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Old 14th September 2016, 22:51   #1
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Default Leh-Ladakh in a Swift

It was always a dream to travel to Leh Ladakh which included the worlds most dangerous and treacherous roads along with World's three highest motorable passes.

It was planned far too many times but put off at the last moment due to one or other reasons.

Again planned the journey with four of my friends all of them agreed initially, two of them unfortunately backed out at the last moment owing to various personal reasons.

We had planned the full circuit entering from Srinagar Side and exiting from Manali Side, unfortunately from July violence erupted in the valley and I was glued to newspapers and online articles on the situation until first week of August, when the decision was made to enter/exit from Manali side to avoid any misadventure due to the prevailing situations in the valley.

Me and my friend eventually kick started finally on the 12th August 2016 to our dream destination " Leh-Ladakh"

Original Plan: Original plan was to do the full circuit entering from Srinagar side and exit from Manali side, however due to the ongoing unrest in Kashmir Valley revised the plan to enter and exit from Manali side only.

Route Taken:New Delhi >> Manali >> Sarchu >> Leh >> Khardungla >> Diskit >> Hunder >> Shyok >> Durbuk >> Pangong Tso >> Changla >> Leh >> Lamayuru >> Leh >> Manali >> New Delhi

Vehicle: 2009 Maruti Swift Vxi Petrol

Vehicle Preparation: 60k service done, Suspension link rods replaced, Wheel alignment and rotation done, tyres inspected for tread depth and punctures.

Essentials for the Trip: AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) medicines, Water Bottles, Juices, Biscuits, Winter Clothes, Puncture Kit, Gmaps(Offline), Search Light, Tool Kit

Day1- August 12th 2016

Destination: Manali
Total Distance covered: 550 Kms
Road Condition: Excellent, except for 30 odd Kms stretch around Sundernagar due to road doubling work in progress.

Initial plan was to go to SDM office in Manali and get the travel permit ourselves, however managed to get hold of a travel agent online who offered to get the permit on behalf of us for a fee of INR 500, gave the go ahead as that would save time and give us more time for rest before we set off to next destination. Started off at 12:30 AM from Delhi reached Manali around 3pm due to heavy rains and booked a homestay

Day2- August 13th 2016

Destination: Sarchu
Total Distance covered: 222 Kms
Road Condition: Up till Rohtang Top roads are good, Rohtang top to Khoksar no roads and full of slush due to the heavy rains, Khoksar to Darcha is average roads. Darcha to Zingzingbar again average roads with 3 water crossings. Zingzinbar to Sarchu again bad roads.

Started at 8 am after finishing breakfast and headed towards to our next destination Sarchu, descend from Rohtang top to Khoksar was very challenging due to slush, managed to negotiate this stretch carefully without any underbody hits, since roads were really bad speeds were reduced to 10kmph to 20kmph. Reached Sarchu around 7:30pm, overnight stay at Sarchu.

Day3- August 14th 2016

Destination: Leh
Total Distance covered: 251 Kms
Road Condition: Bad stretch till Pang, Pang to More plains, Tanglangla, Leh excellent roads

Started from Sarchu at 7 am after having breakfast, crossed Gata Loops, Nakeela, Pang, Tanglangla, Roads were excellent, Reached Leh at 6 pm got a nice home stay, since we were really tired had dinner and went to sleep as early as 9pm.

Day4- August 15th 2016

Destination: Nubra Valley(Hunder/Diskit)
Total Distance covered: 126 Kms
Road Condition: Bad stretch from South Pullu to North Pullu, climb to Khardungla also was undergoing widening process for about 10 Kms

Started from Leh at 9 am after having breakfast, crossed Khardungla, took a wrong cut when we were around Diskit and went ahead for 50 odd kms towards Siachen base camp, but it was worth due to excellent scenery and roads, turned back around Panagmik reached Hunder around 6 pm and found a nice home stay, had dinner and went to sleep.

Day5- August 16th 2016

Destination: Pangong Tso
Total Distance covered: 164 Kms
Road Condition: Bad stretch ahead of Agam and before Shyok, due to major river crossing

Started from Hunder at 9 am after having breakfast, Took a brave decision to travel the road to Pangong less travelled. Up till Agam the road was fine, then disaster awaited, as all of a sudden the road was going into a river bed filled with silt and pebbles, couple of taxiís warned us that cars are stuck there you wonít be able to cross it being a hatchback and advised to turn back, but we decided to see how dangerous was it to cross, Upon reaching there we came to know the cars got stuck due to taking the wrong pathway and got stuck in silt, we stepped down and assessed the pathway and came to a conclusion that it can be crossed, but then my friend was behind the wheels and he made a driving error and the result was car veered off course and got stuck on the road. The only thing I was worried about was underbody hits, luckily there was no underbody hits and everything was intact with no leakages, Taxi drivers whose cars got stuck there advised us that BRO is on its way with a JCB to help take out the cars. First we decided to wait for help but then I decided to build our own little pathway to get It back on the road, hence the work began, water was freezing cold and with every minute flow was increasing due to the ice meltdown at the top, eventually a strategy was laid out to put it back on road and we were successful in third attempt with absolutely no scraping of underbelly. The total damage due to this was a misaligned bumper at the rear as the mud flap got stuck on a rock. Once we crossed it another water crossing was awaiting us, which was close to 10 to 15kmph downstream but we managed to cross it successfully without any issues, followed by another water puddle. Everything was normal till we were approaching Pangong Lake, 8 kms prior to Pangong there was a major water logging due to riverside crossing into the road, itís easy to cross early morning as water levels are low, since we got late the water level was alarmingly up, so decided to park the vehicle on the sidelines and assess the level of water, saw few Innovas & Arias crossing so got an idea about the depth areas, again a strategy was laid out and was able to cross it successfully, water was up till the bonnet of the car when it went through, however the key was to prevent the engine from stalling. Reached Pangong took a deep breath recounting the adventure that happened during the day, and how worse it could have been. Chilled out alongside the Lake for a longtime and took the Swiftie for a spin and had dinner and settled down in a tent for the night with an aim to cross the water crossing early morning to be safe and sound.

Day6- August 17th 2016

Destination: Changla/Leh /Magnetic Hills /Gurudwara Pathar Sahib/Lamayuru
Total Distance covered: 253 Kms
Road Condition: Ascend to Changla was broken due to landslides, rest of the roads were excellent tarmacs

Started from Pangong Tso at 8 am after having breakfast, water was way low as compared to previous day hence crossed it easily, saw some wildlife before ascend to Changla, crossed the mighty Changla, Visited Gurudwara Pathar Sahib had langar and went on to Magnetic hills experienced the magnetic phenomenon, and went all the way to Lamayuru Monastery and turned back to Leh and took the same homestay, went for dinner and a lap around the market, came back and went for sleep.

Day7- August 18th 2016

Destination: Leh Local SightSeeing
Total Distance covered: 253 Kms
Road Condition: Excellent roads

Started around 10 am, visited Hemis Monastery, Shey Palace, Thiksey Monastery, Shanti Stupa, reached back leh by around 7 pm, filled up fuel for our return journey, had dinner and went on to sleep.

Day8- August 19th 2016

Destination: Sarchu
Total Distance covered: 251 Kms

Day9- August 20th 2016

Destination: Manali
Total Distance covered: 222 Kms
Road Condition: Bad to Worse due to heavy rains and landslide from Khoksar to Rohtang top

Carefully negotiated with lot of wheel spins and without any underbody hits, reached Manali and stayed at a hotel.

Day10- August 21st 2016

Destination: Delhi
Total Distance covered: 550 Kms
Road Condition: Excellent, except for 30 odd Kms stretch around Sundernagar due to road doubling work in progress.

Started from Manali at 7 am, Reached Delhi back by 8 pm.
A Dream trip that was planned many a times was finally executed, and the happiness to have done it in a Swift makes it even sweeter

Total Cost for the trip: INR 29,536
Total Kms Covered: 2993 Kms
Total Damages: Misaligned bumper and a mud flap fixed at a cost of INR 300

Now itís time for some pics to do the talking.

Rainbow during the ascend to Rohtang Top

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-pic1.jpg

After Conquering the First Pass- Rohtang La

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At Tandi

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First Sight of Heaven on Earth

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Somewhere after ZingZingbar

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Nakeela Pass

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Tanglangla Pass

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Towards Leh

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Welcome to the Land of Stupas

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When the Old Generation met the New Generation

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Proud Moment- Khardungla Pass Conquered

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Nubra Sand Dunes

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Tri Color Flying high at Pangong Tso Lake

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Kashmiri Marmot decided to pose for us

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Wildlife before ascend to Changla

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Mighty Changla

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Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

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Shanti Stupa

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BRO have put up so many of such wonderful boards

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Thiksey Monastery

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Lamayuru Monastery

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-pic27.jpg

Last edited by nidhin0816 : 23rd October 2016 at 23:00.
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Old 14th September 2016, 22:54   #2
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Default Re: Leh-Ladakh in a Swift

Some More pics from the dream journey

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-pic31.jpg
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Manali View

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160812_090227.jpg
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Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160812_165956.jpg

Climb to Rohtang Pass

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160813_080653.jpg
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Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160813_102359.jpg

Towards Keylong

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Signature Shot of the Trip for Swiftie

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Sarchu Stay

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ZingZingbar Top View

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-pic38.jpg

Thank You BRO for working round the clock Jai Hind !!!

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-pic39.jpg

Last edited by nidhin0816 : 20th February 2017 at 11:30.
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Old 14th September 2016, 23:39   #3
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Default Re: Leh-Ladakh in a Swift

Great Travelogue! Beautiful pics! You've managed to capture some breathtaking views.
Loved the ones with the Swift with backdrop of the setting sun.
The Swift seems to have taken the rough roads in its stride, and came through unscathed.
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Old 4th December 2016, 00:19   #4
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Default Re: Leh-Ladakh in a Swift

Gata Loops

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160814_090559.jpg
Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160814_100624.jpg


Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160814_110111.jpg

Towards Pang

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Moore Plains

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160814_134402.jpg
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Thanglangla Top

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160814_151706.jpg
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Khardungla Top

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160815_120120.jpg

Descend to North Pullu

Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160815_130654.jpg
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Hunder & Diskit

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Pangong Lake

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Climb to Changla Pass

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Magnetic Hill

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Thiksey Monastery

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View from Thiksey Monastery

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Leh-Ladakh in a Swift-img_20160818_160132.jpg

Last edited by nidhin0816 : 22nd February 2017 at 15:28.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 10:23   #5
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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