Day 15-20 Tangaste-Pangong-Tangaste-Pang-Jispa-Bhuntar-Delhi

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 On 25 th Sep,we had crash landed in a Tangaste guest house after very adventurous Agam-Shyok section.Lady owner of Guest house was courteous and had a very comfortable arrangement.Today on 26th Sep,Pangong was just 40 kms and we were armed with Marsimik La permit.After clearing the bill at Guest House ,it was time for heading towards world famous Pangong Tso lake which starts at Lukung village and ends at Khasket village before entering into Tibet.We Reached Lukung around 11 am and instead of going to Pangong I turned towards left,towards Phobrang village to reach ITBP check post to go to M-La.We went to the post and presented our permit to Jawans posted and they allowed us to go further without our camera.That camera ban was a shocker for me and after requesting them for some time I returned from the post after abandoning my ambitious Marsimik La ride plan.We came back to Pangong lake and found a very bright sunny crisp weather and water of Pangong was shining like a crystal lake and each hue of blue was there.It was an amazing sight to see Pangong in such colourful avatar,first time for me.We spent few hours at Lake.While we were spending time at lake,we bumped into the Gypsy guys again.They had just returned from Marsimik La and after listening our failed Marsimik story they told us that they had carried many cameras hidden inside their Gypsy and had we climbed up towards Marsimik La we would have bumped into each other at M-La.

Anyhow,we chatted for some time and gypsy guys went towards Chushul.Spent few hours at lake,had lunch in one of dhabas there,chatted with others travelers for sometime and around evening we also returned back to Tangaste for night stay in the same guest house where we had stayed yesterday.

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Day 14 -Leh-Khardung La-Agam-Shyok-Tangaste

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Day 14-Leh-Ktop-Khardung-Khalsar-Agam-Shyok-DurbukTangaste
Day 4 was the most eventful day.We started early in the morning from our Guest House at Changspa road.Idea was to cross Khardung la pass early and reach Agam-Shyokas early possible.As soon as we lef Leh city, Doc Victor’s bike developed some pick up issue and refused to go uphill.We try to fix the issue but in vain.Doc saab asked us to proceed further without him as he did not want to abort our ride because of his bike.Unwillingly,reluctantly we resumed our ride towards Ktop while Doc returned to Leh to fix the bike.Road to Ktop was as usual mixed type.Intitail condition was good and worsen as we neared the pass.Few kilometers before pass,weather god got angry and snowfall started and temperature dropped resulting reduced visibility and numbness in fingers…I just hate this snowfall…It makes life so painful and unbearable for a rider.Last year too,same snowfall made my life pathetic.

We arrived on Ktop and thin layer of white snow sheet welcomed us.Winds were also fast and it was blizzard like situation on the K top.But Jassi was ecsatatic.After all he was at his dream place.He wanted to click many photos,wanted to buy some stuff from army shop.I advised him to complete his shopping ASAP.He parked his bike and gave his bike keys and went inside the shop.I waited him outside for few minutes and in cold and blizzard but he did not came out.I knew that a prolonged stay on this eighteen thousanders can make us AMS sick.I went inside again to remind him and found him talking to fauji.I asked him to finish his shopping and start the bike and came outside.Again,he did not come out so to save myself from AMS,i started my scooter and rode down towards Nubra.Again road was complete pathetic and bumpy ride made my neck,butt and spine painful. IMG_5512 Continue reading

Day 13-Lamayuru to Leh

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Day 13 Lamayuru-Nimmu-Leh 24th Sep 2014
Home stay at Lamayuru was a memorable stay.It had a lovely garden in the middle courtyard with lots of flowers and apple tree.No restriction on apple plucking and trees were laden with small size apple variety.We had already settled our bill previous night after dinner so that we could move out early without bothering our host family.Within minutes of moving ahead,famous Moonland forced us to stop and do some random photography.
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Day 12-Sankoo-Kargil-Lamayuru

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Day 12-23th Sep 2014
Sankoo-Kargil-Namik La-Fotu La-Khaltse-Lamayuru

We had reached at Sankoo JK Guest house around 8 pm in the pitch dark after conquering Umba La pass.This GH has two general rooms one VIP room and one dingy dormitory in the basement.General rooms were occupied by two tourist family from MH and caretaker refused to let out VIP room for us.So it was dorm,where we would spend our night.No problem.But there is another issue,no food in the GH.Shops are also closed in Sankoo market but we were somehow able to fetch some biscuits packets  and Maggie form an open shop.Our day had been very long and tiring so sleep was badly needed.My bed in the dorm was making a creaking sound but i was able to have a good sleep.

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Day 11-Sonmarg-Zozila-Umba La-Sankoo

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Previous day we had reached at Sonmarg after a comfortable ride of just 100 kms from Srinagar.Stay here at Sonmarg was awesome minus any crowd,place was very lonely entire Sonmarg was ours.
I had already planned for a very early start today.Zozila was just stone throw distance.No traffic regulation,no long line of trucks and tourist Taxis.Entire NH was empty,it was all ours.No one to stop us,no monster truck to scare us.But it was cold at morning.Normal phenomena at this place.Hotel owner served us much required Tea to recharge my battery.Bill was settled,greeting exchanged with hotel staffs and we vroomed towards Zozila,the pass that separates Kashmir from Ladakh.The Pass that is feared by everyone,the fragile pass,the volatile pass.But today it behaved nicely to us.Zozila was very silence,it was at peace as there was no one to disturb him.It was sleeping peacefully like an infant.Zozila let us pass without any problem.

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Day 10 -Back to Srinagar -Sonmarg

Phase II of My 2014 Ladakh Scooter Ride after flood receded

To read this log form begining click HERE

Once back home from flood hit Kashmir,I never knew i would be reviving my ride plan ,but a phone call changed all.Jassi called me after few days and lamented that he can not bear the feeling of a failed ride and wanna complete his ride at any cost.He asked me about my willingness to again ride to Ladakh.Me,being a complusive person,said YES.Jassi reached on an Orgasm hearing my affirmative response.Next task was to ask Doc for his response….Surprised,he was also dying to complete his maiden ride.

I talked to Jagjit paaji at Srinagar for road status.He said roads are open and water has receded from most of Srinagar and Srinagar-Sonmarg section is open for vehicles.

Jagjit paaji is a resident of Srinagar and he runs a tented tourist resort  Aru Eco Resort,Pahalgaam,JK

I booked three tickets and we again landed at Srinagar on 21st September,retrieve our bikes after giving a Royal Challenge whiskey bottels to hotel manager who had requested us to bring booze for him as Srinagr was completely dry.We gifted him a bottle.He was a happy man seeing a bottle and swiftly hid the bottle to enjoy it alone.

I called up Jagjit ji after our arrival at Srinagar.He invited us to his home and hosted us at his beautiful home with hot tasty Parantahs prepared by his wife.He also packed some paranthas for en route lunch.Jagjit paaji run a tented colony for tourist at Aru near Pahalgaam.His business was also affected due to flood.Doc’s bike had some problem,Jagjit ji took us to old interior Srinagar city for Bullet mechanic and and spent half day with us.Bullet was repaired by a old age mechanic from Meerut who turned out to be an aquaintance of Jassi’s father.The mechanic in fact learnt the mechnicgiri at his Fufaji shop back in 1970.What a co-incidence.

Half day was devoted to Bullet problem and we could only start around 1 pm for Sonmarg.Road was dry and normal condition…no effect of rain was there at Gahnderbal,Kangan,Gagangir etc between Srinagar-Sonmarg.Life was smooth there.Stopped for a tea at Gagangir and Jagjit paaji’s Paranthas were again awesome at this place.Each of us very happy to know that finally we were riding towards Sonmarg,towards Zozila ,towards Ladakh after so much events.Srinagar was finally left behind.We were going to Ladakh,at last.

Sonmarg arrived,deserted Sonmarg….

No ponnies,no hustle bustle,no horse shit,no kabab seler,parking lots empty,hotels shut,no snow at peaks.Desolate Sonmarg.Suddenly a man waved us from inside his hotel…thank god,a hotel is open.I turned my scooter towards him and parked inside his hotel.He offered us room at his property.We bargained a bit and instantly liked the room made of wood.Room was spacious.Toilet had running water..hot water…..He also agreed to serve Chicken at night…Good place to stay.

It was around 5 PM when we checked-in Sonmarg.It was a relaxed day of only 100 kms of riding and cozy place to stay and Sonmarg beauty to enjoy over a cup of tea sipping in the lawn of our hotel.Towering peaks of nearby hills were touching distance.What a day it had been.We discussed many topics with hotel owner and he was lamenting the flood related problem which had killed his business this year.A very bad year for Hospitality sector in Kashmir this year.He told that they would be shutting their hotel in next coming week due to no tourist.Night falls,dinner served and relished in dining hall of hotel.It was time for some night photography,some star photography….I order three cup of tea which was served right at the main road of Sonmarg where we were doing our night photography.Just loved this setting…Sonmarg like place,camera mounted on tripod,no crowd,lovely friends and above all a cup of tea served right on the traffic free road.
Route-Delhi Airport-Srinagar Airport-Dal Lake-Ganderbal-Kangan-Gagangir-Sonmarg
Distance=Delhi-Srinagr 2 hours by flight
Srinagar-Sonmarg=90 kms by road

 

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Day 3&9 Udhampur-Banhial-Srinagar

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3rd Day 2nd September 2014. The day of No Mercy by Rain God.

Have you noticed the irony in this tale??
I mean,I choose September expecting it to be silent and stable month weather wise.And opposite is happening.Rain has been chasing me since first day like an enemy.It is like I am being hunted with a pre planned strategy.

तो भाई लोगों तीसरे दिन की शुरुआत भी बारिश में करनी पड़ी

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Day 1-2 Delhi-Hoshiarpur-Udhampur

Before I begin,let me go back to my June 2013 Scooter ride to Ladakh with my freinds.I covered K-top,Nubra,Pangong,Chushul,Hanle but due to bad weather ,I could not fulfill my dream of riding on elusive Umba La road neither i could cross Agam-Shyok road because of a violent Shyok river in the month of June. For those who are not aware,Umba La starts at Drass and bypasses Kargil and directly take you to Sankoo in Suru valley. Agam-Shyok route is a direct route to Pangong from Nubra bypassing Khardung La,Leh and Chang La.It is shorter too and save one day,save lots of Fuel too. I could not rode on these above elusive and adventerous route in June 2013 and to add to injury a very cold weather and overcast sky dealt a heavy blow to my photography and my camera slept in the bag suffocating itself for most part of the ride. During those frustrating moments I soliloquize,”I dont come to Ladakh everyday.It is a tough terrain,land of gushing rivers,torrents,broken roads,inaccessible high mountain passes,thin oxygen,a food nightmares,its air burns your skin.Even after going through so much extreme elements,I could not fulfill my dream of adventure and photography.If June month is so much volatile,I must come here in September next year,the month which is considered silent and stable weather wise.” In June 2103 ride,I suffered all these painful Ladakhi phenomena and my frustrated soul took an Oath- “””Next time,I will come here only in September””” I honoured my oath and embarked on yet another scooter ride to Ladakh on 31st August 2014 from my home in Dwarka expecting fine weather with clear sky but- Man Proposes and God Disposes. Fate had some other surprises for me.As soon as I crossed Delhi border on NH 1 sky opened up and began showing its ugly face.It was again H2O coming down in abundance.Absence of any rain gear forced me to seek refuge in a roadside Tea shack.Meanwhile,my riding partner friend Jaspreet Kohli FROM Meerut joined me.Few hours in waiting but no sighn of rain to stop.We decided to resume our ride in rain after securing our camera gears wrapped in multiple layers of plastic covers and tarapaulins. We managed to leave behind the wet area and plesantly found Khara-Banur-Ropar highway dry and minus rain.Devoid of any kind of wetness.Took a prolonged break at Shambhu Toll barrier with fresh fruit juice and relaxed for some time.Our first day target was to reach Pathankot but many hours were sacrificed before rain God and we could only managed till Hoshiarpur where our Doc saab Victor were already waiting at his college friend’s home.All of us three united at Hoshiarpur and straightway headed for a non-veg dhaba which can allow us to drink beer. Sada Punjab has no dearth of such places and we found a dhaba and wine shop side by side.Few glasses of beer gulped down and we all switched to travelling mode and forget fatigue of day long ride.Lol…. While we were relishing our Beers and Tikkas in dhaba,Dr Victor phone rang and his friend forced us to stay at his house for the night.We had a very homely sound sleep at his big spacious cozy home.The generous host was Dr Chaitnya and his family. Second Day on 1st Sep 2014.Breakfast of butter toasts and stuffed paranthas at Chaitnya’s home discussion about our future riding plans were discussed.But outside,itis little sombre with mild rain.With a heavy heart,second day ride was also started in rain.For many kilometers,rain caused us a suffocating slow pace and nightmarish Jammu-Srinagar highway doubled the agony.We could only reach till Udhampur and settled in Singh Palace for night stay.800 RS for an AC room.After dumping luggage in the room it was Time for hunt for Beer and but all the shops were closed.Someone suggested us to try a Bar nearby as Bar opened for little late.We reached there at nick of the time.Bartender was closing the Bar but he entertained us and gave us 4 bottles of badly needed Beers which were emptied in our Hotel room gossiping and cursing the rain.Later around 11 pm we had a dinner at small hotel in Udhampur market.Day had been slow and painful but we all managed to have a good time at the end of the day and slept peacefully expecting for a better day tomorrow.
Route=Delhi-Ambala-Kharar-Ropar-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya-Pathankot-Samba-Lakhanpur-Udhampur
Distance=640 kms approx

 

 En route Hoshiarpur

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