The Dirty Dozen "SURVIVED" Ladakh

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

  1. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree in complete..


    Shukriya huzoor.. khushi hui ki aapko mazaa aaya :)
     
  2. abhi1975

    abhi1975 The Great Gambler

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    Showcased best in "Aamir"
     
  3. mountaintrekker.india

    mountaintrekker.india Mountain Trekker

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    yes abhi,, you are right. one must see 'AAMIR'.

    ..
    .
    .
     
  4. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    (This portion has been written by Hanu & edited by me)

    DAY 9 & 10 : SAFE PASSAGE ??

    The morning was, to our delight, much safer as we woke up in India’s largest deployed army base! Not to be embarrassed again, esp. Hanu and Manu were conscious enough to wear something that does not violate army rules and obligations (last night, they threw four of out with utmost respect asking us to wear shoes instead of floaters and full pants instead of funky three-fourths!) We had our and vehicle’s petrol tank full and were delighted to receive a notice that we will be accompanied and lead by an army convoy. The Army transit camp had beautiful lawns & flowers which kept us busy till the time the Convoy was supposed to leave.

    Some Flower clicks at the camp :
    campflower1.JPG

    campflower2.JPG

    campflower3.JPG

    campflower4.JPG

    campflower5.JPG

    campflower6.JPG

    campflower7.JPG

    campflower8.JPG

    Very soon the movement was announced & it was our vehicles that were first asked to come out of the camp & wait on the roadside for the convoy to come out. Our amazement saw no bounds when we saw a direct trail of 21 army trucks with the most advanced technology weapons and mapping devices. We felt like a kings carvan (it felt better after the stone pelting that we had) and thanked Aarti and her fiancée for the royal treatment that we could get only because of her. Signaled to drive right in between the trail I still had thoughts of last night in mind and was on a constant watch and every other civilian appeared as if he would suddenly turn with a stone and ‘thudd’ our windshield would be nomore! Nonetheless, we blazed through matching the speed of army trucks that had personnel armed with latest AK-47’s and AK-57’s or some stain-guns. Band had its tantamount effect in regions out of Srinagar too and I could see every Vaishno Dhaba shut down. With army sepoys standing in every nook and corner possible, even the terrace of some shops and building, it appeared as if more army people lived there than civilians! Scenes of some people getting beaten up by activists for they violated self proclaimed band and had their shops open, drilled deep making the WHY to pop again.

    Army Lieutenant Milan was someone we knew among all the soldiers traveling in 21 trucks in that convoy. We kept a connection with him and he conveyed that they will be with us till a place called ‘Banihal’ from where we will be on our own (after 3 days of our accomplished trip, we found that a Lashkar-e-taiyyaba commander was shot dead around same depot and strong amount of ammunitions were recovered).

    The convoy coming out of the camp, while we wait for signal on road side :
    ConvoyOut.JPG


    Some remains of glasses still being spotted on seats :
    convoyGlasspieces.JPG

    The Convoy :
    Convoy.JPG

    Military Military every where :
    ConvoyRoads.JPG

    Halted Convoy :
    Convoyhalt.JPG

    I could manage to click this wild flower during one of the halts :
    ConvoyHaltFlower.JPG


    Other than strategic location of soldiers standing all over the place, the thing we were waiting for was Jawahar Tunnel! After some 1.5 hours came a robust tunnel which drilled into a mighty mountain from one side and we could imagine tunnel ending on the other side of it! A marvelous example of engineering that made all the engineers (most of us) proud of our profession, the tunnel was 2.8 kilometers long strongly lit up with halogens. It was among the very few places where I saw people automatically stick to traffic rules. Coming out of it we thanked our 1st prime-minister Jawahar Lal Nehru for taking this wonderful initiative.

    Some clicks enroute :
    SrinagarJammu.JPG

    SrinagarJammuCow.JPG

    & the Jawahar tunnel :
    SrinagarJammuJawahar.JPG


    We drove non stop(other than traffic stops which we utilized to buy special Kashmiri fruits-fruit bowl of the world) to reach the army camp where army left us on our own. Refusing to the extravagant lunch offer (it was too early to lunch) that Milan gave, we decided to move on and reach our target to have a night halt of anywhere beyond Jammu.

    Group photo with LT. Milan :
    Banihal.JPG

    As we progressed farther from Srinagar towards Jammu we found out that the valley had green color other than the green out of the army dresses too! The scene was so dynamic and picturesque that it is impossible to describe it anyhow. Unlike Laddakh, this valley is not what you can describe as Virgin beauty as the fresh smell of deodar is contaminated by abundant diesel vehicles exhaust. Still at every turn you will be lured with scenic hills and capturable frames. Soon we reached Patnitop & out eyes were directed by our stomach to look for a descent place to eat. We had a quick lunch stop at a very ordinary dhaba but the place brought a very important milestone of our trip. Aarti decided to take a halt and bid good bye with Rachna at Jammu being concerned about her love trying to snatch some moments with Lieutenant Girish Survey though giving us news with damp eyes.


    Waits along the way :
    JammuPatnitop1.JPG


    Route between Jawahar tunnel & Patnitop :
    Jammupatnitop2.JPG

    JammuPatnitop3.JPG


    @ Patnitop :
    Patnitop.JPG

    See off to Aarti & Rachana :
    PatnitopSeeOff.JPG


    We raced towards Jammu with a debate of having a night halt at Jammu or some place after that. Looking for this small town Kathua after jammu where Aarti’s guy is posted, we stopped after each mile to search if that was the place we were looking for. After traveling for 80 kilometers (for what we thought was just 15-20 kilometers) we met Girish at some square. A tall fair well built guy on a strong enfield had just the looks of aarti’s guy! As we inched nearer towards that town I could figure aarti’s smile widening! We bid her a quick good-bye and it was a WET farewell as Girish gifted me with a bottle of rum, the gift enough to make my day. Gulping the rest evening on the same, we drove till Pathankot where we took long time to locate a nice hotel to stay near bus stand. The decision of taking a night halt, only after Jammu turned out to be more than a Golden decision when we saw morning news papers flooded with the news of Jammu burning in the same violence matter as Srinagar. The cries of Amarnath shrine board were well heard in Jammu and we were too happy to just avoid another curfew situation. (End of Day 9)

    DAY 10 :
    The morning in pathankot was one of the most relaxing morning we had in the trip. For all other mornings we had such a tight schedule that a constipatory trip to the loo could ruin full day of ours! Leaving all those behind, we were all set for the last day journey with a great deal of zeal. The only challenge today was to bear the heat. The Air conditioning in the Scorpio would not have had helped as the window pain was still missing. Nevertheless, our engineering minds worked again and Archana's hairpin made us tie a blanket to the window so that AC was felt more now.

    Meenal stuffed this thought of eating at Gyani Dhaba and our gastric juices just ran till our mouths to make our mouth water. The estimation of the distance being poor, we travelled till a brunch apatite rather than breakfast. I could have eaten anything given to me at this time but the place we went to had many better options! Looking at the ambience at Gyani’s Dhaba & doing research around, we decided "Haveli- a theme based restaurant" that had Punjabi waiters other than food traditionally dressed to create an ambience that reflects Punjab in every sense.

    Haveli from outside :
    Haveli.JPG


    A delibrate click :
    Haveli2.JPG

    The colors inside Haveli :
    HaveliColors.JPG

    We were ravenous to the maximum extent and ordered like crazy. Meenal and Archana gave us the stare-doubting our appetites. After few minutes waiter tried hard to figure out what from the menu we did NOT order! We, together, ate all the stuff we could range from 5 types of parathas and chhole bhature and lassi and what not. That was what we could refer as "Grand Fiesta" and to be very truthful, THAT is the unique feature of trips arranged under Mr. Amit Tyagi! (In Hanu’s words, unedited) After a grueling journey trip we are sure to end it with an eating mania that none can forget (atleast till we have the next one ;) ) We nailed our lunch sessions with song and a photography session and headed towards delhi. By this time, we entered fairly into Punjab region- a region that glittered with prosperity and canals and greenery with well built broad roads. All we did other than passing our time chatting and cracking jokes on each other was calculating how much more time it will take to reach Delhi. Our calculations clearly showed that at the maximum we will take 5-6 hours from the point where we were.

    The roads were marvellous :
    PathankotDelhiRoads.JPG


    Spotted this vehicle & coudnt resist to click :
    PathankotDelhiHummer.JPG

    Again, as described earlier, our trips have this extra adventure quotient which was still prevailing in the Punjab region. Fortunate enough to come out of Srinagar riots, we were still unfortunate to face another riot in the Rajpura district of Punjab. This time the roads had a traffic jam and the reason was told blocking of roads and burning of lorries and trucks by some local groups that had an election brawl in between them. We were, but slightly fortunate to have a Punjabi Kudi Meenal in our crew who went on asking an alternate way from inside of villages and was showing us the way. The frustration levels touched a new height as we saw that the alternate route we took made us come to the same highway but 5 kilometers back from the point where traffic jam happened! We again decided to try our luck taking a new route inside villages.

    The Deviation :
    PathankotDelhideviation.JPG


    Clicks of beautiful farms of Punjab :
    PathankotDelhiFarms.JPG

    PathankotDelhiRice.JPG


    More delays at a railway crossing (it was a long wait ) :
    PathankotDelhitrain.JPG


    The roads where narrow to just accommodate a scorpio at a time. Making our way out, we headed towards right direction this time but another massacre awaited us. At a turn where the driver caught attention of our conversation more than that of a scooter on a turn, our Scorpio almost ran into the scooter. A sudden splash of blood out of the pillion women's arm scared all of us. Sweating coldly, we handled the situation fairly well but by losing an amount of 1000rs and more than that few hours in giving them first aid and a word of sympathy. I felt pitty of the poor fellow's scooter (which he said he borrowed to attend a friend's wedding) as the pillion women also was not someone he properly knew. Only a chilled beer could pacify our moods at that time and it so did.

    Panga site (notice the Bandage on lady's hand, it was indeed a deep cut, well bandaged by me) :
    PathankotDelhiPanga.JPG


    Another halt at Haveli - 2 (ofcourse once again for washrooms requests)
    HaveliSecond.JPG


    The run from there to Delhi was not at all of interest to anybody & most enjoyed it with naps. After Panipat the traffic started building up enormously & by the time we hot the Delhi border we were already late by 4 hours of estimated time. The traffic Jam before Border added to our distress & agony and we could manage to reach the border only at 11:00 PM. It ended where it started, a Jam at Delhi Border :
    PathankotDelhiJam.JPG

    We dropped Meenal, Archana, Shashi and Aruna there & flew towards Vaishali which was the last stop. Hanu, Manu, Saurabh, & Piyush stayed at my place that night & very soon all went to deep sleeps.


    VITALS STATS :
    Distance covered : 3540 kms
    Duration of trip : 11 nights
    Expenses per person : 12,500/- approx

    (End of the Dirty Dozen travelogue.. Sorry for it being in installments.. )
     
  5. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Fantastic stuff and pretty exciting as well (though for a few wrong reasons :D), but all is well that ends well.

    Ps. loved the photograph of the train in particular :)
     
  6. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Yogesh.. I took three pics of train there & all three came out to be good.. apart from that me & saurabh did some macro photography of the gears & levers of railway shunting room. :)
     
  7. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Do upload them as well :)
     
  8. Prasham

    Prasham Armchair Traveller :(

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    As expected. Great.
     
  9. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Prasham...
    YS I'll upload few more pics in Photogallery..
     
  10. SSSK

    SSSK Member

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    Amazing trip, great pictures. The trip log was intriguing and had me wondering what next...:rolleyes:
    Adventure in such a trip lies in the travel and not the destination - and u all had a great adventure:ctf2:
     

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