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Old 6th July 2010, 09:02   #46
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My usual Q - contact details and tariff for Caravan Serai, Kargil?
Where exactly is it, I missed it all the times I have driven past Kargil!!??
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Old 6th July 2010, 09:24   #47
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
My usual Q - contact details and tariff for Caravan Serai, Kargil?
Where exactly is it, I missed it all the times I have driven past Kargil!!??
You need to take the narrow road going up from the market. I have the contact details of the owner, Mr Iqbal - +91 94191 76538. Hope the number is still the same.

Tariff depends on the time of year & is negotiable - he threw in Breakfast free on request. They are slightly more expensive than other Hotels but we liked the place. He kept two rooms for us till about 6 in the evening on the strength of a phone call made two weeks earlier - quite reliable, considering that there was a fairly high volume of traffic & the only other recommended Hotel was booked for a Corporate conference & had no rooms available. He kept the rooms despite not being able to get through on my Airtel phone (I had not given him my BSNL number). They also rustled up some good North Indian dinner for us - Tandoori Chicken types!
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Old 6th July 2010, 09:28   #48
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Originally Posted by kpzen View Post
All set and packed for Kargil.
Attachment 381869

Near Sonmarg
Attachment 381870

SONMARG
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Waiting for the Army convoy to pass.
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Some civilization on the way
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Hotel Caravan - Kargil
Attachment 381882
Dear KPZEN and RAMKYA Sir,
These are magnificent pictures of your journey! congratulations! these are indeed awe-inspiring and i dream to complete this drive, though i just came back with family from manali but would love to go again now with friends and experienced seniors like you; for this year what do you advise as the right time frame?
A little tag on each photo would have been real useful to identify location etc.
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Old 6th July 2010, 09:37   #49
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Originally Posted by suman View Post
You need to take the narrow road going up from the market. I have the contact details of the owner, Mr Iqbal - +91 94191 76538. Hope the number is still the same.
Spot on.
We also booked the same way but during our visit Mr Iqbal was in Srinagar and his son Mr Mustafa was taking care of the hotel.
The tariff was Rs 1800 while booking thru phone, after reaching we negotiated and got it for Rs 1200 + Rs 200 for extra bed.

Lunch was std dal chawal + Omelette.
Dinner was buffet.

Last edited by kpzen : 6th July 2010 at 09:39.
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Old 6th July 2010, 09:41   #50
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Fantastic pics. Love the thread.

at the risk of sounding completely stupid, whats the 'Wolt'?
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Old 6th July 2010, 10:54   #51
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Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
Fantastic pics. Love the thread.

at the risk of sounding completely stupid, whats the 'Wolt'?
WOLT is the name for my scorpio, short for what I think it represents when barelling thro. traffic, "Wide Bolt".


@ Pradeep: Will try to put some captions, I think KP has them on important pictures, will try.

@Suman: We had the top right extreme room too, lovely view, food was decent, the service was with a smile. I liked Mustafa, very positive, friendly and willing to share his experiene of the region; he encouraged us to drive all the way to Padum and expderience the adventure even after knowing the road was torture.


Cannot comment authentically on the food part, I was'n't having any!!!! On 19th when I reached Caravan, I was out , AMS, slept the rest of the day. Took me 3 days to get acclamatized, after that I was better and started eating.

This is very important: The Srinagar-Kargil-Leh route is much better for acclamatizing. From what metrics I have seen, about 50% people who go the Manali-Leh route get hit by AMS and only few have problems throu the Srinagar-Leh route and those who get hit in this route get well soon, the climb-up and sleep alt. is gradual.


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Last edited by ramkya1 : 6th July 2010 at 11:04.
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Old 6th July 2010, 11:16   #52
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Great journey, guys! Am really jealous that you guys too have now been there, done that! Quite inspiring for me, and waiting for the time i will also get to do this epic journey to the himalayas.

Lovely pics, waiting for more!
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Old 6th July 2010, 11:27   #53
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Though the thread is a 5 star one already, yet, to satisfy my feelings after what we are seeing and what more is to come in this thread. Here is me too pressing 5*.

Mind-blowing pics of Dal lake. Ladhak is a distant dream, Srinagar, Gulmurg, Sonmurg are our immediate dreams. And what a sight that was Ramky sir, to have breakfast at that location! Even a 1 hr wait for hot parathas won't feel taxing there, what with those stunning views!
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Old 6th July 2010, 12:18   #54
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19th July, 0330 PM: Have a hazy memory of reaching Caravan Serai, climbing the stairs very very slowly and hitting the bed, AMS was setting in.

Must have slept till 10 PM and drank some water and ate biscuits and went to sleep again. Vaguely remember sounds of my 2 friends ordering about 20 items to eat and heard the world dal-chaval 50 times!!! From the plates I saw outside, looked like some communal dinner for 100 peopole had taken place; these guys are Spartans, youth does have its advantages.

20th July, 0700 AM: Jiggy the alarm guy usually wakes early, he has to wash precious hair with 3-4 different kinds of shampoos, a clean compulsion with warm water. My head was aching, the neurons were lazily spiking on and off. Managed to eat a full omlete and drink lots of fluids, today is going to be another tough day. By 0800 AM I was feeling great, Padum has to be reached and Panzi La conquered, if we could do Zojila, Panzi La could be easy, so we thought.

Met Mustafa, the young owner of Caravan Serai, he has done many contract road work on the Padum route, said it would be tough, but we must ride to Padum, its one of the most beautiful routes in entire Ladakh. Filled gas on the Leh Road and also filled 15 ltrs on the 20 ltr metal jerry can our friend Gurudatt from Delhi has loaned for the trip. If we have to do the 600 KM planned trip, we would need the extra fuel.

All went well till the tarred roads lasted for 19 kms, once we hit Trespone, Prajesh said down all the windows, we have diesel leak in the back. The jerry can was leaking, took out the tool kit, cut out a cycle rubber tube and closed the mouth with that, contained the leak a little but diesel fumes were a problem on this leg. In case you are carrying diesel/ petrol, test the cans for spills, it's very difficult to sit in the cab with the fumes floating around.

The shape of the road for 230 kms, Kargil-Padum, this is the good stretch!!!!

Leh-docked-img_0455.jpg

27 kms on reality hit us, all the stories of the Padum road were true, it's one hell of a test for man and machine, this road has been open only for a week, traffic was very thin, was already testing my patience in slow driving, needed to steer clear of sharp stones, boulders and not get stuck in slush. There are no road signs, road is all gravel and stones, you'd make an average of 25-30 kmph, there were water crossings, slush on ice melts and cold winds. The most dangerous things, we learned the hard way, are the sharp big stones on the side of the roads with stilletto like edges.

The vistas were awesome, a photographer could spend 10 days here and ask for 20 more, you can just aim and shoot and come out a winner; no need to compose, just aim and shoot.

At the junction before Sankoo village we came to a road fork and took the upper road, a big mistake, first water crossing was a mean one, I grinded through on 1st, then came many others, somehow reached the bridge and joined the road coming from below and took a left turn to Rangdum. Took 140 mts to do 60 kms till Purthekchy, got the firs stunning views of Nun and Kun Peaks. At Parkachit too there was a fork on the road, one going down to the village and another going up, no boards, we took the one on the upside thinking it's a by-pass. Disaster struck and changed all our plans........

Last edited by ramkya1 : 6th July 2010 at 12:27.
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Old 6th July 2010, 12:28   #55
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People like Jiggy are very helpful on such trips to maintain a time plan. All kudos to him.

Were you not carrying GPS/Maps? Relying on the road signs (which are not there) and sixth sense may not work always.

I smell something interesting coming up...come on bring it on.
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Old 6th July 2010, 12:30   #56
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Default Kargil --> Padum

For tanking up we had to take the Leh route and come back at least 5 kms to catch the Padum road.
Leh-docked-37.jpg

You cant ask for more colors at one place. Green, Blue, White, Brown , Yellow..landscape was spectacular.
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Leh-docked-40.jpg

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Old 6th July 2010, 13:19   #57
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@ TaureanBull: We had the GPS it was showing the main road. The Kargil Padum section is not maintained by BRO / army, just local Panchayats, they create roads up and down as per allocation of funds, absolutely no signs there!!!!

========

Leh-docked-img_0450.jpg

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20th July, 1230 PM: I was looking up ahead 500 mtrs, another scorpio grinding forward on a turn on what looked like a full slush section; our front left Yokos hit a stone with a huge THUMP, stopped to inspect. Lo and behold, the side wall torn and air leaking already. There was no way we could change tyres anywhere around on this road, loose mud and shifting stones on the narrow road. Backed up slowly 200 mtrs, came to the fork and took the road down through the village and stopped at a flat spot to take out he spare JK Elanzos. Prajesh and Jiggy worked as a great team, they had the damaged tyre out and the spare in no time. Now we had a leaking spare tyre and no spare to depend on.

In retrospect, I would mark this down to driver error, I should have watched out for that stone and saved that tyre. This is too highlight what this road can do to even experienced drivers, it can be so irritating, frustrating, unnerving and will invoke feeling of helplessness that you can loose concentration and do something as stupid as I did. One more lesson learned the hard way.

We came upon a Glacier immediately after Parkachit village, I think this is the Kangri Glacier. For the next 37 kms, the ride was a rattler till Rangdum; we passed the village of Rangdum and came upon a campsite being set up and turned in. It was already 0330 PM, we were hungry, it was cold, below 8 Degrees, requested for food at the camp, got hot soup and did a huddle, decision time, to proceed or not. What clinched the decision for us was what the camp site guys had to say, they said we would hit Panzi La in the next 30 kms, road was much worser, lots of slush, water crossings and the descent worser. We voted to stay at Rangdum and turn back to Kargil next day. This was one of the most disappointing moments in the trip, I was so looking forward to hitting Padum, we even planned a whole day there, but then if there was a time to be rational that was it.

The camp site guys said they would fix us up in the Rangdum village in a guest house and did that too. The room was air tight, the toilet typical Ladakhi, hot water available on buckets and warm basic food. It was 5 PM, temp was dropping below 5, AMS was gripping me again with headache and nausea, the alpine sleeping bag I bought was good till -10 came in very handy and warm, went to selee till 9 PM. Learned the next day that Kevin and Jiggy had a great time outside with the kids in the village playing football and lazing around in the below 5 temp, what can I say? Fortunately from hereon, I acclamatized and was free of headached and nausea, my appetite returned and reached near normal functional levels. So, IMO, it takes about 2-3 days to get acclamatised and be normal.

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Last edited by ramkya1 : 6th July 2010 at 13:22.
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Old 6th July 2010, 13:30   #58
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Can you throw some light on the camp site? I mean it was for whom? Did you find other people there? Campsite for organised tours? IMO you mean that these were the tents right? Any idea on pre booking of these?

That was a nasty blow to the tyre.

I love the looks of the beast with all slush and dirt. A beast unleashed!!!
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Old 6th July 2010, 13:40   #59
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Can you throw some light on the camp site? I mean it was for whom? Did you find other people there? Campsite for organised tours? IMO you mean that these were the tents right? Any idea on pre booking of these?

That was a nasty blow to the tyre.

I love the looks of the beast with all slush and dirt. A beast unleashed!!!
Empty tents, only workers there. The tents sites are late due to late snow fall and thaws, they were just setting up, about 25 tents, some organized group from Leh. In the next few weeks, this area would be flush with organized sites as the roads and conditions improve.

In the middle of nowhere we were thinking of direction at a fork and a French guy in flaming red was riding a bicycle, we stopped to ask him directions Is this the route to Randrum and he said yes!!!! Wonder what he was doing all alone in that wild wild place.
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Old 6th July 2010, 14:01   #60
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Ramky, last year I broke my leaf springs and number plate of my Scorpio in the bad roads to Padum, definitely the worst stretch in all of Ladakh!

Season in Rangdum!? You must be joking, all I saw were a few tea shops and nowhere to stay. Even the JKTDC hotel there is closed. All one could do is to go take shelter in the gompa there.

One good thing is that thanks to road construction work, lots of trucks and gensets, I was able to buy diesel from there when I ran low. And last resort is to go stay with the workers in their tents.
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