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Old 22nd June 2016, 12:04   #1
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Default Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD

So here comes another travelogue for the trip that we completed on 19th June. This is the time when Ladakh starts getting filled up by tourists & our travelogue section with Ladakh TLs. With my limited writing skills, I will try to make this one as informative & interesting as I can. This is also going to be the longest TL from my side till date.

A teaser picture as always :

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1171.jpg

I would start by first thanking the people behind the scene who helped a lot in materializing this trip. BHPians AJ-got-BHP, Samba & Lovecars21 for the helpful tips, bhpian hvkumar for route planning & assistance. Big thanks to bhpian Ghostrider28 for the lifesaver BSNL sim, lots of spares for the Duster (since he owns a Duster AWD himself), fantastic suggestions on hotels & taking out time for a coffee table discussion.

******

We (My wife & I) had been planning for Ladakh for a long time. Everything was planned except the dates. There were many confusions to start with. At first our family members were joining the trip, after that was dropped, we had planned for a group drive with some Kolkata BHPians which also got cancelled due to unavailability of leaves at the same time. Finally just 15 days before the trip we got our leaves & finalized on the plan with just our car.

Though our initial itinerary was different, I am going to post only the actual trip itinerary to avoid confusion :

Day 1 : Kolkata - Kanpur
Day 2 : Kanpur - Pathankot
Day 3 : Pathankot - Srinagar
Day 4 : Srinagar - Kargil
Day 5 : Kargil - Leh
Day 6 : Leh
Day 7 : Leh - Hunder
Day 8 : Hunder - Siachen - Hunder
Day 9 : Hunder - Pangong Tso - Leh
Day 10 : Leh - Manali
Day 11 : Manali - Delhi
Day 12 : Delhi
Day 13 : Delhi - Varanasi
Day 14 : Varanasi - Kolkata


Day 1 & 2 : Kolkata - Kanpur - Pathankot


For day 1 we had to follow NH2 till Kanpur. We started at 3 in the morning & reached Kanpur at around 6 pm. Now this was the most boring part pf our trip. In the last one year, we have made 4 trips on this 1000 km stretch which include two trips to Lucknow, one to Kanpur, one to Delhi. This was our 5th trip & hence the 9th time (to & fro counted) on this same 1000 kms stretch. I did not want a hotel inside Kanpur & therefore had booked a hotel called Manoj International just 1 km off the highway. Although the Hotel was nothing too great, this made entry & exit to Kanpur easy. We retired early & started next day at 3 am again for Pathankot.

The roads on Kanpur-Pathankot stretch are better than the Kolkata-Kanpur one. Early start ensured smooth passage thru Etawah-Firozabad stretch and entry to Yamuna expressway around 6 am. We passed Delhi around 8-8.30. The NH1 or 44 as per new nomenclature was smooth & we were in Pathankot by 4 pm. We could have easily pushed for for Jammu since we had time & energy at our hand but we had to meet some friends for Dinner at Pathankot & decided to break for the day. Pathankot welcomed us with heavy hailstorm followed by rains

Hails in the garden of our accommodation.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1061.jpg

Day 3 : Pathankot to Srinagar

We had planned Jammu to Srinagar via Mughal road. As per plan, we left Pathankot early since we wanted to cross Shopian belt which is very close to LOC in daylight. Mughal road takes you through beautiful landscapes but has a risk involved since it passes through disturbed town of Shopian.

The road conditions from Jammu to Rajouri are good with small bad patches. This road is the less traveled one hence you will not get much traffic here except locals & army vehicles. We stopped at KFC, Khalsa Food Corner, not the Kentucky one at Rajouri for breakfast.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1073001.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1077.jpg

After having Idlis for Breakfast, we proceeded to Bafliaz. The road condition from Rajouri to Thanamandi is very bad. The picture below will give you an idea of roads from Rajouri to Thanamandi.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1078.jpg

The next stretch between Thanamandi & Bafliaz is better but still quite bad. After Bafliaz, the roads are good throughout. We reached Peer Ki Gali at around 1 pm. Peer Ki Gali is basically a pass at approx 11500 ft which can roughly act as a gate to Kashmir from Jammu region. It is situated in the middle of Mughal Road & often called as the heart of Mughal road. It is also a popular meeting point for people in North & South of the pass. There is an old shrine here. It is a very beautiful place & a 10-15 minute stop at this place is must.

Peer Ki Gali

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-dsc03712.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-dsc03713.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1080.jpg

After Peer ki Gali you start descending towards Shopian. The Mughal road ends at Shopian. From Shopian we took the road towards Anantnag in order to join the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The road from Shopian to Anantnag is very good with sparse traffic. After Anantnag, we merged into the regular traffic of Jammu-Srinagar highway & reached Srinagar by 5 pm. After freshning up, we went to Dal Lake for sightseeing.

The Shikara ride starts

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-view-boat.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-multile-boats.jpg

The colours at sunset are beautiful

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-surreal.jpg

Enjoying the ride

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-enjoying-rde.jpg


We faced a horrible jam while coming back from Dal to our accommodation. It took us 1 hour 45 min to travel just 2 kms due to heavy non moving Jam in the Town. We reached our accommodation by 10 & slept off after a long day.

contd...

Last edited by Aditya : 28th June 2016 at 08:14. Reason: Colors - Colours
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Old 22nd June 2016, 13:10   #2
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Entry to Ladakh

Day 4 : Srinagar to Kargil

We had information that Zojila opens for traffic from Sonamarg to Drass at 11 am. We started from Srinagar at 7.30 am in order to reach Sonamarg before 10.30 with stop for breakfast. Soon after we left Srinagar, we saw a small hamlet besides a stream. We thought of breaking for breakfast. The local shops have put chairs close to the stream in order to enhance the ambience. In the meantime, a local asked whether we would like to get our car washed while we are having our breakfast. We agreed & the car wash guy literally guided Hulk to a little stream.

Car Washing in progress

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-car-washing.jpg

Shining after sometime only to get dirty again while passing Zojila

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-car-shining.jpg

The seating arrangement

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-picninc-stream.jpg

Some posing before breakfast arrives

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sightseeing-picninc.jpg

After breakfast & coffee, we proceeded towards Sonamarg.


Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-welcome-sonamarg.jpg

Just after crossing the market, we saw the gate that was supposed to allow us to cross Zojila after 11. The parking lot for waiting is on the left hand side.

Tip : The entry & exit to parking lot are different. Try to park as close to the exit point as possible. This will expedite your access to Zojila.

We reached the gate before 10 & the long wait started.

Clicking some pics after absorbing the scenery.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-clicking-bore.jpg

Some selfies then

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-selfie.jpg

Okay! Lets just sit down now

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-waiting-chair.jpg

At around 11.30 the traffic was opened. It took us another 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot. And finally we were rolling again by 12 noon.

Tip : If you are traveling with ladies, there is a pay & use washroom just after you get out of the parking space.

We were expecting Zojila to be slushy but it was more of dusty. Since all the waiting cars are released at the same time, there is along line of vehicles that moves from Sonamarg towards Zojila. This makes the travel very slow.

The line formation

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-zoila-traffic.jpg

Some pictures at Zojila

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-narrow-passage.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-dusty-zojila.jpg


An RV spotted based on LR Defender

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-rv-defender.jpg

Snow melting near the top

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sonw-melt.jpg

Near the top, you have some mountains on which there is a lot of snow. Locals have used it for business & opened up a Skiing location. Well it is not actually Skiing but hand made sledges which you carry to the top of an incline & then slide back. It didn't look too interesting so we gave it a miss. But that does not hold you back from getting delayed. Due to this 'tourist attraction', the parked cars in haphazard manner create a big jam.

Stuck in the Jam

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-jam-sking.jpg

Another pic while stuck

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-cliking-while-jam.jpg

Soon after crossing Zojila, we reached Drass & headed for the War Memorial. One should always visit war memorials since they tell us about the heroes who lost their lives protecting us.

The stone laid in remembrance

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-stone-wm.jpg

The War Memorial

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wm-flags.jpg

Tiger Hill (Right) & Rhino Hill (Left). The two major features of the Kargil war

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-tiger-7-rhino-hill.jpg

Tip : Park your car outside rather than inside the comlex as the parking inside fills up & taking out your car can be a pain.

Tip : There is a cafeteria at War Memorial where you can have delicious Samosas & Tea.



After visiting the memorial, we proceeded towards Kargil. There is a place called Channikund enroute Kargil. My Father-in-law had once commanded a unit there in early 2000's. My wife at that time was in college & had memories of spending time during holidays. We wanted to visit the same place in order to refresh her memories. After some phone calls, we were able to get in touch with an officer there were given a warm welcome by the current unit. The bonding in the Army is wonderful. Even if you are meeting someone for the first time but belong to the Army background you gel as if you have known them for years.

The place where the unit was posted.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-command.jpg

After the tea break, we reached Kargil by 6.30 pm. This was our stop for the day. We did not indulge in too much physical activity & were confined to our rooms since this was our first night halt above 10,000 ft.

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-welcome-kargil.jpg



contd...


Last edited by PapaBravo : 22nd June 2016 at 14:09.
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Old 22nd June 2016, 16:53   #3
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Day 5 : Kargil to Leh

Kargil to Leh is an easy drive. The distance is small, roads are good & there are many good locations for Photoshoots. So we stared after breakfast at around 7.15 am.

Kargil town as seen from the other side of the river

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-kargil-town.jpg

This road is the one on which you actually get absorbed by the Ladakh topography. Surreal is an understatement. We quickly reached the first pass of the day, Namik La.

Before Namik La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-before-namik-la.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-scenic.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-scenic-hulk-me.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sceninc-hulk-1.jpg

The different types of Mountains

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-before-n-la.jpg
At Namik La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-namik-la.jpg

After the photo session at Namik La, we proceeded towards Fotula. It took us another to reach the second pass for the day. The vistas kept on becoming beautiful as we approached Leh.

Vistas before Fotu La
(Quite 'Fotu'genic)


Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-before-fitula.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-befroe-fotula1.jpg

At Fotu La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-fotula.jpg

The next place to visit was Lamayuru moonland. We went till the monastery. Honestly, I was expecting it to be bigger than it actually was. But nevertheless, didn't miss clicking a picture here as well.

At Lamayuru Moonland

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1208.jpg
After around half an hour of driving, we spotted a small trail leading upto Indus river. The place was secluded & looked like a good tea stop. I parked Hulk & went to inspect the trail on foot. It was nothing major & won't even require 4WD, I thought. It was just a bit narrow & the hairpin bend had to be taken using a 3 point turn.

How the trail looked like

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-r1.jpg

The turn where I had to reverse bit

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1225.jpg
As I was reversing, the smooth round stones started slipping there was a minor wheelspin. Well no brownie points fro not engaging 4 Lock. Engaged it till we were back on the road.

A video of the wheelspin & turn. I avoided going to the edge of the trail to avoid dislodging any stones.



After we reached near Indus river, we took out our chairs & had some hot tea.

Wife enjoying the tea

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wakha-tea-meg.jpg

Hulk enjoying the weather

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wkaha-hulk.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wkha-car.jpg

A perfect stop

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wakha-cup.jpg


After the half an hour break we back on the road for Leh. In between we saw Magnetic hill. Did the customary hill ascent. The roads after magnetic hill were straight as an arrow but undulations come without warning so it is better not to speed up. We the vsisted Pathar Sahib Gurudwara & reached Leh

At magnetic hill. Hulk far away

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-magnetic-hill.jpg

The straight roads

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-leh-road.jpg

Welcome to Leh

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_20160608_151153.jpg

Hulk somewhere before Leh

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-mountains.jpg

The mountains welcoming us to Leh

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_1239.jpg

contd...

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Old 22nd June 2016, 17:47   #4
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Day 6 : Leh

Since this was our rest day, we decided to get up a little late & laze around till lunch. This was applicable to my wife, but I had to go to the DC office for arranging the permits.

Now some information that I could gather about the permits is given below :

Step 1 : You go to the DC office & locate the room that says "Inner Line Permits"

Step 2 : Take the form & fill it up with the places that you want the permits for. Take a xerox of the same.

Step 3 : Write a separate application on a plain paper seeking permits addressed to DC

Step 4 : Submit application, copies of identity proof, original form & its xerox to person behind counter & pay fees.

Step 5 : Take the verified documents to the DC office in the next building & handover to the person who gets signature from DC.

Step 6 : Wait for the signature & deposit the same again to the person in ILP office.

Voila! You got your permits. Get at least 20 copies to be sure.

The latest circulars pertaining to permits are given below :

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_20160609_120326.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-img_20160609_120333.jpg

Post this activity I was feeling tired so headed back to the accommodation to take some rest. High altitude can be very dangerous. Please head back to your bed if you feel even a little bit nauseating or have some headache. Having a Diamox after breakfast helps. There are some minor side affects of Diamox as explained by the army guys. One is the numbness in fingers & other is the indigestion. Not everyone would get these affects but if one gets don't panic. It would be normal the next day.

Day 7 : Leh - Hunder

Our destination for the day was Hunder, actually Partapur, which is an army camp 5 kms ahead of Hunder. We were also going to cross our highest pass of the journey, the mighty Khardung La. We started at around 6.30 in morning which we later realized was the wisest thing we did that day.

Leh from K La road

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-leh.jpg

Shanti Stupa can be seen far away

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-leh-stupa.jpg



We could see the mountains where we were headed to

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-white-mountains.jpg


And soon we were on it

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-white-mountain.jpg
Roads near the top were not in top shape but the beauty of the mountains fabulous.

Roads towards the K Top

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-roads-k-la.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-bad-road-near-top.jpg


Khardung La had lot of Snow & soon we were at the top at 9.30 am.

Some customary pictures at the top

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-top-me.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-top-me-meg.jpg

Elevation as per Hulk's GPS

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-k-la-elevation.jpg

Snow at the top

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-heavy-snow.jpg

And the icicles


Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-icicle.jpg

We didn't stay at the top for more than 10 minutes. Also, the top was fairly empty when we reached but within 5 minutes lot of people came, so we decided to move. As soon as we left the top, it started snowing. We took a photo break 10 minutes later but the flakes started becoming bigger & the snowfall intensity increased.

Pictures after the top

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-stop-after-top.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-stop-after-top-memeg.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-stop-after-top-snow.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-snowfall.jpg

A selfie just before the snowfall became too much to handle

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-selfie-stop.jpg

The snow that was falling on the windshield was cleared away by the wipers. The area outside the sweep area of the wiper kept on accumulating snow. Slowly this snow melted but stuck to the windshield in the form of Ice.

Ice on windshield. It was chilling for sure

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-ice-windshield.jpg


Our breakfast was arranged at North Pullu, so we took a stop for 15 minutes to savour hot Aloo Parantha in the freezing weather. When we came out after 15-20 minutes, Hulk had started getting covered in Snow
Hulk at N Pullu

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-n-pullu-snow.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-n-pullu-snow-2.jpg

By the time we crossed North Pullu checkpost, the Snowfall had stopped traffic on Khardung La & the pass was closed for the day. We saw a huge line of cars at N Pullu checkpost waiting to go to Leh. But they were all stopped due to bad weather.

As soon as you cross N Pullu, the environment changed drastically. Within no time we were in Desert from Snow

Sand Dunes at Hunder

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sand-dunes.jpg

Bactrian Camels

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-b-camel-2.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-bacterian-camels.jpg

The enormity of mountains

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-enormous-mountain.jpg

Hunder as seen from our accommodation

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-hunder-far-away.jpg

A friend of mine is posted in Nubra Valley. We reached his place around lunch time & were had sumptuous lunch at the offr mess. While having lunch, the idea of visiting base camp surfaced. I had initially not kept Siachen Base Camp (SBC) in my itinerary as I knew getting permission to visit SBC was next to impossible. My friend called up some people & assured me that he would get the permissions. By dinner, we had the signed permission in hand.

Contd...

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 24th June 2016 at 06:27. Reason: typo corrected: Bacterial to Bactrian
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Old 23rd June 2016, 12:14   #5
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Day 8 : Siachen Base Camp

Now, visiting SBC has a good part & a bad part. Good part is that you get to visit a place that many don't. The bad part is that you can't click & share many photographs due to security reasons.

Siachen

Quote:
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalaya Mountains, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the LOC between India & Pakistan ends. At 76 km (47 mi) long, it is the longest Glacier in the Karakoram. It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its head at Indira Col on the China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at its Terminus
Quote:
"Sia" in the Balti language refers to the rose family plant widely dispersed in the region. "Chun" refers to any object found in abundance. Thus the name Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses.
Source : Wikipedia

So now that we know a bit about Siachen, lets carry on with the travelogue. We started for SBC around 7 am. For SBC you have to go to the other arm of the Nubra Valley which goes to Panamik hot springs. 15 kms ahead of Panamik lies Sasoma. Now Sasoma is the last place till where tourists can go without permission. There is a barrier at Sasoma ahead of which only army vehicles or vehicles with permission are allowed. We made an entry in the register after showing our permission letter. The permission letter has the names of all travelers with the car make & its registration number. SBC is about 47 kms from Sasoma. This road is usually used by Army trucks & Gypsys & hence are not completely trouble free. We counted 33 water crossings on this route made by small streams meeting Nubra river.

Siachen - The Sia - Rose flowers

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sia.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sia-meg.jpg


SBC far ahead

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sbc-far.jpg

We reached SBC & after multiple checks were guided inside. The first stop was the welcome room. The picture of our Prime Minister was framed in a wall

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-modi.jpg

Mr. Modi had visited Siachen Glacier during Diwali. This had upped the morale of the Soldiers there.

After some tea, we went to see the OP Baba shrine. This is a multiple faith shrine. People from all faiths can visit here. Plus you can wear your shoes inside the shrine. This rule was put since the weather becomes too harsh here & getting the snow boots out is injurious to health. We had gone to a similar shrine near Nathu La pass called Harbhajan Baba Mandir. These shrines are very important as they help building up faith & belief in such inhospitable conditions.
About OP Baba Shrine

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-op-baba.jpg

After the shrine we went to the War Memorial. There were few familiar unit names engraved there. Cannot share those pictures here. But can defietely share the picture of War Memorial gate.
War Memorial Gate

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wm-fornt.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-wm-bak.jpg

Our final visit of the day was scheduled for Siachen Battle School. It is the highest Battle school in the world. We saw the soldiers training for Glacier. We also saw many techniques that are used in climbing ice/rocks etc. Photography was not allowed. Finally, we went to the SNOUT of the glacier.

A bit about Snout :

Quote:
A glacier terminus, toe, or snout, is the end of a Glacier at any given point in time. Although glaciers seem motionless to the observer, in reality glaciers are in endless motion and the glacier terminus is always either advancing or retreating.
So Snout is actually the tip of the glacier. It is from the snout, that the glacier starts. We were given the whole overview of the glacier, the paths taken by army soldiers to climb up the glacier etc.

One close up picture of the Snout of the Glacier

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-snout.jpg

Yes, although the background looks like a rock, its actually hard ice, mixed with stones. Wearing helmets is compulsory since small pebbles keep on falling as the ice melts.

We the proceeded for lunch & left SBC around 2 pm.

Parting shot with SBC

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sbc-board.jpg

While coming back, we visited Panamik which was honestly not too great. It can be given a miss unless you have too much time at your hand. We returned to Partapur in the evening, had an early dinner & went to sleep.

Day 9 : Hunder-Pangong Tso-Leh through Shyok



We did not have SBC in our initial itinerary & therefore were short of fuel & running behind one day in our schedule. Now as expressed inn my previous TLs, we do not like hurrying up a lot. So it was decided that we would strike off Hanle & Tso Moriri from our itinerary. Another day, another trip. Fuel was still an issue. We had 20 litres of Diesel but that would cut to close in this circuit. Luckily for us we got some diesel in Hunder. I won't say that the petrol pump works but still you get diesel, through cans.

Filling up at Hunder

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-diesel-hunder.jpg
This was going to be a long day, so we started at 6 am. We had got packed breakfast with us. Soon we reached the point Agham. The two options from here are either via Wari La or via Shyok. We had information that Agham-Shyok route was doable. We turned towards Shyok. The roads started turning bad.

Bad Road

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-roads-bad.jpg

Rockfalls on Road

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-rock-fall-road.jpg

No tar Road

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-no-tar-road.jpg

End of Road ?

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-end-road.jpg

Yay a Milestone

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-whatsappimage20160623.jpg

We moved ahead. At some points it was like driving on the river bed. The road is bad is an understatement. But the scenic beauty is amazing. The rocks & soil are green in some parts. We didn't encounter anyone on this road for good 2 hours. It was really like driving on some other planet. The road made by cutting rocks looked amazing.

Road through a cut in rocks

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-where-does-lead-.jpg

The rock cuts work of art

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-cuts-rocks.jpg

We were soon in a wide valley with perfect view of snow clad mountains. We stopped for a photo break

Hulk with the mountain backdrop

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-hulk-mount-center.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-hulk-mountain-side.jpg

Clicked by a timer

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-me-7-meg-mountain.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-me-mountain.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-meg-mountain.jpg

Finally at Shyok

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-finally-shyok.jpg

Post the photo session, we joined the Pangong road at Durbuk. We reached Pangong around noon. We were not so lucky with Pangong as sky wasn't clear. There were dark clouds & soon it started raining. We could no see the true colours of Pangong & the weather wasn't helping. So we decided to move back to Leh.

First view of Pangong

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-first-view.jpg

A Pangong Tso shot

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-pangong.jpg

On our way back to Leh we passed Chang La. Surprisingly, Hulks GPS showed higher elevation of Chang La than K La. The difference was just 5 meters though

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-chang-la-elevation.jpg

A frozen lake enroute Chang La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-frozen-lake.jpg

At Chang La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-chang-la.jpg

Roads after Chang La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-chang-la-roads.jpg

Roads look like lines

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-changla-road.jpg



We were in Leh by 6 in the evening. Tanked up Hulk & straight away went to our accommodation since we were quite tired after the long journey

contd...

Last edited by Aditya : 28th June 2016 at 08:15. Reason: Colors - colours
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Old 23rd June 2016, 15:52   #6
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Day 10 : Leh-Manali

We had not targeted Manali in the beginning as the route was quite long, but since we reached Keylong with spare time & energy, we made it till Manali. This was also a big & tiring day. We crossed five high passes in a single day. We left at 5 am. The morning sunrays were falling on mountains making them even more beautiful

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-sunrise.jpg

The first pass in line was Tanglang la. It was also the highest of the day. We reached the pass within 2 hours. The temperature was dipping below zero. The streams on the way were frozen.

Frozen Streams

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-frozen-streams-tng-lang-la.jpg

The views from Tang Lang La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-tanglang-la-view.jpg

Tang Lang La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-tang-lang-la.jpg

After Tang Lang La, we crossed more plains & reached Lachung La.

Hulk at More Plains

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-more-plains.jpg

At Lachung La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-lachung-la.jpg

We took some shortcuts after Lachung La & reached Baralacha La around 1 pm.

Shortcuts after Lachung La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-after-lachung-la.jpg

Nakee La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-nakeela.jpg

Approaching Baralacha La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-baralachl-view.jpg

Vishal Taal - Named after a BRO Officer

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-vishal-taal.jpg

Baralacha La

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-baralach-la-snow-wall.jpg

We crossed Pang & Zing Zing bar. We stopped at Zing Zing bar for coffee & yummy Rajma Chawal.

Somewhere near Pang

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-pang-zz.jpg

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-meg-rock.jpg

We were finally at our last but the most congested pass of the day - Rohtang Pass. The Manali side of the Pass was filled with traffic.

At Rohtang

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-rohtang.jpg

We were stuck in a 1.5 hours long Jam to Enter Manali and finally reached our hotel at 8 pm after a tiring 13 hour drive. This was our last night at the hills, so sat in the balcony for long & then retired for the day.

Next day we reached Delhi, where we rested for a day & then proceeded back to Kolkata taking a night halt at Varanasi. The experience was great. The memories of Ladakh are now etched in our minds forever.

As Ibn Batuta Said -

Traveling makes you speechless & then turns you into a storyteller

Thanks for Reading the Travelogue

Signing off till the next one

Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD-good-nye.jpg

Regards,

Pawan

**END**

Last edited by PapaBravo : 23rd June 2016 at 16:00.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 22:35   #7
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd June 2016, 23:10   #8
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Great job done there Pawan!
Very well written travelogue. I wish you had got the leaves 15 days before then we could have driven together to Siachen.
Last year we got severe snowfall while returning from Nubra and this year it was your turn. Khardungla looks amazing after snowfall.
5 stars
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Old 23rd June 2016, 23:39   #9
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Woho, Kolkata Team Bhpians raining Ladakh travelogue's in Team Bhp! Lovely travelogue Pawan da. Your Duster looks to be on its home ground! Even we thought of driving to Siachen base camp last year but time didn't permit.

Ladakh drive is addictive. Am sure you have already started planning for your 2nd Ladakh road trip!

Rated 5*

Last edited by Samba : 24th June 2016 at 00:04.
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Old 24th June 2016, 10:02   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaBravo View Post
Day 10 : Leh-Manali

We had not targeted Manali in the beginning as the route was quite long, but since we reached Keylong with spare time & energy, we made it till Manali. This was also a big & tiring day. We crossed five high passes in a single day. We left at 5 am. The morning sunrays were falling on mountains making them even more beautiful
Pawan , the TL is superb as always , happy miles ahead and many such happy miles uploaded as TL !!!! superb

Last edited by benbsb29 : 24th June 2016 at 10:58. Reason: Trimmed long post quote.
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Old 24th June 2016, 11:30   #11
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WOW! Another travelogue from kolkata to Leh

Amazing photos and a very well written travelogue. Rated 5 stars.

Last edited by abhayankara : 24th June 2016 at 11:31. Reason: Deleted smilie
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Old 24th June 2016, 12:12   #12
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Superb travelog, would you remember how many places was the AWD required?
With each passing year the road to manali is improving, how was your experience?
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Old 24th June 2016, 12:43   #13
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Default Re: Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD

Making good use of AWD, aren't you!

This is the season for Leh TL to come in and I am sure there are even more in line. We also have one trip in planning.

Thanks for sharing and nice pics. SBC is indeed a good place to visit. Great that you guys added it to the trip impromptu. Cheers!
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Old 24th June 2016, 14:01   #14
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Default Re: Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD

This is a wonderful travelogue. Rating it 5-stars.

Leh to Manali in a day is a feat in itself. I never knew it can be done in just one day !!

Need some info on the Hundar - Agham - Shyok - Tangtse stretch. While in the pics it looks doable for a sedan, need your inputs regarding this. Is it wise to drive a sedan on this route?
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Old 24th June 2016, 14:03   #15
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Default Re: Kolkata to Ladakh & Siachen in a Duster AWD

Brilliant travelogue Pawan. Absolutely loved it. Hulk looks so awesome with the mountains in the background.
Can you provide the details of the various accommodations that you chose to stay and any contact numbers of the same. I feel that will come in handy for anyone who wishes to visit these regions.

Thanks
Regards
Avishek.
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