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Old 18th September 2009, 17:45   #151
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Default Gata Loops Incident!

What do you do when you reach Sarchu around 12 noon and are comfortably settled into your tent by 12:30 PM? You roam around the campsite, chat with your companion, sip some warming beverages along with some snacks & click pictures. We got through all that by 3-3:30 PM. The road was inviting us to explore what lay ahead and we did just that.

The plan was to go for a drive to the top of the Gata Loops and back. The distance was about 30 Km one way and the roads were smooth (relatively). So off we went with Pink Floyd's Echoes playing on the 6.0 speaker setup in the car. I cranked up the volume a notch and depressed the accelarator a tad more. The vistas along the way were captivating as usual.

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Crossed the Twing Twing Bridge, which was in a terrible condition with wooden planks and metal plates scattered around rising at odd angles. The drive over it was kinda precarious and I was kinda nervous. At the exit of the bridge, a metal plate had risen to quite a height and there was no way my car was gonna go over it without sustaining some damage. But I was carrying the solution to this trivial problem. Out came the shovel and soon I was hammering the plate to settle it back in as best as I could. Job done and we moved on.

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It was a pleasure ripping at the smooth winding roads and soon we're at the first loop. Couple of switchbacks later we saw vehicles just standing still on the road. I joined the end of the queue and on inquiring came to know that a truck had toppled on the road ahead completely blocking it. I went to investigate and wollah
there lied the truck nicely sprawled blocking the traffic.

The one that took the tumble!

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There wasn't enough space for even a bike to get through. Coupla truckers advised me to turn around, so I came running to the car to head back to Sarchu ASAP and saw just what I was fearing.

Traffic jam forming up

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I line of trucks had already formed behind our car and it continued till the loop below. I quickly did a 3-point turn to turn the car around and passed a few trucks without any issues. But then things got interesting! I still had to pass 12-15 trucks and there was not enough space for my car to go through. So I got down and personally requested the driver of each truck to kindly adjust their vehicles to allow a safe passage for us. Hats off to those truckers, they helped us a lot in getting away from the big jam that was forming in there. Had we been stuck, I couldn't imagine what would have happened. Though we're prepared for such eventualities, in terms of provisions (blankets, chocolates, dry fruits, packets of ready to eat stuff & plenty of water) but didn't know what could be the pshycological implications. Thank GOD we didn't have to go through anything like that and were back at our tent by 6 PM breathing a sign of relief.

View from our camp, Baralacha La in the distance

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The other side

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Old 18th September 2009, 23:20   #152
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These truckers end up spending nights on the high passes. Hats off to them also for making so many trips to ferry all essential supplies to keep the region self sufficient during the winter when it is cut off from the rest of the country. Typical tanker shuttles between Ambala and Leh, carrying fuel on the way up and empty on the down, in seven/eight day round trip.
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Old 20th September 2009, 13:51   #153
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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.
Beautifully compiled travelogue with excellent photos.

The loops you mentioned at Lamayuru are known as Hangroo or Hangroloo loops or "Jalebi Mod" by the locals. I distinctively remember them from my trip to Leh/kargil 20 years back. I cant ever forget these loops as I saw a CRPF truck fell off one of these loops around 100 feet below in the khud, right in front of my eyes. Most horrible accident I have ever seen.

Do you also remember seeing the moon craters (rock formation like craters on the moon) somewhere close to the loops?

Once again great travelogue and sorry about the Zoji La mess.
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Old 20th September 2009, 17:04   #154
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Lovely. the travelogue still goes on.
As for Jalebi mod. We missed them. Could not even do Fotu La you see. How many kms after Lamayuru do these loops come?
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Old 21st September 2009, 14:05   #155
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Typical tanker shuttles between Ambala and Leh, carrying fuel on the way up and empty on the down, in seven/eight day round trip.
Right on sir. No wonder it appears so monotonous to them. I had interactions with truckers on 3 occasions, and everyone was like "why do you come via Manali-Leh route, all you see are rocks & more rocks. Come via Kashmir"!

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Beautifully compiled travelogue with excellent photos.

The loops you mentioned at Lamayuru are known as Hangroo or Hangroloo loops or "Jalebi Mod" by the locals.

Do you also remember seeing the moon craters (rock formation like craters on the moon) somewhere close to the loops?

Once again great travelogue and sorry about the Zoji La mess.
Thanks mate and thanks for clarifying my mistake. I only got the first alphabet in the name wrong and not by much too!!!

Are these the craters you're talking about?

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We did find them interesting creations of nature! Zoji La was scary for us man. I vividly remember having to throw my car into water crossings and big, water covered potholes with during twilight.

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Lovely. the travelogue still goes on.
As for Jalebi mod. We missed them. Could not even do Fotu La you see. How many kms after Lamayuru do these loops come?
Ummm, did you come back via Manali also? I don't know the exact number of Km, but I'd say about 8-10. It took us about 40 minutes from the Loops to Lamayuru including photo breaks. And also, they come before Lamayuru. Pardon my mistake if I'd provided incorrect info in my previous post.
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Old 21st September 2009, 14:07   #156
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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Ummm, did you come back via Manali also? I don't know the exact number of Km, but I'd say about 8-10. It took us about 40 minutes from the Loops to Lamayuru including photo breaks. And also, they come before Lamayuru. Pardon my mistake if I'd provided incorrect info in my previous post.
Nope, we came back via Kashmir route, via Kargil. However we did not do Fotu La and the loops
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Old 21st September 2009, 14:19   #157
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Yeah thats it. These are the craters.

We have pics taken from the same point. 20 years back the mountain tops had some snow in June...lol. Climate change I guess

Thats me at the same place. Thanks for refreshing. If I cut and paste my self on ur same photo I would have a better photo now
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 21st September 2009, 14:56   #158
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Nope, we came back via Kashmir route, via Kargil. However we did not do Fotu La and the loops
Ahaa, some more off-roading involved I say.

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Thats me at the same place. Thanks for refreshing. If I cut and paste my self on ur same photo I would have a better photo now
You're welcome buddy! Do lemme know if you need the high resolution pics.
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Old 21st September 2009, 15:05   #159
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Ahaa, some more off-roading involved I say.
Nope no offroading.. lets say wait a few days for travelgue to reach there
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Old 21st September 2009, 15:55   #160
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Alrighty, me holding on to my horses!
But guessing what you could have done.
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Old 11th October 2009, 21:07   #161
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Amazing pics. Now that gives me a lot of confidence doing this in my Ikon. I recently did 1800 kms in 2 days. But that was down south. I should target Leh soon. Thanks.
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Old 12th October 2009, 13:09   #162
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Amazing travelogue with excellent excellent photos. Hats off to you, your baby (Esteem) and your better half. Its an achievement that I am sure you will never forget. My wife and I had a great time soaking in each word, each picture, each U-turn that you had.

To be honest, it made me motivated to plan and execute for a trip next year (Bangalore - Leh - Bangalore).

Thank you. Again, hats off to you.
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Old 12th October 2009, 16:22   #163
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Very nice trip. Enjoyed reading through.

So what do you think ? coming back from leh which is the best route ? either Leh - Manali or Leh - Srinager
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Old 12th October 2009, 18:27   #164
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Amazing pics. Now that gives me a lot of confidence doing this in my Ikon. I recently did 1800 kms in 2 days. But that was down south. I should target Leh soon. Thanks.
You're welcome mate! Just go for it!

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Originally Posted by Souvik View Post
Amazing travelogue with excellent excellent photos. Hats off to you, your baby (Esteem) and your better half. Its an achievement that I am sure you will never forget. My wife and I had a great time soaking in each word, each picture, each U-turn that you had.

To be honest, it made me motivated to plan and execute for a trip next year (Bangalore - Leh - Bangalore).

Thank you. Again, hats off to you.
Thanks mate, and double thanks for praising my baby.
Yeah we definitely won't ever forget the rush we felt during the trip (actually who can).

Nice to know I've motivated a fellow motorhead for doing this epic journey.

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Very nice trip. Enjoyed reading through.

So what do you think ? coming back from leh which is the best route ? either Leh - Manali or Leh - Srinager
I'd say that if you have time in hand (2-3 days, other than driving time) to explore Kashmir, then Leh - Srinagar would be better, else it's Leh - Manali for me. Traffic on Kashmir route was too darn frustrating compared to the calm serenity of Leh - Manali. But on the other side, the beauty of Kashmir definitely needs to be explored, which unfortunately we didn't have time for.
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Old 25th November 2009, 12:44   #165
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Hey folks, I have processed some of the images of my trip using GIMP and wanted to share the results with you. Would also appreciate your feedback on how it's worked out.

My baby standing tall at Lachulung La

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06407.jpg

Smooth roads before the climb to Tanglang La

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06424.jpg

Greenery and bareness with Bhaga in between

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Baralacha La from a distance

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Getting closer

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Guess which one

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0725.jpg

The blue yonder of Tso Moriri

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More of Moriri

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0760.jpg

More of Kiagar Tso

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06711_2.jpg

Meandering in the valley

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