We wanted to get to the northern most point of India - Turtuk. So we left at 6:30 am post some toast and tea. As we were leaving we noticed passersby giving us a strange look.
Lakshmi looked under the car and noticed that the under chassis cover had come off.....we couldn't get it back. This meant a stop in mahindra before we could head further.Khardung La was sure looking jinxed.
After tying the cover with a rope, and waiting till 8:30 am we headed to the service center. Got the car fixed - a screw had come off from the under chassis cover and by 11:00 am we were at the first checkpost - the place we were turned away the first time.
The first few kms were fine and we were making good time. Then the road disappeared and we had to reverse twice to allow army trucks to get through.
At one point, lakshmi had to get out of the car and with the help of passenger from another car, remove a large stone so that my car could reverse. At many places we were on the edge of the road - nothing but deep drop!!
With all this happening, there was a landslide that needed to be cleared. Wait for 10 mins only and my car wouldn't go ahead, rocks made it slipping ....again reverse and try my utmost and soon we were moving onwards.
And then suddenly just like that voila - Khardung La. 18,380 feet above sea level. Our breath was heavy and we knew we shouldn't be there for long. Quick pictures done - off we went. Bad roads persisted but we were thrilled that we had crossed the world's largest motorable road.
Then lunch of kings beckoned - momos and maggi. We met a biking group from Malaysia - Salamat Jalang!!
Roads were much better from here. While reaching turtuk looked difficult, we weren't giving up. No unnecessary breaks and we kept crossing one army check post after another. There were no sign boards but again there was only road - with river Shayok giving us company all along.
If the views elsewhere were mind blowing this one was in just another level. It was unbelievable - imagine driving on mars, with a muddy choclaty river flowing, sand dunes and rock faces that just defy anything you can imagine and a lovely road to ride on. Now multiply that by 100....still doesn't do justice.
Soon by 5:30 pm we were in Turtuk, the last big village in India.
We drove 218 kms and were quite bushed. Post a quick dinner at the tent we were staying in, very happy at all we accomplished in this lovely day !!