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Old 28th September 2016, 10:43   #1
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Default The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Dwight D Eisenhower, the famous American politician and general who also served as the 34th president of the United States has quite aptly remarked that “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. This in fact holds true for everything we do in our day to day life which involves planning, especially in case of the travel plans. This is what exactly happened with me ever since I planned for a road trip to Ladakh!!!.

The seeds of a road trip to Ladakh were sown in my mind ever since I read a couple of travelogue articles published in a news daily around one and a half decades ago. Nonetheless back then the tourism hadn’t really picked up in the Ladakh region, with only a handful of adventurous travel enthusiasts daring to travel to this northern most corner of the country by road.

As late as till the year 2005 the influx of tourists in Ladakh was quite less owing to scarce tourism infrastructure as well as travel restrictions being in force in the areas around. Though air connectivity to the region was there since late 1990s but that was an expensive proposition (It still is!!!). Also the road network was in disarray as the Manali-Leh highway was not in a good condition for quite long (About 100 km of the stretch is still unmetalled and bumpy). It was only after the ‘Kargil War’ in 1999 that the government realized the strategic importance of this second alternative route to Ladakh, the other being Srinagar-Leh highway, that the plans were put into action to make it decently motorable.

Years went by but the plan to visit Ladakh couldn’t materialize on one pretext or the other. Then there were many naysayers who would always glorify the perils of visiting Ladakh. Many suggested air travel but that was not the plan, as the real adventure lies in travelling by road with the journey itself being more beautiful than the destination. As have always wanted to drive all the way to Ladakh from Manali so the question of travelling by air was given a firm burial. It was from 2011 onwards that the Ladakh region started experiencing real tourism boom. With the increase in number of both domestic and foreign tourists the situation changed for better and it was the time when I seriously started thinking about road trip to Ladakh.

Once again the plans to visit the dream destination were renewed but the things wouldn’t work out at last moment. The primary issue was to have a team of likeminded travel enthusiasts who would be happy and willing to endure and enjoy the long journey. Then there was also a problem of the limited travel window of 4 months which one gets to travel to Leh by road from Manali as the highway is open from mid-June to mid-October as such one has to plan accordingly. Apart from this the rumors of Ladakhi Taxi Operators not allowing private vehicles to ply in Ladakh also led to lot of confusion and hence affected the planning.

After considering these vital issues came up the question regarding the vehicle to be used for the trip and again Swift Dzire was the obvious choice as that's the only car we own., with it having proved its prowess during the Spiti Valley and Pangi Valley trips in the remote corners of the Himalayas. So with issues being sorted, the quite likely period of travel was agreed upon to be between mid-August and mid-September. Nonetheless there was one aspect which kept playing spoilsport till the last moment and that was the weather. With monsoon rains remaining quite vigorous in Himachal Pradesh till August end, the road infrastructure suffered damage especially in Mandi and Kullu districts owing to landslides. Also the Manali-Rohtang-Keylong highway is also prone to landslides especially the Rohtang-Koksar stretch (The worst of the lot) and the Gondhla-Tandi stretch. All this again led to putting up of question mark on the very fate of the trip. But luckily by the first week of September the rains started to subside and by 5th September clear skies became the order of the day.

Until now I hadn’t revealed my proposed trip plan to anyone and it was only after getting assured about weather that I revealed the details to brother. His first reaction was “Are you crazy? How can you plan for such a long trip at the drop of a hat?”. I replied “But I’ve been planning for the past five years!!!”. I also reiterated that what I have found is that as far as travelling is concerned the plans are useless but planning is important. After brother agreed, the next one to be convinced was our common friend (a retired Indian Air Force Officer) who has been our teammate during our numerous Himalayan sojourns. Initially he was also taken aback as he too had no inkling about my plan till the last minute. In fact it was only a day before the departure that I told him about the trip. Nonetheless being an avid travelling enthusiast he readily agreed and accommodated as per the plan.

Itinerary of the trip was decided as follows:
Day 1: Chandigarh to Manali
Day 2: Manali to Sarchu
Day 3: Sarchu to Leh
Day 4: Local sightseeing at Leh
Day 5: Leh to Khardungla and back to Leh plus local sightseeing
Day 6: Leh to Pangong Lake
Day 7: Pangong Lake to Leh
Day 8: Leh to Kargil and then to Dras and back to Kargil for night halt
Day 9: Kargil to Leh
Day 10: Leh to Sarchu
Day 11: Sarchu to Manali
Day 12: Manali to Chandigarh


Some photographs from the trip:
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-2.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-1.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-3.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-4.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-5.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-6.jpg

Preparations for the trip: The most important aspect of the preparation was assuring that the car was ready for this long and torturous Trans Himalayan sojourn. Had got it serviced sometime back with odometer reading 30,000 Km and all the necessary checks were also carried out. Second in the line was taking care of the logistics which included the detailed study of the route to be taken and marking out places of stay, eating, fuel pumps etc. As the travelling/staying involved was going to be at high altitudes (11,000 feet and above) therefore the acute mountain sickness (AMS) aspect was seriously taken into account and the requisite medicines were added to the medical kit. Luggage planning was as per the itinerary of the trip and heavy woolens were the indispensable part of clothing.

Medical kit: Apart from items required for treating wounds (Dressings/Bandages/Antiseptic/Ointments) the medicines for fever, loose motions, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness along with analgesics were included in the package.

Documents Checklist:As late as 2014 inner line permits were required to be obtained from Leh DC office to visit areas in Ladakh region but wef 24th April 2014 things stand changed and relaxation has been thereby granted. Now only a self declaration form is required to be filled and submitted at Army/ITBP checkpoints along with photocopies of any of the following government issued documents which will be treated as inner line permits. The listed documents are Passport/Aadhar Card/Election ID Card/Driving License/Service ID card. So it's imperative to carry at least 5 photocopies of the above mentioned documents along with the originals.

Self Declaration Form: Self Declaration Form Leh.pdf

The following are the detailed circulars issued by Office of the District Magistrate Leh in lieu of information regarding the relaxation of norms wef 24th April 2014
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-circular.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-circular-1.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-circular-2.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-circular-3.jpg

Rohtang Pass Permit: Not to forget a transit permit is required to be obtained from the SDM's Office Manali in order to cross Rohtang Pass. The same can be obtained by filling a self declaration form mentioning details i.e Name/Address/Vehicle Details and submitting it along with photocopies of Vehicle RC and Pollution Certificate and a fee of INR 100/-. The Office functions from 1000 Hrs to 1700 Hrs. The permit is provided for the next day's travel. There is also an option to obtain Rohtang permit online (Link:http://admis.hp.nic.in/ngtkullu) but that is only for tourism purpose. To obtain permit for transit purpose one needs to report at the SDM's office in person therefore it's advisable either to reach Manali on time and get the permit made for next day or if arriving late stay put at Manali for another day to get the work done.

Vehicle spare items checklist:
1. Spare Tyre (Tubeless).
2. Jack with handle & spanner.
3. 6” by 6” square wooden plank which is at least 1” thick (For placing jack in case of soft surface).
4. Engine Oil 3.5 Litres.
5. Brake Fluid 250 ml.
6. Engine oil filter.
7. Tool kit.
8. Foot operated Air Pump.
9. 10 meter long rope for towing/emergency.
10. 20 litre plastic can for carrying extra petrol for emergency.

With all set we were ready for the adventure.

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 6th October 2016 at 23:58. Reason: Adding further information.
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Old 28th September 2016, 23:53   #2
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 1: 09th September 2016

Journey: Chandigarh to Manali
Total Distance Covered: 300 kms
Total Travel Time (Including Halts): 10hrs (Halts:40mins)
Actual Travel Time: 9hrs 20mins
Route: Chandigarh-Chandimandir-Pinjore-Baddi-Nalagarh-Swarghat-Bilaspur-Sundernagar-Mandi-Pandoh-Aut-Kullu-Raison-Patlikuhl-Manali
.

Route Map Day 1
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-route-map-day-1.jpg

The first day of the trip was a drive on a familiar highway on which we have travelled many times during frequent trips in Himachal. The most important task of the day was to get the Rohtang Pass transit permit prepared at Manali for which it was necessary to reach Manali before 1700Hrs i.e the official closing time of the SDM's office. So keeping it in mind started at 0610 Hrs. Took a left detour on the Himalayan Expressway to reach Pinjore and after crossing the industrial townships of Baddi and Nalagarh took a quick break for snacks(sandwich with cold drinks) we were carrying along. That was our breakfast for the day.

After crossing the towns of Bilaspur and Sundernagar reached Mandi at 1215 Hrs. Stopped for tea at Pandoh by the side of dam site. Anyone who has travelled on the Chandigarh-Manali highway would agree that this long drive hardly offers any photographic opportunity barring at some stretches between Mandi and Kullu especially the seasonal waterfall across the Beas River visible from highway.

The picturesque waterfall on the Mandi-Kullu stretch.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-3.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-6.jpg
Swiftly flowing River Beas by the highway side.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-4.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-1-5.jpg

After a short photography break we resumed the journey and after crossing Kullu town by 1425 Hrs, finally reached Manali at 1610 Hrs. Immediately rushed to the SDMs office which is located on the mall road and filled a form mentioning personal details i.e Name, Address, Vehicle Registration Details and purpose of visiting Rohtang etc. After paying the requisite fee of INR 100/- got the permit.

Rohtang Pass Transit Permit
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-rohtang-transit-permit.jpg

After obtaining the permit we checked in at Hotel Manali View located opposite Van Vihar. This was same hotel where we had stayed in October 2015 while returning from Kaza. The manager instantly recognised us and provided us with two DBRs at INR 400/- each!!!. Now that's the advantage of travelling during off season in Himachal as one gets great deals at lowest prices. Got the car refuelled and also bought 18 litres of extra petrol in the can. After settling in for the day went for a stroll on the Mall Road and had dinner by 2030 Hrs. Returned to the hotel by 2145 Hrs. That was the end of first day of the trip.

Road conditions for the day: Out of the total 300 kms covered around 35kms stretch was unmetalled. The details are as follows:
1. Stretch of 25 kms between Nalagarh and Swarghat unmetalled.
2. Stretch of 10 kms before Sundernagar unmetalled owing to four laning.

Expenses for the day:
1. Himalayan Expressway Toll @ Chandimandir: INR 28/-
2. Himachal Pradesh Entry Toll @ Baddi: INR 30/-
3. Tea @ Pandoh: INR 30/-
4. Green Tax Entry Fee @ Manali: INR 200/-
5. Rohtang Transit Permit Fee: INR 100/-
6. Dinner: INR 500/-
7. Hotel Room Rent: INR 800/-
8. Car Refuelling @ Manali (Full Tank 22.78 litres): INR 1500/-
9. Extra Fuel in Can (18.22 Litres): INR 1200/-

Total Expenses For The Day: INR 4388/-


Mileage Achieved: 334 kms/22.78 ltr = 14.66 km/ltr (Total Distance Covered Since Last Refuelling/Fuel Consumed).
AC Usage: 90% of the distance covered.

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:05. Reason: Adding further information
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Old 29th September 2016, 23:27   #3
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 2: 10th September 2016

Journey: Manali to Sarchu
Total Distance Covered: 228 kms
Total Travel Time (Including Halts): 12hrs (Halts:2hrs 20mins)
Actual Travel Time: 9hrs 40mins
Route: Manali-Marhi-Rohtang Pass-Koksar-Sissu-Gondhla-Tandi-Keylong-Jispa-Darcha-Patseo-Zing Zing Bar-Baralacha Pass-Killing Sarai-Sarchu.


Route Map Day 2
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-route-map-day-2.jpg

As it was going to be a long day on the road hence had planned to depart Manali by 0630 hrs but that was not to be, courtesy flat tyre. Discovered the puncture after all the luggage and paraphernalia had been loaded in the boot. On close scrutiny of the tyre found that the rate of air loss was pretty slow as such it was decided to fill the tyre with air up to the requisite pressure and get the puncture repaired on the way. So finally started off at 0700hrs. The traffic was scarce on the Manali-Rohtang road and the only vehicles were trucks loaded with cargo heading for Keylong and beyond to Leh.

Early morning drive was refreshing with beautiful views.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0146.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0148.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0149.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0150.jpg

Upon reaching Gulaba checkpost the Rohtang transit permit was checked and also paid INR 50/- in lieu of Rohtang Pass congestion charges. From Gulaba onwards its a steep climb till Marhi.

Beautiful views during climb towards Marhi.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0151.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0152.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0153.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0154.jpg

Reached Marhi at 0820 hrs and stopped for a tea break. Marhi serves as a refreshment point on way to Rohtang. There are sizeable number of eateries catering to the needs of travellers. Filled air in the punctured tyre before proceeding.

Views at Marhi.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0155.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0157.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0158.jpg

Reached Rohtang by 0915 hrs and stopped for the customary photo shoot.

Views at Rohtang Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0162.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0163.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0165.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0168.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0172.jpg

Resumed the drive and soon were on the other side of the pass into the Lahaul Valley. The 20 kms stretch from Rohtang to Koksar is a continuous descent and about 17 kms of this stretch is unmetalled and bumpy owing to recurring landslides. Found it worst amongst all the bad stretches upto Leh.

Road is a continuous descent till Koksar with first few kms being metalled.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0174.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0175.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0176.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0178.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0179.jpg

Reached Koksar by 1100 hrs. It took 1 hr 15mins to cover a distance of 20 kms from Rohtang due to pathetic condition of the road. Looked out for puncture repair shop but were told that will find one at Sissu. After marking entry at Koksar police post we moved on.

View of the north portal of under construction Rohtang tunnel.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0180.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0184.jpg

From Koksar the road condition improved and the rough patch gave way to smooth highway. It took us 20 mins to cover 13 kms from Koksar to reach Sissu. Got the punctured tyre repaired at Sissu.

Views around Sissu.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0185.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0188.jpg

Puncture repair underway.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0190.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:10. Reason: Adding further information
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Old 30th September 2016, 16:18   #4
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Day 2 Continued...

Restarted from Sissu at 1200 hrs and reached Tandi at 1255 hrs. Again a stretch of 5 kms before Tandi is landslide prone and unmetalled, which slowed down the progress. Tandi is known for being the confluence point of Rivers Chandra and Bhaga. It also has a petrol pump, the only in the entire Lahaul District and also the last on way to Leh. Although had refuelled at Manali a day before but still got tank full at Tandi just to be on the safer side.

Confluence point of Chandra and Bhaga Rivers at Tandi.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0193.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0195.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0196.jpg

Reached Keylong at 1300 hrs and stopped for Lunch. Resumed onward journey by 1350 hrs.

Views at Keylong.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-2.jpg

Crossed Jispa, Darcha, Patseo and Zing Zing Bar on way to Baralacha Pass.

Views around Jispa.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0198.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0199.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0200.jpg

The man made Deepak Tal lake at Patseo.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0202.jpg

Views around Patseo.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0208.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0209.jpg

Came across an Army Transit Camp between Patseo and Zing Zing Bar.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0211.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0212.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0214.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0218.jpg

A calm water crossing before Zing Zing Bar. These are raging torrents during the peak monsoon season.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0220.jpg

By 1630 hrs we reached the famous Suraj Tal lake which lies just below the Baralacha Pass.

Views of Suraj Tal.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0224.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0225.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0226.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0227.jpg

Continuing towards Baralacha Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0231.jpg

Reached Baralacha Pass at 1650 hrs and as usual stopped for the customary photo shoot.

Views at Baralacha Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0233.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0237.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0240.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0242.jpg

The entire stretch of 32 kms from Baralacha Pass to Sarchu was unmetalled and bumpy which slowed down the progress. The stretch from pass to Killing Sarai was pretty bad.

Views around Killing Sarai.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0244.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0246.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0247.jpg

As we neared Sarchu the road condition improved a little and now the route was through a vast plain stretch. Reached Sarchu by 1900 hrs.

View of tented accommodations near Sarchu.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0251.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0252.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0254.jpg

On enquiring at one of the tented accommodation for overnight stay the tariff was found to be INR 1500/-. We didn't find it wise to spend that much amount for a night halt as such drove a couple of kilometers more until we crossed the Army Transit Camp and the Himachal Police checkpost. The personnel present there advised us to drive a kilometer further up to the HP/J&K barrier where we were likely to find budget accommodation. Reached the inter state barrier at 1900 hrs and found that there were many tin shed accommodations present there run by Ladakhis. Enquired at one such accommodation which was at a stone throw distance from the barrier and the owner readily agreed to provide three beds for INR 150/- each. We checked the accommodation and after finding it ok settled in for the night. Despite being tin shed dwelling it was nice and warm inside as the interiors had been properly insulated. Had dinner by 2100 hrs and after the usual chit chat called it a day by 2200 hrs. That was the end of second day of the trip.

Road conditions for the day: Out of the total 228 kms covered during the day around 63 kms stretch was unmetalled and bumpy. The details are as follows:
1. 17 kms stretch between Rohtang and Koksar unmetalled and landslide prone.
2. 5 kms stretch immediately before Tandi unmetalled and landslide prone.
3. 2 kms between Tandi and Keylong unmetalled and landslide prone.
4. 9 kms between Darcha and Patsio unmetalled and landslide prone.
5. 30 kms between Baralacha Pass and Sarchu unmetalled and landslide prone.

Expenses for the day:
1. Rohtang Congestion Tax @ Gulaba Barrier: INR 50/-
2. Tea @ Marhi: INR 60/-
3. Puncture Repair @ Sissu: INR 100/-
4. Lunch @ Keylong: INR 410/-
5. Accommodation Rent @ Sarchu: INR 450/-
6. Tea + Dinner @ Sarchu: INR 310/-
7. Car Refuelling @ Tandi (7.55 Litres): INR 500/-

Total Expenses For The Day: INR 1880/-

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:19. Reason: Adding further information
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Old 2nd October 2016, 13:57   #5
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Day 3: 11th September 2016

Journey: Sarchu to Leh
Total Distance Covered: 255 kms
Total Travel Time (Including Halts): 9hrs 15mins (Halts:1hr 45mins)
Actual Travel Time: 7hrs 30mins
Route: Sarchu-Brandy Nallah-Gata Loops-Nakeela Pass-Whisky Nallah-Lachung La Pass-Pang-Debring-Tanglang La Pass-Rumtse-Upshi-Karu-Choglamsar-Leh.


Route Map Day 3
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-route-map-day-3.jpg

Departed from Sarchu at 0745 hrs. The clear skies promised a bright sunny day ahead.

Woke up to a sunny morning at Sarchu.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0257.jpg

The HP/J&K interstate barrier at Sarchu. Noted that distance to Chandigarh has been wrongly mentioned as 472 kms instead of 532 kms. Reporting at the police post at barrier is mandatory before proceeding.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0259.jpg

Bid goodbye to the accommodation owner with promise of meeting again on return.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0261.jpg

The stay at Sarchu.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0262.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0264.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0265.jpg

Journey through wilderness between Sarchu and Pang.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0269.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0270.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0271.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0273.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0274.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0277.jpg

Crossed the unusually named stream called 'Brandy Nallah' before Nakeela Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0278.jpg

By 0830 hrs we reached the starting point of 'Gata Loops'. The 'Gata Loops' are a series of 21 switchbacks leading to Nakeela Pass from the valley floor.

Gata Loops Start.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0281.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0282.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0284.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0285.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0286.jpg

By 0915 hrs we were on Nakeela Pass. Once again stopped for the customary photo shoot.

At Nakeela Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0288.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0291.jpg

From Nakeela Pass the road first descends to another unusually named stream called 'Whisky Nallah' and then again ascends towards Lachung La Pass.

Road descending towards 'Whisky Nallah' from Nakeela Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0292.jpg

View of 'Whisky Nallah' with civil and army trucks parked.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0294.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0295.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0302.jpg

At 'Whisky Nallah'.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0303.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0306.jpg

Reached Lachung La Pass at 1015 hrs.

At Lachung La Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0309.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0310.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0313.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 2nd October 2016 at 14:01. Reason: Adding further information.
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Old 2nd October 2016, 18:57   #6
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 3 Continued...

Restarted from Lachung La Pass at 1020 hrs. From Lachung La Pass the road again descends to a narrow valley and finally leads to Pang. By now the frequency of Army convoys increased and giving way to Army trucks become a norm after every couple of kilometers. Despite the tough terrain our forces were in high spirits. Every salute and smile to the soldiers was reciprocated with equally warm smiles and waving of hands.

Came across many army convoys on the way.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0315.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0317.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0319.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0320.jpg

Certain sections of the highway were too narrow between Lachung La and Pang.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0326.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0329.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0330.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0331.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0332.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0333.jpg

Artillery guns were also on the move.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0336.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0337.jpg

Amazing rock formations were a regular feature.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0338.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0342.jpg

Well said indeed.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0343.jpg

In Spite of the treacherous terrain GREF is doing a yeoman's job in maintaining the roads in the high altitude areas.

Bailey bridges are the lifeline of Ladakh highways.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0344.jpg

Reached Pang at 1120 hrs. Pang is also known for the world's highest army transit camp of the the Indian Army.

At Pang.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0345.jpg

From Pang onwards the road again ascends in a series of switchbacks until it reaches the More Plains.

Indian Army transit camp at Pang as seen form the highway above.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0350.jpg

View of seasonal settlement at Pang.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0351.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0353.jpg

Highway ascends from Pang to More Plains.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0355.jpg

Beautiful views around the highway.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0357.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0358.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:25.
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Old 2nd October 2016, 20:24   #7
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 3 Continued...

Reached More Plains by 1155 hrs. From the beginning of the plains till Debring the highway is a straight stretch of around 45 kms. Comfortably maintained a cruising speed of 60-70 km/h throughout the stretch.

More plains start.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0361.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0362.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0363.jpg

The vastness of the More Plains is spell bounding.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0366.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0368.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0370.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0372.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0373.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0381.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0382.jpg

By 1245 hrs reached Debring which lies on the north end of More Plains and stopped for lunch. As we settled for the meal some army personnel also reached there and it was a great honour to have lunch along with them. Discussed about their experiences on this high altitude cold desert terrain. Despite the hardships which are part and parcel of the life in Ladakh our brave army personnel always wear a smile on their faces and are extremely committed towards their duties.

Stopped for lunch at Debring.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0388.jpg

Were joined by army personnel who had just reached there.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0398.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0399.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0401.jpg

It was an honour to have lunch along with army personnel.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0404.jpg

Resumed the journey by 1315 hrs and headed towards the highest pass on the route i.e Tanglang La Pass. Reached Tanglang La top at 1355 hrs.

At Tanglang La Pass. The second highest motorable pass in the world.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0406.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0407.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0408.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0410.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0414.jpg

After staying at the pass for about 10 mins we moved on. Everyone felt little giddiness along with slight breathlessness at the pass owing to high altitude. It may also have occurred due to continuous travelling we were doing without acclimatisation since last three days. Nonetheless that was the only moment during the entire trip that we experienced slight signs of mountain sickness. By 1540 hrs we reached Upshi and now we were in the Indus River Valley.

Views of River Indus after Upshi.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0428.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0430.jpg

From Upshi onwards the drive was through beautiful valley all the way up to Leh.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0433.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0435.jpg

Stopped at Choglamsar, a little short of Leh for refuelling and finally we reached the destination of the trip at 1700 hrs. It took us 26hrs 30mins and 783 kms in total to drive from Chandigarh to Leh.

Finally at Leh.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0436.jpg

For our stay at Leh (for the initial two days and three nights) we had a pre booking at an army transit camp, courtesy our accompanying friend who is a retired Indian Air Force officer. After settling for the day, we had our dinner in the officer's mess and called it a day by 2300 hrs. That was the end of day three of the trip.

Road conditions for the day: Out of the total 255 kms covered during the day around 40 kms stretch between Sarchu and Pang was unmetalled and bumpy. The rest of the highway was a pleasure to drive on. The best stretch was the Pang-Leh stretch a distance of 175 kms of smooth tarmac.

Expenses for the day:
1. Lunch @ Debring: INR 260/-
2. Municipal Corporation Leh Entry Tax @ Upshi: INR 50/-
3. Car Refuelling @ Choglamsar (Full Tank 23.64 Litres): INR 1700/-


Total Expenses For The Day: INR 2010/-

Mileage Achieved: 369 kms/23.64 ltr = 15.60 km/ltr (Total Distance Covered Since Last Refuelling/Fuel Consumed).

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:30.
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Old 3rd October 2016, 23:00   #8
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 4: 12th September 2016
Itinerary: Local sightseeing at Leh.


Places visited in Leh on Day 4:
1. Hall of Fame Army Museum.
2. Leh Main Bazaar.
3. Leh Palace.
4. Shanti Stupa.
5. Spituk Gonpa.

The top on the list for the day was a visit to the 'Hall of Fame'. The 'Hall of Fame' is a museum constructed and maintained by the Indian army in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars. It was an honour to visit this temple of valour and patriotism.

The army transit camp where we were staying was close to the 'Hall of Fame' so we started off for the day at a leisurely pace at 1015 hrs.

Our stay at Army Transit Camp. The rooms were named after the features recaptured by army in Kargil War.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0667.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0669.jpg

Outside the museum.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0444.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0442.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0446.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0452.jpg

Inside the museum.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0453.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0455.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0458.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0459.jpg

Well said!!!
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0473.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0474.jpg

Captured Pakistani Weaponry.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0475.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0476.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0477.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0478.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0479.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0505.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0517.jpg

Outside the museum.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0519.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0520.jpg

War memorial behind the museum.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0522.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0524.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0527.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0529.jpg

The visit to the 'Hall of Fame' was something which cannot be described in words. It is not a museum but a temple of raw courage, valour and patriotism which motivates every citizen to serve the nation to the best of one's capabilities.

The next on the itinerary was visit to the main shopping arcade of Leh also know as the 'Main Bazaar'.

Leh 'Main Bazaar'.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0530.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0531.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0532.jpg

Leh mosque at the northern end of main bazaar. Leh Palace (mud coloured) can been on the top right.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0536.jpg

After exploring the market the next destination was the ancient Leh Palace which lies on the top of the mountain and is at a walking distance from the market.

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 00:33.
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Old 3rd October 2016, 23:44   #9
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 4 Continued...

A steep walking trail through the narrow bylanes of old market leads up to Leh Palace.

Ancient Leh Palace.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0538.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0546.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0547.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0551.jpg

View of the city from palace precincts.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0552.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0553.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0569.jpg

View of Palace from the market area.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0575.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0576.jpg

After exploring the palace we drove to Shanti Stupa, which again lies on the top of a hill overlooking the entire the city.

At Shanti Stupa.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0581.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0582.jpg

Views of the city from Shanti Stupa are simply amazing.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0607.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0608.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0609.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0610.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0611.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0623.jpg

Last on the list for the day's visit was the Spituk Gompa which lies on a hill at western end of the Leh International Airport.

View of the city as seen from Spituk Gompa.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0635.jpg

Spiritual nuggets.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0636.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0637.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0642.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0644.jpg

Views of the green Indus River Valley from the top of Gonpa.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0645.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0648.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0651.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0652.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0653.jpg

Looking towards the north.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0656.jpg

Finally after exploring the sights around the city we returned to the camp by 1830 hrs. That was end of day four of the trip.

Expenses for the day:
1. Lunch: INR 385/-
2. Leh Palace Tickets: INR 45/-
3. Parking Fee @ Polo Ground: INR 10/-


Total Expenses For The Day: INR 440/-

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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 5: 13th September 2016
Itinerary: Leh-Khardung La Pass-Leh and then local sightseeing in Leh.


Places visited on Day 5:
1. Khardung La Pass.
2. Tsemo Fort Leh.

The major highlight of the day was a visit to the highest motorable pass of the world i.e Khardungla Pass. Started off at 0945 hrs from the camp.

Route Map Day 5
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-route-map-day-5.jpg

The steep climb to Khardung La Pass starts immediately after leaving the outskirts of Leh.

Views of Leh from highway on way to Khardung La.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0670.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0671.jpg

Stopped at South Pullu Army checkpost to submit the self declaration form.

At South Pullu Army checkpost.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0672.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0673.jpg

The road was excellent though narrow till South Pullu. From there on unmetalled stretch of 12 kms started and continued till Khardungla top.

Views between South Pullu-Khardung La stretch.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0674.jpg

View of South Pullu from road above.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0677.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0678.jpg

From South Pullu onwards the road is unmetalled and prone to landslides.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0681.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0682.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0683.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0684.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0685.jpg

Finally by 1200 hrs we reached Khardungla Top. It was a special feeling to drive right up to the highest point in the world.

At Khardungla Top.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0686.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0705.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0702.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0707.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0708.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 4th October 2016 at 18:08.
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 5 Continued...

Some more photos at Khardungla Top.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0710.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0720.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0712.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0721.jpg

Beyond Khardung La Pass the road descends towards Nubra Valley. After staying at the Khardung La Pass for over 30 mins we started back for Leh.

Came across traditional silk route pony track a little below the pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0730.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0731.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0732.jpg

The next on the itinerary was a visit to ancient Tsemo Fort located on a hill overlooking Leh City. A motorable road branches out from Leh-Khardung La Pass highway leading to the fort. The fort can also be reached by foot from main bazaar after a steep climb through the hill side.

At Tsemo Fort.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0740.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0741.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0742.jpg

Views of city from the top of the fort.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0739.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0744.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0747.jpg

Fort as seen from city center.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0749.jpg

A Ladakhi vendor in traditional attire at Leh market.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0753.jpg

After exploring the areas around city center we returned to the camp by 1830 hrs. After dinner at the mess we settled all the outstanding dues as had to leave next day for Pangong Lake. That was the end of day five of the trip.

Road conditions for the day: Out of the total 40 kms distance between Leh and Khardung La Pass around 12 kms of stretch between South Pullu and the pass was unmetalled and landslide prone.

Expenses for the day:
1. Stay at Army Transit Camp (For Two Days/Three Nights Including Meals): INR 3800/-
2. Lunch: INR 270/-
3. Snacks: INR 175/-
4. Parking Fee: 10/-

Total Expenses For The Day: INR 4255/-

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 4th October 2016 at 19:06.
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 6: 14th September 2016

Journey: Leh to Pangong Lake
Total Distance Covered: 163 kms
Total Travel Time (Including Halts): 6hrs 45mins (Halts:1hr)
Actual Travel Time: 5hrs 45mins
Route:Leh-Choglamsar-Karu-Sakti-Zingral-Changla Pass-Tangtse-Pangong Lake-Spangmik.


Route Map Day 6 & 7
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-route-map-day-6-7.jpg

Started from Leh at 0905 hrs. The morning sky was partly cloudy with likely chances of bright sun shine in a couple of hours.

'Another day another journey' at Leh.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0758.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0760.jpg

The main square was yet to gear up for the day's hustle bustle.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0762.jpg

Road till Karu was excellent.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0765.jpg

From Karu took a left turn to leave the Leh-Manali Highway and continued heading towards Sakti Village from where the road bifurcates towards Changla Pass and onwards to Pangong Lake. On the way passed by Chemdey Monastery.

Chemdey Monastery.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0767.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0768.jpg

Took a right turn from Sakti and continued driving. Came across an Army Checkpost at Zingral. Unexpectedly were neither stopped nor asked to submit the self declaration form, as such moved on.

View of Army Checkpost at Zingral from the highway above.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0777.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0778.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0779.jpg

The road was unmetalled while approaching Changla Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0785.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0788.jpg

Reached Changla Top by 1200 hrs and stopped for photography and tea break at Cafe Changla.

Tea break at Cafe Changla.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0793.jpg

After the refreshing tea it was time for the customary photo shoot.

At Changla Pass (The third highest motorable pass in the world).
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0792.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0798.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0800.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0801.jpg

Advisory notice for the tourists. Overstay may lead to setting in of mountain sickness.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0803.jpg

Changla Baba Temple at the pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0804.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0805.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 10:12. Reason: Adding further information.
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Old 4th October 2016, 23:12   #13
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 6 Continued...

After staying at Changla Top for 20 mins we drove off for the destination of the day. The road descends steeply from the pass till it reaches an army checkpost and from thereon it is a moderate descent for next few kilometers.

The road descends from pass till Army Check Post located on the other side.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0808.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0810.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0812.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0813.jpg

The hues all along were of grey and blue with occasional traces of green.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0817.jpg

Approaching Tangtse, the road seemed like a Formula 1 track from above.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0819.jpg

In the midst of desolate beauty.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0831.jpg

The high point of the day was a chance encounter with a beautiful Ladakhi inhabitant 'Marmot' which is a large mountain squirrel. Found it basking in the sun on a grassy field by the roadside.

'Marmot' the large mountain squirrel.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0833.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0834.jpg

Destination closing in.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0845.jpg

Reached Pangong Lake by 1530 hrs. There are many eateries and camps for stay alongside the lake shore at northern end.

Eateries and cafes at the northern end of the lake.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0846.jpg

The lake shore.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0851.jpg

The scooter used in the climax of movie '3 Idiots' is an added attraction.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0852.jpg

The plan for the day was to stay at Spangmik Village which is located by the lakeside, so after a brief halt we drove off towards the village which was 7 kms ahead. Spangmik village offers decent home stay facilities and that too well within the budget. The village besides offering a wider panorama of the lake is also less crowded as compared to the area at starting point of the lake. Reached village at 1550 hrs and checked into a homestay.

At Spangmik Village.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0858.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0861.jpg

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 5th October 2016 at 23:08. Reason: Adding further information.
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Old 5th October 2016, 23:42   #14
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 6 Continued...

After settling for the day we went for a walk by the lakeside. With sun playing hide and seek through a partly cloudy sky, the hues and shades of the lake kept changing with the passing moments. The beauty of the lake was mesmerizing and made us speechless. Let the pictures do the talking.

The beauty of Pangong Lake.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0869.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0875.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0878.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0887.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0895.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0902.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0903.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0907.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0929.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0930.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0933.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0934.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0946.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0947.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0961.jpg

After an amazing walk by the lakeside we returned to our room and retired for the day. That was the end of day six of the trip.

Road conditions for the day: Out of the total 163 kms covered during the day, about 10 kms of the stretch (5 kms before and 5 kms after Changla Pass) was unmetalled and landslide prone. Rest of the highway was fine.

Expenses for the day:
1. Tea @ Cafe Changla: INR 90/-
2. Lake Environment Tax: INR 30/-
3. Advance For Homestay: INR 500/-
4. Tea @ Homestay: INR 60/-
5. Dinner @ Homestay: INR 360/-

Total Expenses For The Day: INR 1040/-

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 5th October 2016 at 23:51. Reason: Adding further information.
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Old 6th October 2016, 08:54   #15
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Default re: The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire

Day 7: 15th September 2016

Journey: Pangong Lake to Leh
Total Distance Covered: 168 kms
Total Travel Time (Including Halts): 7hrs 15mins (Halts:2hrs)
Actual Travel Time: 5hrs 15mins
Route: Spangmik-Tangtse-Changla Pass-Zingral-Sakti-Karu-Thiksey-Leh
.

Woke up to a chilly morning with bright sunshine. After breakfast and packing up for the day we again went by the lakeside to enjoy its beauty from a different perspective.

Views around homestay.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0990.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0991.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0993.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0994.jpg

Views by the lakeside.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0997.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn0998.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1007.jpg

Beautiful views of Pangong Lake in bright sunshine.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1003.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1009.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1011.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1015.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1020.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1029.jpg

By 0900 hrs we started for our journey back to Leh.

Views from road by the lakeside.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1030.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1031.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1032.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1033.jpg

Paid homage to the gallant soldiers at Chushul Warriors memorial which is located at the starting point of the lake. The area has seen intense action during the Sino-Indian war of 1962.

At Chushul Warriors Memorial.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1040.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1044.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1046.jpg

After a brief halt at the memorial we resumed our journey and by 1200 hrs crossed Changla Pass. There was fresh snow at the pass as it had experienced moderate snowfall the previous night. Luckily it hadn't snowed heavily other wise we could have got stuck.

Came across fresh snow as we approached Changla Pass.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1051.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1052.jpg

By 1350 hrs reached the famous Thiksey Monastery which lies on the highway between Karu and Leh. Stopped at the monastery.

Thiksey Monastery.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1053.jpg

Views around Thiksey Monastery.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1058.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1061.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1064.jpg

A prayer hall inside the monastery.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1065.jpg

Surrounding views from the top of monastery.
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1069.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1071.jpg
The mountains are calling & I must go! Tour de Ladakh in a Maruti Dzire-dscn1072.jpg

After visiting the monastery we headed back to Leh. Reached the city by 1615 hrs and checked into a guest house located near Shanti Stupa. In the evening went for a walk in the market and had dinner. That was the end of day seven of the trip.

Expenses for the day:
1. Balance Payment Homestay @ Spangmik: INR 780/-
2. Thiksey Monastery Tickets: INR 90/-
3. Snacks: INR 270/-
4. Dinner @ Leh: INR 270/-
5. Guest House Advance @ Leh: INR 500/-
6. Car Refuelling @ Leh (Full Tank 32 Litres): INR 2300/-


Total Expenses For The Day: INR 4210/-

Mileage Achieved (Leh-Khardung La-Leh-Pangong-Leh): 470 kms/32 ltr = 14.68 km/ltr (Total Distance Covered Since Last Refuelling/Fuel Consumed).

Last edited by ssambyal1980 : 7th October 2016 at 10:17. Reason: Adding further information.
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