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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:08   #1
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Cool Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!

There are dreams and there are THE dreams. One of the latter ones I had for a long time came true a few days back, and we (wife & I) got Ladakh’d. What an experience it was, something we ain’t gonna forget for the rest of our lives. Standing tall on top of mountain passes, absorbing the ever changing charismatic views and just feeling the rush of being there, it was amazing. Everywhere we looked, it was like a dream scape and the eyes would just wander catching glimpses of the wonderful nature surrounding us. We felt like explorers on a journey to chart a lonely planet, and that was the thrill that kept driving us no matter what obstacles came our way.

It all began after my Kinnaur trip, about which I still feel pretty nostalgic, last year. I decided that my next long journey was either going to be Lahaul & Spiti or Ladakh. Then there was the doubt whether I can do either of those in my baby, my Esteem. No way was I going to wait for the time when I can afford to buy a beastie (read an off-roader like a 4X4 Safari or Scorpio), so I knew I needed to take the plunge with what I had and head for Ladakh. When I told my parents, friends & relatives about doing Ladakh in my own car, all I got was shocks & surprises on me even thinking about it. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Anupji, Kumarji, Sumanji, Pramods & cutdcrap who provided me with the required information and motivation to do what I have just done:
  • Been to the highest motorable road in the world.
  • Been to the largest of the High Altitude Lakes in the Trans-himalayan biogeographic region, entirely within India. Seeing it changing colors every time we looked at it.
  • Saw sand dunes surrounded by mountains, greenery and a river flowing by.
  • Experienced heavy snowfall at heights of 18380 feet (K-Top) & 17586 feet (Chang La).
  • Feeling the rush speeding the car at high rpm’s over sand, slushy slopes & nallahs.
  • Halting a fleet of trucks so that I can place wooden planks over a bridge for my car to pass through (couple of metal ones were missing). And after crossing, getting a loud applause from the truck drivers.
No wonder it's called the trip of a lifetime, it’s got it own unique & exclusive charm/thrill/adrenaline rush/adventure, which I believe ain’t possible to feel anywhere else. Our journey began on the 4th of July and we had 15 days with us to visit & explore the heavenly place called Ladakh. Got the car inspected, had the skid plate (proved to be a boon) installed, procured the necessary spares and we were ready to go. Initial plan was to go via Manali both ways, but once we got to Leh, we decided to come back via Kashmir (a blunder) as the Manali-Leh road made wife kinda apprehensive doing it again.

Total distance traveled: 3723 Km
Total fuel used: 232 odd Lt
Mileage: ~ 16 Km/Lt

So folks, I am gonna commence reliving my journey. Hope you’d come along and enjoy the sights and sounds that I’d experienced. But before we begin, let’s have a look at what’s all in store:

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06716.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06644.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06700.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06621.jpg

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

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0496.jpg

The journey begins...

Last edited by lordofgondor : 22nd July 2009 at 13:10.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:16   #2
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Wow.. Another T-BHPian Leh'd.
Awaiting more pics and keeping the F5 button busy!

P.S: I am now confused as to which pic I should set as the Wallpaper on my desktop!
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:18   #3
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Fantastic pics! Keep 'em coming lordofgondor.
Hooked to this thread.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:26   #4
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Another Travelogues which is gonne make me spend another day reading all about Leh... Damm you people from DELHI (I so envy you all). But still Kudos to your effort ... and awaiting more details report and loads of pics.

Just one more thing pending... Need to subscribe to this Thread..
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:43   #5
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Welcome Back!!!

So, Finally!!! "Let it roll, baby, roll"......I've been waiting to see Tso Moriri through your lens. Sounds like the return trip was not a very pleasant one.....but I'll be patient & wait for the story, won't jump the gun
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:45   #6
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Congratulations! Beautiful photograhpy. You did it in an Esteem? just the kinda inspiration that I needed to boost my confidence in my Innova for the Leh trip planned for October.Waiting eagerly to read your experience. By now I am confident and pretty sure TEAM-BHP is a huge inspiration for all aspiring, not sure what to call it but lets say "Himalayans"
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Old 22nd July 2009, 13:52   #7
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Lovely. After all the hardships you faced, its sights like these which keep you going on and on.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:03   #8
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AWESOME pics. Amazing stuff there - lovely pics there!

And did you get the underbody protection done?
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Wow.. Another T-BHPian Leh'd.
Awaiting more pics and keeping the F5 button busy!

P.S: I am now confused as to which pic I should set as the Wallpaper on my desktop!
Yeah man, we are all an inspiration for one another. And believe me, even I am in a delima which one to keep as a wallpaper, so changing them every coupla hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by live2drive View Post
Fantastic pics! Keep 'em coming lordofgondor.
Hooked to this thread.
Coming right up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinner View Post
Another Travelogues which is gonne make me spend another day reading all about Leh... Damm you people from DELHI (I so envy you all). But still Kudos to your effort ... and awaiting more details report and loads of pics.

Just one more thing pending... Need to subscribe to this Thread..
Thanks bro, gotta hang in there for a while as I have just begun reliving the trip that was.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Welcome Back!!!

So, Finally!!! "Let it roll, baby, roll"......I've been waiting to see Tso Moriri through your lens. Sounds like the return trip was not a very pleasant one.....but I'll be patient & wait for the story, won't jump the gun
Thanks Suman ji! The return trip was a big time drag, just our excitement from the previous days kept us going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by babupaul View Post
Congratulations! Beautiful photograhpy. You did it in an Esteem? just the kinda inspiration that I needed to boost my confidence in my Innova for the Leh trip planned for October.Waiting eagerly to read your experience. By now I am confident and pretty sure TEAM-BHP is a huge inspiration for all aspiring, not sure what to call it but lets say "Himalayans"
Hey Babu, yup I did the trip in an Esteem, and without any major hiccups, except one. In an Innova you should sail through.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Lovely. After all the hardships you faced, its sights like these which keep you going on and on.
You said it pardner!

@phamilyman: Thanks man. Yeah I did get the skid plate installed from Motorcraft, Sahibabad.

Last edited by lordofgondor : 22nd July 2009 at 14:13.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:14   #10
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Awesome and splendid photographs. You did it in your Esteem and its loads of encouragement for me to try it out in my NHC. Am waiting to read more about your experience and see load of awesome pics. Keep them coming.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:40   #11
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Day 1: Noida – Ambala – Bunter – Bilaspur – Mandi – Kullu – Naggar

I’d already experienced the maddening environment of Manali last year, so decided to make Naggar the first halt. I’d booked a room at the Naggar Palace from the HPTDC site, and though it was the second cheapest (1200 bucks) it was a pretty nice one. After settling in we decided to click some pics. This is when I realized I hadn’t brought my tripod with me, so there went any chances for clicking snaps as it was getting dark. Called up Suman Da to check if I can get one in Leh, but he advised me to get one from Manali. Hence, the evening was spent in traveling to Manali and buy a tripod. BTW, I got a great deal in there. Brought a Vivatar 3600 for Rs. 1550 only. But no snaps for the day.

Day 2: Naggar – Manali - Rohtang Jot – Gramphoo – Tandi - Keylong

Views from our room at the Palace next morning.

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0318.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-img_0319.jpg

Of all the passes I'd encountered, the ascent and descent of Rohtang was the worst. Really bad roads for a few Km before and after the pass. Deep mud slush, car eating potholes, water flowing amongst boulders. You name it, it was there. The road only improved after Khokhsar and was ok till Keylong.

I didn't refuel at Tandi as I'd heard about the fuel quality going down in there. So tanked up at Naggar, and filled up my 35 Lt jerry can to take me till Leh. I was initially planning to halt at Jispa, but hearing about the attitude of Ibex people towards Indians, I decided to stay at the HPTDC Chandrabhaga hotel at Keylong instead. Got a nice room for 1350 bucks, with running hot water. The dinner & breakfast was included in the cost. Dinner was a basic affair with Dal Chawal & mix veg. and I asked them to pack the breakfast for us as we we’re to leave early in the morning.

Enroute Keylong:

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06143.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06158.jpg

Our first big water crossing of the trip:

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06175.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06177.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06187.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06194.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06205.jpg

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06207.jpg

Distance Traveled: ~140 Km
Time Taken: ~7 hours

Last edited by lordofgondor : 22nd July 2009 at 14:47.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:43   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muralisk View Post
Awesome and splendid photographs. You did it in your Esteem and its loads of encouragement for me to try it out in my NHC. Am waiting to read more about your experience and see load of awesome pics. Keep them coming.
Thanks man.

Yeah man, go for it. Just get under body protection for sure. BTW, what's the GC of NHC?
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:56   #13
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I am sticking my neck out when I say that these are probably the best photographs I have seen of the terrain...on this forum, that is.

Which camera was it? An SLR, I am sure. Which one?
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Old 22nd July 2009, 14:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
I've been waiting to see Tso Moriri through your lens.
Hey Suman da, here's one for you:

Been Leh'd & back: The dream come true!-dsc06751.jpg
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Old 22nd July 2009, 15:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
I am sticking my neck out when I say that these are probably the best photographs I have seen of the terrain...on this forum, that is.

Which camera was it? An SLR, I am sure. Which one?
Hey thanks man, you just made my day.

Actually the pics are a combination of a P&S Cannon A540 IS and Sony Alpha 100 SLR.
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