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Old 21st June 2016, 16:43   #1
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Post Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

‘Ladakh Again’! This was the reaction when I popped the proposal of yet another Ladakh trip to my family and friends. But thanks to common friend Arnab Mukherjee (driving from Bangalore), fellow BHpian Santanu Chakraborty (driving from Kolkata) and my super crazy wife (the backbone of all my trips), the Ladakh Reloaded 2016 plan started to unfold its wings.

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THE TEAM at Pangong Tso (from LHS to RHS Arina, Arnab, Myself Arunasish and my wife Sudeshna
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Arnab Mukherjee and Me at Magnetic Hill

By April end, we had chalked the below itinerary, post consultation with HV Kumar Sir:
Day 1: 21st May, 2016: Asansol to Agra
Day 2: 22nd May, 2016: Agra to Jammu
Day 3: 23rd May, 2016: Jammu to Sonamarg via Mughal Road
Day 4: 24th May, 2016: Sonamarg to Kargil
Day 5: 25th May, 2016: Kargil to Rangdum
Day 6: 26th May, 2016: Rangdum to Padum(Zanskar Valley)
Day 7: 27th May, 2016: Padum to Rangdum
Day 8: 28th May, 2016: Rangdum to Leh
Day 9: 29th May, 2016: Leh to Turtuk via Diskit/Hunder
Day 10: 30th May, 2o16: Turtuk to Leh
Day 11: 31st May, 2016: Leh to Pangong Tso
Day 12: 1st June, 2016: Pangong Tso to Hanle
Day 13: 2nd June, 2016: Hanle to Tso Moriri
Day 14: 3rd June, 2016: Tso Moriri to Jispa
Day 15: 4th June, 2016: Jispa to Manali
Day 16: 5th June, 2016: Manali to Karnal
Day 17: 6th June, 2016: Karnal to Agra
Day 18: 7th June, 2016: Agra to Asansol

Finally when we completed the trip the itinerary had changed and we reached home before schedule.

Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze-map-1.jpg
Map 1 showing the route we took upto Turtuk

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Map 2 showing the route we took from Turtuk back to Asansol


This time (unlike the previous impromptu trip), we were more prepared and had all the required information at our disposal.

Link to my last year’s Travelogue:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...hatchback.html (Conquered Ladakh in a low GC Hatchback)

List of essential Tools and Medicines that we carried were same as that of last year’s trip.
List of medicines and car essentials to take on road trips TL.xlsx

Unfortunately the pillar of this Ladakh Reloaded Trip, Santanu Da, had to cancel his journey owing to a personal emergency. For once, this shook the spirit of this epic drive, but kudos to this man, who had given us enough inspiration to continue with our plan and was virtually present among us throughout our journey.

Day 1: 21st May 2016: Asansol to Agra 1,061 kms


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Arnab and his wife Arina started off from Bangalore on 18th May. Our trip started on 21st May as planned. We started off at around 5:30 am from Asansol. Myself and my wife had got enough sleep the preceding night, and hence, both of us were bubbling with energy. I sometimes wonder how come the same route, same destination evoke so much excitement within us! May be that’s the charm of Ladakh that casts a magic spell on travelers like us who find ourselves driving in the picturesque lanes over and over again.


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Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze-img_0203.jpg


The first halt was at Agra where we checked in Hotel Seven Hills Tower at Fatehabad. An amazing hotel with great amnesties made the stay worth. This would definitely be our preferred den any time we visit Agra.


Total Distance Travelled: 1,061 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 110+85+90+75+200+95+45+55+75+175+60+85+125+75+75+7 0= Rs. 1,495/-
Stayed in Seven Hills Tower, Agra

G-2, Jasoria Enclave, Fatehabad Road
Bagichi, Tajganj
Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001
Contact No. 0562 223 7700
Booked using Goibibo App
Room Tariff: Rs. 792/- AC DBR
Travel Time: 17hrs 30 mins with 2 hrs break.
Fuel Fillings done at: Asansol and Handia

Mileage: 17.9 kmpl
Average Speed: 66 kmph


Day 2: 22nd May, 2016. Agra to Jammu 794 kms


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We started off from Agra around 6 am, had breakfast at Mannat Dhaba at Murthal.

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Photo stops on Yamuna Expressway


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Mannat Dhaba, Murthal


We bypassed Delhi using the route as per the below mentioned map.
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Lunch Break

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Near Lakhanpur Toll Plaza, J&K welcomes us yet again.

The next destination was Jammu. We reached Jammu pretty early than we expected and hence had ample time to roam around the local areas and buy the last minute essentials. It was very warm in Jammu and we could hardly bear the outside heat for long and retired to our hotel room.

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Hotel Meridan Palace

Total Distance Travelled: 794 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 360+30+114+68+119+75+80+70= Rs. 916/-
Stayed in Hotel Meridan Palace, Jammu

Near Sakuntala Cinema
New Rehari Road,
Jammu.
Contact No. 0191 257 3337, 09419312627
Booked using MMT App
Room Tariff: Rs. 822/- AC DBR
Travel Time: 13 hrs 30 mins with 1.5 hrs break.
Fuel Fillings done at: Agra and Ludhiana

Mileage: 19.8 kmpl
Average Speed: 69 kmph


Day 3: 23rd May, 2016 Jammu to Sonamarg 387 kms


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The next day around 6:30 am, we started directly for Sonmarg. Contrary to the known Jammu Srinagar highway, we opted for the Mughal Road to escape heavy traffic. After a drive of 10 to 15 kms, we realized how right we were to have chosen this off beat less explored route to reach Srinagar. Endowed with pristine scenic beauty, this road makes you feel closer to the ‘jannat’ Jammu and Kashmir actually is.

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At Pir ki Gali
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We met our co travellers Arnab and Arina on our way to Sonmarg. We stopped at our hotel Farhas Homestay for tea (Arnab had a separate accommodation at Sonmarg via HvK CHD). The tea was followed was chit chat and photo sessions post which we parted for the day. Farhas Home stay is a beautiful abode in the lap in Sonmarg valley beside Beas River.

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The property is owned by Mr Rashid and his foreigner wife. They have a super cute daughter Farha who kept us on our toes. We had no track of time as we spent the entire evening playing and fooling around with her.

The night’s dinner was a show stopper. Our plates were laden with authentic Kashmiri wazwan, we could not have asked for more. It had already started to rain with lightning outside and we were cosily sitting inside their traditional dining room relishing the local delicacies.

Total Distance Travelled: 387 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: Rs. 40/-

Stayed in Farhas Homestay, Sonamarg
Contact No. 09596104245
Booked using Goibibo App
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,470/- DBR
Travel Time: 14 hrs with 2 hrs break.
Fuel Fillings done at: Srinagar

Mileage: 15.4 kmpl
Average Speed: 34 kmph

Last edited by lovecars21 : 22nd June 2016 at 00:13. Reason: Deleted photo link
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Old 21st June 2016, 17:25   #2
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Post re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Day 4: 24th May, 2016 Sonamarg to Kargil 137 kms

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We left Sonmarg the next day around 8 am as we had to hurry for getting a decent place in the queue for Zojilla uptraffic. We had parked our respective vehicles in the queue and were waiting for a green signal from the Army. JK Police instructed us to park our cars in the muddy ground beside the road so that down traffic can pass easily.
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The uphill traffic was released around 11:20 am. The weather had already gone bad from the preceding day. The ground was full of slush and all the cars in the queue got stuck. I got down from the car and checked the entire stretch then drove my car out and guided Arnab’s Amaze.

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It was wet, windy and cloudy with very poor visibility. One could hardly see the turns and the traffic in front. This was absolutely a different facet of Zojilla that we were seeing. With this new avatar, Zojilla gave the first signal that this time Ladakh would unfold herself in a completely different way, like we have never seen before. Arnab’s car got stuck on an uphill due to uneven road and slush. I was driving ahead of him. Parked my car and then drove his car through the slush.




After somehow passing through the huge craters and uneven and bumpy mountain roads, we finally stopped at Drass for lunch.

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After Drass the road is smooth as butter. I was driving at 70-80 kmph when suddenly my left tyre got hit by a fallen rock. Immediately the TPMS started beeping. Got down to check the tyre and it was flat. The side wall had cracked. I replaced the tyre with the Stepney. My plan was to drive till Panikhar today but due to the incident had to change my plan. Without a proper stepney it was not advisable to drive to Zanskar. I was very upset, still wanted to try in Kargil if I could find a tyre shop. Unlucky me;, none of the tyre shops were open and locals told it was near to impossible to get the tyre with the same specification before Leh.

After calling HV Kumar sir I decided to drop the plan of Zanskar and instead take the risk of driving upto to Parkachik without stepney. Our den in Kargil was D zojila as suggested by Kumar Sir.

Total Distance Travelled: 137 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: Rs. 50/-

Stayed in Hotel Dzojila
Booked using Hvk CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,800/- DBR
Travel Time: 12 hrs with 5 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: Nil

Mileage: 14.5 kmpl
Average Speed: 21 kmph
Mountain Pass: Zojila 3528 mtrs
Underbelly Hits: Zero
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Old 21st June 2016, 18:47   #3
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Post re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Day 5: 25th May, 2016 Kargil to Parkachik and then to Lamayuru 273 kms

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As per our new plan we had booked the next day entirely for exploring the Suru Valley which would include Panikhar and Parkachik. Our drive through the green and picturesque Suru Valley had a therapeutic effect on our mind and soul.

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With its lush greenery and snow clad mountains beckoning from a distance, this place can mesmerize any one to drive in these lanes time and again.

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The road between Kargil and Panikhar is pretty decent and offers a smooth ride. However, as one moves beyond Panikhar and approaches towards Parkachik, the road condition worsens.


The locals warned that the road from Parkachik to Padum (approx. 150 kms) is even worse and is strictly meant for 4x4 vehicles. That’s the main reason I wanted to drive to Padum but my bad luck. Next time it would be in my priority list.


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Lunch break amidst nature

While crossing Fotula, we were again welcomed by an hour of snowfall, something we had experienced in the last year as well.
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We stopped at Hotel Moonland at Lamayuru for the night. Lamayuru is a pure vegetarian town and you would not be able to get hold of any non-vegetarian food joints in this region.

Total Distance Travelled: 273 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: Nil
Stayed in Hotel Moonland
Booked using Hvk CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,400/- DBR with Breakfast and Dinner
Travel Time: 12 hrs with 2.5 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: Kargil
Mileage: 16.8 kmpl
Average Speed: 29 kmph

Mountain Pass: Fotula 4,108 m and Namika La 3,700m
Underbelly Hits: Zero

Last edited by lovecars21 : 21st June 2016 at 20:49. Reason: Grammatical mistake
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Old 21st June 2016, 21:44   #4
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Post re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Day 6: 26th May, 2016 Lamayuru to Leh 146 kms

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When morning struck, we planned to explore this place a bit as we did not have enough time to do in our earlier trip.

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Lamayuru is often called ‘Moonland’ owing to the diverse colors of the mountain ranges that embraces this small town. Also, the terrain of this region is dominated by moon like craters that accounts primarily for its ‘Moonland’ title.
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A small halt at the Magnetic Hills and a brief photo session at Leh entrance, we finally reached Leh by 12 pm.

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We had already booked the days accommodation at our old favourite Ling’s. After reaching Leh the first thing I did was purchased a Tyre and got it fitted to my front right wheel. Then we went to the local market and purchased some grocery and sausages.

Deprived of non-veg food for so long, we decided to have lunch at a mind-blowing food joint that we had already tried in the last trip. We checked in ‘Crossroads’ and gorged on all the available chicken delicacies and retired to the hotel room.

Mr. Zorje woke us up from our afternoon power nap with a strong dose of masala tea and we were all set to explore Leh. We ended the day in the peaceful ambience of the Shanti Stupa from where you get a beautiful glance of entire Leh city. When the sun sets in, the city of Leh illuminates and appears to be jewel studded from the heights of the Shanti Stupa-a scene best captured with your mind’s lens rather than camera!
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Shanti Stupa
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View of Leh at 8:00 PM from Shanti Stupa
After returning from Shanti Stupa we filled up the Self Declaration form and handed over the Permit form to Mr. Zorje for getting it from SDO office. We had to pay Rs. 500/- per person. Mr. Zorje even arranged for Oxygen Cylinders which costed us Rs. 450/- each.

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Permit for Hanle

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Inner Line Permit

Total Distance Travelled: 146 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: Rs. 50/-
Stayed in Ling’s Homestay
Booked using Hvk CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,500/- DBR
Travel Time: 6 hrs with 2 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: Leh
Mileage: 17.1 kmpl
Average Speed: 33 kmph
Mountain Pass: NIL
Underbelly Hits: Zero
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Old 21st June 2016, 22:39   #5
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Day 7: 27th May, 2016 Leh to Turtuk via Diskit 211 kms

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The next day was an early rise as we were planning to reach Turtuk, a small village near the POK. We were to cross the mighty Khardungla on the way. We had already got hold of all required permits, four cans of oxygen etc. which would help us in our forward journey. This time, surprisingly Khardungla was easy since there was hardly any snow on the roads. Our Aspire aka Musty could pose for several photos as there were fewer crowds to bother us.
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We halted at Diskit to see the stupa and the monastery and moved on to Turtuk.

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We skipped Nubra valley as we had spent enough time last year fooling around in the dunes. We somehow wanted to reach Turtuk fast as we had already planned to go on a village visit and gather knowledge on the rich culture of Turtuk aka ‘Baltistan’ from our camp owner Mr. Rahemadtullah.

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Old 21st June 2016, 23:12   #6
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Reached Turtuk around 4 pm, quickly sipped into hot tea and off we went for a mini trek in and around the village. One has to visit Turtuk personally to realise what treasure it actually beholds for the tourists. It’s a beautiful village hidden in the shades of lush green apricot and mulberry trees up on a hill where greenery predominates. We wondered how cultivation could be done so extensively on a mountain top. Mr. Rahemadtullah answered our queries. There is a proper canal system laid down by the village cooperative that takes care of all irrigation related factors of the village. This place accounts for the maximum production of India’s apricot. River water is being properly channelized to all farm lands ensuring adequate drainage and surprisingly there isn’t one single dispute regarding land ownership and other petty issues. In the last 10 years, no FIR or complaint had been lodged in the local police station!
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Wild Rose

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Magpie
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Village Fridge. This particular store works as a fridge for the village. In extreme cold weather it remains warm and during hot weather it remains cold.
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Turtuk is a village, as if painted by a dreamer. Green, fresh, picturesque, peaceful and an ideal place to let your hair down for a day or two, especially if you are in the kind hospitality of Mr. Rahemadtullah. It’s a humble request to all fellow members; please keep Turtuk for at least a day in your itinerary if you are to visit Ladakh. I bet you would love and cherish your experience.





Total Distance Travelled: 211 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 50+60=110/-

Stayed in Turtuk Holiday Camp
Booked using Hvk CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 2,730/- Camp
Travel Time: 10 hrs with 1.5 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: Nil

Mileage: 16.0 kmpl
Average Speed: 25 kmph
Mountain Pass: Khardungla 5,359m
Underbelly Hits: One major hit due to slush and rocks but lucky no damage.

Day 8: 28th May, 2016 Turtuk stay


As we were head over heels in love with this village, we extended our stay for another day foregoing our return to Leh. Called HV Kumar sir and permits to Hanle was arranged by Mr. Zorje of Ling’s and send through a cab to Turtuk.

We went for local site seeing beside Sheyok River and last Indian check post before PoK.

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Pak occupied mountain
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Stayed in Self camp within the compound of Turtuk Holiday Camp
Camping Charge: Rs. 500/-
Fuel Fillings done at: Arranged 20 ltrs Diesel from Mr. Rahemadtullah and a 20 ltr jerrican
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Old 21st June 2016, 23:47   #7
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Post re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Day 9: 29th May, 2016 Turtuk to Pangong Tso via Sheyok River 258 kms

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Now we were to directly drive to Pangong Tso following the Sheyok river route, something that we had not pre planned.




This route is not much used primarily due to occasional water crossings and extensive pebble roads. But this route is shorter compared to the Changla and Warila routes. After mid June the road gets submerged by the river as the water level increases.

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By midway, we had come across a new Ford Endeavour with a Tamil Nadu registration number. Being the ardent car lover (read Ford Lover) I am, soon four of us befriended them and almost forced them to accompany us on the Sheyok route rather than Warila. We all drove together for some time and then zoomed away, only to meet again at lunch break.

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Marmots in their natural habitat
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During lunch break, they asked a lot of questions on our take on Ford cars, why choose unusual hatchbacks or sedans to drive in such uneven terrains etc. We shared our views and at the end of the discussion, one of them introduced himself as one of the designers of the sedan that we own. Three of them were actually from Ford India Chennai branch. It goes without saying that we were overwhelmed to meet the Ford people on your journey. To add to this, they offered a drive of the new Endeavour that they were driving so far. It was kind of a dream coming true for me. My wife and I drove the machine for a few kilometres while they drove our ‘Musty’. Driving the new endeavour evoked a ‘king like’ feeling inside us.
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We again met at Pangong Tso where there were series of photo sessions displaying the Ford and Honda machines together. We captured some sand antiques of the beastly Endeavour and Arnab’s ‘Elsa’ Amaze. By the time, the wind grew stronger and the temperature fell down, we had to retire to our hotel rooms.

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Total Distance Travelled: 258 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 20/-

Stayed in Himalayan Wooden Cottages
Booked after reaching Pangong
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,600/- with Breakfast and Dinner

Travel Time: 10 hrs with 1.5 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: 20+10 ltrs filled in Jerricans at Diskit Petrol Pump

Mileage: 16.0 kmpl
Average Speed: 29 kmph
Underbelly Hits: Nil.
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Old 22nd June 2016, 00:07   #8
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Day 10: 30th May, 2016 Pangong Tso to Hanle via Merak and Chushul 166 kms

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A bright sunshine welcomed us the next day, making us forget all about the preceding night’s freezing temperature and cold wind. We were now all set to reach Hanle, following yet another new route (Chushul Route).

By speaking to the local drivers, we were convinced that the drive would be challenging for us. My wife almost freaked out by observing the frowns and expressions that the locales exhibited after correlating the type of vehicles we were driving and the route that we planned to take.


Chusul is about 45 odd Kilometers from Spangmik and in between there are few small villages as Man, Merak, Kakset. The first 40 kilometers of the drive was not that concerning, given; we had the blue Pangong Tso washing the edges of the roads. Roads were uneven and bumpy, but who cared!

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Then started the drive worth remembering. The roads or no roads (as advocated by my wife) parallel to China border with no mortal object (leave aside cars) around scared the hell out of us. To add to our woes, there was sand everywhere, enough to make the car lose traction and sway off and on. We drove following the faint trails of thread marks that we could detect on the sand.

Finally we were done with the sand and now came the boulder and water crossings. Now the wives had to play the role of spotters, checking the height of these deadly stones and proposing a safer track to drive.

Once we reached Merak, we submitted the permits at the check-post. Then we passed by Kakset village, the last village before Chushul. Pangong Tso lakes turns into Tibet from here. We continued ahead and reached Chushul Pass. After that we reached Chushul check-post and showed our permits. The landscapes after Chushul is almost similar with passing by landmarks as that of Rohit Post, Rezang La War Memorial. Reached Tsaga La at an altitude of 4635 Mtrs. After Tsaga La we reached Tsaga check-post and submitted a copy of our permit.

Overcoming the challenges, we finally reached Hanle. It is worth mentioning that the last 40 kms of this route is tar road and the drive is smooth till Hanle.

We halted at the Padma Home Stay owned by Mr Sonam Dorjay. We were extremely exhausted by this time and hardly had any stamina to push ourselves to the observatory. We opted for tea and snacks in our room and spent the evening in chit chatting (the main topic was obviously the Chushul Challenge).

At the dinner table, we met another crazy family who hailed from Pune. It was lovely sharing each others' travel experience over the hot and lip smacking dinner. After dinner went out to see the night sky. It was amazing! The sky was full of stars, millions of them glittering together.

Total Distance Travelled: 166 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: NIL

Stayed in Padma Guest House
Booked by Hvk CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 800/- per person with Breakfast and Dinner

Travel Time: 9 hrs with 1.5 hrs break + photo stops.
Fuel Fillings done at: 20 ltrs arranged by Mr. Dorjayin Hanle.

Mountain Pass: Chushul Pass and Tsaga La

Mileage: 15.2 kmpl
Mountain Pass: Chushul Pass, Tsaga La
Average Speed: 24 kmph
Underbelly Hits: One and it broke Musty’s front right mud flap.

Last edited by lovecars21 : 22nd June 2016 at 21:58. Reason: Data added
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Old 22nd June 2016, 23:12   #9
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Day 11: 31st May, 2016: Hanley to Tso Moriri: 168 kms

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Next morning, after a pretty heavy breakfast, we left for the observatory. It was enriching to know that we own such high end astronomical devices to capture images of celestial bodies. The maintenance of the observatory and its resources are done by the local engineers and scientist, however, the monitoring and analytical work is done by the Bangalore site. Hanley, which is second best astronomical observatory of the world, is strategically located at the middle layer of the atmospheric envelope. This gives Hanley a clear horizon with minimal climatic obstacles.

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Bidding farewell to one of the greatest astronomical treasures that India owns, we came down from Hanley and moved forward to Tso Moriri.
From Hanley we drove back upto Loma Check post and then took the left towards Mahe. On the right the road leads to Chushul.
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Kiang

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Tso Kiagar


After driving for 13 kilometers came the Left turn to Tso Moriri. Straight road leads to Tso Kar. The road was tarred and in good condition. After crossing Namshang La we got a beautiful view of Tso Kiagar. It was a virgin lake with snow clad mountains surrounding it. After crossing Tso Kiagar the tar road ends abruptly. From Tso Kiagar to Tso Moriri approx. 30 kilometers the road is rocky and in between we crossed Karzok Check Post. We had to submit our inner line permit and drove ahead to find dirt tracks. Followed the tracks and finally reached Tso Moriri.


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We searched for hotels and finally settled for a camp close to the lake. After sipping hot tea and Maggi we drove to the lake and enjoyed there till sun set.
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When we came back the camping area was full of tourist. Met few Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Mumbai 2016 pass out students and made friends with Mr. Abhijit Sen from Mumbai who had driven all the way from Mumbai with his wife and cute daughter, Samaira. All through the evening we shared our experiences with them. After dinner we went to sleep in our tents but where was sleep? It was freezing, almost -8 deg C with low oxygen level. We could hardly breathe! I somehow managed to sleep but my wife was awake all night.


Total Distance Traveled: 168 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: NIL

Stayed in Lake View Camps
Booked after reaching Tso Moriri
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,800/- with Breakfast and Dinner

Travel Time: 10 hrs with 2 hrs break.
Mountain Passes: None
Fuel Fillings done at: NIL
Mileage: 14.8 kmpl
Average Speed: 34 kmph
Underbelly Hits: NIL.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 00:32   #10
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Day 12: 1st June, 2016. Tso Moriri to Keylong: 327 kms

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Next day our new friend Abhjit da was to drive along with Arnab upto Keylong(370 kms) in his S-cross and we were to drive till Tso Kar (80 odd kms only) and camp there. Having only 80 kms to drive I woke up at 8 o’clock. It was a bright sunny day. Had our breakfast and relaxed for a while. At 9 o’clock we started off for Tso Kar.

Reached Tso Kar at 12 o’clock to find the lake completely frozen and hardly any water. After June when all the nearby snow melts and the water increases, then it’s worth staying and enjoying Tso Kar. We decided to move on. It was late and my plan was to reach Sarchu. Just after crossing Debring(109 kms from Tso Moriri) we took the left to get on Leh Manali Highway. The right leads to Leh.

From Debring the road becomes butter smooth with well demarcated lanes. Moore Plains starts from here. 43 kilometres of excellent road with superb scenic beauty.
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We reached Pang at 1:30 pm to find Arnab’s Elsa and Abhijit da’s S-cross parked near a tyre shop. Arnab’s Elsa had a sidewall puncture and he was getting it repaired. They were surprised to see us there. We told them about our change in decision and our new plan. After getting Elsa’s tyre repaired we had our lunch together and decided to drive upto Keylong. It was going to be a tough challenge as we had to overcome few water crossings. As the day proceeds it is said that the level of water increases in those water crossings.



Crossed Lachung La (5,065 mtrs; 73 kms from Debring)and Nakeela(4,739 mtrs; 85 kms from Debring) then proceeded towards Gata Loops.

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Gata loops has 22 hair pins which climbs down 500 mtrs. Whisky Nala and Brandy Nala are 107 kms and 109 kms from Debring respectively. We crossed both the nalas without any fuss. By the time we reached Sarchu it was 5:00 pm. It was still bright and sunny so we planned to move on after jotting down our details at the check post. 20 kms from Sarchu we reached Killing Sarai, another water crossing. It was also easy.

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Finally reached Baralacha La(4,890 mtrs; 35 kms from Sarchu Check post). It was heavenly. The roads were good all through the pass and completely surrounded by snow.



Then we crossed Suraj Tal which was completely frozen and looked beautiful under the bright sun. 12 kms from Suraj Tal on the Leh Manali Highway came two water crossings which were dangerous. There was a bridge and just after the bridge the road takes a 90 degree turn and there it was(the water crossing). The flow of water and the huge rocks submerged were a call for a HIT! Yes, got a bad underbelly hit. Lucky there was no major damage. Guided Arnab’s Elsa and Abhijit da’s S-cross through it.

After that we crossed few more water crossings and all of us stopped before each and checked the depth and then crossed one by one.
By the time we reached Keylong it was dark. As we approached the hotel Musty’s Service Light got ‘ON’ and rpm got limited to 2k. Quickly checked the air filter to find it had got choked. Cleaned the air filter and Musty was back in form. We checked in at Hotel Valley View, Keylong. Somehow had our dinner and went to bed. Today’s drive was difficult considering the water crossings, dust and distance.

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Total Distance Traveled: 327 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: NIL

Stayed in Hotel Valley View
Booked by HvK CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,500/- DBR

Travel Time: 13 hrs with 1 hrs break.
Fuel Fillings done at: NIL
Mountain Passes: Lachung La(5,065m), Nakeela(4,739m), Baralachala (4,890m)
Mileage: 16.9 kmpl
Average Speed: 29 kmph
Underbelly Hits: One “super” Hit without any damage.


Day 13: 2nd June, 2016. Keylong to Mandi: 223 kms.

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View from Keylong hotel
We woke up at 6:00 am just in fear of crossing Rohtang as early as possible. Drove till Tandi and had tea. While Arnab refueled his car in the Fuel Pump I refueled my car from the jerricans. All three cars headed together towards Rohtang.
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From Keylong Rohtang pass is 60 kilometers. Just 5 kilometers before Rohtang we stop by to make some hot coffee and Maggi. All three cars partied together and then moved on to conquer Rohtang.
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Once we reached Rohtang we were shocked to see the number of cars parked and the dirty snow. N number of tourist were playing in that dirty snow with multi colored rented jackets. It was an awful sight for us. We did not stop there. I was thinking Samaira in the S-cross might feel like playing there but was not surprised to hear that she was also disgusted with the view. Just after crossing Rothang we got stuck in the jam. There was some landslide and traffic in that place was allowed one way. The whole experience was so bad till Manali that we decided not to stay in Manali.

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Bypassed Manali and reached Mandi at 5:00 PM and checked in Hotel Shingar. Mandi is a small town 115 kms from Manali.

Total Distance Traveled: 223 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: NIL

Stayed in Hotel Shingar
Booked by HvK CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,500/- DBR

Contact Person: Mr. Thakur
Ph: 09418621590, 01905235653
Travel Time: 11 hrs with 1 hrs break and stuck in jam for 2 hours after Rothang.
Fuel Fillings done at: Tandi (30 ltrs from Jerrican)
Mountain Passes: Rohtang (3,979m)
Mileage: 17.6 kmpl
Average Speed: 27 kmph
Underbelly Hits: NIL.


Day 14: 3rd June, 2016 Mandi to Agra: 651 kms

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We drove off from Mandi at 7:00 am as we had to cover 650 odd kilometres today. The drive was uneventful. Had our breakfast at Bilaspur. After Swarghat till Rupnagar the road is being widen and hence traffic was slow. Tar was not laid yet in that section. Finally reached Kharar and then took the right turn to take Chandigarh bypass. Had our lunch at Haveli Dhaba near Chandigarh and drove straight to Delhi.

Crossed Delhi at 3:00 pm following the map below:
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Reached Agra at 6:00 pm and check into Hotel Amar Yatri Niwas. We had stayed in Amar Yatri Niwas last year while returning from Ladakh. The food and the rooms they provide are excellent. I would always recommend this hotel to every traveler.

Total Distance Traveled: 651 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 44+68+114+30+360=Rs. 616/-

Stayed in Hotel Amar Yatri Niwas
Booked by HvK CHD
Room Tariff: Rs. 1,550/- DBR

Contact Person: Mr. Chander Bhusan Sethi
Ph: 09756796598
Travel Time: 13 hrs with 1 hrs break.
Fuel Fillings done at: Kurali
Mileage: 18.6 kmpl
Average Speed: 59 kmph

Day 15: 4th June, 2016. Agra to Bhangarh Fort (Rajasthan) and back to Agra (209 x 2) kms

Woke up at 8:00 am and decided over breakfast to stay back and pay a visit to Bhangarh. Arnab and his wife Arina had heard stories about the haunted fort and wanted to go there. Got both Elsa and Musty washed at Agra and then took Musty while Elsa rested.

I had been to Bhangarh Fort in January 2016 while returning from our Rajasthan Road Trip. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in the world.

Bhangarh Fort is 209 kms from Agra on NH 11. From Dausa one needs to take the right turn towards Bhangarh. The roads have been mended and we cruised at 100 kmph to reach Bhangarh Fort at 3:30 pm. The heat was unbearable. Temperature recorded was 48 deg C. We somehow managed to walk till the main fort and then returned. It’s the worst time to visit Rajasthan (specially after returning from Ladakh).

Link to my Rajasthan Road Trip Travelogue:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ear-s-eve.html (West Bengal to Rajasthan Road Trip to celebrate New Year’s Eve)

Reached Agra at 7:30 pm and rested all through the night. Next day Arnab was to drive to Seoni (MP) and I was to drive back home.
We parted ways from here.

Day 16: 5th June, 2016. Agra to Asansol: 1,078 kms

Drove off from Agra at 5:00 am and reached Asansol at 9:00 pm.

Total Distance Travelled: 1,078 kms
Toll Taxes Paid: 70+75+75+125+85+60+175+75+55+45+95+75+90+85+110= Rs. 1,295/-
Travel time: Total time 17 hours with 2 hours break

Fuel Fillings done at: Agra and Handia
Mileage: 17.8 kmpl
Average Speed: 70 kmph

Trip summary:

Total Distance Traveled: 6,383kms
Total Days: 16 days
Total Fuel Cost: Rs. 21,064/-
Average Fuel Rate: Rs.57/-p ltr
Approx Fuel used: 369.5 ltrs
Mileage: 17.2 kmpl with 100% AC on plains and 20% AC on hilly roads
Total Toll Tax Paid: Rs. 5,192 /-


Take on the Car:

Ford Figo Aspire Diesel having a super refined 1.5L engine is a gem of a car. Performed well on high and rocky terrain. There was no decrease in power delivery even at Khardungla Top. Perfect car for travelers like us.
Drawbacks: High body roll which I had rectified by fitting RogerAB.

Phone Connectivity: Only Post Paid BSNL and Post Paid Airtel work after Srinagar. It is advised to take BSNL as it has the best coverage in Ladakh.

Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Arnab and Arina for enjoying the drive as much as I did. I would also like to thank team-bhp Kolkata members and HvK east group for their continuous support.

Special thanks to Santanu da for suggesting me RogerAB for Musty. HV Kumar Sir and CHD team for booking hotels for us on the go.

Bye bye till madness strikes again..
Live to Drive!!
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Old 23rd June 2016, 07:51   #11
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Default re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd June 2016, 09:01   #12
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Default re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Fantastic Arun. Seems like we were both on the same track separated by a 10 days. Well "Ladakh Again ?" was the question that popped up in my mind as well when I got to know that you were doing it again this year.

The pictures are amazing. Keep traveling & keep writing !!

Regards,

Pawan
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Old 23rd June 2016, 10:21   #13
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Default re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Nicely done. Its been quite some time since I read Leh log again. Brings back the old logs that I have read. Needless to say, have never been there and hope to go some day for sure.

Whats nice is how effortlessly you guys manage 15-20 days of hard travel and soak it all in the fun. I guess thats the best part of travel by road and to make your own plans as per the day and see what you want.

Also looks like going from Jammu side makes more sense compared to Manali. Getting stuck on the last hurdle rather than the first seems easier? And of course the Pangong-Hanle-Tso Moriri-Debring section is a great one to read about. Lets see when I can get there.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 23rd June 2016 at 21:23. Reason: typo corrected - what to when
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Old 23rd June 2016, 11:25   #14
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Smile re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Wonderful pictures! A crisp and well written travelogue
Also share the Itinerary of your friend who travelled from Bangalore till he met you.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 12:27   #15
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Default Re: Ladakh Reloaded: 4 friends, a Figo Aspire & an Amaze

Simply Superb LoveCars21,

Amazing pictures and very good detailing of distance, toll, stay, etc.. Its really very helpful and happy to see that you have enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing all details.
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