Showing posts with label Leh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leh. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Ladakh 2017

Finally all the pieces fell into place, Dussera was earlier this year so it was possible to drive to Ladakh during Dussera school vacations. Still cramming the itinerary was becoming difficult, so we decided that I would start driving earlier and the family will fly directly when the school vacations start. Following was the decided route plan.

Following was the day wise itinerary decided.

  1. 15-September-2017 Day 1 -- Bengaluru to Nagpur
  2. 16-September-2017 Day 2 -- Nagpur to Agra
  3. 17-September-2017 Day 3 -- Agra to Ludhiana
  4. 18-September-2017 Day 4 -- Ludhiana to Jammu
  5. 19-September-2017 Day 5 -- Jammu to Katra
  6. 20-September-2017 Day 6 -- Katra to Srinagar
  7. 21-September-2017 Day 7 -- Srinagar to Kargil
  8. 22-September-2017 Day 8 -- Kargil to Leh
  9. 23-September-2017 Day 9 -- Leh acclimatization and local sightseeing
  10. 24-September-2017 Day 10 -- Leh to Turtuk
  11. 25-September-2017 Day 11 -- Turtuk to Pangong Tso
  12. 26-September-2017 Day 12 -- Pangong Tso Manali, Car breakdown, back to Leh
  13. 27-September-2017 Day 13 -- Leh Local
  14. 28-September-2017 Day 14 -- Fly back to Bengaluru
  15. 28-October-2017 - The Resurrection
The trip was an interesting trip. Unfortunately it had to be cut short due to vehicle failure. After more diagnosis it seems like BMW technician in Ludhiana ignore a error code related to Diesel Particulate Filter. He told me that there is an error code but nothing to worry about. That resulted in exhaust being completed clogged and finally catastrophic failure. Goes to show the fragility of technology in modern cars.
We completed approximately 5000 kilometers of total 7800 kilometers planned, we completed all the tourist attractions that we intended to visit. The return journey had to be abandoned and we had to fly back.
As we speak the car is still being repaired since some parts had to be imported from Germany.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Day 14 -- Fly back to Bengaluru

Leh airport is tricky, there are too many security checks and it is a very small airport compared to the crowd that it sees. The best approach is to reach very early.
We had an 11:20 AM flight, we reached the airport at 9:30 AM. You have to start undergoing security checks before you enter the main gate.
The flight took off in time, we reached Delhi at 12:50 PM.
The flight to Bengaluru took off at 2:50 PM and landed at 5:50 PM.

Day 12 -- Pangong Tso Manali, Death of the car, Trip Abandoned

6:00 AM Left Pangong started towards Manali.
The road to Changla is probably in the worst condition of all roads in this sector.
8:54 AM Reached Chang La. Stopped at the cafe, took some pictures.

Started our descent from Chang La.
10:09 AM We see the diversion from the main, road, you just have to get off the hill. Apparently, the road is being redone and that's why there is this diversion.

As we reached the end of Diversion, we took a wrong turn and ended up on really bad road. We drove for probably a couple of kilometers on this bad road. Suddenly the car lost all the power. On closer examination, we found that a hose that connected to exhaust was completely torn up.

We checked with OBD, we found multiple alerts related Diesel Particulate Filter. After some time the car lost power steering and breaks as well.
11:00 AM We called the vehicle dead, Beemer had died for no apparent reason. We had to sadly pronounce that our trip has to be abandoned. The challenge before us was to get out of this dead-end place where we were stuck. There was no soul on this stretch of the road.
There was no way we were able to take our car to a more public place, I asked my brother to go and find some help.
12:45 PM He found a local pickup guy who very grudgingly, very unhappily helped us tow the vehicle to a more public part of the road.

Meanwhile, we called Road Side Assistance. At this time we realized that we were some 17 kilometers away from the place called Karu. Karu is the place where the road from Manali meets Leh-Pangong road.
The roadside assistance informed that they don't have any tow trucks in Leh, they will get a truck from Manali and that will take 15-16 hours. On further discussion, they told us that they have sent the truck and we should leave the key somewhere accessible and inform the tow truck driver.
Fortunately for us, one of my friends was in Leh, so I requested him to arrange a taxi for us, gave him the location.
4:00 PM The taxi arrived. We parked the car on the roadside and left with the taxi to Leh. The taxi driver told us to leave the key with the Druk Restaurant owner in Karu which is in an easily visible and accessible place for the tow truck to locate.

With our trip abandoned, we had some lunch at the restaurant, left the key with the owner and continued towards Leh.
6:30 PM We finally arrived at Hotel in Leh. We stayed at Hotel Grand Himalaya. Here is our review of the place.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Day 10 -- Leh to Turtuk


The destination for the day was Turtuk Village.
9:00 AM We got delayed because one of our co-traveler fell sick during the night and we waited for the individual to get better before we started. Once things look in control, we started.
Most of the road from Leh to Khardung La top is in good condition. Last 10 kilometers are very bad. This is the place for no heroics. It is a very unforgiving drive.

Landscapes, like most of Leh, remain priceless during this drive.

 One of the hairpins
10:31 AM Reached South Pullu checkpost. You need to write your vehicle number, type of vehicle and phone number on the back of the permit copy and give it to the guy on duty. There are toilets here if you need to use them.

It looks like the pilgrimage for bikers.
Finally, at the K-Top signage, it is almost like Tirupathi temple, you get a split second for the photo and then move on.
Khardung La canteen has this interesting note on Maggi.

In Switzerland in 1863, Julius Micheal Johannes Maggi developed a formula to Bring added taste to meals. This marked the beginning of the Maggi brand and its lines of convenient food products in 1882. The Swiss public welfare society commissioned Maggi to create a vegetable food product that would be quick to prepare and easy to digest to help with the problem of women having less time to prepare meals as more and more worked outside the home.
THe result - Two instant pea soups and an instant bean soup - were a huge success. But the turn of the century, Maggi, and the company was producing not only powdered soups but also bouillion cubes, sauces, and flavoring. Maggi merged with Nestle in 1947. Maggi has been offering high quality and innovative products ever since.
Khardung La top was flooded with vehicles, there were large foreign groups with their large support vehicles with multiple fancy dresses, which they will change into for a photograph at the K-Top signage.
Siachen was first discovered by an Englishman Mr. Henry Starchy in 1848. Extending nearly 75 kilometers in length, it is one of the mightiest glaciers in the subcontinent. Translated, Siachen means 'Land of Roses'. WIld roses being found in abundance along the lower slopes in summers.
The Siachen glacier was first occupied by the armies of India and Pakistan in 1984 and has since stood witness to the grit perseverance and valor of the Indian soldiers, who in complete defiance of the freezing temperatures of minus 70-degree celsius raging blizzards and extreme altitudes of 22000ft. stoically borne the vagaries imposed by nature.

Our salute to the gallant soldiers of the Siachen brigade for whom
Great Courage and Fortitude is the Norm

12:10 PM We finally left the K-Top after spending some time. The road from K-Top is very bad for next 10 kilometers. The progress is very slow.

1:50 PM Reached North Pullu checkpost. Same drill here, give a copy of the permit. There are toilet facilities here. There is a small food place as well. We did not stop here.
At this time we were extremely hungry. The village Khardung looked full of eateries, we stopped at a couple of them, none of them seemed interested in serving any food. So we continued from there and decided to find food somewhere else.

3:25 PM We found this place called River Side Resorts and Rafting, they had a basic buffet lunch service and the food was reasonably good. The place was also decent. It is a good place to stop for lunch etc.

4:44 PM Topped up the fuel at the Diskit petrol bunk. In the whole of this region, this is the only proper petrol bunk.
We continue our journey towards Turtuk. As evening sets in, the landscape turns more interesting.
6:18 PM We reach a bridge after which the route is totally off on google maps. Google says that you have to go on left bank of river while you have to cross over and go to the right bank of the river.
6:30 PM We cross the another checkpost, same old drill of giving the copy of permit. The guy here took out a small paper piece, wrote and number and told me to tell that number back when I return.
7:05 PM Crossed final checkpost where I was asked copy of permit.

7:35 PM Finally reached Turtuk and found Turtuk Holiday Camp where we stayed. The weather was extremely pleasent. We enjoyed our drive to this place but because of that we reached really late.

Here is A trivia about Turtuk. Turtuk was under Pakistan's control until 1971, after which India gained control of this strategic area. It is predominantly a Muslim village, and residents speak languages including Balti, Ladakhi, and Urdu. Turtuk is the last outpost in India after which the Pakistan-controlled Gilgit-Baltistan begins.

Day 8 -- Kargil to Leh

6:00AM We started from the hotel, the idea was to reach Leh as soon as possible. We were little worried because since last night all data networks had died.

This sector probably has most picturesque landscapes as you are driving around. The trick is to slow down, not rush and enjoy.

Kargil Town

9:20 AM We crossed Futula, which is the highest pass on Kargil Leh sector. Although it is a modest 13479 feet.
Highest pass on Kargil Leh Sector
There are monasteries and other building which just look amazing. One wonders, "How did they build it there?".
Feels right out of LoTR

12:10 PM We reached Magnetic Hill. There is a cafe here where one can have Pizza, Sandwiches, Pasta and other stuff. It is a great respite from Maggi only eatries around this place. Once can take a ride on Quad bikes also there.

1:40 PM We reached Leh, there was no data network anywhere in town since we had not booked any hotel in advance, it was a challenge to find a place to stay. After driving around for a while and making some calls, we found out Hotel Shangri-La on old Leh road.