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Old 7th October 2009, 23:17   #211
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Day 8, September 19th, 2009 Continued

Diskit - Hunder - Diskit - Panamik - Diskit

Diskit is the main town in Nubra valley. Diskit Gompa has some good views of the Valley. We did not visit Diskit Gompa, we continued onwards to Hunder. You can see sand dunes on the side of the road as you travel to Hunder.

Soft Sand everywhere
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Sand dunes
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RoadRunner on sand. See his style!!
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This was once a part of the Silk route. Still there are some Bactrians (two humped camels) at Hunder.


Bactrian.

No he wont look at the camera.
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No way, he will not look.
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Come on. Gimme a break. Don't you know he will not look at the camera.
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Finally, he gives a pose.
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After seeing the Bactrian, the convoy went to some sand dunes. During some show offs there the Pajero got stuck in the sand dunes.



Pajero STUCK!! or should I say managed to get it STUCK??
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After spending an hour there for the rescue and some stunts we left back to Diskit. The entire Pajero show is discussed here.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...on-2009-a.html (Team Raid de Ladakh goes on Ladakh Expedition 2009)

The convoy halted at Diskit. Only Glenn's and HVK's scorpio was ready to go to Panamik.



For a convoy, two is company and three is a crowd. We had seven. Just imagine!!



Glenn was not feeling comfortable. He gave the RoadRunner to me and asked us to go to Panamik following HVK, which I refused. Road Runner needs Glenn. Saji, Me and GK then joined HVK in his Scorpio for the trip. No more photographs - we are in HVKs Scorpio on a mission


On the other side, Sumur is the largest village. You pass Sumur on the way to Panamik. You can see some hot springs here. It was here that we were able to trek up to the source of a hot spring, which was an experience. Otherwise Sumur, Panamik is avoidable.

Sceneries on the way back from Panamik
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Kids from Nubra valley.
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We reached Diskit by 19:00PM and had a great dinner before we retired.



Gk has a way to get friendly with people.
The Land Lord of the guest house where we stayed.
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His wife. She let GK cook his food in her kitchen. How sweet.
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Nothing great to spend these hours driving to Nubra Valley. My advice would be to visit Khardung La and turn back. Nubra you can do if you really have a lot of days on your trip. Not very inspiring for the time and effort spent.

Last edited by laluks : 7th October 2009 at 23:29.
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Old 7th October 2009, 23:35   #212
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Here goes my share
Leh - Khardung La - Shyok River - Nubra Valley
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Old 7th October 2009, 23:43   #213
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Some more Nubra Valley pics
Shyok River - Diskit - Hunder

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Old 7th October 2009, 23:50   #214
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And the last few of Day-8
The sand dunes and Shyok River

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Old 8th October 2009, 00:45   #215
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MY TAKE ON Day 8, September 19th, 2009, Leh-Kardung La-Diskit-Hunder-Panamik-Deskit, 269 kms

The moment I come out of the Sangay Guest House at 530 am, I see AB (he is staying in the Santhi Guest House, a couple of kms away) and I thought, wow, what punctuality - but then MileCruncher said his team are running late and he had come in advance to warn me about the small delay. So that is how we came to leave Leh at 600 am, but not before Q-ing up at the SBI ATM in the Leh Market. All 7 cars for the first time in formation - HVK, Glenn, DocM, Rajiv Menon, Vishal Bakhshi in their Scorpios, AB in his Bolero and Raj in his Pajero. That was indeed a short stay in Leh, and we had no plans to return that way this time. 2 of our team had to return to Bombay early and we said good bye to them (they took a flight back that morning), and we were now just 20 of us. As per plan, today was the most leisurely drive day of the entire trip (just 140 kms).

Just to get your orientation, we came from the West from Kargil, and now we move up North to Khardung la and Nubra Valley. The roads are good, none of the pesky tourist taxis out in the road and we had a free run till the South Pullu Check Post, which is the 28-km milestone on the way to Khardung la (43 kms). The permits had to be shown at the CP, and we were at Khardung la at 800 am. Officially the highest motorable road in the world (unofficially, Marisimik la in Ladakh beats it by 60 metres), K La is approximately 5600 metres or 18K + feet, although as laluks mentions, our GPS data contradicted the official version.

K La was peaceful and pleasantly cool, hardly the place that had a blizzard and heavy snowfall a couple of days ago! It was nice and sunny, but there was enough snow on the ground and chill in the air to remind us that this pass records winter temperatures of -40 C with 5 ft+ snow, yet is kept open by the army year round for strategic reasons. This is Leh's version of what Rohtang Pass is to Manali, and compulsive visit point for all Ladakh visitors, and it shows in the souvenir shops selling K La mugs and K La T-Shirts! I saw Glenn buying several of these momentos for his wife and her friends, and I wonder if Glenn has a photo of any of these souvenirs to put up for us. Luckily, at this time of the day, there was enough parking space for all our 7 cars to pose for a photo shoot, and we gratefully swigged several cups of black tea which the army canteen dispensed.

The weather was so good that we could hang around for nearly 30 minutes (my last visit it was so cold and windy that we had to clamber back to my car in 5 minutes!). K La divides the Leh and Nubra Valleys, and the road descends to Khalasar. On the way down, there was ice on the road in a couple of places, but nothing serious.

The North Pullu Check Post has a good restaurant and we wolfed down noodles, mutton chowmeins, omlettes and teas. Being an acclimatisation camp, we saw jawans preparing for their journey to Siachen. 47 kms from K La is the first view of the Shayok River, which originates from near the Pangong Tso, tears through some tough mountain ranges and placidly flows into the Nubra Valley, before joining the Indus somewhere in POK. We were all giggling like school kids on a picnic as we jostled for prominence in the group photos. The army truck that passed us suddenly stopped and demanded to know who was from Pune (he had seen Doc M's car with its MH-12 number plates) - he was a Maratha and he virtually hugged Doc and started chattering away in Marathi, so excited he was in seeing someone from his home state - these are those warm moments in life!

From the vantage point atop the cliffs, we could see the River Shayok winding its way, and espied the road that we were to take to Wari la the next day.

Further down, after pasing the towns of Khalasar - a non-descrepit army camp with a tea shop and a sundry hotel - the road dipped down to the water's edge and all of us were suddenly paddling in the cool water flowing rapidly in between the pebbles that dotted the banks of the river, a reminder of how much snow melts in spring and floods the entire place. We run out of definitions to describe the azure blue colour of the water and the skies.

Roads were fantastic all along and we could clip along at a good pace, especially after we crossed Khalasar when the terrain also flattened out. We reached Desikit at 1240 pm, having covered a distance of just 130 kms the entire morning. Altitude was only 10,300 feet. We found the Sand Dune Guest House (recommended by our Leh Sangay Guest House owner), which had decent rooms plumb in the middle of the Deskit Market. A quick cuppa tea, and we were on our way to Hunder which is just 6 kms away.

Deskit and Hunder are on the Silk Route trail and camels from Europe used to pass this way on their way to China. That is how the 2-humped Bactrian camels from Mongolia landed up in Hunder. The sand dunes of Hunder are silt left behind by the Shayok River, and it reminded Raj Singh of his sand dune-bashing days in Dubai! He ran aground on the road to Hunder itself and almost toppled off the embankment!

We went into Hunder Village searching for the Bactrian camel - only one is left, the others having been unleashed by their owners for the time being (these camels are used for transporting goods, and there are apparently very few wild camels left). We found the only Bactrian camel tethered under some trees in Hunder village, which has lots of camps in case you are looking to stay here.

Hunder is the last place you can visit on this road, which goes further to Chalunka/Thoise, and the base camp for the Siachen Glacier. So the road beyond is out of bounds for civilians, and the permit you get at Leh can get you only upto Hunder.

After that, it was sand dune time, and we landed up in sand dune country, which is also where the Pajero had its wheels firmly buried in the sands after some OTR attempts failed. How we pulled it out is another long story.

It was 300 pm, and we were all famished and decided to visit the "Dosa" joint, where we had dosas and Cokes.

We 5 - HVK, Sudhir, Saji, Lalu and Ganesh - decide to go check out Panamik, and we leave the others behind and go off on this 128-km circuit. Panamik is on the right bank of the River Shayok (Deskit and Hunder on the left), and we pass the small villages of Lakjung and Sumur on the way, places so remote and unspoilt that I am sure the residents wouldn't care whether they are in India or China! The drive is quite boring, but we find the hot water spring and trace it to the crevice in the rock where it originates. Sights of a glorious sunset on the way back and we are back in Deskit at 705 pm.

Deskit has a petrol pump - just outside the town on the road to Hunder - and also an internet centre. We had the warmest weather in the Ladakh region this night .

Last edited by Dippy : 9th October 2009 at 10:21.
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Old 8th October 2009, 08:39   #216
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Guys, had been off-line for a while, logged back yesterday & read through in one go. Awesome stuff - I'm enjoying this multi-perspective narration & pics.

Eagerly waiting for the rest of it, keep 'em coming. And hats off to you guys because coordinating 7 vehicles & crew - never easy!!!!
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Old 8th October 2009, 09:46   #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Deskit has a petrol pump - just outside the town on the road to Hunder
Kumar - Did this petrol pump had diesel in stock? Did anyone from the team bought diesel from here? Any comments on the general availability & quality of diesel.
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Old 8th October 2009, 09:58   #218
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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Dear Laluks

I am speechless after seeing the photographs
if photographs are so amazing, how would be the real place.

i am delighted to see the photographs , but at the same time very depressed that i can not go to Leh/Ladakh the way you guys have gone

so i need to be content with this travelogue for time being
Indeed the place is so beautiful, that once you visit them, you'll keep coming back. My urge of going back is very strong!!

Check for 2010 Team, and hope to see you there!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
All 7 cars for the first time in formation - HVK, Glenn, DocM, Rajiv Menon, Vishal Bakhshi in their Scorpios, AB in his Bolero and Raj in his Pajero.
Infact this was the only time the convoy had all the seven vehicles in the whole of this trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Just to get your orientation
Check the areas marked in blue.
HumbLeh’d-jammukashmirladakh_small.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The army truck that passed us suddenly stopped and demanded to know who was from Pune (he had seen Doc M's car with its MH-12 number plates) - he was a Maratha and he virtually hugged Doc and started chattering away in Marathi, so excited he was in seeing someone from his home state - these are those warm moments in life!
We were shocked when an army truck suddenly braked and shouted - "Arrey, ye MH12 kaun hai??" We thought the MH12 had screwed up something!! Only later we found out that it was a sudden outpour of the drivers emotion on seeing people from his place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
We run out of definitions to describe the azure blue colour of the water and the skies.
My understanding was the blue colour is due to the salts in water, and green normally with minerals.
Did anyone taste water from Shyok River?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The sand dunes of Hunder are silt left behind by the Shayok River, and it reminded Raj Singh of his sand dune-bashing days in Dubai! He ran aground on the road to Hunder itself and almost toppled off the embankment!
My heavy weight became useful as I stood along with other heavy weights on his side rails to prevent the toppling. No photos or videos as this was an emergency. For the record this happened much before the OTR event.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
We went into Hunder Village searching for the Bactrian camel - only one is left, the others having been unleashed by their owners for the time being (these camels are used for transporting goods, and there are apparently very few wild camels left). We found the only Bactrian camel tethered under some trees in Hunder village, which has lots of camps in case you are looking to stay here.
Some one was telling the owner of the Bactrian is sleeping, else he charges Rs 200/- per photo

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
How we pulled it out is another long story.
You can read the entire coverage here
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...on-2009-a.html (Team Raid de Ladakh goes on Ladakh Expedition 2009)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
We 5 - HVK, Sudhir, Saji, Lalu and Ganesh - decide to go check out Panamik, The drive is quite boring, but we find the hot water spring and trace it to the crevice in the rock where it originates.
Indeed it was a first for me. Hot water springs, and also the origin of the hot water spring. I was forcing GK, HVK and SJ to climb till we find the origin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Guys, had been off-line for a while, logged back yesterday & read through in one go. Awesome stuff - I'm enjoying this multi-perspective narration & pics.

Eagerly waiting for the rest of it, keep 'em coming. And hats off to you guys because coordinating 7 vehicles & crew - never easy!!!!
Thanks Suman.
For the convoy my experience this time taught me - Two is company and three is a crowd.
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Old 8th October 2009, 10:15   #219
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Kumar - Did this petrol pump had diesel in stock? Did anyone from the team bought diesel from here? Any comments on the general availability & quality of diesel.
Yes, the Deskit petrol pump had diesel in stock. Pajero refuelled there and reported that it was good quality. It is open till 6 pm. None of the other cars took on fuel, since we had stocked up in our cans anyway.

Diesel availability in these parts is always subject to arrival of the tanker. Most pumps are open from 6 am onwards till 7 pm. Pumps in places like Kaza are open only during summer. In Leh, the IOC pump at the round (on entering town) stock only premium diesel and there were allegations that it was "adulterated", but the other one in Choglasmar had ordinary diesel of good quality. There being lots of construction activity all round, you should have no problem in procuring small quantities (upto 20 litres) of diesel from the construction crew (which is what we did on the Padum-Kargil stretch). Besides, there are also shops which sell fuels in some of the towns, although none of them can be banked upon. There being many diesel generators in use all over Ladakh, diesel can never be too far away. In army camps like Pang and Sarchu, lot of diesel gets sold in "black" from army stocks. One of our cars bought some diesel that way in Sarchu.

Last edited by hvkumar : 8th October 2009 at 10:17.
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Old 8th October 2009, 10:18   #220
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Yes, it had diesel. Pajero refuelled there and reported that it was good quality. It is open till 6 pm. None of the other cars took on fuel, since we had stocked up in our cans anyway.

Diesel availability in these parts is always subject to availability of the tanker. Most pumps are open from 6 am onwards till 7 pm. Pumps in places like Kaza are open only during summer. In Leh, the IOC pump at the round (on entering town) stock only premium diesel and there were allegations that it was "adulterated", but the other one in Choglasmar had ordinary diesel of good quality. There being lots of construction activity all round, you should have no problem in procuring small quantities (upto 20 litres) of diesel from the construction crew (which is what we did on the Padum-Kargil stretch). Besides, there are also shops which sell fuels in some of the towns, although none of them can be banked upon. There being many diesel generators in use all over Ladakh, diesel can never be too far away. In army camps like Pang and Sarchu, lot of diesel gets sold in "black" from army stocks. One of our cars bought some diesel that way in Sarchu.
HV, the pump at entrance was selling premium fuel only, but all other IOC pumps had normal fuel. For our first tankful there I was not aware about other pumps, so got swindled.
With this fuel I had some black smoke problem, and while coming back from P.Tso from Changla, the vehicle had power shortage.
However on other legs of our travel, no such issue, and for all other legs I filled up either from IOC near Hall of fame or IOC Karu.
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Old 8th October 2009, 10:23   #221
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HV, the pump at entrance was selling premium fuel only, but all other IOC pumps had normal fuel. For our first tankful there I was not aware about other pumps, so got swindled.
With this fuel I had some black smoke problem, and while coming back from P.Tso from Changla, the vehicle had power shortage.
However on other legs of our travel, no such issue, and for all other legs I filled up either from IOC near Hall of fame or IOC Karu.
So the adulteration stories are indeed true, pity that this has to happen in the main IOC pump which is the oldest in Leh!

We were lucky that we did not face any problems with poor quality of fuel anywhere during the trip. We also tanked up at Karu on our way from Pangong to TsoMoriri. We did face strange problems like when we refuelled near Rampur (Kinnaur Valley, HP), where the guy refused to sell us more than Rs 500 of diesel on the pretext that he was in short supply and was rationing existing stocks. I think in Tandi also (Keylong), we had to settle for premium diesel.

Don't be deterred by the ramshackle petrol pumps, the quality of fuel is OK.
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Old 8th October 2009, 10:32   #222
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I was wondering how come there are only IOC pumps in the higher reaches of Ladakh and Himachal and no BP/HPCL.
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Old 8th October 2009, 10:58   #223
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Another great Leh Travelogue and that too with multiple accounts, very interesting. With HVK around and all supporting , planning had to be and been to the maximum.

Wonder how many Leh travelouges this year - 9, 10, 11 - but then each one unique and different from the other.

Last edited by adc : 8th October 2009 at 11:17.
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Old 8th October 2009, 11:04   #224
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This Rampur 500rs problem extends all the way till Narkanda.
Couple of weeks back when I did this stretch while coming back from Jalori Pass, at Narkanda the fuel bunk did not give me full tank, saying its festive season and supply is less.
Since was going towards shimla, I will find ample fuel ahead, however vehicles going towards rampur were getting 1000rs max.
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Old 8th October 2009, 11:40   #225
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With HVK around and all supporting , planning had to be and been to the maximum.
All nitty gritties were known in advance, except for the minor issues related to time and stress for some members in the convoy.

Restraint was the key, unfortunately

Last edited by laluks : 8th October 2009 at 11:41.
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