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Old 23rd June 2010, 10:59   #106
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Man, you are our vision of this part of our land. Mind blowing pics
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:14   #107
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tsk, as always your pics are amazing; especially the night long exposure ones. I never knew you could see so many starts from anywhere on earth .
You said you stayed in guest house attached to the observatory. Did you book it in advance and if so please let know how.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:22   #108
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Default What, where, why and how

The Answer to What is easy.
Its "Kyun Tso".
But the name itself is a puzzle. Tso, is pronounced as "So". So it bcomes Kyun So or "Why So".
Regarding Where, in this world if satellite imagery, every where has an answer in numbers
"32į57'2.11"N 78į35'2.62"E"

Now the tough question. Why. Why will you go to why so.
Well "Because its there".

and the toughest question. How. How to go there.
We had spent some part of the evening speaking to somebody who had gone to chumur. They had gone in a truck, and had taken a short diversion. So there was a track.
How was the track. Well it runs through a river. When it rains(which is a rare event in itself), you drive through the river, when its dry, you drive on rocks.
So we go to Kyun Tso, and then we take a track to Nidar, a village near Nyoma, within shouting distance of the main highway?
Yes, that was the plan. Only problem. I could not find anybody there who had done Kyun Tso Nyoma. But I was told it exists, and often people of nidar village went to chumur via Kyun Tso, instead of Via Hanle.

Long time back(over a year) ago, a biker had told me that the route exists, its tough but it exists.

Tomorrow, it will be our turn to find out what exists and what does not.
I had a GPS, with the coordinates fed in, and it told me that Kyun Tso is 39.xx kms away, as the crow flies.
But White elephant is not a crow and it does not fly. It goes on the road.
Since in the offroad world, tracks tended to follow the off road route, I decided to make some rough calculations

Hmmm,
50kms by road to Kyun Tso, and then 35kms to the highway, and then 200kms max to leh.
Well 280kms more.

Till now we had done 750 kms since our fuel input in Leh.
We had taken around 125 liters of fuel there, and 15 liters in Diskit. A total of 140 liters.
Even with a mileage of 8(actually we got 9.59 averaged on entire trip), it would give us a range of 1100+ kms.
We had the fuel to attempt, fail and come back, or go the whole hog.

Fuel was not an issue.
It was with such happy thoughts we had gone to sleep. Little did I know, that the first obstacle would be the white elephant herself.

TO BE CONT..........
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:23   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
tsk, as always your pics are amazing; especially the night long exposure ones. I never knew you could see so many starts from anywhere on earth .
You said you stayed in guest house attached to the observatory. Did you book it in advance and if so please let know how.
Thanks for your comments.
Observatory guest house is not open to the public. We had some "contacts".
However, there is home stay and PWD options in Hanle village.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:38   #110
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A great read and another amazing [and thats an big understatement!] to the ladakh mountains! As read, these places [Hanle and onwards] have very less rainfall - what would be the main block, if any, if we have to go to these places during mid October, other than the bitter coldness.

Needless to say eagerly waiting for the Kyun Tso chapters.

Last edited by adc : 23rd June 2010 at 11:40.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:43   #111
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It hardly rains or snows in hanle. Even when it does it melts in a day. There are no high passes on the road to hanle, and its open all year around.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:49   #112
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Very very awesome pics of the route. Great stuff you've done by GPS mapping the route. People worldwide would wonder why so many tier III towns of India are unmapped but these remote regions are all mapped - all courtesy tsk

You are again putting me in severe gear-lust for a 4WD vehicle

must.resist!!
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:58   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
LOL I have posted so many pics!
Not enough, not at all! They are just so good. Hey, maybe you can post some more after you're done telling us the tales.

Man, the Changthang plateau/desert is amazing and your narrative is enticing! What do you think, doable in a Maruti Esteem?
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Old 23rd June 2010, 11:59   #114
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Default Day 9: Into the Wild - It was a cold Summer morning

The sun is shining. Which is very good.
Its almost 9am, we are ready for breakfast. The smell of omelets fills the air.
The Observatories Tata TL 4x4 has gone through the morning ritual of starting.
Normally, lots of circus is needed, esp when night temperatures go to -5, like now, but with the sun out, the temperature is a good 5 degrees atleast.

So she starts with lot of smoke and drama, but she starts.
No hot water or fire needed.

To be on the safe side, I also decide to start the white elephant.
Where she stands, there is shade. Only the front part is exposed to sun. Hence the thermometer shows a crisp 3 degree C. Within minutes it rises to 6 as sun warms the front.

I give 3 doses of glow plugs, and then crank her up.
She starts stutters around 500rpm, and dies.

Repeat. Same result.

Repeat same result.

I open the bonnet, and feel the hand plunger bulb. Its gone soft. I am not getting diesel from the tank.

Do some hand plunging, and again start her. She starts, and then the engine dies again.

Put some warm water on filter and pipes, again try. Same result, hand primer bulb is going soft.
The pump cannot get diesel in tank.

I touch my hands to the tank area, and its cold, freezing cold.
Why did the TL start? Well she is fully in the sun. However, the poor white elephant has got a cold.

So there is nothing for us to do here. Breakfast is waiting. We shift her to neutral, and push her into sunlight, so that fuel tank gets full doze from the blinding warm sun. I shudder to think what would have happened if it was cloudy!

Anyways, we have our breakfast, and 15 minutes later I say a prayer, and crank her up.
First go she starts!
The idle is erratic and engine is almost sputtering to shutdown, but slowly slowly the rpm needle begins it climb from the 500rpm idle.
Within minutes she is idling erratically around 1K rpm.

I leave her on to settle down as we get our luggage, and complete the formalities.
The exhaust belchs out black unburnt fuel as the engine struggles to heat up.

10 minutes later the idle has settled down to a smooth winter clatter note, and we know we are all set. By now enough hot fuel via the fuel return line has gone to the tank, and engine is smooth now.

I reckon, its time to start of.

So on the cold winter morning of June 11 2010, at 9:45am, with the odo reading 47452kms, we start our journey into the unknown!

The last leg of our "loop" had begun. By not going back via the normal Nyoma road, we have made our adventure a loop. But we still do not know, whether we will need to come back, or will be do the "changthang loop".

We were going Into the wild.
We were going where one truck goes probably once every 4-5 days carrying supplies to the remote border villages.
We were going, where are there no chang Pas, no villages, just wild asses and thin air.

We were leaving.. on a Prayer

Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd June 2010 at 12:05.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 12:04   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Very very awesome pics of the route. Great stuff you've done by GPS mapping the route. People worldwide would wonder why so many tier III towns of India are unmapped but these remote regions are all mapped - all courtesy tsk

You are again putting me in severe gear-lust for a 4WD vehicle

must.resist!!
LOL guess what, even no road tracks are going to be mapped this year.
From July onwards, anybody wanting to do Ladakh will need only OSM maps, nothing else.
As for 4x4, sell your car, and buy the Thar!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Not enough, not at all! They are just so good. Hey, maybe you can post some more after you're done telling us the tales.

Man, the Changthang plateau/desert is amazing and your narrative is enticing! What do you think, doable in a Maruti Esteem?
Esteem, well I would be scared to do these in a 4x4. Till hanle esteem will do fine, but the Pangong Chusul route is best left to high GC vehicles(though if you are brave you can attempt in esteem), and as for Kyun Tso. "Shudder"!
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Old 23rd June 2010, 12:20   #116
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The landscape & pictures are getting better and better! I am lost for words now!

waiting for the "Why so" updates...
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Old 23rd June 2010, 12:22   #117
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Brilliant stuff TSK! I loved the long exposure sky shots.
Very well written travelogue as well. Thanks for sharing this!
Regards,
TG.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 13:14   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Esteem, well I would be scared to do these in a 4x4. Till hanle esteem will do fine, but the Pangong Chusul route is best left to high GC vehicles(though if you are brave you can attempt in esteem), and as for Kyun Tso. "Shudder"!
Well, those Shudders do send a chill down my spine!
Guess I'll wait till I have a 4x4, high GC beastie of mine.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 13:24   #119
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While reading and as i type I am getting the feeling which is close to the feeling one gets while watching a Thriller Movie, may be this feeling is even better. (Still breathing heavily)

Truely amazing pics and a writup to match. Super Suff TSK.
Cant wait for more on 'Why So'.

Puff! Puff!

Cheers.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 13:27   #120
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Wow eagerly waiting for Kyon Tso part , Was the morning start only hurdle on white elephent or was there any other surprise ?

Just think of it if Indians civilians were affluent enough in 50s to make 4X4 trips in this area , Nehru would not have said not even a blade of grass grows there and perhaps you would have been able to take one full round of Pongon Tso in 2010.

Last edited by amitk26 : 23rd June 2010 at 13:30.
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