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Old 5th February 2010, 16:07   #31
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SDP
But with the numbers you are quoting, the rent for a 15 day trip would weaken this 'making financial sense' argument. What do you guys think? How about buy second-hand and then dispose off once the need is met?

BTW .. how were the other options priced? (Innova, CRV etc)
@ SDP ,
Well buying a vehicle and selling it off was an option , but what I feel is that getting a reliable vehicle for such terrain / such distance is difficult . What I mean here is that we dint have many contacts in Delhi to get one vehicle . Also the amount that we would need to shell out would be very high .
Here we get a vehicle with self driving option and any break down , the vendor shall provide roadside assistance ( or they said so ). So we went ahead with this option .

Number of days was 11 and the advance amount was refunded .
4000 per day is on the higher side , and may be if we get one good vehicle and sell it off on return the calculation would have been on the profit side too. But as I mentioned before , pooling in 10 Lakhs or so ( for a good vehicle ) was just not possible for us .

CRV was 4k again per day , Innova was only 2.5/3 K . Innova would have given us a better package and comfort , but we were just bitten by the SUV bug ! nfact most of us wanted to have a Pajero ( Our kadavaavar aka Endy was the XLT version - non 4 * 4 )
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Old 5th February 2010, 20:50   #32
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Hey. Awesome pics. Can you please let me know which camera was used to take these pics
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Old 5th February 2010, 22:00   #33
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Hey. Awesome pics. Can you please let me know which camera was used to take these pics
thedreamcatcher, see below.

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We had Canon S5 IS . Camera as well the scenery complimented for what you see here :-)
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Old 12th February 2010, 19:40   #34
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Thanks all for the compliments.
And thanks again to Sbraj for updating that information about the camera:-)

Before I move on , I have to narrate an incident which we had in delhi .
For all those who do not know , Kadavaavar ( Endy ) has 3 row ac vents .We noticed that the second and third rows were not working on our way to the vehicle godown .We reported this to the guys over there . They checked and said that there is some problem and it would take atleast the next day afternoon for that to get repaired .We dint have that much time to spare and hence thought that we shall adjust somhow with the weather in delhi and may be when we reach Manali it will be getting better so there isnt much need for those 2nd n 3rd row ac . We started off from delhi but as expected , the weather was making us really uncomfortable especially at the 3rd row .We were cribbing about the same , but one of my friend Siby, he was checking all the switches in the dash board and suddenly he noticed a switch ' rear ac ' , that was not pressed , he pressed it and to our merry , the 2nd and 3rd row ac started working :-) yaaaay !!!! Everyone was so relieved and siby once again became the staaar!!It was one of the keys that made our trip comfortable . Else we would have been baked in the whole trip .

Back to our journey from Pang !
Day 4 ( Pang - Leh )
As I mentioned in my previous post , Pang was the place where most of us were tired or the place most of us got hit by Altitude sickness .There was an army medical camp nearby which we dint notice and so dint take any aid , other than the normal tablets . Staying at Pang wasnt a very good idea , As I mentioned earlier , the plan was to stay at Jispa or Sarchu after Manali , but as we were delayed in Rohtang due to the block we had to stretch ourselves to reach pang .

After a quick breakfast from Pang , we started our journey .We wanted to reach Leh by the end of that day . 2 / 3 kms drive , we saw a small river which we had to cross as the bridge was blocked . I was in the driver seat and dint see any vehicles in front or coming behind so as to check if the depth and flow is ok for us to drive through . One of my friends Samu , took the courage to walk in front of us through the water to check if its ok to drive . He walked in front of us , and gave us a green signal to take the vehicle through . But unfortunately the water was just out from its solid form and the temperature was very low for his feet to withstand it . He somehow crossed the river , but his legs got numb and we quickly started to rub his feet before his feet gets bitten by the low temperature of the water .Waited for some 10/15 minutes for him to get alright and we continued . But the message was clear to all of us from this incident not to underestimate the Himalayan water .

Drive continued to the Morrey Plains . Well a place that is famous to all of us through the pics that it delivered .Its really amazing to see acres of land at over 1000s of ft above sea level , more beautiful to view those mountains that stand as if protecting those plains .
We took a pitstop and of course our cameras tried to capture the beauty of the land with our kadavaavar and us in the frame .
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Old 12th February 2010, 21:06   #35
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Though we call it as Morrey Plains , the road quite doesnt suits the lands name ! Infact the road had undulations which always restricted us from going fast . But yes without those pain the trip wouldnt have been an experience to us .
We climbed up the Taglangla , we could see Glacier remains here too . We could see soldiers here ,the guardians of our nation . The places where we find it hard to breath after a small walk , these men guard our country at those heights . At times I wonder are we giving them the real respect , isnt it well below what they really deserve?

We drove down and we started seeing things around us different from what we saw for the past 2 days . Greenery ..cultivation ..small townships / villages than those temperory tents . We decided to enjoy the new terrain around us . We took our normal pitstop , walked down to the field alongside a small river .

The natives were not so suprised to see us as its a season and they know people travel to enjoy their land . However I feel that we just get there at the best time and its them who has to survive the fury of nature on them during winter!! Sad but a fact .. ! Though we had ideas of interacting with that old lady , we dint have any good form of comunication common to both to make it happen . So we caprtured her in a frame - gave her some good smiles and said a bbye and moved on !

Roads were getting better , couple of army bases on our way and yes we are almost reaching our destination ! We were driving fast.. was it the roads or our excitement to reach the destination ! Well if the roads werent good , the excitement wouldnt take us there that fast .

We reached Leh , well its crowded ! We immediately headed to the commisioners office to get the Permission and Pass . We got them without much hassles . They were really co-operative . Took permission to go To K top . Tso Murori , Pangong Lake , Nubra Valley ! We got into a decent looking lodge right in the heart of the town .

We went to the Shanthi Stupa that day and called it a day !
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Old 13th February 2010, 00:37   #36
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Awesome Awesome Awesome....great narration and great pictures.
I am planning to do the same trip upto Ladakh in the last week of April and hopefully the roads will be clear from snow during that time.
I am hoping there is still more to come from you..
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Old 13th February 2010, 01:14   #37
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Dear Rejoy,
Fantastic travelogue. I just love visiting Leh and Himachal every year.
The pictures are unreal, very good.
The 4K for an Endy is a steal, seriously!
Could you kindly share some contact details of the place from where you hired the vehicle? (PM is also just fine )
I've hired scorpios at Delhi to do my travel, but it was always with a driver. I could not find any place like this, where they give you just the vehicle. This would be perfect.
Please keep the travelogue & pics rolling.
Thanks and Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 13th February 2010, 23:40   #38
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@ starter ,

I have PMed you the details . Check it out .
Thanks a lot for the compliments :-)

@Nullrock ,
Thanks mate , yea i knw I have lot more to update before I come to the end of the trip . keep watching .

cheers
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Old 14th February 2010, 03:57   #39
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@ starter ,

I have PMed you the details . Check it out .
Thanks a lot for the compliments :-)

@Nullrock ,
Thanks mate , yea i knw I have lot more to update before I come to the end of the trip . keep watching .

cheers
Buddy Buddy Buddy keeping my eyes wide open for more pictures and I am really excited as I will be visiting the same place soon woohooooooooooo
Ladakh here I come
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Old 18th February 2010, 22:01   #40
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@ Null rock .. well thanks for all ur support man .. be there till i take to the end ..
Defintely its a place to be !! ..

Day5 - Just Lehing around .

Well as per the plan we were supposed to head to one of the famous destinations around either pangong / Nubra / Tso Murori . As we dint have days to go to all of them we decided that we shall go one or at max 2 . Tso Murori is on the way back so neednt come back to Leh..all those were the thoughts in us .

But the thoughts just remained as thoughts in us!! Let me explain , the one very required tablet that is prescribed for anyone on a trip to Leh is Diamox , but we couldnt grab them from Blore and nor could we from any of the places as the pharmacy guys always asked for medical prescription for them to give us one .May be due to that or may be due to the very bumpy and harsh ride that we had to go all through til Leh . The irony was that / may be psychological , we were the most uncomfortable in Leh compared to all the terrains that we went through before reaching Leh.The dust and the crowd might be the reason - the already thin air was made not so breathable by the congested Leh town .

I also had to take one of my friends to the near by hospital as he was feeling uncomfortable - his BP was on the higher side and so the doctor asked him to rest and gave him some oxygen too . May be the doctor was trying to be on the safer side , he said its better not to go to higher altitudes ! Well all these put us down and we dint want to leave him over there and roam around too .

Let me make the story short , all of us decided that we would be in Leh for that day and roam around locally if there are places . Do some shopping . Get to know the indo - tibetian culture that just bonds well in this small town . We checked with some local chaps and they said going to Nimmu is something good for its drive .Took his word and started off with lots of Laziness as we know its not required for us to hurry in any way .

Drive to Nimmu was amazing , roads were with tarmac in them . We went at the correct time as BRC was just completing their work in that stretch .Njoyed the drive took some snaps on the way .
We saw the mgnetic hill on the way, I am not still convinced with the concept or the so called magnetic attraction . I still feel that its just an illusion that one gets due to the colours and terrain around. One just feel the gradient in its opposite way from the actual one.

We reached Nimmu , had food from a restuarant . Those guys took really long almost more than an hour for serving the food .We were so jobless , we started playing poker.Got back to Leh did some shopping and roaming around .
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Last edited by rejoycjohn : 18th February 2010 at 22:02.
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Old 26th February 2010, 00:12   #41
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and......then what happened next..
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Old 26th February 2010, 22:34   #42
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and......then what happened next..
rejoycjohn, make NullRock's life easier. April is approaching and I think he is planning a drive via your route.
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Old 26th February 2010, 23:08   #43
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The doggy's too good. Nice photos there.
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Old 27th February 2010, 05:54   #44
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rejoycjohn, make NullRock's life easier. April is approaching and I think he is planning a drive via your route.
You got it bud. I will be going through the same route but planning to take a diffrent rout back.

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The doggy's too good. Nice photos there.
If I am not mistaken thats a Gaddi breed....very brave dog.
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Old 28th February 2010, 13:44   #45
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Hi all ,
I apologize for the delay and it was not intended . Cannot update from office , as I do not have the pics handy there .Get back office late and its just feel like dozzing off than updating .I hope I wont make any more delays in updating the travelogue .So lemme get back to business . Thanks again guys for ya patience .
@ Nullrock , yea I think you are going to take the same route back as we took -- All yours now :-)

Day 6 - Leh - Khardung La - Leh - Mulbekh
Well the 5th day though ended peacefully , as I mentioned earlier , it was not so easy thing for my friend . He was getting anxious and his BP fluctuated .

But he took the prescribed medicine from the Doc in the Leh Hospital .
Day 6 , we planned to start our return trip to Delhi . But counting the number of days that we took towards Leh , we had quite number of days extra . We had our tea, and one of my friends wanted to go to Khardung La badly , I had almost submitted that we wont be able to visit any of the places , but he came and made me get back to my spirits . And even Siby , ( my friend who had a Bp fluctuation ) agreed that he shall stay back in the lodge with another friend TV ( he joined siby as he was also a bit diffident about the conditions up there ) . And he convinced that he shall be ok back in Leh and shall take care of Siby too . Sounded like a plan for us . So we set off , 5 of us to climb 50 kms up to the highest motorable pass in the world .

There I took the drivers seat - I love being there when the terrain is not so familiar . The drive was awesome , primarily because the road tarmac was still there and we were just 5 and so the 3rd row seat was empty , and that meant I neednt be really worried of the passengers comfort . Middle row had a comfortable ride anyway . I was driving quite adventourously , but tried not doing something silly and stupid !
We climbed up the road to Khardung la , it was quite early hours in the morning so not much traffic . I have heard that the Leh - K la is quite notorious for the traffic congestion / jam that it creates !

Oh yea there was a place where we had to show our permission letter on the way - 11kms down the K top . And guess wat , we saw our mother tongue being written on a wall which read ' Drinking water ' . Havent you heard of the saying ' The person who landed in the moon first from USA had tea from a shop there run by a Mallu '.

Took some snaps with an army officer and headed up again . The roads turned not so brilliant after this point ,but no problem we just 5 of us and so neednt worry much about the bumpy ride .We saw snow fall , reached K top , again posed for snaps as they will be a proof for our achievement :-)

We got back to Leh , well on the way back there was a traffic jam, a fully loaded truck lost its breath and got stuck in the middle of road which in itself is too wide for single lane traffic .Some smart guys helped to move the truck to a side and made path for us .

As I had mentioned earlier , we were not so at easy for taking the same route back to Manali , so we thought we would get back through Srinagar ( Nullrock - you with me ? ) . We had a reason for that too that the road is good and we will be able to cover more distance every day that too without much problems . All of us were having the road conditions till Nimmu in our mind for coming to this conclusion . And the locals in Leh , well for them most of the roads in and around Leh is good . So we dint ask them much after some experience.

Did some last minute shopping and started our journey almost past 12 in the afternoon.Destination was Kargil .We passed Nimmu , but the surprise was right after Nimmu . Everything came back to square one , the roads look almost the same as we had in our trip to Leh .To be honest , not that bad , but the problem was that it was not as good as we expected .

On our journey , we were caught in front of a troop of army trucks , I started counting the numbers but stopped after a while . They were atleast more than 80/90 . Most of them were Ashok Ley Land - Why not much Tatas ? Should we start a war here over which is better vehicle ?? Kidding guys - its discussed else where and from
decades :-)

The terrain was not anything new for us , though I should mention that all of us enjoyed even though the terrain looked almost the same .
Passes ,climbing up and down was not anything for us by then . We crossed FOtula , the highest pass on the Leh - Srinagar highway .
The destination was Kargil , However as we had started afternoon we were only able to reach till Mulbekh. We found an old house which was under the J&K tourism department .Decided to stay there for the night .

to be continued ..without delays :-)
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