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Old 18th August 2010, 21:41   #46
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Originally Posted by anekho View Post
Harsh, seriously man, fantastic log - 5 stars without a doubt!

The photos are so crisp and vibrant - sheer quality, dude!

Do you post the photos in High Res somewhere (like flickr)? Some of them would make great wallpapers!

cheers
Thanks anekho.
I've started to upload a higher res. (1600) on picassaweb. Here's the link: Picasa Web Albums - Harsh - Ladakh-2010
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Old 18th August 2010, 22:28   #47
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Default Day 5 (14th June): Kargil - Lamayuru - Alchi - Leh : 240 km - 12 hrs - Part 2

Kiyang groaned, huffed and panted as it trudged up the mountain. The orange, pink, brown and black shales on the hill ahead were very inviting, and so were the yaks grazing in the meadow beneath them. The climb itself was gentle, the gradient comfortable enough initially to do in 2nd gear 4H mode, but soon I had to shift to 4H - 1st gear and in the end it was only 4L and 1st gear! We stopped some 100 meters before the yaks, and looked around. Mesmerizing is an understatement for what we saw around us! The road could be seen far ahead, snaking in and out of the barren mountains, and for a while we just stood there, reveling in the beauty of the place. We of course went crazy clicking pictures there, particularly of Kiyang. Our only regret was that doing Zoji La the previous day had taken it's toll on Kiyang and it's side-cladding had turned from black to light brown. :(

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-124_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
Off-roading before Lamayuru

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-125_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
The road in the distance

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-126_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
Did I saturate the photograph too much? Well I like it! :grin:

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-127_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
Aarti took all of these

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-128_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
Tata Motors, if you're seeing this, we can change the copyright to say 'Tata Motors', just sponsor our trip! :grin:

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-130_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
Time to go back

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-132_offroading-lamayuru.jpg
This was the offroading track, we almost reached the point where the two hills come together

After coming back on the road, we contemplated visiting the Lamayuru gompa, but soon decided in the negative, since the Spiti gompas were still fresh in our minds. Of course, another reason was that I'm not a gompa fan, and Aarti had already been to the Lamayuru gompa on her trip to Ladakh with her parents. Incidentally, the road to Lamayuru was not marked properly since the BRO was working on a new road, and thus we completely missed the cut.

A few kms ahead, we saw a gypsy with a flashing red light on top coming towards us. The driver was waving his hands frantically, asking us to stop. We obliged, scared that the Army may be reprimanding us for our off-roading session earlier. However, it was nothing like that! It was actually the Chief Minister's cavalcade going towards Lamayuru. And guess what? The dude was driving a Toyota Landcruiser, wearing Ray Bans and a blue t-shirt, with the windows completely rolled down!

An interesting thing happend on our climb down from Lamayuru. I was telling Aarti that I have not yet been stuck in an Army convoy. And there! Lo and behold, we take a turn and had to stop for about 15 minutes or so to let a convoy of about 50 Stallions pass. Love those machines.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-133_moonscape-lamayuru.jpg
Personally, I think the moonscape at Lamayuru is over-rated

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-134_descending-lamayuru.jpg
Now that's an angry landscape!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-135_descending-lamayuru.jpg
One can see the convoy on it's way far below

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-138_approaching-khaltsi.jpg
The road flattened out again post Lamayuru

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-139_post-khaltsi.jpg
Bumpy, but straight roads all the same

Post the climb-down, I decided to take a nap while Aarti took control of the wheel. I had hardly closed my eyes when she halted as some bikers were stopping us, asking for help. The guy had a flat front tyre and wanted to know if we had an air compressor. Luckily we did, and since his bike's tyres were tubeless, he could easily get to the next town before all that air leaked. Now I had to show-off, :grin:, only to put my foot in my own mouth later. Beaming with confidence from the puncture repair the previous day, I told him that we could actually fix the puncture right there. Unfortunately, I messed up big time, and ended up breaking the tool with which one repairs the puncture. The poor guy still had a flat tyre, only now with a little bigger opening for the air to pass, all thanks to my over-confidence! We pumped air in the tyre again and sent him off, hoping to God that he reaches the next town safely. Thankfully he did made it, as we found out later, and I swore not to show-off my puncture repair skills to anyone anymore.

We then took the detour to Alchi, as Aarti had been there earlier and wanted to revisit the place. Had an amazing lunch of macaroni & cheese at a camping resort there. The place had an amazing place to stay with super clean bathrooms.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-140_at-alchi.jpg
Alchi was very very green!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-143_post-saspol.jpg
I absolutely fell in love with this stretch of the road

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-145_post-saspol.jpg
The stretch ended here, after a short while

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-147_confleunce-indus-zanskar.jpg
Confluence of the blue Indus and the brown Zanskar rivers at Nimmu. The road on the opposite bank is the one going to Chlling , which will be connected with Padum in Zanskar & much later with Darcha in Himachal!.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-148_confleunce-indus-zanskar.jpg
Another shot of the confluence

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-149_magnetic-hill.jpg
Folks, it's not magnetism, but an optical illusion

We decided not to stop at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib since it was getting late, and we now wanted to reach Leh as early as possible. We'd already booked our hotel in Leh on a friend's recommendation, and headed straight to the hotel when we reached. The Padma Hotel and Guest House is an excellent place to stay. In the middle of the bazaar, yet tucked away from the main road (which could also be it's flip side since you cannot take your car up to the hotel, but it really is just a 2 minute walk from the main road), the hotel is set amidst a kitchen garden, and is squeaky clean! It's the ideal place to relax, and is also quite reasonably priced.

After a hearty meal at the Tibetan Kitchen, we turned in early, totally exhausted after five days of hectic travelling. Tomorrow would be a rest day.
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Old 18th August 2010, 23:19   #48
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Lovely narration, Harsh, with equally beautiful pics to complement it. Some of the shots of the Kiyang could well be considered poster material, and TML might have taken you up on your offer.
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Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
Tata Motors, if you're seeing this, we can change the copyright to say 'Tata Motors', just sponsor our trip!
However, I suppose they won't, because you shot yourself in the foot by implying that the vehicle is an underpowered, slow-moving SOB (short-of-breath) of a vehicle, which almost busted its guts when you were trying to get to the location where the pics were taken. You said this:
Quote:
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Kiyang groaned, huffed and panted as it trudged up the mountain.
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Old 19th August 2010, 00:55   #49
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Beautiful pics. It seems to suggest a Nikon DSLR - esp the color of the skies, but the aspect ratio screams Canon!!

btw, I LOVED Patnitop. Decent dinner at the only big restaurant in town( veg!) and the room at the Kashmir tourism dak bungalow (?) was awesome. wood panel, hot water on demand (geyser was out of order) and great service/food. a steal in 500 bucks. Worth a total visit.
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Old 19th August 2010, 02:36   #50
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Great pictures and narration. Just rated 5*.
I like the "A farmer working in a field before Srinagar" picture of all.
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Old 19th August 2010, 05:37   #51
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@HARSH >> From the entire clutter of Leh logues posted this year, I like yours best. Nice pictures to support some excellent narration. Some of the pics do look a little over saturated/contrasted in comaprison to those seen on a few other logues, but nevertheless awesome stuff and they look good.

Every Leh logue offers a different flavour and yours is the most unique of the bunch.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 19th August 2010, 06:50   #52
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Harsh, terrific snaps! Esp the horses/ponies in the wild.
I cannot give another 5 stars!
Really this one takes the cake of all the Leh-logues!
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Old 19th August 2010, 08:25   #53
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Lovely narration, Harsh, with equally beautiful pics to complement it. Some of the shots of the Kiyang could well be considered poster material, and TML might have taken you up on your offer.

However, I suppose they won't, because you shot yourself in the foot by implying that the vehicle is an underpowered, slow-moving SOB (short-of-breath) of a vehicle, which almost busted its guts when you were trying to get to the location where the pics were taken. You said this:

Thanks SS-Traveller, as for TML catastrophe Whoops! There goes my chances of making any money out of my trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Beautiful pics. It seems to suggest a Nikon DSLR - esp the color of the skies, but the aspect ratio screams Canon!!

btw, I LOVED Patnitop. Decent dinner at the only big restaurant in town( veg!) and the room at the Kashmir tourism dak bungalow (?) was awesome. wood panel, hot water on demand (geyser was out of order) and great service/food. a steal in 500 bucks. Worth a total visit.
Thanks phamilyman, It's a Nikon DSLR, did not play around with the aspect ratio. Btw i guess i'm going to be beaten up by people who have loved Patnitop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by live360 View Post
Great pictures and narration. Just rated 5*.
I like the "A farmer working in a field before Srinagar" picture of all.
Thanks live360. I took this for my wife's company, they work in the not-for-profit sector. But they eventually did not use it since it was a man, would've used the same image had a female was working instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
@HARSH >> From the entire clutter of Leh logues posted this year, I like yours best. Nice pictures to support some excellent narration. Some of the pics do look a little over saturated/contrasted in comaprison to those seen on a few other logues, but nevertheless awesome stuff and they look good.

Every Leh logue offers a different flavour and yours is the most unique of the bunch.

Cheers,

Jay
Thanks Jay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Harsh, terrific snaps! Esp the horses/ponies in the wild.
I cannot give another 5 stars!
Really this one takes the cake of all the Leh-logues!
Thanks ampere for the kind words.
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Old 19th August 2010, 08:33   #54
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Nice Blog and well maintained data...
bring it on
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Old 19th August 2010, 08:36   #55
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Default Day 6 (15th June): Rest day at Leh (permits) : 0 km

What a wonderful feeling it was to wake up in Leh! Our journey till now had been awesome, and we were expecting even better stuff in days to come.

It was my first time in Leh, but Aarti had been there 5 years back with her parents. I was really awestruck by it's beauty, and also with the feeling of just being there .

The morning was spent in arranging for permits. Surprisingly, the guy at the counter did not question our request for permit of Marsimik La, but rather questioned our motives to go to Chumur. The conversation went somewhat like this:
Guy at Counter: "Aap Chumur kyo jaana chahte hai" (Why do you want to go to Chumur?)
Harsh : "Kate hue haath dekhne" (To see the cut-up-hands)
Guy at Counter (smiling): "Kate hue haath, aapko kaise pata waha kate hue haath hai?" (Cut-up-hands?, How do you know that there are cut-up-hands there)
Harsh: "Sir, discovery channel pe dekha tha" (Sir, I' had watched it on the discovery channel)
Guy at counter (smiling) : "Haath idhar hi dekh lo, itni door jaane ki kya zaroorat hai?" (Watch these hands right here, why do you want to go all the way to Chumur to see a pair of hands) and then he signed the permit!

Needless to say, i was smiling too during the whole converastion.

I did not expect to get the permits so easily, but the whole process was very smooth. The next order of business was to give Kiyang a nice bath, which, after a bit of asking around, happened at a car-washing place in Choglamsar. Our tripod had been missing a screw since a few days, and the next chore was to find a jugaad for it. That too was taken care of easily at a scooter repair shop. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, eating delicious food and recuperating. Sadly, we did not click much in Leh, all in all 3 snaps, of which I'm sharing one. This was taken from the Leh View roof top restaurant in the main bazaar, which by the way serves excellent Continental fare.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-154_view-rooftop-restaurant.jpg
View from the Leh View roof top restaurant

The plan for the next day was to go to Nubra... However, God had something completely different in store for us. I think Ladakh in general does not like people with fixed plans and itineraries... who knew that instead of relaxing on the sand dunes of Hunder (as we had planned), we would actually have to sleep on the sandy banks of Tso Moriri, with not a soul to be found for miles...
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Old 19th August 2010, 08:38   #56
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Nice Blog and well maintained data...
bring it on
Thanks MohsinRoadster. I've already brought it on (another log). Waiting for the moderators to approve. Also waiting to break the 25 posts barrier to get rid of the moderator queue.
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Old 19th August 2010, 08:43   #57
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The photos are out of the world. Great TL. Deserves 5 star rating.
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Old 19th August 2010, 12:27   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vardhan.harsh View Post
Guy at Counter: "Aap Chumur kyo jaana chahte hai" (Why do you want to go to Chumur?)
Harsh : "Kate hue haath dekhne" (To see the cut-up-hands)
Guy at Counter (smiling): "Kate hue haath, aapko kaise pata waha kate hue haath hai?" (Cut-up-hands?, How do you know that there are cut-up-hands there)
Harsh: "Sir, discovery channel pe dekha tha" (Sir, I' had watched it on the discovery channel)
Guy at counter (smiling) : "Haath idhar hi dekh lo, itni door jaane ki kya zaroorat hai?" (Watch these hands right here, why do you want to go all the way to Chumur to see a pair of hands) and then he signed the permit!
Could you please explain the significance of this conversation for the benefit of all here
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Old 19th August 2010, 12:35   #59
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Could you please explain the significance of this conversation for the benefit of all here
Chumur is a border outpost, and recently, that area has seen hanky panky by the chinese.
Now, foreign nationals cannot go there, its strictly off limits, but on asking you could get permits for chumur without much difficulty.
I got a permit in 2009 without much trouble.
However, this time things were different. A lot of staff at DC office was pretty new. 99% of permits say Nubra, Pangong, Tso moriri. Thats about it.
So to see a permit with a long list like
Chushul, Hanle, Chumur. Tsaga, Man Merak.... etc., etc., was a big shock.
So the guy there tried to dissuade me from getting chumur permit. I insisted and kept on bugging him. Finally he relented, and gave me chumur permit.
Around that time, there were many other people in leh, getting permits for the chushul area as well as chumur.
Therefore, by the time harsh went, he must have softened a bit.
But still, those guys must be wondering why on earth anybody would want to go to Chumur!
Hence this conversation.
I guess, after these new guys spend a year or so in DC office, and encounter lot of people asking for permits to all sorts of weird places, they will soften.

Incidently, this time on the Chushul Loma section, there was a lot more "vigilance". We were stopped twice and our permits thoroughly checked. Once ITBP officer did double round of checking after I asked him "Can we see china from here ".

So moral of the story - Try hard, you will get all the permits. And when you are traveling, just show your permits, answer their questions, and do not ask silly questions!
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Old 19th August 2010, 12:45   #60
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Chumur is a border outpost, and recently, that area has seen hanky panky by the chinese.
Now, foreign nationals cannot go there, its strictly off limits, but on asking you could get permits for chumur without much difficulty.
I got a permit in 2009 without much trouble.
However, this time things were different. A lot of staff at DC office was pretty new. 99% of permits say Nubra, Pangong, Tso moriri. Thats about it.
So to see a permit with a long list like
Chushul, Hanle, Chumur. Tsaga, Man Merak.... etc., etc., was a big shock.
So the guy there tried to dissuade me from getting chumur permit. I insisted and kept on bugging him. Finally he relented, and gave me chumur permit.
Around that time, there were many other people in leh, getting permits for the chushul area as well as chumur.
Therefore, by the time harsh went, he must have softened a bit.
But still, those guys must be wondering why on earth anybody would want to go to Chumur!
Hence this conversation.
I guess, after these new guys spend a year or so in DC office, and encounter lot of people asking for permits to all sorts of weird places, they will soften.

Incidently, this time on the Chushul Loma section, there was a lot more "vigilance". We were stopped twice and our permits thoroughly checked. Once ITBP officer did double round of checking after I asked him "Can we see china from here ".

So moral of the story - Try hard, you will get all the permits. And when you are traveling, just show your permits, answer their questions, and do not ask silly questions!
Sir, I actually wanted to know the story behind "Kate hue haath" at Chumur
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