Leh, a District in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, was earlier was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh. It is famous around the world for its beauty and divine landscapes. If you are planning to visit the heavenly state, The Other Home’s recommendation is to drive down from Delhi to Leh. Delhi (Delhi) to Leh (Jammu and Kashmir) is 1010 km and takes approx 17 hrs 30 mins by road.
The main overland approach to Ladakh is from the Kashmir valley via the 434-km. Srinagar-Leh road, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. The most dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 11,500 ft. (3505 meters high Zoji-la, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the gateway to Ladakh.
Since 1989, the 473-km Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second land approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from around mid-June to early October, this high road traverses the upland desert plateaux of Rupsho whose altitude ranges from 3,660 meters to 4,570 meters. A number of high passes fall enroute among which the highest one, known as Taglang-la, is the world’s second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet (5,325 meters).
The journey start from Delhi, the capital of India…the first stop from Delhi is Manali..
Manali, in the Beas River valley, is an important hill station in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, India, near the northern end of the Kullu Valley. Delhi to Manali is 585 km & Journey duration is 14 Hrs.
Manali to Rohtang Pass: Rohtang Pass, altitude 13,051 ft, is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas some 51 km (32 mi) from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.
The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.
Tandi: is 8 kms short of Keylong and is situated at the confluence of Chandra & Bhaga rivers. It is the only village on Manali-Leh highway which has a petrol pump.
The next petrol pump is 365 kms away in Leh. Interestingly the petrol pump is owned by Lahul Potato Growers Co-operative Society (since the region is part of the ancient trade route; potatoes from the Lahaul Valley played an important part in the barter and trade with locals of Zanskar and Changthang). That is history, but today one needs to tank up at Potato Petrol Pump and also carry extra/spare fuel according to the make, tank capacity and mileage of the car. It is advisable to carry extra fuel since most of the time one is riding in lower gears and taking frequent stops, and the quality of petrol is also not assured.
Jispa is luxury, Keylong is the only major town on Manali-Leh Highway, Darcha is a temporary campsite put up by locals; you can take your pick. It is usually advisable to take a necessary halt at Jispa on the way to Ladakh when coming from Manali. Not only are the subsequent distances to Leh and Tso Moriri too much to cover on the same day, but also to enable travellers get acclimatised to the high altitudes of the region. Jispa is located at a height of 10,890 feet above sea level in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.
The route from Rohtang Pass to Lake Chandertal is fantastic and you come across marvelous scenery of the high altitude deserts as well as the River Chandra Valley area. The area is very less explored and has a few visitors from all over the world who love the nature and mountains.
Chandratal Lake is situated at a height of 4300 m and 6 kms away from the Kunzum Pass in Spiti and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh India. Boasting of a circumference of about 2.5 kms, the deep blue-water of Chandra Tal Lake is the source of the Chandra river.
Baralachala also known as Bara-lacha Pass, 16,040 ft (4,890 meters) is a high mountain pass in Zanskar range, connecting Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, situated along the Leh-Manali highway.
Baralachala means summit with cross roads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul meet here and in ancient times it was part of a trade route. On the North West lies the Bhaga River while the Chandra flows South East. Near below the Baralacha-la is having a beautiful emerald lake the Suraj tal (Sun lake), the source of the river Bhaga.
This is also the point of origin of Chandra, Bhaga and, Yunam rivers. They flow to three different directions through the Chandra, Bhaga and Lingti valleys.
Sarchu (Also called Sir Bhum Chun), a tented camp in the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway, on the boundary between Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) in India. It is situated between Baralacha La to the south and Lachulung La to the north, at an altitude of 4,290 meters.
The journey along the Manali-Leh highway at high altitude and variable road conditions, normally takes two days, so travellers and tourists use this spot as an overnight stop. An Indian army camp is sited nearby on the banks of the Tsarap Chu river. The highway and thus the camp are closed during the winter, when snow blocks the high passes along the road.
Outside the camp, you can enjoy the walk in a vast valley overlooking the mighty Himalayas.
When you will start your journey again to Leh. You will come across one more interesting name on this stretch and it will struck to your memory – Twing Twing Bridge.
Gata Loops: 21 hairpin bends called Gata Loops will take you 4,190 meters to 4,630 meters height, starts after 24 kms from sarchu tents.
This series of twenty one loops covering a distance of few kilometers takes the road up more than 2,000 feet (440 meters). Since the loops keep going back and forth there are shortcuts that can take one up straight and in a short path provided your vehicle has a 4×4 drive train and sufficient grunt.
Nakeela Pass after Ghata Loops on the Leh-Manali Highway, is situated at 15,547 feets height.
After the Nakeela pass, the road dips for about 300 meters towards the Whiskey Nullah campsite before climbing up once again towards the Lachulung La pass. It is also known as Lungalacha La, situated at the height of 16,600 ft (5,059 meters). It is located some 54 km from Sarchu and 24 km from Pang on the Leh-Manali highway.
The climb up the Lachulung La is nothing spectacular but it opens up to a whole new world on the other side.
Taglang La, elevation 17,582 feet (5,359 meters), is a high mountain pass in Ladakh, India.
The Taglang La pass is 109 km from Leh and is 51 km from Upshi. There are a number of camping spots along the highway between Upshi and Taglang La pass.
Upshi, village and junction on the Leh-Manali Highway, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Leh is to the west along the Indus river valley, Gya (village) is to the south as is Tanglang La and the bulk of the Leh-Manali Highway, and an ancient trading road heads to the east towards Tibet.
Ladakh, a part of Jammu & Kashmir State in north of The Prayer wheel India consisting of two districts Leh and Kargil. Leh with an area of 45110 Sq Km makes it largest district in the country in terms of area. It lies between 32 to 36 degree North latitude and 75 degree to 80 degree East longitude. The district is bounded by Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the West and China in the north and eastern part and Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pardesh in South East.
The best thing after entering in Leh is to stroll in Leh bazaar.
Leh Palace overlooks the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh, modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, but was later abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century. The royal family moved to Stok Palace.
Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, the stables and store rooms were in the lower floors.
The view of the city of Leh from Leh palace. This is really picturesque.
The history of Leh Palace is stored inside the complex.
Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed stupa (chorten) on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura . The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself .
The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
The “magnetic hill” is located on the Leh-Kargil-Batalik national highway, about 50 km from Leh, at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level. On its eastern side, flows the Indus, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The Indian Army maintains a sikh Gurudwara near the hill where Guru Nanak Dev, meditated in the 16th century. Due to both the Gurudwara and the gravity hill, the area has become a popular sightseeing destination.
The hill is alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull cars uphill and force passing aircraft to increase their altitude in order to escape magnetic interference; in reality, the effect is an optical illusion created by the gravity hill.
On the way to Magnetic Hill, you can see the famous muralpainting of Alchi, confluence of Indus and Zanskar river.
Once rivalling Manali-Leh as the classic ride of the Indian Himalaya, the Leh-Srinigar Highway has been cast into shadow by the continuing political tensions in Kashmir. The road, which skirts the Line of Actual Control between India and Pakistan, has been the target of Pakistani shelling and crossfire.
There are three key milestones from Leh to Kargil – Nimmu, Lamayuru and Khaltse. The landscape is simply majestic. However, all the time you will remain under military vision from both side – India & Pakistan.
On the Leh-Srinagar Highway, Fotula Top is the highest point with an altitude of 13,479 feets.
Dras is a town in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is often called ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’. The town shot into prominence in the summer of 1999 following Pakistani-backed incursions into Jammu and Kashmir.
Dras is famous for the Kargil war which was fought in 1999. National Highway 1D passes through Dras connecting Srinagar and Leh. Tiger Hill and the Tololing ranges were captured by the Pakistani army and could directly block National Highway 1D. The famous three heights which were recaptured during the war were the Tololing, Tiger Hill and The Three Pimples.
The 1999 Kargil war, though not officially a war claimed the lives of 532 Indian soldiers and air force personals and 1400 soldiers were injured. There is a small wall at the memorial, which lists the names and ranks of all the soldiers who lost their lives, protecting our country.
Tiger Hill is a mountain in the Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the highest peak in the sector.
The journey ends with the spectular view of Amarnath Hills. a part of the great Himalayas and is one of the famous abode of Lord Shiva.