Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dad's Present

My dad came down to Madras on Friday. He asked me to come with him to a car dealer, he had talked to few months back. I didn't know he was going to present me with this beauty. He presented me with a BMW 7 series car. Woaaaaaaaaah !!! Thanks dad. Looks great isn't it??? Ahem !! Ahem !! Ahem !!

Ahhh The proud owner. Doesnt it look like the car was custom made for me. It definitely looks like that.


Oh SHIT !!! Why these dark clouds??? OK GOD I will never lie. Please not lightening on me. I promise I will never lie. No No this car doesn't belong to me. Its just a photo I took when I went for some work to Port Trust of Chennai.


Please god. Mujhe Maaf Kar do. Wont ever lie.


Phew !!! No lightening on me. Main Bach Gaya !!!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Krishna !!!
Hare Raama Hare Raama Hare Raama !!!
Baba Nanak Sukh Raakha !!!

I will never Lie. Dad didnt present me this car. Sorry Boss. Kaan Pakad ke maafi.

V...

PS: When you have a camera phone. Make good use of it. :-)

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leh to Manali

Finally we moved from Leh towards the plains. We had to take a Jeep ride from Leh to Manali and that started at 2.00 Am in the night. The driver was bloody late and we were trying to find him in the hills of Leh. Idiot he was. The army personnel were very helpful in all this.

The 473 km Leh - Manali Road is open for about three months in the year from early July to September. For much of its length, it passes through areas so barren that you cannot even see any vegetation or animals or even birds. Generally people should take two days to finish this journey. take rest at Sarchu which is mid way between the two. Sarchu has nothing but tents to rest in the night.

Rumtse village was the first and the road was bad, I asked the driver "Boss the road is as bad as we see right now?" He said "Sir yeah its bad and sometimes you cant even find the road. We have to drive through waterfalls" I thought he was bluffing but was ready to see what was this road all about. From Rumtse to Langdang-La its around 82 Kms and it took us around 4 hours to reach there. We reached Tanglang La (5,325 m, 17,470 ft) at 6.30 Am and it was freezing. Not a soul was there and it was all cold and chilly winds. I stepped out of the Jeep and rushed back. The temp would have been around -10 deg C or -5 deg C. It was freezing. We had sleeping bags but no place to sleep. Jeep was going through horrible roads and we were getting our bone broken and joined at the same time.

Next was Lachulung-La (16,600 ft / 5,059m) and between these two, there is nothing but rock and sand, rolling hills and broad plains scoured by dust devils. We crossed through More plains. Its 40 Kms of nothing and then it was day light I thought of clicking some photos.


Check out the terrain. Its just mountains of mud and sand and the river flowing through it.

Just crossed More Plains

This is river Chenab and it also flows through India and goes into Pakistan. At some places you can find the speed of water flowing through the river is more than the speed of your car.

Oh It was scary at time too and our driver was an idiot. He had no sense that people sitting behind him are humans.

Amidst all this scare and horror and water flowing on one side, you find people cycling from Leh to Manali in 2 weeks. They travel around 30 kms everyday and rest in tents. They have the regular Indian roti sabzi at small small restaurants and keep cycling. In the night the stay in tents. Simple. I think the Europeans have done everything from conquering countries to sending satellites in space to giving gay rights to people to blah blah blah everything and now they are turning crazy.

People from the age of 20 to 65 were cycling.



And finally what we were scared of. Our driver took a shortcut from a road coming down. Firstly he had put horrible songs and secondly as I said "He thinks we are not human" One one side was the river and the other side "NOTHING" We were driving down and ready to die. Thanks to our driver were said Helloooooo to death.

Welcome to Himachal Pradesh

We can seriously see a change in the beauty of the terrain and also billions of waterfalls. Finally vegetation.


Noisy Bridge.

Huge Mountains.

The mountains started from the river and ended at snow caps. It was brilliant.

Fields

Waterfall. It looked so cool.

Crack in the mountain.

Waterfall 2

Our jeep was going through real bad roads. One of the roads was going through a waterfall. We came down and played in the water. It was icy cold freezing water.

Road on waterfall.

Thanda paaaaaaani.

Scary. The river down.

Waterfall but we have a road now. :-)

About to reach Rohtang.

Mist and clouds.

Brrrrrr. Mujhko Thand lag rahi hai.

Through the clouds.

Again rest at Rohtang. Phew. When will we reach Manali?? Rohtang - La Pass (3979 mtrs , 13,051 ft.) above sea level. Its around 51 KM from Manali, and it took us bloody 2 and half hours for that drive.

Beautiful trees near Manali.

Mast jungles.


Finally the last bridge and we reached Manali.

Well we didnt sleep the whole night and had to check in any hotel, any bloody hotel because we were dead tired and hungry too. We check in a nice hotel which was at the edge of the river Beas. The sound of the river was toooooooo much. We had to leave for Chandigarh the next afternoon so wanted to just eat and have a nice rest this night so that we are ready for our next journey.

More in the next post. If I get reminded of something. I will add in this post also.

V..

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Leh Town and Around - Day 4

Day 4 of our honeymoon; and we had Hav. Mange Ram to show us around. Hav. Rahul had an upset tummy; and we were really happy to have Hav. Mange Ram accompany us; he was so knowledgeable and was very pleasant to talk with.

He took us to this Kargil war memorial. And it was soul stirring. Not just memoirs and captured stuff from Pak soldiers, it also had various guns, BMPs etc on display. There was one full room dedicated to the soldiers and their life in Siachen glacier. There was on display a full set of clothins worn by soldiers - 4 pairs of boots (yes, boots to be worn one on another), a long, sharp hammer like thing used to assist them in walking through snow, what they eat, etc etc. Hav. Mange Ram told us that all soldiers move in groups of 4s at least, tied to one another by a rope. This is to ensure safety; none goes down to avalanche or anything. The Govt. he said, spends 30 million Rs. per soldier per year, in Siachen.
Then, the room where ammunitions captured from Pak soldiers was kept. We saw revolvers (heavy!), howitzers, guns you shoot by hoisting them on your shoulder (way too heavy!), binoculars and many others. There was even a family album, a scrapbook and a diary - all belonging to Pak army soldiers. And there was a HUGE list of Indian soldiers who fought bravely but lost their lives in the war. No one should ever fight; koi jung na ho kabhi bhi. Really. Trupti got fully senti.


A lone house in midst of mountains! And look at the mountains behind! Dont they look enthralling?!!!


Trupti standing near a BMP-like tank. They didnt let us take pictures inside the war memorial you see...


Mountain range!


We went to Patthar Saheb, a gurudwara! Yes, in Ladakh! Legend has it that this region was terrorised by a demon living in the mountains in 15th century. Baba Nanak came there and the people thronged to him for help and protection. Seeing this, the demon got angry and decided to kill Babaji. He rolled over a big HUGE stone down to Babaji, where he was doing prayers. The minute it landed on Him, it melted and became wax. You can even see the posture of Baba Nanal etched on it! See the pic below! The demon, sure that he'd killed Baba Nanak, came down and kicked the stone hard with his right foot. He was shocked to see Babaji protected by this stone, that had turned into wax! He understood that He was no ordinary man, and realising his folly, asked for forgiveness from Babaji. He readily forgave and the demon, now reformed, spent the rest of his life in helping people and praying to God.



In the pic below you can see the demon's foot etched when he kicked the stone.


And guess who maintains it. Yes, the Indian Army. And though in such difficult terrain, they conduct langar every sunday and manaofy all festivals. To do it at a feet of 15000 feet, is no mean achievement! Really, I laud them! :-)


Bhavdeep inside the Gurudwara.


Now Trupti.


Thats Hav. Mange Ram. Sheetal Mallar was there, with 2 of her friends. I didnt know her, Trupti told me. She followed us everywhere - right from the time we landed at Leh to the last day, she was at all the sightseeing places that we were at! Am sure she wanted our autographs, but please, we wanted a break from all that and so escaped to Ladakh in the first place! C'mon! ;-)


Thats Bhavdeep again. Look at the expression on his face. LOL!


Next we went to this Magnetic Hill. You wont believe, it pulls iron objects towards it! No kiddin'! We parked our Scorpio, gear neutral, engine off - all it moved slowly towards the hill. Amazing!!


Magnetic hill close up.


Some more...


Beautiful? Definitely!


And take this. World highest LPG gas bottling plant, from Indane, at 11800 feet!! Right next to it was FCI's office too!



An entrance to Leh market built in monastery like fashion.



A video of the entrance. :-) Super Skills.



This video is from the Mahakali Mandir, which overlooks the Leh town. You can check out the Airport Runway also. :-)



Trupti with local Ladakhis and Hav. Mange Ram. She thinks the girls are there are really pretty!


We both with the same people. We hijacked their fields to take these pics hehehehe....


Ooooooh the army tanks at the place where we were staying! Everytime I teased Trupti or pulled her leg, she used to say, "Chup kar warna tank se band karke udaa doongi". Brr I shivered!


Thats Bhavdeep with Sep. T. Inga Remba, our help. He was really nice.


We left Ladakh the same night for Manali. We hired a jeep from Leh to Manali. The journey had to start from 208 EME at 2.30 AM. We didnt have a great sleep also. As sad as we were to leave Ladakh, we were both looking forward to the exciting road trip we were taking to reach Manali! Thats in the next post!

Well the journey from Leh to Manali is not for the faint hearted. Also its a long journey around 17 hours with bad and even sometimes no roads.

More about the journey in the next post. Cheers !!! 48 hours no sleep. :-)

V...


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