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Old 7th September 2009, 15:09   #136
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I have heard wonderful things about Leh, but have been scared mainly because of the initial altitude sickness. My son has some sort of problem regarding that. Is it a serious issue or a long-term issue (do not want to spend 2 out of 7 days acclimatising).
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Old 7th September 2009, 15:49   #137
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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
I have heard wonderful things about Leh, but have been scared mainly because of the initial altitude sickness. My son has some sort of problem regarding that. Is it a serious issue or a long-term issue (do not want to spend 2 out of 7 days acclimatising).
If you are driving down, it should be ok, but if you intend to Fly down, you WILL be faced with AMS
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Old 7th September 2009, 16:02   #138
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Originally Posted by rabnawaz_b View Post
Amazing pics lordofgondor.. Frankly speaking I never liked Esteem apart from its pickup. After seeing these pics that the type of roads Esteem has handled, my respect for this car has gone up.
Thanks man! I love my car and its nice to know that I have made another motorhead like it better.

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Welcome Back, man!

If I remember correctly you left us at Paggal Nullah and went away
Thanks mate, good to be back! I have just finished going through the travelogue (feeling real nostalgic) and believe I have just returned to Leh after the debacle near Paggal Nullah. BTW, I noticed some glaring errors I had made regarding the days I had mentioned. Will rectify that in my next post of the travelogue soon.

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Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Nice that you were treated the true army way. Also the bus ride would be a true highlight that not many can boast of here. Nice to see you back and in high spirits but on the hind sight you should have gone on to Pangong tso
I know I missed something magnificent mate, but really had no choice. Wife was stressed out and I didn't want to add anything to that. But then, it's something that's gonna make us revisit Ladakh real soon, and with a vengeance.

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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
I have heard wonderful things about Leh, but have been scared mainly because of the initial altitude sickness. My son has some sort of problem regarding that. Is it a serious issue or a long-term issue (do not want to spend 2 out of 7 days acclimatising).
It all depends person to person. I have heard people having no AMS related issues without being acclimatized. But it's always better to be safe than sorry. There are two serious, and life threatening, medical conditions related to lungs and brain that can develop if not acclimatized. Better to increase the number of days then chance having a medical problem.

Do you plan to drive down or fly to Ladakh?

Last edited by lordofgondor : 7th September 2009 at 16:03.
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Old 7th September 2009, 19:12   #139
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Hey folks, I am gonna commence reliving the journey that was and still is in my mind. But before I continue, I'd like to rectify a glaring error I'd made regarding the day number and the location we're in. The mistakes started while I wrote the posting titled Day 9: Pangong stays a dream & a nighmare occurs at the following link:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1408575-post89.html

Here's what happened,
Day 9 - Car clutch plate issue at Paggal Nullah and drive back to Tangtse. Eventually the car being driven to Army workshop for repairs.
Day 10 - Drive from Tangtse to Leh to get a new CP.
Day 11 - Drive from Leh to Tangtse in the bus with the new CP. Rest of the day spent in Tangtse as workshop was under inspection by the Brigadier.
Day 12 - Getting the car fixed and the drive back to Leh.
Day 13 - Rest day in Leh

So I am gonna start from Day 14, which is one of the saddest days of my life because I had to leave Ladakh and start my journey back to Noida. We just kept wishing that a miracle would happen and we'd get another 15 days to continue immersing ourselves in Ladakh. Alas some good things have to come to an end. So we started back from Leh around 6:30 AM, having decided earlier to take the route through Kashmir. The plan was to stop at Srinagar, via Kargil, for the day. The distance from Leh was ~434 Km so I knew we had a long day ahead of us. My assumption that the road to Srinagar was good told me that it would be a comfortable & speedy drive, but it prove to be wrong. We took NH1-A (or was it D), and were soon greeted by smooth & wide tarmac. We're surrounded by barren, rocky mountains and I was ripping through them.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0848.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0850.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0852.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0853.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0854.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0856.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0858.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07024.jpg

We kept debating whether to stop at Alchi to check out the caves, but decided against it. Around 9:30 we stopped at a place where there were quite a few small dhaba type joints for breakfast. There we enjoyed omeletes, rajma chawal and sweet lassi. With our tummies full and spirits soaring, we moved ahead towards Lamayuru. Then came these set of loops, which I believe are called Kangroo Loops, and I knew I had to click them.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06992.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06996.jpg

In about 30 minutes, we're at the ancient monastry which was quite a sight and it kept us guessing how do we get to it. I decided to click a few pictures and get on with it.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07014.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07011.jpg


And after Lamayuru, the road vanished and was replaced by a dirt & gravel track. Apparently road widening was in progress, and it was gonna make our journey to Kargil a nightmare. On top of that, every two minutes a truck would come from the opposite side and we'd to come to a stop/crawl to let is pass. In all, the drive from Lamayuru to Kargil wasn't something I would like to write home about. It was slow, frustrating and very muddy. I was hardly able to go above 20 Km/hr!

It was around 2:30 PM when we reached Kargil, and paid our tribute to the soldiers who had made huge sacrifices to protect our country. We're starting to feel hungry but couldn't find a good place for vegetarian food, so kept on moving ahead. In coupla hours we're at Drass and continued without a stop in the town. What I was concerned was to reach Zoji La before it got dark. By the time we started our ascent for the pass, sun was already preparing to go down and it was getting chilly too.

We saw these coupla mountain peaks completely covered with snow and started deliberating if this was Amarnath or not.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07036.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07039.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07043.jpg

I even used the binoculars we're carrying to find the Holy Shivling, but couldn't spot it. We decided to move ahead not having reached a conclusion. BTW, I noticed while starting the ascent, that no other vehicle was going our way except a few army trucks. I thought it was something good as I'd have an open road to drive on. I couldn't have been more wrong. Soon the road vanished, streams started free flowing filling deep potholes with water, making them real hard to spot in the fading light.

It was kinda nervous times for us and the fact that a large number of trucks were coming from the opposite distance, making us stop every few metres didn't help at all. But the dynamic duo continued unfazed, and reached the top. While descending, we reached a fork, with one route going downhill and the other uphill. I stopped a trucker and asked him for directions. He told me that it was better that I take the one going downhill since I had a "choti gaddi". I followed his advice and was kinda perplexed at the number of trucks coming our way. It was only later that I came to know that trucks leave in a bunch from Sonmarg around 2PM. I was also getting concerned about the state of the track. It was steep and filled with mud & potholes. Luckily we're going down so no precarious issue of traction, but those trucks were having a hard time climbing up. Then I took a hairpin and saw a huge jam of trucks in front of me. Apparently a truck had been stuck on the climb for sometime. The trucks behind that truck were grouped together and waiting for it to move ahead. I was afraid that we're gonna get stuck in there as these trucks will keep moving one after another. So it was time to be cheeky.

As soon as a truck moved past me, I vroomed and tried to get past as many trucks as possible before the road gets blocked by one of them. Some truckies understood what I was upto and helped me by stopping/giving way, while some asked me to stop well in advance. All in all, it took me ~3 hours to descent from Zoji La to Sonmarg and by that time it was well past 8. So we decided to call it a halt in Sonmarg only. Then came the trouble of finding accomodation as it was Amarnath Yatra time and Sonmarg was filled to the brim with yatris. After 30 minutes we found an available room in a dingy hotel opposite the JKTDC hotel. The room was cramped/smelly/lotta bugs, but we had no choice. Our dinner was to be at the KKTDC restaurant, as the manager had enticed me to have the tantalizing Mutton Rishta when we'd been inquiring for room availability from him. And it was really yummy. I still remember those spicy meatballs, filled with local herbs. Wife had a simple affair of dal chawal and guess what, it turned out to be a complementary meal for us. I guess the manager was impressed by the tales of our travel or something like that!

Some misc. pics
Attached Thumbnails
Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07027.jpg  

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07029.jpg  

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc07035.jpg  


Last edited by lordofgondor : 7th September 2009 at 19:19.
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Old 7th September 2009, 19:38   #140
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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
If you are driving down, it should be ok, but if you intend to Fly down, you WILL be faced with AMS
That essentially rules out Leh for me and my family in this lifetime. We simply do not have the courage or the physical constitution or the youth.
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Old 7th September 2009, 19:49   #141
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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
That essentially rules out Leh for me and my family in this lifetime. We simply do not have the courage or the physical constitution or the youth.
What are you so scared of at YOUR age? Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS, is manageable with medication, to be used before and during your travel. You've got to go to the place, not just see pics on t-bhp, to actually experience the majesty of nature. As everyone says, it IS the trip of a lifetime.

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Old 7th September 2009, 20:04   #142
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
What are you so scared of at YOUR age? Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS, is manageable with medication, to be used before and during your travel. You've got to go to the place, not just see pics on t-bhp, to actually experience the majesty of nature. As everyone says, it IS the trip of a lifetime.
Will check with my sister in law and her husband, who are both qualified docs. Will prefer to fly. There are some pre existing conditions with me and or my family, that predisposes to AMS. Anyway, would not want to go OT and spoil the fun of these beautiful pics. of a lovely place.
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Old 8th September 2009, 07:36   #143
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Bro lordofgondor, after taking us through these roads; I feel you are taking us back to Noida too early.
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Old 8th September 2009, 09:04   #144
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LoG, enticing stuff, as always!


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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
That essentially rules out Leh for me and my family in this lifetime. We simply do not have the courage or the physical constitution or the youth.
Hey, are you snatching my status away from me?!
I do believe I'm the oldest member here. Drove to Leh via Srinagar and returned via Manali just two years back!
I suspect it's not your constitution holding you back; it's your mind!
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Old 8th September 2009, 09:14   #145
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Abhinav, keep it going! Sorry to hear about the Zoji La mess!

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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post
That essentially rules out Leh for me and my family in this lifetime. We simply do not have the courage or the physical constitution or the youth.
I don't belive that last one. Did Leh this year - 48 & counting.

Basically, you need to Just do it!!
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Old 8th September 2009, 10:23   #146
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L.O.G awesome stuff as always. But the trip ended a bit too fast.
BTW I think you should be named "Freebie King"
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Old 8th September 2009, 11:33   #147
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It was around 2:30 PM when we reached Kargil, and paid our tribute to the soldiers who had made huge sacrifices to protect our country. We're starting to feel hungry but couldn't find a good place for vegetarian food, so kept on moving ahead.
A small "Giana da Dhaba" opposite the bus/taxi stand in Kargil is a total veggie joint but menu is restricted to dal-chawal-sabji of the day-roti. I know how difficult it was to pass three days there a few years back.
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Old 8th September 2009, 17:42   #148
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Originally Posted by rabnawaz_b View Post
Bro lordofgondor, after taking us through these roads; I feel you are taking us back to Noida too early.
I know what you mean bro. While moving back from Ladakh, I kept wishing we get a few more days (and then some more afterward). Quite frankly, the journey through Kashmir was not to my liking. And we just rushed through there. Not many pics or tales of that phase of our journey. That said, I'd still like to bring out my experiences of some isolated incidents along our travels. So watch out for more...

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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
LoG, enticing stuff, as always!
Thanks Anupji.

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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
Hey, are you snatching my status away from me?!


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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
I do believe I'm the oldest member here. Drove to Leh via Srinagar and returned via Manali just two years back!
I suspect it's not your constitution holding you back; it's your mind!
Sir, I believe that a person's as old as she/he believes to be. Of course, limitations do creep up with age, but it's the "just do it" attitude that keeps us travelers going for all those destinations. I just pray that I am able to carry on with my wild wanderings just as you and Suman da are (touchwood).

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Originally Posted by suman View Post
Abhinav, keep it going! Sorry to hear about the Zoji La mess!

I don't belive that last one. Did Leh this year - 48 & counting. Basically, you need to Just do it!!
Hey Suman Da, +1 to your last statement!

Zoji La was quite an experience. It only troubled us from the perspective of our time being wasted, but other things were pretty interesting. I mean we saw truckers literally scared of having to take their monsters over those sharp inclines with little traction on the surface. I even saw one trucker being scolded by a few others for bringing his out of shape truck to there!!!

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Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
L.O.G awesome stuff as always. But the trip ended a bit too fast.
BTW I think you should be named "Freebie King"
Hey bro, what can I say, it's just our amiable natures that makes people proffer on us. On a serious note, I really wish that I'd come back via Manali route instead of via Kashmir. I really don't have any fond memories (except paying my tribute to our soldiers at Kargil) of my return trip. It turned out to be a bad timing with the start of Lamayuru-Kargil road widening and Amarnath Yatra rush. But watch out for more...

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I know how difficult it was to pass three days there a few years back.
Three days, that would have been torture!
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Old 9th September 2009, 12:33   #149
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Hey LoG, don't be so cruel. I dont want to go to Noida so early. If the horror serials of Saas-Bahu types can run for several years, this thread definitely deserves some more posts and photos at least.

Looking at the photos, I must say this is THE journey I HAVE TO GO THERE SOON. And looking at the mountain photos and of Kangroo Loops especially, my salute to people who designed and constructed such roads in such conditions.

Keep pouring in with more stories and photos LoG !!! PLZ.
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Old 9th September 2009, 13:41   #150
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Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
Hey LoG, don't be so cruel. I dont want to go to Noida so early. If the horror serials of Saas-Bahu types can run for several years, this thread definitely deserves some more posts and photos at least.

Looking at the photos, I must say this is THE journey I HAVE TO GO THERE SOON. And looking at the mountain photos and of Kangroo Loops especially, my salute to people who designed and constructed such roads in such conditions.

Keep pouring in with more stories and photos LoG !!! PLZ.
Hey man, you're making me feel that I am being cruel, which is of course not intended!

Been kinda hectic in the office since return so I am being delayed in posting what I want to but I definitely will do that soon.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these pics.

Chang La

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06809.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06971.jpg

Somewhere near Tangtse

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06848.jpg

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Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06901.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06916.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06935.jpg
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