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Old 24th June 2009, 14:11   #181
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Originally Posted by suman View Post
I will see what I can do but its high time you did away with the 30 picture restriction; it would help us post travelogues a lot faster if we didn't have to figure out where to stop the rhetoric because we crossed the 30 image limit
Suggestion taken, will explore once the new server comes up. If it does not increase server load, it can surely be increased!
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Old 24th June 2009, 14:53   #182
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Default Day Eight Treat: The Mighty Chang La & Pangong Tso!!

Two treats rolled into one day - what more can one ask for!! Apart from being a visual delight, this trip was turning out to be a dream come true - all that we had wanted to see & conquer were slowly but surely unfolding in front of us.......

A 7 am departure from the Hotel, a quick stop at Wonderland to pick up Grilled Chicken Sandwiches (simply yummy) for Breakfast (we'd decided to skip the Hotel breakfast) & we were off towards the Manali-Leh highway. Passing through the Main market, noticed the SBI ATM was deserted (it had a mile long queue each time we'd passed by it) - screeched to a halt, picked up some cash. Material things taken care of, we proceeded on our quest to visit the World's lesser publicised wonders!

I'd been told a couple of days earlier that Chang La was proving to be tough & that they'd made a new diversion at Pagal Nullah which was proving to be slushy & messy & extremely difficult to cross. Now here's what I realized at the end of the Leh trip - 4x4 spoils you!!!! Trust me, we sailed through pretty much anything & everything that nature threw our way during the course of this trip. For that, I have to thank the Beast. Whatever came in its way, it chewed up contemptuously. And, of course, I have to thank 4H & 4L. The terrain was bloody tough in places. But thanks to the three mentioned above, we really didn't feel it. Yes, there were times when we were excited, hyper & our hearts were beating faster. But that was it. We crossed all the challenges & the adrenalin just kept pumping.

Enough of talk, time for some pictures now
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2673.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2674.jpg
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At Zingrul check post
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2676.jpg

The following pictures will give some idea of the spectacular views that we were enjoying as well as the road conditions. It was slushy & slippery (I guess, since we didn't feel it) in places. We were fervently praying for falling snow (especially on the way back since it was late afternoon) but it didn't happen that day!
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2678.jpg
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This signboard signalled the presence of human habitation ahead
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2705.jpg

and sure enough, we were approaching The Mighty Chang La!! Time to take a break.....and a bow!
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2706.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2708.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2709.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2711.jpg

Last edited by suman : 24th June 2009 at 14:59.
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Old 24th June 2009, 15:37   #183
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Default Day Eight Continued: Chang La & beyond.......

For the statistically inclined, we covered the 81.2 kms from our Hotel to Chang La in 2 hrs 05 mins. I thought that was decent time. As I mentioned earlier, it was a difficult ascent but I saw far worse on the Leh-Manali sector. Chang La is tough but is also one of the only ones (I think) which has easy access throughout even the winter months. I liked The Mighty Chang La. Time for a few clicks!

Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2714.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2715.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2722.jpg

This time we were extra careful not to overstay & were on our way after 22 minutes! At the risk of saying the same thing over & over again, I must comment on the gorgeous views. The Walls of snow were the best we saw, with the exception of perhaps, Baralachla
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2723.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2724.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2725.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2726.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2729.jpg
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The Great Himalayan Marmot
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More of the descent & the handpainted landscapes (as they seemed to be)
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2740.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2741.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2746.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2747.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2750.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2751.jpg

Shortly after this, we stopped by the side of the road, with the water gushing by us & had our Breakfast. The surroundings simply added to the flavour. Breakfast over, we continued on our way towards Tangste, the next checkpost
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2752.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2753.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2755.jpg
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Old 24th June 2009, 16:14   #184
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Default Day Eight continued: Pangong Tso - a dream!!!

We arrived at Tangste in a little under two & a half hours from Chang La. Submitted a copy of the permit & moved on.
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2759.jpg

I was waiting expectantly for Pagal Nallah - had heard so much about it & really wanted to see what it was all about. Of course, the prospect of pitching The Beast against it was an added thrill So we moved on & passed through some nice landscape before the terrain became more rugged & I realized that we really couldn't be very far away from the Diversion that I'd heard about
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2760.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2761.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2762.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2767.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2768.jpg

The Diversion appeared. Except for a couple of steep slopes, it was a huge disappointment!!!! Hardly any water!!! Where was all the slush etc from a couple of weeks back that they'd told me about???
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2769.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2770.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2772.jpg

Oh well, you can't have everything I guess. We moved on, keeping our eyes open for the first glimpse of the beauty known as Pangong Tso
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2773.jpg

Suddenly, my daughter called out "I can see it!!!" And there it was, our first glimpse of Pangong Tso. Even at that distance, it was mesmerising
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2774.jpg

And then, of course, the clicks continued till we were up close to it
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2776.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2777.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2778.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2781.jpg

It seemed like an eternity but we finally reached the shores
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2783.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2784.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2785.jpg

Drove a little up the road to Spangmik (not much but just away from the crowd), found a nice little place to ourselves, got off, stretched our legs. And unleashed all the cameras that we had, cellphones included! As my wife commented, just Pangong Tso by itself had made this trip to Leh worthwhile. The time was 11.50 am & we had covered a distance of 157 kms from our Hotel. Hope you enjoy the pics.........
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2786.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2788.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2789.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2803.jpg

Last edited by suman : 24th June 2009 at 16:22.
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Old 24th June 2009, 16:26   #185
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WoooW!! Stunning pictures of Pangong Tso lake. And I completely agree that after seeing such a beautiful lake, its absolutely worth the trip. All along, I was thinking of doing this trip, but now, I am determined to do it. I am running out of words to express how great the pictures are. Truly amazing. Great stuff Suman.
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Old 24th June 2009, 16:41   #186
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One Word : Awesome!
P.Tso really makes the bone breaking journey worthwile.
Looks like P.Tso is only 5 hours from Leh?
BTW did you notice any "timing" restriction on chang La?
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Old 24th June 2009, 17:02   #187
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Lovely travelogue and fantastic pics Suman da. Would have to do this trip sometime soon.

OT: One more post and your number of posts would be equal to the number of Kms of the road trip , 3004. Now, is that a coincidence or what
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Old 24th June 2009, 17:28   #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Looks like P.Tso is only 5 hours from Leh?
Pangong Tso is approx 150 kms from Leh. You can cover the distance in about 4 hours because most of it is pretty decent tarmac (in Ladakh's own terms).
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Old 24th June 2009, 18:17   #189
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Arun, please allow me to correct - "Agar firdaus bar rue zamin ast,

Hamin ast o hamin ast o hamiu ast
!"

English translation - If ever a heaven upon earth be found.

It is here, it is here, it is here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arunu View Post
"Gar bar-rue-zameen ast; hamin ast, hamin ast, hami asto !" (“If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here!").
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Old 24th June 2009, 18:24   #190
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Hey that Mermot seems to be everywhere. Here is a pic from by bro's recent trip to leh.
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-dsc_4094.jpg  

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Old 24th June 2009, 18:32   #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkapoor777 View Post
Pangong Tso is approx 150 kms from Leh. You can cover the distance in about 4 hours because most of it is pretty decent tarmac (in Ladakh's own terms).
Heh, a guy with Photography as passion is not going to cover that route even within 6 hrs. You need to stop at every turn to find a different landscape looking at you.

Awesome Suman, great going. In fact you are (un)lucky as the weather was very clear that day. We were welcomed with dark black clouds enroute Changla and it was snow all over the road. Pagal Nullah seems to have become quite sane nowadays. When we went Innova's had big time trouble crossing, infact one was stuck for quite some time.
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Old 24th June 2009, 18:47   #192
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Dada,

Amazing travelogue with great pics. Reliving my entire trip through this..
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Old 24th June 2009, 18:54   #193
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Suman,

Was tied up the last couple of days, read your story here & and another place; soaked up / savoured / are some words that spring to my mind about my experience. Wow... what a trip!!!! Thanks for the story and pains-taking picture uploads.

Making notes of your account as I read on (might come in hady when I travel that way) and correcting my PDF road-direction map on distances, heights etc., you have captured valuable information for people who'd follow you.

Awaiting my next dose of the fix....

--Ramky
=====

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Old 24th June 2009, 19:54   #194
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Thanks guys for all the appreciation!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Looks like P.Tso is only 5 hours from Leh?
BTW did you notice any "timing" restriction on chang La?
Actually less, unless bad weather spoils your plans. We made it in 4hrs 50mins on the way up with 35mins halting time & 4hrs 22mins on the way back with 26mins halting time. Return journey quicker for obvious reasons - not totally unknown territory.

We passed through Chang La around 3.30 pm on the way back - no timing restrictions as such. In the event of bad weather, conditions do change dramatically I'm told but I don't think they impose any restrictions as such
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OT: One more post and your number of posts would be equal to the number of Kms of the road trip , 3004. Now, is that a coincidence or what
Here you go, this makes it 3004. LOL!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkapoor777 View Post
Pangong Tso is approx 150 kms from Leh. You can cover the distance in about 4 hours because most of it is pretty decent tarmac (in Ladakh's own terms).
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Heh, a guy with Photography as passion is not going to cover that route even within 6 hrs. You need to stop at every turn to find a different landscape looking at you.
Agree with both of you, now how funny is that!!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Reliving my entire trip through this..
No shirking, you'll have to put up your own one soon
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Awaiting my next dose of the fix....
Thanks a ton Ramky, coming up in a while

Last edited by suman : 24th June 2009 at 19:55.
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Old 24th June 2009, 20:20   #195
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Default Day Eight: Can't get enough of Pangong Tso!!!

Talk about getting swamped with lake pictures - sorry, couldn't resist that one! As I mentioned, we went berserk.....everyone wanted to take pics of everyone else!
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2808.jpg

The photographers became the subjects
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2809.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2813.jpg

Pics of a lifetime, it was just like a painting changing colors each time we looked at it
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2815.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2817.jpg
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2840.jpg

And then my daughter realized that the Real Hero hadn't been captured in the surroundings of Pangong Tso. So she composed these shots - absolutely Tata Safari Ad material I thought
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2842.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2843.jpg
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Some more of The Beast with the travellers
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2849.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2850.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2852.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2853.jpg

After having soaked in the sights and endured the strong winds for a while, we thought it was time to begin the return journey. A few final glimpses....
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2855.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2856.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2858.jpg

and then we were on our way at 1.21 pm. We did have the option of a quick Punjabi Thali lunch at one of the better equipped Dhabas but thought that we'd check out options at Tangste instead. In hindsight, a mistake but what the heck!
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