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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. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Even hatches can do it. The advantage that a hatch has over a sedan is that it has a shorter wheel base and shorter overhangs in front and rear. But yeah, high GC SUV is the best bet to enjoy the difficult sectors without too much worry. Though we covered most of the sectors, a few missed 4WD-sectors still pinches me ;). 4WD is an icing on the cake :D

    Thanks Ravi. But I feel we just didn't do any justice to a DSLR. If you see carefully, most of the pics are washed out & there is no way I can PP some 5,000 pics. Firstly, I'm too lazy to lug around a DSLR on holidays and sight-seeing, hence though thought of buying several times, did not buy it till now. This was bought just before the trip keeping in mind this trip. Hence, I'm still a beginner though I had read & learnt the basic stuff. Secondly, being the youngest, my Nephew became the target of lugging the DSLR around on the trip :D. All attempts made to use even the simpler modes like Aperture, Shutter Speed etc failed :p, he was most comfortable with Auto Mode:( which essentially means we were using the DSLR like a glorified powerful Point n Shoot

    The issue is we love Linea a lot and typically any underbody hit leaves a scar on our heart and underbody hits even to high GC SUV's are common in quite a few sectors in Ladakh.

    Give a serious thought to a 4WD too when you buy one.;)
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 9, 2014 ---
    Day 5: Kargil - Sankoo - Purtikchey - Panikhar - Parkachik village - Parkashik Glacier - Rangdum - Pensi La - Drang Drung Glacier - Rangdum

    Day 6: Rangdum - Parkachik - Panikhar - Sankoo - Kargil - Mulbek - Namika La - Fotu La - Lamayuru - Khaltse - Nimmu (Zanskar-Indus confluence) - Magnetic Hill - Leh

    Day 7: Leh - Car service - permits - local sight-seeing

    Day 8: Leh - Khardung La - Khalasar - Diskit - Hunder Sand Dunes - Partapur - Thoise Airfield - Skuru - Bodang - Chalunka - Turtuk

    Day 9: Turtuk - back to Leh by the same route as above

    Day 10: Leh - Karu - Sarkti - Chang La - Darbuk - Tangtse - Lukung / Pangong Tso

    Day 11: Pangong - Spangimik - Maan - Merak - Chushul - Tsaga La - Loma - Rhongo - Hanle

    Day 12: Hanle - Rhongo - Loma - Nyoma - Mahe - Puga Sumdo - Namshang La - Tso Kiager - Karzok / Tso Moriri

    Day 13: Tso Moriri - Tso Kiager - Namshang La - Puga Sumdo - Polakongka La - Tso Kar - Debring - (Morey Plains) - Pang - Lalchung La - Naki La - Gata Loops - Sarchu - Killing Sarai - Baralacha La - Suraj Taal - Darcha CP - Jispa - Keylong

    Day 14: Keylong - Tandi - Gramphoo - Rohtang Pass - Traffic - Traffic - Traffic:mad: - Traffic:mad: - Manali

    Day 15: Manali - Kulu - Banala - Pandoh - Mandi - Ner Chowk - Sundernagar - Bilaspur - Kiratpur - Rupnagar - Kharar (Chandigarh BP) - Banur - Ambala - Pipli / Kurukshetra - Karnal - Panipat Fly Over (FO) - Gohana BP - Rohtak BP - Jhajjar BP - Rewari BP - Behror - Kotputli - Shahpura - Manoharpura - Jaipur

    Day 16: Jaipur - Kishangarh BP - Nasirabad - Bhilwara BP - Chittorgarh BP - Mangalwad - Udaipur BP - Rishabhdev - Shamlaji - Himmatnagar - Ahmedabad BP Ranasan Circle - Vadodara - Bharuch - Surat (instead of proceeding to Mumbai on the same night, halted at Surat)

    Day 17: Surat - Mumbai
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 9, 2014 ---
    Thought of sharing above a snapshot of route plan together. It's a very brief snapshot, my actual route plan excel runs 1500-odd rows i.e. 20 pages :D (coutesy HVK)


    Ya, it's Day 5 only but it's taking me 30-35 minutes in posting each post with 20 pictures. Have look at the post timings :happy::shamefullyembarrased:
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
    mchanna and ramjn like this.
  2. Viny

    Viny Esperto

    Splendid !!!
    And probably you should also share all the data that you gathered and then your detailed XLS's and maps etc.
    This will help many future tourist to plan better and will not have to hunt all the resources again.
    ramjn and VahanPujari like this.
  3. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor


    How would you ensure trouble-free engine start in the freezing cold, sub-zero temp's of early morning?

    Rangdum, Pangong, Hanle & Tso Moriri are few of the coldest places in Ladakh region where temprature goes down to -30 to -40 degree C in Winter. It was around 0 or sub-zero in June also when we went there. We took following precautions to ensure trouble-free engine start:

    • Got the Battery checked thoroughly at Amaron centre. Do not rely on Car Manufacturer Autho Service centre. Better to check it at Battery Manufacturer centre.
    • We carried a big Tarpoline & also additionally soft thermal proof sheets (saw in Ladakh that quite a few bikers were also carrying it, to use it may be as kind of sleeping bag).
    • Before going to bed, we made it a point to park the car in such a manner that the engine / bonnet is facing a wall to avoid freezing wind directy.
    • Next step was to cover the engine with tarpoline & thermal proof sheet, rest the bonnet in closing position & idle the engine for 15 minutes. And then pray that the heat will be retained by Tarpoline & that sheet for sometime or till morning :D !
    In the entire trip, the car started in the 1st crank itself in the morning :happy::joyful::shamefullyembarrased: while we saw quite a few cars & taxi's struggling with repeated cranking !
    ramjn and Ravi like this.
  4. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    ....contd....Day 5:

    The only vehicles that we saw after Pannikar till end of that day were 3 supply trucks (going to Padum) & one Xylo tourist taxi. Except that the entire route was completely deserted.


    Spot the Road !!
    20140616-DSC_2148.JPG 20140616-DSC_2149.JPG

    An hour (about 15 kms) after Pannikar, we reached Parkachik village, 10 kms beyond which is Parakchik glacier - Huge….Majestic….but dirty. The glacier has come down to right in front of the road. Such an amazing leagacy will be lost as they say that it won’t be there after 2-3 decades due to meltdown.
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    The texture & the shades of the rock !
    20140616-DSC_2192.JPG 20140616-DSC_2194.JPG 20140616-DSC_2196.jpg 20140616-DSC_2197.JPG 20140616-DSC_2201.JPG 20140616-DSC_2202.JPG 20140616-DSC_2204.JPG

    nkrishnap, Ravi and ramjn like this.
  5. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    ....contd....Day 5:

    After a brief customary photo shoot at Parkachik Glacier we proceeded ahead. There were 2 supplies trucks which were stuck on the road and hence lost some precious time as the road was narrow, there was not enough place to even go past them. However, finally they got going and we overtook them. We halted near a small Gompa ahead. We felt that the air pressure in tyres with full load needs to be increased. However, I was reluctant to spend more time there as didn’t want those 2 supplies trucks to go ahead (if we get stuck somewhere and if they are after us, we’ll have support). But, while we were filling air (thro’ electric air inflator), both trucks overtook us :( & went ahead which was precisely I didn’t want. The views were fantastic and our plan was to go slightly ahead where I read there are some plains and have sort of picnic (with snacks) there.

    I should have followed my instincts & overruled stopping at that gompa for air filling. I should not have overlooked an advice for such a trip which is - there should be only 1 leader and he should act in an autocratic way and not like a democratic one to ensure discipline in not only departure time but almost everything (e.g. in a group, different minds work differently). Why? Let's see it.....

    First the Beauty.....

    20140616-DSC_2207.JPG 20140616-DSC_2208.JPG 20140616-DSC_2221.JPG 20140616-DSC_2224.JPG 20140616-DSC_2226.JPG 20140616-DSC_2227.JPG 20140616-DSC_2229.JPG 20140616-DSC_2234.JPG 20140616-DSC_2235.JPG 20140616-DSC_2238.JPG 20140616-DSC_2242.JPG 20140616-DSC_2248.JPG 20140616-DSC_2249.JPG 20140616-DSC_2251.JPG

    The Gompa where we stopped....


    And then the Beast.....

    15 minutes after we restarted (3-5 kms from Parakachik Glacier), we came across a huge water crossing. The attached pics won’t show it’s ferocity much. It was not much deeper but was full of big, round stones which were unstable. My Bro & nephew have tried to check with the help of long wooden stick we carried and declared that it’s not wise to walk thro’ the ice cold water as it was gushing / flowing with full force. Since my bro was a bit doubtful of driving thro’ the crossing, I started thinking about the options. The biggest concern was that if we lose more time here, even if we cross this water stream, we might get late while coming back from Drang Drung to Rangdum. Late means more water flow and if there are similar crossing between Drang Drung and Rangdum, we might not be able to come back to Rangdum for night stay! And for a long distance on both sides of Rangdum, there is no provision of accommodation or its availability anywhere. After spending 20-25 minutes checking/ exploring, we decided that we’ll wait another half an hour for a truck or other vehicle to come and only then we’ll try to cross this using that vehicle as a support in case we get stuck. Till then let’s have picnic & Photo shoot here!! As soon as we decided this, in comes a truck next minute! We asked him to wait ahead after crossing the water stream. We crossed the stream, the big size unstable stones raped the foot rests (which became a ritual for entire trip thereafter), but we came out unscathed. Later we realized that there is twice more deeper, longer water stream with sharp edges of broken road that we’re going to cross on the way to Rohtang Pass from Baralacha La.

    20140616-DSC_2265.JPG 20140616-DSC_2264.jpg 20140616-DSC01643.jpg 20140616-DSC01644.jpg 20140616-DSC_2266.jpg
    mchanna, nkrishnap, pv_krish and 2 others like this.
  6. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    True, but these small unexpected incidents makes these epic drive more memorable.

    BTW, yes with picture it doesn't look like so dangerous, I was thinking even Punto can do it :), and then I read the details.
  7. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    ....contd.....Day 5:

    Next 5 kms of the route is full of amazing glacier views. Since we were running late, we decided to halt and spend some time next day while coming back (which we didn’t do eventually).

    20140616-DSC01642.JPG 20140616-DSC_2271.jpg 20140616-DSC_2273.JPG 20140616-DSC_2277.JPG 20140616-DSC_2285.jpg 20140616-DSC_2290.JPG 20140616-DSC_2288.jpg

    The Marmot...

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  8. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    ....contd....Day 5:

    20140616-DSC_2308.jpg 20140616-DSC_2309-2-1-2.jpg
    Shades of Mountain !


    At Rangdum, We saw a JKTDC Guest House first thing at entry only. Next to it was another Guest House called Nun GH. But since we observed earlier that JKTDC hotels are usually the best and most reliable & since we didn’t have much time to explore other GH’s, as soon as we heard that acco was available in JKTDC, we booked it quickly (should have checked others) and proceeded to Pensi La and Drang Drung. The climb of Pensi La and beyond is full of glaciers.

    20140616-DSC_2328.jpg 20140616-DSC_2329.jpg 20140616-DSC_2338.jpg 20140616-DSC_2349.jpg 20140616-DSC_2351.jpg 20140616-DSC_2361.jpg 20140616-DSC_2369.JPG 20140616-DSC_2375.JPG 20140616-DSC_2380.jpg 20140616-DSC_2390.jpg 20140616-DSC_2391.jpg 20140616-DSC_2398.JPG 20140616-DSC_2400.JPG 20140616-DSC_2401.jpg 20140616-DSC_2403.JPG 20140616-DSC_2407.JPG

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  9. pv_krish

    pv_krish Regolare

    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    What great place and amazing to see how the geography of the place changes so quickly.

    Want to make a trip at the earliest.
    ramjn likes this.
  10. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Absolutely. That’s the beauty of Ladakh. We were often amused that we were travelling, within a couple of hours, from snow-laden terrain to desert (a desert with a river stream flowing thro’ it!), from desert to “Blue” Lakes couple of them are 40 kms to 120 kms long, from barren rocky terrain with absolutely no signs of any vegetation to vista’s full of greenery, from freezing cold morning to normal sunny day to snow-fall / rain. When we came back to Manali, we clearly clearly felt that we’ve come back to “our world” from a “different world altogether”.
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