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Thread: Exotic Travel-Known and Unknown Western Arunachal and Nameri-Assam

  1. #16
    Day #6 contd.. - Tawang to Bum La

    So, as said, we have a "situation" at 14,500 feet. The moment turned the ignition, there is a "chiwig" kind of sound and then nothing happens. Seemed typical battery problem kind of situation!

    Open up the bonnet, and yes the right side clamp has come out loose - 2.5 years of rough riding and particularly also these few days of bumps have loosened it. So, glad the situation was not that too dramatic or something! Fixed it by placing a folded paper and stone chip tightly down at the base so that it does not move again

    That done, VTT fired up again and we continued on the trail to Bum La.

    As we went along, I catch up with 2 Gypsies going along the trail. The gypsies had Army families on the travel along with the officers.

    And the convoy of ours [2 Army gypsies in front and our Safari VTT] came to halt at this place. It looked somewhat bad,with early morning sun yet to melt the packed ice.


  2. #17
    Day #6 contd... - Tawang to Bum La

    Army Truck tyres had created big craters, observing it was obvious if tyres go into that track, it would sit down and touch the differential. Also this was packed ice, slippery - but one thing was good - all this wasn't at an incline.

    Gypsy with its 4wd engaged, and narrow wheel track [more important out here], managed to skirt the big craters on either side

    Everyone paused over here and while talking to the Army Gypsy driver [a Sikh soldier], he presumed I was having a Safari 4wd. Well that's a 2-tonne 2wd, and he said to wait for a couple of hours or so [it was approx 9 am around that time], as this ice will melt somewhat and the hard packed nature will go. And warned me of a even badder stretch out there in front which will not be possible without 4wd, plus there is no camp out there for jawans to help push if stuck - well then let me cross this first.

    On towards the crossing

    Observing track it is obvious to take the side road, but with the wider track of a Safari, it is going to into a couple of holes on the either side. With momentum and whatever and with twice the shock absorbers travelling the full distance with sickening thud noise, crossed it. The Gypsies had stopped after crossing to pick up some persons who disembarked before crossing the track. The Sikh driver smiled a lot, he was equally happy as I was on making over that stretch - said to me - Chalo dekte hain upar kya hota hai!

    That episode gone, we were on the move again, up the inclines

    Now the problem with the Gypsies in front was that they were on crawl mode and with a 2wd we were on momentum and torque. Every time an incline came, being close to them - I had to slow down very much, too much of a wheel-spin and clutch burning on trying to move again - so for the next incline it was waiting at base till they have cleared that particular incline and then again rev up, gather momentum and move forward.

    But this also was not desirable. With a standing start at the base of an incline, there's wheelspin at first and stones and rocks are thrown around from the rear wheel and the sound of some of them hitting the underbelly made me worried - if a stone hits at full speed to the fuel tank - as such kept an eye on the tank gauge and three chewing gums in mouth. Of course, in actuality, if that happened, chewing gums wouldnt have helped and the analog fuel metre would have reacted much late to fuel draining out. The chance had to be taken as this was better than having clutch burning at inclines.

    As said, waiting at an incline for them to pass before I move, catch with them on this incline around may be 3 km before Bum La. This was the stretch that everyone was talking about, it sure looked bad - bend incline, packed slippery ice and stones - this is worst for a 2wd, the Gypsies with 4 low was slipping from one end to other before they made it out of that stretch.

    A small painted patch on the rock surface said Engage 4 x 4 from here" announcing the climb for Bum-la.

    The climb is not just a climb but "The Climb". It is as arrogant as engineering can get. What makes it even more difficult is the surface; it's not smooth but instead has lot of loose stones and boulders which are a result of heavy Army vehicles revving up before the climb; it is not possible to gain momentum before the climb.

    A small stream runs down beneath the stones on the incline. The snow from the pass melts and makes its way through this artificial slope and into the lakes below.

    They crossed and disappeared from sight and I kept walked along that 30-mtr stretch thinking how to go about - whatever I am going to try and see what happens - 3 km from Bumla - can't go back. Wife and kid started feeling very disappointed as I gave the news after doing a recce of the stretch as very less chance of going through it and kid because he will not be able to reach to the top and see snow or even have Maggi!

    No pictures of course but dont know how I crossed it, what steering input or what acceleration play - everything happened then and there, and owaao we made it through. Caught up with the Gypsies soon and I could see one biggest smiles from that Sikh gentleman on the Gypsy rear view mirror. He was as happy for us as we were!

    The remaining inclines were steep but dirt, so only high rev at 4 k around and same thing again, wait before the incline to let the Gypsies move out.

    Very near to Bum La, the final turn

    Finally we have made to Bum La, what a feeling it was, cant describe, still remember the drive. Safari VTT LX 2.2 2wd sharing parking with the Gypsies - what proud moment for the Safari - truly - The Magnificent Tourer.

    As said, we were elated but one person was not. He was quite angry, this is not what he expected after coming up so much


  3. #18
    Day #6: At Bum La

    As we reached, we were "ushered in" by this soldier, our names and phone nos noted down.

    Crossing the Border meeting Hut at Bum-la, we went first towards the observation point.

    A stiff cold wind was there and I had managed to misplace the gloves, had taken them off for better grip on the steering while going up.

    Soon Asmita says we have another "situation" - son is "angry". He wont walk any more and planted himself on a rock. He grievance, Why no snow - what was the use of coming so high - bad place!! A deal was then done, he is ready to move but no walking - will have to carry him!

    And we moved forward to the observation post, it does take out breath more carrying him on the shoulders.

    Good omen and local traditions are respected by placing a stone and son at least enjoyed this before becoming "angry" again

    Done that, we reached over at the observation post, a great soldier-gentleman welcome us out there

    As one sees from the observation post, it is all China from now on from beyond that small field with 2 flag posts. The vast expanse and looking out at China will always remain the most important highlights of all of our travel.


  4. #19
    Day #6 contd... - Bum La

    B U M L A - [16500 ft]

    Bumla is 37 kms away from Tawang. From Tawang to Y-junction is 22 Kms which is metalled and the rest 15 Kms is graveled. This road is one of the shortest connectivity points to china from Tawang (India). In the Chinese side, the geographical terrain and landscape is far better than Indian side. Shyo (China) is 3 Kms, Kachin- 5 Kms, Dengding 6 Kms and Nyagdo 8 kms from Bumla. The nearest major town of Chinese side, Tsonajong [this is mentioned in that video]is 43 Kms from Bumla border post. It is a district HQ town as well as Brigade HQ connecting Gordung-Lhasa-Beijing trunk Highway. It is connected by all weather metalled road to Tsethang (district HQ in Tibet, China) by a distance of 508 Kms from Bumla (India).
    The visiting Army family and us were given a great talk about Bum la and the geography around. And do hear how he says that it is all peaceful out here - far from what the perception is made out to be. Everyone who goes there can get a talk like this, there is no sensitive info in here.

    And all those ulta-pulta questions at the background by me - you can blame that on the shivering dry cold wind, no head cap or gloves!

    Through that scope, a blue Chinese tent outpost and the road leading to it can be seen, beyond that first hill is a big barrack of Chinese soldiers.

    And a great expression in that photop - the cold wind with no gloves gave that natural look!

    From the observation post, we were led to the Bum La Hut, the meeting place for the 2 Armies.


  5. #20
    Bum- la Hut was constructed by All Ranks of 1 Maratha LI (JANGLI PALTAN) and inaugurated by Maj. Gen. ND Jetli, VSM on 29th May 2000.
    At Bumla Hut

    The Flag flutters high forever because of them.

    Its time for the back journey now.


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