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Old 9th November 2009, 17:16   #61
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Although the girders and beams were fine, the metal sheets that were bolted to the top had come loose and we would have to put them in place again. The three of us got down to pulling the metal sheets and trying to get them to overlap as much as possible. When we were done with the best, the WagonR was driven over the bridge slowly with jiju and I guiding mamaji. Next, it was my turn. I drove over the bridge a little gingerly.
Great going buddy, nice writeup with nice pictures and interesting captions!

That bridge thing reminds me of a similar situation that we'd faced before Sarchu (might have been the same bridge!). When we (wife & myself) got to the bridge, one of the metal sheets were missing and the gap was enough to swallow the tires of my Esteem. Luckily we're carrying a couple of wooden boards, one too wide and one kinda thin (thinner than the car's tire). Anyways we proceeded to place the boards to the best of our judgment to cover the gap. Man it was a cliffhanger taking the car over those boards as the thin one was making me concerned. But thanks to GOD and my wife's directions, I made it! Another interesting part was that we'd to ask a fleet of trucks to stop just as I was about to cross and then ran back to get the boards, and was greeted by an applause from few of the truckies.

Another incident was at the Twing Twing bridge after Sarchu. The last metal plate had unbolted from the right side and was lying at a precarious angle. So off I went with a shovel in my hand to hammer it back into a straightish line!

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Old 9th November 2009, 18:30   #62
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Great going buddy, nice writeup with nice pictures and interesting captions!

That bridge thing reminds me of a similar situation that we'd faced before Sarchu (might have been the same bridge!). When we (wife & myself) got to the bridge, one of the metal sheets were missing and the gap was enough to swallow the tires of my Esteem. Luckily we're carrying a couple of wooden boards, one too wide and one kinda thin (thinner than the car's tire). Anyways we proceeded to place the boards to the best of our judgment to cover the gap. Man it was a cliffhanger taking the car over those boards as the thin one was making me concerned. But thanks to GOD and my wife's directions, I made it! Another interesting part was that we'd to ask a fleet of trucks to stop just as I was about to cross and then ran back to get the boards, and was greeted by an applause from few of the truckies.

Another incident was at the Twing Twing bridge after Sarchu. The last metal plate had unbolted from the right side and was lying at a precarious angle. So off I went with a shovel in my hand to hammer it back into a straightish line!
Thanx for the comments

Looks like you guys had some adventures! When we had reached the bridge, the gaps in the metal weren't that bad (luckily for us as we weren't carrying any boards!). We just had to be careful to make the sheets overlap. And in the places where we couldn't get that to happen, we had to drive on the beam in the narrow area between the sheets. Overall, an interesting experience and not a scary one.
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Old 9th November 2009, 21:55   #63
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Thanx for the comments

Looks like you guys had some adventures! When we had reached the bridge, the gaps in the metal weren't that bad (luckily for us as we weren't carrying any boards!). We just had to be careful to make the sheets overlap. And in the places where we couldn't get that to happen, we had to drive on the beam in the narrow area between the sheets. Overall, an interesting experience and not a scary one.
Now imagine doing this on a bike with a Pillion, Last year i did Leh with my wife on our Royal Enfield. Just after Bharatpur there are two metal ones that we had to cross. I was trying to overtake a loaded mahindra comming downhill before the bridge as I did and approached the bridge i was astornished to see that one of the metal strips was broken and I could see the water flowing beneath the bridge, Then everything happened in a flash and my sences came to work . I breaked hard before the bridge almost going into a skid when I realised that there was still 50% of the metal sheet intact so went through it. On the other side I took a minute to realise what had happeded (or what could have happened , but thats all about motorcycling)when we heard the bang and the Loaded mahindra had one of its wheels in the same gap.
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Old 9th November 2009, 21:58   #64
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Now imagine doing this on a bike with a Pillion, Last year i did Leh with my wife on our Royal Enfield. Just after Bharatpur there are two metal ones that we had to cross. I was trying to overtake a loaded mahindra comming downhill before the bridge as I did and approached the bridge i was astornished to see that one of the metal strips was broken and I could see the water flowing beneath the bridge, Then everything happened in a flash and my sences came to work . I breaked hard before the bridge almost going into a skid when I realised that there was still 50% of the metal sheet intact so went through it. On the other side I took a minute to realise what had happeded (or what could have happened , but thats all about motorcycling)when we heard the bang and the Loaded mahindra had one of its wheels in the same gap.
Whoa! Sounds like you had a lucky escape! How did the guy take out the wheel?
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Old 9th November 2009, 22:09   #65
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Whoa! Sounds like you had a lucky escape! How did the guy take out the wheel?
Well the Mahindra driver was a experienced one. He raised the jeep using the jack and then used a wooden plank to get it through. By the time they did this there was a line of vehicles stranded their and so were the BRO guys who had fixed the bridge when we returned after a week.
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Old 10th November 2009, 12:46   #66
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Well the Mahindra driver was a experienced one. He raised the jeep using the jack and then used a wooden plank to get it through. By the time they did this there was a line of vehicles stranded their and so were the BRO guys who had fixed the bridge when we returned after a week.
I thought as much. Just wasn't sure about where somebody would get a plank from! I suppose some of the truckies, cabbies would probably have something like that with them in case one gets stuck.
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Old 10th November 2009, 14:51   #67
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Default Day 11 - Part 1

Day 11 - September 21st 2009


The day started really early. Getting up at 5:15 is not only difficult, it is almost impossible for me. But had to be done - the cabbie (Wangotk) had said that he would be there to pick us up by 6ish. While Rashi got ready, I took a quick 15 minute power nap. Got ready and then got a call from the gate a little while later that the taxi had arrived. The Innova was loaded up with our stuff and we got going by 6:45.

The first stop of the day was at Karu for breakfast. While Jiju, Rashi and I had some bread omelettes, mamaji and Nandika found a place to have some paranthas. I strolled over to the dhaba where mamaji were having their paranthas to hand over the other walkie to them. And sat down there to feast on some really yum paranthas! Now, with both walkies with us, Rashi had to send Wangotk over to call me as my breakfast had arrived. Imagine that! Despite cellphones and walkies we had to use the old fashioned method of sending messengers! . (Side note to myself: Ah the walkies! I must talk about the talkies. But not here, maybe later. This is about Pangong Tso! End note).

Bread and omelettes polished, and some paranthas packed for the day, we left towards Pangong. Took the left fork ahead of Karu, deposited one copy of permit somewhere on the way and headed towards Changla. The discussion soon veered towards our return journey. Mamaji most definitely didn't want to do the bad roads of the mighty-T. Our initial plan was to do Tso Moriri in the end and then head towards Manali from there. We had even decided to do some paragliding on the return journey and made several other plans around it. Now, we had to replan our entire trip. With lots of inputs and suggestions from Wangtok, we made a fresh plan for the rest of our stay as well as the return journey. Thanx Wangtok. For nothing, Rashi might say but then thats another story of another day (hold on to your horses, the story shall unfold when it's time is ripe!)

We soon reached Changla. The roads were mostly decent all the way except for a few bad spots. The Z was snapped up on the was and so was Changla. There were some patches of snow around but then by now we were used to it and so didn't play with it. Crossed Changla and stopped again to snap up the snow walls on the roadside.




Shakti Monastery


ZZ Top


Third Highest? Duh! We've Done Mighty-T, This Is Nothing!


At Chang La


A$$ You Like It


Been There, Clicked That!


YS? Dunno!


Changla onwards, we followed the barren roads snapping up yaks and sceneries till we reached the first view of Pangong. The beautiful view had us excited and spurred us onwards through the last few miles. Pagal Nullah seemed pretty tame with a trickle of water and nothing that our cars couldn't have done. But then, who had time to regret such trivial stuff - Pangong had us enthralled. Reached the shores and hopped out and ran towards the lake.




On The Way To Pangong


Is This A Road?


First View Of Pangong


Pangong Ahoy!


Snap It Up!


Nature At It's Best


Near Pangong


Tso


Boat On Tso


China!


To Be Continued...
Coming up:
Boat Ride On Pangong Tso
More Photos
Return Journey and some more photos.
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:07   #68
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wonderful pic and report. Nice to see people going from B'lore to Leh.
Thanx a lot for the compliments

I guess more and more people are doing this trip now. I've heard of quite a few already who are either planning it or have done it.
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Old 12th November 2009, 16:59   #69
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Default Day 11 continued

Day 11 Continued

After we had got the first taste of Pangong (and I mean taste literally - it's salty!), we looked around at the boats taking a few folks out on a ride. We had been told that if we gave the reference of somebody in the forces, for 20 bucks each, we would get a ride on Pangong. Well, we did stay at the Air Force Stn, and we did have the reference! So, for 20 bucks each, we got ready to get onto the boat. And while we waited, I took some snaps and some more snaps. Which resulted in us getting a little delayed and then somebody else got into the boat ahead of us! What a bummer!



Pangong


Artificial Rain!


The Clear Waters


Photosession In A Boat


While We Wait (Thats Alliterative!)


We waited for our turn in the boat for about 10 - 15 minutes. The next boat came in and we were the only folks on that. Good luck? Mamaji got talking with the boat incharge (Umeshji) and it turned out that he had served in one of the regiments in Meerut that banked with Mamaji's bank. That built some bonhomie and Umeshji treated us to a long ride! Turns out that getting late can sometimes be a boon in disguise!!

We went pretty far into the lake and Umeshji gave us quite a bit of gyan about the lake and pointed out some fauna to us. We were snapping away and filling up memory cards at double rate by then.The lake, as seen from the shore, is breathtaking. The lake, as seen from the lake, is even more breathtaking! The colours constantly changing around us, the water splashing in our faces and the beautiful mountains surrounding us! While we were in the shallows, we could see the bottom of the lake in the clear water. When we reached the other side, we could see several migratory birds (Golden Ducks according to Umeshji, Brahminy Ducks according to Google) closeby. Those moments on the lake are etched in our memories.




Balle Balle From Meerut To Leh


Wangtok, Our Guide


On The Lake


Flights Of Fancy


From The Lake


Umeshji


And Yonder Lies China


Blue n Bluer


The Wake


Chinese Spy?


Half n Half


Two Is Company


Skinny Dipping !


The Sign Says It All


Looking Fishy?



To Be Continued.....
Coming Soon: More snaps of Pangong, account of the return journey
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Old 13th November 2009, 16:17   #70
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Default Day 11 continued

We took several photographs that day. Between the three cameras, we had taken more than 650 snaps. Lugging the binos so far was pretty useful finally. The views as seen from the binos were something else altogether. Just one round circle and everything else obliterated. No clutter, just pure viewing pleasure! Mamaji, Nandika and I walked into the water and it was brrrrrrr cold! So cold that we couldn't manage to stay in it for more than 30 - 40 seconds at a time. After a ton of photography, we decided to sit down by the lakeside. We were enjoying the beauty when our guide Wangtok mentioned that it was getting late and that we should get packing soon. Unwilling to leave the place, yet forced to go, we went over to the army canteen to get ourselves some lunch. We had rajma chawal along with some puri alu. The grub was pretty decent. We thought we'd get some souvenirs as well but didn't really like any of the items on display. Mamaji did buy some uncut garnets for all of us though.



Building Stone Stacks



Pangong



Brrrr! It's Cold In Here!



Contemplating On The Mysteries Of Life



Pedicure?



Us !



Yours Truly



Another Stack



Another Beautiful Random Shot



Relaxing By Pangong



Thats How Jiju Takes Photographs!



Pangong Again


Post lunch, we set back towards Leh. I was in the rear seat of the Innova during the return journey. A little tired out by now from all those days of driving and rushing around, I fit my feet into the recess for water bottles, placed my head in Rashi's lap and slept. Slept for almost the entire return journey except for a small gap in between on Changla where Rashi got me some tea. I normally don't drink tea at all but this time around, I didn't bother to argue. The tea was good and unlike the regular tea was the salty one. At least thats what I remember! I woke up somewhere near Karu and was totally fresh from the nap.

Our guide for the day and driver of the Innova, Wangtok, was pretty helpful in deciding our route for the remain part of our trip. He mentioned that we could to Tso Moriri easily in two days in one of our cars. He also mentioned that the route to Srinagar was better. He informed us that 'Indians' didn't do much at Nubra other than riding camels and seeing the sand dunes. When we were discussing the Indus river, we struck a nerve when I mentioned that the river was flowing into India from China. "Tibet, not China" was his curt comment.

We reached back somewhere in the evening. And then the first thing we did was to chart out the remaining trip. Armed with her printouts, laptop and info from Wangtok, Rashi and mamaji sat and decided where and when we would do what.

After a little bit of rest, we decided to go to the market for some time pass. We took the sole remaining egg from Keylong with us and gave it to a Sheru somewhere. (It appears that I have wrong mentioned in the log of 20th that we took the egg on one that day). We had also taken along this fantastic torch that mamaji has. It is one of those things that you have to wind to charge up. It has a nice handle for winding it, an FM radio, a siren besides several modes of operation for the LEDs. The only downside to it is that it doesn't hold any charge any more inspite of all the charging that you might do. So, on the trip to the market, I took it along, charging it all the way by winding it. And then jiju took over from me. It had turned out to be a game of sorts! You wind the torch as an exercise, and then you switch it on for the few seconds that it can hold the charge. Or, switch on the siren to make an irritating sound. Sure was fun for me. Dunno about the others though

In the market, we bought some T-shirts that we had been looking out for. On the way back, mamaji tanked up the car and we filled some petrol in the jerrican for the next day's journey to Tso Moriri. We had decided to take only the WagonR on the trip as we didn't have much luggage for the trip.

We had dinner at the mess again. Alu gobi, cabbage, dal and rotis. And apples for desert. Funny apples those - must write about them sometime. Post dinner, Nandika and I sat down and made a playlist of songs on the thumbdrive for the next day's journey. We did a quick review of the photographs after that and after seeing all of them, Nandika called me a fisherman because of the way my bandana was tied up! A fisherman! I suppose the only thing missing was the vest with holes in it! Then, I'd look like a complete goan fisherman .
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Old 18th November 2009, 12:34   #71
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Default Day 12 - Part 1

Day 12 - September 22nd 2009 (Part 1)


On the twelfth day of our journey, we planned to go to Tso Moriri. We had decided that we would all go in one car since Wangtok had mentioned that except for the last 20 odd kms, the route was very good and that we could easily do it in one car. Little did we know what the day had in store for us....

The day (as all days since we reached Leh) dawned bright and sunny. We had decided that we would leave by 8 in the morning to make the best time as well as enjoy the sunset at Tso Moriri. We started a bare two hours late instead! The reason for this was that the rooms that we were in didn't have any geysers. We had to heat water with antique heating rods. This took up quite a lot of time as the water was very cold and even getting it up to a bearable temperature took a lot of time. Since we were already late, we decided to split up into two groups so that one group would continue packing/getting ready while the other had breakfast.

Breakfast consisted of bread, omelettes, butter and jam along with some coffee. I had both the omelette as well as the butter jam combo. For some reason, the regular bread butter jam combo seemed to be very tasty! Once mamaji, jiju and I were done with breakfast, it was time for the gals to go get the grub. By the time they came back, we were all packed up and ready to go.

Left the AFS at 10 and headed out towards Karu. A little while after getting out of Leh, the car started reeking of petrol fumes. The jerrican probably wasn't as tightly shut as we had thought. Mamaji had put a little polythene over the mouth and shut it tightly. Despite this, there were fumes filling up the car. I am sure, if one of us had farted, we would have lit up the car like a birthday cake!!! We had to stop and do something about it. Luckily for us, devoo (BCMT member) had mentioned that we should take along some pieces of rubber from a car's tube for this very purpose. We got the can out and then after a bit of cutting with my penknife, had a seal for the cap. And the seal did work wonders. There weren't any fumes after that (we checked by farting, of course ).



Indus


Flora


Autumn Colors


Somewhere around the above photograph, we encountered a lonely BSNL tower in the middle of nowhere running off it's own captive generator! What fun!




The Road To Chumathang


The Mighty Mountain Washing Its Feet


On The Way to Chumathang


Country Roads


Ancient Froggie, Frozen In Time


Picnic anybody?



The roads were pretty decent and the sceneries pretty beautiful. We were driving along the bank of Indus and it was a pretty sight all along. The water blue, the mountains brown, the road black the shrubs green. Green? No, it was brown. Ummm... no, it was orange. Ochre. Red.... you decide for yourself:



Rainbow Shrubs!


Victory Hill


Colourful Mountains


The Mountain With Character


Autumn Contrast


Take Your Pick: A Face In The Mountains or Mocha Fudge Sundae?


Into The Great Wide Open


Lazy River, Colourful Bank


Snapping photographs on the way, we sped onwards towards Chumathang. We hadn't realized what a snug fit it would turn out to be. Especially since the WagonR rear bench is made for two! The person in the middle had a tough time. When we rued the fact that we didn't think about this, Nandika promptly mentioned that she did think about it but didn't raise her concerns because she thought us 'elders' would have thought about it already! Duh!

Stopped over at Chumathang to grab a bite in the afternoon. We asked what they had on the menu and the answer was Maggi! Rice? No. Roti? No. What do you have? Maggi. Only maggi? Yes! Well, maggi it was then. In thukpa style that too! And a little while later, some locals came along and were served some rice and dal etc. Duh and double duh!!

Did we reach Tso Moriri in time for the sunset? Or...? Find out soon.....
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Old 18th November 2009, 16:17   #72
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Been a while since I saw a comment on this thread. Anybody reading...?
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Old 18th November 2009, 16:27   #73
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man one of the best nature snaps you have taken. I liked that artificial rain and your jiju taking the snap.
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Old 18th November 2009, 18:05   #74
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Been a while since I saw a comment on this thread. Anybody reading...?
You dont worry about that. I am reading every line(& waiting for the next set of travelogue).
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Old 19th November 2009, 19:24   #75
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man one of the best nature snaps you have taken. I liked that artificial rain and your jiju taking the snap.
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You dont worry about that. I am reading every line(& waiting for the next set of travelogue).
Thanx guys. For a while I was wondering if anybody was reading at all
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