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Old 30th July 2009, 14:42   #91
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your travelogue has given me immense inspiration to plan one.
well photographed !! so how is your esteem doing after this ordeal ???
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:14   #92
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Originally Posted by madhukar_n View Post
your travelogue has given me immense inspiration to plan one.
well photographed !! so how is your esteem doing after this ordeal ???
Yeah man, go for it. Thankfully no issues with the car. Gave it for service telling the MASS guys for a thorough inspection, providing them the whole background. No problem with any component whatsoever. Feels just like it was before the trip, only a little smoother after the service. Esteem ROCKS.
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Old 30th July 2009, 15:48   #93
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Reading this and other travelogues to the region - reminds all of us of a huge debt of gratitude owed to those in the armed forces for their actions ten years ago. And of course, before that, and since too, but it is the events of summer of 1999 that symbolize all that is done there. If it were not for those acts of extreme selflessness, these travels may have not been possible too, for all we know. For their tomorrows, we gave up all of ours, today. That is what it says somewhere on a memorial, and ten years on, how true is that?
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Old 31st July 2009, 13:11   #94
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OK - I have just been through 6 pages of Sheer Bliss !!

That's the best photograph's I have ever seen of Leh - Ladakh ever !!

Brilliant photography, stunning !!!

You have me sold on doing this trip next July 2010 with my wife. I made my mind almost reading Suman's travelogue, but after seeing your I just signed the deed ( in my mind )

Next July I am there - with or without friends - I am there - no second thought about it. Me, wifey and my Verna

Waiting for the balance travelogue mate !
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Old 1st August 2009, 01:02   #95
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Amazing! That too on a Esteem - hat's off to you folks!

It's always tempting to follow the path in Himalayas. Hope to be there one day.
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Old 2nd August 2009, 23:33   #96
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Cant wait to see more pictures man. I also liked the fact that the army guys were courteous enough to serve you snacks and a warm welcome too. Cheers
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Old 3rd August 2009, 12:55   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
Reading this and other travelogues to the region - reminds all of us of a huge debt of gratitude owed to those in the armed forces for their actions ten years ago. And of course, before that, and since too
Hey Sawyer, the armed forces personnel are just too great. Guarding our borders aside, they do everything humanly possible to assist us civilians in any kind of trouble we may be in. And that too without any fuss, rather I believe they feel proud in what they do. Just sad to know that what they get in return (from our govt.) is peanuts. Wish our police/politicians/babus were a little similar (even 10% of army's commitment will do).

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkochar View Post
OK - I have just been through 6 pages of Sheer Bliss !!

That's the best photograph's I have ever seen of Leh - Ladakh ever !!

Brilliant photography, stunning !!!

You have me sold on doing this trip next July 2010 with my wife. I made my mind almost reading Suman's travelogue, but after seeing your I just signed the deed ( in my mind )

Next July I am there - with or without friends - I am there - no second thought about it. Me, wifey and my Verna

Waiting for the balance travelogue mate !
Hey thanks for such nice appreciation mate. There's something about the journey that gives it a major romantic spin, at least that's what wife & I felt. Good to see that your mind's all set, and I guess how you must be dying for July 2010 to come man.

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Originally Posted by bijuks View Post
Amazing! That too on a Esteem - hat's off to you folks!

It's always tempting to follow the path in Himalayas. Hope to be there one day.
Thanks mate. Doing this journey in an Esteem was quite an adventure and the experience was just awesome.

Wishing your hopes come true soon.

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I also liked the fact that the army guys were courteous enough to serve you snacks and a warm welcome too. Cheers
That would be an understatement man. It was more like they'd rolled out red carpets for us. I remember this Jawaan who was himself shivering badly, but kept on offering us biscuits, dry fruits and cups of hot tea. They spend their days & nights at such desolate places and hostile environments (Chang La, K-Top), but always greet civilians with open arms and smiling faces.

Gimme coupla days to post more pics as it's been pretty hectic at work lately.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 16:41   #98
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Default This thread is awesome

Hey how many times should I appreciate you? a) For being a class photographer b) For writing such a nice travelogue. It has kept me tied to my office desk for so long . You are such a great writer too. c) I liked the way you thanked the Jawans here, its the height of sacrifice what a person can do for others not even knowing for whom they are doing it. Just the thought that they are doing it for there motherland and country men is enough for them. My salute to these real heroes of life. Keep penning simply this thread rocks. Do post pics of the bad roads you came across so that we can get a feel of the harsh terrain our vehicles would endure on the trip there. A big Thankyou!!!

Last edited by amit_purohit20 : 3rd August 2009 at 16:42.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 19:05   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
Hey how many times should I appreciate you? a) For being a class photographer b) For writing such a nice travelogue. It has kept me tied to my office desk for so long . You are such a great writer too. c) I liked the way you thanked the Jawans here, its the height of sacrifice what a person can do for others not even knowing for whom they are doing it. Just the thought that they are doing it for there motherland and country men is enough for them. My salute to these real heroes of life. Keep penning simply this thread rocks. Do post pics of the bad roads you came across so that we can get a feel of the harsh terrain our vehicles would endure on the trip there. A big Thankyou!!!
You're welcome and you're making me blush. But hey, thanks for all your appreciation bro. I've just poured my heart out writing this travelogue and am reliving my journey along the way.

To be frank, I have no pics of the bad roads encountered during the trip. I did post couple of pics of the nallahs enroute, but yeah there were some sections after crossing which we felt so relieved that clicking snaps never came to mind. This is one thing we regretted after getting back. Getting back is what we regretted the most. Though, I have vivid images of those places in my mind.
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Old 3rd August 2009, 20:32   #100
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LoG, this is splendid stuff!
When superb pics combine with equally good narrative it lifts a travelogue to quite another level!
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Old 4th August 2009, 12:07   #101
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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
LoG, this is splendid stuff!
When superb pics combine with equally good narrative it lifts a travelogue to quite another level!
Thanks Anupji, this is a huge compliment. You've just made my day.
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Old 4th August 2009, 12:25   #102
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Default Day 9: Continued - The misfortune

Soon we're almost at the village of Tangtse, and had to submit our ILP at a police post just before the village. It was getting close to lunch time, so it was decided to have it in there. To our surprise, all the shops were closed and the place seemed quite deserted. Saw a cab parked outside a guest house, named Dorthuling (or something close to that). We stopped next to it and asked the cabbie where to get anything to eat. The guy knocked on the door, a lady came out and we realized that the guest house was apparently open for business. I wonder why they keep their doors closed even when they're open. Anyways, we had a surprisingly scrumptous meal of dal chawal & omelete in there. There was this chutney that my taste buds simply fell in love with. Extra spicy paste made from tomato, onion, garlic & chillies. I had it along with the food till my eyes turned red and then had some more.

We spent more than an hour enjoying the food and tea and when I looked at my watch, it was around 1:30 PM. Knowing that Pagal Nallah was still a good distance away we decided to move ahead pronto. Settled the bill, thanked our hosts and ran to the car. I'd been told that the nallah had lost its notorious glory these days, but I was still scared of it. The signboard said that Lukung was 35 Km away and the road said just let it rip, it was just such a smooth tarmac. Reached close to the nallah around 2:15 and instantly knew we'd a challange ahead of us. It was a rocky track with big boulders all around us. Then came a fork and we're badly confused which way to go. No other vehicle was coming or going. Sat there for about 5 minutes when a Scorpio came by and took the right. I followed it's path with my eyes and behold, the nallah was there. It didn't seem furious, not too much water but the entry and exit were scary with big difference between the surface heights. Took us sometime to muster courage enough to make the move. Slowly I caressed the car into the flowing water and started crossing it. Then came the exit and there I made the fatal mistake. I didn't observe the steep incline that was there right after it, and slowed the car to take the exit. I did take it, but since I didn't have enough momentum the car stalled on the incline. Now if you remember from a previous post of mine, I'd damaged the clutch plate (CP) at More Plains. At this incline, I realized that the clutch was slipping and I wasn't getting enough power delivered to the wheels. This is when I knew we ain't gonna make it to Pangong, and felt devastated. So close yet so far.

Luckily was able to turn the car around and started heading back for Leh. Then I realized that I still had to climb Chang La and I was seriously doubting the state of my CP. Reached Tangtse and enquired for a mechanic. To our surprise no one competent enough to inspect the CP was available, and Tangtse was the only inhabitation for miles. Rather it was the only major place before Shakti. Man I was real confused and this was when the Army guys came to my rescue. They told me to go to the Army workshop about 4 Km from Tangtse, where I'd surely get help. We just had to convince the OC to ask his men to assist us. We reached the workshop with our fingers crossed, had a word with the sentry and were allowed inside. The OC was out so we met the JCO. He was quite a nice person and in no time had 4 of his personnel inspect our car. Out came the gearbox, and on inspection the verdict was that our CP was in no condition to allow the car to scale Chang La. We're surprised, then shocked and finally very concerned. We're in no man's land and my baby (read car) was now limping. The army guys said that since the engine of Esteem and Gypsy were same, they would try fitting in the CP of Gypsy into my car. Since it was getting late, they asked us to get back to Tangtse and come back around 11 in the morning. We requested for a drop to Tangtse, and woah the huge 4x4 army truck called Dhai Ton was dispatched to take us there. What a ride it was; bone shaking, tummy grinding & a## hurting. I don't know what the army personnel are made of, they do that all the time. Anyways, we checked into the same guest house where we'd our lunch. Got a decent room with attached Bath, and a balcony for 400 bucks/night. There we met Arvind Bhaiya, a guy from Dehradoon who used to work in there for about 3-4 months every year. Actually it was my wife who guessed that he was Garhwali as she's done her M.Sc. from D'Doon. He warmed up nicely to us and was quite concerned about our predicament. I on the other hand was looking forward to enjoying the chutney. Evening was spent in the balcony with good ol' Old Monk, contemplating what lay ahead. Of course, there were nice views around too. I was also getting mesmerized with the sounds coming from a nearby Monastry where a prayer was in progress. Tangste was in the middle of a buddhist festival and hoards of people from all around had come to offer their prayers. Soon night fell, and after a quick dinner of dal chawal along with the awesome chutney, it was time to sleep. The thoughts about Pangong again came to mind, and I was hoping that we get the car with a new/working CP tomorrow so that I can go there. The only oppurtunity I'd to click pics was sometime in the evening.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0836.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06883.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06876.jpg

Alas, fate had something else in store for us. We reached the workshop sharp 11 AM and I saw 4 army mechanics around my car. But what concerned me was the fact that the gearbox was lying as I'd left it last night. The army guys told me that, unfortunately the Gypsy plate is almost the same but the centre hole, that slots into the gearbox was wider than the one in an Esteem. We're told that we'd have to go to Leh to get one. We asked them if they can help us with logistics, but they weren't able to help us there. We went back to the guest house, again in an army truck, and started asking for a ride to Leh from the various cabs stopping there. But none had space for 2 and time was running by. Then a local told us to go near the police check post as it was a junction where the road from Lukung joined the one coming from Tangste. We sat there for a while, but still had no luck. I remembered the police guy at the CP had been pretty cordial when I'd submitted the ILP, so decided to ask for his help. It turned out to be a good decision as he promptly came along with us and promised to stop a vehicle for us. He was like they can't refuse if he asked. Soon came a Tata 207, with a cab for 4 and 2 local men inside. He stopped the pickup, and we climed in the back seat. It was slightly stinking inside, but we're too happy to mind that. The journey was a nailbiter as the driver was going too slow, max he reached the entire time was 40 Km/hr, and we're kinda in a hurry as we needed to get there with time enough to buy the CP. Reached Leh around 6, just in time to get to the MASS and check for a CP. Went to the spares section, asked the guy sitting there and to my shock was told it was a pretty slim chance of them stocking a CP of an Esteem. I said a prayer, and asked him to check it anyways. We went to a section full of CP boxes and after a cliffhanger of around 20 minutes we found one. I was excited enough to hug the guy, but his clothes were all greasy so decided against it. Told wife the good news and she's pretty happy too. To top it all, the MASS owner offered to drop us wherever we wanted to go in Leh. Things were getting better...
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Old 4th August 2009, 13:16   #103
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Lovely pictures , and wonderful write up once i staretd could not stop before completing all the pages ....

on question, did you check ur CP before you started ? how many kms had your old CP done before you started your journey ?
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Old 4th August 2009, 13:32   #104
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on question, did you check ur CP before you started ? how many kms had your old CP done before you started your journey ?
It hardly matters! Can anyone list the exact procedure for checking the health of a clutch plate?! There is no way to guarantee clutch plates except through dismantling!
And once you've done bad bad routes you know that even a new clutch plate can be written off within minutes in an unfortunate manoeuvre, as happened with LoG at Moré Plains.
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Old 4th August 2009, 14:36   #105
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It hardly matters! Can anyone list the exact procedure for checking the health of a clutch plate?! There is no way to guarantee clutch plates except through dismantling!
And once you've done bad bad routes you know that even a new clutch plate can be written off within minutes in an unfortunate manoeuvre, as happened with LoG at Moré Plains.
I cannot be the judge of the health of the CP of a hired vechicle , but if it were for my self driven vehicle i would know for sure how bad/good it is based on the the usage and the treatment it has aleady taken and the KMS it has run till date. I know for a fact that my verna's clutch is good for 65-85k depending on how its being used . i am on my second clutch and will not have second thoughts on taking my car to any rough terrain.

My sole objective behind asking that question was to get a feel of how much of the clutch gets destroyed by the gruelling drive and the gradient. I also am given to understand that the clutch is one thing which a lot of people dont double check on while doing this trip. I know that an incident like the one at the More Plains might spell doom for anyone but i was curious to see some numbers so that even i can plan and be prepared better.

@lordofgondor - sorry for going off topic here
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