A Trip To Heaven - Ladakh in 2007

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Vargis Khan, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    I wanted to take a few pics with my bikes slightly in the water. Riding the heavy enfield in the sand and bringing it to the water was an ordeal in itself but our real ordeal started when we were done taking pictures, when we had to take it out of the water.I started the bike and as soon as I accelerated, the sand under the tires gave in and my bike was 1/3 in the water. I knew I will have to take it out as soon as possible else the water might go in the exhaust pipe. Luckily, because we have already taken a dip, water wasn?t feeling so cold anymore. We stepped in the water again and had to lift our bike up to get it out of the water.


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  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We started on our way back to Chang La. For a moment, thought of spending another day at Pangong and attempt climbing Marismak La. But because we had to reach back Delhi and get back at work, we decided to leave that for our next trip and kept going on. We stopped at the Pangong souvenir shop and bought a couple of T-Shirts and 2 mugs, with ?Panong Tso ? I was there? written on them. Next to the souvenir shop, I noticed an Army Post and some boats. We decided to check out and upon reaching there , we got to know that boating is allowed but only for Army Personnels and their guests, that too only for the army guys deployed at Panong post. My entire family has served in defence services and my father is still a part of the Indian Army. So I decided to give it a shot and tried to talk our way in getting a boat ride. After talking and waiting for more than an hour, they agreed. I had to talk about my entire family, who my father was, where he was posted, what unit he was serving in but the patience was worth it. Soon we were sitting on a motor boat, cruising in Pangong and the feeling was out of the world.



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  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Sir Shoyab wondering "Ye kya museebat daal di gale mein?" (What the hell is this thing?)



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    After boating for some time, we thanked the Army guys and started on our way back to Chang La. Once there, we again stopped for a cup of complimentary tea and by 3 PM we were back in Leh. This was our last day in Leh so we decided to go shopping. We couldn't find much that we could buy but still bought a few items for friends and family.
     
  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 10 & 11- Leh To Somewhere To Leh

    We got up late in the morning again. This was going to be our last day in Leh with one more place left to visit on our way back, Tso Moriri. We packed up our bags, checked out of the hotel and by 10 am, were riding towards Upshi from where we were to take a turn towards Hamya rather than riding up to Tanglang La. Once at Upshi, we stopped to eat something and then turned towards Hamya and kept riding by the side of Indus River.
    Road after Upshi was again a mix. Somewhere super smooth and somewhere a night mare. By 1 pm we have reached Hamya and it was time for lunch.
    At Hamya, we talked to a local while we were eating and he told us that we can take a turn on a dirt track towards Kare and it leads directly to Polo Kongka La, another high altitude pass from where the track again descends down straight to Tso Moriri. He said that this track is used by trekkers but is wide enough even for a truck to pass and that way we don?t have to travel all the way from Skidmang and Chumathang which will save us almost half the time. He sounded so convincing that we believed him and decided to take the way he suggested.
    I found the track that the guy suggested (or at least I thought I did) as soon we left Hamya behind. It was a trail wide enough for a car but in a very bad shape. It was already 3 PM and when we started on the trail so this trail seemed to be the only way to reach Tso Moriri before dark.
    After riding for about 50 kms, the trail started to ascend and I figured that it must be going towards Polo Kongka La. Because there was no road and we couldn?t ride at more than 20-25 kms / hr, it was already 5 pm and then the disaster struck.
    My bike suddenly came to a halt. Though the engine was running, the bike refused to move even an inch. The gear was stuck in 3rd and no matter how hard I tried, I could not change it. While we were still trying to change gears, disaster struck for a 2nd time and the clutch wire came off. So now we were standing in middle of nowhere with clutch wire gone, bike stuck in 3rd gear and sun setting down fast. When nothing else seemed to work, we decided to push start the bike. Rear tire seemed to be completely jammed and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn?t move it. At last after trying for 2 hrs, we gave up and sat down, waiting for someone to pass by. It was already starting to get dark and we knew that Hamya was 50 kms behind so one of us walking back in dark was out of question. I have already started to get a feeling that we were going to spend that night out in the open so we gathered whatever we could find around us to burn.
    As soon as the sun went down, the temperature started to fall at an amazing speed. We lit up the fire but we knew that it wont last for long because we didn?t have much to burn. Luckily, we bought a bottle of water to drink at Hamya but it was so cold that I started to cough as soon as I tried to gulp it down. We took out the mugs that we bought at Pangong and had to heat up the water a little for us to be able to drink it. After the water was a little warm, we started to sip it down like we were drinking tea. Soon the fire burned out and we were left sitting out in the wild and only sound around us was of wind. When the cold got unbearable, we started to take clothes out of the bag and put on as many as we could. This is a picture of that night. A small light on the exreme right is from Shoyab's cellphone and this was the only light that we spent our night on.



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    None of us slept that night for a single second. Even in the morning, we had no idea about what we were going to do. Luckily right after the sun came up, we saw a couple of army trucks coming towards us. They were coming from Polo Kongka La and were going to Karu. We loaded our bike in the truck and reached Karu. There is no Mechanic in Karu so we had to load the bike in an Auto there and take it to Leh.

    Once in Leh, we realised that it was a sunday and not even a single Mechanic shop was open. Left with no option but to get the bike fixed next day, we checked back into the same hotel that we have checked out of yesterday. Hotel manager was surprised to see us again and even more surprised when we told him what happened.
     
  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 12 - Leh To Drass

    After getting my bike fixed, we checked out of the same hotel for a 2nd time and started on our way back. Our permit for Tso Moriri was not valid any longer so we decided to take the Leh-Srinagar route. Ar around 11 am, we were all set and started our ride back home.



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  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Leh-Srinagar was initially way better than I could have ever imagined but good things don't last long. As we moved further towards Kargil, road turned so bad that I started to curse myself for coming this way.

    Landscapes started to transform from desert to lush green hills as we started to get closer to Kargil.



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  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We were both almost out of cash when we reached Kargil. ATMs back in Leh were not working so we decided to withdraw cash in Kargil but to our disappointment, we couldn?t find a single working ATM in Kargil as well. With a few hundreds in pocket, we moved further towards Drass Town of Kargil.



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    By the time we reached Drass, it was already dark. We tried to find an ATM in Drass but there wasn?t any. So we had no option but to continue towards Srinagar the next day and withdraw cash there.
     
  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 13 - Drass To Srinagar

    We started early morning towards Srinagar. Soon we were getting close to Sonmarg. Here the hills are completely green and all that we could do was to click pictures.



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  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Once in Sonmarg, we decided to eat something and had the best meal of our trip yet. We ate way more than our hunger, just because the food was so tasty. With our bellies full, we started on our way towards Srinagar. From here, there wasn?t much to do except for travelling and clicking pictures every once in a whie. By 4 pm, we were both standing in Srinagar, next to Dal Lake. We both wanted to stay in houseboat and after talking to a couple of guys, found one at a reasonable price.


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  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Inside the Houseboat


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