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Thread: Self-Drive Exploratory Expedition Travel -> Zanskar & Unknown Kashmir, "off-season" October 2011

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Calcutta, India, India
    Details of the tour anxiously waited Sir.

  2. #12

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by rupchat View Post
    Anirban as usual this would be a fantastic read like your eccentric journey. The pictures and the words just make me feel if I was there and even though I am not a adventure junkie like you but they just make me feel sorry for not being present there.

    Please spare our time so that we do not have to keep pressing F5.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaustubha View Post
    Chap raasta ta really chape fele dilo....ja ta.....Jetei hobe okhane....mane gari niye.
    Quote Originally Posted by rahul4640 View Post
    Details of the tour anxiously waited Sir.
    Quote Originally Posted by dranirban View Post
    Waiting for full post.

    Thanks much for all the good words! Lets continue, but since the places travelled to in Kashmir is absolutely unknonwn and also since the first time a travel having all these- Sach Pass in Himachal to Zojila in a Kashmir to Pensi la in Zanskar to Sinthan Top, Margan Top, and Rajdhani Pass again in Kashmir Valley, come together in a single travel - we will be posting a few maps before we go to the detailed day-by-day journeys.

    Though a majority of our travels have been done without a GPS, I bought a Mapmyindia Road Pilot GPS unit after our Ladakh trip last year but the unit soon conked out due to the GPS' USB charging point being broken and since there is no service centre here in Kolkata it has been lying like that.

    And I was somewhat glad that we did not have a GPS. I feel GPS restricts oneself and in fact I am uncomfortable with it telling me do this, turn right left and what not and also it glows too much in he night! - most of the transport part of a trip is done overnight. Many a unknown places I have made a journey just by asking people around or even waiting a intersection in remote lands for even up to half hour - waiting for a fellow to ask to where that track leads.

    But then a GPS data logger would have been most uselful too since plotting the map and route that we followed would have been very easy. As a result I left resorting to maps from different websites like to Bing maps to Wikimapia to give a perspective of the areas that we had journeyed.

    Other than the Sach Pass and Zanskar travel, this travel was done so that the areas of Interior Kashmir are brought to limelight. We may be the only travellers till now who have seen places like Lolab, Bangus, Doodthpathri, Bagtore, Kabulgali, Gurez and till now not seen places like the usual Gulmarg and Pahalgam - we skipped those two!! Dal Lake was seen more as an afterthought, visiting it the day we left Srinagar for Kolkata.

    Zanskar though less known is not unknonwn. However stunning new places of Kashmir are absolutely unknonwn to the larger travel community. Lets get a very brief idea of the different places.

    The following description is from the Travel Agents Society of Kashmir.

    New Destination

    1. Wadwan/Warwan Valley

    2. Gurez

    3. Bangus Valley

    4. Dodhpathri

    1. Wadwan Valley of Kishtwar:
    From Daksum to Wadwan valley is another 45 kms. This valley runs parallel to the Lidder Valley beyond a high mountain range. From Simthan Pass the road is not through to Kishtwar yet. There are three lakes near the Margan top. Best area for Adventure loving trekkers, to Suru Valley Kargil, to Tral valley, to Padam.

    2. Gurez:
    8,000 ft. Summer Resort Season Mid June to September,need woolen clothes 140 kms from Srinagar via Bandipur over Razdan Pass 11,726 ft.. 6 hours drive.One can stay in log huts or in tented accommodation. The most beautiful valley located at an altitude of 8,300 ft, surrounded by the mountains ,lush green meadows pine forests, the highest peak Habba Khatoon along river krishanganga. Historically Gurez has played a very important role in the Kashmir;s history. The last sovereign king of Kashmir, Yousuf Shah Chak came from this area The Gateway to central Asia from Kashmir and formed the old slik route, connected to Gilgit and to Kashgar. In the 2 century AD first Buddhist council held in Gurez valley and spread Buddhism across the borders in the 6th century. Also the ancient Capital of the Dards, Dawar .Best place for trout fishing and camping .
    For Adventure lovers, with immense possibilities of Adventure could promote trekking through this valley connected with Pahalgam / Ern/ Sonamarg / Drass .

    3. Bangus Valley:
    128 kms from Srinagar via Kupwara, west of Srinagar. This area called Lolab valley One of the most pretty valley in the whole state, huge meadow is 6 kms wide and 19 kms long surrounded on all sides by pine forests with a stream flowing through . It was one of the popular valley for British Tourist upto 1947. This valley is also famous for caves of Kala Roos and one can see stone age wall paintings. There is legend that some of the caves go right up to Russia. Bears are a great attraction for big game hunters.There are forest rest houses or one can stay in tents.

    4. Dodhpathri:
    New Destination: 50 kms from Srinagar, one of the most beautiful hill resort with lush green meadows. Best picnin spot on the bank of the stream surrounded by thick forest, it is quite and charming and refreshing spot. One can do trekking 5 days from here to Yousmarg

  4. #14
    Lets go through the schedule again:

    [start of travel]

    1. Kolkata - Murthal [beyond Delhi] - An overnight journey, reaching Murthal at noon due to an mind stupefying traffic jam on the Durgapur expressway at the middle of the night. It took 10 hours to travel 250 km and all the advantage of leaving at night was gone.

    2. Murthal - Khajjiar [overnight journey across Punjab and entering HP off Pathankot]

    3. Khajjiar - Sach Pass - Killar

    4. Killar [HP] - Tyari - Golabgarh - Kisthwar [JK]

    5. Kisthwar - Sinthan Top - Margan Top - Warwan Valley - Inshan

    6. Inshan - Daksum - Anantnag - Srinagar

    7. Srinagar - Zoji la - Sankoo [Zanskar]

    8. Sankoo - Tangole

    9. Tangole - Kun base camp trek - Tangole

    10. Tangole - Rangdum - Pensi la -Padum
    Padum and around

    11. Padum - Srinagar [ 30 hours of driving day and night and day in the mountains as we got stuck due to Himlayan Car Rally and more due to a almost kaput clutch spring, the clutch pedal was not coming up - anytime it would given way]

    12. Srinagar - Bandipora - Rajdhani Pass - Gurez
    Around Gurez and Bagtore

    13. Gurez - Kupwarwa - Bangus
    A trek to Bangus and a drive in Lolab Valley

    14. Bangus - Sopore - Srinagar

    15. Srinagar - Doodpathri - Srinagar

    16. Srinagar - Dal Lake - Palwal [ a night and day journey, reaching Palwal about 50 km away from Delhi on NH2.

    17. Palwal - Mughalsarai - Kolkata
    [end of journey]

    Lets get into the maps give a perspective of the places travelled to, the best I could collect from the net - as said before I did not have a GPS or a route logger.

    1. Kolkata - Murthal [overnight journey and stopping 50 km beyond Delhi, around 1700 km of driving]

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    2. Murthal - Khajjiar [overnight journey across Punjab and entering Himachal off Pathankot]

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    3. Khajjiar - Sach Pass - Killar [Pangi Valley, Himachal]

    Location of Khajjiar and Killar in Himachal
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    Khajjiar to Sach Pass route
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    Showing the elevation and route from Satrundi, just before Sach Pass, to Killar
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    Wikimapia showing Sach Pass to Killar track
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  5. #15
    4. Killar [HP] - Tyari - Gulabgarh - Kishtwar [JK]

    Now this route is where the travel becomes much less known. We are entering the Kashmir valley, not through the usual routes like that of Jammu Srinagar highway via Jawahar Tunnel or by crossing Zoji la from Leh towards Srinagar - but we are taking the route that connects Padder Valley in J&K with Pangi Valley in Himachal.

    This is not only a desolate but require extreme attention as we drive along jagged cliff edges. The self-drive video on the 1st post is from this part of the journey.

    A brief idea about the location of Killar, Himachal and Kishtwar, JK. Now the map routes will show a very round about road through Chamba to Doda to go to Kishtwar. However, as said, we are taking the most remote route via Gulabgarh and Tyari to enter Jammu and Kashmir.

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    Killar towards Kishtwar, JK via Tyari
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    Tyari to Gulabgarh
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    Gulabgarh to Kishtwar
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    5. Kishtwar - Daksum - Margan Top - Inshan [Warwan Valley]

    This next part of trip was again very interesting, a journey that came up just due to that we asked a local Sumo driver near Kishtwar of Warwan valley and Inshan, the main village of the Valley. A journey that will take us across very less known pass, Margan Top, which remains closed over 6 months - desolate again but then just saying beautiful would be a gross understatement!!

    Location of Inshan in Kashmir Valley. You can spot Kishtwar at the extreme bottom right and Srinagar at the extreme upper left.

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    Warwan valley is absolutely unknown, even locals from Kishtwar or Anantnag or leaving even Srinagar, dont know much about this place. Its remote since it is cut of for 6 months due to snow and all coldness, the roads are tracks, no macadamized.

    A turn on the Kishtwar to Srinagar road [NH 1B] is done either at Vailoo or Daksum for Inshan.

    Margan Pass [Top] to Inshan Village, Warwan valley.

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    6. Inshan - Daksum - Anantnag - Srinagar

    We connect back to the Kishtwar - [NH 1B] - Anantnag - [NH 1A] Srinagar road at Vailoo. With another lesser known pass called as Sinthan Top crossed, we reach Srinagar. Again, do remember, Sinthan Top is closed for 6 months of a year and thus residents of Kishtwar has to go the roundabout way to Doda and then to Srinagar in the winter months.

    NH1B and then NH1A connect Kisthwar to Srinagar. We connect to the NH1B road at Daksum/Vailoo.

    Click image for larger version. 

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