The Dirty Dozen "SURVIVED" Ladakh

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by hiambuj, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. manik058

    manik058 Member

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    sirji, saying fantastic will be an understatement, but even after having daily updates of the dirty dozen's adventures it seems a lot more was missed.
     
  2. abhi1975

    abhi1975 The Great Gambler

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    I think Amit meant the name of the Social Networking Website and not his adventure club, so basically Shamik has nothing to fear :mrgreen:
     
  3. Devil.Dj

    Devil.Dj Active Member

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    Bhery bhery naish. Well compiled log Amit. Good work. :)

    Cheers,
    DJ
     
  4. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thats is what I exactly meant :grin:
    oh BTW, abhi knows it & he was reffered from there to BCMT by me..

    YS : 15+ members reffered & no incentive:twisted:
     
  5. joie de vivre

    joie de vivre Guru

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    Your cheque is ready, will get in 45 working days.
     
  6. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    & whose going to work for these 45 days ??? :grin:
    Bhai if you are going to count only WORKING days, then as per the discussion earlier in this thread (on productivity) my 45 working days will complete in a Calendar year :twisted:
     
  7. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    (this portion is partly written by Hanu & me and the Sonmarg-Srinagar drama part is written by Manu)

    DAY 8 : THE SURVIVAL RUN

    No one at time knew that it was the day one could never forget for all their lives. The morning seemed as usual as ever with we getting ready only after seeing all the tourists having been left to Srinagar already. We had minute news about some tensed situation prevailing in Srinagar but all that appeared more of a rumor than news to us. Digging deep into the matter we could just bruise to what actually happened knowing that its something to do with some land issue in kashmir.

    The scorpios took off again with full morning vigor. By riverside we raced with the cold winds which blow across boundaries that separated India and Pakistan. Among all the BRO sign-boards our retinas grew twice their side to see a warning that read “ATTENTION- YOU ARE UNDER ENEMY SURVEILLIENCE” :
    EnemySurveillance.JPG


    We stopped by a Jawan to know that we were 14kms away from Pakistan and on the other side of the peak we could clearly see, was lands from where intrusion happened in ’99. The area was infested with army personnel. I could count more trucks and bunkers than trees and shrubs on the way! Statistically, a third part of Indian Army is placed on Indo-Pak border in Kashmir. Goosebumps pinched our own skin as we felt the tension and realized what could have been the- then situation if this was the case on a normal morning. We felt privileged giving tightest of salutes to any sepoy we saw in the way and tried our best, as a civilian, to acknowledge the pains they took for ensuring safety to each Indian.

    Some clicks enroute :
    Kargil-Drass1.JPG

    Kargil-Drass2.JPG

    Kargil-Drass3.JPG


    Not stopping by every other bunker but, we knew our first stop would be Drass war memorial and in no time we reached right there. The cloudy & partially drizzling day seemed spoiling first time in life as it deprived us from the click of much read about “Tiger Hills”. The world was out of our minds and all we could think of was MY COUNTRY and we bet if someone had given a sniper in our hands we would have scaled Himalayas short and shot dead every b****** that intruded into Indian territories. We were ready to give up our lavish life and an insane decision of joining army started sprouting as the deputed army sepoy started telling how they fought the enemy. “It is difficult to fight Mother Nature that makes Kargil the 2nd most difficult place to live with 60 degree of negative temperature in winters. Shooting the enemy down becomes a child’s task when compared with boiling ice and frozen orange juice to drink!” commented the brave. “One day you celebrate, the other day you send home the dead”- read a newspaper cutting which got all of us to think of the trivial question of WHY the war! Nonetheless, we were nothing but a bunch of same old tourists, those tourists who touch new levels of zeal when on the earth that still has the fragrance of the blood of the shaheeds but the same enthusiasm level and care for the mother earth are left behind with the venue where they shot up. And they resort to a secondary feeling that we being a civilian also can contribute to our country. But this is also same, short-lived and all is faded after some time & rested at the back of minds.

    Group @ War memorial :
    Warmemorialgroup.JPG


    Enthusiastic and all of a sudden Patriotic Hanu & Manu :) :
    War-MeorialHM.JPG

    WarmemorialHM1.JPG



    After being very choosy with the food items that we had when at Leh (as heavier food items could make you puke or could force you to attend a nature’s call you’d better let go unattended at places where all your naked limbs could just freeze out!) we were all very relieved that we could eat normally now and hence were looking for a Alu paratha shop in Drass. We stopped by this ordinary looking place and ordered what we thought of but destiny again brought us something we did not ask for. A few hours delay as our driver forgot the key in the car and locked it from outside! We looked into each city shop for some instrument they might have to get the car opened somehow. All to waste attempts unless we brought Hanu’s Mechanical Engineering skills to use and sneaked open the car! We, by that time, were already habituated to these unseen arbitrary types of delays and problems which made our tour all the more adventurous.


    A click at Drass :
    Drass.JPG


    After this superfluous kind of adventure & having eaten delicious Aloo Parathas with even more scrumptious chutney we moved on. We were back on road gliding through the beautiful Kashmir Valley with greens all around & a view of snow capped peaks in the horizon at few places, intermittent rains adding to the flavor now, taking few quick stopovers for clicks.

    The beauty of valley said by pictures :
    Drass-Sonmarg.JPG

    Drass-Sonmarg1.JPG

    Drass-Sonmarg2.JPG

    Drass-Sonmarg3.JPG

    Drass-Sonmarg4.JPG

    Drass-Sonmarg5.JPG


    The Clouds all over :
    Drass-SonmargClouds.JPG

    Drass-SonmargClouds1.JPG

    An Army convoy waiting to move :
    Drass-SonmargConvoy.JPG

    View of Glacier :
    Drass-SonmargGlacier.JPG


    & some pastures :
    Drass-SonmargPastures.JPG


    As we descended into the valley, raring to hit Sonmarg, we had no inkling whatsoever about the anarchic state of affairs plaguing the Kashmir valley! We were blissfully unacquainted with the disquieting stone pelting incidents in the expanse. We had enquired about the whole situation and were assured about no possibility of aggressive incidents! But we were soon brought face to face with the reality as we were stopped at Sonmarg’s temporary Police check-post. We were dumped (literally) into the waiting shed with hundreds of trucks ominously dormant, waiting to be released! The jawan updated us about the menacing stone pelting incidents throughout the valley and instructed us to wait in the truck shed for an army convoy to carry us to our destination safely! Apparently, there was no fixed time for a convoy passing, hence we were to wait indefinitely!

    This is where we were asked to wait :
    Sonmargtrucks.JPG

    This was another unforeseen situation which demanded exceptional treatment! We gloomily pondered over our choices, keeping a hungry watch over the highway, desperately waiting for the convoy. The fact that we had traveled so often with the convoys made the situation excruciatingly satirical! After 15 minutes of contemplation, three of us (Manu, myself and Piyush) set off towards Sonmarg city to enquire about the situation and accommodation arrangements. We got mixed advices from the shop-owners, most of them insisted that we continue our voyage. We went to a nearby police station where a police Inspector prudently advised us to wait for the convoy.

    The natural splendor of Sonmarg was totally different from the terrains we had been accustomed to! With a Rivulet elegantly thundering its way down the valley, snow capped glacier peaks in the distance and the astounding greenery the whole place seemed like a tourist paradise! We couldn’t stop ourselves from clicking some snaps of the natural magnificence!

    Sonmarg Clicks :
    Sonmarg.JPG

    Sonmarg1.JPG

    Sonmarg2.JPG

    Sonmarg4.JPG

    Sonmarg5.JPG


    I borrowed a Horse from his owner, who was sitting for a cup of tea at a tea stall, & took a ride of the town :
    SonmargHorseRide.JPG

    We returned to our cars in about 40 minutes. We resigned to the fact that there was nothing we could do to help ourselves, spotted a tea-shop in the distance and started making ourselves at home! Just when the tea was served, we noticed couple of army trucks coming towards ourselves! We left our already served snacks and hurried towards our cars only to discover that the trucks weren’t on their way to Srinagar and hence they couldn’t help us! We gloomily returned to our snacks. But very soon we had to leave our refreshments once again as 8 army trucks drew close! The police jawan beckoned us to leave with the army trucks as we happily and swiftly got back on the road!

    Traveling with the army convoy was a different high altogether! We felt unusually safe and brave! We often spotted wary, hostile looking cluster of people and couldn’t stop grinning at them! We were with the army! Nothing seemed intimidating anymore! But alas!.. Just when we had started getting accustomed to the high feeling, we were once again slapped ruthlessly by destiny! The army trucks apparently were planning to pull over at their army camp which was some 5 kilometers from Sonmarg! We were stranded once again!

    We had decided on getting to Srinagar in one single drive. But the natural magnificence was too divine to ignore! We stopped at a beautiful looking resort! A stream was ferociously flowing alongside the resort! There was a small bridge made over the monstrous (yet amazing) looking stream! I felt my head spinning as I looked into the vicious water jumping to the bridge’s level threatening to seize every one of us! We clicked snaps hysterically for about half an hour and decided to get back on the roads.

    Resort clicks :
    resort.JPG

    Mere do anmol ratan, Hanu & Manu :
    resortHM.JPG

    Bhaichara :
    resort-bhaichara.JPG

    & Nakli pose :
    resortPose.JPG



    Admiring the natural beauty, we traveled unharmed for next half an hour and pulled over at a petrol pump. We utilized the time in some class photography again. Suddenly an army jeep stopped at the petrol station and beckoned us in a very grave manner. They instructed us to get back on the road as soon as possible and get to Srinagar in a single drive. The feeling of numbness and foreboding was back! Stronger than ever! We got back on track and warily made our way through the deserted roads!

    Click @ petrol pump (Recall Anupji Harry Potter , I am clicking the "Harry Potter" lookalike with the rest of gang around me, when Saurabh clicked me):
    Sonmarg-SrinagarHarryPotterClicked.JPG

    & few more between Sonmarg & Srinagar taken in moving vehciles :
    Sonmarg-Srinagar.JPG

    Sonmarg-Srinagar1.JPG

    Sonmarg-SrinagarGreen.JPG



    After about an hour we were stopped once again at a Police post of Amarnath camp. There was news of violence some 9 kilometers ahead. As we got off from our cars, we conceived the gravity of the situation! The whole place closely resembled a refugee camp! With about hundreds of cars and thousands of people, we were forced to think about the possibility of a night stay there. We dig into the situation and soon discovered that we would be allowed to leave only with the army convoy the next early morning! With innumerable army jawans crossing the place fully equipped, the situation appeared pretty grim. A camp had been set up for the tourists where free food was made available. Tents were made available for accommodation purposes. Meanwhile we met a bunch of people stranded at that camp from the past couple of days! After some more investigation we were forced to rent a family tent which would accommodate every one of us!

    Amarnath Camp photo :
    Amarnathcamp.JPG


    We soon took our belongings from our cars and reached our tent! We had adapted to the situation and with lots of mouth watering food Items waiting for us; we were starting to get cheerful about the night stay! But our surprises continued as we heard the announcement about the arrival of Army Convoy! It took us about 10 minutes to gather our already scattered mandli and get our tent refunds! As we walked back towards our cars our heartbeats increased as we saw no signs of the convoy! It had left! Along with everyone else! We were stranded again! Alone and helpless! We soon approached the police officer and he advised us to quickly get on the road and follow the convoy. Apparently we were only 5 minutes late and could catch the convoy if we hurried! We scampered towards our cars with all remaining vigor and vitality! We felt like comrades undertaking a great risk for the accomplishment of a common aim! For common good!

    We took off!! Not knowing about the peril we were undertaking! Not knowing that next hour would be the most horrendously exciting hour of the trip! Our hearts swelled with trepidation as our cars warily flew through the derelict streets! It was much more appalling as it sounds! The abundance of the army jawans on our way did nothing to subvert our qualms about the whole issue! One moment we found ourselves surrounded by army jawans and the next moment we felt agonizingly deserted! I can still vividly remember my body temperature increasing steadily as I saw hostile groups angrily staring at our desolated cars! No-one spoke. The silence was a sign of understanding between us. A sign of our comrade-ship!
    We cautiously made our way through the narrow streets for about half an hour! Our eyes ravenously watching for any sign of the convoy! And suddenly.. The inevitable happened.. Suddenly we heard the ominous, ear-splitting crash! The sound of glass shattering! Yes! We were stone pelted! Our worst fears confirmed! We felt our heart beats throbbing uncontrollably as we continued flying through the roads! I shouted loud DOWN.. Glass pieces scattered all over Saurabh’s body who was the only one who saw the man throwing stone. The driver all of a sudden took express speed and my immediate conscious reaction was a deafening scream asking to him to slow down.. “I want both cars together” was exactly what I yelled out. The second car had majority 3 of the five females & only one male accompanying them except for driver. The moment they came to our sight, we speedily ran our vehicles, as if we were running for lives. & yes, believe me it was a run for life. The thirteen lives who were my responsibility on the trip all of a sudden looked to me in danger. No sooner we glimpsed a army troop, we stopped and informed them that we were pelted 2 kms back. Their reaction in the situation was astonishing as they didn’t even enquire what exactly happened & where, rather commanded us to run to Srinagar. One of them called back the previous Amarnath post & scolded the answerer as to why did they allow vehicles to move all alone. We immediately ran again towards Srinagar & it was only when we touched Dal lake shore in 15 minutes, which looked unaffected by the drama persisting in the valley, that we could breathe now. Got off the car to remove broken window glass pieces & made sure its clicked, though only one photo was taken & we moved again.

    Broken Glass swept way from the Car on the ground (it was some 7:50 PM so the photo is not very clear) :
    BrokenGlass.JPG

    & the remains of broken glass :
    BrokenGlassRemains.JPG


    This time we halted at the Police station on Dal shore and sought their advice for further action, and their recommendation was to book a hotel or linger at the car parking and leave Srinagar by midnight. In the meanwhile Aarti called back her “would be” who’s posted at Jammu as Lieutenant in Indian Army & he in turn gave contact of one of his colleagues Milan who was posted at Srinagar. Without any delay and without going by the opinion of Police, we made a call to Lt. Milan and on his advise we moved on towards the Army transit camp of his battalion. Milan along with his Major greeted us on the entrance & it was this moment when we were relieved. The night was spent there enjoying the hospitality of Army men, the pleasant setup of their guest house in surroundings of gardens blooming with a variety & assortment of flowers, an appetizing army mess dinner and comfortable sleep.

    Day 3 Travelogue

    Day 4 Travelogue

    Day 5 Travelogue

    Day 6 Travelogue

    Day 7 Travelogue

    Day 9-10 Travelogue
     
  8. sripurna_987

    sripurna_987 Member

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    Excellent Narration!!!! The fear grips you as the words pass by!!!:)


    Awesome Adventure!!!

    -Sri
     
  9. LLL

    LLL Member

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    :(

    Someone said Kashmir is paradise on earth. but did he know that devils live there?

    else why would someone attack innocent tourists?
     
  10. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Sri.. the moments were frightening... & when I read my log after posting, i got the same sensation that was prevailing at that time..


    One who said so was very correct.. & when he said so, there lived no devil.. These devils emerged in the scenario only after foolish swinging steps of Govt of J&K.. otherwise in general the tourist are equally safe in the region as they are in any other part of country.. & today's scenario in India is that a bomb can blast even in the most calm places like Jaipur.. Devils are everywhere.. rather I should say devils reach anywhere..
     

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