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Old 23rd March 2011, 19:35   #31
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

THE RIDE THROUGH THE LADAKH RANGES

" The Land Is So Barren
and The Passes So High
That Only Our Fiercest Enemies
Or Our Best Friends Will Want To Visit Us"

A Ladakhi saying.

Kargil-Lomayuru: This road or no road was where the Ladakh fun really started. Upto now, life was a breeze, a perfect vacation setting that was to end and turn into an Adventure of the highest order a bike with a Woman!

We gained height rapidly on the mountain pass. Suddenly, the terrain changed dramatically from green to desolation. Hard rocky stupendous mountain terrain, little oxygen, scary drop offs, fish tailing bike!

At many small stretches she had to dismount and walk as the bike had little traction on the gravel with landslides all too often and steep falls to the right of the road. Even the metalled roads were deceptive and the bike would slide despite new tyres. I was careful to ride on the first 3 gears through the Kharakhorram Ranges.

I put up a brave front, Medini started to get scared with every twist and turn. Biking here was no more than 20/30 kmph first and second gear. I thought the engine will cease and the clutch would burn. Nothing of the sort happened.

Exhausted, we stopped to take pics at many places in the Kharakorrum ranges of Ladakh.

For a 1000 square miles around us, treacherous barren mountain country, no humans in sight, no vehicles, no water, dried out rivers deep down the gorge. No shrubs, trees or a blade of grass. Nothing but desolation.

This was WILD WILD LADAKH at it’s best.

We were out there in splendid isolation. Suddenly, chilly crosswinds hit us. We were frozen stiff. However, the pics came out great!!

After a million hours on the saddle, got the first glimpse of Lomayuru! Heavens be blessed! Civilization at last! Plenty of greenery, plenty of oxygen!

We passed through Lomayuru and halted for the night at Kolatse.

Last edited by nanduchitnis : 23rd March 2011 at 19:48.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 19:37   #32
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post
@TSK> Riding to Ladakh takes months of preparatory work which includes physical fitness, specially exercises to strengthen the lower back muscles, legs and shoulders. We did all this at home for a few weeks. Besides we golf regularly and that strengthens 205 muscles during the golf swing!

We rode long distances on bad mountain roads around Pune with the Members of BikeNomads.

While practising offroading we had a major accident which caused our helmets to crack and suffered some abrasions to our legs. Lucky that the bike was in running condition after the fall. We drove some 40 kms bleeding good red blood, to the nearest Naval hospital at Lonavala at INS Shivaji.

Although it was a Sunday all the specialist Docs were lined up to treat our wounds. I was seriously injured, with some furniture disturbed around my nose. But my wife Medini was attended to like a VIP while I waited my turn for x rays and treatment like an OPD patient. She suffered superficial abrasions only but got the best looksie.

To regain our confidence, we rode the same route again two weeks later with bandages, new helmets and good riding clothing with protection. This was important else Ladakh ride would have been aborted.

Suffice to say during our Ladakh ride we never had a fall thanks to this episode, although roads were hell, so to say.

Such is life!!
Ooops!!! Amazing!!! I really envy you both. As TSK rightly said, Biking in Leh is a test of endurance. Travelling by car itself is such a big risk. On bike, one has to do relaxed drive as you will be concentrating so much on the road in the mountain. Nice to know that nothing serious happened when you went offroading.

Did you come on Leh - Manali road on the return? If not, you have another opprtunity to this stretch. If not on bike, in a car. It is just mind boggling.

Yes....will post pics of Kanha as part of our Chattisgarh/Kanha travelogue.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 19:51   #33
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Feast on this pic and save as Wall Paper for free!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:03   #34
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Ooops!!! Amazing!

Did you come on Leh - Manali road on the return? If not, you have another opprtunity to this stretch. If not on bike, in a car. It is just mind boggling.
Yes the return route was Leh>Tangalangala>Sarchu>Manali>Simla>Chandigad>Del hi. The ride ended at Delhi.

Thanks a ton for putting a very precious pic of the Kargil War Heroes.I am deeply moved and touched.

Rgds

Commander Nandu Chitnis (Retd)
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:04   #35
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

I am loving the journey, as it seems that you stayed at the same places as we did when we did that circuit. Obviously we did not ride, we had a CHT as I had my 2 year old daughter and in laws with me.

But Sir, I am confused by the year you travelled in, so was it 2007 (as per your first post) that you mentioning here or was it recently?

Apart from staying at the same places it seems like we have shot a few photographs at similar locations too

So now its spot the difference time

Your photo at Sonamarg TT Tarnsit Camp Mess
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My Photo
Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09-dsc05814.jpg


Your Photo at ZojiLa
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My Photo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanduchitnis View Post

Kargil: Next morning the 60 odd kms ride to Kargil along the river Indus was a breeze. Medini was back in action with me. Beautiful roads, nice spots to take pics. We were received liked kings at the Kargil Army Brigade Headquarters. An entire luxury cottage was booked for us by the Corps HQ from Srinagar!! Medini crashed out and purred like a cat in the luxurious villa.
A small corrections Sir, if I may. The river you mentioning here is the river Suru.

And the Brigade mess (right opposite the Suru river) is really a luxury. The Nun and Kun villas are actually better than any 5-star accommodation you will get.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:06   #36
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Commander Chitnis,
My salutations to you, Mrs. Chitnis and the Kargil heroes, whose photographs Fauji so thoughtfully included in your thread.

My ignorance, that I missed this thread until now, as I am more of a jungle and wildlife guy than the high altitudes.

"Inspirational" is the first word that came to my mind after going through your thread, thanks. Will be coming back for more.
Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 23rd March 2011 at 20:09.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:45   #37
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Originally Posted by deky View Post
I am loving the journey, as it seems that you stayed at the same places as we did when we did that circuit. Obviously we did not ride, we had a CHT as I had my 2 year old daughter and in laws with me.

But Sir, I am confused by the year you travelled in, so was it 2007 (as per your first post) that you mentioning here or was it recently?

Apart from staying at the same places it seems like we have shot a few photographs at similar locations too

So now its spot the difference time

A small corrections Sir, if I may. The river you mentioning here is the river Suru.

And the Brigade mess (right opposite the Suru river) is really a luxury. The Nun and Kun villas are actually better than any 5-star accommodation you will get.

The Motorcycle ride was done in July 2007. I was using a Nikon Coolpix camera then.

Later I realised I need to repeat Ladakh with a Nikon DSLR. You cannot mix up mobike riding wth photography because of the crazy lenses, laptops, wires batteries and all. So we hired a Sumo and repeated Ladakh in 2009. This trip log is of our ride in the year 2007.

I will blast your brains out later with my Ladakh Photography with a seperate triplog of 2009. That trip was exclusively for PHOTOGRAPHY. I studied Ladakh photography for a year on all forums including flickr and got the results I wanted in 2009.

Ladakh is like Zen thing. The place draws you like a magnet ...who knows I will repeat Ladakh again. But never again on a bike! I must realise I have aged....

Are you an Indian Army Officer?

I shot the same pic at 4 AM at the Transit camp Sonmurg. The mountains behind your picture is where the Militants fire at this Camp where we stayed!

Rgds

Nandu Chitnis
ex NDA 38th
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Old 23rd March 2011, 20:59   #38
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Are you an Indian Army Officer?

I shot the same pic at 4 AM at the Transit camp Sonmurg. The mountains behind your picture is where the Militants fire at this Camp where we stayed!

Rgds

Nandu Chitnis
ex NDA 38th
No Sir, I am not. I seriously wish I was though!! But fate had something else in store for me.

All my relatives, Dad & Dad's side and In-Law's side have served in the Army!!

I went to Ladakh first in the year 1990 when my dad was posted in Kargil. You should read my memoirs here (Memoirs Of Kargil, Year 1990).

And then later in 2010 I went with my wife and kid and my in laws again. Here (Ladakh- A family Holiday Pictorial!!) is the report for that. You are so right about Ladakh being a magnet.

Regards

Last edited by deky : 23rd March 2011 at 21:03.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 21:04   #39
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

Excellent naration sir, Hats off to you and your wife.
Must say that this is turning out to be one inspiring log !! And yes I completely agree that Kashmir valley has the best to offer in our country.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 21:10   #40
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

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Commander Chitnis,
My salutations to you, Mrs. Chitnis and the Kargil heroes, whose photographs Fauji so thoughtfully included in your thread.

My ignorance, that I missed this thread until now, as I am more of a jungle and wildlife guy than the high altitudes.

"Inspirational" is the first word that came to my mind after going through your thread, thanks. Will be coming back for more.
Regards,
Fazal bhai I was so engrossed with your threads on Wild Life photography that I did not have the guts to put my comments there to because I do not have the competence to do so. It was your thread that turned me away from Cars to Travel stories and photography on Team Bhp. Later I came across threads by Doctor saab and Cool cat via you.

You are the KING !
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Old 23rd March 2011, 21:19   #41
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@Fauji> I did not even know that an Armed Forces Museum exists in Leh though I stayed at the Army Cottages and dined in the Mess and met many young officers !!

Ladakh is such a difficult terrain to live in. I heard some amazing stories about Siachin first hand from returning Officers. I applied for permission to visit Siachin at the Div HQ at Leh but was denied on the grounds thta only AHQ can authorise such visits!

Waiting for your Kanha photographs .
The Armed forces museum at Leh is also very inspiring. It is bigger than the Drass War Memorial. Sorry captain but had to post this picture from the Leh Museum just for the caption. It shows the dedication of the people in Armed Forces.

Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09-img_1777.jpg


During our trip to Ladakh we also visited the Siachen hospital, as it was Raksha Bandhan eve, to tie Rakhis to the injured Jawans.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 21:46   #42
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The Armed forces museum at Leh is also very inspiring. It is bigger than the Drass War Memorial. Sorry captain but had to post this picture from the Leh Museum just for the caption. .
Amit thank you for the pic and the post. Amazing !!
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Old 23rd March 2011, 22:06   #43
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Amit thank you for the pic and the post. Amazing !!
Thank you sir. It is my pleasure.

Before you even complete this TL i am eagerly waiting for the 2009 TL and the snaps. After getting a glimpse of your photography skills during the T-BHP meet in pune i am sure that 2009 TL is going to have awesome snaps capturing the beauty of Ladakh in all its splendour.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 22:21   #44
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Default re: Through The Wild Desert Mountains and Spiritual Awakening. Ladakh, 2007/09

I doff my (imaginary) hat to you, Sir, and especially to Mrs. Chitnis, for successfully undertaking one of the most daunting rides in this country. Look forward to many more photos, irrespective of the fact that they may not be of the highest quality, as well as your unique narration.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 22:43   #45
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Flash Back

Why motorcycling?

When I was 54 years old, year 2005, for no logical reasons I was drawn to mobike show rooms on the roads. The last time I had ridden a mobike was my own Jawa 250 cc bike way back in 1973.

I test rode a few motorcycles, liked the feel.

One crazy day I told my wife "I am buying a Motorcycle!"

She laughed out loud.

As if to prove my point I went to a Bajaj show room and booked a Motorcycle cash down. It was a Bajaj Avenger. I booked it coz the bike looked cool.

A week later, I took delivery of this bike and had a real tough time riding this bike back home. I had completely forgotten how to ride mobikes !

The next day a thought came to my mind "Have I lost it?"

I mean this was the most irrational decision I had taken for no logical reason.

A thought process that always works on my mind is this

"A linear logical way of thinking and living is a sure sign living a dull life"

Now that I had this bike I needed to do something .....and thus I started romancing the roads on a Bike!
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