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Old 28th February 2010, 13:51   #46
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More pics .

The pics include those that we took from Leh - K top and till Mulbekh . What I mean to say is that its not sorted :-)

cheers
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Old 19th March 2010, 15:02   #47
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Great pics and narration Rejoy. Planning of doing a trip this year information from yours and also other numerous Leh Travelouges is of great help.
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Old 21st March 2010, 03:08   #48
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I have been waiting very eagerly for your continuation of the further journey and here you are.
I can already see myself standing in those beautiful pictures you have posted and yes no doubt your experience is going to greatly make my journey much easier and enjoyable. Kudos to you brother.
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Old 24th March 2010, 10:25   #49
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Before I start , i am bound to apologize for the delay and here i do the same to all Bhpians . But its said better late than never .So let me continue.

One disclaimer , the post is the biggest that i have done in this whole travelogue , which i dint intend while I started off today morning . I couldnt stop it as it offered varied experiences to us .So pardon me if it went overboard :-)

Day 6:- Mulbekh - Sona marg ( via kargil - Dras )
The stay at mulbekh was good , the old Banglaow did treat us well . Though it stood like a reminder of the old English rule in India , it still had one of the best facilities inside it .Of course not very well maintained . The servant treated us in the morning with tea and biscut . One of the best things to have in a chilly morning is a hot cup of tea , personally I appreciate a black coffee than tea . May be the 'achayan genes in me' which always preffered coffee over tea .

Packing done , my friend found some time to spend with the local kids who were so happy to see us . He did treat them with some chocolates too . So everyone happy , and we set out for our days journey .Had breakfast on our way , saw the chamba statue near Mulbekh . There wasnt much of a difference in the journey . The himalayan roads and climate had already worked on us with its harshness so that we would be strong enough to go through any terrain

Kargil , the place has got into the Indian History as well as an area of interest for most of the countries for the war that we had with 'Militants / some1 else ' back in 1999 . But the place dint have that pride in it , it looked very simple . Like any average village in India . Well maintained roads though they were quite narrow , the shops were old . We got into some shop to get some sweets , grabbed some dry fruits too .

We continued to Dras , decent roads again here . We were driving beside Indus river . We were informed by the locals in Kargil that one can see a village in Pakistan while travelling through this road . They said that there is a Sangama of two rivers and from there if we look east we will be able to spot a Pakistan village . We got thrilled hearing this , the only chance perhaps that we guys gonna get to have a view of our neighbouring country . Trust me the feeling was never that of anger or hatred towards them for all those obvious reasons that we Indians would have , but it was a feeling of getting a chance to see the land of our brothers , that feeling one would have when he / she is passing nearby one's forbidden sibling's land .
A bit of tension also as we were informed that there can be gun fire from the mountains any time . There were army men placed at every 100 meters on the road and even on those mountains , it gave us the confidence that yes even if something happen there are people around us to help us and fire back .But obviously we dint want anything like that to happen . One of the sign boards that read ' You are under enemy observation ' looked cool and as an alert to all of us.

We took a pit stop at the army camp near Dras , the place where exactly the millitants started to capture our mountain ranges . Army men told us that they dint have a all year post here till the Kargil war . They also showed us the tiger hills which we captured to mark the end of the kargil war . Millitants had captured almost 50 Kms of the mountain ranges before the Indian army recognised and started to fight back .Salute to all those who sacrifised their life for our country . Incidently we passed through that place when India was celebrating the 10th year of success in Kargil war .

Indian blood was boiling with patriotism listening to all these info from the Army guys . I remember hearing in some movie that we indians or may be those from south especially get patriotic once we have a war or when its an India - Pakistan cricket / hockey match . May be true , because I normally feel that we are more regionalistic than as one solid nation .. Well a lot many thoughts coming to me in that area , hope to take it up in some other threads .

Dras welcomed us with the board ' The second coolest inhabited place on earth -60 degree celcius ' Woooooh !!! Tremors passed throough our body seeing it . Winters in Banglore only make our teeths chattering , so -60 , we would be dead !!There was also a harthal declared here for some unknown reasons for us when we reached Dras ' Junction ' . Luckily there was no problem for traffic , we had our lunch from some small hotel here in Dras .
The general atmosphere in Dras make us feel that we are in some other country like Afgan / Iran . The attire used by the people , the mutton food served , the army trucks with two guys always ready to fire a machine gun / even a rocket launcher !!! It was one of the firsts again that the trip offered us in this trip .

Oooh yea I had to take my friend to hospital again .
He felt uncomfortable on our journey and took a tablet to decrease his BP , but his BP went much below the required level to make both of us tensed. So took him to the government hospital , the doctor was not there so took him to a clinic and the doctor gave him some medicine and requested to take rest . To be frank this doctor chap didnt sound like a doctor , as in we were not getting the required confidence in him.Anyway we dint have much option other than to take rest in the hospital room , luckily he started feeling alright in some couple of hours . Friends used this time to roam around in Dras to make calls to their family and deared ones .So after some 4 hours we decided to leave .

The initial plan was to reach Srinagar , but cut short that till Sonamarg to avoid driving in the night .
The drive was awesome from here , well laid roads amazing greenery on either sides , the army men were camouflaged in those green mountains .
Stopped at the army check post , entered our details over there and moved on . Interesting thing to note here was that they dint check our vehicle nor did they make a fuss about a whole gang of Boys moving in a SUV . Why I mentioned here is that , back here in south , just to pass kerala - karnataka border in a car with some guys in it , it takes whole lot of answering questions and paying them 50/100 without receipt.If they see some alchohol bottles inside , then thats it we will be screwed for atleast 30-45 minutes !!!!!

Climbed up the hill , roads were brick laid .Reached Zoji la and we had to climb down to reach sonamarg ! The sight o, f the ghat section was literally breath taking !!!
Our whole body was getting tremors looking at it . There havent been any sight which took me to such a mental state .Mind blowing !! Terrifying !! and use any of those extreme words , it would be just apt for what we saw !!!! Just 15 minutes before I had handed over the steering wheel to my friend Sam , so I dint have the chance to drive through that ghat section ( i wanted though ) .

We saw a temple , a cross and a mosque just before the ghat section started , a well thought one!! People normally start praying with much more sincerity when they are in situations that they find it hard to handle .We were no different , so offerings for all the three gods and we started climbing down . Sam did maneuver the pothholes with precision , everyone except Siby was holding their breaths , Siby was sleeping - after effect of the medicine that he took .We binded him well with the seatbelts to the kadavaavr ( Endy ) . However we dint have any mechanism to hold his head , it was making circles for every motion of kadavaavr , good excercise for his neck muscles !

The loaded trucks climbing up was a miracle for us , all cheeers to the drivers of those vehicle .With power steering and about 340 Nm of torque we were finding it difficult to handle our kadavaavar . With no power steering , with full load , I cant even imagine how those chaps managing it . The potholes were of half a meter deep , the hairpins had a height difference of 3/4 meters ! The road was mushy - water from the melting glaciers , road was hardly giving space for one vehicle at a time , the half melted glaciers which is ready to move down as a land slide at any moment , the lose mud that just wait for the right time to let loose !! Greatest experience I ever had in my life !!!

I wish I had couple of pics to put up here which would be better in giving you the real experience than my words , but it was almost 6 30 / 7 in the night so no light for capturing this beauty .

We reached Sonamarg and everyone restarted the respiratory system ! Got into a decent hotel , ordered fud and the very required drink to make us warm and to talk about the experience each had in the ghats !
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Old 24th March 2010, 10:36   #50
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@ Nullrock , sorry for the delay as I always tell you , but yes good to hear that all my post do count as it gonna help you in someway or other to make your trip flawless .

@mpksuhas , thanks bro all the encouragement would fuel in to reach my destination back delhi :-)

Well time for more pics .
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Old 24th March 2010, 10:43   #51
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You made my mind to tinkle.. Oh man what a lovely photographs and writeup keep them coming. O.T Can you share details of the rental company and cost in delhi for ford endy rental. Please PM me details.
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Old 24th March 2010, 10:53   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rejoycjohn View Post
One disclaimer , the post is the biggest that i have done in this whole travelogue , which i dint intend while I started off today morning . I couldnt stop it as it offered varied experiences to us .So pardon me if it went overboard :-)
Isn't that the whole idea of travelogue? To share the entire experience, and not only the driving related? You have done a good job in describing!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rejoycjohn View Post
One of the best things to have in a chilly morning is a hot cup of tea , personally I appreciate a black coffee than tea . May be the 'achayan genes in me' which always preffered coffee over tea .
But less of achayans (and mallus) in Kargil I guess. Was there a mallu 'thattukada' (tea shop) somewhere?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rejoycjohn View Post
Indian blood was boiling with patriotism listening to all these info from the Army guys . I remember hearing in some movie that we indians or may be those from south especially get patriotic once we have a war or when its an India - Pakistan cricket / hockey match . May be true , because I normally feel that we are more regionalistic than as one solid nation ..
South has so far been little affected by wars that India has waged.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rejoycjohn View Post
Well a lot many thoughts coming to me in that area , hope to take it up in some other threads .
Come on, spill them out. I would say they are relevant to the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rejoycjohn View Post
Stopped at the army check post , entered our details over there and moved on . Interesting thing to note here was that they dint check our vehicle nor did they make a fuss about a whole gang of Boys moving in a SUV . Why I mentioned here is that , back here in south , just to pass kerala - karnataka border in a car with some guys in it , it takes whole lot of answering questions and paying them 50/100 without receipt.
Army would be more interested in enemies. Our highway patrol is a joke. Most of them are thugs (no offence to the 1% honest officers). There have been numerous incidents of highway police harassing outstation vehicles. Especially SUVs without families.
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Old 24th March 2010, 14:07   #53
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Quote:
akaushik You made my mind to tinkle.. Oh man what a lovely photographs and writeup keep them coming. O.T Can you share details of the rental company and cost in delhi for ford endy rental. Please PM me details.
Thanks man , I have already PMed u the details .

@ SBraj
Quote:
Isn't that the whole idea of travelogue? To share the entire experience, and not only the driving related? You have done a good job in describing!!!
yes I agree with you , travelogues should be descriptive , but at times I try to minimize the use of same words to describe the beauty of places and I end up having no words . Thanks again for those words :-)

Quote:
But less of achayans (and mallus) in Kargil I guess. Was there a mallu 'thattukada' (tea shop) somewhere?
Ohh yea , I forgot to mention , achayans , or mallus are notorious for their fluency in Hindi ( excluding those who had compliments from our fellas from Bombay / delhi ) . With me its terrible , though I do understand the language I am very bad in speaking . When we were at the vijay path near kargil , we spotted a jawan and i started speaking to him with my half broken half english hindi . After 2 min or so he understood that I am from Kerala and he started replying in Malayalam , trust me guys that was the greatest relief we had . After that we understood almost everything of Kargil war :-) .

Dint I mention the mallu board which read ' drinking water available ' on our way to Khardung La :-) . We dint see any 'thattukadas ' though .

Quote:
South has so far been little affected by wars that India has waged.
Exactly , we hardly have seen any wars !

Quote:
Come on, spill them out. I would say they are relevant to the travelogue.
Yes the thoughts are very debatable and so I thought if the mods allow lets discuss it in a brand new thread only for debate or thoughts other than Vehicles / driving .

Quote:
Army would be more interested in enemies. Our highway patrol is a joke. Most of them are thugs (no offence to the 1% honest officers). There have been numerous incidents of highway police harassing outstation vehicles. Especially SUVs without families.
Yes completely agree with all that you said here , its sad though as they are so jobless and only find happiness in bugging bachelors !!
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Old 25th March 2010, 09:43   #54
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rejoy & team, its gem of a trip. Beautiful photos explain how much fun you guys really had. I wish if i can walk back few years to be a bachelor for 11 days
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Old 25th March 2010, 11:58   #55
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jacs rejoy & team, its gem of a trip. Beautiful photos explain how much fun you guys really had. I wish if i can walk back few years to be a bachelor for 11 days
Thanks Jacs :-) . It was amazing for all us especially me who had never been to north India , it was an experience beyond words ! I still have those feelings in me when we were going through those places .

One of my friends was telling , being young is something in heart , coz even many of our friends have dropped out of the bachelors status and there are only quite a few remaining . So this is a topic of discussion most of the times when we catch up , there came the comment that I said before :-)
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