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Old 3rd August 2010, 12:13   #46
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WOw one more lovely travelogue!

Keep it coming!
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Old 3rd August 2010, 12:23   #47
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Fantastic travelogue... and great adventure there.. Keep posting more
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Old 3rd August 2010, 12:50   #48
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Wowwww, Your Vehicle number is same as mine. Mine is MD and yours is MB. The rest the same.
Moreover, Mine is a getz too..
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Old 3rd August 2010, 13:34   #49
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From my side a 5 star rating to this thread. And yes it has ignited my sleeping inspiration of doing this trip from Bangalore, I have even decided the route too. Now I need a 3 wk holiday to do so. Sapna waiting for the remaining... and don't tell me there is no good Broadband connection in Sakleshpur.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 21:15   #50
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Exactly THE travleogue that I had been looking for. I had always fancied driving to ladakh in my Getz, but never had the confidence. Now after i read your travelogue, theres no looking back.
Hats off to you.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:01   #51
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Awesome travellogue Sapna! Catchy title, great pictures, mazaa aa gaya!
Finally an interesting travellogue after a very long time, and incidently it's Ladakh again!

Keep rolling, waiting for the next batch of pictures!
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:23   #52
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Great travelogue. Rated it a 5-star.
More pics please.
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:42   #53
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Sapna,

Excellent travelogue.. beautiful, simple, to the point writeup, and as usual FANTASTIC pictures.

I do want to see all the pics of the trip (the ones you haven't uploaded) when we meet next.

looking forward to the next part.

Nishanth
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Old 4th August 2010, 08:45   #54
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Hi Sapna and Chandan, this is as good as it getz !

What a trip, and truly mindblowing pics !

Congrats
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Old 4th August 2010, 09:17   #55
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Default Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!! - CONTINUED....

CONTINUED...
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-classicbike-india.com.jpg
Leh (3500 mtr above msl) – Kargil (2700 mtr above msl)

Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-leh-kargil.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-leh-kargil-2.jpg

Except for around 50 kms, the entire stretch of 234 kms is being done up and roads all the way to Kargil are terrible. It took us 9 hours to cover the stretch.

Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-magnetic-hill-board.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-magnetic-hill.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-fotula.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-atop-fotula.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-fotula-top.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-ka-biker.jpg
On the way we also stopped over to experience the magic of the Magnetic Hill, which is much spoken about. Our car did get pulled but we learnt it is an optical illusion. We were supposed to get into Lamayuru to get a peak at the Lunar Landscape on the way but unfortunately the roads into town were blocked from both ends and we had to make do with only a few pictures from up above.

Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-lamayuru.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-women-chilling.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-women-working-foelds.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-pink-baby.jpg

All the way to Kargil we found no places to eat. Maggi and biscuits were the only things available. On reaching Kargil, a very negative vibe came over us. People are very different here – they are a blend of Kashmiri and Baluchistan clan. There are only men on the streets and the friendliness of the Tibetians is something that you miss here. The military presence is obviously very high here after the 1999 war. There are no good restaurants or eating joints that Kargil can boast of. Everything in this place is just about ok. We stayed in a hotel called ‘PC Palace’ (reasonably good) overnight and left for Srinagar the following morning.

Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-road-kargil.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-kargil.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-2nd-coldest-place-world.jpg

Kargil (2700 mtr above msl) – Srinagar (1650 mtr above msl)
The early morning start from Kargil proved futile as we were blocked in Drass for 5 hours for one way traffic on ZojilaPass. Drass is supposedly the second coldest inhabited place in the world and temperatures here touch -50 c in winters.
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Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-drass-war-memorial.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-way-kargil.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-aabout-old-buddha-statue.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-buddha-statue.jpg

After setting off from Drass at 02:00 pm, we were welcomed by some good roads until the climb to Zojila started. Following this the roads were terrible and to add to our misery they had even allowed traffic from the other side resulting in a massive traffic jam on the pass. We were stranded here for over 2 hours, first due to a military convoy of trucks and then due to a convoy of commercial trucks. We counted over 250 trucks, got fed up when the truck traffic came to a standstill too. We then had to make our way through these trucks in stages and thankfully we managed along with another car.

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Old 4th August 2010, 10:32   #56
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WOW! What amazing pics! Kudos sapna. Did you mention what camera you used?
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Old 4th August 2010, 10:57   #57
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Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-zojila-pass.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-zojila-roads.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-zojila-war-memorial.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-cobblestone-road-zojila.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-people-laying-cobblestones-zojila.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-way-zojila.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-stuck-zojila-2-hrs.jpg

Sonamarg was a welcome relief from all the browns to the greens. The town has fortunately not lost its charm and has been the same since I saw it last in 1990. Lot of people decide to stay here for the night but the sight of many Amarnath tourists forced us to continue further to Srinagar, in spite of the curfew there. Thanks to HVK again, he guided us through the city without facing any hitches. We found accommodation in a 3 star hotel bang opposite the lake at a 60% discount – Hotel Welcome. Thanks to the problems here, the tourist traffic has taken a beating this year and it is sad to see the state of affairs of people who are mainly dependant on tourism.
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-shikara-dal-lake.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-aa-view-dal-lake-sunset.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-shikara.jpg

A good two day break which was needed, rejuvenated us. Unfortunately all that we could do was go for a ride on the Dal lake in a Shikara as most places were shut due to curfew imposed.

Srinagar (1650 mtr above msl) – Amritsar (330 mtr above msl)
We had to leave Srinagar as early as 04:30 am the next day to steer clear of the problematic areas till Anantnag. It was a tense drive early morning with the Army personnel all over the place. We did this stretch of 443 kms in 12 hours, thanks to heavy traffic on the Srinagar – Udhampur ghats. On reaching Pathnakot, we decided to take the same route back via Amritsar and not via Ludhiana – Delhi – Jaipur as we had experienced good roads and traffic conditions earlier. We reached Amritsar at 04:30 pm and settled for the night at the same place that we had stayed earlier in the trip – Hotel Dee Sons.
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-yello-dabwali-jeep.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-black-dabwali-jeep.jpg

Amritsar (330 mtr above msl) - Nagaur (330 mtr above msl)
Our initial plans were to stay at Jodhpur for the night but we managed to cross Jodhpur much earlier than planned in spite of pot holes in a lot of places between Bikaner and Jodhpur, thanks to rain playing havoc. We continued further and reached Nagaur, 640 kms in 11 hours. We stayed at Hotel Mahaveer International, good value for money.

Nagaur (330 mtr above msl) - Vadodara (150 mtr above msl)
693 kms in 11 hours. Yet again, we decided to give Ahmedabad a skip as getting in and out of Ahmedabad was a breeze, thanks to the well planned network of ring roads and highways and not to forget the signages. We reached Vadodara for the night’s halt. Managed to find a decent place here after a lot of looking around - Hotel Swastik.
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-guj-toll-booth.jpg

Vadodara (150 mtr above msl) - Pune (675 mtr above msl)
Traffic on this stretch was very heavy and road conditions had deteriorated due to rains again. We did 545 kms in 10 hours, including a detour at Vapi to see Daman and Diu. But when we took the turn off at Vapi, there was a huge traffic jam on a single lane flyover and we immediately decided against it and returned to the highway. Mumbai again was a breeze through with HVK’s help. Unfortunately did not get to meet him as he was away at work. We reached Pune at 05:30 pm and settled for the night at a friend’s place.

Pune (675 mtr above msl) – Hubli (700 mtr above msl)
Having had a late night, we started from Pune only at 11:00 am. We decided to call it a night at Hubli. The best room in the whole trip so far and the most reasonable too – Hotel Tirumala Classic, located bang opposite the old bus stand in Hubli is highly recommended for anyone giving a break at here.

Hubli (700 mtr above msl) - Sakleshpur (950 mtr above msl)
Lashing rains were a constant company for us right till home. A relaxed drive via Harihar – Honnahalli – Tarikere – Chikmagalur including many stops, we did 360 kms in 7 hours.
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-marigold-fields-near-sakh.jpg

Another observation worth mentioning in this trip is, all through we kept raving about how the foreigner cyclists traverse these terrains until we met the group of Pune cyclists traversing Khardung La and ZanskarValley.
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-cyclist-way-khardung-la.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-cyclists-amarnath.jpg
But we were spell bound and a little ashamed too when we saw some villagers in Punjab and Rajasthan riding on our local Hero cycles all the way for the Amarnath Yatra. Now that is something!!!

A total of 10 passes were covered during this trip. Coming home after 25 days, being welcomed by our 3 dogs was a great feeling. We covered 8122 kilometers in 25 days and having traversed some of the best and the worst roads in our Getz, a feeling of achievement automatically seeped in. The car brought us back home safe and sound without a single hitch, only to be woken up the next morning to a flat tyre!!!!!!

“During the trip, our car reached two milestones – It completed 5 years and 1,00,000 kilometers”.

Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-99999-kms.jpg
Bangalore to Sakleshpur via LADAKH!!!-100000-kms.jpg

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Old 4th August 2010, 11:24   #58
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The photographs, their composition and your way of seeing it are really good. It really encourages one to go out driving far.
Very good choice of the car too. You really need something reliable to go that far and not worry about your ride.
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Old 4th August 2010, 11:40   #59
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Sapna, what are the current timings for Zoji la at the Matayan Check Post after Dras?
I think you were unfortunate to encounter the trucks on their way up from Sonmarg side.

After all the tension that you went through in the Kashmir Valley, would you recommend the Srinagar-Leh route to others in this Forum?

I think you forgot to mention that you took the Udhampur-Dyala Chak short cut to Pathankot without touching Jammu - am I right?
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Old 4th August 2010, 11:47   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Sapna, what are the current timings for Zoji la at the Matayan Check Post after Dras?
I think you were unfortunate to encounter the trucks on their way up from Sonmarg side.

After all the tension that you went through in the Kashmir Valley, would you recommend the Srinagar-Leh route to others in this Forum?

I think you forgot to mention that you took the Udhampur-Dyala Chak short cut to Pathankot without touching Jammu - am I right?
Kumar,I'll take the liberty of answering these questions.
Zoji La was shut between 9 a.m & 2 p.m & we were stopped at Drass & not Matayan.

I would definitely recommend Manlai-Leh anyday.It's more scenic with small quaint towns like Jispa,Keylong & Sarchu,unlike Kargil on the srinagar side.

Yes,we did take Dayala Chak route bypassing Jammu.
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