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Old 27th July 2009, 12:13   #76
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Cool Day 8: Leh - Tso Moriri - Leh

Throughout the previous night, I could see pristine blue water in my dreams. Needless to say, I had Tso Moriri on my mind big time. Morning came, and I was jumping around getting my sleepy wife up and ready. I had filled up the jerry can the previous night as this was gonna be a longish trip; ~ 450 Km to and fro combined. Though later I was surprised that I was able to do this with three quarters of my car's fuel tank.

We're planning to spend a night at Tso Moriri, so again had to move our luggage from the room to the car; quite an exercise in itself. Got the ball rolling by around 7:30 AM and swished pass through Karu & Upshi. Just after Upshi, we're required to submit a ILP. All my apprehensions about the road conditions were dispelled and we're greeted by smooth tarmac all through Chumathang. Soon came Mahe and there's a check post just before the Mahe bridge. I submited our ILP and asked the cop about the road conditions ahead and was informed that the last 30 Km was "kutchaa".

A few pics some distance after the Mahe Bridge:

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06646.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06657.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06684.jpg

After a short drive, we caught a glimpse of this and thought we're getting close to Tso Moriri.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06707.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06698.jpg

I cannot write about the mix of emotions I felt right there. Excitement, joy, thrill... all of them just leapt at us and my wife was soon dancing with ecstacy and I was busy clicking pics of the lake.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06688.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06717.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06719.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06721.jpg

Soon the initial excitement waned, and I was now getting perplexed. The lake in front of us was too small to be Tso Moriri and too different from the pics I'd seen. Also by now, the road had deteriorated badly and was now more of a gravel track. From where I'd stopped my car, all I could see was deep sand ahead and after our experience at More Plains, I was a bit skeptical about moving ahead without having a word with someone going that way. We waited for about 10 minutes and soon a local guy on a bike came by. I asked him where's Tso Moriri and he told me that it's about 20 odd Km ahead. I asked him if it the road was sandy ahead, and to my relief, was informed that this was the only sandy section. I thanked the guy, said a prayer, asked wife to get it, backed the car about 50 mt, engaged first gear and throttled the car revving high through the sand. Crossed the section without any issues, and landed from the frying pan straight into hell. The road, or whatever it was, was essentially composed of big and sharp stones. For some distance, I could avoid the road by going alongside it.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06735.jpg

But then we came to the other side of a stream by crossing a bridge, and now there was no option but to be on the rocky track. I just kept praying that I don't get a flat tire and had a nail biter of a ride. We kept hoping that Tso Moriri would come soon, and it seemed like eternity but we were finally greeted by what was a sight that left us spell bounded.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06750.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0730.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0731.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0734.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0735.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0738.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0739.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0740.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0743.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0744.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0745.jpg

The enchanting views made us forget that we're almost at Karzok until the Jawan at the check post stopped us. After submitting the ILP we headed for the camps, but were quite disappointed with what we saw. Though there were both camps and huts, they were kinda dirty and when we're there, no one else was staying in them. After some hurried discussion, we decided not to stay and head back for Leh.

The lake was amazingly beautiful, but to be quite frank the bad road kind of spoiled the fun we had at Tso Moriri.
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Old 27th July 2009, 16:54   #77
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my jaw just dropped seeing this pics of yours. Did low GC cause any problems on your trip?
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Old 27th July 2009, 17:27   #78
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The broad place at Khalsar is infact the meeting point of the Nubra and Shyok Rivers. Whatever be your impression of the hot springs at Panamik be but Panamik village also boast s of yet another distinction. It is supposed (not supposed but definite) that this village has the most beautiful women/girls in the area. Their features are also distinct from the other ethnic population.
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Old 28th July 2009, 04:05   #79
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Hi Lordofgondor,

I have enjoyed every word and picture of your trip to Leh (and that too, in an Esteem car) so far and am looking forward to the rest of your travelogue. I don't know what is more enjoyable, the description of your picturesque journey or the snaps that capture aspects of your journey.

In fact, your log & snaps are so fascinating that you should consider selling them to National Geographic. If you had a video camcorder on board, you could even have filmed a documentary of your "Esteemed Diary to Leh" and we would have enjoyed seeing you on TV as well. Excellent work and we are proud of your outstanding journey.

Melvyn
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Old 28th July 2009, 07:55   #80
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LoG, I just saw this travelogue!
Amongst the best pics I've seen of Ladakh! Accompanied by very entertaining narration!
Splendid!
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Old 28th July 2009, 08:42   #81
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I don't know why but all the travelogues of Ladakh take more time than the actual trip. Why?
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Old 28th July 2009, 10:34   #82
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It'll take much more. Our man has just gone onsite yesterday night
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Old 29th July 2009, 17:31   #83
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
It'll take much more. Our man has just gone onsite yesterday night
Hey folks, I am back though parked somewhere else in the middle of nowhere. Just that it would take another day for me to continue where I left off, so watch out for this space...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonirohit View Post
my jaw just dropped seeing this pics of yours. Did low GC cause any problems on your trip?
No man, it was all smooth sailing thanks to the skid plate I'd installed. No issues from rocks & boulders below, the plate just threw them away. I remember traversing many places with continues thuds coming from below, but no damage to the underbody. I don't know what the story would have been without a skid plate though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
The broad place at Khalsar is infact the meeting point of the Nubra and Shyok Rivers. Whatever be your impression of the hot springs at Panamik be but Panamik village also boast s of yet another distinction. It is supposed (not supposed but definite) that this village has the most beautiful women/girls in the area. Their features are also distinct from the other ethnic population.
Hey bro, the most beautiful woman was sitting just next to me. Hence, no chance for observing those Panamik beauties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by misquitas View Post
Hi Lordofgondor,

I have enjoyed every word and picture of your trip to Leh (and that too, in an Esteem car) so far and am looking forward to the rest of your travelogue. I don't know what is more enjoyable, the description of your picturesque journey or the snaps that capture aspects of your journey.

In fact, your log & snaps are so fascinating that you should consider selling them to National Geographic. If you had a video camcorder on board, you could even have filmed a documentary of your "Esteemed Diary to Leh" and we would have enjoyed seeing you on TV as well. Excellent work and we are proud of your outstanding journey.

Melvyn
It was real unfortunate about the camcorder. I have a 60 GB HDD one and was pretty excited about filming Ladakh and our experiences, but it was a shocker when I inspected the cam. bag and discovered that the charger was missing (how it's a different story). So couldn't take it along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
LoG, I just saw this travelogue!
Amongst the best pics I've seen of Ladakh! Accompanied by very entertaining narration!
Splendid!
Thanks Anupji, that's a huge compliment. The place is just so very beautiful. Will go there again ASAP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
I don't know why but all the travelogues of Ladakh take more time than the actual trip. Why?
I think it's because some jinx on those who travel to Ladakh. Mine would have been through at least 5 days back, but home net connection bonked & got sent onsite.

*************************
An update, the MASS guys who serviced the car found no issues with the underbody, suspension or steering components. No rattles from the car, so everything's just peachy with my baby.
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Old 29th July 2009, 22:30   #84
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Lordofgondor, you just made my day man. Somehow I missed this thread earlier and just found it today and went through all the posts from the beginning. Splendid!! Awaiting more pics.

Meanwhile I will start downloading the pics you have already posted.
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Old 30th July 2009, 00:42   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
No man, it was all smooth sailing thanks to the skid plate I'd installed. No issues from rocks & boulders below, the plate just threw them away. I remember traversing many places with continues thuds coming from below, but no damage to the underbody. I don't know what the story would have been without a skid plate though.
Could you let us know where in Delhi/Noida did you get the skid plates installed? I do frequent trips to the hills and at many places I can feel the underbody taking a beating because of loose stones and rocks. Also how long does that take and how much does it cost?

Thanks
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Old 30th July 2009, 05:57   #86
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This is one of the Best Travelogues that i've come across till date. I went through the entire travelogue word by word and picture by picture as i'm planning to do the same stretch with my wife on either my alto or spark.

I would like to echo the same question asked by astelviz about the skid plates , also if possible can you please post a picture of it ( have never seen one ).

You've lived what most of us would like to die for . Keep the pictures coming as you have one more BHPian glued to your travelogue. Cheers.
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Old 30th July 2009, 11:27   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabnawaz_b View Post
Lordofgondor, you just made my day man. Somehow I missed this thread earlier and just found it today and went through all the posts from the beginning. Splendid!! Awaiting more pics.

Meanwhile I will start downloading the pics you have already posted.
Hey man, thanks for the appreciation. More pics on their way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astleviz View Post
Could you let us know where in Delhi/Noida did you get the skid plates installed? I do frequent trips to the hills and at many places I can feel the underbody taking a beating because of loose stones and rocks. Also how long does that take and how much does it cost?

Thanks
I got the skid plate installed from Motorcraft, Sahibabad. It's close to Dabur. After Dabur, you'll find a TrueValue outlet of Motorcraft and after this outlet, there's a left turn which will take you to their workshop.

It took a day and costed Rs. 7130.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harishnayak View Post
This is one of the Best Travelogues that i've come across till date. I went through the entire travelogue word by word and picture by picture as i'm planning to do the same stretch with my wife on either my alto or spark.

I would like to echo the same question asked by astelviz about the skid plates , also if possible can you please post a picture of it ( have never seen one ).

You've lived what most of us would like to die for . Keep the pictures coming as you have one more BHPian glued to your travelogue. Cheers.
Cool man, good to get in touch with another adventurous soul. From my personal experience I'd suggest you do the trip in an Alto. Reason, easier to get a mechanic/spares for a Maruti vehicle, god forbid in case anything goes wrong.

Picture of the plate's gonna be a problem buddy as I am quite a distance away from my car. But a skid plate is no big thing, just a flat checkered aluminium sheet bolted to the chassis to protect the engine sump & gearbox. Another one can be installed for the fuel tank.
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Old 30th July 2009, 12:12   #88
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Tso Moriri pictures are amazing.
Thanks for sending me the high resolution pics lordofgondor.
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Old 30th July 2009, 12:49   #89
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Default Day 9: Pangong stays a dream & a nighmare occurs

After Tso Moriri, we're all the more excited about visiting it's bigger cousin. We decided to leave the room, at Asia GH, booked in our name to avoid the hassle of moving our stuff back & forth between the room and the car. We're both pretty exhuberant about traversing the mighty Chang La. A few Km, after crossing the village of Shaki, the climb to the mighty pass began and what a climb it was. I'd say it was the steepest I'd seen, second only to the one taken towards Zoji La from Sonmarg. And the most scary part were the bumps that came unannounced on the smooth tarmac. Since I was climbing them there were no issues, but while coming back, my car flew at least 2 times each for a few metres. I felt like being in one of those cop chases in LA that we've seen in the movies.

Then things got more adventurous! We're suddenly engulfed by a dense fog, it began snowing and road conditions turned bad. This is when I realized that things weren't gonna be as easy as they'd been so far that morning. The climb became steeper, tarmac was replaced by broken road, rocks'n boulder and deep watery patches. The thrilling part was that we needed to maintain our speeds even when going over watery patches, potholes, boulders cause if you don't the car's gonna stall for sure and there's only one way to continue ahead. Reverse back to a relatively flatter section and speed up from there. But the dynamic duo carried on undeterred towards their goal. The car showed it's power, went up those inclines without any complaint, except at one point where I'd to slow it down as there were a few big boulders ahead, and after some nailbitting and a whole lot of shivering (it was darn cold) we're at Chang La. Needless to say it was all frozen over. Let the pics to the talking.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06796.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06800.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06812.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0817.jpg

We're feeling awesomely cold at the top, it was pretty foggy with snowflakes falling all around. We decided to skip the complementary tea offered at the army camp and moved ahead. The next couple of Km were pretty interesting as we'd to negotiate a road covered with snow, mud slush & potholes. Luckily we're on the descent now, so no worries about maintaining the momentum. We reached an army camp, I enquired about submiting ILP from the personnel posted in there and instantly we're invited in their hut for refreshments. I gotta give it to our army people who're posted at such locations. Though they might be freezing their a@@#@ off in there, they've such a caring feeling for us civilians. Wife & I went into their hut and enjoyed cups of hot tea, dry fruits, amazing laddoos and a whole lot of chocolates. Hats off to those guys, and I feel a debt towards them which I can never repay. And the best part is, they really feel happy doing what they do. Indian Army Rocks, and rocks big time.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06833.jpg

We felt so refreshed and warmed up after spending some time with them that quite a part our journey ahead was spent just appreciating their gestures & thanking them in our minds again and again.

Then, as usual, our minds switched back to the beatiful landscapes that were unfolding around us.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06835.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06847.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06854.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06858.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06861.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06867.jpg

To be continued...
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Old 30th July 2009, 12:56   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Tso Moriri pictures are amazing.
Thanks for sending me the high resolution pics lordofgondor.
You're most welcome mate.
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