Zanskar : Oct 2016

dwaipayan das

Well-Known Member
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one of the most enriching trips ever, the zanskar trip was an absolute treat. i ain't a good writer so , i wish to showcase my journey through my photographs and also provide whatever first hand info i can ....

THE PLAN :

day 1 OCTOBER 6 2016: kolkata to delhi ( originally kolkata to delhi to srinagar to sonmarg. changed due to kashmir unrest )
day 2 OCTOBER 7 2016 : delhi to leh to kargil ( originally sonmarg to kargil)
day 3 OCTOBER 8 2016 : kargil to rangdum
day 4 OCTOBER 9 2016 : rangdum to padum
day 5 OCTOBER 10 2016: padum ( stongde , zangla , karsha )
day 6 OCTOBER 11 2016 : padum to kargil
day 7 OCTOBER 12 2016 : kargil to lamayuru
day 8 OCTOBER 13 2016 : lamayuru to leh
day 9 OCTOBER 14 2016 : leh
day 10 OCTOBER 15 2016: leh to delhi to kolkata

after almost 9-10 months of planning the d day arrived. though i had to readjust the plan a month before the trip because of the kashmir unrest. initially we were supposed to fly from kolkata to srinagar and then drive to sonmarg on day 1. that changed to flying to delhi and then spending a day in delhi. on day 2 we were supposed to travel to kargil from sonmarg. that changed to flying into leh from delhi and then going to kargil on the same day.
*a special mention here about traveling from delhi to leh and then onto kargil on the same day. it was a calculated plan. normally you don't travel anywhere after flying into leh, and are supposed to rest for a day or two before moving further. but in this case i thought the altitude of kargil is way lower than leh, and therefore the night should not be a problem. also we wouldn't be doing any physical activities or exerting ourselves physically. we would just be sitting in our cars, and driving through excellent roads to reach kargil in , maximum, 6 hours. also not to stop at any passes , specially fotula. the plan worked. no one felt any signs of AMS during the day, drive or at night. infact everyone was in excellent shape, including my parents who are sixty, even though we had to wake up at 1.30 am in delhi for the 5.40 am flight to leh.
everyone ( six people) though were on diamox doasage. only me and my wife didn't take diamox.

things we carried that turned out to be really useful :

1. some food with us : maggie, oats , cakes , cashew , peanuts , slice cheese , jam , tea bags , coffee sachets dalmut , bhujia , bread and cookies from local bakery , etc. early morning departures ( 7 am ish ) at places meant we had to rely on our own food for breakfast. also at large stretches between kargil - rangdum, and then rangdum - padum there is absolutely no place to have any food, not even a tea stall.

2. an electric kettle : this was of great use as it was a source of hot water at odd times during our stays, when otherwise hot water wasn't available. also we could make tea and coffee at will, and not rely on the homestay / guest house people.

3. a 1 lt. thermos to store hot water for the night in extreme cold conditions. also to carry tea or coffee and have it at a location of choice on the way.

4. wet wipes : as not always were the water or weather conditions ideal to cleanse ourselves a little.

MEMBERS : DWAIPAYAN DAS ( me) , PAYEL DE , SHOUBHIK ROY , PALLABI ROY , GOURAB CHATTERJEE , SAYANTANI SENGUPTA , DIBAKAR DAS & GOURI DAS ( my parents, though they did not travel to zanskar. they stayed in kargil and lamayuru for the 4 days we visited zanskar)

Vehicle/s for the trip : i called up rigzin ji for the arrangement of vehicles for the trip in may. he told me that he can not come with us personally, as the car for zanskar has to be hired from the kargil taxi union. but he will definitely arrange for everything. He quoted 44k for the srinagar route, but after the change of routes , he told me that the cost would come down. finally after the trip the car costing ( xylo ) was 36k for 7 days. (leh - kargil - rangdum - padum - kargil - lamayuru - leh)

CONTACT NO.s rigzin angchuk : +919469472772 , +919622954779
 
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dwaipayan das

Well-Known Member
DAY 1 - 6th OCTOBER 2016 : KOLKATA to DELHI (flight)

left our home at 1.40 a.m for the 5.15 am kolkata-delhi indigo flight . reached the airport by 2.40 a.m. gourab and sayanatani arrived at 3.45 a.m.
reached delhi bang on time at 7.40 a.m. met shoubhik and pallabi who came from bengaluru. their flight arrived at 7.45 a.m.
6 of us had breakfast in the T1D terminal itself, at THE FOOD STREET. decent food. Rs. ~1300. 6.5/10
took app cab to pre-booked rooms in hotel hari piorko in pahargunj , delhi. reached at 10.30a.m. booked through booking.com. great value for money hotel. amazing location. great rooms and services.
Rs. 1500/room. 9/10
http://www.hotelharipiorkodelhi.com/ http://www.booking.com/hotel/in/hari-piorko.en-gb.html?
https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g304551-d1415547-Reviews-Hotel_Hari_Piorko-New_Delhi_National_Capital_Territory_of_Delhi.html
at 11.30 a.m. went to the new delhi station to receive my parents who live in kanpur, and came to delhi by kanpur shatabdi express. new delhi station is a 10-15 mins walk from the hotel.
after dropping them at the hotel rest of us went out for lunch at KARIMS, by metro and rickshaw.
amazing food we had, i loved the brain curry :D
Rs. 2550 for 6. 9.3/10
https://www.zomato.com/ncr/karims-jama-masjid-new-delhi https://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurant_Review-g304551-d815173-Reviews-Karim_s-New_Delhi_National_Capital_Territory_of_Delhi.html

rickshaw madness in chandni chawk.
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waiting for the food at karim's
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the items
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rickshaw madness in chandni chawk.
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we all in the battery rickshaw
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we returned to the hotel by 3.30 p.m. took rest in the evening, slept for a few hours.
booked our taxis for the airport drop through our hotel. Rs 1200 for 2 taxis for 8 people.
dinner at the hotel itself. Rs 1680 for 8. 7/10.
went to sleep at 10.30 p.m. alarm set for 1.30 a.m. the taxi was scheduled at 2.30 a.m.
 
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dwaipayan das

Well-Known Member
DAY 2 - 7th OCTOBER 2016 : DELHI to LEH (flight). LEH to KARGIL (210 kms)

the alarm went up at 1.30a.m. was ready to go by 2.00 a.m. the taxis were ready too. we left the hotel at 2.30 a.m. for the airport.
gourab and sayantani had their flights from T1D , and the rest 6 were suppose to fly to leh from T3.
My flight took off on time i.e. 5.40 a.m. but surprise surprise. 2 of the 3 window seats we got didn't actually have a window. and they were row 15 window seats. :(
anyway we reached leh at 7.05 a.m. on time. gourab and sayanatani were supposed to arrive an hour later. met RIGZIN JI outside the terminal. he took us to a local chai shop in his own car. we changed cars at the chai shop, the cars that would take us to kargil. we were set and at 8.15 we reached the airport again to pick up gourab and sayantani. by 8.45 a.m. we were on our way to kargil , on the leh srinagar highway.
by 9.30 a.m. we were at nimmu village. had our breakfast here in one of the many shops, with chowmien, momos and thukpas. Rs. 860 for 8. 6.5/10.
collected a crate of packaged water from here.

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from here on we understood one thing. the local ladakhi style toilets were way better for usage than the modern style toilets available here and there.

we started at 10.15 a.m. ish after the breakfast, and didn't stop anywhere except in khangral at 1 p.m. for the police checkpost and for 30 mins in mulbekh for a chai break at 1.30 p.m. at mulbekh got some amazing CAKES from a local BAKERY.
by 3 p.m. we were in kargil and reached our hotel.

somewhere on the leh srinagar highway
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at khangral
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at khangral
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at khangral
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at mulbekh
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I booked rooms at the hotel jazeera hangout (previously : panorama guest house). the location of the hotel is just besides the suru river, in a quite location. yet the market was just a 5-7 min walk. Mr sajjad of the guest house told me before my journey that due the lack of tourists since the kashmir problem, the hotel kitchen was shut. still khadim, the cook, prepared nice veg food for us . Rs 1710 for dinner for 8. 7.5/10.
we got some snacks , sausage and bread from the market for the evening munch.

https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g676134-d8395448-Reviews-Panorama_Guest_House-Kargil_Ladakh_Jammu_and_Kashmir.html https://www.facebook.com/Jazeera-Hangout-Hotel-Restaurant-1562260747424409/?fref=ts

CONTACT : +919419231740 SAJJAD (owner) , +919419478786 MUNAWAR (manager) , +911985232011 (landline) , e-mail [email protected]

i was disappointed with one thing. no discounts were given even though a) it was off season, b) the influx of tourists were absolutely negligible, c) the kitchen was off. stay there was a 7/10. Rs. 2000 per room.

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bali amit

Well-Known Member
DAY 2 - 7th OCTOBER 2016 :

the alarm went up at 1.30a.m. was ready to go by 2.00 a.m. the taxis were ready too. we left the hotel at 2.30 a.m. for the airport.
gourab and sayantani had their flights from T1D , and the rest 6 were suppose to fly to leh from T3.
My flight took off on time i.e. 5.40 a.m. but surprise surprise. 2 of the 3 window seats we got didn't actually have a window. and they were row 15 window seats. :(
anyway we reached leh at 7.05 a.m. on time. gourab and sayanatani were supposed to arrive an hour later. met RIGZIN JI outside the terminal. he took us to a local chai shop in his own car. we changed cars at the chai shop, the cars that would take us to kargil. we were set and at 8.15 we reached the airport again to pick up gourab and sayantani. by 8.45 a.m. we were on our way to kargil , on the leh srinagar highway.
by 9.30 a.m. we were at nimmu village. had our breakfast here in one of the many shops, with chowmien, momos and thukpas. Rs. 860 6.5/10.
collected a crate of packaged water from here.

View attachment 693986

from here on we understood one thing. the local ladakhi style toilets were way better for usage than the modern style toilets available here and there.

we started at 10.15 a.m. ish after the breakfast, and didn't stop anywhere except in khangral at 1 p.m. for the police checkpost and for 30 mins in mulbekh for a chai break at 1.30 p.m. at mulbekh got some amazing CAKES from a local BAKERY.
by 3 p.m. we were in kargil and reached our hotel.

somewhere on the leh srinagar highway
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at khangral
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at khangral
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at khangral
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at mulbekh
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great start..............
 

dwaipayan das

Well-Known Member
DAY 3 - 8th OCTOBER 2016 : KARGIL to RANGDUM (130 kms)

we had bread omelette for breakfast. i got the bread and the eggs from the market the previous evening as i knew we wont get anything that early at the hotel as the kitchen was shut, and they had almost nothing in stock.
bought 2 crates of water. we left kargil at 7.30 a.m. By 8.30 a.m we reached sankoo (40kms). we took a chai break at one of the shops. also had amazing mutton samosa and some rajma roti in the same shop.

the kitchen of the chai shop at sankoo
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the chai shop from outside at sankoo
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wife having rajma roti
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street view at sankoo
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street view at sankoo
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street view at sankoo
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we left sankoo at 9.15 a.m. after a 45 min. break and headed towards panikhar. the views soon changed after sankoo. the valley widened, the snow capped peaks started appearing. and that called for multiple photo breaks.

somewhere between sankoo and panikhar
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somewhere between sankoo and panikhar
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first views of snow capped peaks, somewhere between sankoo and panikhar
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first views of snow capped peaks, somewhere between sankoo and panikhar
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just before panikhar village
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reached the panikhar police checkpost at 10.15 am (25kms from sankoo). had to stop there to register.
after registration left towards parkachik. we took the bypass road, and avoided the road going through the panikhar village and tongul village.

the panikhar checkpost
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the view of the suru valley and panikhar & other villages from the bypass road.
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the view of the suru valley and panikhar & other villages from the bypass road.
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reached the parkachik village and the parkachik glacier view point at 11.25 am ( 15 kms from the panikhar checkpost). the viewpoint had a couple of tea stall/eateries. but both were shut due to muharram. they should be open during the season.
the view of the glacier from the road was amazing and surreal.

at the parkachik village
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the view of the parkachik glacier from where the tea stalls were located
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the view of the parkachik glacier from where the tea stalls were located
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the view of the parkachik glacier from where the tea stalls were located
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one of the tea stalls
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the view of the parkachik glacier after a km or so from the tea stalls. the glacier snout is just across the suru river from the road.
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the view of the parkachik glacier after a km or so from the tea stalls. the glacier snout is just across the suru river from the road.
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dwaipayan das

Well-Known Member
DAY 3 - 8th OCTOBER 2016 : KARGIL to RANGDUM (130 kms) cont......

after parkachik, my parents returned back to kargil. the remaining 6 went ahead towards rangdum at 12 noon from parkachik.
the road from kargil to damsna is excellent. damsna to panikhar is ok. panikhar to parkachik is ok to bad. beyond parkachik THERE IS NO ROAD AT ALL. all you get is a gravel laid mud track, kuccha raod till 5-7 kms before padum. but the views and the place makes up for it, infact more than makes up for it. and that called for loads of photo breaks
by 1 pm we reached the shafat police checkpost ( abt 25kms from parkachik).

somewhere between parkachik and shafat
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somewhere between parkachik and shafat
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the shafat police check post
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somewhere between shafat and rangdum
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approaching rangdum. (the houses visible just to the right of the bus)
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before rangdum
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approaching rangdum. (monastery visible in the middle of the frame, far away)
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before rangdum
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approaching rangdum.
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reached rangdum at 2.15 pm. (25 km appx from shafat and 50 kms appx from parkachik)
for rangdum i was a bit apprehensive about the night stay. though i spoke to Mr. Tsering Dorjee about the night stay at his LA HIMALAYA GUEST HOUSE way back in june, for the last couple of months his phone was unavailable. so wasn't sure whether the guest house would be open. also even if it was open what would be the condition of the rooms and food. i really didn't want to stay in the jkdtc guest house.
the LA HIMALAYA guest house was open and to my surprise the rooms were excellent given the place and the circumstances, and they had attached toilets, and running hot water from solar geyser. :)
the food was great. this is the very best option in rangdum for stay. though there are a few more guest houses / homestays, apart from the jktdc guest house.
clicked a few pics while lunch was served.

view from outside the guest house
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the la himalaya guest house , just adjacent to the jktdc guest house
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the la himalaya guest house , just adjacent to the jktdc guest house
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view from outside the guest house
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we had a hot, simple and tasty lunch with rajma , hot rice , mix veg , omelette and chutney.
after the lunch we checked into our rooms.

lunch time
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tea after lunch
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the corridor
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the room
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the room and mr dorje
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the room
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the washroom
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LA HIMALAYA GUEST HOUSE details :

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the phone number written with pen is also a contact number
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rooms were charged at Rs.1500 per room per night. in season it costs Rs. 2000. i could have bargained more, but didnt feel like it. was really overwhelmed with what was on offer , at such a place. stay was 8.5/10
food was charged at Rs. 130 per head for lunch & Rs. 150 per head for dinner. food 8/10
total bill for 1 night stay (3 double bed rooms) and meals ( for 6) was Rs. 6740 ( including tea and some biscuits and chips)

after lunch it was time to freshen up a bit and explore the village.


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another stay option at rangdum
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marshland beyond the village
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clouds started gathering rapidly and the temperature started going down, even though it was just 4.15 ish pm.
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outside the guest house, clouds rushing in from the parkachik side.
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last rays of light before sunset. 5.45 pm
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from evening till dinner we were sitting in the guest house's kitchen cum eating area, as it was the warm in there. we had tea and some snacks that we were carrying with us.
dinner was served at 8pm. dal, rice, egg curry, alu sabji, chutney. 8/10
we filled our thermos' with hot water, for the night or to brush and other early morning usage, when hot water won't be available. IT WAS A COLD NIGHT AND VERY VERY VERY WINDY.

evening tea after the stroll
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playing with mr. dorje's son
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