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Old 22nd June 2010, 18:15   #91
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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Let's hope the terrain stays the same, rugged and inhospitable at least for the next few years.
Amen to that!

Make it another 3-4 years so that I can reach there!
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Old 22nd June 2010, 18:16   #92
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Default Day 8: Chushul and Rezang La - Lest we Forget

Chushul. The name is very common. Few have been there. Very few. Few people live there.
From a factual point of view chushul is just another border village on the china road. But there is a lot more to any place than just facts.
Chushul and Rezang La are the places which nobody should forget. For its here countless of our soldiers died in the 1962 war.
They repelled waves after waves of Chinese Soldiers, and were finally overrun. They fought till the last man. Nobody lived to tell the tale. But some tales do not need telling. The blood on the ground speaks. And this region has seen a lot of blood.

As we moved on towards chushul, the vibrant colors gave away to the the desert browns
We crossed a minor pass
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The Changthang desert
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Kiang the wild a.s.s
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Chushul village was mostly closed. They were not expecting tourists, and today, 4 cars had come. One ours, and 3 scorpios carrying tourists from Chd and Bombay etc.,
Interestingly, even Chushul has a satellite phone STD boot(DSPT)

The first stop is the Chushul War memorial. While most literature is about Major Shaitan Singh and his stand at Rezang La, even the battle at Chushul was no less fierce
Ladakh and Changthang : The Wilderness Chronicles-906342680_anrtoxl.jpg

Ladakh and Changthang : The Wilderness Chronicles-906342642_rjm5ixl.jpg

Ladakh and Changthang : The Wilderness Chronicles-906339315_ahzxkxl.jpg

After a few minutes there, we moved on.
In a desert, water bodies and rivers become a source of life. It was no different in Changthang, probably one of the coldest deserts in the world
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On the way we are stopped by passing armymen for checking of permits. this is a sensitive zone, and unlike other touristy spots where checking of permits is just a formality, here its done seriously. Thankfully, I have marked all the villages on the route!
Finally around quarter past 1 we are at Rezang La. The site of the famous stand of Major Shaitan Singh and his men
Rezang La - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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How can a Man die Better than facing Fearful Odds,
For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods,
To the sacred memory of the Heroes of Rezang La,
114 Martyrs of 13 Kumaon who fought to the Last Man,
Last Round, Against Hordes of Chinese on 18 November 1962.
Built by All Ranks 13th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment.


The names of those fallen
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After this we move on towards Hanle.. The road was waiting
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TO BE CONT......

Last edited by tsk1979 : 22nd June 2010 at 18:24.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 18:21   #93
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Originally Posted by cool_dube View Post
Got it! I remember now that we did NOT pass Shyok when we did Chang-La - Pangong.

So the route that you took was essentially all the way along Shyok river, right? When did this route come into commission?
Actually this route came into commission in May. However bridge broke, and route went out of commission. But with bridge made, it will become a proper route
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Why oh why did Pangong end so soon, request you to post some more pics of it.

Indeed you have seen & thankfully now shown us what very few have seen. Let's hope the terrain stays the same, rugged and inhospitable at least for the next few years.
LOL I have posted so many pics!
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Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
Hi Tanveer,
Superb travelogue sir! The photos and the accompanying text makes for very interesting and informative reading.
I am leaving for Ladakh on the 4th of July from Bombay via Srinagar. I have the Zanskar Valley, The Nubra Valley, PangongTso, TsoMoriri in my itinerary. I will be returning via Manali.
Going through your travelogue, I am very much tempted to follow your route from Deskit to PangongTso. But since this is my first time around these parts and I don't have a 4wd vehicle, I probably should not take the risk of attempting this route. Maybe next year, when the road is more or less more done up or I have a 4wd vehicle!
Am very much hooked to this thread, and waiting for more of your photos and write up.
You have a bolero? In that case no issues.
There were 2 trouble areas
1. Landslide. -> BRO men said they will clear it in 2-3 days. So by 4th July it should be okay
2. Broken bridge -> Again 2 weeks was the time frame. Work was on at war footing.
So do take this route.
If you cannot make it, backtrack 5kms, and head over to Wari La and then go to Pangong. You will lose 3 hours atmost
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Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Amen to that!

Make it another 3-4 years so that I can reach there!
LOL
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Old 22nd June 2010, 21:51   #94
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Default Day 8: Chushul to Loma

As we set out towards Tsaga, we saw some weird looking "structures". Probably Changpa religious symbols or something. Made of horns of dead animals
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The terrain was same as before. Wherever there was water, there was life
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But most of the road was dry dead sand. Left or right? Well they say, go right, because left may take you to china!
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It was finally around 1400, we reached Chhagga La or Tsaga La. This comes just before Chhagga village
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The road had been bumpy and dusty
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We asked the soldier manning the checkpost about road conditions, and he informed us that little ahead, road would get better.

Well, better it did not get, it just went different.
On a blood red road, we marched onto hanle!
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Note, they have electricity here!
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We also spotted what was probably our first real "Wild Yak"
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As for the road... Well it was bumpy and rocky, with no possiblity of alternate trails, but if you look far enough, you will know its getting better
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Finally around 3pm we reached Loma Post
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It was an ITBP post, and they were very happy to have guests. We had delicious tea, and heard their stories, how they tell back home in haryana and Punjab about using "Bukhari" in June, and how their folks express disbelief.
After all it was 45 in the plains!

One of the guys there had tooth problem, so my wife held a mini dental exam. The poor guys do not have any dentist in the armed forces. Only doctors are there, and for dental treatment they have to wait till they are posted in some big city!

Such is life of the men who guard our borders.

Anyways, it was late afternoon, and Hanle was waiting, just a couple of hours away!

TO BE CONT........
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Old 22nd June 2010, 21:57   #95
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An unimpeachable narrative, with stupendous visual treats, can’t wait to read on....
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Old 22nd June 2010, 22:19   #96
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Amazing thread; I am glued to it Keep going dude... A dream come true for any travel lover. The amazing snaps portray heaven to us sitting far frm it.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 22:44   #97
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Default Day 8: To Hanle!

After Loma, the 80 odd kms are wonderful tarmac, barring the last 20, which are a maze of tracks. You can follow the "road", but then you will loose all the nuts and bolts in your vehicle, as well all your joints, such is the quality.
So best bet is to follow the offroad tracks.

Anyways, we will cross that bridge when we come to it
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The tarred section
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Thankfully, the sun was shining brightly
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The scenera. Hanle area of Changthang has its own charm
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And then the Road ended. It was dir track time now
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20kms to go, on the sand
I decided to use the Panny
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The red mountain. Only in Hanle
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The scenery
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To play spoilsport, the clouds started gathering again. I was worried that it will be a repeat, of last year, when I did not get any stars
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Lets see what fate has in store tonight. Clear or cloudy?
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A shot of the white elephant
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That Hanle touch to the scenery. Its a place which is out of this world.
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Prayer flags atop a mountain
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On and on we marched. Hanle was coming. The weather would hopefully hold. The third leg of our changthang loop was going to be completed

TO BE CONT.........
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Old 22nd June 2010, 23:31   #98
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Mind blowing photos and places which you have visited Tanveer. Amazed to such a beauty in our own country. Hope it remains the same and doesn't get spoiled by mad tourist rush.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 00:03   #99
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Default Day 8: Hanle!

And finally, hanle was near. you could smell it!
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The sun fights the clouds
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Here we are.... We see the monastery
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I don't think you can see it though. Lemme help you with the panny
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We are at Hanle!
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A shot of the telescope from far away. In local lingo, the place is refered to has "Astrophysics".
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the Road through the village
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We dump our luggage and stuff. Precious time is wasted. Unknown to us, the nitrogen ritual has taken place at 5pm. We reach up there little above after 5.
The sky is clear now, and I don't get the awesome shadows which are so hanle, but I am happy. Clear skies is what we want
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A couple of random landscapes from the top
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Today the dome is open. View from inside is something!
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Its getting very very cold. Sun has not set, but its freezing already. We take a shot drive looking for kiangs, but do not find any. The cold has driven them away.

Time to go back to the guest house of the observatory, and have dinner. Food is simple. but amazing.
Ideally, its good to sleep early, but I spend some time online. Connected to the internet after days.
My primary motive, to check on Baralacha la. "It opened for 2 days" is the news.
And closed again.
What a spoil sport.

Well we will think of that when we get back. For now, its was time to prepare for the clearest skies in the world.
Before that, we decide to dump 30 liters of diesel in the tank, so that we would be carrying just 12 odd liters in the jerrycan.

After that..... the starts come out to play..........
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Old 23rd June 2010, 00:09   #100
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Default Day 8: The night... only in Hanle

Many people wonder, why on earth would somebody make a telescope in the middle of nowhere, in such harsh conditions?
Well the answer lies in the skies here.
Hanle has one of the cleanest skies in the world, and hardly gets any precipitation. Its another matter it had snowed here the day before, but normally, its supposed to be dry, and very cold. Even vapor levels in atmosphere are low, leading to exceptionally clear skies.
And where there is a clear sky, there is a tripod.

Here, I present you the skies of Hanle
A long exposure
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And three short ones(100 seconds only)
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I almost froze to death shooting these. It was -2 degree C, and its not even midnight!

Time to go to bed. Tomorrow, we really really do not know where we are going, why we are going, and how we are going...........
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Old 23rd June 2010, 00:16   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajat60 View Post
An unimpeachable narrative, with stupendous visual treats, canít wait to read on....
Quote:
Originally Posted by harishF1 View Post
Amazing thread; I am glued to it Keep going dude... A dream come true for any travel lover. The amazing snaps portray heaven to us sitting far frm it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by naman07 View Post
Mind blowing photos and places which you have visited Tanveer. Amazed to such a beauty in our own country. Hope it remains the same and doesn't get spoiled by mad tourist rush.
Thanks for your comments people. I do not think that the wild regions of ladakh will get mad tourist rush any time soon.
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Old 23rd June 2010, 02:06   #102
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Wow.. your pictures are superb. They even beat swiss alps. I really wonder if our neighbours forget differences and give way to planned tourism in this region, europe would be marooned. Good that they have not done this in one way though, as, if the growth is unplanned(see what leachers have done to other beautiful hill stations in india), this heaven would loose all its beauty and virility.
I heard an interesting fact from 1 Armyman who happens to be my good friend as well. They say army is planting saplings and trees here. And the effect here is so immediate that it has started to change climate at some places in a small but visible way. It now rains at some places it never did before. Hopefully nature accepts this kind human gesture and does it for good.

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Old 23rd June 2010, 04:11   #103
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hi TSK,
what is this nitrogen ritual that has taken place at 5pm?
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Old 23rd June 2010, 08:36   #104
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5pm they put liquid nitrogen in the CCD of the telescope.
I took pics last year
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Old 23rd June 2010, 08:53   #105
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Default Our journey so far

We had come from Pangong to Hanle, via the shortest route possible. Only around 215kms!
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Our complete journey till now
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