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Old 28th December 2018, 16:45   #1
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Default Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!

Hello Folks.,

Had done many drives over 800 KMs or so one way., but doing a 8000 KM trip is a different ball game altogether and that too to Leh., a journey that is very difficult to pen down and show through pictures., you will need to visit to experience the beauty and journey-

This has started around 6 years back when I was constantly reading each and every Leh post in Team-BHP and was always dreaming about when and how can I make this happen, was discussing with a few colleagues at office then, couple of them were very interested, and thatís it. Life took many turns for all, somehow trip plan was never made.

Come forward May 2018 wherein same colleagues and I (at a different office) again were casually discussing should we do the trip this time, all said yes.

Decided lets go quickly before other things creep into the plans, and thatís how we ended up planning for our maiden Leh July 2018 trip.

Out of the 3 of us, only 2 could make it. All leaves were approved within 4 hours of our planning.

We had less than 45 days to plan, original plan was to ride to Leh through Delhi taking rental bikes, however we had realized we cannot make it this time given both haven't ridden a bike in over 10 years. Hence it was car and we had decided to take the Ritz of my colleague -

Overall 17 day trip went very well - without any issues, though there were few twists and turns as expected along the way.

Original Plan vs what we ended up with -
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Crossed 12 states.,5 awesome expressways., 10 passes.,10 water crossings., 450 lts of fuel., truly awesome experiences., had our own share of thrills too, there are many expert logs here on details of routes, what to expect at each point, hence not getting into those details again -

Thank you Team-BHP for all the motivation, support & expert guidance without which this trip wouldn't be possible
No more gyan.

Dates of the trip - 30th June to 15th July 2018. Overall good weather, good season to visit., watch out for the Amarnath Yatri crowd and rains at Mumbai. If you want to see snow/good amount of ice., do visit during May or Oct.

Day 01- Bangalore to Vadodara

I stay at Marathahalli, packed all the bags the day before., was eagerly working to wrap up all the work so that i can start a bit early and left to home to pick up the bags. Met my colleague Nataraja at Goruguntapalya junction on the Bangalore - Tumkur main road and we have started our dream trip at 4:30 PM on 30th June Friday - drove for 24 hrs all the way till Vadodara and called it a day -

Only My stuff - realised don't need much -
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Odo at the start -
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Butter smooth NH Blr - Pune highway -
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She took care of us very well for the entire trip -
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Once you enter Pune - Mumbai Expressway you are greeted by many such tunnels throughout -
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CCD Break on Pune-Mumbai Expressway - much needed break -
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Last two hours before reaching Baroda, there was heavy traffic, and as you can see how the flow is , it was like driving in Whitefield and not on NH -
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Finally after 24hrs of drive, Nataraja was too tired to sit in the car anymore, I wanted to drive for another 2 hours, but called it a day when we reached Baroda, checked into Royal Orchid over there -
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Last edited by srikanthpotluri : 28th December 2018 at 16:46.
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Old 28th December 2018, 17:12   #2
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 3 -

Had one of the best sleeps in a long time, thanks to all the tiredness from the driving previous day, woke up leisurely and we have started from Vadodara towards Jaipur.

As a city Vadodara looked very clean and nice, lots of junctions with amazing sculptures.

Moment we came back to the highway, found one of the best expressways we had seen, yet - Ahmedabad - Vadodara Expressway, and it was awesome like a straight arrow.

Instead of going to Jaipur, we followed Google maps towards Amritsar, and this route took us through Mount Abu towards Merta, we had stopped at this small village after another 14 hrs of drive.

Stayed at a Hotel named Nataraj (my colleagues name is Nataraja), below average, given the time of our checkin, at least they served us hot food.

Pictures from the day -

Nataraja having his breakfast -
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Awesome cheese omlet -
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Our RITZ as fresh as us, waiting to go -
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No idea about these sculptures, but looked nice -
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At Mount Abu - now this was not in the plan at all, due to this detour, we lost a good 5 hours -
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Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by srikanthpotluri : 2nd January 2019 at 10:55.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 11:38   #3
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 4 - Merta to Pathankot

Started at 8:00 AM went past Hanumangarh, Bethinda, Amritsar, reached Pathankot by 9:30 PM, stayed at Hotel green, roads are excellent all the way, especially stretch from Bethinda to Amritsar was a delight - Pictures from the day -

Stopped here on the highway near a place called "Sanju", spent an hour, Chef has cooked fresh Mutton curry and some awesome rotis for breakfast -
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Awesome roads all throughout Rajasthan -
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Relaxing, dont disturb guys -
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Its hot -
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Really hot, can't stand outside for a minute -
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Hanumangarh -
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Stopped for Lunch just outside of Hanumangarh at a Dhaba - one of the best Dal Tadka ever -
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Sunset post Bethinda -
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Crossing Amritsar - Golden Temple, another day -
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Old 2nd January 2019, 11:51   #4
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 5 - Pathankot to Banihal (we were booked at Srinagar though)

We were all fresh and ready to reach Srinagar, road to Udhampur was closed, we went till Jammu and started moving towards Patnitop.

Experienced one of the best tunnels here, 8 KM long if I am correct. Post which nightmare started, one is traffic & two roads, we have never experienced so many trucks in our lifetime., reaching Patnitop and were heading towards Srinagar, unfortunately we were stopped by Cops before Jawahar tunnel, last point to get into Kashmir, and then after a lot of pleading they let us go only to be stopped by Military post the tunnel.

Inspite of alot of pleading the Military, no luck they just sent us back, we had to settle at Banihal for the night -

Look at the drill size, was clearing rocks and stuff from a landslide here -
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Chenani Tunnel -
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Very high quality construction, well done -
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Don't get fooled by the road, it disappears -
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Entire stretch was bad, very bad -
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Only J&K registered vehicles were allowed post 3PM - hence everyone were waiting and dancing -
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Tunnel that sends you into Kashmir valley -
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Old 14th January 2019, 12:36   #5
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 6 - Banihal to Kargil (stopped by cops again at Srinagar)

We were up early., tunnel was clear of all security, as there was military everywhere early morning. Reason for not allowing outside registered vehicles post 3:00 PM is military rests post this time. They start at 5:00 AM and literally every 20 ft you can see 3 guards. There was an incident involving a biker being killed by locals which is rare and hence the rule given amarnath yatri use the same route till they take a detour towards Pahalgam -

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This is where Google tricked us, took us to a stretch where the road ended and it was a huge mess, we had our hearts don't know where, there was slush and grass with the previous days rains, car was sliding everywhere, and there was hardly any space to navigate, finally managed a U turn and car was somehow rescued and we came back to the main road, lost over 3 hours here., did not take any pics over the actual spot given our condition -
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We did not have breakfast nor lunch, we were super hungry, after crossing Zojila, this guy rescued us with some hot tea and maggi.
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Finally after all the drama the previous day and in crossing the check post towards Sonamarg where cops did not allow us again, reached Kargil and to our room -
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Old 18th January 2019, 13:19   #6
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 7 - Kargil to Leh

Will let the pictures do the talking, straight forward journey with good roads, but amazing scenery, went to LOC at Kargil and then reached Leh for the day, somehow in the rush we missed visiting Drass -

Lovely sight of bikers -
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At LOC Kargil -
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Last edited by srikanthpotluri : 31st January 2019 at 16:50.
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Old 31st January 2019, 11:08   #7
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Day 8 - Leh

Had breakfast and took one Bullet on hire, went to Shanthi Stupa and Leh Market, came back by noon and took rest. We did not take Diamox at all, and the effects were shown the next day, whole night we both couldn't sleep well and had issues, following day had to finally take the medicine - few pictures from the day -

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Old 31st January 2019, 11:31   #8
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Day 9 - Khardungla - Nubra Valley

Following day we were excited about the mighty Khardungla, it was a tough morning given our condition at night, somehow post breakfast we were feeling a little better, drive to Khardungla is tough, especially we saw at a couple of locations where cars were struggling to pull, even ours was struggling, had almost burnt the clutch, finally reached the famous spot, post which went to Hunder dunes and retired to our spot at Tiger camp, pictures from the day -

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Old 31st January 2019, 12:05   #9
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Day 10 - PangongTso

We were super excited about this beautiful lake and the day, and what a sight it has been, will let pictures do the talking -

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Old 31st January 2019, 12:16   #10
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Day 11 - Hanle

Toughest day of our lives yet, it was super hot in the morning near Pangong Tso post 9 AM, by 10 it was such that we can't get out of the car, and the next 100 KMS took us 7 hours, now you can imagine the roads and conditions, barring few trucks, we haven't seen a soul till we reached a check post, it was scary too, all in all exciting drive to Hanle once we crossed the first 120 KMS -

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Old 31st January 2019, 12:46   #11
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Day 12, 13- Hanle to Jispa, Jispa to Manali -

Had one of the best veg dinner at Hanle, we had refuelled using jerry cans here and carried another 30 litres with us, reached Jispa very late at around 9:30 PM, left Jispa the following day and reached Manali by 4 PM, took some well deserved rest here -

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Old 31st January 2019, 13:39   #12
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Day 14 - Manali - Jattipur

After a good nights sleep, were looking forward to reach Delhi by 9PM, however by 10PM we could only reach Jattipur, stopped on the highway itself and called it a day -

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Old 31st January 2019, 15:21   #13
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Day 15,16 & 17 - Return through - Jattipur - Sagar - Hyderabad - Bangalore

Woke up leisurely after a tiring drive the previous day, had breakfast and quickly started off as were off by some 90 KMS from Delhi, to our surprise we hit the Eastern expressway pretty soon and were surprised by the infrastructure, then came another big one, the Yamuna Expressway, definitely the best one in our country (as per me), good drive till we reached Sagar at 12:30 AM, though in MP we had faced few bad stretches in the evening and it took some time here.

Following day from Sagar to Hyderabad was a very pleasant drive, once you touch AP, you will feel as though you are on Airport runway, reached Hyderabad by 9:30 PM and the last days stretch felt like we were driving from Whitefield to Hosur after such a long drive we reached Bangalore-Hebbal by 4:30 PM and we were home by 5:30 PM.

So there comes the end of an awesome trip and memories -

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Last edited by srikanthpotluri : 31st January 2019 at 15:57.
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Old 31st January 2019, 16:17   #14
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

How can I close the log without posting some of the pics from Nataraja's phone -

China isn't that far from here, should we extend our trip?
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-china_isnt_that_far_from-here.jpg

Nat at Pangong, probably the only half smile in the entire trip, smiling is not his style -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-nat_at_pangong.jpg

I am not bothered by heat -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-its_hot.jpg

That's Rohtang - Did you see bad roads on the way? -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-rohtang_for_you.jpg

Really, will we ever see a road? (on the way to Hanle)-
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-when_will_see_road.jpg

No - you won't see any I guess -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-nyoma_town_ahead.jpg

Bikers from Bangalore -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-met_bikers_from_blr.jpg

You won't find the road, now enjoy -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-where_is_the_road.jpg

How to cross this? Over 2.5 feet of water and over 50 feet to cross- but we did - Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-analysying_howtocross_jispa1.jpg

Manali - bye bye -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-manali_departing.jpg

Awesome Eastern Expressway -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-eastern_express_1.jpg

You haven't seen anything until you hit Yamuna Expressway, thanks to the speed limits -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-yamuna_express_1.jpg

You can land a flight here -
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-enter_andhra.jpg

Finally - At Hebbal, Bangalore - Reached home safely - all the three of us
Bengaluru to Leh - Journey of a lifetime!-at_hebbal.jpg

Last edited by srikanthpotluri : 31st January 2019 at 17:04.
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Old 31st January 2019, 17:33   #15
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Default Re: Bengaluru to Leh- Journey of a lifetime.....must try for all..

Mod's note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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