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Old 23rd October 2008, 12:11   #46
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Excellent travelogue. I used to dream about getting a job in North India, and hitting Himalayas on weekends. Those days my dream vehicle was a Gypsy. Then came TATA Sierra.
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I still remember a TATA Sierra ad with tag "Caught in Traffic Jam?" with pic of Sierra with sheep around it. This picture just reminded me of that (this one is better)

Man you take great pictures. Pray give us more

Thank you for the wide-angle shots. The just make great wallpapers

Last edited by WhiteKnight : 23rd October 2008 at 12:18.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 14:06   #47
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Default Kaza-Ki Monastery-Kibber-Tashigang-Kaza

Kaza-Ki Monastery-Kibber-Tashigang-Kaza - Second half of Oct 6, Monday


After the fantastic and very satisfying journey to Pin Valley, we headed for Kaza and reached around afternoon. Looked out for accomodation and found a decent one at Sakya Abode, the Raid guys stayed over here when in Kaza. We got some good discounts as the hotel was completely empty.

Filled up diesel to max in Kaza and headed for Ki and Kibber.

Pumping diesel, no electricity, Kaza
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3792.jpg

Ki Monastery
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1707.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3799.jpg

and views from top
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1634.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1723.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1643.jpg

From there proceeded to Kibber, one of highest villages around and the road ends there
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1696.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3804.jpg

From Kibber, saw a post indicating Tashigang village and road fascinated me, went almost to the village but because of the fast approaching darkness we retraced back for a well deserved rest at Kaza.

On route to Tashigang from Kibber
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1716.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1661.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1680.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1700.jpg


Tomorrow, first half, Oct 7, Tuesday, early morning we plan to go from Kaza to the very remote villages of Langza, Komic and Demul.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 14:27   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Is it my feeling or the rear of your steed is overloaded?
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Old 23rd October 2008, 14:55   #49
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Up traffic has right of way. This is written all over the place in Himalaya by the Indian Army. But depending upon the situation most drivers give right of way to the other driver, unlike in the plains where everyone is in a mad rush to stake his claim and right of way.
I have generally found mountain drivers to be extremely courteous to their fellow drivers because everyone is aware of the grim realities.
On particularly narrow stretches I tend to stop for on coming traffic whenever I find a safe and wide spot. But then of course I have never personally driven on unmetalled roads in the mountains like this.
I should think braking sensibly in the corners is more important on such stretches than anything else. If grip is not good God has to be on your side.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 15:13   #50
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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Is it my feeling or the rear of your steed is overloaded?
Yes it was, we had huge load at the back and thus the distribution of load not uniform. Excerpt from my first post:

Quote:
Himachal witnessed some of the worst weathers in 45 years just 10 days before our journey, with 48 hours of non-stop rain and snow. People had to be evacuated by helicopters and blankets were air dropped.
But luck was on our side, we got some of the best weather as it cleared up in the subsequent days. But with a child we were not taking any chances.

The Safari was loaded at its back to the roof. Will post a picture of what we all had but that comes up later. Other than 4 bags full of clothes, we had a trunk full of blankets, a gas stove, a 5 kg cylinder, a sack full of utensils and food, and a 20-litre Kinley jar. Safari has a 65-L tank and so did not take any fuel cans.
In some of the sharp turns that were done during that Raid Gypsy followup, I could feel the rear tyre sidewall squeezing quite a lot.

Here's almost what we had, most of luggage is there plus there were 2 more bags and the Kinely 20-litre jar which was around half full that are still inside.

This incident I describe later when I post that day's events
Attachment 63029

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
I should think braking sensibly in the corners is more important on such stretches than anything else. If grip is not good God has to be on your side.
Very true.

But then I do remember this freak incident, a situation that almost became very scary.

Demul-Comic-Kaza road is mostly gravel. Coming down on one of the steep inclines while returning from Comic, in a steep banking corner, the both front tyres get gravel underneath and for a second or two the Safari was like on rollers. It was in fact sliding tangentially off and immediately had that scared feeling. By reflex I would have adjusted the steering and thus the rolling effect of stones and the roller effect went away. This all lasted may be for 2 seconds or less but it was scary. Braking here would have been more distratous and the rolling would have in fact accentuated. But whatever driver action that was done had been a reflex action.

Last edited by adc : 23rd October 2008 at 15:18.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 16:24   #51
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Adc, lovely snaps, and perfect location to take your Safari to.
Since i am not too familiar with the geography in these regions, i leave aside that part from your write-up, but the snaps, they leave a lasting impression.

Carry on, we're all eyes!
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Old 23rd October 2008, 18:16   #52
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Default Kaza-Langza-Komic-Kaza-Dhankar-Pin Valley[again]-Kaza

Kaza-Langza-Komic-Kaza-Dhankar-Pin Valley[again]-Kaza, Oct 7, Tuesday


We start early morning on Oct 7 to go to the remote very high altitude villages of Langza, Komic and Demul. These are totally off beat places, remote and awesome vistas. We could not proceed till Demul as it was cut off from the Komic side due to snow and slush and had to return after going halfway.

On way to Langza, Komic, and Demul - nil tourists, empty twisty roads, maximum remoteness
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1742.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1837.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1757.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3880.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3855.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1852.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1769.jpg



What luck, saw Bharals, the main food for snow leopards
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1737.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1859.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3848ee.jpg

At Komic with a population of around 30, the monk and this villager were all who were there. They spontaneously offered tea over here, and refused to take any money for it. Humanity among all the hardships.
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3883.jpg

Komic stop, the upper road goes to Demul
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1823.jpg

Fantastic views again when coming down from Komic to Kaza
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3920.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3941.jpg

We then again went down to Kaza and crossed it to go to Dhankar Monastery, i.e., we again went back towards the Tabo side. This should have been done going to Pin Valley but because of the good weather we skipped Dhankar that day.

On towards Dhankar Monastery
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-hp-tour-1877.jpg

Soil formation at Dhankar
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3927.jpg

View from top of Dhankar Monastery
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3926.jpg


Pin Valley mesmerized me and from Dhankar, again attempted Pin Valley. Had to return from Sagnam due to very bad weather condition. We also gave lift to some local people from Sagnam to Gulling and we all had animated discussions about life and people. Good that we missed Dhankar that day and was able to go till Mudh with clear skies. Pin Valley has very finicky weather after noon time and should be done in the first half itself.




So there ends 2 days in Kaza and tomorrow we make the journey from Kaza to Manali via Kunzum and Rhotang Pass through some stunning landscapes and roads, especially the Losar-Gramphoo stretch.

Last edited by adc : 23rd October 2008 at 18:36.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 18:47   #53
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Awesome pics @ADC

and after seeing your travelogue and Jay's i'm now thinking of doing this in my 2WD safari too.

Keep them coming
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Old 23rd October 2008, 19:42   #54
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My latest wall paper 8-)
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Continue with narrative and please post more pictures.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 20:00   #55
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This is not one of the best travelogues anymore. This is the best travelogue I have come accross. Great pics @adc. Keep them coming.
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Old 24th October 2008, 00:49   #56
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Thanks to one and all. Definitely it also does give immense pleasure to share it on this forum with all the tbhp members.

Writing a travelogue, for me very much harder than driving not to speak of patience required, whatever may be the travel, is absolutely necessary. The more delay happens the more the chances of not having it shared and also very importantly not documented. All those solo Bullet journeys were not written and in fact no photos also and thus it just remains in memory. With some more time it will be all fuzzy.

A visit to these places is must, whatever may be your vehicle, of course modify your driving and route likewise - once one sees the grandeur of Great Himalayas - it is like you have to come back at least once a year over and over again. Everything fades in comparision. @sunny definitely do the journey next year, when the season starts again.

Tomorrow I continue with the journey from Kaza to Manali as the weather deteriorated rapdily. It started to snow as we neared Rhotang from Kunzum and that driving experience will be there etched in my mind for a long, long time.

Last edited by adc : 24th October 2008 at 00:50.
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Old 24th October 2008, 02:04   #57
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Wow! Simply beautiful ADC . Was waiting for this travelogue and it is all that I expected and more. Some journey and some photographs. I have been missing out on my Himalaya trips ever since I shifted to Mumbai (No offence to anyone but the western ghats just dont cut it for me!) but then the fact that you are doing it from Kolkata is inspiration indeed. Keep it going. This is the life.
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Old 24th October 2008, 08:58   #58
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Quote:
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Pumping diesel, no electricity, Kaza
This picture somewhat reminded me of my days in a remote corner of Bhutan in the early nineties where I used to work. There the only petrol pump in town (next one was 90 km away to the east and about 300 to the west) was literally a manual hand pump. It was completely manual and worked just like our tube wells work for pulling up water. It was pretty efficient though but needed the attendant to manually pump up the petrol.
Seeing that I realised why petrol pumps are actually called "pumps".
I wonder how long it took you to pump up diesel like this. Must be very tedious.
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Old 24th October 2008, 12:40   #59
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Originally Posted by Strangerintown View Post
I have been missing out on my Himalaya trips ever since I shifted to Mumbai (No offence to anyone but the western ghats just dont cut it for me!) but then the fact that you are doing it from Kolkata is inspiration indeed. Keep it going. This is the life.
Well you have Loco who did a Ladakh trip from Mumbai - you sure would have followed and got some part inspiration there too!!

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...adakh-sx4.html (The Great Indian Roadtrip - Mumbai to Ladakh in a SX4)


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I wonder how long it took you to pump up diesel like this. Must be very tedious.
The attendant was about to pump but I said let me do it, this will also be an experience. It does take some turns to have the numbers rolling but once it does it is quite fast. Filled up around 40 L over here. Kaza has pathetic electricity service. Most of the time the power was out. Could have been due to the bad weather that prevailed 15 days before. We saw a number of electric poles and wires on the ground in Ropa, Pin Valley, and the upper villages that we travelled from Kaza.
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Old 24th October 2008, 13:38   #60
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Default Kaza-Losar-Kunzum Pass-Batal-Chhatru-Gramphoo-Rhotang Pass-Manali [Vashisht]

Kaza-Losar-Kunzum Pass-Batal-Chhatru-Gramphoo-Rhotang Pass-Manali [Vashisht] -->> Oct 8, Wednesday

Woke up lazily though the urgency should have been there. Coming up is another very challenging journey and the subsequent pictures just convey some part of it. Anyway, after a big breakfast and full tank of diesel [again pumping manually but this time the attendant did it] we set forth for the big journey.

We met one backpacker, "Karan from Chandigarh", out in Mudh, he was there for last 1 month, searching for Ibex in the mountains. Well last night, when coming back to Kaza, he for the bigger experience was on roof top box portion of the truck. Now the truck driver on seeing some overhead wires braked suddenly and he was thrown from the top to ground. He had a fracture/sprain and anyhow the local doctor did some splinting on a wooden plank, and advised him to go to Manali for better x-ray facilities.

Well this was what we heard when we suddenly met him at Kaza late evening and he was in some pain even with painkillers. Luckily he met us as otherwise he would have done a cramped local bus journey which no doubt would be very painfull and tiring and also did not have enough money at the fag end of his tour now to take a personal taxi. So he hoped in withus and shared quite a few facts about local places and people, as we chatted through the long journey. He separated from us at Vashisht, Manali, where he took one of the backpackers hotel that is near the temple whereas we took one midway up where parking was available.

Kaza-Losar-Kunzum-Gramphoo
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7588_1.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4002.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7554.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7556.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7552.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3980.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4007.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4034.jpg

At Kunzum
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_3964ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7507ee.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7497.jpg

Wanted to go to Chandratal or at least go some part of it but the road was completely closed with huge snow at the very entrance of the road itself. Thought then to ask for more information at Batal but then:

Batal "dhaba" was completely gone
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7520.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7528.jpg

A "lunch" break at Chaatru, it was snowing outside by then - the hot Maggi was the much welcome food
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7591_1.jpg

After driving through ice and rain towards
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7598.jpg

Rhotang Pass, a very touristy site, the respect that one gets at Kunzum was totally missed over here.
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4055.jpg
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4057.jpg

And they have seen it enough times.
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_4059.jpg

Safari Dicor LX 2.2 VTT-TMT 2wd at Rhotang Pass
Safari Dicor 2.2 VTT-TMT Grand One-Year Ownership Travelogue [Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul]-img_7601ee.jpg

The road from Rhotang to Manali through Marhi and Golaba again very scenic but the road condition was still bad.

Reached Manali late evening and as we sat down for the day we all recalled the magnificient journey that we had, a deep sense of satisfaction on completing the Spiti loop successfully. But then the journey was still not over. We now stay at Manali for another night and then we do the back journey to Shimla and Delhi via Banjar-Gushaini-Bathad-Jalori Pass

Last edited by adc : 24th October 2008 at 13:50.
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