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Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by VahanPujari, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Due to some work our family vacation trip during summer holidays (Apr-May 2016) could not be materialised. This represented me an opportunity to revisit the "Jannat" ...aah.. Ladakh again in June-July 2016. Have been thinking of penning down this travelogue / Photologue since quite some time as it has been more than 2 months that we completed this road trip but was held up heavily on both the fronts - work as well as home.

    Due to time constraints, this might turn out to be a Photologue, however, shall try to cover all important details.

    This 2nd Ladakh roadtrip was almost a replica of our 1st trip which I detailed earlier here -->> https://www.teamfiat.com/threads/la...urtuk-pangong-hanle-tso-moriri-rohtang.12905/

    So, I shall draw references from that thread for convenience.

    Who all Travelled: Me, my brother, my sister & my Brother-in-law. Again like in our 1st trip, me & my brother did most of the driving with BIL chipped in during the plains.

    Car: Again the good old lieutenant,XUV500 W8 FWD. Like me, it was Cheetah's 2nd Ladakh trip also and he came out with flying colors.

    This was how the PLANNED Itinerary looked like:

    TFI-Itinerary Plan.jpg

    .......and this was how the Actual Itinerary looked like after it got executed

    TFI-Itinerary Actual.jpg
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 18, 2016 ---
    Preparations were also almost similar to 1st Trip.
    Route plan and Hotels were thro' HVK again (no thanks are enough for the invaluable support).
    Looooong List of items to carry was the same as earlier - https://www.teamfiat.com/threads/la...anle-tso-moriri-rohtang.12905/#post-841915082
    The 1st trip experience helped. Also, sis helped a lot and gathered together most of the items. I was busy and couldn't spare time on preparations and research this time around - could have hardly spent 20% of the time I spent during 1st trip preparations.

    Since the circuits were identical to 1st trip and the car was the same FWD, the following circuits/ routes/ places again could not be visited/ explored (motivation for another trip?:playful: ) - Agham-Shyok route from earlier wish list was done this time:

    • Padum
    • Marismik La
    • Nubra to Pangong thro’ Wari La
    • Chushul – Kakasang La – Loma
    • Hanle – Kyun Tso – Nidar – Nyoma
    • Patch between Leh & Pang - including Tanglang La
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 18, 2016 ---
    Day 0, 24th June'16

    Could not leave from work till 5 pm. It was raining and hence heavy traffic, so by the time I reach home, it was 7.30 pm. Left at 8.15 pm instead of planned 6 pm. Picked up bro from Surat, picked up sis and BIL from Baroda and proceeded ahead thro' direct route of Halol & Modasa bypassing Ahmedabad

    During preparations and journey also, HVK was insisting that we stay at Jaipur looking at long drive and fatigue. My plan was simple - stretch as much as we can in plains and cover more and more. We crossed Jaipur at about 5 pm and proceeded ahead to reach Behror where we stayed.

    Had delicious "Gota (Bhajji)" at Modasa - early morning breakfast

    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 18, 2016, Original Post Date: Sep 18, 2016 ---
    On Day 2, 26th June, from Behror, we reached Jammu (the target was Patnitop but HVK vehemently opposed and we complied).

    In the late night, almost mid-night, while having a telecon with HVK for next day planning, he asked if we would like to go thro' Mughal Road. I said obviously yes if we could (road conditions favorable)

    So next day was exciting - new route, more scenic as they say




    View attachment 89241
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  2. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Mughal Road was new for us.
    Mughal Road is longer than direct Jammu-Srinagar road
    Mughal Road is broken for almost 30-40 kms
    Mughal Road is challenging
    But then, Mughal Road is also scenic

    The route taken was.... Jammu-Akhnoor Bypass-Sunderbarni-Lambera-Rajouri-(Mughal Road begins)-DKG (Dera Ki Gali)-Bafliaz-Pir Ki Gali-Chowgham-turned right towards Aharbal falls-Jangipora-Anantnag-Khanabal-Srinagar

    From Chowgham (just 3 kms before Shopian where Mughal Road ends), the straight road also goes to Srinagar and is almost 50-60 kms shorter but we were strictly advised to avoid Shopian. So, we skirted just 3 kms before Shopian to Aharbal falls.

    From the point the Mughal Road begins i.e. from Rajouri till Bafliaz, the road is virtually non-existant and took helluva time. So, by the time we reached Pir Ki Gali, we were too late and it was almost 2 pm

    At Pir Ki Gali - highest point of Mughal Road (11500 ft approx). Beautiful Green meadows all around in surrounding hills. Amidst the cold chilly wind in a serene Pir Ki Gali, we had our 1st Maggi & Omelette of the trip :)






    The Rear Seats were removed and taken out to accommodate luggage


    Just before Aharbal Falls.....



    Reached Srinagar at about 6.30-7 pm, checked into hotel and in the late evening did a boat ride in Dal Lake
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 19, 2016, Original Post Date: Sep 19, 2016 ---
    Day 4 - 28th June'16

    It was going to be a long day. We had to cross zozila, Kargil, enter Suru valleytowards Zanskar to reach Panikhar. Left Srinagar at 6.15 am. Enjoyed the beautiful Srinagar-Sonamarg route in early morning.

    Baltal Base Camp for Amarnath Yatra....





    Preparation at Sonamarg to take on mighty Zozi La....


    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
  3. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    20160628-DSC_5918.jpg 20160628-DSC00097.jpg

    There was no or almost negligible snow at Zojila as compared to 2014 when it was covered with Snow "chaddar". In fact, all throughout Ladakh, this time around there was almost negligible snow. All high passes, even Baralacha La & Rohtang were devoid of snow ! And we were just 13 days behind this time in schedule than 2014

    20160628-DSC_5927.jpg 20160628-DSC_5970.jpg 20160628-IMG_2533.jpg 20160628-DSC_5943.jpg 20160628-DSC_5963.jpg 20160628-IMG_2567.jpg
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 19, 2016 ---
    We had to stop at army canteen at Gumri for delicious Samosa !!











    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
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  4. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    We crossed Kargil at about 4.30-5 pm and entered the Magnificent Suru-Zanskar Valley.

    On the way, we tried to check availability of accommodation at JKTDC, Purtikchey but the caretaker was not there even after we waiting for 10 minutes. We were just trying to double sure about accommodation there in case Panikhar JKTDC caretaker also was not to be found. Purtikchey JKTDC looked to be nice, spacious bunglow but there was no one in the entire compound. Even Panikhar JKTDC was decent but was compact than Purtikchey.

    The colorful mountains/ rocks of Ladakh started coming into the view

    20160628-DSC_6126.jpg 20160628-DSC_6129.jpg 20160628-DSC_6138.jpg

    The magnificent Nun & Kun peaks were hidden behind clouds

    20160628-DSC_6142.jpg 20160628-DSC_6158.jpg 20160628-DSC_6160.jpg

    Evening rays of the Sun on Snow peaks...captured from Panikhar

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    Panikhar JKTDC Compound

  5. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Day 5 - 29th June'16

    The day is going to be very very long, uncertain and extremely challenging. For we would be venturing out into the awesome but treacherous Zanskar Valley. The route was Panikhar-Parkachik-Rangdum-Pensi La-Drang Drung and back to Panikhar. The distance is not much, but the roads are almost non-existant, often submerged into river or streams with full of slush and full of rocks/ stones. Ultimately, we caught up with the law of averages and fell into glorious uncertainties of travelling in Ladakhi mountains for the first time in our 2 trips since 2014, more on that later.

    First let the pics do the talking of beauty of Suru-Zanskar Valley. Again the snow was very very less as compared to 2014

    20160629-IMG_2634.jpg 20160629-DSC_6201.jpg 20160629-DSC_6206.jpg 20160629-DSC00111.jpg 20160629-DSC_6239.jpg 20160629-DSC00120.jpg 20160629-DSC00123.jpg 20160629-DSC_6277.jpg 20160629-DSC_6279.jpg 20160629-DSC00126.jpg 20160629-IMG_2664.jpg 20160629-DSC_6299.jpg

    The Parkachik Glacier.....almost on the road...

    20160629-DSC_6305.jpg 20160629-DSC_6317.jpg 20160629-DSC_6319.jpg 20160629-DSC_6326.jpg 20160629-DSC_6331.jpg
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 19, 2016 ---
    29th June'16, 8.42 AM....


    Little messy patch just after Parkachik Glacier head that we encountered with caution in the morning. Little did we know that in return journey on the other side of the patch we had to spend overnight almost 18 hours on the road.

    Location - From Parkachik village, the 1st view of glacier is about 3-4 kms. 2 kms ahead of it, you'll come across head of glacier almost on the road. 2 kms ahead of the head of the glacier is this patch. So overall 7-8 kms from parkachik village.

    When we returned from Drang Drung the same day, it was 6 pm when we reached this patch (beyond the the far end of it in the attached pic). We saw a Tempo Traveller stuck in it on the road. Apparently, there is an irrigation line up above the hill for villages up there. This line seemed to have broken and the water was gushing down on the road alongwith mud. Just 10 minutes before we reached there, there were 3 vehicles which we saw coming from that side, hence that Tempo Traveller may have stuck just 5-7 minutes before we reached there. After 10-15 minutes, due to the force of the water, the avalanche of rocks, 3-4 feet big stones started falling down from the hill on the road. We decided to run back to Rangdum (more than 2 hours from there) and started fast. Just 2 kms drive and we encountered water streams fully swollen with water, drove thro' one and heard a whoooosh....the air from a tyre fizzled out. A sharp stone has caused the sidewall cut in the Front left tyre. The tyre was completely flat and to fix hydraulic jack was a difficult task. Changed the tyre after much difficulty and it was already 7.30 pm. Consulted with a local driver of a Scorpio which came from Rangdum side and decided to stay put overnight. Later 3 trucks and a couple of supply vans Tata Mobile also joined us.

    The entire night the noise of stones and water falling on the road continued. We were just 200 meters away but at a safe place on the road. Next day morning, someone from the other side (Parkachik side) called a JCB. JCB kept on clearing the mud which was now more than 2 feet deep, still many cars kept on getting stuck while passing. Finally, we could cross it at 12 noon next day. Spent 18 hours there.


    We spent the night on the road just besides this rock in above pic. Ironically, in the morning we were rushing to take pics of this rock due to its typical square shape whereas in the evening / night & the next day, we didn't even look at it though we were just besides it!!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
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  6. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Suru-Zanskar Valley is tough. Especially, after Panikhar. That is the reason it's still off-limit from typical airline/taxi-tourists - also because from Leh, it is not a day tour like Nubra & Pangong. Hence, it's secluded.

    That's why may be, I had decided after my 1st Ladakh road trip that Zanskar is a must in all my future Ladakh road trips. No compromises on this front at-least. Check it out from the following pics!!

    20160629-DSC_6345.jpg 20160629-DSC_6347.jpg 20160629-DSC_6350.jpg 20160629-DSC_6355.jpg 20160629-DSC_6357.jpg 20160629-DSC_6358.jpg 20160629-DSC_6362.jpg 20160629-DSC_6365.jpg 20160629-DSC_6367.jpg 20160629-DSC_6369.jpg 20160629-DSC_6404.jpg 20160629-DSC_6405.jpg 20160629-DSC_6406.jpg 20160629-DSC_6407.jpg 20160629-DSC_6409.jpg 20160629-DSC_6410.jpg 20160629-DSC_6411.jpg 20160629-DSC_6412.jpg
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  7. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    20160629-DSC_6419.jpg 20160629-DSC_6422.jpg 20160629-DSC_6434.jpg 20160629-DSC_6436.jpg 20160629-DSC_6438.jpg 20160629-DSC_6439.jpg

    The Magnificent Rangdum....a small village surrounded from all sides by mighty snow-capped Himalayas


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    ramjn, Ravi_M and KPR like this.
  8. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

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    The Mermot.....

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    Pensi La Pass...on the way to Drang Drung from Rangdum

    20160629-DSC_6573.jpg 20160629-DSC_6574.jpg
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  9. KPR

    KPR Superiore

    Punto Evo 1.3 90 HP
    @VahanPujari Great and a very useful travelogue. It is nice to see your post in TFI despite shifting to a Mahindra. The 18 hrs stay in return to panikhar is an experience indeed ! At the back of your mind during previous trip and this trip you might've thought that if some stay option is not available there is always our car! And it happened. HVK sir might've got blues in his stomach when he couldn't reach you for 18 hrs or am I wrong?
    Ravi_M likes this.
  10. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    TFI was, is and will always remain the 1st love :)

    I was mentally ready for it in our 1st trip in 2014 but not now, probably because 1st trip went without any such episode. Ironically, my Sis & BIL were mentally ready for it !!

    As soon as I called next day and started saying that we were stuck, he interrupted and said "that much I've understood, tell me what happened". The spot where we spent overnight is the same spot where his car got stuck 3-4 years back.
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 21, 2016, Original Post Date: Sep 20, 2016 ---
    The entire "route" from Rangdum to Drang Drung was surrounded by Snow in 2014. This year it was all plain dry, negligible snow here or there.

    The First view of the Gorgeous Drang Drung Glacier.......

    20160629-DSC_6579.jpg 20160629-DSC00161.jpg 20160629-DSC00162.jpg 20160629-DSC_6588.jpg 20160629-DSC_6597.jpg 20160629-DSC_6607.jpg 20160629-DSC_6628.jpg 20160629-DSC_6635.jpg 20160629-DSC_6669.jpg 20160629-DSC_6690.jpg 20160629-DSC_6691.jpg 20160629-DSC_6693.jpg 20160629-DSC_6702.jpg 20160629-DSC_6686.jpg
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