhan: A call at the night when he was staying back in Keylong really boosted my morale. He explained me sector wise average speed, best places to stay, whatever I asked him, he had an answer. One simple question I asked him, is Cliffhanger manageable in XUV 5OO, Madhu answers “Arey mera Punto kiya”, Well I knew I was going.

Pankaj Kumar Jha, for updating me about the road conditions over long what’s app chat alongwith Do’s and Don’t’s.

Gautam Basak, For last minute inputs on driving in Kaza Gramphoo Sector and water crossings.

All friends on what’s app group, office colleagues, my boss who allowed me to take such a big leave.

Last but not least my car, “Pirate” which safely took me across one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

With this I Complete my Travelogue. I hope you all enjoyed it. I would be glad to help if anyone is planning for the same trip or part of it. You can reach me at nandeeppathak@gmail.com

Thanks,
Nandeep.
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