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|5th October 2009, 19:37||#16|
Senior - BHPian
Here is another, after a Whiplash from Moderators
Day 1 - 12/Sep/09
Gurgaon, Haryana – Kud, Jammu & Kashmir
Km : 730
I was all ready at 4:00 AM, received a call from Rohit that he has started from his home and will reach my home in 10 minutes. I had already transferred most of my stuff in scorp a day before, so was only carrying essentials, Laptop and electronic bags.
Unfortunately it was raining all day and night and it was raining when we started from my home at around 4:30 AM. Just before we left, Rohit felt that he left his camera at home, so we had to detour to his home back, to collect the cam, which was actually lying in one of the bag in scorp, so we lost some time there.
Also we had to collect the oxygen cylinder from Rohit’s BIL at Shalimar Bagh. Leaving Delhi border was smooth because of the new bridge, it was an un-eventful ride. Rain accompanied us till Jalandhar.
Road from Karnal to Ambala has lost its smooth standard with lots of bad patches, we were driving like a F1 game, trying to avoid the patch,
We took our first break at a dhaba before Jalandhar and had a cup (I had 2 cups) of tea, with a Aloo & Prantha Rohit brought from home.
Further drive was event less and slows due to day time traffic building up. Twice we were stopped in Punjab by police and we got out one way or other.
We reached Kud around 8:00 PM. Now the task was to lookout for the hotel. We had JKTDC GHs in our mind. Kud have two premises for JKTDC, one near the petrol pump and the other in the Market.
The one in the market is the good option as its livelier and better parking space; other one is bit isolated but very quite and calm, but low charges.
Anyways we got the rate of 350 Rs for a room, with hot water and TV, which was a good deal. We had a budget in our mind for every day, and which allowed us to take two rooms.
We parked our parked and freshened up. This hotel does not serve food on short notice but market is just a minute walk away. We had a mediocre food at veg hotel in the market.
Market in KUD is famous for sweet shops. 90% of the shops in the market are sweet shops selling very fresh sweets. One of the most famous specialties here is Ghevar or Milk Cake. I took 250gm fresh ghevar for 40 Rs. It was fresh, hot and made of desi ghee.
There were very less photo opportunities on this day.
You see these limousine cars all over punjab.
|5th October 2009, 19:49||#17|
Join Date: Apr 2004
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|5th October 2009, 19:49||#18|
Senior - BHPian
Day -2 : 13/Sep/2009
Kud, Jammu & Kashmir – Kargil, Jammu & Kashmir
This was one hell of the event full day and I was little anxious about crossing Srinagar. This day was marked with, Super High Army Security, Jawahar Tunnel, Srinagar, Dal Lake, Sonmarg, 100 Km backwards drive for fuel, even after having 2 jerry cans. Zozilla Pass and Kargil.
We started pretty early from Kud after having a light breakfast. We did for ritual steps before starting, Diamox popped in, all the water bottles re-filled from the 25 liter water jar, a quick look at the engine area.
Target was to reach Srinagar, take a break there and then end the day at Sonmarg. It was great experience passing via the Jawahar Tunnel.
This whole stretch is heavily guarded and searched by patrolling team at every kilometer. It does make you feel entering into some very sensitive zone, but at the same time gives the sense of security.
Roads are pretty much ok on this stretch with some exceptions.
We reached Srinagar around 12:00 PM, and lost our way a bit, though google maps and people helped us back on track.
Basically there are two routes to reach Sonmarg from Srinagar, one along side of Dal Lake and other from main chowk. But police mostly direct visitors via Dal Lake.
Anyways we took the route via Dal Lake as I was interested to take a quick break at lake.
BTW we kept the radio on all the time from KUD to get any news on Srinagar. And to my horror we heard the news of a bomb blast in Srinagar near jail road. But we did not saw any effect of that in Srinagar. Life was going as usual.
Dal lake was beautiful, though not very clean. Lots effost was in progress to clean Dal Lake. Still its very mesmerizing to sit near dal lake.
Honestly speaking, this quick pass from Srinagar changed my fear for it, and I promised myself to come back again.
After few quick snaps we moved to Sonmarg, passing via Kangan, Gagan Gir etc. and reached there by 2:30 PM. Had a very pathetic lunch at JKTDC canteen at Sonmarg.
At around 3:00PM we were all set to decide on move or stay and we decided to MOVE.
But in all these we forget to take care of fuel, both Jerry cans ans Tank was empty. I think we assumed that there is a Petrol Pump after Sonmarg which was wrong. There is no petrol Pump between Sonmarg and Kargil.
Last petrol pump is at Gagan Gir, 5 Km before Sonmarg. We thought no problem, and moved back, in 15 minutes we were at Petrol Pump and to our surprise, there was no diesel. Now what, next petrol pump is at Kangan, 35 km towards Srinagar. We had no other options but to drive further back to get the fuel. But the road between Sonmarg and Kangan is in very good shape. We wasted 1.5 hrs in this mess up but still decided to continue for Kargil.
Though I was not really happy with the decision as it would get dark pretty soon and we miss the views. Anyways time was precious for us and we only had to go till Kargil.
Roads were bad to ok till Kargil, we did not even realize that we reached zozilla Pass, until we saw the Zozilla War Memorial. After that it was a staright drive to Kargil with some quick halts at War Memorial, Tiger Hill, Dropdi Kund
I was feeling little restless and upset stomach, It was not AMS but the cashew nut that I ate out of hunger. I had no energy to search hotel in Kargil, so went straight to Hotel Carvan Sarai and got the deal for 450 per room. Again they refused to provide dinner as it was late, so we went to Kargil Market for food, not many options we settled for one. I did not eat anything because of the upset Stomach.
We quickly moved back to hotel and I took one Diamox and slept in just seconds
Kud JKTDC Hotel
Rohit All set to leave
Me All set to leave
Some early morning view from Kud
Trees merging at top - on the way to Srinagar
Saffron fields - alas no Saffron season
On the way to Sonmarg
JKTDC Restaurant at Sonmarg
Smooth roads between Gagan Gir and Kangan
|5th October 2009, 20:02||#20|
Senior - BHPian
Day 3 - 14/Sep/09
Kargil – Leh.
This day & Night was marked with First Passes, Lamayuru, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib Ji, Magnetic Hill, Army Transit Camp and RATS.
This was supposed to be an easy day so we decided to start around 7:00 and by IST we ended up leaving at 8:00 AM.
Breakfast was ordered at night, and they prepared it on time, anyways it was just boiled eggs and bread butter/jam, so not much. I was feeling perfect by morning but took little light food.
To my surprise hotel people were very apologetic about there inability to arrange dinner for us last night. Anyways I did not cared about dinner last night and Rohit is not fussy about food at all so none was bothered (BTW I am very fussy about food, and we had many debates over not missing meals during trips: D ). Though I definitely would have minded, if that happens while traveling with family. In any case Caravan Sarai is not really a best place in Kargil. I suggest look at the PWD guest house.
We did the morning ritual of refilling the water bottles, mixed ORS in one of them, took Diamox, look at the Engine area, and all set to go.
Filled the fuel at the pump, at the exit of Kargil. This road is under construction for double lane, so lots of bumpy ride for around 30 km.
We passed Namik-La without even noticing it, did not saw any board as well. I guess because of the double laning or road, they removed it temporarily. Other wise this whole section is in very good condition.
Our first major stop was at Fotu-La, at the height 0f 13479 Ft. We took some snaps and moved ahead. We passed through some really beautiful landscape. I think stretch between Fotu-la and Lamayuru is the only scenic potion of whole Srinagar-Leh circuit.
We reached Lamayuru at around 12:30 PM and took a round of the Monastery. This was our first monastery of the trip. Monasteries were the one reason I was very fascinated about this trip. On our last trip we missed all monasteries because of health condition.
Lamayuru monastery one of the very beautiful monastery around and it gives a great view all around. We took 30 minutes moving around and taking pics. By that time we were hungry.
Monastery has a very nice restaurant which serves variety of Tibetan food. We ordered Noodles, Soup and Momos which average on taste but VFM for money and place.
There couple of Guest Houses in Lamayuru, one I remember was by the name Krishna GH. Had no time to check them out, but there are definitely options to stay here.
BSNL was working like a charm; we made few calls at home about our safe progress.
We started towards Leh around 1:45 PM and took few breaks in between. There is 4 km diversion for Alchi monastery so we decided to give it a skip. Stopped at few beautiful places, bridges and sides of rivers. Roads were in very good condition and perfectly tarred.
Next quick stops were at Nimmu, Magnetic Hill and Gurudawar Pathar Sahib Ji.
Airtel started getting signals at Nimmu and I made few quick calls at home. As we planned to stay at Army Transit Camp, courtesy Army Contacts of Rohit, he had to make few calls to confirm the booking and get the names to refer.
Around Nimmu, not sure what place, there is one stretch, straight like an arrow with shinning black tar. I was really amazed to see how BRO maintain these roads. Wish BRO had a civil department, which can be hired for maintain Gurgaon roads.
Magnetic hill was next, though I was not really interested in doing that magnetic testing, we took a break for snaps and some rest.
Next was Pathar Sahib ji, this is one beautiful gurudawara at no where. So clean, calm and majestic at a place where survival is a daily fight. After having darshan of Sahib ji, we had that super tasty and hot Kada(Pudding), Parshad and hot tea. This whole gurudawar is maintained by different units of Army and that time I think unit 120(Electronic & Maintenance) was in charge.
I had a quick chat with the Jat Jawan serving tea, and he told me that Gurudawar remains functional even on peak winter with head deep snow every where. Army vehicle still run under those conditions.
After that it was a straight run to Leh. As we entered Leh around 5:00Pm, next task was to search the lodge at Army Transit Camp, which was a task in itself, couple of calls by Rohit and we managed sneak in to the camp.
The room allocated to us was named as Fotu-La, so we were smiling. And belive me at the first look inside, I was saying Wow. Army does take care of there guest and family in style. It was kind of apartment with Lounge, Kitchen, bed room, TV, Dish, Fridge, Water Filter and what not.
Unfortunately this place is 5 km outside Leh, so we decided to get fresh quickly and go to Leh Market for dinner. By the time we got fresh it was 7:00 and I was kind of feeling lazy. So we decided to give Officer’s mess a try, and what a good decision it was.
Officer’s mess as usual had a bar, playing area, a sitting area with TV (and India match was on) and a dinning hall. I was very keen for a beer, but we had a strict no alcohol rule for the trip, so just passed by the bar .
Food at the mess was amazing, and it was our first proper dinner since we started. It had mutton, mix veg, rice, roti etc etc.
We took a walk after dinner but strong winds forced us to move back to apartment. I request for tea as a habit and got it on time.
So day was over as I thought, BUT no so fast, we were on adventure trip, things can not be that easy.
As I was about to start getting some sleep, I heard some Kut-Kut sounds, I thought may be some loose window, but it started growing, and I felt some creatures moving on my hand. Damn Rats, I shouted, I hate rats. They were quite a lot and quite noisy and did not allowed us to sleep whole night. Next time I will ask twice about the rats, before staying in Transit camp. We laughed many time about this incident, during our trip.
These rats gave us company next day as well.
View from Hotel Carvan Sarai
Hotel Room - Pathetic
On the way to Fotu-la
|5th October 2009, 22:55||#25|
Senior - BHPian
I will try to put the text where ever possible
|7th October 2009, 13:04||#26|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2005
Thanked: 257 Times
Nice Rajiv, bringing back the memories! We didn't see the Zoji La war memorial though - wonder how we missed it? Now, do speed up the travelogue will you
|7th October 2009, 15:01||#27|
Senior - BHPian
|7th October 2009, 15:32||#28|
Senior - BHPian
Day 4: 15/Sep/09 - Local Leh
This was a planned rest day; get the permits, moving around Leh Market, local sightseeing, some shopping etc.
With eyes not ready to open up, due to Rats playing around whole night, we decided to have quick bath and then breakfast in market.
We reached DC office at around 9:00 am, just to assure the location of DC office. People there told me that DC and ADC will not come as that was the closing day for Ladakh Festival and they will be in a function with Governor. But they also assured that somebody will be there to give the permits and asked us to come back at 10:00Am.
So we moved towards market to spend the time till 10:00, but most of the shops were closed. I guess they open late, hills style. After moving around for some time we went back to DC office and queried about the permits. They asked us to write an application and get it signed from Assistant, DC. Mean while we met Dushyant & Team and Rohit Bhogle and team, both from Team-bhp who were also there for Permits. And both are T-BHP’ians. It took us 15 minutes to get the permit; it was pretty easy affair, no problems at all. We discussed about our plans and shared few maps with each other, and parted for our individual plans.
We first went to market for some shopping. I was specifically looking for warm gloves and winter socks. Got some good stuff there in the market for pretty ok price. I guess it would not have been cheaper in Delhi. Rohit also bought the same deal.
With this done we walked around the market, as by now it had started getting lively from slumber.
Next on target was Leh Palace, one of the must in Leh. I was really amazed to see the structure. Though there was a lot of renovation going on, still it is standing tall and majestic. We walked across the Palace and climbed to the top. It was not really an easy task for us lazy bones. We were breathing like air pump, with lung pumping real hard to keep us alive
View from the top of the Palace is great; you can see whole Leh, Shanti Stupa and all around.
We were really hungry by that time and decided to have some food and we moved around in market little more for some general shopping. We kept Shanti Stupa for evening to get the sunset view. We had a super tasty thupka and chicken momos at KC Grand, in Changspa area.
By that time Rohit was almost feeling at home, driving in those narrow streets and we were enjoying the rides.
In the evening we moved towards Shanti Stupa, and on the way picked up few sandwiches from Wonderland Restaurant and had a very tasty chocolate pie. We reached Shanti Stupa at around 5:00 pm but clouds were coming from all around and our sunset view was in danger. Winds was also flowing hard and cold, chilling the bones inside. A strong wind cheater is must to spend long time on shanti stupa.
Unable to get a good sunset view we decided to move back to Army Camp. Sandwiches with finger fries that we packed from Wonderland were still not devoured and we decided to have them in camp.
We reached camp around 7:00am had tea and sandwiches that left no space in stomach, lungs or liver for dinner.
So we decided to call that day off and said hello to rats. You know we still had to spend that nigh in camp and Rats were the original owners of the camp
|7th October 2009, 16:20||#29|
Join Date: Jul 2009
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|4th December 2009, 03:16||#30|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 3 Times
Excellent write up and really enjoyed viewing these eye catching pictures.
How much I regret not going up to Leh and returning back from Manali to Gurgaon.
:( well I guess there is always a next time and your trip experience is going to come very helpful to me.
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