Independence Quattro Drive 2014: Arrival At Ladakh - Overdrive
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Independence Quattro Drive 2014: Arrival at Ladakh

13 Aug 2014 / 0

Ladakh has become something of a muse for us here at OVERDRIVE. Just like last year, we’ve come to the Himalayas  again to romance it for our 16th anniversary. Yes, the second edition of the Independence Quattro Drive is here again and we’ve tackled the gorgeous, treacherous Himalayan landscape in Audi SUVs to get to Ladakh. It’s been nearly a week since we set off on our travels. Below are a few snippets of what the world looks like to us, from up here. And with the wheels we’re driving up here, so far, it’s a very sweet sixteen indeed.

The climb is endless. Here the team pauses to collect some footage for the amazing television/Youtube episode that will follow the IQD

The climb is endless. Here the team pauses to collect some footage for the amazing television/Youtube episode that will follow the IQD

 

No matter how images you see of the place, Ladakh always looks different when you see it for yourself. And it all changes. This spot for instance? We've seen it on a dark grey wet morning a few times but this time, it was bright and sunny!

No matter how many images you see of the place, Ladakh always looks different when you see it for yourself. And it all changes. This spot, for instance? We’ve seen it on a dark grey wet morning a few times but this time, it was bright and sunny!

 

Some say that as the roads in Ladakh get better, the place is losing its charms. We only know that when the roads are this good, you can drive and admiring the amazing scenery much better

Some say that as the roads in Ladakh get better, the place is losing its charms. We only know that when the roads are this good, you can drive whilst admiring the amazing scenery much better

 

As soon as you cross the busy, dirty Rohtang Pass, civilisation just ends. What you're greeted with is this sight of impossibly blue skies, green and brown mountains with fingers of snow clasping them tight. You'll find it hard to breathe and not because of the altitude for once

As soon as you cross the busy, dirty Rohtang Pass, civilisation just ends. What you’re greeted with is this sight of impossibly blue skies, green and brown mountains with fingers of snow clasping them tight. You’ll find it hard to breathe and not because of the altitude for once

 

The bridges in Ladakh are mostly like this one. Metal structures with metal plates for your wheels to roll over. It means you go slow and make a phenomenal racket as you go through

The bridges in Ladakh are mostly like this one. Metal structures with metal plates for your wheels to roll over. It means you go slow and make a phenomenal racket as you go through

 

The road runs along the river for a long time after you climb down from Rohtang. This valley is emerald green and is one of the most amazingly visual stretches of the climb to Leh. Soon, all the green will be gone and you'll be well above the vegetation line

The road runs along the river for a long time after you climb down from Rohtang. This valley is emerald green and is one of the most amazingly visual stretches of the climb to Leh. Soon, all the green will be gone and you’ll be well above the vegetation line

 

The Audis take a breather at Jispa. In the back are the couple of hotels and in the foreground is the wide swathe of river bed which is the central feature of the beautiful valley Jispa is located in.

The Audis take a breather at Jispa. In the back are the couple of hotels and in the foreground is the wide swathe of river bed which is the central feature of the beautiful valley Jispa is located in

 

Approaching the Sarchu plain, the river carves quite the vista of sand scultures and the road runs along it. You're torn between zipping through the lovely valley and stopping to capture the scene

Approaching the Sarchu plain, the river carves quite the vista of sand scultures and the road runs along it. You’re torn between zipping through the lovely valley and stopping to capture the scene

 

Approaching the Sarchu plain, the river carves quite the vista of sand scultures and the road runs along it. You're torn between zipping through the lovely valley and stopping to capture the scene

Approaching the Sarchu plain, the river carves quite the vista of sand scultures and the road runs along it. You’re torn between zipping through the lovely valley and stopping to capture the scene

 

Ladakh, wide-eyes and cameras are a natural combination. And as we've happily discovered, the Audis fit right in as well!

Ladakh, wide-eyes and cameras are a natural combination. And as we’ve happily discovered, the Audis fit right in as well!

 

Note the smooth stretches of soil coming off the top of the mountain in this image. Those are old landslides which are a fairly frequent occurence up here where the higher areas don't have vegetation

Note the smooth stretches of soil coming off the top of the mountain in this image. Those are old landslides which are a fairly frequent occurence up here where the higher areas don’t have vegetation

 

Ladakh. A place where you stare up in wonder a lot.

Ladakh. A place where you stare up in wonder a lot

 

One of our Audis waits patiently while we walk about trying desperately to capture the magnificence of Ladakh

One of our Audis waits patiently while we walk about trying desperately to capture the magnificence of Ladakh

 

One cannot be told what the More Plain is. One really has to see it for themselves. And unless you're part of the OD family, your images of More Plain will not have these lovely Audis in it.

One cannot be told what the More Plain is. One really has to see it for themselves. And unless you’re part of the OD family, your images of More Plain will not have these lovely Audis in it

 

Nearing the top of Baralachla, the terrain is still green and the pass - considered the most dangerous on the Manali-Leh run - has a way of surprising you

Nearing the top of Baralachla, the terrain is still green and the pass – considered the most dangerous on the Manali-Leh run – has a way of surprising you

 

Manali, getting ready to head to the Rohtang pass. As the mountain temperatures asserted themselves, Team OD and our guests were glad for the Gant gear that kept them warm and stylish

Manali, getting ready to head to the Rohtang pass. As the mountain temperatures asserted themselves, Team OD and our guests were glad for the Gant gear that kept them warm and stylish

 

More on the Independence Quattro Drive 2014

Image gallery: IQD day 1

Report: IQD day 1

Report: IQD day 2

Report: IQD day 3

IQD day 4: Passage to Rohtang

Independence Quattro Drive 2014: On the road to Leh

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