|19th June 2010, 20:06||#46|
Videos will take time to process! My laptop is a 3 year old vintage that chokes on HD!
As for the dates, we started on 3rd June from Noida
We will soon have a TBHP meet with Ajay
|20th June 2010, 00:34||#47|
Day 6 : The Journey Begins - Nubra valley
I have a headache.
Maybe its because I am irritated with the police chap at the South Pullu checkpost.
Or maybe its because I have exerted myself to climb some silly rocks to scan the horizons.
Or maybe its because we have been stuck here for over an hour, at an altitude of 4700mts.
Anyways, the line is long, and thankfully, ours is maybe the 20th or 25th vehicle.
Tempers are already flaring.
Everybody is asking the checkpost officer where is the army convoy. The convoy which was supposed to be here by 9:30am.
finally, he talks to the army camp people, does some confirmations, and the barrier is up.
almost 2 hours wasted, just due to mis-communication and mismanagement.
Anyways, we are happy. We are on the way to Nubra Valley.
At 7am, Ajay had messaged that the pass is open, and this marked the beginning of our journey.
A journey which can take 4 days or 5 days.
Which can be 900kms long or 1100kms long.
I do not know. Nothing is certain.
All that is certain is that today we go to Nubra. We have over 125 liters of fuel in all, and we will get 15 more in Nubra. Enough for 1300kms atleast.
We waste no time at the top. There are hundreds of tourists, and its very cold. Yesterday was a wild day at K.Top. Today its wild too, but its the tourists, not the weather.
The weather is flat and grey. Ominous but harmless.
The million signboards
We cross over, and realize that today the sun will most probably not grace Nubra valley, its cold and icy
Leh is having some June. The month of summer.
Its like SFO, where its cold in the summers.
anyways, the road is open, and thats what matters for now.
The scenery is the same as it was last year. Its bleak, grey and brown
Nothing much to shoot here. Its just like the Srinagar Leh highway after Kargil. And the clouds are simply not helping!
Thankfully the road is good.
Today we won't go to Panamik. Once is enough. Today we will explore the lands beyond hunder which have been opened to tourists.
But first we must get to diskit.
The sand dunes start
Its not even 2pm and we reach our hotel.
Time to have a quick lunch, before we head out. Its grey, its bleak, but as they say, when life gives you eggs, you make omelete.
TO BE cONT
|20th June 2010, 14:23||#48|
Day 6 : Nubra Valley - The River
Our plan is to take the village back road from diskit to hunder. Its a dirt/mud trail, and the rains had made it quite slush.
Since its still siesta times for the camels, they are let loose to eat.
No pics here, just a couple of videos
First the Bactrian camels grazing
After that we continue towards the dunes.
Unfortunately, a big dune is on the road, and we cannot go to Hunder area from here.
Time to cross the river
Its windy, cold and dust is blowing. No need to hang out here, therefore we decide to go beyond hunder towards Turtuk in search of some interesting scenery.
Last year we had to return from the bridge, but from this year the entire stretch to Turtuk has been opened to tourists.
Any ways we have no intentions of driving all 70kms, so all we do is ask the army check post for directions to go right till the river.
We are told of a location few kms ahead, and following the directions, we head to the riverside
We park the car right till the spot she can go(its all deep sand after that)
Winds are better here, not so harsh, and the sand has some interesting patterns.
Waves in the sand
Nobody comes here. There are no tourist traps here. Just us, sand and the river
And of course, the white elephant, telephoto shot from far away. Look at the grey skies.
The river, only color in this bleak landscape
After spending half and hour or so, we decide to head back
Thankfully this region boasts of very nice roads
Progress is quick and we soon reach Hunder
TO Be CONT.
|20th June 2010, 16:49||#49|
Join Date: May 2009
Thanked: 650 Times
Tanveer, each and every picture is simply superb! Especially the three - waves in sand, river and the telephoto shot of white elephant.
Waiting for more.
|20th June 2010, 18:12||#50|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Thanked: 263 Times
Boss, this is just too good. Really waiting for more now.
Well, this Nubra place seems like a faraway dream, but I will certainly attempt Leh. Do you think a Getz can make it to Leh? From Manali? I am aware that the Getz's ground clearance is nothing to be proud about.
|20th June 2010, 18:31||#51|
However you can meet Ajay Narayan. I have started a thread in meet section
|20th June 2010, 21:28||#52|
Join Date: Dec 2005
Thanked: 7 Times
Even with my slow GPRS-EDGE connection AIRTEL in Delhi, I am enjoying your Travelogue. Will obviousely take more time to go thru it once back in Zurich mid-July. Very nice image frames. Some wide-angle shot are very nice. Try postings images of Hanle etc.
I am delighted to Host a meet in Delhi before my departure from India as we talked.
Very soon Rudra will also publish our Travelogue.
Looking forward to seeing you guys in Delhi Meet.
For others, Many many happy viewing of this Travelogue.
Tip: Tanveer is a mine of Info. (if you know how to use it).
|21st June 2010, 10:15||#53|
We will definitely be meeting coming weekend. do checkout the thread in the meet section.
|21st June 2010, 11:47||#54|
Day 6 : Nubra Valley - Dunes and Camels
We are at the dune area around 4:30pm. Its a time for sun and brighness, but today Nubra will dissapoint us.
there is nothing to shoot. Its the same shade of gray sand on the ground, and grey clouds in the sky.
Even the snow covered mountains are grey
Only thing not grey is the camels. They are brown. Dark brown or light brown, but not grey
There are a couple of baby camels, and their antics are best seen in a video
Nevertheless, I try to shoot something
See all grey and drab
My wife goes for a camel ride, and I decide to try out the panasonic also. Maybe I get something in zoom
Results are slightly better
and then it starts drizzling. Ever seen drizzling in a sand storm? Well come to Nubra, thats where drizzling and sand storms happen together.
Thats the signal to pack up and go back to the hotel.
We try the normal "offroad path" from dune side, but the sand dune is too big, time to cross the river again, and go back to the hotel
Even the white elephant looks sad
What a drab and dreary day. Since morning we have seen dark clouds and rain.
We reach the hotel, and get another shock. The owner is asking for 1400 instead of promised 500!
Some calls to Leh, and a lot of drama, its partially sorted out.
Guess these guys get greedy when they realize that tourist rush has peaked.
anyways, I get my 15 lit of diesel at slightly before market price. However I am told if I was a local it would cost 30rs/liter.
I guess, they try to make profit wherever they can.
In hindsight, I did not need this much diesel, but its better to be prepared, right? Since diskit is the only place where you get relatively clean diesel in black.
Only 5% kerosene. In Leh city its 50% kerosene at the main pump.
Sometimes naptha too!
As night falls, rain intensifies. Unlike leh, its not snowfall, its rainfall. What a bummer.
Of course, Khardungla is snowed out by now. The Taxi drivers are getting apprehensive about reaching leh tomorrow. If tomorrow it keeps snowing, they will be stuck in Nubra.
As for us, we do not care if all the snow in the world falls on K.Top or Chang La or Wari La.
All we care about the new route, and today, its time to find out if its open.
I speak to a few locals, and get answers like "Even santro can do this route".
Well thats pretty reassuring, but you should take things like this with a pinch of salt, as santros in leh have diff locks, with 300mm GC, and hovercraft mode to fly over mountains.
Sadly, all I have is 4x4. Lets see what tomorrow brings. today its time to sleep over a dull and dreary day!
TO BE CONT........
|21st June 2010, 11:48||#55|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 157 Times
|21st June 2010, 13:09||#56|
Day 7 : Nubra to Pangong - The discovery edition
Is it possible to go from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso without crossing any mountain passes?
That was the question. The answer to this question was to be found today.
There was excitement, and there was apprehension.
And there was joy on seeing the sun. It had been days since we had seen the sun. Blue skies in nubra are always a joy.
And it was a damn fine morning!
7:30am and we are on the road To agam. The first section till Wari La turn off was known, but after that what?
Time to find out
First, the view of the hotel before we started
On the road it was time to stop and stare. Stare that those wondrous blue skies and magnificient mountains
Stare at the sun, shining so brightly and cheerfully
The Nubra River, our companion
Before us, 4 people had already left on this route. Sandeep and Rahul in their swift, and Vaibhav and his friends on 3 bikes.
So if the road had an issue, we would get an advance warning
For now, it was time to enjoy the sun. Mood was up, we were going to Pangong
Far away the snow clad mountains shone in the bright sunlight
The clouds never give up, but today the sun will win
and the road was a delight! 2 hours more to Tangste?
We moved on, and soon were at the Wari La turn off.
The road turned into a trail, and we went on hoping everything is going to be fine.
But fate is a tricky thing. You never know what comes next.
Far away I saw some specs, one of which was definitely a swift. and it was stopped.
There was a landslide
Today was going to be an interesting day... How interesting? Only time will tell.........
|21st June 2010, 13:46||#57|
Day 7 : Nubra to Pangong - The Landslide
Landslide. Now thats a word which every tourer dreads. It can put brakes on the most capable 4x4. It can take away entire villages in its wake.
And now we had one staring at our face.
It had been recently partially cleared, so there was a narrow track to follow, but it was littered with sharp rocks.
Vaibhav and co on bikes could make past it, but all the swift could do was spin wheels.
Try try again, till you succeed, but over here there was no success. Heck, even on 4L I was not confident. As I waked the track, rocks gave way and slipped. This was not a road. It was like a crazy OTR in the middle of nowhere.
From what we had heard, Wari La was closed with tonnes of snow, and this was the only way if we had to get to pangong today.
Finally the plan of action was to park the swift on the side, and cross over with the Safari, and then try and pull the swift if possible.
So nothing to do but drive on.
I shift to 4L, wait for the lights to stop blinking.... and then gently march forward.
The track is tough, and somehow the white elephant is wanting to slide towards the mountain.
But with faith and a prayer we make past the tough section.
I stop and come out.
Open the tailgate. Lot of luggage will have to be removed to get to the tow ropes, buried at the bottom.
But we are double minded. Pulling a low GC car can damage it, and then they will be royally stuck.
Moreover, what if there is a bigger obstacle in front. Lots of discussion and debate starts, with me being a car guy debating on the side of caution. Even Rahul and Sandeep are leaning towards caution.
And then I hear it.
Its sounds a like a bullet hitting metal. The white elephant is under attach. We look up, and realize, the mountain is angry and its falling. Rocks have started to roll down, and soon we may be part of the landscape.
The debate is decided. I close the tailgate, rev up the engines, and scoot.
The swift scoots in the opposite way.
Our way back if blocked, and swift will have to go back.
What lies ahead if a mystery.
I remember Kung fu Panda.
Yesterday is History
Tomorrow is a mystery
Today is a gift.
Well the future is indeed a mystery, I dunno what lies ahead. The past is blocked by falling rubble.
Either we go to Pangong, or we sit here, trapped.
|21st June 2010, 14:20||#58|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 157 Times
The plot thickens & the mystery about what lies ahead is indeed a cliffhanger!!
Please provide the next update ASAP. I can feel my BP rise!
And the worst part is that I can watch your videos right now. Youtube blocked in office.
Last edited by lordofgondor : 21st June 2010 at 14:21.
|21st June 2010, 14:57||#59|
Day 7 : Nubra to Pangong - Trapped
We trudge on the rocky road. Its a track not really a road. There is apprehension, fear and excitement.
We cannot go back. When you cannot go back, its only forward.
And forward we go, till we come to the bridge. The bridge which is supposed to make this route an all season, and not a low river flow season route.
It has a red flag tied, and at the other end, I see a lot of activity.
We have left the bikers behind, and they also reach the stop.
I get out, and walk across, and what I see confirms our worst fears.
the bridge has broken. An entire section hangs in air, with a maybe 1.5 meter wide area for vehicles. Bikes will go, but for us. Its end of the road.
White elephants do many things. But they are not like mountain santro's. They cannot fly, no matter what.
How much time for bridge to get repaired?
Well a week, say conservative estimates.
So here we are, trapped along the shyok river, in the middle of nowhere, with a packet of bread, 10 bottles of amul milk, and a lot of cheespread.
We have to cross the river, but the water looks deep.
A chat with the BRO folks confirms this fact. Recent rains have made the otherwise tame river a raging torrent, which can suck in trucks.
But what have we got to lose? Its time to find out the hard way.
And off go my shoes, as I walk into the frigid waters.
From the first post ->
It is cold. Which is unusual because its June. Its not supposed to be cold in June, esp since the sun has broken out partially.
After days of intermittent rain, its sunny today.. Partially that is.
But for me, its cold. I am very cold. I am freezing. The air must be around 12-15 degrees C, but it does not matter.
The song "Numb" is humming through my head, and its not helping because I am cold, not numb.
I guess where I am standing, it would not matter June or September. the river is always cold, and when you are standing in the water soaked above your knees, you would be cold.
I do not like to stand in the cold river. but I have to. I have to walk those 20 long meters, but I do not have the courage, as with every step the water gets slightly deeper.
The stones are slippery, but thats another problem.
Thankfully, Vaibhav enters from the other side, and confirms my worst fears. The water is going to be more than a waist deep.
The white elephant cannot cross this river.
We have to go back. But we can't... Because the mountain has fallen.
We cannot go forward, because the bridge has fallen.
Are we trapped..........In the middle of nowhere on a cold wild lonely mountain?
............. The Journey begins!
The bikers move on, they cannot help us.
Now its time for plan B. I was hoping there would be no plan B, but such is fate.
Plan B is tough. Plan B is insane.
Plan B means putting an iron girder over the gap, and driving over it, and praying that it holds. If it does we will be across, if it does not, we fall into the river
TO BE CONT.............
|21st June 2010, 15:12||#60|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 157 Times
Your Plan B reminds me of something I'd to do last year. One of the metal strips was missing from a bridge we had to cross and the gap was enough to swallow the puny tyres of my sedan. So had to place two wooden boards that I was luckily carrying with me, approximating the best I could and drove over them keeping my fingers crossed all the way.
So what next, where do we go from here!?