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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Jammu And Kashmir, India

Oct 7, 2009 - Morning Vegetable Market, Dal Lake

I got up at 4:30 a.m. to get a 5:00 a.m. “shakira” - a gondola type boat that serves the people on the Dal Lake houseboats. Pretty chilly out on the dock at this time, especially as I don’t have any footwear – my boots are wet from yesterday’s fishing, my Timberland sandals seem to have disappeared….. 5:30 a.m. and two phone calls later the shakira man is here. We paddle off into the dark to find the daily vegetable market. This is written up in LP as some sort of must see event. Sadly the truth is somewhat different (as I’ve found at...

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Oct 4, 2009 - Leh to Srinigar

Leh to Srinigar in a shared minivan. Left 4:30 p.m., drove through the night, arrived 10:30 a.m. the next morning. I'm in the middle row, crammed in with two Indian guys. For 18 hours. I expressed my displeasure at being sandwiched with no room to move; the two Indian guys did not seem too happy that I was complaining (to them this was probably luxury); I summarised by position, describing them as something beginning with f and ending "ers", and that was the last communication we had for 18 hours. Suited me fine. Bumpy, dusty road, psycho...

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Oct 3, 2009 - Nubra Valley

The attached photos show a two day visit to the Nubra Valley. In a previous entry I mentioned how I would have liked to visit Pakistan to see the Khyber Pass and the Kharakorum. Well according to my driver we saw the Kharakorum this trip – the Nubra valley is close to the border with Pakistan. On the way to the Nubra valley we went over Khardung La pass. At 18,308 feet this is the highest motorable pass in the world. At this point I was higher than Everest Base Camp and the highest pass on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. That would explain...

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Sep 30, 2009 - Pangong Tso Lake - Border with Tibet

Pangong-Tso lake is on the north east border of India with Tibet. All but seven kilometers of the 130 kilometer lake lie in Tibet/China. Which explains why the Indians don't have any boats or pedalos for hire. Not that anyone would want to paddle from India to China..... The scenery on the drive to the lake is perhaps as spectacular as the views at the lake. On the way to the lake we went over the pass of Chang La. At 17,568 feet or 5,360 meters this is the second highest motorable pas in the world. Tomorrow I'll be doing the highest......

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Sep 29, 2009 - Leh Monastery Tour

Today I visited six monasteries in the Ladakh region surrounding Leh. After a one hour drive the first was Tak Tuk, followed by Chemrey, Hemis, Thiksey, Shey and, seven hours after setting off in the morning, Stok. I think I’m monasteried out now. As this area is so close to Tibet, the monasteries have a very Tibetan look and feel. Most of the monks are Ledhakis – the local population - although there are a lot of Tibetan refugees in this area, as you will see from subsequent photos. The Tibet population is such that the Dalai Lama has a...

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Sep 28, 2009 - Leh - Rawan Hindu Religeous Festival at the Polo Ground

The attached photos show a Hindu religeous festival at the Leh Polo Ground. The festival is Rawan, and although I need to do some research you can see from the photos that the large men (and a house) are basically being offered up by fire. You can see the crowd and the children covering their ears - there were large numbers of fireworks and mortars being set off. A pyromaniac's dream......

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Sep 27, 2009 - Manali to Leh

Today I passed through the Himalayas. I’ve read about the Himalayas since I was a boy – climbing stories like John Hunt’s Ascent of Everest, Joe Tasker and Pete Boardman’s Shining Mountain, Chris Bonington’s expeditions, K2 stories of tradegy, the list is long. So to actually come here and see the mountains is a long held dream come true. The Himalaya range starts in Pakistan (K2) and extends eastwards through India, Tibet, Nepal and eastern India – Assam and Nagaland. I wanted to visit Pakistan and see the mountains there - together with...

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Aug 19, 2009 - No Power Stinks!

So I was writing a nice long blog post about what we've been up to the past few days, and once I'd finshed and was reading it over, the whole town lost power (a rather regular occurance) and I lost the whole thing. As unfortunate as it was, I'll try and recreate it now before I forget what I wrote. Part of it was ironically about how things operate so differently here - like the lack of power! Or how today when we wanted to take out some money we had to go to the only bank in the area and wait in line for about half an hour just to use the...

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Aug 17, 2009 - Our Zen Experience

So today was day 3 up here in Leh and I think we're both starting to get acclimatized. On the first day we couldn't even do 10 stairs without being winded and today we did over 500 to climb up to this Buddhist peace pagoda thing above town called the Shanti Stupa. This has definitely been the coolest thing we've done here/the only cool thing we've really done here. We hiked up the 500 stairs, obviously with a bunch of photo ops in the middle (ie time to catch our breath), and once we got to the top we just sat there enjoying the view for...

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Aug 15, 2009 - Happy Indian Independence Day!

Happy Indian Independence Day! We arrived in Leh earlier this morning - and boy the Himalayas are beautiful! We've rented a room in a guesthouse here for 300 Rs (about $3 each per night), and the view is incredible! We can see the mountains right out of our window (pictures to come soon)! Leh is about 12,000 ft. above sea level, and you can really feel the altitude. We have to spend the next 48 hours resting (they say you shouldn't exert yourself more than walking to a restaurant to eat), so we're really happy to have such a beautiful...

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Aug 13, 2009 - Khardung La

Up early (4am) to the call of the Muezzin chanting from a nearby minaret. Breakfast, unfortunately, not until 7:30am. Then it was off to see the Dalai Lama who was to be in Leh today. Got a good spot and managed two pics through the windshield of his vehicle but someone stepped in front of my best view. Half a dozen of our group of cyclists left at 09:30am to do Khardung La, which is The Highest motorable pass in the world! I opted to ride in the vehicle to the checkpoint at 25kms - we got there in the jeep almost the same time as the...

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Aug 12, 2009 - Day off in Leh

Today is a rest day (from riding) and a chance to explore the winding, narrow streets and famous sites of Leh. The bed in the guest house was better but only one sheet, so used light-weight sleeping bag as a top sheet - worked great. My back is not so great and nose and lips are bone dry - some nose bleeding happening. I'm sure the heat and humidity in Delhi will cure that. Went to the ATM really early - 6am - no lineup - and managed to get 10,000 Rupees (about $250 Cdn). Back to the guest house for breakfast at 7am and a meeting at 8. Four...

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