The Dirty Dozen "SURVIVED" Ladakh

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

  1. tsk1979

    tsk1979 Reclaimed and Recycled

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    If there is not signboard of "Photography probhibited" you can take pictures.
    Anyways, this law is from the british raj era when camera's were a rarity. Now with cell phone cameras dime a dozen, a "foreign hand" would hardly setup a tripod and try to take an artistic picture.
    Heck with a 500mm lens you can shoot any dam you want from far away!

    Getting back on the topic, we are waiting for the rest of the story
     
  2. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    DAY 3 :


    The daybreak at Sissu was much more exquisite then what we saw at Manali! A glacial rivulet was flowing in the vicinity which was causing a divine sound before falling off elegantly and magnanimously into the mighty river! The sun was gradually rising up, illuminating mighty snow capped peaks so brilliantly that we started clicking snaps hysterically without even getting fresh! We were all feeling fresh after a comfortable rest and were pretty upbeat about the fact that we had planned on our next destination as Leh! It seemed a Herculean task though, 395 kilometers in a day on precipitous terrains was surely a tough ask! Nevertheless, we started off positive about the fact that we would get to Leh anyhow! We planned on breakfast at Keylong which was around 32 kms from Sissu.

    some early morning clicks at Sissu :

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    Our first stop of the day was at Tandi, 21 kms from Sissu at the last petrol pump of the Manali Leh highway! Our scorpios were running low on fuel and we had to get a puncture fixed. This gave us our time out with the nature! We scampered to the backyard of the petrol pump to discover (to our utter delight) the picturesque riverside view! The cameras were out again and we took many snaps here! It seemed as if the petrol pump owner had put a lot of thought into the location of the same! The natural beauty of the setting was just exquisite!

    Clicks @ Tandi :

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    But soon we discovered our first concern of the day in the form of rationing of fuel. The deisel allotment per car was apparently not sufficient to take us to our destination which was still around 370 odd kilometers away! We tried to argue with the pump owner but failed in our attempts to convince him about the whole issue.

    The fuel shortage freaked some of us out! But I promptly rescued everyone out of their fears telling about the profusion of fuel on the highway (in black rates though).

    After about an hour we got back on the road! Our neck craning workout started once again, intense than ever! The views were breath-taking and the amount of snaps being clicked from the cars was increasing copiously!
    Around 9.30 a.m. we stopped at Keylong for breakfast at a clean restaurant. Sticking to our normal agenda we tucked in some butter/jam toasts along with tea and milk and satisfied our washroom needs!

    A click taken by Saurabh outside the restaurant in Keylong :

    Keylong.JPG

    After about 45 minutes we were back on the road. We were consciously aware about the possibility of food crunch on the way but still we stuck to light intake. The path was curvy and tough and we certainly did not need upset stomachs on such difficult terrains.

    Clicks enroute :
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    Our second car as seen from moving first car : (enroute 9)
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    Saw three bikers enroute & only one motorbike in the whole day :
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    After about an hour of bumpy travel we finally encountered our first natural road obstacle! A happy go lucky glacial stream was slap dashing carelessly over the road and a monk’s car was stuck helplessly owing to the under cover monstrous rocks! :
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    After about 15 minutes of painstaking effort the driver finally managed to pull his car out of trouble! & next to get trapped was another Local in Scorpio :
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    The flow @ Nallah :
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    A lot of people gathered at the scene, a crude assortment of locals and tourists waiting in line to cross the stream. We were skeptical about our scorpios. If the monk’s car driven by a local driver could succumb to the stream’s might then it was plausible that our cars encountered the same trouble! Soon our doubts were put to rest as our cars magnificently crossed the stream in one shot! It was our first triumph over a natural impediment and it was a flawless victory! Everyone applauded our conquest gleefully. We showed them the way! Yes, we were proud of our drivers and all thoughts of apprehension were expelled! We were unstoppable! :

    Our car making it out in one go :
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    Our next stop was a beautiful lake called Deepak Tal! With amazingly clean, green waters and gorgeous hills in the back- ground, Deepak taal proved to be one of the most magnificent display of beauty we had witnessed in our lives! It was cold and sunny, the perfect weather recipe nature had prepared for us! We took some splendid snaps and got back on our way!

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    We had not even recuperated after the beauty blast we encountered at Deepak Tal when we arrived at another amazing lake called Suraj Taal! We had 10 feet high snow adjacent to the road and splendid rocky terrains adjacent to the lake. With snow capped peaks in the distance we couldn’t resist getting out of our cars and clicking snaps even though we were already running behind on schedule!

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    After a short session of photography we got back in our cars, looking forward to seeing baralachla, the second pass on the Manali leh highway! We reached BaralachLa around 1 p.m. The beauty surrounding us was totally diverse from what we had seen before! The spectacle of colossal mountains standing tall with snow scattered all over them made us feel as though we were witnessing massive, distorted natural zebras! We felt overjoyed about having conquered a 16000 feet high pass with everyone safe and sound! The A.M.S seemed far away, terrified by our high spirits! The weather was perfect and consequently the light was just ideal from photography point of view owing to which we clicked some brilliant snaps here!

    Clicks :
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    Gang @ BarlachLa :
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    Hanu posing (resembling terrorist ??) @ BarlachLa :
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    After about 20 glorious minutes at the top, we got back on the road, gloatingly discussing our triumph over the highest pass we had encountered! After an hour of sheer natural bliss we reached an army checkpost where the army jawan stopped us and enquired our whereabouts. Shortly after knowing that we were a bunch of tourists and after discovering that saurabh was from Bangalore, his home town, he became pretty friendly and got even some snaps clicked! He informed us about the possibility of stoppage at Pang. Apparently crossing Pang after 6.30 p.m. was hazardous and hence he asked us to hurry! It was still 65 kilometers away and we had 4 hours in hand. We decided to get moving as any further delay meant the possibility of a night halt at Pang which we did not want.

    Clicks enroute (notice the changing colors) :

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    To our utter delight, we reached sarchu in almost no time. The roads were amiable and the chances of crossing Pang before 6.30 p.m. were looking bright. We decided on not stopping at Sarchu as we had the time constraints. This meant that we were about to witness our first food crunch. We blew our concerns away thinking of our destination. Somehow the idea of getting to Leh that day was so fascinating that it blustered our hungers right off our heads! We witnessed some awesome terrains near sarchu! Splendid green plains were totally a surprise package for everone of us! Again the hysterical clicking from cars increased profusely!



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    After crossing Sarchu we were struck once again by the washroom calamity! This time imagine a washroom quandary with long open roads, Rocky Mountains all around and time constraints! Yes! Once again! As appalling as it sounds! But again, everyone rose to the occasion brilliantly and succeeded in doing it congenially.

    Boys posing by the time Gals return :
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    We got back on our way after a 30 minutes break. Pang was still away and time was still a major concern! We kept ourselves positive and started enjoying nature’s magnificence & the Gata Loops.

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    We encountered our second natural impedance in the form of whiskey nallah! :
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    We crossed it as easily as we had crossed the first obstacle. Soon we started noticing some of the nature’s most splendid works. It had inventively carved out brilliant artistic figures out of nowhere! These figures closely resembled the remnants of ancient civilizations and Manu even managed to convince couple of girls that those figures were actually excavated remains of some pre-historic civilization (which he named “Sohan Jodaro”!)! It was absolutely intriguing and mysterious though and we were bound to think about the possibility of an actual civilization flourishing thousands of years before!

    Sohan Jodaro :
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    We reached Pang around 6 p.m. We were already on the road for 12 hours! Everyone was exhausted. The drivers were desperately in need of rest and finally people had started vomiting! The signs were ominous. We still had a long distance to cover and we surely needed our drivers to be perfectly well. A washroom crunch again for the third time in two days made it look tougher!

    Only click taken at Pang :

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    We decided to get some rest and food first. The thought of getting to Leh was still too bright in our heads and we decided on getting back on the road again after some rest. We had limited options at Pang out of which magi noodles seemed the best. Hence everyone ate magi noodles. I decided to drive one of the car. MORE plains were ahead and I had been looking forward for this moment for too long! Driving in MORE plains was like a dream come true for me! And with our drivers needing rest the situation was perfect!
    After an hour long rest we got back on the roads.

    Soon we reached the MORE plains, a 40 kilometers plain stretch that resembled a dirt biking track! It was astounding to witness such natural spectacle! Unfortunately the light was pretty dim, owing to which we could not click proper snaps! The MORE plains apparently did a lot of damage to the already ill people owing to the excessive bumps encountered.

    Clicks @ More :
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    As an effect as we started ascending for TangLangLa we got ourselves into the gravest of the situations! One of our drivers felt the first major health stroke as he vomited profusely and also caught on fever! It was impossible to ask him to drive in such conditions! This surely meant that I would need to drive through the toughest patch of our journey! It was a gloomy time for the group with weather getting ruthlessly cold and people finally getting ill! We somehow kept going, fighting the nature’s insolence the best we could!
    We reached TangLangLa around 9 p.m. It was the worst time to reach the world’s second highest pass! The temperature dipped below zero degrees and as we came out of our cars we finally understood what merciless winds and cold coupled with high altitude (17000 feet) could do to us! Many of us felt dizzy and had to hold on to each other to prevent falling to the ground! We somehow quickly managed to assemble for a group photograph! Just as the snap was clicked we scurried off to our cars! The cold was proving to be fatal and we would have collapsed helplessly had we stopped for more than 5 minutes!

    Only click @ Tanglang La :
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    As soon as we got inside our cars we took our blankets out! It was getting impossible to survive the chill and we would have perished without our protections! We gleefully descended from TanglangLa’s altitude only to find to our utter horror that our Cars were running out of fuel cursing the Tandi rationing of deisel. To our sheer bliss, we noticed a gypsy parked near a small tent & two BRO guys flashing light of their torches towards us, as if they didn’t expect anybody at that time in the region. Thankfully we got some 20 ltr of diesel in black which was surely enough for both the cars to touch Leh.

    Soon after the last tragedy of the day stuck in form a tyre puncture. We were appalled! A tire puncture at an altitude of 16500 feet with subzero temperature and an ill group seemed to be nature’s way of testing our endurance! Me, hanu, manu and Piyush mustered some courage and helped our driver to get the puncture fixed! Our driver (Sonu’s) effort was really commendable! After driving for a gigantic 16 hours stretch he still managed to fix the puncture! Our difficulties can be gauged by the fact that we actually started considering asking for help at the nearby army post!

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    But somehow, we got back on the road! I was still behind the wheels and I decided to drive till Leh! Soon we descended to a comfortable height and finally met a amiable road again which carried us to our destination without any further quandaries! We finally reached Leh around 12.30 p.m. after a mammoth 18 hours long drive! The feeling of exhilaration experienced after entering our Guest house SIA LA was the feeling we would never ever forget all our lives!

    Sometimes in life, you happen to share some situations with strangers that actually makes you feel as though you have known the strangers throughout your life!.......
    Driving was 18 hours, food deprived, ill, beaten by weather and body stiffness and finally accomplishing one common, illusive goal was certainly one of them!

    Day 4 Travelogue

    Day 5 Travelogue

    Day 6 Travelogue

    Day 7 Travelogue

    Day 8 Travelogue

    Day 9-10 Travelogue
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  3. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    Fantastic stuff, waiting for more :)
     
  4. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Yogesh :)
    next version to come on Monday .. Manu is writing it & I am working on photos shortlisting ..
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  5. LLL

    LLL Member

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    Excellent pics...great travelogue...will rate this thread top notch.

    :shock:

    There are some flyomg objects called as satellites which fly very high in the sky and we cant see them ourselves, but trust me they are flying up there. They can take pictures upto a resolution of 5 mtrs..so they can easily take pictures of cars, roads, houses etc. Dams are way too big and easy for them.

    If you want to verify, you can check google satellite pics. :twisted:
     
  6. tsk1979

    tsk1979 Reclaimed and Recycled

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    There are sites in the west which offer you detailed satellite pictures of sensitive nuclear installations in the third world for as low as 100$/image.
    This whole "No Photography allowed" thing is bull, propagated by Babus who are out of tune with the times and have the hangover of the Raj when they were gods(well to an extent they still are!)
     
  7. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks LLL I am happy that you are liking it :)
     
  8. c.rachana9

    c.rachana9 New Member

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    After reading the logue felt like i m on the trip again...very beautifully written manu. waiting for the logue to completed so that every1 gets 2 knw all d fun we had:) cheers!!!
     
  9. AartiS

    AartiS New Member

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    a mumbaitte to the core!
    so our story is finally out!...we had soo much of fun and have experienced so many things in a matter of just 10 days..and now reading the travelogue is sheer nostalgia!!
    kudos to manu n bhaiya!
    cheers,
    aarti
     
  10. akshay4384

    akshay4384 THE LONE RIDER

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    Amazing Pics,and write up.
    Was well worth the long wait:)
     

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