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Old 9th December 2010, 15:37   #46
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

Why the Nalagarh route to Manali and not via Kiratpur? Better roads? Or because you were staying in Nalagarh Fort?

Surprised that the Tandi petrol pump near Keylong was open as late as 9 pm? Good to know that, I thought it closed by 6 or 7 pm.

The shower tent idea is brilliant - any photos? Where does one get such tents?
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Old 9th December 2010, 15:43   #47
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

Fantabulous. I cant find superlatives to describe this.

The Jeep looks all prepared for the terrain. If I had to pick THE picture from the log, it has to be "...7200.jpg".

Cant wait for more. I guess F5 key in on the verge of breaking after repeated use
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Old 9th December 2010, 15:45   #48
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The photo of the long bridge after you left Nalagarh - where is that?
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Old 9th December 2010, 16:23   #49
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Why the Nalagarh route to Manali and not via Kiratpur? Better roads? Or because you were staying in Nalagarh Fort?

Surprised that the Tandi petrol pump near Keylong was open as late as 9 pm? Good to know that, I thought it closed by 6 or 7 pm.

The shower tent idea is brilliant - any photos? Where does one get such tents?
Yes the Nalagarh route was taken only because we were staying at the Fort the first night.
The Tandi petrol pump was closed and there was nobody inside the room in the pump enclosure. As you have rightly said, it closes by 7 in the evening.
Here is a snap of the shower tent. I guess it is available in camping equipment stores in Delhi.

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Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
Fantabulous. I cant find superlatives to describe this.

The Jeep looks all prepared for the terrain. If I had to pick THE picture from the log, it has to be "...7200.jpg".

Cant wait for more. I guess F5 key in on the verge of breaking after repeated use
Oh thanks a lot for those generous comments. If you refer to the 1st post, good number of upgrades were done to take the jeep in this journey. And don't be that harsh on the F5 key

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The photo of the long bridge after you left Nalagarh - where is that?
If you are referring to the pic below then it was not on the main road towards Manali. We saw this bridge on the other side from the hotel dining room while having the dinner. I can't remember the location exactly, but it was much before the dam.

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Old 9th December 2010, 17:16   #50
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

@HV the bridge in question is on the Nalagarh- Ropar route, if you remember the old road there used to be a small bridge and a causeway here before.
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Old 9th December 2010, 19:37   #51
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.....We saw this bridge on the other side from the hotel dining room while having the dinner. I can't remember the location exactly, but it was much before the dam....
Oops that should be 'while having the lunch'.

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@HV the bridge in question is on the Nalagarh- Ropar route, if you remember the old road there used to be a small bridge and a causeway here before.
Thanks for the input. I did read about the Ropar route but didn't know that was the one.
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Old 9th December 2010, 20:41   #52
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Default Re: Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group

During lunch eh hmm? I am presuming that you took lunch after joining the Manali highway at Swarghat. In that case the bridge is not the bridge as identified above. Could you please tell me the route that you took after the U turn at Nalagarh. Where did it join the main highway? Any time distance from Swarghat to the place you had lunch will be helpful in identifying the bridge much better. There have been 4 5 bridges that have come up in that area in the last 3 4 years.
But still I feel its the bridge in the proximity of Nalagarh only due to topography and the bridge looks familiar, lol.

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Old 9th December 2010, 21:00   #53
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Jispa To Leh continued...
-------------------------

Already having experienced the typical 'maggi with hot water' this time in Pang we told the dhaba owner to drain the water out and make it kind of dry. It was actually a big mistake as later on we found that a significant portion of the noddle was uncooked. This actually worsened the situation and pretty much everyone had indigestion. For me it was even worse and i had to go out from the tent amidst rain to puke out the intakes! In between a Tavera came from the opposite direction and we got to know that they were actually going towards Leh, but wasn't very confident about the situation at More plains hence wanted to stay back at Pang for the night. Sanjay enquired about the condition of road ahead from few truckers and they advised us to be cautious.
Finally after around one and half hour of break at Pang we resumed the journey for the final stretch to Leh. Rain was continuing and soon we came to that spectacular left turn towards More plain. Sanjay had been mentioning about this turn and it was easily identifiable as this is probably the only place after Pang where some reflectors were put by the side of the road. The vista on the right is difficult to describe in words. It was unimaginably huge stretch of those unique earthen formations continuing alongside a sharp drop. Unfortunately the weather was too cloudy and we were not in the best condition to take pics by getting down. Here is a pic.

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-turn.jpg

And finally we entered the More plains. Everyone, with whom i discussed the idea of taking the jeep to Leh before the trip, cautioned me unanimously about crossing More plains, reason being high probability of getting completely covered in dust in a soft top jeep. And here was the actual situation; forget about dust the entire zone was converted in to a muddy trail! The 'main metalled' road ended very soon because of ongoing repairing work and we started taking the diversions which became progressively worse. At few places Sanjay was trying out two three different routes in his LC to direct the Wagon R & Cedia regarding which route to follow. We saw three trucks stuck pretty badly at three different areas with almost half the tyres buried inside ground! Light was fading out quickly and we were trying our best to cross the More plain before darkness.

Passing through this stretch in this kind of a weather and time was giving such a different feeling. And indeed it was such a different setting altogether than whatever we had heard before about More plains. Crossing More plains in rain is certainly one of the many notable incidents of this trip. Wish we had someone going alongside and capturing video of all the vehicles passing through the zone. With few kms remaining to cross More plain,Mandeep switched back to Cedia and I came back to the Jeep. I was feeling slightly better after taking the rest and somehow convinced myself that i could drive. In between the indicator lever of the jeep was broken and for some reason the lights in the consoles were fluctuating! It was giving kind of eerie feeling as darkness was creeping in quietly.

Soon the needle of the fuel started going pretty down and we decided to refuel the jeep from the jerrycane. Mandeep was ok and did the job almost single handedly. Here are glimpses of the journey and a video to give some feeling...

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-dsc07224.jpg

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-dsc07227.jpg



Finally the more plain ended and we started the journey for the final ascent before Leh,the much dreaded and much talked about Tanglang la. It was completely dark by then and we were the only group of vehicles going towards Leh. What followed in the next hour or so is something i will remember forever. It was drizzling and suddenly became quite cold, roads were mostly non-existent, streams were flowing in full flow on the road and to top it all i had to take two three puke breaks with the remaining portion of Maggi at Pang still playing havoc inside!

Travelaholic, my wife was also not in a stable position though encouraging me with whatever energy still left. The climbs, as heard, seemed like never ending. The gradient of the ascent was sensed at few places when i could see the light of the vehicle in front, Cedia, at a long distance! Meanwhile it started drizzling and the cold was indescribable. Finally we started spotting blackish snow walls on the side of the road and soon we reached the top of Tanglang la around 9 or 9.30 at night!
After seeing the mark of Tanglang la in the plaque in the headlight of the jeep,i did thank god for reaching there safely with the jeep successfully passing the acid test. We heard that during day time and with a clear weather, the vistas seen from Tanglang la are really spectacular. But our situation was different. The time, weather, physical condition... everything was not in the favourable bests and believe it or not we didn't click even a single picture of Tanglang la !! Halfway down the descent finally my energy level was hitting the bottom. Though stretches ahead were easier than what we had encountered already, to be on the safe side Mandeep again took the driver's seat in the Jeep while i sat with Sanjay in the LC. After some time we reached Upshi and few of us wanted to have a cup of hot tea to rejuvenate before the final push to Leh; but none of the shop was open at that point of the night. Sanjay did some fast driving thereafter, albeit in a semi-asleep stage which he revealed later! The proper road coming ahead gave a huge relief and after around an hour or so we were at Leh.
Our accommodation was booked at Lha-ri-sa resort and we took some good time in finding it as the board on the main road was taken off and placed somewhere else. Finally sometime before midnight we reached the parking lot of Lha ri sa. We did a high five as finally the jeep successfully completed the Manali-Leh highway without any major hitch and it was really like a dream come true. Mandeep's efforts to build the jeep into a proper shape and our passion and devotion for this machine really paid off.

This was how the jeep was appearing after reaching Leh. Excuse the slight overuse of the flash.

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-dsc07232.jpg

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-dsc07233.jpg

Jeeplogue : A JEEP Journey to Ladakh with Self Drive Expedition Group-dsc07235.jpg

Somehow we dragged ourselves into the rooms, with the minimum luggages required for the night. As Sanjay informed the hotel people beforehand about our late arrival, dinner was ready at the dining room. Though we didn't 've much of appetite, just had some small portions of rice, dal and vegetables. Around 1 at night finally we retired to bed with still not believing properly that we have reached Leh in our jeep after such a long and eventful journey!
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Old 9th December 2010, 21:06   #54
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Though it turned out alright in the end but I would advise everybody not to do this stretch at night. If you cannot make it past Tla by 1700 hrs stay back at Pang. Gosh what ever happened to the black Tarmac at More Plains?
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Old 10th December 2010, 10:07   #55
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During lunch eh hmm? I am presuming that you took lunch after joining the Manali highway at Swarghat. In that case the bridge is not the bridge as identified above. Could you please tell me the route that you took after the U turn at Nalagarh. Where did it join the main highway? Any time distance from Swarghat to the place you had lunch will be helpful in identifying the bridge much better..
Yes we had lunch much after joining the Manali highway. And we joined the main highway most probably at Swarghat only. From there, the place of the lunch took around 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours or so.

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Though it turned out alright in the end but I would advise everybody not to do this stretch at night. If you cannot make it past Tla by 1700 hrs stay back at Pang. Gosh what ever happened to the black Tarmac at More Plains?
Crossing Tanglang la in darkness is not at all advisable. We did it because of the following reasons:
1. It was raining continuously at Pang and the sleeping arrangements inside the tents were messed up. And with that kind of weather it was going to be an extremely cold night which the tents at Pang were not properly equipped to face.
2. We already had a confirmed booking at Leh. The assurance of getting a proper accommodation with all the facilities was a big motivation to push for the final stretch.
3. We were in a group and the two lead persons were pretty experienced with this area and the journey.
If we were alone, off course never ever would have dared to do this.

Condition at the More plain was some experience. The tarred road is in dismal condition for some good time now. What was really unexpected was the rain!
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Old 10th December 2010, 10:43   #56
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Agree with wandernomad, driving up the high passes after dark is an unenviable task. Especially if it is a hot day, all the ice melt will mean rivulets all over the place. I advise friends to have a cut off time of 4 pm at Jispa (for Baralacha la) or Pang (for Tanglang la). Unfortunately, as Kandisa mentions, facilities at Pang are so bad that one would prefer to brave the cold than stay there. I wonder why no quality accommodation is being permitted in Pang (unlike Sarchu in HP which has good tents)?
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Old 10th December 2010, 10:56   #57
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Pang lies in the administrative control of JKTDC or the LAC and they are not very overtly considerate about the arrangements at Pang, as it is more of a no mans land.
@kandisa you guys could ahve checked the transit det at Pang. For other friends venturing into that territory please be advised that the Army Transit Det there will provide assistance in case of need but subject to avialablity.
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Old 10th December 2010, 11:03   #58
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Agree with wandernomad, driving up the high passes after dark is an unenviable task. Especially if it is a hot day, all the ice melt will mean rivulets all over the place. I advise friends to have a cut off time of 4 pm at Jispa (for Baralacha la) or Pang (for Tanglang la).
Thankfully being a cloudy day althroughout, the flow of the rivulets was still less enroute Tanglang la than what we encountered at Kangla jal or before. But it was the cold and darkness at this altitude alog with the drizzle that made the journey really difficult. Another factor was the crossing of More plain where the off the road patches turned very tricky due to rain. At many places it was soft soil and mud and it was risky for normal cars. Thankfully we crossed the area before total darkness otherwise chalking out the appropriate routes would have impossible.

Quote:
Unfortunately, as Kandisa mentions, facilities at Pang are so bad that one would prefer to brave the cold than stay there. I wonder why no quality accommodation is being permitted in Pang (unlike Sarchu in HP which has good tents)?
The situation was even worse due to the rain. Most of the mattresses of the tent where we stopped were soiled! It was unimaginable to spend a night at Pang like that. Is the issue related to permission or since Sarchu already has good tent accommodation, no commercial interest to provide the same at Pang?

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Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Pang lies in the administrative control of JKTDC or the LAC and they are not very overtly considerate about the arrangements at Pang, as it is more of a no mans land.
@kandisa you guys could ahve checked the transit det at Pang. For other friends venturing into that territory please be advised that the Army Transit Det there will provide assistance in case of need but subject to avialablity.
More details on the transit Det please. Where is it exactly?

Last edited by Kandisa : 10th December 2010 at 11:05.
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Old 10th December 2010, 12:13   #59
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Uncooked maggi really took a toll on you.
With all the cold, rain and the ghats, I can imagine how difficult it was for you to get going in the Jeep. The Jeep did stand good all the while. Great going, keep the rest of the travelogue coming.
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Old 10th December 2010, 12:22   #60
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Excellent thread, love the way you are narrating your experiences. I have only seen rain soaked photographs till now. I know it is somewhat romantic, but I hope you did get some clear weather as you approached Leh.

I think we were in Leh almost at the same time. I my family and my extended family was there from the 23rd till the 1st of August. We flew in and traveled around by Taxi's.

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The shower tent idea is brilliant - any photos? Where does one get such tents?
First of all Happy Birthday HVK.

Now coming back to the topic, while on my trip Kailash Mansarovar, all the ladies were recommended to carry long ankle length skirts (ghagra type) with them. These were very useful for emergencies.

Though we always had the toilet tent available in one of the vehicles but sometimes it does take a few minutes for the vehicles to collect and another couple of minutes for erecting the toilet tent.

Though toilet tent is very usefull while you have camped for the night, but IMO the long skirts are more practical while travelling. ( Rest I shall leave for the ladies to decide) Also make sure to buy a toilet seat with the toilet tent.

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Agree with wandernomad, driving up the high passes after dark is an unenviable task. Especially if it is a hot day, all the ice melt will mean rivulets all over the place. I advise friends to have a cut off time of 4 pm at Jispa (for Baralacha la) or Pang (for Tanglang la).
Could not agree more with you on this. Its just not on high passes, the problem arises more on the foothills. On my recent visit to Ladhak, we got stuck twice in mud/sludge that was created by water coming from melting ice from hill tops.

One was just before Pangong and the other one was whilst we were returning from base camp to Partapur. Both times we got delayed and were travelling after 1700 hrs on a bright sunny day. So due to the warmth through out the day lot of snow had melted and created nullah's across the roads

So basically if its a bright sunny day, it is advised to return/reach to the destination earlier as more are the chances of getting stuck in mud/sludge in the evening.

EDIT: Also anyone going to Leh/ Ladhak and getting stuck can always ask the help from Indian Army. I know for a fact that the officers/ jawans have been instructed to help out civilians in case of emergencies (medical or otherwise) and they will be more than happy to help you.

Luckily ours is an Army much more considerate and helpfull towards civilians unlike the Army on the otherside who have just crushed the values of the people whom the occupy.

Last edited by deky : 10th December 2010 at 12:36.
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