Prologue, Itinerary & Road Updates | Ladakh Mega Meet

First and the foremost… A very very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 to you and your family…

I know it was long long due BUT now I have written it to share with you. Yes, I am talking about the Epic log of DoW Ladakh Mega Meet 2013 where we had a target of covering “12 Lakes and 12 High Mountain Passed in 12 Days”… Well, for a trip that sounds outrageous from the word go and ever since its announcement over DoW Blog there had to be surprises and changes in the plans along with numbers. Luckily for us the numbers just got increased only and 10 out of 23 people who joined in this EPIC run of 12 days over trans Himalayan region of Ladakh and Spiti Valley, were able to experience the beauty of 14 Lakes and magnanimity of 17 High Mountain Passes… Yes, you read it right, we coved 14 Lakes and 17 passes in just 12 days of mad mad adventure run in the High Altitude Wilderness 😯 😯 …

All Races are Not Meant to Win…

The trip was announced with the article of 12 Days, 12 Lakes & 12 High Mountain Passes – DoW Ladakh 2013 where in after receiving responses and urge of lots of readers to travel along in one of the DoW Expeditions, I made up my mind to finally conduct such an event on the lines of DoW – Causes | A Step Towards Responsible Travel. There were too many people who registered, then they backed out, then some last minute joinings and in between loads of drama behind the scenes 😀 :D… Though it was quite a learning curve for me and DoW of course. Finally, the day came (21st September) and number of people joining in settled to 23 Souls out of which some had most of the plan aligned with us only. But in the end, there were 10 of us who completed the entire tour together 🙂 🙂 … In our convoy of vehicles we had 2 Bikes, 2 XUVs, 1 Scorpio, 1 Xylo, 1 Innova and 1 Ertiga with 23 people on board in them. I feel now all of these 23 mortal souls also believe in my initial quote of “Ladakh is a place for LifeMeinBaarBaar” as together we all:

  • did spin over the barren landscape,
  • did unwind through the lush green meadows,
  • did fly with the wind at some of the highest mountain passes,
  • did get lost in one of the remotest yet magical places in Himalayas,
  • did walk over the sand dunes of cold desert,
  • did witness the burning colours in their most beautiful form,
  • did witness the beauty of Moon Land and Moon Lake,
  • did witness some of the largest lakes change their blue hues several times a day,
  • did witness the chill on few of the most isolated stretches,
  • did experience a journey, beyond limits,
  • did Explore THE Unexplored !!
The Lovely Blue Hues of Pangong Tso
Ready to Run… Srinagar – Leh Highway
Jai Hind… Kargil War Memorial
Leh City at Night as seen from Shanti Stupa
DoW Ladakh Mega Meet… The Happy go Lucky Souls
Our four Heroes who supported us all the way

As I kick start this Epic Travel Tale of Ladakh, in this article I will brief out the plan we followed in terms of itinerary, the road conditions over that route and the expenses that incurred in general to most of us. Finally, a peek into the titles of the articles to be followed in time to come on this Epic Travel Tale but be assured that the updates will be quick and crisp 😉 😉 …

Itinerary on Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

As usual, we were carrying our DoW – Maps of Ladakh | Nubra Valley & Changthang and our itinerary had couple of deep regions of Changthang marked over it for this mega meet. Well, we had 12 days in hand and we followed the itinerary as below:

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  • Day 1: Started 5 AM in morning from Delhi by flight to Srinagar and reached Dal Lake Ghaat No 1 where all of us assembled together. We went from Srinagar to Sonamarg – Zojila Pass – Drass road to Kargil where we stopped for the night at Hotel PC Palace near Taxi stand.
  • Day 2: We ran further over Srinagar – Leh Highway starting from Kargil covering Namki La – Fotu La – Lamayuru – Hangroo Loops – Khaltsi – Nimmu – Magnetic Hills – Pather Sahib – Leh. At Leh, we did put up overnight at Hotel Panorama on Shanti Stupa road.
  • Day 3: It was a relaxing day in Leh to acclimatize, get with permits, short walks and some sleep to rest. Some updates have happened to Leh – Ladakh Permits Process which I have already documented in the article Ladakh Inner Line Permit Updates on Process & Download Form
  • Day 4: We ventured into Nubra Valley from Leh over Khardung La Pass. Looked over Diskit Monasteries and settled for night at Hunder at Yourdum Guest House, Hunder village after exploring sand dunes in the evening.
  • Day 5: We went to Pangong Tso from Nubra Valley over Wari La – Shakti – Chang La – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik route and rested for night at Himalayan Wooden Cottages.
  • Day 6: It was a decisive day as we took the route to Hanle from Pangong Tso via Chusul – Tsaga La – Loma route. Finally reached Hanle and stayed overnight at Padma Homestay which finally had their pending complex completed with construction with Indian Toilet washroom ready for the tourists 🙂 (for last couple of years it was under construction only). We executed DoW Causes at the primary school of Hanle (click link to see smiles) after which most of us were quite emotional to see the smiles around us 🙂 🙂
  • Day 7: This was the day to explore the unexplored as we did Hanle – Kyon Tso 1 – Kyon Tso 2 – Thitzorba La – Nidar – Mahe – Yaye Tso – Hora La – Chumathang. We stayed at Chumathang Hot Springs Resort / Guest House at Rs 100 per bed 😀 :D. Again we executed DoW Causes at a primary school in Nidar region (click link to see smiles).
  • Day 8: We started from Chumathang for Tso Moriri via Namashang La – Kiagar Tso but it was overcast so missed the colors and started to Tso Kar via Polokong La in order to cut short next day’s journey. But, Tso Kar did not have accommodation so were forced to Manali – Leh Highway from Debring – Moore Plains to rest at Pang. We stayed overnight at a Dhabha tent cum shed paying Rs 100 per bed.
  • Day 9: This was easy, relaxing and beautiful drive over Manali – Leh Highway from Pang to Sarchu via Lachulung La – Nakee La. Encountered light snowfall too while we ascended Baralacha La and went down to Zingzing Bar – Jispa – Keylong to reach Sissu for overnight stay. At Sissu we stayed at Hotel Triveni which is right on road itself.
  • Day 10: We started for Chandratal Lake following Gramphu – Chattru – Chota Dhara – Battal. Relaxed around Chandratal for couple of hours and then went over Kunzum Pass to Losar for overnight stay at Nomads Cottage. We distributed the remaining material of DoW Causes in the near by school at Losar (click link to see smiles).
  • Day 11: We started the painful journey back from Losar to Kunzum Pass and then towards Manali via Battal – Chota Dhara – Chattru – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi and finally halted it at Manali. Five of us including me decided to leave Manali that evening itself and rest of the people stayed in Manali as they had tickets of overnight Volvo for the next day.
  • Day 12: We reached Delhi in the morning and rested for the day at Sweet Home !! 🙂 🙂
Beautiful Flowers from Ladakh
Road to Peace in Life… Lord Buddha in Nubra Valley
The Riders on the Run to Wari La
Adrenaline Running Adventure…
Some Moments, Some Words and Some Views Can’t be Forgotten
Road Conditions on Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

Road conditions are just some relative terms only when we talk about Trans – Himalayan region of Ladakh or Spiti Valley and a lot depends upon what time you are traveling in the year. Since, we went in late or end of season, the roads were generally dry, with least water crossings and much better than it remains rest of the season.

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zojila Pass – Drass – Kargil: Most places it is good. But very rough, dusty roads near Zojila Pass. Rest barring few patches of bad roads, all good.
  • Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Hangroo Loops – Khaltsi – Nimmu – Leh: Again mostly good roads barring few patches of bad roads.
  • Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder (Nubra Valley): Roads are good barring the bad roads between North Pullu and South Pullu which remains mostly as it is.
  • Hunder – Agham Village: Good, tarred roads.
  • Agham Village – Wari La Pass – Shakti Village – Chang La Pass: Roads are mix of bad and good here especially around both Wari La and Chang La. There was one water crossing too just after Agham Village.
  • Chang la – Tangste – Lukung (Pangong Tso): Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Lukung – Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga La – Tsaga: Road is like dirt track, can be called bad roads with some very bad sections. High ground clearance vehicle required.
  • Tsaga – Loma – Hanle: Well, tarred roads.
  • Hanle – Kyon Tso 1 – Kyon Tso 2 – Thit Zorbit La – Nidar: Very Very bad roads, in fact no roads on most of the sections. Only high ground clearance with good driving skills recommended to venture on this route. There were marshes, river bed, rocks, pot holes, water crossings, etc.. on which we actually drove 😉
  • Nidar – Nyoma – Mahe – Horala – Yaye Tso – Chumathang: Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Chumathang – Sumdo – Namashang La – Kiagar Tso: Mix of good and average roads. Some sections are metalled but some have potholes.
  • Kiagar Tso – Tso Moriri: Bad road like a dirt track but manageable with hatchback as well as sedans.
  • Sumdo – Polokong La – Tso Kar Lake: Average roads with mix of tarred but not so good and maintained. Rest sections were like dirt track.
  • Tso Kar – Debring – Moore Plains – Pang: Good, tarred roads all the way. You can cruise on Moore Plains.
  • Pang – Lachulung La – Nakee La – Gata Loops – Sarchu: Mostly average roads.
  • Sarchu – Baralacha La – Darcha: Mostly average roads with couple of water crossings and few good sections. Some sections near Darcha are bad and narrow.
  • Darcha – Jispa – Keylong – Sissu – Khoksar – Gramphu: Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Grapmhu – Chatru – Chota Dhara – Battal: Horrible roads throughout with 3-4 water crossings, though still better than Kyon Tso route.
  • Battal – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Losar: All bad roads with couple of water crossings.
  • Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Manali: Mostly good with just about 2-3 KMs of ascend from Gramphu to Rohtang Pass & near Rani Nalla  being bad. Rest all tarred even the Rohtang Pass top.
The Star Studded Night at Hanle
The Pristine and Pure Water of Himalayas
The Ever so Beautiful Korzok Village near Tso Moriri
Nabeel, The Brave Biker from Kerala with his DoW-ed Ride in Changthang
Devils Spreading Smiles at Nidar, Nyoma in Ladakh
Expenses Incurred for Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

My actual expense on this mega Ladakh trip was approximately about Rs 24000 including Taxi charges where we paid almost Rs 13000 per head as for 2 dedicated taxis for 9 people (Scorpio + Innova). Rest, Rs 2900 was spent for Delhi – Srinagar flight ticket and Rs 1500 were spent on overnight Volvo ticket of Manali to Delhi including approximately Rs 250 as cancellation charges. Rest around Rs 6500 per person was spent on Food, Accommodation, Permits and other misc. charges like monastery fees, tips, etc.. for 11 days as on 12th day I reached home in the morning itself. Most others who accompanied us had similar expenses.

The High Views of Manali – Leh Highway
Trans Himalayan Trip is so incomplete without Bumble Bee 🙂
Finally I saw… The Charismatic Chandratal
Index – Travel Tale of Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

Worry not as the detailed travel tale will start getting published soon but in the mean time you can check below the series of articles which I will be writing for this epic Travel Tale of Leh – Ladakh and Chandratal Lake:

So all is set to roll out this epic travel tale and I am sure in time to come you are surely gonna enjoy every bit of it as I am re-living those moments again while writing this log :)…

The Journey ahead…

This post was last modified on Jun 3, 2019 20:21

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