Team-BHP > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 29th October 2019, 01:32   #1
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Prologue:

“Gar firdaus bar-rue zamin ast, hami asto, hamin asto, hamin asto.” “If there is heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” I had been longing for this heaven on the earth but was always held back due to unforeseen events. My dear friends of the group have shared vivid pictures at various times which has always lured me to this place. I had been planning for this trip since last 3 years but couldn’t materialize it. In 2016 everything was ready and I was 2 years younger too. Suddenly my mom needed a serious medical treatment for which we canceled the trip just 2 days before the start. In 2017, my wife had an office trip to Sri-Lanka and so could not find any company at the last moment.

So this time I was desperately prepared even for a solo trip during the Durga Puja vacation. After managing all my urgencies and duties, finally, I was able to make time for my bucket list trip “Leh-Ladakh-The land of hills”. I could get 2 weeks continuous leaves either in December or during Puja vacation. Ladakh in December that too with a 2WD Bolero is quite impossible, other than that October was the only choice I had. It was in April 2018, I requested my cousins and a couple of friends to join me or if they have any similar plans. But like always, initially everyone said ‘yes’ which finally turned out to be ‘no’ as expected. Only we two (Me and my cousin Debasish) were confirmed about the trip. And finally Arup(my friend) confirmed just before 5 days ago that he will also join us.

Dada (Debasish) was for the first time on a road trip with me and everyday he had inquisitive questions. He bombarded me with sheer number of questions. Where will we be actually going? Where will we stay? What to carry? What are the places we will be visiting? What route to take? How much diesel will be required .. etc etc… And most of the time my answer was I have not planned yet, you will get the answers on the go . He probably had a doubt about whether I was serious about the trip or not. As Dada was very much enthusiastic about the trip, I did not have to take any responsibilities other than the car service. He did most of the required shopping (food and other utilities), packing .. almost everything. And I was waiting for the day to start.

Vehicle Preparation:
The vehicle was mechanically absolutely okay. Only engine-oil & air-filter replacement was enough. The battery was 4 years and 10 months old, to avoid any risk I just replaced the battery and as the old battery was in working condition, I got a very good price for that.

Other Preparation:
  • Miscellanies things For the vehicle:
  • 40L fuel Jerry Can and Spout.
  • Jump Start Cable.
  • OBD device with Bluetooth connectivity.
  • 50 feet long ¾ inch diameter nylon rope.
  • Manual Tyre Inflator and Puncture kit.
  • Shovel (bought during Mustang Valley trip)
  • For Camping (There was no plan for tent):
  • Camping Stool
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Gas Stove and Butane Gas Canister
  • 50L ice box with full of ready to eat or easy to cook food items.
  • 15L Water Jerry Can
  • Hiking Pole
  • Other Utility:
  • Head Torch
  • Rain Coat
  • Big Umbrella
  • Packing Tape
  • Car DC to AC (220V) Adapter
Permit Procedure:

We applied for permit online- http://lahdclehpermit.in/index.php including my wife and another friend Arun as any of them could join us during the trip if they can manage leaves. The payment for the permit was due and we thought to pay it in the Leh office at the time of stamped permit collection. As two people from the list were absent, they suggested us to make a new copy and avoid payments for the extra ones. It just took 5-10 mins to get the permit from Leh permit centre.

Itinerary

Day 01: Kolkata – Gopuganj, UP
Day 02: Gopiganj - Ambala, Haryana
Day 03: Ambala - Ramban, J&K
Day 04: Ramban - Sonamarg, J&K
Day 05: Sonamarg - Zoji La - Kargil - Lamayuru
Day 06: Lamayuru - Alchi - Leh
Day 07: Leh - Khardung La - Hunder
Day 08: Hunder - Turtuk - Thang - Hunder
Day 09: Hunder - Pangong - Chang La - Leh
Day 10: Leh - Sonamarg
Day 11: Sonamarg - Doodhpathri - Srinagar
Day 12: Srinagar - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar - Patnitop, J&K
Day 13: Patnitop to Panipat, Haryana
Day 14: Panipath to Varanasi,UP
Day 15: Varanasi to Kolkata

Glimpse

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7630.jpg
Everything that is visible hides something that is invisible.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9318.jpg
I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2708.jpg
All good things are wild and free.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7472.jpg
I like to move forward and notice things along the roadside that indicate where I should go.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9144.jpg
Emotion or feeling is really the only thing about pictures I find interesting. Beyond that is is just a trick

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7603.jpg
There’s no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7586.jpg
Let’s wander where the WIFI is weak .

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7552.jpg
Be Still like a mountain, and flow like a river ~ Lao Tse Tung

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7504.jpg
Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7641.jpg
There are far better things ahead than the ones we leave behind

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:21. Reason: Picture spacing.
PointZero is offline   (27) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 15:46   #2
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 1 & Day 2: Kolkata - Gopiganj - Karnal:

These two days were basically highway drive. First day we ended our drive early because the last day I was late from office and was exhausted. Another reason being that beyond Varanasi the road was full of traffic and because of the ongoing road repair works, the traffic become slow. I decided to take a good sleep in a nearby hotel. As there was no female member with us it was easy to find a hotel for night stay. It was only 745 KM for the day and we preserve our energy for the next day.

Next day we started early and realised that it was really a good decision last night. The road was absolutely empty and by 2:30 PM we reached Delhi. Bhpian JKDS (Basudeb Biswas) was waiting there with few SOS medicines and oximeter with him. We had a quick meet and collected the utility things before moving towards Ambala. On the go while we were crossing Panipat, we booked our hotel for the night stay and made out to dinner on the way in Dhaba style.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2471001.jpg
The only picture for last two days during dinner

Day 3: Ambala - Ramban

That day also we did not have such target for any special place rather the plan was to drive till evening. We started early from Ambala and again faced the same crazy cars on the road like the Himachal trip. The only difference being, it was not that much foggy this time.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7021.jpg
Somewhere near Ambala

After entering J&K, it was a smooth drive till Mantalai where the road was bedecked with different color flowers on either side. After Mantalai, the journey became hectic. There was a VIP movement and Army movement because of which the traffic became extremely slow. I remember we were stuck for around one and a half hours at the same place and the area was full of dust. It was not feasible to come out from the vehicle because of the dust. Finally after lots of struggle we found a Safari with an army family and army was helping them to get out from the situation and we followed them till the Patnitop tunnel.
It was already dark when we got out from the tunnel and there was a call for a decision whether we shall go back to patnitop to check-in into a hotel or is there any other hotel available on the same way. Just after the tunnel there was a forest department post and from the duty officer we had the cognizance that till Ramban there is no more traffic jams. Hence the decision was spontaneous to drive till Ramban and no point going back to patnitop. We ended the day at Ramban and three days over still could not make to Srinagar. It was essential to start as early as possible in the next morning.

Day 4: Ramban - Sonamarg

Everyone was very charged-up for today's journey. For the last three days I was continuously driving on high-way and that is obviously rejoicing for an Bhpian. However, it was very boring for the other two but they were pretty excited to see the beauty of J&K. We started around 5:00 am in the morning. It was pitch dark and being on the road we discovered that last night rain was a mess. Sitting in the hotel we thought that it was drizzling and should not make any problem on the road. Just after a couple of KMs from Ramban the road was totally broken and absolutely empty for a long stretch. Being on such an unknown road we were a little sceptical and worrying about possible landslides because of last night's rain. In no time we came to know from a shepherds that there is a landslide after 5 KM and road is completely blocked.
We were moving very slowly and carefully towards the landslide area where 100 of trucks were stuck before the landslide. Police and earth movers reached the spot and it was already 6:00 AM. Initially we were informed that it will be cleared within 30-45 mins but unfortunately it took another 3 hours to clean the debrises. As we started very early, our plan was to have some good breakfast on the way but all that plan went into vain for the delay. The only option was to survive on the stock food which we were carrying with us. It lies on the banks of the Chenab river, on the National Highway-1A (now NH44) at about 150 km from Jammu and about 150 km from Srinagar, making it almost the central point on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. It was already noon when we reached Srinagar.

At the onset of Srinagar for a while it felt like I was entering into a battlefield. It was my first visit to Srinagar and whatever I had heard or seen on TV the security was actually much more than expected. Despite being a highly militarized area, the tourist footfall is never low to this place. Before leaving Srinagar we stopped near a restaurant for Lunch and could not expect that level of security implemented there. Srinagar is the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies in the Kashmir Valley on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus, and Dal and Anchar lakes. The city is known for its natural environment, gardens, waterfronts and houseboats. After driving around 30-45 mins the security was less and felt relieved and comfortable. Except, that is, when communal tensions paralyse the city. Sadly that happens all too regularly, leaving a chance that you'll be stuck in strikes, pro-independence demonstrations and partial curfews. Although foreign tourists themselves have never been seen as targets, you should absolutely check on the latest situation before you visit. When we reached Sonamarg it was already afternoon and before making any delay we decided to stay on J&K tourism guest house at Sonamarg. However, because of the off-season the place was almost empty and got a very good hotel in 60% off-season discount. We enjoyed the afternoon and evening by walking nearby areas and after 3 days of continuous driving we thought that this was the start of the trip.

Sonamarg means “Meadow of Gold” also had a historical significance and was a gateway of ancient Silk Road along with Gilgit connecting Kashmir with Tibet. Sonmarg gives rise to The Three Sisters (Kashmir). In its vicinity lies the great Himalayan glaciers of Kashmir Valley namely Kolahoi Glacier and Machoi Glacier with some peaks of above 5,000 m i.e Sirbal Peak, Kolahoi Peak, Amarnath Peak and Machoi Peak. The hotel we took was little uphill from the Sonamarg’s main road and market. At night we discovered that almost everything in Somarag is visible from the hotel room. However, the weather was chilling cold which asserted us to sleep early.

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:25. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (10) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 15:59   #3
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 5: Sonamarg - Baltal Valley - Zoji La - Dras - Kargil - Lamayuru

For the last couple of days my elder brother was probably feeling bored because of endless journey. Surprisingly before I woke up, I heard a known voice saying “Uff Jata.. We are in heaven. '' And then realized that my elder brother is ready for the next journey and completely charged up. I was the most lazy person for the day to start and realized that the other two members have started enjoying the road trip. Like other day we started our journey early and in no time we reached Baltal Valley.
Baltal Valley is renowned for its scenic beauty. It is situated on 9000 ft. and 15 KM away from Sonamarg . Baltal serves as the base camp for pilgrims on their onward journey to Amarnath Caves. Initially the sky was crystal clear with puffy clouds. I was doing some experiment with my camera and then the area was covered with nimbostratus clouds. After spending some time there, we started for the famous Zoji La.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_8979.jpg
Arup

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7141.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7143.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7155.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7159.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7160.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7162.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7164.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7168.jpg
Baltal Valley
Well, this time fortunately or unfortunately there was no single chunk of snow or mud on the pass and it was less tedious for us to cross the pass without any issue and reached Drass soon. Is it, indeed, India’s coldest inhabited place. At least three major signboards, placed by the Kargil Police, Border Roads Organisation and the State Bank of India, claim Drass is the second coldest inhabited place on earth, after the Siberian town of Oymyakon. One of the boards says temperature in Drass plummeted to an unforgiving -60°C on January 9, 1995. It’s an Indian military base — one can see the Tiger Hills of the 1999 Kargil War fame from Drass on a sunny day.

We had our breakfast at Drass and then enjoyed the drive till Kargil War Memorial through a pitch dark smooth road with colorful trees on one side and crystal clear river on the other.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9002.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9006.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7186.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7197.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7202.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7205.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7206.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7208.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7213.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7225.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7229.jpg
Random Pic between Zoji La and Drass...


To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:27. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:06   #4
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 5 continued ...

Our next destination was Drass War Memorial/Kargil War Memorial. Before entering into the memorial I just recapped the history and realize that we are being old very fast. Drass Memorial was built in the memory of the martyrs who placed their nation above their life; the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Operation Vijay that aimed at getting India back from the intruders. This Indo-Pak war took place in 1999, and finally the mighty Indian soldiers defeated Pakistani troops. That time I was a student of class nine. The memorial is located on the foothills of the Tololing Hill, about 5 km from the city centre across the Tiger Hill. Out of the million things an Indian can do for the country, visiting Drass Memorial is a gesture of respect for the immortal souls of Indian army men. The memorial is mainly built of pink-sandstone with an epitaph. The museum in this war memorial exhibits army emblems, model of Himalyan Mountain Range and documents archive. There is a special War Gallery namely Captain Manoj Kumar that has photographs and weapons. The walls have the name of the soldiers who sacrificed in the war. A beautiful poem by Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan is placed in the entrance. The Memento Shop sells t-shirts, mugs, caps, etc.

We spent almost two hours there, had the cognizance of many more facts from army officers and a documentary film about how our brave soldiers sacrificed their today for our better tomorrow.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7287.jpg

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:28. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:12   #5
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 5 continued ...

With lots of memories we started for the next journey. The journey from Drass to Kargil was even more beautiful with colorful trees. Being on the Kargil I was surprised. I had no idea that Kargil is so beautiful. The entire city has grown up beside the river and seeing the city from a little distance is really peace of eyes. I have tried to capture a landscape of the city. However, believe me that actual one is much much better than the photograph. Kargil is a town in the Kargil district in Ladakh region of northern India. It is the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. It is located 60 km and 204 km from Drass and Srinagar to the west respectively.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9048.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9066.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9078.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9088.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9090.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9092.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9106.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9111.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9112.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9118.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9122.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7291.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7297.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7311.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7316.jpg
Beautiful View of Kargil from Highway

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7318.jpg
Beautiful View of Kargil from Highway

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7349.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7361.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7373.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7376.jpg


Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7382.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7383.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7394.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7398.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7400.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7404.jpg
Random Snaps between Dras and Lamayuru

As it was October the game of clouds were on for the complete day. With lots of memories and enjoyment we reached a height of 11,515 ft. Spent the night at lamayuru keeping the foremost Monastery of Ladakh at our window view. lamayuru or Yuru Monastery meaning "Eternal Monastery", is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in lamayuru, Leh district, Ladakh, India. It is situated on the Srinagar-Leh highway 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of the Fotu La at a height of 3,510 metres (11,520 ft).

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9129.jpg
Lamayuru, View from our Stay

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:30. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (8) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:19   #6
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 6 : Lamayuru - Alchi - Sangam - Magnetic Hill - Pathar Sahib Gurudwara - Leh

I was a little tense last day as my brother was travelling on high altitude for the first time. In the morning when I come to know that everyone’s health is absolutely fine then I got relieved. That day we did not have such long distance plans, so we started the day in a lazy mode. I believe, the Lazy Turtle also felt a little more lazy for that day. After a wonderful breakfast, we drove to Alchi Monastery.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9130.jpg
Morning View of Lamayuru

Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa is a Buddhist monastery, known more as a monastic complex (chos-'khor) of temples in Alchi village in the Leh District, of the Indian state under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council of Jammu and Kashmir. The complex comprises four separate settlements in the Alchi village in the lower Ladakh region with monuments dated to different periods. Of these four hamlets, Alchi monastery is said to be the oldest and most famous. It is administered by the Likir Monastery. Alchi is also part of the three villages (all in lower Ladakh region) which constitute the ‘Alchi group of monuments’; the other two villages adjoining Alchi are the Mangyu and Sumda Chun. The monuments in these three villages are stated to be of "unique style and workmanship’, but the Alchi monastic complex is the best known. The monastery complex was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. However, inscriptions in the preserved monuments ascribe it to a Tibetan noble called Kal-dan Shes-rab later in the 11th century. Being inside the monastery area surrounding got changed and I felt the calmness of the 963 years old construction. While entering into the monastery, I did not realize the other side. On the other side of the monastery there was an amazing view of Indus River. There was some small shops in the entry road. Sitting on the river bank enjoying the chilling cold air is a must to do for all visitors.
Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7414.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7415.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2635.jpg
On the way to Alchi

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9141.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9142.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9144.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7420.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7421.jpg
Monastery and Surroundings

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:31. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:31   #7
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 6 continued ...

Our plan was to pay a visit to Pathar Sahib Gurudwara and to have our lunch there. On the way we stopped at Sangam and famous magnetic hill to take some snaps. Had our lunch at Pathar Sahib Gurudwara and then left for Leh.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9148.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9176.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7446.jpg
Random Snaps from Lamayuru to Sangam

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7450.jpg
Sangam

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9171.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9174.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9175.jpg
Magnetic Hill

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7461.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7464.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7468.jpg
Pathar Sahib


The mountain-framed Leh, dotted with stupas and whitewashed houses is enchanting and alluring to your senses. Leh is a place that’s all too easy to fall in love with. The Old Town is dominated by a dagger of steep rocky ridge topped by an imposing Tibetan-style palace and fort. The hustling and bustling bazaar area is draped in a thick veneer of tour agencies, souvenir shops and tandoori-pizza restaurants. On the other hand, a web of lanes quickly fans out into a green suburban patchwork of irrigated barley fields. Here, gushing streams and narrow footpaths link traditionally styled Ladakhi garden homes that is double as charming, inexpensive guesthouses. In Leh we had nothing to arrange as Mr. Lingtse Tsewang Dorjay assured that he will be taking care of everything. We did not have a BSNL mobile and it was a little difficult to connect him on the go. One lady helped us and she guided us to reach Dorjay’s homestay. Mr. Dorjay is very kind hearted man and travel enthusiastic. Initially he told us that he will not take any booking for us as all of his staff will be visiting Goa in that period. And my answer was, if we go to Leh we will be staying at your place only. Finally he agreed that he will keep his place available for stay but no food will be available. It was good that his place was totally empty and he spent lots of time chatting with us.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9177.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7435.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7438.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7471.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7472.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9161.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9164.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7481.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7482.jpg
Approaching Leh

Before anything else we collected a BSNL sim from nearby shop. In the evening we discussed with him for further plans and then went to Shanti Stupa to enjoy the landscape of Leh under the sky enfolded with glittering stars. There we realised that we have already entered sub zero temperature area.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7487.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7495.jpg
Evening at Leh

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7499.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7504.jpg
Shanti Stupa

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:32. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:37   #8
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 7: Leh - Khardung La - Hunder

Before entering into Nubra Valley I thought a quick checkup of the car is a dope idea. Also the car needed a wash too. Rather than going to a washing centre we went to Mahindra Service Centre and got the job done.
After cleaning the car we collected the permission from permit office and start for Khardung-La.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2672.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2678.jpg
Mr. Dorjay and his beautiful place

On the way we got stuck just 2 km before the Khardung La pass because of heavy snow. Everything was ready nearby so did not take much time to clean the road and within 20-30 mins the road was clean to move. The drive down from Leh into the Nubra Valley after traversing the precipitous Khardung La, offers the first glimpse of Ladakh’s famously awe-inspiring vistas. The Shyok and Nubra rivers cut through deep valleys characterised by craggy mountains, stark rocky slopes and giant boulder fields contrasted by sporadic green swathes of settlements along the riverside. We did not spend much time at Khardungla, just had a cup of coffee and after taking some quick snaps moved for Hunder. My brother was very excited and saying that he never thought of crossing Khardung La in our own vehicle. And yes, after the trip he confirmed that he will never do any more trip with me. I was driving towards Hunder and suddenly felt that Arup was completely silent. I poked him but he did not respond much saying that he is feeling dizzy. I understood that these are the early signs of altitude sickness due to low oxygen. I continued driving a little faster and after almost 1 hour Arup realised that we have descended to lower altitude and felt better now.

It was almost dusk when we reached Hunder. As per Mr. Dorjay’s promise he had already booked a beautiful room for us and guided us how to reach the hotel. My brother was a little worried about his health and tensed whether he will be able to continue the trip or not. Off-season marked less number of tourists and it was good that we could spend some time with locals and learnt many things about their culture and traditions.

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:34. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 16:56   #9
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 8: Hunder - Turtuk - RD0 - Thang - Sands and Dunes - Hunder

The day was sunny with everything glittering and the good things was everyone’s health was absolutely okay. We decided to experience some bit of Siachen Warriors.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7576.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2684.jpg
Out Farm-House Stay at Hunder

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2691.jpg
My Brother

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7578.jpg
Beautiful Kids were playing @ Hunder

First we went to Pratappur Goodwill school and there we spent some good time with kids. After their break time was over we moved forward towards Turtuk. After 10-15 odd kilometers we found the beauty of Nubra Valley even in the rawness. Nubra Valley lies in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, at a distance of around 140 Km from Leh. Located on the ancient Silk Route, the valley has Shyok and Nubra river snaking through it and some beautiful monasteries.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7581.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7601.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9227.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9229.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9231.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9232.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9238.jpg
Pratappur

The region is currently under military supervision because the road further leads to the Siachen base camp, which happens to be the highest battlefield in the world. All foreign nationals need to get protected area permit, and Indian travellers need to obtain an Inner Line Permit to enter the Nubra valley. You need to hand over the photocopies of your travel permits to the soldiers in the Khardung La pass. The deep-cut Shayok and Nubra River Valleys offer tremendous scenery on a grand scale, with green oasis villages surrounded by thrillingly stark scree slopes, and harsh arid mountains, strongly reminiscent of Pakistan's Northern Areas. We followed the Shayak River till turtuk. In this journey we did not find much countable civilians on the way. Sometimes we were not able to understand whether we are on the right path or not.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9248.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9249.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9256.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9259.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9261.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2702.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9270.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2708.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9275.jpg
Random snaps between Pratappur & Turtuk


We were discussing about some famous dialogues by KK Menon in Shaurya at the same time we saw a flight that was flying nearby and looking into the surroundings we felt that we were driving through a theme planet of the game Project IGI.
To Be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:37. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:07   #10
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 8 continued ...

I never expect that nature can be so beautiful even in it’s rawness. Sometimes the colorful trees and bushes gave the rawness a different aesthetic pleasure. Being on Turtuk we were little hungry but we managed with some chocolates and biscuits and moved ahead towards Thang.
We were in doubt whether we will get permission to visit Thang or not. Being on the check post we realised that even army are happy to see us in this off-season time. They offered us Momo and Tea and asked to wait for some time as one of their officer will join us to guide and show us the RD-0. Thang (also called Dhothang, Thanga Chathang) is a village in the Leh district. It is in the historical Chorbat region of Baltistan, divided between India and Pakistan by the 1972 Line of Control. Thang is part of the Nubra tehsil and the Turtuk community development block.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7586.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7589.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7593.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7601.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7602.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7603.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7606.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7608.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7611.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7612.jpg
Few more random snaps between Pratappur and Turtuk

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7618.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7624.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7630.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7636.jpg
@ Turtuk

The village was seized from Pakistan along with three other villages in the area as a result of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It is 25 kilometers from the line of control. The area's population is largely Baltistani. While we were waiting for the officer to come, we spent some time by walking here and there. We talked to many local and was confirmed that the entire areas was under Pakistan before 1971. The school was built by Pakistan and now run by India. We were informed by an Army officer to move towards RD-0 and one officer will join us on the way to show us the Thang Village.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_2718.jpg

Everyone was silent beyond the checkpost and we barely managed to whisper amongst us. In between we met the officer and felt a little confident. We were strictly instructed not to get out of the car until he allow for it. Reaching there he had some communication with the posted soldiers and asked me to take only 3 pictures and get back to the car ASAP also instructed others to stay inside the car only. It was maximum 30-25 seconds he allowed us to take the pictures.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7640.jpg
Trained Animal to Supply Drinking Water to Soldier

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7641.jpg
Point Zero @ RD 0

From there he guided us towards Thang Village. On the way he described a lot of things about the village and its localities. He had some work and stayed back at Thang village and for us, asked us to go back to Turtuk. Turtuk is India’s last rural idylls situated in the Nubra Tehsil of Leh. The previous 1 hour was really dreadful for us.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7647.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7649.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7651.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7653.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7655.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_76592.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7659.jpg
After coming back to Turtuk my brother said that he was done with the lifetime experience and had stories to tell to his even grand-child. He is just not worried about the rest of the trip now. Even if he can not go to Pangong or Tso-Moriri he will not be regretting. A final leg of sandy road hugged the roiling Shyok River (literally Death River in Uyghur, named in the Silk Road-era) all the way to Turtuk. Just a few miles down the same road lies the border with Pakistan. Turtuk, is predominantly Muslim but does have a couple of gompas overlooking the Shyok river as well. Listen close as locals here speak an interesting Balti language that uses old Tibetan sounds no longer used in modern Tibetan. With wireless and Netflix taken over the gist of our lives, Turtuk is a magical elope. No Wi-Fi, no food chains, limited electricity and a unique language, Turtuk is at the other end of a time machine travelling into a totally different age.

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:39. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:17   #11
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 8 continued ...

From Turtuk we travelled back to Hunder. While I was trying to take some snaps of the dusk, my brother was continuously doing a recap of the experience of the day and Arup enjoyed camel ride. We spend the evening by having some good snacks, coffee & local Dance. With arid mountains in the backdrop, Nubra Valley is famous for the Bactrian camel rides. Bactrian camels are of the rarest sort, having two humps and were the primary source of transportation in the silk route. Beyond the leisure and monastic side of Ladakh, there are stunning silver sand dunes of Hunder in the Nubra Valley region. Like an oasis amidst the cold desert, Hunder Sand Dunes are beautiful beyond imagination. Located at an altitude of 4,000 meters, the desert is cut across by a gentle stream and the beautiful countryside. With such stunning landscapes against the backdrop of the snow-clad mountains, the Hunder Sand Dune looks nothing less than a fairy world.

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:40. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (5) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:24   #12
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 09: Hunder - Shayak River - Pangong Tso - Chang La - Leh

When we left Hunder Hotel and started driving towards Pangong Tso we did not have any plans about where to spend the night. We were continuously taking updates from many local people about the exit road through Manali. Everyone was saying the road is already blocked and we have to come back via Srinagar again. So we parked the decision making process for the time being.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7715.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7717.jpg
Morning at Hunder

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7718.jpg
Refueling Time

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7724.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7725.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7727.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7729.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7730.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7733.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9342.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9346.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9351.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9352.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9360.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9362.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9364.jpg
Ransom Snaps of Sayak River on the way to Pangong

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9366.jpg
Wild Animals



To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:42. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:31   #13
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 9 continued ...

We took the Shayak River road to reach Pangong Tso. It was around 2:00 PM when we reached Pangong Tso. Reaching there first we discovered that all the camps have already been closed because of end of tourist season and cold weather. However, we come to know the home stays at Man will be available to stay for the day. Before making our plan to Man we calculated our remaining days and the distance we have to cover to come back to Kolkata. And the outcome of all calculation was a big “NO”. Even if we stay at Man, we have to return back to Leh the next day for the return journey. Rather we took a decision to come back to Leh on the same day after spending some more time in Pangong Lake and parked the rest of the areas for next visit. The cold wind was killing us even in the noon time. It was good that because of off-season the area was completely serene but I could imagine how commercial this place would be during tourist seasons considering the artificially created photo shooting things here and there. Situated at a height of almost 4,350 m above sea level, this natural wonder is the world’s highest saltwater lake. Its water, which seems to be dyed in blue, stand in stark contrast to the arid mountains surrounding it. Cradled between India and China, the lake extends to almost 160km. One-third of the endorheic lake lies in India and the other two-thirds in China. This scenic wonder derives its name from the Tibetan word “Pangong Tso”, which means “high grassland lake”. You could spend hours in contemplation here, and still not have enough of its beauty. Pangong Tso is also known to change colors, appearing blue, green and red at different times of a day.

We drove around another 9 odd km along the lake and enjoyed the emptiness of the area. After spending a lot of time there we started for Leh. It was already evening when we crossed Chang-La and before 2-3 KM of Changla everything got frozen. Like other truck we also had to put a blanket in front of the radiator to keep the engine warm. To take some snaps when we came out of the car we realised that outside weather is unbelievable cold. Before being too late in the lonely road we started moving very slowly towards Leh. At times we thought that driving through such a high altitude pass at night is not a good decision but everyone was fit and fine for the day so we thought that we will be able to make it if The Lazy Turtle supports us like any other trips. Lazy Turtle is a champion, with no trouble we reached Leh at 10:30 PM.

Again we decided to troubled Mr. Dorjay. Before reaching Leh we called him to keep his house open for us. We requested him to join us for dinner but he was unwilling to go outside due to cold so he said that he will love to stay at home only. After enjoying some hot and tasty dinner we checked-in into his house at midnight 12. For the day we could not see the sun for a while because of the glare.

Today my brother was the most active person and he did all the planning of returning back. He was extremely worried about crossing the Chang-La after sunset. But reaching into hotel me and Arup astonished to see him dancing in room celebrating his achievement. Probably it could have been described in words but this reciprocation came out of him automatically after completed the journey safely. Arup was calculating the day to reach home as he didn't want to miss Durga Puja in Bengal. But it was not possible for us, the earliest we could reach was on Dashami.
To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:44. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:41   #14
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 10: Leh - Sonamarg

As we removed a couple of areas from our trip, we were advanced by one day to return home. So we did not make any aggressive plan, rather we decided to plan every afternoon where to stay. We met with Mr. Dorjay’s family in the next morning. Had our breakfast together and then it was time to say goodbye.
Return journey is always painful like other trips. It reminds all the busyness, office, city traffic .. etc etc. So like every other trip I was the most lazy and energyless one. Arup as surprisingly active and energetic during the return journey. He was continuously calculating times, dates, distance etc. Both me and my brother was happy to see him active on the return journey as he was the most lazy one during the trip. He started with a blanket from Kolkata at 30-34 degrees centigrade temperature and occupied the middle seat like a leech on the bed. In punjab a policeman was laughing looking into him and told him “Sir, Kashmir abhi bahut dur hai, Abhi to yaar blanket utarlo”. So activeness of Arup was really unexpected for both of us. on that day we reached Sonamarg and again we crossed the Zoji La at 7:30 PM. We were a little sceptical about the hotel availability in Sonamarg at night but that was not a problem at all.

After dinner we were walking in the garden area and suddenly it started raining. We were discussing that we might be very lucky, as there is a possibility of road block at Zoji-La.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9542.jpg
Sonamarg Again

Day 11: Sonamarg - Doodhpathri - Srinagar - Dal Lake

Early morning we got to know that because of last night's snowfall, Zoji La was covered with snow and it may take a whole day to clean the road. So the first thing that came to my mind was that we should visit Zoji La again to take some good snaps of Lazy Turtle as we did not get a single piece of snow at Zoji La yesterday. And the plan was something that we will go to Zoji La and after taking some snaps we will drive back to Srinagar. After breakfast we got information that a huge number of commercial vehicles and trucks are standing in a queue near Baltal valley waiting for the road to be opened. We thought that it might be difficult to reach the pass because of huge traffic. So without making things more complicated, we started our journey towards Srinagar. As I have told that for the last two days Arup was super enthusiastic. And from the morning itself he kept on saying that he will enjoy the Durga Puja by talking a flight from Srinagar. We thought that he was joking, but after reaching Srinagar he seriously took an auto and went to the airport.

For the last three days we were in touch with Soumitra Da (Soumitra Bhattacharjee) for the road conditions and other information as he was also driving an Innova from Kolkata towards Leh during our return time. After saying goodbye to Arup we waited for half and hour to meet Soumitra Da. Then together we planned to visit Doodhpathri. To reach Doodhpathri we followed the google map and that was the worst decision. We also confirmed from couple of local people whether the route showing is correct or not, they also suggested the same route. The route was not at all safe for tourists and it was too narrow making it almost impossible to make an u-turn for an Innova or Bolero. Somehow we managed to reach Doodhpathri after crossing many apple orchards and local roads.
The name "Doodhpathri'' means Valley of Milk. It is said that the famous saint of Kashmir Sheikh ul Aalam Sheikh Noor din Noorani has prayed here and once when he was in search of water in the meadows,to offer prayers, he pricked the ground with his stick to search for water and milk came out. He asked the milk that you can only be used for drinking and not performing ablution. Hearing this milk at once changed its state to water and the meadow got its name Doodhpathri. Doodhpathri is a beautiful meadow with emerald grass that looks like a green carpet. A beautiful river dancing and reverberating with the wind flows in the middle of the meadow, lending it a splendid charm and vibrancy. The place looks very beautiful and pleasant. The green grass under the feet is really wonderful. Doodhpathri however is a recent inclusion in the Jammu Kashmir tourist map. This is the reason that the place is not overcrowded and not many tourists visit here. However, it has become a real hit among the local population, who find it a welcome step. We spent the noon time there and while returning, we collected the real time road information from local people who confirmed of the apt condition.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9551.jpg
Brother's Meet

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9559.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9560.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9564.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9569.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9575.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9580.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9583.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9586.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7824.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7828.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7836.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7840.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-img_9589.jpg
DoodhPathri

Soumitra Da went directly to Dal Lake for a ride. We checked-in to the same hotel where Soumitra Da already had booking to have some story sharing in the evening. Ringed by an arc of green mountains, Srinagar's greatest drawcard is mesmerizingly placid Dal Lake, on which a bright array of stationary houseboats and shikara (gondola-like boats) add a splash of colour and a unique opportunity for romantic chill-outs. After checking into the hotel, we (me and my brother) went for a Shikara ride and enjoyed the sunset from Shikara. Charming Mughal gardens dot the lake's less urbanised eastern shore; while the old town bustles with fascinating Central Asian–style bazaars and a collection of soulful Sufi shrines, as well as a fortress and many historic wooden mosques. As Arup left for home we got some extra place in ou car and my brother utilized it properly with lots of carpet and blanket shopping from the Dal Lake. After dinner we spend our time by sharing many old travel stories to each other and enjoyed the chilling cold weather at the hotel garden area.

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7851.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7854.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7860.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7893.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7897.jpg

Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir-tkd_7956.jpg
Dal Lake, Srinagar
To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:46. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 2nd November 2019, 17:47   #15
BHPian
 
PointZero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 373
Thanked: 2,168 Times
Default re: Three tickets to paradise - Ladakh & Kashmir

Day 12: Dal Lake - Kuchepora - Khudwani - Kuchepora - Khudwani - Sangran - Harnag - Anantnag - Kokernag - Sinthan Top - Kishtwar - New Tathri - PatniTop

So looking at the route map for the day you might be confused and have a big question WHY ????

We were one day advance as per our plan. So we thought that we will be reaching Kolkata on the day of Dashami and for a Bengali it is a big thing. With lots of energy and enthusiasm we started the day very early and did not wait for sunrise. Drove fast towards Jammu through Srinagar - Kanyakumari highway. The plan was to cover the distance as much as possible. On such a long distance journey we generally make our breakfast and lunch on the go in the car to reduce break time. Soon we reached a place near Kuchepora and saw that thousands of trucks were waiting in a queue. Seeing such a long queue we asked an army person for the reason. Everyone was armed and highly alert. Somehow, we were suspecting some issues. But the army man confirmed that there are some issues but go ahead, no one will stop a car having West Bengal number. At the end of the queue we found that only J&K police is available there and no army or CRPF available. The road was blocked by the J&K police. There we came to know the exact reason and that was, last night there was a cross firing between CRPF and Terrorist. And for the incident curfew has been declared. So no car will be leaving Srinagar. After lots of request J&K police suggested us to take Mughal Road if we want to go further. We came back almost 20-25 kms to take the Mughal road. At the start of Mughal road couple of truck drivers confirmed that because of heavy snowfall the roads around the peak is blocked and we can’t cross the peak part. Again we went back to the same location where the J&K police suggested us to take Mughal road for another help. They collected information from Mughal road traffic control and confirmed that it will be cleared by that time when we will reach the peak. So, again we drove back 20-25 KMS to take the Mughal road.

Now we found a new threat. Suddenly all the local cabs were returning in a hurry and told us that a group of people are throwing stones because of last night's incident and they are going back to the highway for safety. Hearing this we took a U-Turn and reached the highway again. Me and my brother were terrified now as we could not make out what to do what not to do. While we were waiting in the highway we found J&K police on duty officer. We approached him for the Anantnag-Sinthan road. Generally, I carry a complete map during such a long trip. He was a very nice person, took many information from other duty officer and drew a path on the map which will be safer for us. Also told us that till Kokernag we should not face any issue, but after that he does not have much information about the Sinthan Top. By following his drawn path we reached Kokernag and it was time to take the Sinthan top road. Suddenly a couple of local people asked us to stop in a speed-breaker by saying “Hey Ustad ..? Kaha Ja rahe ho ? Rukho !!! ”. So our heart suddenly started pounding with double force seeing then advancing towards our car. Before starting for Sinthan Top I made a whatsapp group with some of my CRPF & Indian Army friends who are currently posted in Jammu and Srinagar. Also we were continuously updating Basu ( Team-Bhpian JKDS) about our location. When the locals were approaching towards our vehicle we had many thoughts going on in the back of our mind. Whom to call for any issue, how they will approach us. Though we knew that we were innocent still the situation forced us to think many negative things. Suddenly the man who stopped us looked at the number plate and give us a sign to move ahead. After seeing the sign to move ahead I did not take a second to press the throttle and came out of that locality.

After driving an hour we discovered the surroundings were completely silent. And further we did not see a single person roaming around. Sometimes we were thinking whether we were moving towards the right direction or not but we were sure that we did not miss any road behind. We could see some stones were painted with Indian Army being striked out and written “Go Back India”. In the whole journey me and my brother forgot to have any food since morning. My brother was not even ready to get out of the car and take out some food from the icebox accessible from the back door. So we decided to continue till Sinthan-Top with the nuts and almonds available in the seat pockets.

After a sharp turn we were surprised to see the beauty of Sinthan Top. The entire area was glittering like pearl and some trees were glittering like gold. I am sure I can not describe the beauty of the location in that moment when the sun rays focused on the area. And seriously we did not take any chance to stop and take pictures. We continued driving until Sinthan Top and there we saw that a Qualis was parked there. We felt a little relieved that we will be able to see some other tourists here. But finally discovered that the car was probably facing some breakdown situation and someone abandoned the car there. We took exactly 2-3 mins to take some snaps of the location and then we saw that one truck was coming from the opposite site. We got confirmed that we are in the right direction. In between snowfall started, being in a 2WD car it will be very risky in this area. And we were sure that we will not get anyone for recovery. We did not waste any time and drove carefully to cross the snowfall area as soon as possible. Snowfall stopped after some time and by that time we also came down to a lower altitude area. We were thrilled but at the same time we were very tensed for the upcoming surprises. We were driving through a road with loads of pine trees on both sides and suddenly we found a tyre killer on our way. So another surprise and we were looking at each other. After stopping the vehicle engine two Indian Army officer came out from a hidden camp and asked us to step out of the car. They searched the vehicle and then interrogate keenly. After a long conversation they asked us to hold our ID card and stand at the back side of the car with visible number plate. Took many pictures zoomed face and with car and finally told us to go.
After getting the permission we asked him if there are any more checkpost ahead. They assured that there are no more checkpost till Kishtwar and also we are in a safe zone so we can go ahead without any tension.


Though we came to know that we are in a safe zone, our brain was still stuck on the sentences “Hey Ustad ..? Kaha Ja rahe ho ? Rukho !!! ”. There were many things running in our brain. At Kishtwar we took the first food break and had some omelet and tea at 5:00 PM. After talking to many local shopkeepers we come to know that we can easily go to Patnitop and the road is completely safe. On the way we called a hotel at Patnitop and booked a room.

When we reached the hotel it was pitch dark. After spending such thrilling day we decided to have an early dinner and go to bed. I slept early but my brother was much tensed than me and continuously he was following many news channels whether the curfew has been withdrawn or not .. etc.. etc.
It was around 12:30 midnight and I was deep asleep. Suddenly he poked me to wake up and look outside. I tried to convince him that we are innocent and why are you taking so much tension but he was not at all feeling safe. We looked outside and saw two more Innova stopped at the hotel and from those cars two punjabi family checked-in into the hotel. I was very tired and slept after some time.

Couple of Links of the incident on that day:
http://jkadworld.com/jammu-kashmir-n...e-16-oct-2018/

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/stor...566-2018-10-17

To be continued ...

Last edited by aah78 : 12th November 2019 at 23:48. Reason: Picture & video spacing.
PointZero is offline   (7) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
How I bought myself a Porsche at 25 years old
The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade
Mustang crashes into truck driver - shows no remorse
Don't be naive, all of this happens before your PDI
Polo GTI falls off a flyover captured on video
Miscreants assault me & my car - justice prevails
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks