|23rd September 2009, 16:51||#241|
|23rd September 2009, 16:57||#242|
After the bridge where you show permits, comes the turn, and then comes the sight which will blow you away.
Too bad its raining, but I braved the rain, to get the pics
There are all colors in one frame. Green Red. Brown, blue, white.. Never in our whole trip we have seen colors like this.
And never ever in our whole trip we have seen rain like this too!
Its raining cats dogs and wild asses in the uber dry changthang desert.
Little before 2pm we reach Nyoma.
Sorry, so few pics of the wonderful road.
I overtook a couple of Army convoys, more stopping would mean redoing the work, and the rain also prevented photography.
Thankfully, the road to Nyoma was good.
At Nyoma we checked out PWD rest house which was full due to some visiting officials.
He told us that there is PWD at Hanle also. We had permission to stay at Hanle Guest house, provided room was available.
So this was just backup.
Nyoma was also the place to have some good decent food.
There was a fuel station also, but it was closed, and ditto for the BSNL tower, it was in sms only or hello hello can you hear me mode, as usual.
Hanle was 90kms away, and time was over 2pm.
Thankfully, still, the road was good, very good
TO BE CONT.......
|23rd September 2009, 17:19||#243|
Its raining. Raining quite heavily. Its not supposed to rain heavily this time of the year. I do not want rain. I want sunshine. Because when clouds come, starts do not.
Well, night is still far away.
Its early afternoon, and on the black arrow straight tarmac, we race towards Hanle
Dark clouds all over
Bleak desert looking bleaker in the rain. this desert does not bloom when it rains, it blooms only when it wants to
As far as the eye can see, its dark omnious clouds.
Very soon, after around 20 minutes more, the landscape starts changing. The Hanle river, like all rivers around is a life giver.
Colors start to emerge. The bleak light does not help though, but we can only imagine what a sight it would be when the sun comes out
After round 45 minutes on the Hanle road, we see the first residents of the South Changthang desert.
The Wild A.s.s or the Kiang. This is the Tibetian Wild A.s.s technically
the light is not condusive to taking out the zoom lens, and we want to reach hanle, so for today its 55mm max.
anyways, here is their domain. The green fields. Lots of food, and lots of rain
We do around 70kms quickly and soon there is a signboard which says "Hanle 20kms".
The signboard is very very significant, because here the road ends, and instead of the high speed runway, now its a road made up of sharp rocks, which somebody forgot to run the roadroller on.
Not much change in scenery. Sun seemed to be struggling to come out
But no success
The white elephant. Instead of the "so called road" we take one of the myriad dirt trails, memories of more plains come.
Rain has let up a bit, thankfully
The rocky trail, its raining and wipers are working overnight
The same bleak scenery everywhere.
And finally, for a moment, sun comes out, bathing us in its warmth, and we spot the red road roller
There is no driver in it, no wonder road is like this.
Imagine, not a soul for miles around, just a red road roller
As we get closer, a cloud blocks the sun, and the lovely yellow light starts turning bright white
All along the way we we see sun and clouds fighting, the clouds are winning
And then quarter to 4, we get the first glimpse, miles away of the Hanle Gompa
Finally we have arrived... Almost
TO BE CONT........
Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd September 2009 at 17:20.
|23rd September 2009, 17:26||#244|
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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What are these strips for?
Last edited by sudev : 23rd September 2009 at 17:30. Reason: Fixed quote
|23rd September 2009, 17:29||#245|
these strips are for the under construction fence. Army does lot of hanky panky here
Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd September 2009 at 17:41.
|23rd September 2009, 17:40||#246|
where is Chandra...?
Thats the question which we ask to nobody in particular as we reach a bridge.
Its a question in the air.
there is a very very nice paved road going towards, the other direction from the telescope, and a horrendous one going towards the telescope.
We take the latter, and its indeed quite horrendous.
First its a mix of rocks and sand, and secondly there is slush too. Some other time it may have been fun, but right now its Hanle in the mind.
After 2kms which take us 20 minutes, we reach ITBP checkpost which tells us this is not the right road.
Probably its the road going in other direction.
We go back to the same bridge, and I again look at the lovely road.
Its certainly not this one, as I can see it going towards.. well china!
there are a few laborers who have no idea either, finally one local comes, and he says, neither. the road to Hanle is under consideration. So you see these mounds of sand and construction material dumped. This is the road to hanle.
So just go around it on the "kuchha" path.
So finally, wasting almost 40 minutes, we are at the Hanle rest house around 4:30pm
The clouds are still strong, and the staff verifiy whether we can stay.
Answer is Affirmative!
We dump some luggage in our room, and its time for the drive up the hill to the Chandra telescope!
WE drive up, and before entering the telescope complex, I take a few quick shots
Inside the telescope, its bigger than it looks.
We are shown a short video on how the hanle site was chosen.
This telescope is Made in Arizona, cost many million dollars.
Since Hanle has one of the best skies, and it rarely rains here(rarely????) its the perfect site.
But the scientists inform me that its been raining here for past 3 days intermittantly, and heavily today. Normally it rains in August only when there is 50% chance of clear sky. this is freak weather.
Now this is what is called rotten luck.
Due to the rains, the dome will not be opened, but as can see the telescope, and soon we are headed upwards on a steel ladder.
The sight is one to behold.
It does not look like an astronomy site. It looks like the sets of terminator and any moment I expect Arnold to come out and say "Come with me if you want to live".
Pics of the Multi Million Dollar Chandra
Though its raining now, it may clear at night. So the telescope has to be serviced. This involves cooling its CCD. Now how do you cool the CCD of a telescope that takes exposures longer than 3000 seconds?
You put liquid nitrogen into it.
If you thought putting Nitrogen in your car tires was cool.. wait till you see this
TO BE CONT........
|23rd September 2009, 17:55||#247|
All of us have dreams. Some have dreams of climbing mount everest, some dream of Leh etc., etc.,
But never ever in my wildest dreams I had thought, that we would be standing barely a km away from a 400 year old monastery, and watch liquid nitrogen being poured into the CCD of a multimillion dollar made in the USA telescope, 4200m+ above the sea level.
It was real.
Liquid nitrogen is made locally by the site
In Cryogenic canisters it is brought to the telescope, after which they pour it into a stainless steel jug
With a steel funnel, its poured into the CCD
Excess flows out and falls on the floor
The Cryogenic container and the jug
That thing falling down is excess
The main CCD is rotated while maintenance, so that its circulated completely
The same process of putting nitrogen is repeated multiple times through various openings in the CCD casing.
Hanle site is self sufficient. Though no phones connection is there, there is a VSAT terminal(256kbps) for internet surfing. a 30KW solar electric plant, and a diesel genset.
Till 11PM they operate the genset. Solar plant charges the UPS which kicks in at 11pm in the night.
Telescope seen, it was time for us to head out, and one of the technicians came with us to show us around..
Needless to say.. The views were mind blowing!
TO BE CONT..........
Last edited by tsk1979 : 23rd September 2009 at 18:01.
|23rd September 2009, 18:04||#248|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Awesomes. Tussi the mahaan hos! Lovely pics in there - simply amazing. Your 4x4 purchase has paid itself out in this trip!
|23rd September 2009, 19:18||#249|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Thanked: 62 Times
This travelogue is not only awesome, it is out of this world....
|23rd September 2009, 21:48||#251|
|24th September 2009, 11:10||#252|
Hanle, the Village
Hanle village lies in South Changthang Plateau. Actually if you were in Ladakh, and could see only one region, I would say Changthang.
North Changthang has Pangong, and south changthang has Hanle, among other things.
After venturing out, its time to go to the top of a hill. I has, among other things a weather radar, webcam and multiple other things which I can't really make sense off.
Just think of it as a hill with lots of gadgets.
The tech was a local, not formally educated in this field, and taught by scientists. Locals are expert in maintenance!
Now coming back to the hill, its a favorite among visitors. Why not, after all its not everyday you see this
The Chandra telescope, with you know who
A wider shot
To the North west you see this
To the south east lies china, somewhere behind those hills. Infact entire eastern range is the border with china. South of hanle, lies Chumur sector where a "lip" of china sorts of intrudes into Indian territory. This sector has been in the news recently due to incursions
Apart from Liquid N, they also make Dry ice, or solidified Carbon dioxide, and no, its not for chilling pepsi
How often do you see a 400 year old monastery and a multi million dollar state of the telescope in the same frame?
And then we hear the haunting cry of a bird, unlike any other.
Its the black necked crane, somewhere down in those marshes, or the Hanle Basin as they are called.
This rare crane's cry can be heard miles away, but sightings are rare, even when its right in front of it, it hides in the foliage.
As you can see its partially sunny now, and I am hoping that the clouds will go away. But no such luck. Dark clouds again start coming, today is not a good day!
The light has completely changed
However the Hanle monstory is still lit up, as if by a spotlight from the heavens
But this won't last for long, as clouds get darker!
This is sad. I was hoping for clear skies, but the desert has decided to get wet today.
With lot of evening still left, its time to do a little reconnaissance.
From Hanle, if you head towards the north west, you come to a quant little lake called Kyun Tso. Actually its not one lake, its twin lakes.
There are 2 ways of going there, one from
Hanle - Pungut - Kyun Tso, other from Nyoma - Nidar - Kyun Tso.
Today we will drive towards Pungut, and see how is the road. If its motorable, we will go to Tso Moriri via
Hanle - Pungut - Kyun Tso - Nidar - Nyoma- Mahe route, if its not, we will go on the highway to Nyoma, and then take diversion to Kyun Tso.,
Its closer from Nyoma side so its can be a 2 hour excursion.
With GPS ready, tracks drawn, and some local direction help, we set off on the road to Pungut
TO BE CONT..............
|24th September 2009, 11:22||#253|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 157 Times
Great, waiting for the dose of the lakes!
Last edited by lordofgondor : 24th September 2009 at 11:29.
|24th September 2009, 11:31||#254|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
You are making me angry (Just Kidding)
This is really getting on my nerves, now my routine has changed earlier it was checking my mail now it is lookout for the new posting read it and then comes my mail and work. Splendid pictures, asbolutely fantastic, please keep the posting going, you have my undivided attention.
Last edited by tsk1979 : 24th September 2009 at 11:46. Reason: fixed quote
|24th September 2009, 11:36||#255|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2005
Thanked: 269 Times
Awesome stuff, keep 'em coming
The most frustrating bit about Ladakh (for me at least) was that you can be on arrow straight black tarmac & it lulls you into a sense of complacency & "Ahhh, good roads now" & then, all of a sudden....wham, bam & you're onto rocks, sand & what have you
And it keeps changing! So when you go back the next year, things will be different!