LADAKH the land of high passes and mountains had always fascinated me. Driving on the highest motorable pass KHARDUNG LA was a dream that i wanted to achieve.For the last 1 year ladakh had been haunting me day & night and so i decided to go there this summer. the window of opportunity for me was end of may and june as my kids had their vacation in may - june and also monsoon would set in ladakh by june end.
RESEARCH - did lot of reading about ladakh at various sites in the internet.there are umpteen number of travelogues which i went through. The ones i followed closely and sought advice from were-
1) Yogesh sarkar @ BCM touring
2) Dheeraj sharma @devilonwheels.com
3) Humbleh'd 1 indopolsh himalayan expedition by HVK and co
4) Avindu's t'log @TAI
a big thanks to all of you.
in the initial stages lots of people wnted to come along. Me, my wife sheena and kids Bhadra and Bharath and my close pal suresh was confirmed initialy itself. there was space for one more , thats what we thought but nobody came along. in the end i feel it was a boon in disguise as it would have been very crowded.
MY CAR -
Bolero storm VLX 2011
serviced him about 10 days prior to d day at ITL motors Kannur. the only major work that had to be done was to change the suspension bush which was broken but which had not shown any symptoms. topped up all fluids, brake was given a full check up and also the clutch disk which are the two major component that gets strained in the mountains.
wanted to get am exta set of lights fitted but all good brands were costly. hence changed the bulbs to osram 140/90 along with the relay.
fitted a roof carrier- borrowed from a friend
removed the jump sets at the back and fixed a parcel tray and made a boot and converted into BOLERO hatchback
changed the tyres. had zeroed in on MRF wanderer / bridgestone dueler , the former being the cheapest and good reviews while the latter being costlier, was not available any where
and good reviews. ended up buying yokohama geolandar AT/S 215/75/ R15 cheaper than bridgestone good reviews.
2 days before D day my bolero developrd a creaking sound from the rear on cornering - took him back to ITL motors where it was diagnosed that the new suspension bush had broken. was changed free of cost.
Things bought / borrowed for the trip -
1) tool kit - included jumper cables, all sorts of tools for a small workshop, nuts, bolts, hammer, m seal , fevikwik, etc
3)Belkin car inverter
4) towing belt
5)15 metre nylon rope
6)puncture repair kit
7)two 20 litre plastic can for water and diesel
10) photostats of id proof , inner line permit application form.
11)portable LPG stove
12) food - maggie, milk powder. condensed milk, rice flakes
13) pulse oximeter
14 ) portable oxygen cylinder
15) Map my india GPS
colin spray for cleaning the winshield
I HAD AN INKLING I HAD FORGOTTEN SOME THING WHICH WAS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND ALL ALONG THE TRIP
ROUTE PLANNED - Payangadi - Mangalore - Ankola - Hubli - Pune - Mumbai - Ahmedabad - Udaipur - chittorgarh - Kishangarh - Hanumangarh - Bhatinda - Amritsar - Pathankot = Udhampur - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Nubra valley - Leh - Pangong Tso - Leh - Tso Moriri - Jispa - Manali - Mandi - Bilaspur - Chandigarh - Ambala - Jaipur -Mumbai - Pune - Mangalore - Payangadi