At last I was able to do the Manali-Leh-Srinagar, with lot of help in planning and route info from HVKumar, the instruction and route details were so accurate that I relied on that info more that GPS!. A very big thanks to HVKumar for all his help, I was constantly SMSing him related to next step and routes, and he responded every time. I am amazed with all the info provided by him.
May end and June start is not the best of time to do this route, but I wanted to see all the SNOW and route difficulties first hand, the only problem I had was, I was travelling with my family(wife and 8 yr old kid), they too were excited but wife was too scared with the thought of having snows and passing through them, having seen lots and lots of avalanche related story on Discovery and National Geography.
The worst part, I lost almost all of the images, as my MacBook hard disk crashed, I have very few of the images with me, mostly of Pangong TSO lake, and few of Kardung La, will be updating the images as and when I am able to get more images from the DV cassette of Video Camera.
Initially the plan was,
Day 1: Nagpur-Gwalior, Day 2: Gwalior-Bilaspur, Day 3: Bilaspur- Manali.
15K servicing of Scorpio was done on 25th May and vehicle was ready, I discussed the complete plan with HVKumar numerous time, and finally 30th May Saturday I started my journey.
Day 1[30th May Saturday]: early morning start 3.30AM from Nagpur, the plan was to reach Gwalior by 8 PM and end the day 1, the route I took was NH69 from Nagpur, which goes through Betul, Itasri, Hosangabad and Bhopal, NH12 from Bhopal which meet NH3 and then NH3 till Agra I reached Bhopal before noon and was able to negotiate the Bhopal in an hour and way toward Gwalior, SMS HVKumar, that I can make Gwalior before time and what should be the next stop, he suggested Agra or Hodal, provided itís not too late, while discussing we decided that I would not drive beyond 10 PM, 10PM was the cut off time, I reached Agra by 7 PM, but took some wrong turns and went deep inside wasted lot of time and after 45 minutes was able to back on NH2, called HPDTC hotel (dabchick-referenced by HVKumar while negotiating Agara) and made a phone reservation , reached hotel by 9.45PM and called it a day there. I called HVKumar in the night and we discussed and revised the plan, the next day plan now was to reach Manali, instead of Bilaspur!
We had a good dinner and went to bed to start the next day afresh, before I went to bed, HVKumar has already sent an email with coordinates to cross new Delhi, believe me it just one turn and you are on Karnal road.
Day 2[31st May Sunday]: Started 5.30 AM in morning from Hodal, and was able to cross New Delhi easily before the traffic hits in, before I could even think of breakfast, started seeing lots and lots of Dhabhas on NH1, we stopped at one of the Dhabha and had Aalu parathas with Dahi, and from here onward it was all going smooth, after crossing Karnal I saw a red blinking light on Scorpio TPMS system, it was indicating an air pressure leak in left rear tyre, and tyre pressure was going down fast, even with tubeless tyre, this indicated a major puncture, stopped at one of the Fuel Station and un mounted the tyre to see a big Bolt inside the tyre, there was no way I could have pulled it out, searched for a tyre repair shop and asked about tubeless tyre, the answer was I mostly do tubeless as most of the vehicle that cross this section are tube less, any way he pulled the bolt out and there was a big hole in the tyre, he said there is more to do to this tyre than just applying the tubeless solution, he un mounted the tyre and packed it from inside and then applied the tubeless solution and said this is now as good as new, anyway paid Rs220 for all the this repair and lost 2 hours. Back on NH1 and started toward Ambala, there was again an email with coordinates to bypass Chandigarh from HVKumar, followed the coordinates and was on State Highway for some time and back on NH. I had to pay Rs 300 as entry tax for HP and then all the hill and ghat road started, it looked tough to make it to Manali, but once I crossed Bilaspur, I started to believe that I would be able to make it to Manali. The best part was the tunnel, crossing that tunnel(I don't know the name of the tunnel) was a fun. Reached Manali by 9.30 PM. Next day was rest day in Manali, made it to Manali in 2 days from Nagpur, 31st May 2009 I was in Manali. 1st June decided to stay in Manali, roam around Manali, go to Rohtang pass just to feel and see snow, play on Snow, even though I was to cross the same Pass to reach Leh, but that day it would have been difficult to stop and play on Snow, plus a much needed rest after driving so many kms!!
Day3[1st June ] : Started the day late, the temperature was pleasant by 8 AM or so left the hotel went around few places and ultimately went to Rohtang Pass and spent some time playing on snow with family, the complete hill was filled with snow,
Before reaching Rohtang, some where near Manali
I didn't go to the top as I had to cross the same location tomorrow, so spent lot of time that day there and went back to Manali, I did the river crossing on rope and then para sailing, but I was not allowed at that time to do so because of the wind and my weight[84 kg], wife and son did the para sailing and other activity. we spend good time in an around Manali and prepared ourselves for the next day. The plan was to stay at Jispa in hotel and start very early morning next day to reach Leh, discussed related to Sarchu tent, but there was no confirmation if that has started yet. Still in one corner I had the thought of making it to Sarchu and seeing if tents are available.
will update later with some more images in the evening....
Hi, Pramod, congrats on completing the trip successfully, that too in the most difficult period for the Ladakh drive and with a young child with you.
What was the distance covered on each of the first 3 days?
Yes sir, I have all the logs of kms, I will update the distance in evening, but all this was possible because of you, without your help, suggestion and encouragement it was not possible to do all this alone!
Umm Pramod, thats not entry tax for HP. That is ECO tax which you pay when you enter Manali. The check post is few kms before manali town. I don't know whether such a check post exists on the road which is at the right side of river beas.
The ECO tax is 100rs for bikes, 200rs for cars, and 300rs for MUV/SUVs.
The slip is valid for 7 days, and entitles you to free parking at all govt parking lots in Manali.
No Manali ECO tax is different , I am talking about when I entered HP from Punjab at the border they took Rs 300 I am not sure if they gave me any receipt for that, I will try to see if I have any receipt!
Congratulations on finishing the Ladakh Run all on your own, usually people with family prefer to have a car or two with them.
I was in Mumbai with HVK on 30th when you were heading to Hodal and reached there, he was pretty excited to see that you did a great job on day 1.
Awaiting your full story and some pictures.
Would be useful if you recommend a check list for the trip.
You have started the trip on a very efficient and fast note.
And this is what we can expect from a protege of HVKUMAR
Please drive safe and enjoy the drive and nature around us.
And keep posting
There is an entry tax but Its around 30rs, and is the entry tax to HP, irrespective of where you entered from.
I suspect because your car has south India plates, somebody took you for a ride.
@tsk1979: I suspect the same, but I was not in a mood to confront then and there was already running late because of puncture, I paid and moved on ;-( so i paid 10x of required amount, lesson learned need to be more careful, but some time the situation and mostly when you are travelling with family alone you tend to give in faster!
@Ramky: I followed HVKumar's check list, I requested him to send me the previous details and that's what he did, I was carrying medicine, water,food and woolen cloths, basically at any point I had 20liters of water and 2 days ration in my Scorpio, plus lots of woolen cloth, I had been warned of the road conditions and weather, so was ready for this!
I too was surprised by my initial pace, I expected to reach Gwalior on day one, but after Bhopal, I targeted Gwalior by 6 PM and was able to do it earlier so Agra was next and with discussion with HVKumar finally settled on Hodal. My wife and son are used to long hours in vehicle, the only problem I faced was to alway charge the mobile so that they can play games on them, I had 4 mobile phone with me, iPhone without sim, that was mostly used by my son and occasionaly by wife to play games on that, and Idea, BSNL and Airtel SIM for communication and direction using GPS and GPRS/EDGE,
The phone model I had was HTC Dream(Google Phone, GPS is faster), Nokia N95, iPhone (1st Generation) and Sony Erricson W300i
Tanveer is talking about the following which is correct
1. Entry Tax to Himachal Pradesh == Rs 30, no matter from where you enter the state valid till you enter again into Himachal from outside.
2. Eco Tax Outside Manali == Rs 300 for entering Manali and using Public Parking and valid for 7 days.
And looks like Pramod is conned at the Punjab--HP border before UNA where the toll guys charged Rs 300 instead of 30 for entering into HP.
And i am sure they must not have given a receipt and if they have given, it must be saying RS 30.
So, be careful guys of these cheaters who try to take advantage of you seeing different state number plates.
Day 1 total distance covered from Nagpur to Hodal Dabchick resort was 1031 Kms,
Day 2 total distance covered from Hodal to Manali 651 Kms
Day 3 total distance covered in around Manali 104 Kms
Day 1 at dabchick
Day 3 Images from Manali and Rohtang
First look at snow clad mountain
People on mission Leh ;-)
Look back from where we started
Closer look at Snow
touching the snow
Just at hand lenght
Pramods, awesome start. Your Day1 timing was indeed splendid. Will keep watching this space for more pics with writeup.
Truly awesome and bravo for completing the trip during the difficult time of the year. Amazing pictures and am eager to see more.
Also, sad to know that your macbook HD had crashed, but am sure that the visuals are imprinted in your memory and will stay for sometime to come.
One more thing that pramods has shown is that there is now a good route for Bangaloreans and Hyderabadis to get to Delhi - instead of the NW corridor via Laknadon and Sagar, the Bhopal route is good and fast. A quick driver could drive from Bangalore to Delhi in 2 days flat, assuming he is able to reach Nagpur on Day 1 (possible with an early morning start).
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