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|27th October 2009, 12:40||#61|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
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Check this out:
Doing a Ladakh trip in a 4x4 SUV will be a lot more comfortable, but using a sedan makes it more interesting. If it's a family trip, I'd recommend a SUV.
|27th October 2009, 17:58||#62|
Day 6 Part 1
Today was our rest day and hence no hurry worry at all. Got up around 7:30 Am, and took a nice view of the Chitkul village. One could see the whole place at one galnce.
Took seat on a dump of stone chips in the front courtyard of the hotel. The tea came there itself, and I sipped it comfortably while soaking in the sweet morning sun amidst snow capped mountains. The fun started soon.
The minister had come in a convoy the earlier night and stayed. In the morning none of his convoy vehicles would start. The hotel guys (all hotel guys I mean) started pushing around the gypsies, boleros and the lone ambassador around, resulting in plenty of amusements for us.
They pushed the vehicles, changed batteries, poured hot water, cursed each other, we laughed, suggested stuff... cars did not start.
The police man who was to drive the gypsy looked especially harrowed.
Among all these I thought of checking my car as well. And surprise! The gypsy guys turn to laugh...
Thankfully a few of the cab drivers were awake now. They asked me to pour some boiling water on the diesel pump and crank it up. The pump is like a rubber baloon, initially it was rock hard, but after pouring ample boiling water it became softer and I could squeeze it with my hands.
After a long crank (must be at least 2-2.5 minutes), the safari starts. A LOT of black smoke came out, to particular discomfort to an elderly gentleman whose milky white monkey cap got suitably sooted.
One of the drivers checked my engine oil, and it was some black! I had changed the oil at 10000 kilometre service and thought of changing after the trip. That was stupid! I should have changed the oil before embarking on such a long trip.
The cab guys assured me that I would get oil changing infrastructure at Reckong Peo. They also advised me to park my car in a way that the nose is hidden from the direct cold wind. They said it would be a good idea to open the bonnet and lay newspaper on the top on the engine at night. This would help especially if it would be snowing in the night. This would keep the engine somewhat insulated. Valuable lessons learned - again.
Little later when my car had started and had been idling peacefully, we started walking down the gravel path towards the river bank.
The walk is fairly easy if one sticks to the main path. There is also a shortcut, which is not advised for pot belied gentlemen, like me. Plus I have an unnerving repulsion to all kinds of shoes. Hence I carried my woodlands all across the Himalayas, but never took them out of the plastic bag they travelled in. Now, slippers will slip on rocks like these!
The river is as beautiful a mountain river can get.
The pictures are just humble compared to the real thing.
I tried some close ups.
The sunlight reflecting from the fast flowing blusih waters vcreated some dazzling efect.
The water was crystal clear, I could see everything through the water.
We loitered around the bank for a long while, tried to step on the stones to get a little inside the flow. But, the water was ice cold.
There was a building on the bank of the river, which we earlier presumed to be some under construction hotel. And hence doubted if our Pure Bong Panchali Resort was indeed the last one on motorable road!
Down to the river bank, we could read the writing on the wall, it was the Govt. High School of Chitkul!
The river bank is full of many wild flowers -I tried to snap some of them.
After lounging around a while more, we came back to the hotel compound, for some more tea.
I must have had ten cups of tea that morning. Sipping a cup hot tea while basking in that sweet sun and lazily looking down the valley surrounded by ice capped peaks, one needs to be there to know that.
Now, my wife is a character who doesn't give much for peace, tranquility and all that jazz. While I was having my peaceful 11th cup, she was looking around. And, she spotted this!
I immediately ordered my 12th cup! I needed time to work out some excuse not to hike that bloddy hill.
Well, as you can see below, reluctantly I start trailing her.
We started to hike the hill to the left side of the valley. From the hotel compound, we could see a walk-able path across the hill, gradually going upwards. THe valley looked very nice from there. I told my wife that we have had the great view, so lets go down!
After about 25-30 minutes more walk up that road, we spotted a trail going steeply upwards.
A local casually walking down the main path tells us that the straight path goes to some farming fields down the valley and the upwards trail is used by grazing cows and goes particularly nowhere.
Guess what?! We took the cow path.
It was very steep and I was wildly slipping on cow dung. 20 minutes later we reached near the top of that hill. The absolute peak was still about another 50 feet higher from where we reached, but now I PUT MY FOOT DOWN.
The snow capped peaks looked a lot closer from here. And that in my opinion was enough reason to call it a hike!
Now it's time to return.
After coming out from that monkey/cow/goat trail, I regain my humor.
The village looks tiny from here.
After one comes to the main path, it's easy peasy.
We spot hoards of bengali's down there. It was quite funny situation - we were snapping them, and they were snapping us! Guess who's the monkey kinda contest!
Another 15 minutes down the path, we would be back to the safety of our hotel.
After coming down, I announced the closure of all physical activities for the day. Had lunch and slept!
|27th October 2009, 18:05||#63|
Day 6 Part 2
The evening was getting colder with a little drizzle and some fog up there near the peaks.
The snow capped peaks which looked so majetic in the clear sky looked somewhat sinister now.
We spotted this animal grazing near our hotel. It was among the cows and behaved much like them. But was a lot more hairy! I guess it was an Yak.
The village was mostly empty, or probably people stuck to indoors.
The drizzle stopped in a while and the fog started to lift.
I could even see a little sunshine up there.
But the village path was still deserted.
I thought of walking down to the river, but gave up. The cold winds chased me back to the hotel.
It got real cold after sundown. I checked the safari temperature guage - it said 5 Celcius.
Next was dinner. The hotel menu card had everything misspelled, so ordering for dinner had been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We contemplated everything from south Indian to continental, finally ordered boiled potato, fried potato and potato curry plus rice.
The Hotel Manager, our bong filmstar Prasenjit got his chance to laugh back at us!
|27th October 2009, 18:08||#64|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 14,830 Times
Sen you have a 2.2
There is an easy way of starting the beast even in sub zero temp.
Put ignition in on position, first service light will go off, and then the Glow plug light.
Again, switch off the key, and put in on, and wait till glow plug light goes off.
Do this 3-4 times.
After that again put in on positon, wait for glow plug light to go off and then crank.
She will start in one try
|27th October 2009, 18:16||#66|
Yes, I read this method in your last travelog also.
As such the glow plug lasts for 20-30 secs per try. So you advise that we give it the glow for a total of 90-120 seconds, right?
My car was doing the bhroom bhroom alright with first turn of the keys, but would immediately stop idling as soon as release the key. That got me worried. If it was a heating related case and needed more heat, it shouldn't do the bhroom bhroom in the first place.
After pouring the hot water, I held on to the key for 2-2.5 minutes and then it started to idle.
I was not quite aware of this, and the cab guys who helped me was not so much experienced with Safari.
Do you also do long cranks?
If you keep the key turned while the car idles, it gives all sorts of weired noises!
|27th October 2009, 18:19||#67|
My guess is temparature was around 2-4 celcius.
|27th October 2009, 18:25||#68|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Gurgaon/New Delhi
Thanked: 512 Times
Yes that is perfect technique, I followed it many times in my Indica.
Infact in my old model Indica, I use to wait even after the glow plug light goes off, because glow plugs stops after some time and can be felt with a very feeble "kut" sound or reading light illuminating a little more.
|27th October 2009, 19:03||#69|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mostly Mumbai
Thanked: 805 Times
I drove my Safari down this stretch till the end of it from where the trail starts to the river below. The stones seem much settled now compared to Sept 08, when they had just laid them I guess. I could hear clanking sounds from the underbelly. But it was fun. The thought of something breaking did cross my mind, but then I didnt care much. After returning back, to the start, I said to myself, "this brute has potential"..!!!
|27th October 2009, 19:28||#70|
The plan for today was simple. We would go to Reckong Peo first. We would change the engine oil at some decent looking workshop. At the same time, ladies will get the camera memory cards converted to DVDs, do some shopping for chilgoza (a dry fruit of this region, we were told about this by the bird supervisor at sarahan), and if possible, I would buy a Kinnauri Topi. Later we will go to Kalpa where we have got our stay booked through the Bengali connection from Chitkul.
First things first!
I wanted my some good car snaps on the chitkul road. So the whole ladies brigade spreads out with Video camera, still camera, spare lens and everything. Hotel guys gather up to know what's all the fuss going on.
All set... car won't start!
Well it does after a while, not before I receive humiliating offers from the hotels guys of pushing it!
First Shot -
Second Shot -
Now I'm crossing the 0.1 inch deep nullah, climax shot.
We are out of Chitkul now. If you ever visit Chitkul, never mention anything about knowing a green safari. They will laugh at you too!
While coming to chitkul, we saw the boards for one Banjara campsite - probably near Sangla. We wanted to check it out, but did not as it was getting dark then.
Today we spot the board again, and go down the road towards the valley.
The road looked a little scary in the begining. But I saw clear tyre marks and went in. After a few minutes, it became proper.
We went all the way down to the river side. And, lucky we were! We crossed a bridge, just two days old.
Remember the minister I wrote about?
He inaugurated this bridge on his way to Chitkul.
We crossed the bridge and went to the other side of the river.
The Camp site is on the side we came from.
The road ends right after crossing the bridge. So we stopped there and spent some 15 minutes, looking at the place. There was this gigantic tree - all its roots were visible. I wondered how could it sustain the gusts of winds with almost no soil to hold on to!
From here we started for Reckong Peo.
After crossing karcham, we came to the huge Baspa Hydel Project.
It was just 300 MW, but it surely looked huge - given the surroundings. The turbine hose was something worthy of a look. The photographing opportunity much good - just for documentation purpose I clicked.
And, I also got my car snapped at this "Kinnaur Kailash Dwar".
The river downstream of the hydel project looked aneamic. But, upstream, it flows gorgeously through the gorge.
We filled up diesel at Powari. The view was nothing less here, but we've seen better!
We saw another armyish bridge after Powari.
This one's named Shongtong. We liked the word very much. From now onwards we started to internally call a lot of people "shongtong", specially those whom we were earlier calling "Hakka noodles". (pardon this one... please!)
Upon entering Reckong Peo, I spotted a garage where plenty of Sumo and Scorpios were being serviced. I found he indeed had stock of the recommended grade engine oil (double checked from service book). So, I dropped off the ladies at the market and came down for the work. It took the main mechanic some one hour to get the oil drained and refilled. I figured that the whole procedure was rather simple, except for removing and refitting the skid plate. I must have driven him crazy asking him to be doubly sure about the safe and secure placement of the skid plate.
Meanwhile, ladies have gotten the camera thing sorted out. I needed an USB cable for connecting my camera to the laptop for downloading pictures from the card, lest I don’t find DVD making infrastructure in future. The ladies convinced a photo shop guy to give up his own cable.
All done, it was time to hunt for Chilgoza and Kinnnauri Cap. They were nowhere available in the whole market. Upon multi pronged enquiries, we found that those might be available at a Tibetan market, near the mini bus stand. We found the mini bus stand without much ordeal and went inside the Tibetan Market. There was only one shop and in that shop there was only one cap. Paid hundred and ninety rupees for that and looked authentic Himachali.
Chilgoza was another story. The shopkeeper did not have any stock. However, there was one lady who had come to sell chilgoza to him. We took a bite each and did not like the taste too much. Parallelly, we could understand that the shopkeeper was also not keen in buying from that lady as he reckoned those of inferior quality. Hence, we gave it a pass and proceeded to Kalpa.
The Kinnaur Kailash was hidden behind the clouds.
We had our stay booked in hotel “Rakpa Regency” near the main tourist complex of Kalpa. Or, so were we told. Upon reaching kalpa, we could easily find the hotel, but no local knows nothing about Tourism Complex!
The hotel was okay types. It was pretty cold and hot water was in short supply. I was given preference due to all the grease and dirt I have acquired from my zest to get the skid plate fixed firmly. Post bath, we had the lousiest dinner ever. The chicken biriyani we enthusiastically ordered (we were told that the cook was a Bengali) tasted like basi roti.
The sky was quite cloudy, so we could not spot the shivalinga. However, there were many pictures of that hanging everywhere in the hotel, had to be satiated by that. Tomorrow would be a long day as we’ll drive all the way to Tabo crossing the infamous Malling Nullah. We also planned to visit Ropa valley en route. So, we retired early with a resolve to get up at 5am in the morning.
|27th October 2009, 19:38||#71|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Thanked: 261 Times
All this bengali talk brings to mind the following picture from Sarahan
Bengali Run Hotel.
We are a strange breed indeed...
|27th October 2009, 19:53||#72|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: New Delhi
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Edit: Maybe the link to this: The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Metro | 50 reasons not to marry...
Last edited by SS-Traveller : 27th October 2009 at 19:57.
|27th October 2009, 20:08||#73|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mostly Mumbai
Thanked: 805 Times
Sen da, I will certainly make a trip to Chitkul next time and most certainly remind the hotel chap about the green Safari, in an effort to reclaim some glory , for the Safari!!
Dude, im enjoying your sense of humor in every post.
|27th October 2009, 20:15||#74|
And, be careful about reclaiming in Chitkul or anywhere in Himachal.
We've made hoteliers all through the circuit wary of Mumbai travellers.
|27th October 2009, 21:10||#75|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2007
Thanked: 2,065 Times
Pancholi Resort is the place to be in Chitkul - absolutely. Amazing views. Any person named "Govind" still out there?
Last edited by adc : 27th October 2009 at 21:12.
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