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Old 18th June 2009, 13:24   #46
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Suman!! What's this small trickle of info and pics?

Ok, let me put it clearly. If there are not enough pictures and your write up by this evening..you'll be banned.
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Old 18th June 2009, 13:26   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Suman!! What's this small trickle of info and pics?

Ok, let me put it clearly. If there are not enough pictures and your write up by this evening..you'll be banned.
The grand old man Spoketh.
Comply oh mere mortal, or incur the wrath of the old man.
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Old 18th June 2009, 13:38   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Suman!! What's this small trickle of info and pics?

Ok, let me put it clearly. If there are not enough pictures and your write up by this evening..you'll be banned.
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
The grand old man Spoketh.
Comply oh mere mortal, or incur the wrath of the old man.
Oooops.........there goes my Office work this afternoon!!!!!
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Old 18th June 2009, 14:09   #49
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Why don't you take leave and finish your posting? This is much more important than our stupid jobs any day.
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Old 18th June 2009, 14:14   #50
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Suman, really looking forward to the rest of your travelogue. Its been ages since you were planning this trip.
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Old 18th June 2009, 14:15   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Why don't you take leave and finish your posting? This is much more important than our stupid jobs any day.
Suman take the suggestion from the old man and finish it off.
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Old 18th June 2009, 14:50   #52
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Suman,

Congrats on finishing a dream drive. Great trailer pictures, waiting for more of the story and pictures.

--
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Old 18th June 2009, 14:53   #53
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Default The Journey Begins...........

The Plan was to cover Gurgaon to Leh with three night halts in-between. So, it was -

Day One: Gurgaon-Jammu, night halt at Tourist Reception Center, Jammu
Day Two: Jammu-Srinagar, night halt at Hotel Heemal (JKTDC), Srinagar
Day Three: Srinagar-Kargil, night halt at Hotel Caravan Serai, Kargil
Day Four: Kargil-Leh, Hotel Omasila.

Day One started at 6.23 am from DLF Phase V and when we were almost at Pitampura, got a call from Nitin (Trance_Nut) who came to the Rohini turnoff at that early hour to see us off - thanks mate. Then we started ticking off the milestones - loved the Panipat flyover (our first drive on it, just shows how long we hadn't used NH1!!!!), stopped at Karnal for a quick refreshment break & then it was time to move on. Ambala Cantt, Rajpura, Ludhiana Bypass, Doaba.........

What amazed me was the number of times we paid toll and the unreasonable amounts that we paid - 43, 72, 76.......a total of 281/= was paid during the day. Despite the so-called 4 laned wonder till Jalandhar, there was quite a lot of traffic so progress wasn't that spectacular. 14 kms past Phagwara, a McDonalds drive-in outlet was spotted by the kids so that's where the lunch break was taken! We then went through Dasuya, Mukerian, Pathankot (stretches of bad road in between) before arriving at the Madhopur Tourist Complex for our next break. A short while later, we crossed over into J&K. There were frequent diversions on the highway and we kept going from left to right to left to right - progress was anything but smooth and punctuated by numerous potholes and some really pathetic patches of total disrepair.

We finally hit Jammu at 6.25 pm, twelve hours after our early morning start. Another 5 minutes & we were at the Tourist Reception Center - it had changed quite a bit since we last saw it 22 years ago. A number of blocks seem to have been added on. The surrounding road & areas hadn't really changed too much, had just become more congested, that's all.

Total Distance Travelled - 643.1 kms; Total Driving Time - 10hrs 50mins

After freshening up & examining the One Bedroom Suite that we'd been allotted (huge room, pretty good VFM at 1,500 per night and enough space for the two extra beds that we needed), made a beeline for the Bar inside the complex. It seemed quite a popular haunt for tipplers from all around & looking at the cheap prices, it was easy to understand why.

They had a non-Veg restaurant on the premises where they served Wazhwan cuisine so off we headed thereafter for dinner. Rishta & Rogan Josh were the order of the day - excellent food & the taste was in our paletes for quite some time to come! After a hearty meal, it was time to turn in as we had another long drive the next day. A drive in the plains is always very boring and we didn't have any pics to show for it. Except for the following at Jammu
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Last edited by suman : 18th June 2009 at 15:05.
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Old 18th June 2009, 15:19   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
The Plan was to cover Gurgaon to Leh with three night halts in-between. So, it was -

Day One: Gurgaon-Jammu, night halt at Tourist Reception Center, Jammu
Day Two: Jammu-Srinagar, night halt at Hotel Heemal (JKTDC), Srinagar
Day Three: Srinagar-Kargil, night halt at Hotel Caravan Serai, Kargil
Day Four: Kargil-Leh, Hotel Omasila.

Day One ......................
How was the parking facility in these hotels, specially Kargil, Leh and other places in Ladakh.

========
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Old 18th June 2009, 15:27   #55
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Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
How was the parking facility in these hotels, specially Kargil, Leh and other places in Ladakh.

========
Pretty decent - ample space at TRC Jammu & Hotel Heemal at Srinagar. In Kargil, the Hotel was right up on top of the town at the end of a road so there was enough space in front of the Hotel for at least 6 to 7 vehicles parked perpendicular to the entrance. Apart from the Safari, there was a Sumo Grande, a couple of Scorpios & a Qualis so not a problem.

The Leh Hotel also had space to park at least 6/7 vehicles inside
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2605.jpg
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Old 18th June 2009, 15:57   #56
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Fantastic snaps at the top Suman. Looks like a grand trip, keep those photos coming.
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Old 18th June 2009, 16:04   #57
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Originally Posted by suman View Post
Pretty decent - .....................
The Leh Hotel also had space to park at least 6/7 vehicles inside
I get the idea from the picture too ....... thanks.

=====
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Old 18th June 2009, 16:39   #58
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Default Day Two: Jammu to Srinagar

Got up early on Day Two (31st May), had a shower & got ready for the next part of the expedition. The night security guy who had kept an eye on The Beast was obliging enough to volunteer to give a quick wash & I was only too happy to accept his offer. At 7 am, we rolled out of the TRC and made our way back to the highway towards Srinagar. First halt was planned for breakfast at Patnitop, still a fair distance away
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Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_1985.jpg

But first - a 15 minute halt for Diesel & Tyre pressure check-up. Total Distance travelled - 679.3 kms, Diesel filled - 62.46 ltrs, Mileage obtained - 10.88 kmpl. Good going!

We crossed the Katra fork & then Udhampur and Kud. We were in high spirits because we'd hit the mountains & were climbing! We approached Patnitop at 10.21 am & had an argument with the guy at the Patnitop gates about paying the entry fee of Rs 50 (simply because the JKTDC resort was inside the reserve area) - a bloody rip-off I thought. After a quick breakfast of Masala Omlettes, Toast & Tea, we carried on
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2013.jpg

We kept company with the river way below us & crossed Batote & Ramban and then Khuni Nullah which we remembered vividly from years ago! Memories, though a trifle hazy......
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We stopped at the Tourist Bungalow at Banihal for lunch - they were kind enough to open up a room for us to freshen up. Nice picturesque surroundings but we still had some way to go so we moved on after a 50 minute halt
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Next on the map was the 2.5 kms long engineering marvel of the Jawahar Tunnel - endless
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2085.jpg
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Had to dish out 70/- as Toll at Lower Munda - a hopelessly complicated and confused bunch of idiots who made you run from one window to another. I finally hit gold on the third window and was able to get going after a wait of 7 minutes!!!!!

The familiar names & scenery from yesteryears were coming up in front of us - Qazikund, Khanabal, Awantipura & Pampore. The roads were a hell of a lot better now & one could floor the pedal
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2094.jpg
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We made good time & entered Srinagar a little after 5 pm. Our Hotel was located on the Boulevard overlooking the Dal Lake and we reached and checked in at 5.14 pm. A Deluxe Room with a balcony overlooking the Lake - definitely nowhere near as spacious or VFM as the TRC room at Jammu but the view made up for it
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2104.jpg

Total Distance Travelled - 303.7 kms; Total Driving Time - 8hrs 15 mins

After freshening up, the consensus was to take a shikara ride on the Dal Lake & see the standard four or five points that they show you. It took us an hour and there was a chilly wind blowing on the lake by the time we got back
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Back to the room & relaxing on the balcony and then it was dinner time. Wazhwan food was much in demand but we'd have to go to the Lal Chowk for that. So we decided to walk to a restaurant next door which did have some great kebabs. It was a trifle overpriced but - what the heck!

The Safari had a little over half a tank full of gas so I decided to fill up next morning. Made enquiries multiple times & was reassured each time that there were multiple pumps around the corner who would be open. There were a few Liquor vends in the complex and I noticed they were quite crowded. Saw notices saying that the next couple of days would be dry days but didn't really bother to ask them why. After Srinagar, it would be "dry" for me anyway till we reached Manali.

Throughout the evening, the Boulevard was packed & the noise level was really high. It was a relief to find that it had emptied out by the time we came back from our dinner. Hopefully, it would be as peaceful when we left the next morning. Time to hit the sack, though it wasn't as early as I would have liked. And that brought the curtain down on Day Two........the next day would bring the first real challenge, Zoji La, so many stories we'd heard about it, now we'd actually be driving through it in our own 4x4 Beast!!! Big time insomnia hit me - adrenalin pumping, stomach knotting, settled down eventually to a few hours of slumber.
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2116.jpg
Better Leh'd than Never - a 3,004 kms round trip of a lifetime!-img_2117.jpg

Last edited by suman : 18th June 2009 at 16:46.
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Old 18th June 2009, 18:13   #59
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Such a lovely travelogue Suman. We have taken the first steps by going to Shimla and Manali in December a couple of years back. Next would be to go to these places that you have gone. Until then we will see it through your pictures and words.
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Old 18th June 2009, 18:15   #60
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Finally....! Its on. Waiting for more!
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