Leh - Ladakh Road Trip in Mahindra Scorpio


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Ladakh, also called the land of high passes is a dream destination for any passionate driver/rider. It takes months to prepare yourself physically and mentally, sketch out the maps, find a suitable partner and be prepared to expect the unexpected, in its true sense. This is my story..

First talks and plans for Ladakh

After our new year trip to Goa this year, asked my wife, if she was interested, to go to Leh. She was excited but she dint know, I was talking about, going by car.

The reason for getting this idea was, I drove continuously for 17 hours (that's without sleep and not a break). I knew I could have driven a lot longer, if we had not reached Bangalore. It was a desire to drive more and I wanted to know, how much I can drive, without sleeping. So, did I find my answer? Oh Yeah!

Planning Stage

After finding out some information, I had decided, this year, it will be Leh. In April, revealed my plans to her and she seemed to have liked the idea but did not sound confident enough, worrying about our safety.

In an effort to convince her and to get more information, started reading travelogues and to my surprise, there were a lot of them and one of them, done by a couple in a Hyundai Getz, from Bangalore.

Over a period of two months, my complete itinerary was ready and made my wife read some of the t'logs, which increased her confidence. I had asked few of my friends by now, but nobody showed any interest. So, I knew it was only we two.

Since, I had not taken any leaves, made her not to take any leaves as well. However, in June, she had to switch jobs and almost made me cancel the trip.

Decision making and Final outcome

In July, I asked her, if I could do this alone. The only assurance she wanted was my safety and she dint seem to have a problem.

During the course of preparation, there were some personal problems at home and took me a while to settle things. Finally, by August, I decided upon the dates and my leaves were approved for 15 days + 6 weekly off's. So, in all, I had 21 days and if required another 3 more days.

How a non-auto enthusiast joined me for this trip

As I started preparing for the trip, there were a few things I could not find and one of them was a Jerry can. I asked quite a few people and none of them knew about it. I asked my neighbour, who I know for more than 3 years and very close to him, if he knew, where I can find one. Little did I know, my quest to find a Jerry can, would lead him, to join me in this expedition.

After listening to my plans and when I told him, I'm going alone, he showed immense interest in travelling with me. I found it hard to say no, however, fearing his health and family, had to say no for the first time.

His repeated request and his attempt to convince me that he was physically fit, showed me his trekking pictures and said he has some experience in travelling. Also, since he works in Central Government, leaves were not an issue. He dint give me a choice than to agree.

However, I gave a list of instructions, that I made him to agree. I know some of them were shrewd but this was the only way I can have the control and not let him instruct me, as he is almost my father's age.

1. Since I was driving completely, I dint want him to keep passing comments (read back driving). Well, he did the opposite.
2. No frequent stops for tea
3. Stay back and sleep in the car, when required.
4. Agree to what I plan and do it the way, I want it to be done.
5. If he falls ill, take a flight back to Bangalore.
6. Finally, not to let our relationship affect, if I happen to tell him to do something.

So, did all of these really happen? Well, what's an expedition, if everything goes according to the plan.
 
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Re: Leh - Ladakh

Congrats avindu for your adventures trip to Leh.[clap]

I too have some idea about Leh trip, but i dont know when it will happen[confused], sure, one day i'll do it.

your story is interesting, continue your writing & post more pics.

your Black Scorpio looks "COOL" in White snow.
 
Thread Starter #3
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Leh - Ladakh

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Preparing my Scorp.

During the course of preparing for the trip, the most important thing I had to do was, get my Scorp perform to its best. I'm very particular about maintaining my beast, so had to give him the best I could find. Following are the list of things added/replaced.

1. Anti-rust coating for the chassis from 3M - Rs. 3500/-
2. Paint protection from Ultimate Detailerz - Rs. 4000/-
3. New set of Bridgestone Duelers - Rs. 7100/- (per tyre).
4. Replaced Battery - Exide : Rs. 4350/-
5. Serviced two weeks before the trip :
a. Engine Oil, Air Filter and Fuel filter replaced
b. Front Brake pads checked and cleaned
c. Replaced rear Brake liners
d. Replaced Link Rod Bushes
e. Checked Fan belts
f. Replaced head lights
g. Carried 1 ltr Extra Engine oil, Coolant and Air Filter.
Total cost : 12K

Apart from this, following are the things carried.

1. Power inverter - Rs. 850/-
2. Cell Phone Charger - Rs. 150/-
3. Tow rope - Rs. 650/-
4. Foot Pump - Rs. 250/-
5. Puncture kit - Rs. 300/-
6. Additional head lights - Rs. 200/-
7. Jerry Cans - 2*35ltrs - Rs. 150/- each
8. Spanner, Screw drivers, Allen key (had it at home)


Thursday, 8th September.

After, my mom's trade mark pooja, we set out on our journey towards the roof of the world.

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Bags packed and all set to go.

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I wanted to reach Ahmedabad, as that was around 1500 Kms and planned it for 25 hours. Also, the ideal situation to fulfill my desire to drive, as much as I can.

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Left Bangalore at 3:35 PM.

I have done NH4 twice before and it is a bliss to drive in the night. I prefer driving in the night as there is less traffic and also, since I wanted to drive continuously, I planned to leave in the afternoon, so I can drive through the night and have about 12 more hours, during the day time, to cover the maximum I can.

Friday, 9th September.

Reached, Mumbai around 7 in the morning and reached Ghodbandar around 8:30. G'bandar is the junction from where the NH8 starts, towards Surat.

From G'bandar, the road is not that great for nearly 30 to 40 Kms, till the 6-lane starts. There was a lot of traffic and way too many lorries. The lorries dont stick to their lanes and after crossing Surat, there was a massive traffic jam.

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There was a lane only for cars and I had to struggle to get to it. After about 90 odd minutes, crossed Surat. Though its a 6-lane road, the lorries make it a nightmare to drive. The Vadodara-Ahmedabad is by far the best road I have driven.

Reached Ahmedabad around 6 P.M and thought of driving even further. Drove for another 150 odd kms and stopped at a dhaba for dinner and slept in the car.

Route :

Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Chitradurga -> Hubli -> Belgaum -> Pune -> Thane -> Ghodbunder -> Surat -> Vadodara -> Ahmedabad -> Stopped at a Dhaba, on the way to Udaipur.

Highway :

1. NH4 till Pune.
2. Pune - Mumbai Expressway
3. Road towards Thane and then towards Ghodbunder
4. NH8 from Ghodbunder to Surat and Vadodara
5. Vadodara - Ahmedabad Expressway
6. NH8 to Udaipur

Distance :

1669 Kms

Number of hours :

29 hours

Yes, I finally found myself the answer to the number of hours I can drive, without sleep and fulfilled my long awaited quest.

Mileage

15.2 (Was constantly driving at 90)


Saturday, 10th September.

After resting for 4 hours, left the Dhaba at 2 A.M towards Udaipur. Reached Udaipur around 5 and headed towards Kishangarh, which was around 300 Kms.

Reached H'garh around 9 PM. We found a lodge to rest for the night and planned to drive to Jammu, the following day.

Route :

Kishangarh -> Makrana -> Ratangarh -> Rawatsar -> Hanumangarh

Distance :

400 Kms
 
Thread Starter #4
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Re: Leh - Ladakh

Congrats avindu for your adventures trip to Leh.[clap]

I too have some idea about Leh trip, but i dont know when it will happen[confused], sure, one day i'll do it.

your story is interesting, continue your writing & post more pics.

your Black Scorpio looks "COOL" in White snow.
Thanks AppU. I'll share all the information that I had gathered and hopefully, this might help you in planning in your trip.
 
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Leh - Ladakh

Sunday, 11th September

After a good amount of sleep, left H'garh around 6:30 AM and reached Amritsar at 11:30.

Route :

H'garh -> Abohar -> Sri Muktsar Sahib -> Faridkot -> Amritsar

Highway :

NH15

Distance :

300 Kms

Golden Temple

Also called as The Harmandir Sahib, means Temple of God. The main intention was to have a common place to worship God by different religions and worship God equally.

There was a massive crowd and we were unable to go inside the temple. It was very well maintained and there were plenty of volunteers offering their services that day, like free water, free turban's and free shoe counter.

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Jallianwala Bagh Memorial

A peaceful protest turned into hell, when Dyer opened fire without any sought of warning and killed thousands of people. People jumped into a well, without having to be killed by the troops. It hurts a lot to see all these and does bring a tear to your eye.

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I had to ask for directions to Pathankot from Amritsar and I pronounced P'kot the way it is. When I asked a few guys, they gave me a look, as though, that place dint even exist and I dint realize, what I was doing wrong. Finally, at a fuel station, the guy said 'Pathaaankot', with the syllable stress.

Well, I have actually been making mistakes all the way. For example : Hanumangarh is pronouced Hanumangad. No wonder people gave me such perplexed looks, when I asked for directions.

Well, I thought I had learnt my lesson, but not quite.

It was around 90 odd kms and the road is pathetic. It is a 2-lane road with buses doing a drag race (Kerala style). Just after Sujanpur, there was a massive traffic jam. After inching forward, saw the first signs of J&K.

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I dont remember seeing such a beautiful sunset in the entire trip.

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The road to Jammu was a 4-lane, however people cross roads at their own wish and worst were cows, sitting in the middle of the road. As it was getting dark, I was getting stressed, trying to focus more on the roads.

So, got this idea of taking a short-cut to Udhampur, which made the situation even worst.

Took a right to Udhampur, at Samba and immediately realized, it was a blunder. Hardly 10 kms into the drive and vehicles were stuck because water broke loose somewhere and a small stream, had now become like a river crossing. I dont have any pics of these as uncle had dozed off and I dint have the patience to take the camera out.

Finally, at 11 PM reached Udhampur and checked into a hotel.

Route :

Amritsar -> Pathankot -> Lakhenpur -> Samba -> Udhampur

Distance :

230

Total Distance for the day :

Hanumangarh -> Amritsar -> Udhampur : 530 Kms

Will soon continue with the rest of the story.
 
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Re: Leh - Ladakh



I had to ask for directions to Pathankot from Amritsar and I pronounced P'kot the way it is. When I asked a few guys, they gave me a look, as though, that place dint even exist and I dint realize, what I was doing wrong. Finally, at a fuel station, the guy said 'Pathaaankot', with the syllable stress.

Well, I have actually been making mistakes all the way. For example : Hanumangarh is pronouced Hanumangad. No wonder people gave me such perplexed looks, when I asked for directions.

Asking route in other states are always funny. even they doesn't know also they direct us to some route. [lol]I faced some situations like that.



how was the climate there? what was the mileage of your scorpio ?
 
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Re: Leh - Ladakh

Congrats Avindu on your successful trip to Leh-Ladakh, on Hawk.

The urge to drive more can't be controlled once you drive.
I loved the 1st pic in particular.

Great going that you drove continuously.

I would like to know how the hawk behaved in Leh in those Ice, please share more of your experiences.

Rating this thread from my end.
 
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Wow you have made this trip , congratulations! Eagerly waiting for the rest of the story. First picture is amazing!
 
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avindu Thanks a lot for sharing this. You made my day. [:)]
Leh is always dream destination for many of us and also go their in own ride is passion.

I liked all the snaps but yes first one is best.
Good to know that your beast proved it-self.

I am amazed to see that you can manage such long drives continuously.You are a very good driver! [thumbsup]
Do post many pics we all are here to compliment those.
 
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wow mate first of all big congrats[clap] for having done the mother of all drives.good snaps too. precise directons for any future voyagers.kudos [thumbsup]to your neighbours enthusiasm in going for this epic journey at this age. eagerly waiting for the rest of the travelogue.
 
Thread Starter #11
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Asking route in other states are always funny. even they doesn't know also they direct us to some route. [lol]I faced some situations like that
Yup, I found it hilarious too.

How was the climate there? what was the mileage of your scorpio ?
Will share the experience about the climate, once I start writing about Leh. I checked the mileage thrice - twice in highways and once in Leh.
Highway - 15.4 and 15.2. In Leh, it must have been around 12 (I could not calculate the exact mileage as I had to fill fuel using jerry cans)

Congrats Avindu on your successful trip to Leh-Ladakh, on Hawk
Thank you Mukesh.

The urge to drive more can't be controlled once you drive.
I loved the 1st pic in particular.

Great going that you drove continuously
Very true. Its a bliss to drive the Scorp.

I would like to know how the hawk behaved in Leh in those Ice, please share more of your experiences
Absolutely no problems, what so ever. Not a touch to the chassis in any of those terrains. He was absolutely fantastic.

Wow you have made this trip , congratulations! Eagerly waiting for the rest of the story. First picture is amazing!
Thanks dhaya. Will share as much as I can today.

avindu Thanks a lot for sharing this. You made my day. [:)]
Leh is always dream destination for many of us and also go their in own ride is passion.

I liked all the snaps but yes first one is best.
Good to know that your beast proved it-self
Thank you surfer. Absolutely true. Leh has been my dream destination for a long time.

I am amazed to see that you can manage such long drives continuously.You are a very good driver! [thumbsup]
Do post many pics we all are here to compliment those.
Credit goes to my Scorp. It is a pleasure to drive. I have a lot of pictures to post. So, need to choose the best and will surely post them soon.


wow mate first of all big congrats[clap] for having done the mother of all drives.good snaps too. precise directons for any future voyagers.kudos [thumbsup]to your neighbours enthusiasm in going for this epic journey at this age. eagerly waiting for the rest of the travelogue.
Thank you smooth rider. Honestly, I would have preferred someone of my kind but he agreed to almost all my plans (some of them were ridiculous as well, but he did agree). Will share that story, as I cover the day by day progress.

Will share all the details, including costs, maps etc, at the end of the t-log.
 
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Monday, 12th September

Left Udhampur around 7 AM and had our breakfast at Batote. Our first taste of Maggi noodles, during this trip.

We heard some gun-firing and uncle asking a cop, what was that all about.

This is the place, the cop corrected me on how to pronounce 'Ladakh'. He said 'Ladaaakh', again with the syllable stress. By now, I really was hoping, not to make a mistake.

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Fresh and cold water.

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Jawahar Tunnel : We were told not to take pics and just keep going. Had to request quite a few times to take just one pic.

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First view of greenery, surrounded by hills.

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Unfortunately, the canteen was closed. I would have loved to have dosa at this view point.

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Reached Srinagar around 1 PM. Had our lunch and headed towards Dal Lake.

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From here on, the views were getting better and better.

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We were heading towards the dreaded Zoji-La pass

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The picture does not show how the roads are. Will soon share a video.

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Awesome trip Avindu and the pictures are superb I must say[thumbsup]. A trip(Preferebly on a bike) to Ladakh-Leh-Khardungla is still my dream and dont know when I can finally make it a reality. For me, This is the true land of Gods!
 
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Great travelogue supported by awesome pictures. Thanks for sharing with us Avindu. As you mentioned pictures are not actually giving the 10% of the idea how that place actually is. Just AWESOME.

Hungry for more pictures.
 
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