Day 11: 19 August 2013: Part 5: Tangtse to Upshi

After submitting copy of the ILP, we started ahead towards Karu (the actual name is Kharoo!) from Tangtse around 1645. I remembered that yesterday, we had told the person at the checkpost that we won’t be returning here again, but as luck would have it, we will have to eat our words 🙁

But something is giving solace…

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The drive is on the same path that we had taken yesterday – via Darbuk, Chang La, Zingral, Serthi to Karu, only that the Sun is fast receding today… (check Day 10 Part 1 and Day 10 Part 2 for details..)

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Heavy clouds are hovering over and it seems it is rainign somewhere…

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We crossed Chang La quickly and were conscious that we have to reach at least Upshi for the night so that we get some accommodation.

Very soon we reached Zingral which was obvious from the famous “Z” of Zingral…

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Just after crossing Zingral, we see this…

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First time in life, we witness from the level of clouds, how it appears when the downpour happens..

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The night is eager to spread it’s span and it is getting dark quickly…

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Soaking in the nature’s wonder, we kept on driving…

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Soon we pass by Serthi/Sakti

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The vistas are amazing, the road is straight, the sky colours are amazing and the downpowr is creating amazing scenario, but we don’t have much time left before it gets dark and so we hurry… Reminds me of the poem – The woods are lovely, dark and deep.. But I have promises to keep.. and miles to go before I sleep.. and miles to go before I sleep…

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By the time we reached Karu, it is already dark.

We tank up again at the fuel bunk and proceeded towards Upshi. The time read 1930 hrs. The last of the light has also gone by that time, and we are driving in pitch dark with just the car’s headlamp to show us the way. We keep the cameras aside as there is nothing visible. The only saving grace is that we are not driving on dangerous curvy hills. There are mountains on one side and sort of plains on the other. We can hear the gush of river, which I know would be the Indus.

Shortly, we pass by the army area and driving further ahead, we reach the Upshi checkpost. We had the permits for Tso Moriri too and the guy asked whether we were headed that way. However, I had calculated this already that today was 19th and we are supposed to be at Chandratal on 21st night for the Full Moon, so unfortunately now we can’t go to Tso Moriri. If we have to reach Chandratal on 21st, we must reach at least till Keylong by tomorrow evening. Informed our decision to move towards Manali to the checkpost and arrived at the tri-junction where one road leads to Tso Moriri and another goes towards Manali. The time read 2030 hrs.

Asked one of the shops if there are any accommodation available, but unfortunately they were full. And so were couple of nearby ones. The shopkeeper then advised to go towards the Tso Moriri road and ask from the last shop if they have something available. This shop is being manned by a mother-daughter duo and they say that they have a room available, but no toilet and would charge 150 Rupee per person per night. Upon asking about the toilet, the lady exclaimed “Bahar Acchha”! Apparently, they’ve recently got the room and toilets constructed, but the toilet was not operational at that time. Knowing fully well that the next available accommodation option would only be at Pang, some 127 kms away, and we can’t drive till there, we accept the accommodation.

Being tad tired, we have some tea, quick dinner and go to the rooms to retire. This is one big room with matress laid on the floor and adequate quilts and pillows. It appears to be apt for at least 6 people, however, we have it all for 4 of us. Quickly, we all go to sleep.

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Next: Upshi to Keylong

CONTD…

Total Distance covered: Approx 93.8 kms

Driving Directions from Tangtse to Upshi: From the Tangtse checkpost, drive straight to reach Durbuk. Take the left fork to go towards Zingral. The right fork goes towards Agham via Shyok. Keep on driving to pass by Tsoltak followed by Chang La and arrive at Zingral. Keep straight and arrive at the Serthi/Sakti tri-junction. Keep left, the right fork goes to Serthi and further to Wari La. Driving ahead, arrive at Karu tri-junction. From the tri-junction, take sharp left U turn to be on the Leh-Manali road. If you’ve reached the Karu checkpost or the Fuel bunk, you’d need to come back and take the right fork to be on the Manali road. Drive straight from here onwards with Indus river on your right to give company and arrive at Upshi checkpost and further ahead to Upshi.

Google Map directions for Tangtse to Upshi travel: http://goo.gl/maps/gYXk8

Day 10: 18 August 2013: Part 1: Serthi/Sakti to Chang La

We woke up early and finished our daily routine with the two buckets of water that was kept in the washroom. There was no more water, so there was no question of getting a bath or shave even. Since we wanted to get rid of the place, we didn’t even opted for tea and knocked the room of the caretaker. He was too surprised to see us ready early in the morning, but we had to go. We settled the bill with him and then he came to open the gate of the guest house.

By 0605, we were out of the guest house, ready to load our luggage.

Below is the approach road from the guest house to gate, so hidden by outgrowth of shrubs that you can’t even imagine that there is a guest house! (more…)

Day 9: 17 August 2013: Part 3: Deskit to Karu via Wari La

With the rains giving no reprieve, we decided to do something unthinkable… to proceed towards Karu crossing over Wari La during the evening.

Will we be able to reach Karu today going through a road less traversed and known to be difficult, driving through the unwanted part of the day? Stay tuned…

We started around 1530 from Deskit Gompa and decided to skip going back to the Deskit market for lunch. We’ll rather have something on the way as time is of essence now if we have to cross Wari La.

Sun playing games with the clouds (more…)

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