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Old 25th November 2009, 17:41   #91
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In the meanwhile HVK & others who had gone to the workshop informed that the plan for the afternoon was to visit Thikshey and Hemis Monasteries. But quite a few people were in a mood for afternoon siesta. So finally it was three cars Ė me with my troop, HVK with the Latvians, Glenn & gang who set out at 3 pm towards Thikshey.

Shey monastery on the way.
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Thikshey Gonpa
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Old 26th November 2009, 13:38   #92
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Since we were out of Thikshey pretty early, decided to head towards Hemis Gonpa which is about 25 Kms on the other bank of the Indus. By the time we reached Hemis, it was 5.45 and we had to hurry up before it got closed. What struck me at the Gonpas were the exorbitant entry fees they levy on to visitors. It is like paying money to go to a temple. Even though we were allowed entry at the main gate, the main prayer hall and the museum had been locked. Only after did we raise some hue & cry, did the monks open up the prayer chambers.

My camera had already conked out at Thikshey, so I donít have any pictures except this one taken by Saji while leaving from Hemis.
Leh'd and Back from Hyderabad: The 18 Day, 7804 Km Saga-dsc_0205_hemis_small.jpg

The return journey was a regulation run with HVK leading the pack and zooming at 120 kmph. I was close to catching him a few times but then again he would zoom off. Man, he is fast! We stopped off at Choglamasar to top off our tanks (Avg Ė 12.37 Kmpl ; Rs 36.47/Litre) as well our diesel cans since we would be only be back to a pump after 2 days. HVK had arranged for a team dinner at Tibetan Kitchen where we met Rajiv Bharat and Rohit Mehndiratta who were heading back to the plains after their trip. After the dinner we headed back and tucked into bed by 10 pm as it was going to be an early start at 5 am the next day.
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Old 26th November 2009, 18:52   #93
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Great thread milecruncher. want to do this someday.
Cheers
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Old 27th November 2009, 11:26   #94
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Great achievement MC, will be doing it next year I hope.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 10:43   #95
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amazing pictures and writeup... Keep it up!!!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 16:01   #96
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Really stunning pictures, great inspiring travelogue, not even J&K tourism ministry can do a better job at this. this is the best and real adventure + sightseeing tour one can do in india. Cross country in your car with family cannot be any better. great job Mile Cruncher. Loved every line of your travelogue.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 16:34   #97
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Default Leh - Khardung La Top

Day 9:
Start Time: 0515 Hrs, September 19, Hotel Z-Kar, Leh
Stop Time: 1700 Hrs, September 19, Sunrise Guest House, Diskit
Sector : Leh – South Pulu – Khardung La – North Pulu – Khoksar – Diskit – Hunder - Diskit
Starting Odo: 11013 Km (Trip Meter: 3451.9 Km)
Closing Odo: 11175 Km (Trip Meter: 3614.1 Km)
Distance Covered: 162.2 Km


HVK had issued an ultimatum the previous night of starting off at 5.30 am irrespective of anybody making it or not. So our alarm was set for 4 am but as is the norm, by the time we got up, it was already 4.30. Quick dry wash and I was ready by 5.15. This was our last access to modern civilisation till we got back to Manali so decided to withdraw some money and headed to the ATM leaving wifey to get ready. Surprisingly the Storm started on the first crank when I was expecting it to create trouble. On the way back I went to the ATM went to HVK’s guest house to find him loading his car. Informed him that we were running 15 minutes late and was directed to rendezvous with everyone at SBI ATM in Leh Market.



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By the time everyone rolled in, it was almost 6 am. It was the first time since the start of the trip that the entire convoy of 7 cars were together. We started the climb on to the fabled Highest Motorable Road just after 6 and there was almost no traffic. We had a good uneventful run till South Pulu where we had to show our permits. We had learnt that it had snowed 2 days back but we were accompanied by bright sun and clear sky. The weather was extremely cold with wind chill but somehow we didn’t feel uneasiness breathing.


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We spent about 30 min at K-Top relishing the extremely sweet black tea and purchasing the souvenirs for back home after which it was time to descend to North Pulu.

Last edited by MileCruncher : 3rd December 2009 at 16:36.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 17:49   #98
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Default Khardung La - Diskit

The descent was a pretty normal affair except that we found frozen water at few places.

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As none of us had any breakfast before leaving from Leh, we stopped over at North Pulu to relish the watery Thukpas and Aloo Parathas with extremely hot Chutney. North Pulu is also the acclimatisation centre for our soldiers who man the Siachen Glacier.

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The roads improved from here and we were doing a decent clip. Stopped over at a point from you get the first glimpse of River Shyok and some group photos. We later even went down to the banks of the river and have some fun.




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We followed the Shyok River in to Diskit where a guest house was found right at the entrance of the town. All rooms taken and tea had, we then headed off to Hunder to see the Double Humped Bactrian Camel and Desert Safari.
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Old 4th December 2009, 14:19   #99
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Nice narration and excellent pics. I must be a fun to explore that part of the world in a big group. I wish and hope to do it sometime in future. Did you experience any drop of power and pickup in your car? Does it help to go there in a diesel vehicle or a petrol vehicle can do? And do you really need an offroader or a normal car can do the trip? I am concerned about groundclearance of the vehicle.
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Old 4th December 2009, 16:12   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jayant..B View Post
Nice narration and excellent pics. I must be a fun to explore that part of the world in a big group. I wish and hope to do it sometime in future. Did you experience any drop of power and pickup in your car? Does it help to go there in a diesel vehicle or a petrol vehicle can do? And do you really need an offroader or a normal car can do the trip? I am concerned about groundclearance of the vehicle.
There is slight drop in power due less oxygen but that is compensated by the Turbo and the ECM settings. You need a vehicle with high ground clearance to be able to do the river crossings. A normal car can do it but it will scrape its bottom a few times.
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Old 5th December 2009, 19:31   #101
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MC, been busy with my many travelogues. Ah! we have reached so close to the pajero stuff
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Old 5th December 2009, 20:45   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
MC, been busy with my many travelogues. Ah! we have reached so close to the pajero stuff
I was so waiting to write about the Pajero Stuff from my P.O.V You can definitely add your take as well. But my "Moment of Glory" was actually before that
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Old 5th December 2009, 22:33   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
I was so waiting to write about the Pajero Stuff from my P.O.V You can definitely add your take as well. But my "Moment of Glory" was actually before that

Hey MC, I thought you had let it pass.

I agree with you MC on the moment of Glory.

Please go on.
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Old 7th December 2009, 15:40   #104
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Default Hunder Sand Dunes

Rooms taken, luggage dumped and tea had to refresh ourselves, we headed out to the famed Hundar Sand Dunes. As we were slightly behind the rest of the gang, we missed out on the road to Hundar and got guided onto some interior road ending up crossing a stretch full of sharp edged stones to reach the main road. Once on the main road, the directions were pretty clear and without much further ado, we reached the Hundar Desert Safari location to find no sign of any other member of the group. Came out to the main road and went further ahead to an Army Check Post and asked about our convoy. This is the checkpost beyond which visitors are not allowed. The Army chaps were very courteous and they radioed to find the location of our group and told us to go in to the village. By the time we reached the village, the gang had already had their darshan of the beautiful creature which was blissfully resting in a bed of faeces. Few pictures of the scenery all around and the Double Hump Bactrian Camel.

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Leh'd and Back from Hyderabad: The 18 Day, 7804 Km Saga-img_1899.jpg

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The final 1 KM stretch onto the Desert Safari area has big stones laid and flattened out but doesnít contain any mud of tar on top thereby making anything over 20 kmph a terrible bone jarring ride. My first time on the stretch a little slow but on the return, the Rally Driver ghost in me woke up and I just floored the throttle, hitting about 80kmph on that patch. While returning I again did the same raising a huge storm of dust and stone. Finally reaching the safari area saw the Pajero stuck in truly desert safari style and everybody frantically trying to get it out. Pictures depicting the event chronologically.

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After the vehicles were pulled out, me and Bidisha went on a little off roading spree and even tried doing donuts on the sand. Video of my escapade taken by Lalu
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Old 7th December 2009, 18:09   #105
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Cool narration and great pics. Cheers!
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