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Old 20th August 2010, 15:45   #76
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One of best travelogues and very well written also. Have read it in one stretch from morning and I know whom to blame for my non-productive hours so far at work . The Road to Chumur, well whatever exists is beautiful, the best of what you have posted so far. Should have been an excellent adventure.
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Old 20th August 2010, 15:47   #77
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Originally Posted by SinghBHP View Post
Awesome post
Awesome Pics
Awesome Writeup
Awesome Writer
Awesome Camera
Awesome Cameraman

This is one of the best travelogue I have ever read, this seems to be something straight out of some professional travel magazine. You are a wonderful writer and equally good photographer.
BTW Which camera did you use for it ?
Thank's SinghBHP. It's a teamwork with me & my wife in all aspects of the travelogue. i write, she edits. She shoots or I shoot we both post-process. Both of us drive, both of us make maps, and both us decide on the itinerary.

We both share a single camera, Nikon D3000 with two lenses
  • 18-55mm stock lens with VR
  • 70-300mm Nikor Zoom lens without VR (or IS if you use Canon)
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Old 20th August 2010, 17:59   #78
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hmmm.. Okay! It's quite worth the wait.
Three cheers and attempted 15 Stars!
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Old 21st August 2010, 10:47   #79
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Fantastic photography. Postcard worthy I must say.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 07:21   #80
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@harsh - fantastic. Rated 5 stars. Though I have read through many of the Leh travelogues, yours is the first one that has tempted me to plan for one. BTW, I showed the snaps to a Chinese colleague of mine. His first question was - Tibet? I said no, India. Then he saw the discussions about "Chinese Hanky Panky" - he was very distressed - he said that most of the ordinary Chinese people do not know what the government is doing and he (a Chinese!!) warned me that India should never trust the Chinese government !!
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Old 22nd August 2010, 15:32   #81
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Incredible writeup and pics Harsh. Rated it 5-stars. Even though travelogues to Leh are flooded in the forum, this one is really apart from them in a good way. Way to go man. Awesome photography.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 23:25   #82
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Hi Harsh,

This is arguably the best Leh Travelogue I have come across on any forum. Really well written with great narration, useful information and absolutely amazing pics. Thanks again to you and Aarti for sharing your awesome experience with the rest of us. This is the first time I am giving a 5 Star Rating for a TL. Well deserved. Waiting for more.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 10:03   #83
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Originally Posted by KRRaj View Post
One of best travelogues and very well written also. Have read it in one stretch from morning and I know whom to blame for my non-productive hours so far at work . The Road to Chumur, well whatever exists is beautiful, the best of what you have posted so far. Should have been an excellent adventure.
Thanks KRRaj. By the but i loved your Display animated pic of a smiley changing gears. Lovely animation.

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Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
hmmm.. Okay! It's quite worth the wait.
Three cheers and attempted 15 Stars!
Thanks sen2009 for the kind words.

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Originally Posted by fuel_addict View Post
Fantastic photography. Postcard worthy I must say.
Thanks fuel_Additct

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Originally Posted by chennai-indian View Post
@harsh - fantastic. Rated 5 stars. Though I have read through many of the Leh travelogues, yours is the first one that has tempted me to plan for one. BTW, I showed the snaps to a Chinese colleague of mine. His first question was - Tibet? I said no, India. Then he saw the discussions about "Chinese Hanky Panky" - he was very distressed - he said that most of the ordinary Chinese people do not know what the government is doing and he (a Chinese!!) warned me that India should never trust the Chinese government !!
Thanks chennai-indian. I guess tibet has almost the same topography as the changthnag region of Ladakh.

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Originally Posted by //M View Post
Incredible writeup and pics Harsh. Rated it 5-stars. Even though travelogues to Leh are flooded in the forum, this one is really apart from them in a good way. Way to go man. Awesome photography.
THanks //M

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Originally Posted by sami316 View Post
Hi Harsh,

This is arguably the best Leh Travelogue I have come across on any forum. Really well written with great narration, useful information and absolutely amazing pics. Thanks again to you and Aarti for sharing your awesome experience with the rest of us. This is the first time I am giving a 5 Star Rating for a TL. Well deserved. Waiting for more.
Thank you sami316. I am glad that you liked it. Another dost coming up.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 10:17   #84
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Default Day 8 (17th June): Tso Moriri - Chushul - Hanle : 180 km - 10 hrs - Part 2

We left for Hanle from Chumur at about 1:30 pm. We had discussed the rough sketch we had drawn describing the path to Hanle with the ITBP jawan. He gave us a few pointers and a few landmarks which we had to lookout for. He also mentioned that it is quite easy to lose one's way in the valley and one should be careful. And he reminded us at least 5 times to take a right from Kyun Tso, as the left would take us to Nyoma.

Armed with our GPS, on which we'd marked the probable route back in Delhi, we set off for Hanle, hoping to reach there before sunset. The route was relatively easy initially, and all we had to do was to follow our morning tracks till we reached the crucial bifurcation from where we were to turn right. In theory, the plan was simple and easy to follow, but, as we all know, one is rarely that lucky in Ladakh.

The tyre tracks bifurcated 5 km before the point where we'd marked 'crucial juncture' on our GPS. Unsure of what to do, we took the right turn, but returned back soon thereafter, deciding to proceed as per our plan. We took the right turn at our "crucial juncture" but there were no tyre tracks to follow there. It was a dried up wetland, bumpy and still partly grassy. We took a leap of faith and marched on, after all it was our instinct that had taken us to Chumur earlier that day. After a while, when we hadn't seen tyre tracks for quite sometime, we began to question the route, and that is when we saw the much heard of "markings" to Chumur. Ahead of us were two iron sticks jutting out of the ground, with red markings on the top. Phew! We were right after all! These sticks accompanied us almost all the way to Hanle.

I guess the tracks we were following had been abandoned by the ITBP. These had been in use earlier, but now they had a "better road", the one which we had decided not to take. The path we took required some patches of good off-roading skills, particularly to avoid getting stuck in the mud and to avoid hitting the under-belly of the car too hard, and I enjoyed every bit of all that off-roading!

Soon we came to the climb to Salsal La. It seemed like an almost vertical climb! While ascending, we did not shoot a single photograph, with Aarti busy navigating me to chose the gentlest slopes to climb. We soon concluded that this path must only have been used by Stallions to climb. After huffing & puffing for a while, we saw that a road had been blasted and we finally joined it mid-way in our climb to Salsal La. The road was in an awful condition, but at least the gradient was gentle.

But, It was not long before we realized that it's better to avoid the loops and take the climb straight up used by the Stallions. Although much steeper, it was a much smoother climb. It was not before some good 4L mode action that we reached the top of Salsal La. It was time to rest for a while, and give a much deserved break to Kiyang, which was belching out black uncombusted smoke all the way.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-274_chumur-valley.jpg
Curious Kiangs again in Chumur Valley

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-offroading-chumur-valley.jpg
The yellow line is the path that we actually took, and the red one is what we should've taken

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-straight-climb-salsal-la.jpg
The red one was what we should've taken, and the yellow one was what we actually did :grin:

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-275_salsa-la.jpg
Salsal La, finally!

A short while later, it was time for us to get back on our way to Hanle. I cannot recollect why exactly we did not stop at Kyun Tso. We just drove past it. Maybe it was the tiredness from lack of proper sleep the night before. We also did not know, or rather did not notice, that Kyun Tso is actually twin lakes. It was only later when we saw Tanveer's (tsk1979) log (Ladakh and Changthang : The Wilderness Chronicles)did we notice that it was :(. I guess we'll have to do it again anyways.

The ride further to Hanle was long and tiresome. It was a mix of rocky, bumpy and at times a smooth drive too. But one always has to really concentrate, to avoid stones hitting the underbelly. Right after crossing Kyun Tso, we finally came across a Stallion, the first vehicle we'd seen since we left Debring and took the cut towards Tso Kar. It was nice to get some kind of reassurance that we were indeed on the right track. So a couple of marmot sightings, kiang sightings and loads of treacherous driving later, we finally managed to reach Hanle by 6:30pm. The final stretch to Hanle deserves a special mention. It was the most worst stretch of road in a flat wetland ever! With Hanle at a tantalizing distance, and the average speed at 7 kmph, it was one of the most frustrating drives ever!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-276_before-kyun-tso.jpg
A better sighting of a Marmot, still not good enough!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-277_kyun-tso.jpg
The lovely Kyun Tso, should've spent some more time here

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-278_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
Really desolate drive to Hanle

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-279_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
A Stallion sighted, first vehicle sighting after more than 30 hrs!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-280_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
One more kiang, they are a dime a dozen in Changthang

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-283_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
Notice how each one of them is staring at us. They do not like intruders.

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-286_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
Hanle up ahead, the markings of iron bars jutting out on the left of the "road"

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-287_kyun-tso-hanle.jpg
The imposing Hanle fort

Daylight was fading quickly now, the sun was almost at the horizon and it would be dusk soon. We had to start looking for a place to spend the night, but before we did that, a visit to the Hanle Observatory was a must. As we reached atop the hill where it is situated, we got the feeling that that the place is straight out of a sci-fi hollywood blockbuster... A lone observatory, far away from civilization, atop a hill with 5 scientists working on their weird looking monitors. The scientist explained to us that they are only a 4 engineer team, working so that the machine here can function properly for scientists sitting in Bangalore, who control the telescope remotely from there. The only part missing from a sci-fi movie was a hot babe! If she were present, the whole movie "Deep Blue Sea" could've been converted to something like "Lonely Cold Mountain" and shot at the obersvatory in Hanle. And oh by the way, contrary to popular belief, this is not the world's highest observatory. Check Wiki!

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-291_hanle-observatory.jpg
The Hanle Observatory

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-292_hanle-observatory.jpg
The gigantic landscape as seen from the Hanle Observatory

4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-293_hanle-observatory.jpg
Hanle Observatory


4500 km, Two Idiots & a Wild Safari in Ladakh-294_hanle-observatory.jpg
Gamma telescopes, they look like alien ships on Moon landscape!

We were informed by the head scientist that it was impossible for him to give us a room at the obervatory guest house without prior permission from Leh. So we scurried along to the village, and finally found the woman who held the keys to the PWD rest house there. With stay arranged, it was time to cook dinner and rest for the night.

Tomorrow we head out to Pangong Tso...
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Old 23rd August 2010, 10:39   #85
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Hey there,

Lovely travelogue. I love the way you have tagged the pics, and have named the pics. Its an extremely well articulated travelogue. I know how tuff it is to keep a track of which pic was where and the special write up for the same.

cheers,
ac
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Old 23rd August 2010, 10:39   #86
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Within a week so much changes. When we visited the Kyun Tso, it was all frozen, and when you went it was watery! You should have gone south for a couple of kms, and seen the other kyun Tso. Its smaller, but the mountains in the backdrop are very "interesting". Remind me of the first Half life Alien planet.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 11:11   #87
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Hey there,

Lovely travelogue. I love the way you have tagged the pics, and have named the pics. Its an extremely well articulated travelogue. I know how tuff it is to keep a track of which pic was where and the special write up for the same.

cheers,
ac
thanks ac 427. Carrying a laptop during the drive helped too! We used to sort out the photographs at the end of the day, and removing junk photographs and keeping only the ones which were interesting and non-repetitive.

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Within a week so much changes. When we visited the Kyun Tso, it was all frozen, and when you went it was watery! You should have gone south for a couple of kms, and seen the other kyun Tso. Its smaller, but the mountains in the backdrop are very "interesting". Remind me of the first Half life Alien planet.
Yes very true. Totally regret not going a little further up (north ;-)) to discover the second one. Should've scheduled more time for this area. Koi na, The next time this mistake will not be done and the southern-most changthang will be given maximum time
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Old 23rd August 2010, 12:16   #88
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I really liked the Stare all the Kiangs are giving you at the same time. You having a 4x4 really helped you a lot.

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Thanks KRRaj. By the, but i loved your Display animated pic of a smiley changing gears. Lovely animation.
yes. I too like it very much and I think it is quite apt for this place

Last edited by KRRaj : 23rd August 2010 at 12:21.
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Old 23rd August 2010, 20:36   #89
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Vardhan,
Excellent.
A very adventurous drive , that too driving alone with absolutely no back.
The pictures speaks for itself.
Your composition on landscape,portrait are exceedingly superb, including the post processing.
I am really impressed & hats off to you & your navigator companion. I know in such drives, doing 2 things i.e. driviong(+enjoying the drive) & photography is not easy.
I am sure TATA guys should see this report & it will add a feather to Safari line-ups!
Great trip & Great coverage both your write-up, pictures etc!
I felt like leaving everything here & return back to home country. The pictures are just so powerful & expressing!
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Old 24th August 2010, 02:51   #90
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Default - inspirational -

This pictorial has wound up all our team for our long roadtrip next year. Thank you for a giving a real feel of your trip with both the lovely photos and of course the writing style. Now we just have to decide on which of our three options to exercise.

Cheers!
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