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Old 16th September 2009, 10:02   #76
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Default Sleepless in Leh

After some local going round and round, inspite of the GPS, thanks to the one ways, we finally landed at Sun n Sand hotel around 8:30pm.
Spoke to the owner and a room had indeed been reserved for us, for the cost of 600rs.

But the whole setup seemed straight of a seedy hippy movie.
There was drain outside where cars were parked, crowd was weird, and seemed to be on some other planet.
Half of them were scanning us up and down as prey or what?

And the room. What to say about the room. We were speechless. It was a smelly dump with dirty sheets, and a mouldy smell. Ditto about the bathroom, really dirty and ill maintained.

600rs for this? In my book it was worth 60rs or maybe even less.
This would not do.
Sleep can wait, first priority to find alternate acco.

So a plan of action was charted out.
We have dinner, scout hotels, and tomorrow morning checkout to the hotel we find.

Coming to the subject of dinner. We were expecting too much from Leh I guess. Went into an okayish restaurant, and had one of the most horrendous meals of our life for a lot of money.
If this was leh, we would end up spending all the money on seedy hotels and lousy food.
It was almost 9 now, and the search for hotels had begun.

We decided to go to Upper chanspa, on the Shanti Guest house road.
First we decided to scout for hotels which had car parking inside the complex itself.

Rates quoted were of a wide range.
One guy came down to 1200 from 2200, both were out of our budget.
another quoted 4000rs for some silly cottage.

Things were not looking good.
And then we spotted a nondescript sign saying Hotel Thongsal.
It had a garden, big car parking, lots of fruit trees and looked nice.

Went in and spoke to the manager Sunny.
He came down to 600 from 700 and showed us the "best room" as the hotel was mostly empty.

Now it was time to breathe a sigh of relief. We had found a nice place which would be our home for quite a few days.

Sunny ran a restaurant in Goa, and belonged to Bangalore. He comes to Leh in summer season, in Sept goes to Delhi and BLR to pick up supplies, and then in Oct/Nov starts his restaurant in Goa.

Then as Goa season ends he comes to Leh.
Later we discovered that lots of people working in Leh went to Goa in winters due to the different times of tourist season in both places.

Anyways, our hotel for tomorrow was set. We will go to our dump, and sleep my 11pm. Tomorrow was going to be a big day.

Permits, car wash, air filter cleaning etc., etc.,
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Old 16th September 2009, 11:08   #77
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Default Tuesday -Permitted and rested

25th August 8:30am we are ready to go.
Wanted to get out of the room ASAP.

Outside I saw Shyam(codelust's) note under the wiper of the safari. They were staying at Sun and Sand, and I decided to sync up with them. But no go, they werent there

First stop?
Permits of course.
I had heard lots of stories, permits for 7 days, no M.La permit etc., etc.,
But all that turned out to be untrue.
We got permits for 14 days(21 days max permitted for indians)
We got permits for Man Merak Mla chushul hanle etc., without issues.
Now if we wanted we could go beyond Spangmik. No issues.
The process took a lot of time as the photostats were closed and I had to go far to get ID etc., photostated.
However by 11am or so we were done.
Next stop? Food.

On suggestions from Anup and Suman, tried out Leh view restaurant, expensive, but atleast eatable, unlike the junk we had had last night.

Leh was an expensive city!
Next was room shifting and a nice hot shower.

The sun was very strong. We decided to delay our Gurudwara Pathar Sahib vist to evening.

First we went to Tata workshop to get the beast washed and get air filter cleaned. Black smoke issue was quite a bit due to choked filter.
What a coincidence, shyam was also there getting his swift washed.
Anyways, the line was long, so we fixed up 6:30pm as car wash time, and just got the Air filter cleaned.

The resulting dust storm was the biggest Leh would have ever seen.
I had never imagined the air filter could hold so much dust.
Infact, till date I have never ever seen such a dirty filter.
Evern after couple of minutes of compressed air blast, dust kept coming out.
The air compressor area was common with car wash, and all the guys ran away from there.

After that we took the runway.. errr sorry highway... to the Gurudwara.
Few pics near the indus view point
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The topography was totally barren
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More sceneries
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Play of light
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"Its a highway, not a runway, said a Himank Yellow sign board".
Liars, I would say
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The sun going down
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More pics of the runway
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We visited the Gurudwara, and decided to keep Magnetic hill and the 500 stairs to the nishan sahib at top of the hill for the next time. It was our 3rd high altitude day, and we did not want to exert.

Moreover, the service center was waiting.
Onto the car wash now.
Since we were getting only external wash done, charge was 100rs, and boy what slush we generated.
But thanks to the wash the white elephant was finally looking clean and nice.

Time to have another lousy dinner at Leh, and head back to our hotel! But not before a tank up.
Went to the most crowded pump, and found only premium fuel. Well no choice.
FE? 8.82kmpl for Manali - Leh (Last tank up at manali, then 33liters at Pang)


We had to sleep by midnight, as tomorrow was the long drive to K.Top and Nubra valley.
Leg one of the Leh Trip was about to begin, and we were rearing to go.
MY back was also feeling fine, thanks to no bad roads, and I hoped this would continue!

Last edited by tsk1979 : 16th September 2009 at 11:15.
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Old 16th September 2009, 11:22   #78
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
And the room. What to say about the room. We were speechless. It was a smelly dump with dirty sheets, and a mouldy smell. Ditto about the bathroom, really dirty and ill maintained.
Looks like things go bad in Leh beginning mid-Aug. When I was there, Sun n Sand, in the beginning of July, the place was pretty decent.

Did you check out Wonderland Restaurant at Changspa?
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Old 16th September 2009, 11:32   #79
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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Looks like things go bad in Leh beginning mid-Aug. When I was there, Sun n Sand, in the beginning of July, the place was pretty decent.

Did you check out Wonderland Restaurant at Changspa?
Most of the resturants at Chanspa were full of smoke, and the crowd was very "hippy" if you know what I mean. Esp the lane where sun and sand is.
People scanning up up and down, looking at you funnily, passing comments and generally out of their senses.
Daytime was different, but night was definitely weird.
Thankfully we escaped with just one night of torture.
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Old 16th September 2009, 11:54   #80
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Tsk - superb Travelogue and a Tremendous set of pictures! great stuff
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:01   #81
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Most of the resturants at Chanspa were full of smoke, and the crowd was very "hippy" if you know what I mean. Esp the lane where sun and sand is.
People scanning up up and down, looking at you funnily, passing comments and generally out of their senses.
Daytime was different, but night was definitely weird.
Thankfully we escaped with just one night of torture.
That sucks man! First night in Leh and this bad experience. Good to know that this trouble ended quickly.
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:17   #82
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Default Khardungla!

Fully rested, hot water bottle ready, back feeling great, it was time to ride up the excellent road to Khardungla.
For the first time in more than a month, it had rained.
Khardungla was appearing white, it was cloudy, and for a change it was not sunny and hot.
Our hotel manager Sunny was however as Sunny as usual, and we told him that we will be back after around 3 days.
He told us that his friend is a hotel manager in Deskit. Its a new hotel, full luxury, tariff is 1200, but since its under construction and its off season, we could have a room for 500rs only.
Well good. So tonights stay was reserved, and off we set out to our journey.

The road was excellent, and at a turnout it was time for some pics
The Leh city.
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The white elephant. Look at the gleam.
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More Leh
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Yes thats the road. Black smooth,
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Soon we were at South Pullu, time for permits. And after that BRO did not dissapoint. As predicted, the road vanished completely.
Thankfully, we knew that this torture was only till North Pullu, permit stop number two.

Couple of road pics
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Excellent surface, perfect for suspension and back testing
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India Gate I guess
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However K.Top is not very far, and by 9:45 we were at the top of the highest motorable road in the world.
Standing there to greet us was no Sovenier shop, and no hot tea, but the worlds highest dog.
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It was snowing lightly, finally on the 6th pass of our journey, we got Snowfall, albeit a slap on the face of snowfall....

The number of signboards is much higher than the number of feet Khardungla is above sea level, I have tried to include them all in the same frame
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There was fresh snow, perfect for sliding down, but we gave it a pass
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The steed, all raring to go. No black smoke problem, smooth power delivery, and jerrycans were not leaking.
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We had filled 15+15 in each of the cans.
Now how did they stop leaking?

Well I got big baloons, cut off the mouth, put them on the mouth, then put in the stopper. So it became like a gasket. After that screwed on the cap, and voila, air tight jerry cans!

After few minutes at the top, it was time to head down amongst the mist and fog.
Nubra and the camels were waiting, and we were raring to do some wadi bashing

CONT....

Last edited by tsk1979 : 16th September 2009 at 12:21.
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:18   #83
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Why did you not check internal circulation (dust) problem at Tata Service centre at Leh?

It may be small problem but quite irritating. Those guys must have solved this issue.
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:23   #84
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Why did you not check internal circulation (dust) problem at Tata Service centre at Leh?

It may be small problem but quite irritating. Those guys must have solved this issue.
First of all Ihave gone to multiple Tata service centers all over NCR, and they fix the problem, and it remains fixed for 3-4 days.
Secondly, the TASS at Leh is a TASS in name only. Engineers, or rather Engineer with laptop is mostly out in the field. Infact I was scared of even getting air filter cleaned, lest they mess up something!
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:27   #85
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Originally Posted by vikram_d View Post
Not to hijack this thread or anything but attaching a photo of a very dust covered Swift in those terrains. And this is just the back. Imagine the whole car.
OT: just curious what tires were you running for the trip?

EDIT: i got the answer from your thread, Conti's are now doing the himalayas alot i guess.

Last edited by Jaggu : 16th September 2009 at 12:31.
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:36   #86
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Yes they are, I am also running Cross Contact ATs. Really rocking tires, did lot of rock crawling on them, no bulges etc., and thanks to slime, I did not loose even one PSI of air pressure as it seals all microscopic cracks etc., which may appear
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:43   #87
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Amazing pics and logs there Tanveer...

reading through the logs and looking at the pics, I almost went to LEH

You are an amazing narrator I must say...

Did you visit the magnetic hill ? does it work !!
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Old 16th September 2009, 12:47   #88
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Did you visit the magnetic hill ? does it work !!
I did and it most definitely works. A lot of people say that it is an optical illusion. But i dont hink that it is because the compass that I had went bonkers on Magnetic hill. Also I placed a rubber ball and the ball went down hill following the slope. But the car got pulled uphill. I have a video of it which I will put on youtube and post a link here.
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Old 16th September 2009, 13:05   #89
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Keep it going, just cant wait fro the next post!
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Old 16th September 2009, 13:10   #90
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Originally Posted by kri$hna View Post
Amazing pics and logs there Tanveer...

reading through the logs and looking at the pics, I almost went to LEH

You are an amazing narrator I must say...

Did you visit the magnetic hill ? does it work !!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vikram_d View Post
I did and it most definitely works. A lot of people say that it is an optical illusion. But i dont hink that it is because the compass that I had went bonkers on Magnetic hill. Also I placed a rubber ball and the ball went down hill following the slope. But the car got pulled uphill. I have a video of it which I will put on youtube and post a link here.
Magnetic hill was done later. It works, however I did not test using rubber ball etc.,
There are lot of legends among locals, including one of how a helicopter was pulled down by the hill.
However more interesting than the hill is an offroad track originating from the signboard.
It goes straight up the hill and gets steeper and steeper. We tried going up that track until the wheels started spinning.


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Keep it going, just cant wait fro the next post!
Coming soon, promise!
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