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Old 21st December 2009, 18:06   #121
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Great Going Yamraj. The photos have come out stunningly beautiful. I am sure the experience you guys had on the highest motorable road must be one of its kind. Glad you all had fun there.
Thanx. And yes, the experience gives you a high (literally and otherwise!)
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Old 23rd December 2009, 16:34   #122
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Yamraj, Sirji where are you? I am waiting for your next installment. Please try to post some more at more regular intervals.
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Old 24th December 2009, 00:25   #123
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Yamraj, Sirji where are you? I am waiting for your next installment. Please try to post some more at more regular intervals.
Caught up with several things. I was hoping to finish the thread in this vacation but somehow it has ended up being more hectic than going to work! Will try to update it more regularly..
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Old 29th December 2009, 12:57   #124
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Yamrajji, Where is the next part of your wonderful journey? Please post some more as soon as you get some time. Waiting eagerly for the next part.
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Old 30th December 2009, 17:18   #125
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Yamrajji, Where is the next part of your wonderful journey? Please post some more as soon as you get some time. Waiting eagerly for the next part.
Have been on vacation with no time to update the blog. Will start writing it again in the next couple of days.
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Old 31st December 2009, 01:03   #126
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Day 14 - September 24th 2009 (Part 3)


The plan for the day included the Khardungla conquest and a visit to some of the monasteries around Leh. Khardungla was over and done with. Now, time to head to the monasteries. But before that, we planned to get into Leh for some chow. On our way down from K-top, with Nandika in our car, we had quite a bit of fun joking and laughing at various things. Mamaji was playing some music in his car using the mp3 FM transmitter. We had tuned in to the same frequency and would place our music demands over the walkies! (Side note: Ah, the walkies! I definitely have to write about them. But not here, this is about K-top. I'll do that later. End note). Luckily for us, in the mountains, the FM reception was pretty good and even upto a distance of 50 odd metres, we could pick up the transmission.

Listening to the music, we were heading down towards Leh when we saw some scorpios turning into a steep downhill track that seemed to head off into the outskirts of the city. We decided to turn into it ourself and do some exploration. Not too steep but sufficiently so to have us have a minor adventure, the track soon joined a paved road that headed into some residential part of the city. We realized that this was a short cut into the market. We stopped at a little Tibetan market for some knick knacks and then headed out for lunch.



View Near Leh


A Garden In Leh


Hungry Kya?


We stopped at a couple of places that seemed to be garden restaurants but all of them were closed for the season. We moved deeper into the market and stopped near a place where there seemed to be quite a few restaurants. We got into a terrace restaurant that had a continental menu. There wasn't much on offer there though and decided to go to the next door place (despite Rashi's misgivings that all places would have a similar lack of items on the menu). The place we next went to was called La-Terrasse and it seemed to have a similar menu. Luckily for us they had the dishes that we wanted. We placed our order and waited for a short while before the food started streaming in. Good yummy delicious food it was too! We had two pizzas, falafel with naan (they didn't have pita bread and instead were serving falafels with naan which turned out to be a decent combo!), veg sizzler, walnut salad, some plain humus and naan and a superbly priced veg laffa (gigantic proportioned, priced at just Rs. 70/- !!!). Besides this, we had a lemon soda and two honey teas. The honey tea was served with honey in a bottle and I freaked out on the honey! Although all the food was superb, the laffa took the cake (err, I wonder how a food can take another food but then I'll leave it to the brits to decide on that one!). It was HUGE! And it was for just 70 bucks! Nandika had placed the order for that and had to share it with folks as she couldn't really polish it off herself. And then when the bill came in, we were amazed to find that it had cost us Rs 800 only while we were expecting more. For 800 bucks, that meal was really worth it!

While we were waiting for our grub to come in, I had taken some photographs of the Leh palace as well as some flowers around us.



Flower At La-Terrasse


What Bees Do Best


Another Flower


What Catches Your Attention? The Flower Or The Palace?


You Cut Me In Half!
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Old 31st December 2009, 01:07   #127
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We finished off our lunch and left for Hemis monastery around 4ish in the afternoon. The drive upto the monastery was really nice. On the main highway, Rashi experimented with some photography with the rear view mirror and some of them turned out to be pretty good. We turned right towards the monastery from the main road and at that turn, there is a place where water cascades down from a canal. The water falling looked pretty spectacular. From there on, the road was a very well paved though narrow country road heading off into the wild mountains. With tilled fields on both sides and a wonderful, paved, serpentine road, it felt like we were driving through some paradise.



I See A Caterpillar!


Where Did That Creep Go?


Tree Lined Roads


And The Open Sky


On The Way To Hemis


In Hind Sight!


Double Reflection


Objects In The Rear View Mirror...


Flare!


The Rolling Mountains


Drive To Hemis


Flare Again


Aha! That's Where He Went To!


Soon, we reached Hemis monastery. Parked our cars and headed into the monastery. There is a museum there that we decided to see first. Bought our tickets and headed into the basement of the monastery where the museum is located. The museum had an extremely garrulous caretaker who kept us entertained with his words. Besides his general comments, he would also point out the specialities of some of the antiques on display. There was a power cut a couple of times while we were in the museum and that would throw the whole place into darkness except for the faint light filtering through the curtained windows. Although the current would come back within a couple of minutes, there was this one time when it was gone for much much longer and we were beginning to get pretty impatient before it came back. The museum had some really ancient items on display. Most of the stuff was exquisitely designed and decorated. We went through the museum enjoying each and every exhibit. After that, it was time to head out and take some snaps in the courtyard. The main chamber was being renovated and was closed to visitors. We had to make do with the prayer wheels in the courtyard.




Horned Yamraj


Hacking The Horns Off


Look Daddy, I Got Yamraj's Horns


Should I Sit There? Would It Hurt My Butt?

BTW, in the original photograph of the moon above (not this low resolution one), one can make out the lunar craters!



I Can Make My Hands Disappear !


Backstreet (No Boys)


Dusky Scene


Indus


Soon, dusk had started to fall and we decided to head back home. As usual we had our conversations over the walkies. Whenever we called mamaji, he would go "Hello Hello" in a pretty brusque military style that would have us all laughing. Mamaji's hello hello soon became the norm of calling anybody over the walkies! We headed back into Leh and decided to visit the market once more to do some more shopping as jiju wanted to pick up some stuff. We decided to go back to Lhasa Crafts which mamaji ended up calling a 'Control Price Shop'! That had us doubled over with laughter while we were looking for the place!

There were a couple of incidents from a few days ago that I have forgotten to narrate earlier. (I forget if these incidents occurred on our way to Pangong Tso or Tso Moriri). On the way, I saw these three scarecrows that were dressed in military fatigues. Since we were passing them by pretty fast, I decided to play a little prank and told Rashi, "Look at those army guys! Stiff at attention. So cool na!". And then jiju who didn't really catch on, says, "Arrey nahin Kanishk. Those are scarecrows!". And then another time, while we were going through the signs on the roadside aloud, I came across one and pronounced it as "Hastey makes wastey" just for the sheer fun of mispronouncing. Then, somebody piped in and said, "arrey yaar, that's Haste makes waste"! Twice that my happiness was pricked .

Anyways, getting back to the day's story. We weren't too hungry that day (the huge lunch still not completely digested) and decided to go to some cafe for some chocolate shakes. After asking around for a good cafe, we were directed to Amdo cafe. Before going to the cafe, we stopped over at Punjabi sweets (I might have got the name wrong) for some jalebi and gulabjamuns. After that, it was Amdo time. Searched for it, found it, sat down and ordered chocolate shakes. They didn't have any. Walked up and went to Himalyan cafe instead. We had some cold coffees, chocolate shake and espresso. And then Rashi wanted to have some chocolate pudding. So she goes, "Does anybody want chocolate pudding?". None of us were in the mood so nobody replied. Then she asked each of us individually if we would like any chocolate pudding. We all said no. Finally, mamaji asked her to go ahead and order the chocolate pudding and said that we would all pitch in and grab a spoon each to help her finish it off. Rashi called the waiter and ordered. And was told that there was no chocolate pudding available. Heh heh he. All that drama for nothing. We were all laughing away at that. And so Rashi decided to order to plates of chocolate balls instead. It took a long long time to get the chocolate balls. We were wondering if the guy had popped down to Punjabi sweets to buy some! And then Nandika goes, "Sabar ka fal meetha hoga!". Obviously, meetha to hoga hi! Finally, when they did arrive, they were pretty tiny, not so good and expensive! All that wait for just that! Poor Rashi was pretty disappointed.

After that, we headed off to the AFS, and bathed, packed and saw some TV. Rashi dried my hair and gave me a lecture on how I should get them cut short like a mom gives to her unruly child. Since I was getting my hair dried and didn't want to risk and of them being pulled, I agreed to whatever she said .

That day, while we were chatting around somewhere, I mentioned that it was so cold that if we stuck a toothpick up our noses, we could have some kulfi ready! Rashi didn't hear all of it and in the night actually picked up some toothpicks for us to use! Oh boy! What a laugh riot that was with Nandika and I almost rolling around holding our sides!


Car Statistics:
Distance covered: 185 kms.
Time: 11:21 hours
GPS stats:
Trip odometer: 179km
Moving time: 05:26 hours
Stopped: 1:54 hours
Max speed: 76.0 kmph
Moving avg: 32.8 kmph
Overall avg: 24.3 kmph
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Old 31st December 2009, 10:50   #128
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Wow Yamraj! The wait for your update has paid off. Amazing pictures and great narration. I love the comments you write for each of your photos very innovative and entertaining. Please keep posting the next installments as soon as you have time.
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Old 31st December 2009, 15:26   #129
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Wow Yamraj! The wait for your update has paid off. Amazing pictures and great narration. I love the comments you write for each of your photos very innovative and entertaining. Please keep posting the next installments as soon as you have time.
Thanx . Will try and update more in the next couple of days.
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Old 12th January 2010, 01:08   #130
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Day 15 - September 25th 2009 (Part 1)


September 25th was here. Already? Man, this was so unfair. How could it be September 25th? I was a bit unhappy because today, we would be leaving Leh for our journey back home. How I wished I could stay back another few days. God, could you at least stretch this one to say 50 hours? God, apparently decided that there were too many people wanting this Friday to get over and therefore put my request into the Trash Can. Nopes, not even into the Trash Can. He permanently deleted my request from the hard drive! Ah well, I would have to do with the few hours at my disposal.

I woke up early. Earlier than the 7:00 am alarm that I had set. Somewhere around 6:30, Rashi and mamaji were having tea in our room. I was talking with them half asleep. I have no clue what I told them but I do know that at least at that time it was intelligent enough to constitute a conversation. At least that's what I think .

This was one of those few days when the entire gang got ready early. We were all ready by 8:30 and headed out to have breakfast. I am sure the mess guys were in some shock to see us all ready so early. I suppose it was sufficiently shocking for them to delay the brewing and serving of coffee after we were done with the paranthas that were being served for breakfast. Yummy, finger licking cheese stuffed paranthas at that. Something that Rashi preferred bread over. How can you have bread when there are delicious cheese loaded paranthas around?

Post breakfast, I headed back into the room and for some reason neaded my Tata Photon modem. I couldn't find it! It was lost! Panic. Searched the packet where I normally kept it. Not there. PaNiC. Searched my bag. Not there either. PANIC. Looked around the bed and under it and over it and all over the place. Did the bugger disappear into the universal black hole that absorbs all lost articles? Big PANIC! Moved the suitcase. Aha! The bugger was hiding beneath it. Come here, naughty boy and sit in this packet that I've made for you! Panic subsides. Phew.

It was around 9:15 that we left for our touristy thing of the day. We had reserved the last day for the monasteries around the city. So, off we went to see the monastery at Thiksey. We soon reached the turn to Thiksey. Turned and went a little distance in a street that was dug up on both sides and came across a tractor that was towing some stuff coming down from the other side. After some contemplation, we decided to back down from the face to face meet and let the tractor pass us after reversing about a 100m or so. Parked the car outside the monastery, took a couple of snaps at the gate and walked in. There was a souvenir shop and that's where all of us headed to immediately. Somehow, we were under the impression that that would close down for lunch very early and wanted to do some souvenir shopping before we left. We saw some nice souvenirs and started chatting with the girl in charge. When she mentioned that they would be open for a while, we decided to go visit the monastery first and then do the shopping thingy.

Up we went to the sanctum and saw a huge statue of Buddha painted in gold. And in front of the statue, the offering bowl was filled with currencies from different countries. Some Indian money, some dollar notes and a 1000 won note. That was kinda surprising. I wonder where God goes to get the currency exchanged . We sat there for a while drinking in the silence and the peace. Took some photographs and then a little while later walked out. Just outside the sanctum is a little platform that has some flowers planted in it. Time to whip out the canon and shoot some flowers! Canon to the left of them, canon to the right of them, canon in front of them (with due apologies to Tennyson)! Just my luck that a bumble bee was around. I tried moving back and forth to capture a good snap but the bum(ble bee) just wouldn't sit still! I did manage to get a couple of shots before I was called upon to visit the next part of the monastery.




Thiksey Monastery


The Six Protagonists


Another Thiksey View


Yet Another Thiksey View


Arch Friends


How Not To Focus


Having Fun


Focus Corrected!


View From Thiksey


Experiment In Black n White


Crowning Glory


Deeeeeep In Meditation


The Crown In Close Up


From The Eyes Of A Caterpillar


Look, Flowers!


Come Here And I Will Show You Some Flowers


Bumble Bee


Flight


Honey Bee


Stop Taking Those Macros And Haul Your Butt Here!



Coming soon:
Rest of Thiksey.
Shey palace.
Pack up and move from Leh to....
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Old 12th January 2010, 09:01   #131
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yet again you showed your might with your narration and pics.good going. waiting for the rest of the episodes.
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Old 12th January 2010, 10:06   #132
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I just can't believe this! This broken glass is as the same state as I saw in 2006. Only those lamps are changed in design slightly.

Bangalore to Leh, Gama to Lama-lamps1.jpg

However, great trip with great narration and photos. Really enjoying.
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Old 12th January 2010, 15:07   #133
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Originally Posted by shishir_bn View Post
yet again you showed your might with your narration and pics.good going. waiting for the rest of the episodes.
Thanx Shishir .

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Attachment 263239

I just can't believe this! This broken glass is as the same state as I saw in 2006. Only those lamps are changed in design slightly.

Attachment 263240

However, great trip with great narration and photos. Really enjoying.
Interesting observation Rudra. Thanx for the compliments .
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Old 13th January 2010, 22:41   #134
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yamraj.. i normally never venture into reading blogs or long write ups but your travellog was something i read word to word and pic to pic.. I am yet to purchase a car but I was always planning to visit the mountains with my family and now I should say your trip has made me highlight my plan of getting myself some wheels.. all in all i gotta say one thing.. it was a wonderful layout of log..
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Old 14th January 2010, 17:27   #135
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yamraj.. i normally never venture into reading blogs or long write ups but your travellog was something i read word to word and pic to pic.. I am yet to purchase a car but I was always planning to visit the mountains with my family and now I should say your trip has made me highlight my plan of getting myself some wheels.. all in all i gotta say one thing.. it was a wonderful layout of log..
Thanx Shiva for the compliments
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