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Old 20th September 2012, 18:15   #136
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Originally Posted by mr.sinha View Post
Where is this last photo with the bike taken at? Looks a pretty mean mountain bike. And where are you off to for 10 days, if I may ask? If you don't want to tell now, I don't mind waiting for your next travelogue anyway, and this time a solo one too :-)
Happy biking trip. Good luck and stay safe.

This is en route to Solang from Manali - a practice and acclimatization trip and back. Also to check that everything is working fine on the cycle.

This is a Trek 4300D, bought some 4 months back.

Myself not sure how much I can go till, only practice has been for 2 months or so on the absolute flat lands of Kolkata EM bypass. So would take a day as it comes, I am out here with an open mind. IF I do see it is beyond my physical, would return back from that point - and that is true also if I see weather turning nasty. It will be October when I reach Leh, already hearing Rhotang is snowed out with the first season's snowfall.

Another pic of today enroute to Solang, muddy on a just cleared landslide.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_9147.jpg

Hopefully this travel would bring out new interactions of different kind, already quite a few interesting stories as the journey started from Kolkata to Chandigarh in Kalka mail and from there on vehicle to Manali.

Last edited by adc : 20th September 2012 at 18:23.
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Old 20th September 2012, 18:59   #137
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Originally Posted by adc View Post
It's sunny today after rains for days, and as I venture tomorrow out, I ask myself at this age of 40 years almost, am I pushing it too much, may be it would have been proper if I was 10 years younger?
The body is as old as the mind lets it be. I just saw the video of a 50 year old doing a base jump from the top of Mt. Shivling at a height of 6500+ meters to Tapovan and then making a perfect landing of course with a parachute. So there is no age limit .

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Meet our new member, MK - Mountain Knight [Trek 4300D] -- on a practice run, Sept 20, 2012
Awesome.

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Tomorrow I start on this solo journey and will be out of touch for the next 10 days.
Wishing you all the very best
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Old 21st September 2012, 16:46   #138
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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This is en route to Solang from Manali - a practice and acclimatization trip and back.
Zanskar trip felt as if it ended just now in 2012, kolkata was just reached and surprise, you are already off to Leh.
Is that another Epic trip in the making. Manali - Leh on a "cycle" with no motor. Man this is something. are you doing it solo or in a group. Can't wait for updates on this. How many days have you planned for this?
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Old 23rd September 2012, 19:44   #139
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Just had a conversation with ADC. He has reached Sissu, will be in Jispa tomorrow and then will be out of all contact for next six days. He is now in his most amazing self and will obviously enthral us with his experience and images when he returns back.
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Old 18th October 2012, 16:03   #140
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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Originally Posted by mavrikm5 View Post
Zanskar trip felt as if it ended just now in 2012, kolkata was just reached and surprise, you are already off to Leh.
Is that another Epic trip in the making. Manali - Leh on a "cycle" with no motor. Man this is something. are you doing it solo or in a group. Can't wait for updates on this. How many days have you planned for this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rup_Chatterjee View Post
Just had a conversation with ADC. He has reached Sissu, will be in Jispa tomorrow and then will be out of all contact for next six days. He is now in his most amazing self and will obviously enthral us with his experience and images when he returns back.


Back earlier this week after an lifetime of a solo travel --

1. Bicycling the 480+ km from Manali to Leh.

2., Immediately after reaching, did the mountainnering summit trek to Stok Kangri at height of 6153 m/20182 feet in 4 days flat [Leh -Stok Kangri -Leh]

3. And then the very next day, did a full day bicycling trip to Khardung la, reaching summit at past 4, caught up in a snowstorm.

4. That day itself, took the night Tempo traveller non-stop taxi ride of 20 hours from Leh to Manali.


All these done around last week of SEptember till 2nd week of October, 2012.

September-October, though "off-season" in tourist language has been the most ideal months of travel, whether our Safari VTT rides of Ladakh and Changthang 2010 or Zanskar + Kashmir of 2011.


I took up cycling some 4 months back after a gap of some 25 years, and the whole experience finished up and would start writing the travel story - never been a travel so diverse with many experiences - from smoking weed with renegade drivers who defy odds around this time to travel over passes, to smoking pure hookah with Hariyanvi Jats to an impromptu dance with Punjabi mundas in Sarchu, to camping alone on the Tso Kar lake side and listening to short wave radio, to an impromptu celebration dance with a local family at Pang to sharing a frugal dinner with a nomad family at Whisky Nullah - and still the experience list dont end!


Some pictures as I would open up a new thread in the days to come - as of now getting up work bearings right.


Way overloaded bicycle - from tent to mattress to sleeping bag to a radio , to cameras to kerosene stove to a spare tire and tube to this and that - on the way to Gata loops
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-loaded-cycle.jpg



Brutal bicycle travel over 10 days was followed immediately by a brutal mountaineering trek with a local guide to Stok Kangri - at 6153 m. - on October 9, 2012. Not bad for a 40-year-old!

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-stok-kangri.jpg


And then again a cycling the next day itself - the final hurrah! Khardung la.

Bicycle to Leh - to Stok Kangri summit trek - and then again a day trip bicycle ride to Khardung la top, which was absolutely deserted as I reached late afternoon with snow starting to fall.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-khardung-la.jpg




-Two sections made me push to the limits -

1. Nakeela after Gata loops

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-nakeela.jpg


2. Tanglanga la.

One can see the pass from 25 km away but still the long swinging uphill gradient made me reach at late evening just before the light faded away.

Had a terrifyingly cold downhill journey towards Lato, with some part of the road edge barely lighted up by head torch, later by a truck and still later by a Sumo - lighting up the road by being behind me as I came downhill in the night at over 50 kph.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-tanglang-la.jpg





Magical solo camping beside at Tso Kar, Ladakh
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-tso-kar-camping-2.jpg



At Lachung la - "off season bicycle travel" at 1st week of October - bitter cold and not a vehicle crosses for hours.

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-lachung-la.jpg



At Khardung la memorabilia shop. Note the Bullet biker gloves - they doubled up as cycling gloves for this bicycling travel! All images are self shot on timer.Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_0986.jpg


Towards K - La

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_0886.jpg



Machine and Nature, Ladakh
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_0230.jpg


A 10-day cycling to Leh, followed immediately by a hard and fast trek to Stok Kangri [done in 4 days, Leh-Stok-Leh] on October 9, 2012 - night temperatures were around -10 and with wind the chill factor was much more.

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_0643.jpg


Towards Gata Loops from Sarchu

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_9589.jpg



Towards Tanglang la
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At Pang, Ladakh -- All images are self shot on timer

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Beyond Sarchu, Ladakh

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_9861.jpg


Tso Kar lake camping, Ladakh

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-tso-kar-camping.jpg



A pause, Ladakh - October 2012
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_99901.jpg

Last edited by adc : 18th October 2012 at 16:21.
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Old 19th October 2012, 00:58   #141
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

In my previous comment on your thread I wrote, "Keep posting these lovely and inspiring travelogues to inspire lesser mortals like us". You took it quite literally.

Eagerly waiting for the next thread. Kudos to your fitness and stamina. I am 28 and I would struggle to reach CP from Noida on a bicycle. You have definitely inspired me to get back to my fitness regime.
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Old 19th October 2012, 17:00   #142
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Awesome ADC da. Excellent adventure.

What about the fatigue factor? Driving non stop is okay but cycling in such terrains is another ball game altogether. Please do share your experiences in how you tackled all the adversaries.
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Old 19th October 2012, 17:19   #143
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

Absolutely stunning Anirban. Just wow
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Old 19th October 2012, 20:21   #144
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

This is amazing. I couldn't believe how much you have done since your VTT trips started. Hats off to you!
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Old 22nd October 2012, 20:20   #145
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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You took it quite literally.
LOL! But let me tell you the fact - if I can do it, many among us can too, this will be a journey to remember- literally - as landscapes move past at a speed of 7 kmph.

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What about the fatigue factor? Driving non stop is okay but cycling in such terrains is another ball game altogether. Please do share your experiences in how you tackled all the adversaries.
Fatigue is physical and mental. The physical part is huge as one's body adjusts to the high inclines, but the mental part is bigger one and stays with you all along the travel.

It would be wrong if I deny the no. of times I thought of going back. And that counts for the Stok Kangri summit trek too - doing it in 4 days immediately after the cycle ride was tough.


This image clicked inadvertently by the restaurant boy at Marhi, who was just seeing my camera- as said the first few days was exhausting and draining, both physically and mentally
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crossing the first pass, Rhotang, did give the confidence that I can complete, self shot after Rhotang.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-picture-317.jpg


Still then Stok Kangri was brutal but it felt great on the top, late of off season, Oct 9, 2012
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-img_0661.jpg


Would be writing it in detail during the travelogue on the way I prepared myself and the experiences itself.





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Originally Posted by rkbharat View Post
Absolutely stunning Anirban. Just wow
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbey4u View Post
This is amazing. I couldn't believe how much you have done since your VTT trips started. Hats off to you!
Thanks much.

Last edited by adc : 22nd October 2012 at 20:34.
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Old 17th July 2015, 13:22   #146
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October

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October 5, 2011, is the day when this self-drive travel goes into exploratory expedition mode. We are entering the Kashmir valley, not through the usual routes like that of Jammu-Srinagar highway via Jawahar Tunnel or by crossing Zoji la from Leh towards Srinagar - but we are taking the forest and mountain track that connects Pangi Valley in Himachal to Paddar in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hi ADC

This is an amazing trip. You have spent your time the best way. Hats off to the whole family. I must have gone through this thread 3 to 4 times. Every details are there, images are so lovely as well. This post almost gives a feel that I have just visited these places.

After having read through the travelogue I have a thousand things to ask you, but the most troubling thought I have is this.
What if a car comes from the opposite direction when you are driving the Killar - Kishtwar impossible route?

Reversing the car for about 100 Mtrs or so on this route looks like walking backwards on a rope.

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Old 9th July 2017, 23:34   #147
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011

Oh!!! What a travelogue this has been. I'm spellbound to say the least. I was soon gasping for breath because each picture took my breath away with it. Simply mind blowing.

I hope to travel to atleast half these places someday. Plans are afoot. Let's see.
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Old 8th April 2020, 01:58   #148
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011

It has been now around almost since October 2011 iconic self drive to remote Himachal [Pangi and Paddar regions], interior Kashmir [Gurez, Bangus, Lolab] and Zanskar drive - a mega travel, of close of 5500 km, of almost a month. Done in October 2011, son, 6+ years at time, had a great journey and enjoyed every bit as we did.

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Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00027.jpg




Now back in October 2019 - We had exactly around 10-12 school holidays [Durga Puja] max and more so as he enters the crucial class 8 to 9 qualifying school classes - big travels are naturally curtailed.

Around 6.5 years of age in October 2011, he remembers just a few moments of that travel - we decided like lets re-do a part of that big drive to interior Himachal and Kashmir particularly the Sach Pass - Killar - Kishtwar - Inshaan part. And again like last time, we just had the broad region in mind, the end points and place of overnight stay was adjusted as we travelled to the interior regions of Kashmir.

August 2019 was also crucial for Kashmir as Article 350 was abrogated and as such Kashmir was absolutely under regulated lockdown - as we travelled into interior Kashmir in October 2019, we were the only travellers out there. Military Army check-post personnel and local population were bewildered seeing a WB number plate car with a family moving around in most interior lands but again like last time we again had some great memories to share.


October 2nd week 2019 we start on the 4000+ km journey from Kolkata to interior Kashmir, towards Inshaan and beyond as possible. To travel at least first part of the mega travel that we did 8 years back, October 2011.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00020.jpg


Our travel route would be just like last time, going through Khajjiar to Sach Pass, then that cliffhanger road [chaap rasta] from Killar to Kisthwar and then onto Inshan village. It was an iconic travel in October 2011, and give rise to the one and only grainy video of that time. This back route from Pangi region of Himachal to Kisthwar is now welll know to travellers and riders alike.

But then this was mid October, the first snowfall had closed Sach Pass and again we entered Kashmir through another of a backroad from interior Himachal, absolute zero vehicle movement while crossing isolated quaint hill villages of Himachal.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00007.jpg


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Remote Military checkposts were crossed, with article 370 abrogated just a couple of months back, it was a sensitive time to travel, zero tourists in Kashmir around that time.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00001.jpg




Just like our remote travels over this last 12-13 years or so with Safari VTT 2.2, great many interactions with locals in the interior Kashmir, asking on the way how far the road track goes and if there is a place to stay overnight.
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00003.jpg

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And further to the interior . as said both Army men and locals were bewildered to see WB plate car roaming around in these lands in October 2019. We travelled further till the track ended, beyond what we did last time, beyond the village of Inshaan Absolute desolate with nil tourists or travellers, vistas magnificent and breathtaking

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00011.jpg

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00014.jpg.

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October 2011 we travelled to Kisthwar from Himachal via Sach Pass via the cliffhanger road but this time we did it the other way rouund, from Kishthwar through the cliffhanger road to Sach Pass and back to Himachal.

This grainy video along the Killar Kishtwar road, we called it Chap Rasta, October 2011 - probably the first video that is out there on youtube. Many a slick and well documented videos of that route is now there as it has become quite popular one.




October 2011 it was raw, no signboards, checkposts or anything, nowadays more or less it quite well know and named as ":Cliffhanger Road" We named it that time 'Chaap Rasta"
Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00026.jpg

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00002.jpg


Sach Pass mid October after being closed for a good 7-8 days was still officially closed and as we entered Sach Pass from Killar side late afternoon it was a heart stopping travel towards Sach Pass. Slippery to max with a 2wd, desolate, it was a heart-stopping drive as we reached towards Himachal side around night. A single miss of concentration would have been fatal that day but as usual our Safari VTT 2.2, though creaky in all these rough 12/13 years of rough travel, did not miss a beat.

More about this part later on, it was one of the most terrifying drives we have made on a mountain pass, October 2019, late evening.

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00021.jpg

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00024.jpg

Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011-kashmir00005.jpg





contd...

Last edited by adc : 8th April 2020 at 02:10.
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Old 9th April 2020, 18:01   #149
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Default Re: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition->Zanskar+Unknown Kashmir-> "off-season October 2011

Wow! The image showing slippery snow on the road you were about to take sent chill down the spine. While the vistas are to die for it also gives immense comfort to see someone taking those interior areas with family. Looking forward to a dedicated thread on this trip. And your safari is holding real good after all these years. If someone from Tata marketing is reading this thread they should promote your story - these experiences are the best stories calling out the brilliance of the car.
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