Day6 Rangdum to Kargil 1st June 130 Kms
To read this travelogue from begining click HERE
Yesterday was very significant.Finally I parked my scooter at Penji La and near Drang Drung glacier.I was filled with a sense of satisfaction.Yesterday was day of fatigue,fear and snowfall.
Today,when I woke up at 4.30 AM and came outside of my room and found deposits of mild snowfall on the ground.It was very cold outside.Fingers were numb but my photographic thirst compelled me to take out gloves and and shoot the serene Rangdum valley surrounded by tall snow covered mountain.
I was the only one awake in the village at that time.Sun was still behind the hills and was rising slowly and I was expecting some good morning shots like my last earlier trip when I captured some reflection shots here in Rangdum.But this year pond has shrunk to a very small size and a layer of ice had rendered the water surface opaque resulting in a lost opportunity of having some reflection shots.
You all must have remembered mention of power loss in my scooter when I was at Penji La yesterday.I discussed this problem with GH lady and she asked her husband( a car mechanic at Leh) to inspect the scooter.He opened the scooter cover and cleaned the carb and assured me scooter is fine now.I also purchased some 4 STROKE engine oil from dhaba owner as he owns a bike.
When scooter repair was going on,some lama students from nearby houses came and start asking lots of questions.I patiently satisfied all their queries.They were happy go kids studying in Rangdum gompa.The JK Guest House lady was also a teacher at gompa and his mechanic husband was responsible for ferrying students to school and back to home.
They had an Ecco van for this purpose.Each summer,mechanic returnes to Rangdum for working as a school driver.Rangdum gompa school is functional only in summer months.In winter months,he returned back to Leh to his car mechanic job.
All this scooter job delayed me and I could only start my return ride only after 8.30 AM.After paying 100 rs to mechanic and thanking everyone I started my ride back to Kargil.But within few minutes,I felt the same power loss in scooter.So I decided to drive very slowly and gently so I could reach Kargil without any breakdown.Kept rididing and after a six hours of slow ride reached Kargil and straightway went to Niyaz automobiles(near DZozila hotel) to get the scooter checked and repaired.Two mechanic took over my scooter and found a almost worn out acclerrator wire(just one shred was holding it).They also oil washed air filter.Meanwhile shop owner Niyaz and I had a long conversation and Niyaz told me he,along with family migrated to Delhi during winter months as life during winter is a very hard here in Kargil.One needs at least 30 quintal of firewood for cooking and to keep house warm.No gas cylinder.Meat sold at 500 rs per kg etc.If any emergency occurs,only option is to fly out but flight are always full.Govt has a small airstrip at Kargil and provide subsidized air tickets to local residents.Meanwhile Niyaz ordered tea for me and entire staff and we kept talking on various topics.It was a very meaningful interaction.Mechanical job lasted 3 hours and because of this I had to stay at Kargil instead of Mulbek.
I tried JK Tourism Bungalow but all the rooms were pre booked.The caretaker directed me towards Paradise Guesthouse on hospital road,opposite Govt Hospital.I rented a room for 400 bucks.There was also a shopping complex under Guest house.I found a small chai shop cum dhaba inside this complex run by a Dehradun man.His chai shop is locally know as “UP Hotel” in Kargil.It is perfect place for having veg food at very cheap price.He charged me just 30 rs for Subji-Roti.
The owner,Dehradun guy used to work as a truck driver in his youth and drove his truck all the remote locations of Ladakh.Once he delivered army ammunition at Chalunka post near Turtuk.This post is know as CP POST.He also told me Indian army was greatly assisted by local Turtuk villagers during 1971 war and helped recaptured Turtuk from enemy.Locals helped Army jawans in finding shortest way,making foods for them and carrying their heavy ammunitions and other war related material.It was because of this help form villagers that our army could regain a portion of our lost land.
After this conversation,I call it a day and returned to my room