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Old 17th June 2010, 15:50   #16
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tsk these are some awesome pics. Are you going to cover the vehicle part too?? The distance, mileage, problems (if any)?

Waiting for the entire post. Dont forget to load the magic of your Panny.
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Old 17th June 2010, 16:10   #17
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tsk these are some awesome pics. Are you going to cover the vehicle part too?? The distance, mileage, problems (if any)?

Waiting for the entire post. Dont forget to load the magic of your Panny.
Yup, I kept a log book, will post all stats and "problems". After all, can any trip on the white elephant be without "teeny veeny probs?"
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Old 17th June 2010, 16:46   #18
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Default Day 3 : Srinagar to Leh, the Canonball run : Zoji La!

Manali Leh highway is the highway of high mountain passes. Every one of them is unique. even a piddly 3900 meter tall pass like Rohtang can make grown men weep.
However, in contrast the Srinagar Leh highway only has one such beast. Its called the Zoji La.
This freak weather system, which dumped snow on the mountains all through may(and is still continuing to do so as I write this), had made Zoji La a competition to Rohtang.
Zoji La has potholes. But now it had craters. Craters which can swallow trucks whole.

Oblivious of the madness, we made good time on the ascent. The road was not too bad, and sun was out. shining, smiling.
It was a cheerful day.
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We were hoping for sunshine all the way. However, soon, the true nature of the road surfaced, and the progress became painfully slow.
Trucks also started coming, and soon it was inch forward, stop, inch forward stop...
But the sun was shining, and thats what mattered
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Traffic jam at the top. Snow walls made the wide road narrow
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but Jam or no jam, we move forward
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At the top, few hundred meters are good
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And couple of snowwalls later, we are clear of the pass. Yay!
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10:45pm and the road to Kargil Beckons. Its bumpy, potholed, very much unlike last year. The rains have taken their toll
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The scenery is inviting, and forward we march!
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TO BE CONT.......
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Old 17th June 2010, 16:52   #19
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Ahhhh, (sigggghhh), feeling really nostalgic seeing the route that we'd covered last year.......the beauty of Kashmir & particularly in & around Sonamarg is amazing.

Zoji La always has craters, we found them last year as well - huge ones that can literally swallow small vehicles.

Nice pictures but do get over your fetish for "pm" even when its morning -
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its not even 6pm as I stand at the HP fuel pump filling up the safari.
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10:45pm and the road to Kargil Beckons. Its bumpy, potholed, very much unlike last year. The rains have taken their toll
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Old 17th June 2010, 16:58   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Ahhhh, (sigggghhh), feeling really nostalgic seeing the route that we'd covered last year.......the beauty of Kashmir & particularly in & around Sonamarg is amazing.

Zoji La always has craters, we found them last year as well - huge ones that can literally swallow small vehicles.

Nice pictures but do get over your fetish for "pm" even when its morning -
Oops! I will stick to stuff like 0600 instead of am pm!
Point noted!
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Old 17th June 2010, 17:38   #21
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Fantastic!!! I need to rush back home to read and
enjoy your stuff properly. Phone and EDGE connection
is simply not enough to experience this large a canvas.

Photos, as usual look superb.
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Old 17th June 2010, 18:37   #22
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Default Day 3 : Srinagar to Leh, the Canonball run : To Kargil

As we march towards kargil, through Drass, the road keeps flip flopping between good and bad
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We do not visit the War Memorial, as we have already visited it before. Quick pics of the legendary tiger hill and surroundings
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We are on our way.
Its 2pm when we finally reach the Kargil town. Leh should be max 5-6 hours from here.. But when up there expect the unexpected.

First things first, its time for lunch, and so we start searching for the old man who sits on the PC hotel corner and makes the best kababs in Kashmir.
Unfortunately, he will come only once sun goes down.

So we settle down for LVs(yes there is a hotel called Las Vegas in Kargil), and have some delicious chicken. But service is slow as everything is made fresh and its past 1500 that we move on.

Vistas right outside Kargil on the road to Mulbek
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Kargil is a Bastion of greenery, and after Kargil comes the moonscapes, and the cratered roads
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Moon land has started, and we rush towards Leh. Its still saturday, and 2 days of rest in Leh will do wonders!
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Old 17th June 2010, 19:57   #23
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T get a leg up on traffic you need to be starting early out of Pathankot. I hope I will not get as much traffic as you did on my dash for the Mughal Road rally on 22/23rd. Keeping fingers crossed .....

And wasting time reading your lovely photo captured travelogue.
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Old 18th June 2010, 11:09   #24
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Default Day 3 : Srinagar to Leh, the Canonball run : The La's to Leh

Surprisingly, as we entered the "desert" the weather became wet. Dark clouds, intermittent rain, and that ultra light "pass special" snowfall
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Namika La
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Progress was moderate, since roads were intermittent bad and good. Some stretches involved gravel, some stretches involved some rocks, but all in all, the scenery is uninspiring, and its very unlike the Manali Leh, where every corner has a "wow moment"
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Its almost 1700 when we reach Fotu La, the highest point on the highway. Its at a piddly 4000 something meters above sea level
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After that we trudge on and reach lamayuru little before 7. Unfortunately, we have to take the narrow "bypass" as the main road is under "upgradation"
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Finally with sun going down, and weather turning real cloudy, we come here
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What a road! Will be reach leh in an hour, after all the BRO says its a runway, not a highway(or did my fatigued eyes read it wrong)


Alas, this does not last long. Road widening the scourge of travelers has struck here.
Its getting dark, and without warning excellent sections disappear into rocks and rubble.

There are some sections where in the dark I cannot figure out where is the road.
And then the white elephant starts throwing up tantrums.
Around Nimmu, when the road improves for good, I feel she is losing poser.
Idle RPM is now 1000 instead of 800, and vibrations are noticeable.
This can only mean one thing. Water in sedimenter. But no sedimenter warning light comes on.
Anyways, no point stopping here. time to go to Leh and then figure out what to do.

Fighting against gravity, we race on, and its almost 10pm we reach our hotel.

Its totally empty. Thankfully, because our booking starts tomorrow. We have reached early.
After 16 hours on the road we are in Leh.

Have a quick dinner at Dreamland and then go to sleep, as the snow starts falling........

__ END of EPISODE 1 __
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Old 18th June 2010, 11:47   #25
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but all in all, the scenery is uninspiring, and its very unlike the Manali Leh, where every corner has a "wow moment"
+1 to that.

I know I am jumping the gun (as usual ), but did you make it to Kyun Tso this time around?
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Old 18th June 2010, 12:15   #26
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+1 to that.

I know I am jumping the gun (as usual ), but did you make it to Kyun Tso this time around?
The fruit of waiting is sweet. So wait and see. This time around, we took a wholly different route to everyplace.
The journey is yet to begin.
This srinagar leh highway and leh stuff is just the trailer.
The actual trip was just 4 days. 4 days and 1000kms of insanity through the loneliest places on this planet.
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Old 18th June 2010, 12:29   #27
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Panasonic FZ-35 is a very nice camera. I can vouch for it.
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Old 18th June 2010, 12:38   #28
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Default Day 4: Leh Day 1 This and that

Sundays are supposed to be lazy.
And it was indeed a lazy sunday.
We were the only guests in the hotel, so no central heated water, just hot water buckets.
Today's agenda was just to go to the gurudwara, and maybe shanti stupa, and most importantly, do a minor service of the safari.
Since today was a sunday, and anyways the Tata service center here is a service center only in name, I would have to do the service.
First step, drain the sedimenter.
Thankfully, it was warm now, the clouds had gone, and nothing was frozen.
Opening the sedimeter was a revelation.
It was full of water.
Why no warning then? Well the contacts were full of dust. So it was confirmed, it has not been opened at the service done just before the trip.
Thankfully after the cleaning, the idle settled down to a more docile 850-900. Slightly erratic sometimes due to cold engine and high altitude, but nothing problematic.

I did take some pics from the hotel with the panny

Shanti stupa as seen from hotel
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A butterfly, its a rarity in Delhi
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The snow covered mountains. The clouds had not given up. Hopefully, day after tomorrow will be clear?
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Rudra's phone was still out of reach. Spoke to Ajay and I got to know Rajiv(rkbharat) had graciously left his tripod. Thanks Rajiv!
Now I had 2 tripods. I started the trip with 0

The hotel guys cleaned up the car, and then we headed towards the car wash guy. He has pressurised air.
I removed the filter(Last trip I had accumulated all the tools needed to disassemble an entire car, this was just the air filter) and the guy cleaned it up for 20 Rs.

After that it was like a new lease of life for the white elephant, and we rode the runway.. oops highway for the Gurudwara.

The Army men over there were same as last time, and they recognized us too! After some chit chat and delicious langar we discovered that for magnetic hill and Sangam (35kms one way trip) foreign tourists are charged 3000-4000/trip, and Indians are asked for 1500 minimum. Since its a taxi union in Leh which does not allow outside taxis(even with national permit to ply), you cannot bargain etc.,
This time Taxi union was not happy as Manali Leh which is favorite with westerners was closed, and mostly Indians were roaming about, and Indian's like to bargain, right!
What a racket!

Thankfully, the white elephant can make this trip for 300rs of fuel.

Anyways, some pics of the road
Imagine, if the entire road was like this, we would reach leh in 2 days from Delhi
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After that it was time to get some Shanti at Shanti Stupa.
Lot of noisy tourists ensured only Shanti Stupa, no shanti

View of the city
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Close up of the stupa with wide angle
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Castle Tsemo
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Parting shot
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After that it was time to get back and relax
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16 hours driving had been a wise decision. Today we could fully recharge and relax, with no agenda.
Tomorrow was going to be a busy day with permits, 2 meets and Magnetic hill, Sangam.. And planning. Today was Sunday, and on Tuesday, the real journey will start!
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Old 18th June 2010, 13:30   #29
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This is just great. The more I read (and of course see the snaps too) the more I want to drive to Leh. But it does seem pretty far away from Pune.
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Old 18th June 2010, 13:47   #30
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Great pics great travelouge great writing great.....Tanveer. Cheers
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