Leh on Nexon

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
I had been planning for this mega drive since June 2019 with many alternatives. But, due to one reason or the other that are beyond my control, it got postponed many times. I wanted to go via Sach Pass>Cliffhanger>Sinthan Top and return via Mughal Road. All these plans did not fructify. Finally, I settled for Sach Pass>Ladakh and return via Manali, which was the last alternative.

As I did in 2014, the first halt was going to be at Sagar. I reserved for accommodation for me and wife at Deepali Palace, Sagar through Makemytrip.com for ₹ 1,347 inclusive of breakfast. I loaded ₹ 6 k in my Paytm wallet for tolls. Blue Diamond had tankful of diesel. Wife packed our dinner for the day and breakfast for the next day. We left our Chennai home at 1:30 pm on 23/10 and scheduled to reach our hotel at Sagar in the evening the next day, based on our previous experience. We reached the outskirts of Hyderabad by midnight and chose to drive through the twin cities instead of ORR. Somewhere near Nirmal in Telangana, Blue Diamond recorded 20,000 km on the odometer. The first 10 k mark was recorded at Tripura near Agartala on 29 Jan 2019. Crossing Hinganghat was very easy with the completion of flyover above the railway line. We arrived at Haldiram's, Shankar Nagar Square, Nagpur by 9 am on 24/10. We completed our morning ablution and had a satisfying breakfast. I also had two pieces of rasamalai and bought a few Tetra Paks of Haldiram's buttermilk and lassi. We got stuck for more than a hour in traffic jams due to Nagpur metro construction. We took the Seoni route. More traffic jams delayed our drive due to road-widening works between Nagpur and Seoni. Finally, we reached our hotel at Sagar at 4:30 pm on 24/10. We ate the remaining packed food, tea and called it a day. The next day, after a swim and satisfying buffet breakfast, we continued our drive towards Bairagarh.

In our earlier Ladakh drives, we used to halt at Delhi for a couple of days. But, not this time with the completion of Eastern/Western Peripheral Expressways. We drove via Yamuna Expressway and had filter coffee there. Then, we took the Eastern Peripheral Expressway and landed at Kundli, HR, bypassing Delhi by midnight. After a nice midnight dinner at Pahalwan Dhaba, Murthal, we continued our journey. Whenever we drive on this highway, it has become a norm to have dinner at late nights or early hours of the day as most of the eateries open 24 hours. I call this a foodie's highway! :D

We reached Haveli, Jalandhar bypass by 9 am on 26/10. After morning ablution and delicious breakfast, we continued our drive. Road condition deteriorated in HP. Finally, we reached Chamunda Hotel, Bairagarh at 7:15 pm on 26/10.

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J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
On 27/09 early morning, we were ready. But, there were no traces of the caretaker or the cook. Since we were assured of breakfast by 7:30 am, we waited anxiously. But, the kitchen and reception were still locked. We were certain that we won't be lucky enough to have breakfast there. Finally, I started yelling the name of the caretaker 'Monu Thakur!' repeatedly. After sometime, the cook came up from the basement from a deep slumber. I told him that we didn't want any breakfast and would settle the bill and quit. But, he assured me of tea in a few minutes and vanished into the kitchen. Meanwhile, Monu Thakur too arrived from the basement. I settled the bill, drank the tea - with our own biscuits - and started our drive to Sach Pass at 8:15 am.

We reached the Sathrundi policy check-post in a few minutes amidst drizzling. We were stopped. I was asked to enter the details in a register like Aadhaar number, where from, where to, car registration number, make/model, etc. Then we were videographed. The cops advised me to return, if I could not drive any further due to bad roads. :( After Sathrundi, the road deteriorated rapidly. We were driving on the boulders and stones. Finally, we made it to the top, Sach Pass. It became a reality in the third attempt in 5 years! =D>

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Ravi_M

New Member
Oh my GOD! J.Ravi, those are terrifying visuals to me!!. I mean, they give the exact impression how I shall feel at such isolated and tough terrain. You are very courageous!. I can feel it because, I guess, I have visited that barren and depressing terrain of Laddakh in June 2018. Before, that, I used to get fascinated by those visuals.
Bravo!!
 

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
Our drive in Pangi valley by the side of the Chenab or Chandrabhaga river continued towards Killar>Tandi>Keylong on 27/09. We crossed Killar by 2 pm, but continued our drive without entering the town. We had biscuits and lassi/buttermilk for the lunch somewhere on the way. Although the road was consistently bad all the way upto Udaipur, the scenery was breathtaking. We had an early delicious, simple dinner at Bhandari Bhojanalaya, Udaipur, the only meal for the entire day. After Udaipur, the road was good asphalted new one all the way to Tandi. We drove straight to the IOC pump, Tandi and had tankful for Blue Diamond. Then, we drove to Hotel Chandra Bhaga of Himachal Tourism at Keylong on the Manali NH at 9 pm, checked into the room and crashed to the bed for the much-earned sleep.

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J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
Terrific itinerary.
Thanks for the appreciation, subhankar paul.
Great Breaks ! Great Moves ! Great Explorers ! Great Presentation ! Great Blue Diamond !
Thank you so much for the compliments and appreciation, adsatinder.
Oh my GOD! J.Ravi, those are terrifying visuals to me!..Bravo!!
Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Ravi_M.
Breathtaking views.
Thanks, kprasad.
 

J.Ravi

Petrol Powered + Diesel Driven
On 28/09 at 7:20 am, we left Hotel Chandrabhaga, Keylong for Leh after having tea. The road was good for a long distance. Then, the road turned into a bed of boulders and sharp stones before climbing Baralachala. I drove many stretches on the rocks for some considerable distance. Some 12+ km before Sarchu, we were stopped for more than a hour due to some work being done by BRO on a bridge across a water crossing. I utilized that for rest and sleep. When the traffic was allowed to cross the bridge, a BRO staffer pointed out the rear right wheel and indicated a puncture. I cursed myself for not seeing that flat wheel while waiting. The rocks took the toll. I crossed the bridge, parked Blue Diamond and plunged into the task. First, we unloaded the luggage and stacked them on the rear seat. Then, I removed the jack, tools and the spare wheel from the boot. I loosened the wheel nuts and jacked up Blue Diamond. All these tasks were witnessed by the BRO road workers. One of them came forward and helped me. After spending about half hour, Blue Diamond started going on the road again. After a simple lunch at Sarchu, we continued our journey. All the passes en route were dry and no snow. We reached Otsal Guest House, Changspa Road, Leh at 7:48 pm.

While introducing us with Mr Otsal and his wife, he shocked me by informing of the death of Yogesh Sarkar at Pangong Tso, a couple of days back. When Otsal informed me of the demise of Yogesh Sarkar, I was shocked. In fact, I told him that he might be referring to some other Yogesh. He was visibly upset to confirm that it was indeed Yogesh Sarkar of BCMTouring. Since I was driving continuously since 23/09, I could not log on to BCMTouring or FB. Very shocking. With that sad news, we went to bed.

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