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Ladakh-June'2014: Full Circuit ->Zojilla-Suru/Zanskar-Leh-Turtuk-Pangong-Hanle-Tso Moriri-Rohtang

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by VahanPujari, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Was waiting for this to read :).
    What a preparation list, its huge.
    Can't one hire 4AWD vehicle there?
    VahanPujari likes this.
  2. Viny

    Viny Esperto

    @VahanPujari : Welcome back, nice to see you again and that to with such a pleasant trip log.
    Was wondering if you planned for going to Mars instead of Laddhak. You list of items was at a point of time looking endless..and started wondering if there would be any space for occupants after all those stuffs where pushed in. Can you let us know how many of the items that you took where actually used :p and how many where commonly available in Leh too.

    None the less this is one of the most exhaustive list that I came through.
    As usual, well planned and superbly executed :)
    Look forward to story ahead, expecting more details and not just running on 100MPH. :p

    Finally beautiful captures ....would be memory for long time :)
    VahanPujari likes this.
  3. caffeineam

    caffeineam Amatore

    That's a rather elaborate inventory you gathered there! Must've been a nightmare unpacking and repacking. I have difficulty locating stuff in two bags :confused:
    VahanPujari likes this.
  4. pabhishek

    pabhishek Esperto

    Linea T-Jet
    Wow,, that was quite a list, almost like 'Hanuman ji ki poonch'.. Unending!!:p
  5. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    I was over-prepared. But I like to over-prepare. First, it takes me through the virtual journey and secondly, it instills confidence and security like an insurance. HVK says that my preparations were one of the most meticulous ones and that I de-risked almost all possible risks :)

    Another reason for exhaustive preparations was that as I mentioned earlier the trip I envisaged and planned was not a typical straight Sringar - Leh - Khardung La/ Pangong - Rohtang & back. I wanted to also cover less-travelled places like Suru / Zanskar Valley, Turtuk, Pangong-Chushul-Hanle route, Tso Kiager/ Tso Moriri to make it an exhaustive trip exploring interiors of Ladakh. There are few routes where you won't find a vehicle travelling for a couple of days. What would you do, if your car breaks down? Ideally, I wanted to have another car joining us for this reason but it could not happen. And this year I was determined. And being the eldest, I was responsible for my Bro & Nephew. Hence, there was no option for me but to over-prepare.

    One can. But practically difficult. Firstly, there is a huge difference between driving your own cars and being driven or even driving a rented car. The preparations that I did for my car gave so much of confidence that I would not have touched any other car even if suddenly someone gave me a 4WD car there. Secondly, the list of circuits missed that I mentioned are not day-trips. In fact, we didn't do any Day-trips (i.e. journey from base and back to the base in evening). e.g. Leh-Pangong-Chushul-Hanle-Tso Moriri-Rohtang is almost 850 kms circuit. The locations we missed like Kakasang La, Kyun Tso etc were alternate sub-routes in the entire circuit.

    Thanks Viny

    I've already elaborated my over-preparations above. You're bang on on space. 3 Diesel Cans and pile of items I bought for car - all these occupied more than 1/3rd of the boot. Touch wood, none of those car-related items (except for diesel cans) were needed to use as car performed exceedingly well. They are like an insurance.

    Most of the personal items are available in Leh but then why to go hunting for it in Leh rather than exploring Leh Gompa's. Eventually, it turned out that we didn't have any time in Leh, couldn't even do Gompa Circuit tour (more on that later) - it's precisely for such eventualities that it's better to go prepared. And Ladakh road trip has so many variables that nothing is certain and in case of any eventuality, help might take days to come in some of the routes that we traveled.

    You can say that again !! It was a nightmare daily evening while unloading and daily morning while loading.
    ramjn and Ravi like this.
  6. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    I had route plans in excel (softcopy & hardcopy :p ). I also broke it in 8-9 sectors and saved it in online Google Maps. I also saved it in offline Sygic maps. And then XUV500 has an MMI Navigator :) . Believe me, everything came in handy one point or the other.

    Ok, back on the road now....

    The Punjab Roads.....

    Somewhere between Jammu and Batote
    pv_krish, ramjn and Ravi like this.
  7. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Day 3, 14th June'14:

    Since, the first target was to reach Sonamarg at 2-3 pm (and considering Jammu-Srinagar truck traffic/ road conditions), we decided to leave early at about 5-5.30 am, but could leave only just before 6 am.

    This is how the road was after Batote....

    Crossed Ramban at about 7.15-7.30 am. This is where we had Tea & breakfast..... (not much items available early morning, so had our favourite Thepla with pickles :D )

    Entire road runs parallel to Chenab/ Jhelum river(s) and full of beautiful vista’s.






    By 8.35 am, we were at Sojmatna just before Banihal. By now, my bro has started feeling that we should halt overnight at Srinagar and should not push it to Sonamarg and then Zojilla – Drass – Kargil. The early start and long drives of 2 days seems to be having it’s effect. I was still reluctant as I usually don’t want to deviate from schedule unless it’s impossible/ extremely tight and here it was yet not impossible.

    Reached Jawahar Tunnel at about 9.15 am. Stopped at Titanic View point for a customary photo shoot of the “1st view of Kashmir Valley” for a quick halt.

    pv_krish and ramjn like this.
  8. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Day 3, 14th June'14 contd.....

    Unfortunately, got held up for about 1 hour just after the check post, just after the entry fee booths. I guess the place was Lower Mundah, not sure though. The ladies of the village had “raasta roko” for not getting clean drinking water. This was our 1st encounter of 2 instances of such “rasta roko” and though this one went cheaply with only 1 hour spent in the long queue of vehicles, the next one later in Nubra Valley was real nasty.

    This 1 hour delay had finally tilted the balance in favour of going easy and staying overnight at Srinagar though I still feel we could have reached Sonamarg by 4 pm, had we continued. But, since we had a few buffer days in the schedule, we decided to use one at Srinagar. In the hindsight, it sounded like a good call (coming to that later).


    By 1 pm, we already checked into the Hotel at Srinagar. Excellent hotel facing Daal Lake and having entire Food court & CCD in the compound. The Food Court was nearly-full even at 10-11 pm.

    Since, Srinagar halt was not scheduled, there was no specific plan, so decided to have lunch at hotel food court and just stroll or roam around. Went to Chasme Shahi garden after lunch. The weather was very sunny and hot. Unfortunately, the vehicles were not allowed all the way since some politician was visiting and it needed a 2 km walk in hot sunny weather. Decided against it, went to Nishat Garden. In only a few minutes, the weather took toll on our bodies and just after spending few minutes in garden and few minutes of rest there, came out and got back to hotel at about 5 pm. All of us slept soundly at hotel.

    These machines try to keep the Daal Lake clean but to no avail :(

    I got up at 7.15 pm and after repeated attempts to wake up all others failed, decided to have a stroll at Daal Lake. At the last moment my nephew got up and joined me. We strolled along Daal Lake and then got into a boat for one and half hour boating. Nice serene experience especially because the dirty water was not much visible in the dark :D . Had dinner at food court.


    Next day was not going to be long in terms of no. of kms to be driven but the treacherous Zojilla ascent means it’s not going to be taken for granted either. From here on, the traveling distance is not to be measured in no. of kms but in no. of hours it would take. :)
  9. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Excellent thread Amit, keep em coming. I stayed at the same hotel. Where a CCD and a food court is there. Nice parking and safe parking too. I forgot the hotel name.
    VahanPujari likes this.
  10. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Hotel Malik Palace

    In the entire Drive, we did not book Hotels in advance but it was booked on-the-go. This gives flexibility and covers against any unforeseen delay / uncertainties of the harsh drive. e.g. our decision to stay back at Srinagar instead of proceeding to Sonmarg and Kargil.

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