Destination : Ladakh

[ I have enrolled in a 12 weeks( read more than 12 ) travel writing course with the Matador University. As a part of our course work we have to write articles and publish them in our blog. This piece is part of the fourth assignment which is split into three parts. This piece is the first part, a destination piece. It is a travel narrative containing actionable information that the reader will need to know to duplicate the itinerary.]

Ladakh which translates to” A Land of high Passes”  is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the northern most of  India. It is the most sparsely populated region in the state.

There are 2 ways of getting to Leh, the capital of Ladakh ; either by road or by air. For someone who wants to try both I would recommend driving from the capital New Delhi via Manali and then flying out. True to it’ s name the journey from Manali to Leh, takes you through some of the highest motor able roads in the world.  The trip can be done in a day or in two days . I would recommend two days; the reasons being acclimatization and the beautiful vista!

The roads are open from mid June to Mid October.   They are maintained by the BRO( Border Roads Organization). You are bound to come across military convoys transporting materials and troops to the border and back.

Day 1: Manali to Keylong

Distance : 190 Kms

Start of the long winding road

Rohtang Pass :- 13,051 ft above sea level

Rohtang means ‘A pile of corpses’ owing to its unpredictable landslides and blizzards coupled with the narrow road.

Start early from Manali. Unless the Gods are very pleased with you chances are you will be stuck at the pass due to bad weather or due to a traffic jam.

Traffic jam at 14,000 ft

Once you cross Rohtang Pass local dhabba are scarce. Stock  up on food and petrol before you start from Manali. You never know how long you will be stuck at the Pass.

En-route to Keylong, stop at Tandi to refuel . This is the last petrol Pump till you reach Leh a good 380 Km away.

Keylong: 10,104 feet

Keylong is the administrative centre of the Lahaul and Spiti district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. There are many guest houses located here. Alternately one could also spend the night at Jispa which is 21 km away and at the same altitude.

Jispa is the last stop along the journey where one can use modern comforts. After you leave Jispa you have  only tented accommodation all the way to Leh.

Day 2: Keylong to Leh

Distance: About 290 Km

The second day takes you through a series of peaks and valleys.  While you ascend you will need to keep warm against the chill winds and while you descend you will start to sweat thanks to the scorching sun.

Beautiful Scenary

The scenery changes from snow covered hills to sand dunes, from glaciers to running streams.

Baralacha La: 16040 ft

Stop for breakfast at Baralacha at one of the road side tents.  Meals are basic  but indeed expensive.  The menu consists mainly of noodles and bread and omelet.

Breakfast at 16,000 ft

Sarchu: 14075 ft

Sarchu is the last town of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Once you cross Sarchu you enter into Jammu and Kashmir.  Sarchu is a valley village where the main occupation of the locals is animal husbandry.  So do not be surprised if you your way is blocked by hundreds of goats crossing the road.

Pang: 15584 ft

Pang boasts of the highest army transit camp in the world. Stop here for lunch and a stretch. The sun is overhead by now and it is bound to get uncomfortably hot, so make sure you apply your sunscreen  lotion before continuing to Leh.

Tanglang La: 17582 ft

The   second highest motor-able road in the world is 21 ghat loops from Pang. Stop here before you start your descend into Leh to enjoy the fresh high altitude air.

Tanglang La

Leh:11562 ft

‘Juley’! Welcome to Leh.


Useful Information
Ice-Berg Tours and Travels
Near Beas Brudge, Manali
H.P -175131
Ph: +91 980 537 1076
Ladakh Trek and Travel
Mentokling Complex, Changspa Road, Leh -Ladakh 194 101
Ph: +91- 990 698 7622
Home stay
Owner: Tsering Nurboo (Challi)
Ph: +91 1982 252487

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