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Ladakh (“Land of High Passes”) is a region administered by India as a union territory since 2019, and constituting a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947, that currently extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Valey of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyulregions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north.

Aksai Chin is one of the disputed border areas between China and India. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County but is also claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.

In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Leh Ladakh Tour organized by Himalayan Destination can make your vacation memorable one, as we are specialist in this sector. Himalayan Destination is one of the best Leh Ladakh tour and travel operator. Himalayan Destination is one of the best tour and travel operator, who organize Leh Ladakh Tour.

SRINAGAR TO LEH AND ON THE WAY

Due to heavy snowfall at Zojila Pass, the road from Srinagar to Leh remains closed in the winter months from generally 15th November to 15th April every year. The actual Srinagar Leh Highway closing time mainly depends on snow in the season, but it is not safe to travel in November due to black ice and cold conditions.

A project has been approved to make Srinagar Leh Highway tunnel at Zojila Pass to provide year round connectivity from Srinagar to Kargil. However, it just got approved, so probably it will take a decade to be realized into reality.

Drass/ Dras, a tourist hub for its high altitude trekking routes and tourist sites, is a Hill Station in the Kargil district of the union territory of Ladakh in India. Dras town is in between Srinagar to Kargil, altitude is 10,800 ft. Dras is 140 km from Srinagar and 63 km from Sonmarg. Kargil town is further 56 km after Dras on the national highway NH-1 from Srinagar towards Leh. It is often called “The Gateway to Ladakh“. The government’s official spelling of the town is Drass. It is The Second Coldest Inhabited Place in the World after Siberia and coldest place in India with lowest temperature recorded -60°C on January 09, 1995.

The Kargil War Memorial / Drass War Memorial, is a war memorial built by the Indian Army in the town of Drass, commemorating the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan. The memorial is located on the Srinagar to Leh National Highway (NH-1) about 5 km from the city center across the Tiger Hill.

In the winter of 1998-1999, the Pakistani Army crossed the Line of Control (LOC) and occupied numerous heights dominating the National Highway and roads connecting Leh (Ladakh) and Kargil to Srinagar. The Indian Army launched Operation Vijay (“Victory”) in May 1999 to retake the territory, leading to historical battles in the harsh mountain environment. Each year, 26 July is observed as Kargil Vijay Diwas / Kargil Victory Day, during which the Prime Minister of India prays tribute to the soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyothi at the India Gate, New Delhi.

A makeshift memorial is said to have been constructed at the site to honor brave heart Indian Army in 2000. The memorial in its present form was constructed by the Indian Army in November 2014.

The central feature of the memorial is a pink sandstone wall bearing a brass plate engraved with names of the soldiers who died during Operation Vijay. Visible from the site are the Tololing Heights, Tiger Hill, and Point 4875 (Batra Top), where fighting took place during the conflict.

The memorial features the Captain Manoj Pandey Gallery, which commemorates a young officer who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military award, for leadership during the war.

Over the years, several infrastructural improvements have been made to the site. On 26 July 2012, the Flag Foundation of India presented to the memorial a giant national flag measuring 11.4mX7.6m and weighing 15 kg, on a 100 ft flag pole. The Drass War Memorial is now an important landmark and a major tourist attraction in Western Ladakh. Each and every year it served more than 1 lakh tourist.

Kargil, the name is said to derive from the words Khar, means castle, and Kil means “centre”. “Kargil denotes a place between many forts, a central place where people could stay”. It appears to be a fitting description for a place that is equidistant from Srinagar, Leh and Skardu.

Kargil has an average elevation of 8,780 ft, and is situated along the banks of the Suru River. The town of Kargil is located 205 km from Srinagar, facing the Northern Areas across the LOC. It is the most famous place for those traveler who want to move further towards Leh or Zanskar from Srinagar. Traveler spend and acclimatized  there before further steps. Like other areas in the Himalayas, Kargil has a temperate climate. Summers are hot with cool nights, while winters are long and chilly with temperatures often dropping below −20 °C.

Mulbekh MonasteryMulbekh Gompa, is said to consist of two Gompa / Monasteries, one Drukpa (Serdung Gompa and Rgaldan-Se Gompa) and other Gelugpa Monastery (Serdung Gompa and Rgaldan-se Gompa) in Kargil. Recently the Rgaldan-Se Gompa was reconstructed in 2016. It also consist a Lhakhang known as Nyima Lhakhang, it is the oldest section of the Mulbekh Monastery. It is believed to be built around 800 year ago by the students of great Tibetan scholar Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, it is clear with the style of painting.

The double Gompas are dramatically situated at the very top of a crag 200m above the road. They were connected with the nearby palace of Rajah Kalon of Mulbekh below. They may be reached by a steep footpath winding up from behind.

The altitude of the town at the foot of the crag is given as 10,839 ft, which makes the altitude of the gompas 11,495 ft. Its population is given as 5,730.

Around 45 km from Kargil town heading toward Leh, is the famous Chamba Statue in Mulbekh village, a striking enormous figure carved into the rock face on the right hand side of the road towards Leh. It pictures a standing Maitreya Buddha overlooking the old trade route and modern highway. Some people believe it dates to the Kushan period in the early centuries CE. Modern scholars date it as being from around the eighth century. Unfortunately, the lower part of the statue is partly obscured by a small temple built in 1975.

Fotu La, is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4108m (13,478ft) above the sea level, located in Leh district, Ladakh, India. Located within the Himalayas Zaskar Range, the pass, also known as Fatu La, is traversed by the NH 1D Srinagar-Leh highway, a road with a fresh thick layer of tarmac. It is the highest point on the highway. At the summit there is a television relay station and a viewing deck. The road is closed in winters. Along the way are frequent memorials at previous accident sites.

The route is dangerous due to high altitude with hairpin bend. Not recommended to newbie’s. Along the way you’ll have to deal with some dangerous drop-offs. On the way to the summit you will be able to enjoy green oasis, almost lunar landscape and nice bends on the descent from the pass to the east. The drive through the pass is a beautiful journey where you can stop to get an amazing view of the snow-clad mountain ranges. The pass sits on the way from Heniskot towards Lamayuru.

Lamayuru, is located Leh district, this is the famous Buddhist monastery at a height of 11520 ft. This splendid monastery is considered as one of the fascinating places that one must visit. If you are planning to visit Ladakh then you must enlist this place in your wish list as this monastery is said to be the oldest as well as the largest in Ladakh. Lamayuru monastery is a place where many legends were associated with. In the earlier days, this huge construction was a collection of five gigantic building out of which only one survives now. But still, this remains the largest monastery and houses near about 150 Buddhist monks permanently, in earlier days the number was 400.

This wonderful ancient structure is located on Srinagar-Leh highway. During the winter season at daytime, the weather is considered warm if the temperature is not at minus but at night the temperature plummets to minus 20 degrees. The area of the monastery is still very large even though only a small portion of the Lamayuru monastery remains alive. The travelers to this Buddhist monastery can only access the prayer hall which is only the key part of the whole monastery. This place has a unique appeal. From the monastery, tourists can experience the barren mountains along with the scenes of normal village life below.

Moonland, since the land resembles that of moon, Moon land near Lamayuru in Ladakh region is fondly called like that. A unique geographical feature appearing here attracts thousands of visitors every year. A traveler comes to Lamayuru will not miss the surprising land. There is also a saying that during full moon, the land becomes exotic and it would be an enchanting sight to behold and rare too. Lamayuru’s fame was dashingly enhanced because of this landscape carved in to the Greater Himalayan Ranges. Interested travelers will come to Lamayuru which is located at a distance of 100 kms from Leh on the famous Leh-Srinagar Higway.

To watch the glimpses of the moon land so clear and closer, you can climb up to the Meditation Hill in Lamayuru. The monks from Lamayuru gompa are living in this hill, at a greater height. The rough, uneven landscape of Moon land will be an amusing sight from the top of the Meditation Hill. The entire Lamayuru becomes visible from the top.

Things to do in Lamayuru Monastery

Do not forget to experience a small walk through the village apart from the monastery. The habitats at Ladakh are extremely generous and warm. If you apply the universal ladakhi greeting Juley along with a big smile they would easily open up to you. The people there are so cordial that some might invite at their stay to have a cup of tea. Else tourists who love adventure can try hiking on these amazing mountains. Do not worry, hiking is not a big deal, even during the hiking you can capture some excellent frames.

Lamayuru is also very well-known for Yuru Kabgyat which is a two-day cultural festival. This worth visiting festival takes place in the second month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. This festival is also called the mask festival as the monks were different mask during the ceremony.

How to Reach Lamayuru Monastery

The best and the earliest way to reach Lamayuru especially if you are traveling in the winter season is by hiring a cab from Leh. This is because during the winter season the buses do not ply on the highway on a regular basis. But in summer you are advised to board local buses as then the journey would be more fun and pocket-friendly. The drive to Lamayuru is an excellent journey. As you leave Leh the landscape start changing. However all that can be seen are dry and arid, only a few patches of green land can be found. During the journey, if you are lucky there are chances to experience wildlife animals. It would be better if you start your journey to Lamayuru in the early morning so that you can back safely before an afternoon in the Leh city.

Best Time to Visit Lamayuru Monastery

If you are planning to visit this monastery then you are advised to book your tickets for the months from April to June. During these months the weather remains quite warm and comfortable. It would be wise to avoid visiting this tourist attraction during the winter season as then there are chances that the weather would be too cold for the tourists to move around.

Alchi, is a small village situated on low land, is about 70 km to the west of Leh district and is located on the banks of the River Indus. Alchi village is very fertile and it is all green with apricot trees on both side of road. This region had influence of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism because it falls on the route to Turkestan of China but its isolation helped the village and gompas to keep their cultural traditions safe from the outer influences.

The Alchi village is famous for the existence of one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh known as Alchi Monastery, which is Ladakh’s most valuable heritage. Alchi monastery is a Buddhist worshiping place and study center and is managed by the monks of Likir. The monastery was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958AD and 1055AD. The building is said to have been built during the 11th century and the architecture of the place is also excellent.

In Alchi, one can visit the Sumtsek Temple, Vairocana Temple, Lo Tsawa Temple, Manjushree Temple, Kangyur Temple with Stupas, Monk Cells etc. Beautiful wood carving arts, huge Tibetan Styled models of Buddha, Manjushree, historic wall paintings of Buddha’s teachings within a very calm, quite, pristine ambiance made Alchi more valuable. There are five shrines in the Choskor temple complex which has some splendid wall paintings. One of its walls features thousands of miniature sized pictures of the Buddha. It is a perfect place to relax and experience the quintessential Buddhist monastery.

The Confluence of Zanskar & Indus River / Sangam of Zanskar & Indus River, has become one of the hot tourist spots near Leh. You can’t miss the Indus Zanskar Sangam if you are traveling from Srinagar to Leh or vice-versa. So, you do not need to hire a special taxi to visit this place in Ladakh. It can be easily covered when you come to Leh from Kargil or go to Kargil from Leh and at the time of Lamayuru sightseeing from Leh also.

At times, at the Sangam, The Indus River can be seen as Shiny Blue While and The Zanskar River is Dirty Green. In the summer season, Zanskar is swollen and rapid, while Indus is comparatively calmer. In the winters, it is quite the opposite. Zanskar slows down, its flow is light and is completely frozen at a lot of places, enabling the legendary Chadar Trek. While Indus flows fast, with ice floating on it.

The Indus River is one of the longest rivers in Asia. It is one of the primary rivers, not just in Ladakh but in entire North India. It was the lifeline of the great Indus Valley civilization and the Harappan civilization of India. These civilizations are one of the most ancient, rich and planned civilizations mankind has ever witnessed.

The Indus Valley Civilization is known for its urban planning, the great bath, an elaborate drainage system, brick houses, and flourishing agriculture, owing all to the resourceful river. It was only when the Indus River changed its course over some time that the civilizations saw their demise.

Zanskar river is one of the major tributaries of the Indus river only. It meets the Indus river at Nimmu village in Ladakh, a place popularly known as Sangam. However, the Zanskar River in itself is formed when the Doda River and Lungnak River meet together near Zanskar’s central valley.

The Doda River originates somewhere near Pensi La and flows towards Padum village in Zanskar Valley. On the other hand, the second tributary of the Zanskar river, the Lungnak River, is formed by the Kargyak river and Tsarap river.

Kargyak river originates near Shingo La which connects Himachal Pradesh with the Zanskar region. While Tsarap River has its source near Bara-La-Cha-La on Leh Manali Highway. Both Kargyak River and Tsarap River meet near Purne village and make the Lungnak River. You may also know Lungnak River by the names of Lingti River or Tsarap River too. Much like the Shyok river flows in Nubra Valley, the Zanskar river runs alongside you as you travel from Leh to Nimmu to Chiling road.

Chiling Village, is located at the tip end of the road running along with the Zanskar river. The road further extended from Chiling and connect  to Padum Village in Zanskar in the comming future.

Once the road will complete, it will render full-year connectivity of Zanskar Valley to Leh Ladakh. As of now, Chiling village is well known as a starting point for Chadar trek in winters, which might get obsolete once the road completes.

However, the drive or ride from Nimmu to Chiling is equally beautiful. If you have some time on your Sham Valley day trip, you will love the lonely sections of this peaceful road.

Chilling is about 25 km from the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus river and a nice place to visit. Also, you will have option of water adventurous activity rafting in Zanskar river from Chiling to Nimmu.

The Chadar Trek, is one of the most popular adventurous and challenging  trek or hiking over frozen river. As Zanskar River flows through a dramatic Zanskar Gorge, the beauty on offer is simply jaw-dropping. In the summer season, Zanskar river rafting, typically from Chiling to Nimmu, is very popular among the tourists in Leh Ladakh.

On the other hand, in the winter season, the Zanskar River temperature goes below the freezing point, and the river become completely frozen to form a thick ice sheet called Chadar. This frozen Zanskar river trek spanned over multiple days (Mainly January Middle to February Middle but starts from December end to February end), is popular by the name of Chadar Trek where you walk from Chiling to Padum.

Chadar Trek is the only means of connectivity to Padum Village or Zanskar Valley in winters when high mountain passes like Pensi La are closed due to heavy snow presence. Every year, 100s of adventure enthusiasts flock the Ladakh region to hike or walk along or on the frozen Zanskar river and fulfill their dream of Chadar trek.

Magnetic Hill, located at a distance of 30 km from Leh city on the Leh-Kargil Highwayis a small stretch of road that defies the phenomenon of gravity. The reason is the magnetic hill that pulls stationary vehicles upwards. Famous as the Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, it is a major tourist attraction in the valley and a perfect pit-stop for tired riders moving on the highway.

The strange world that we live in, there are plenty of theories backing this strange wonder of nature. All of them propose a different logic and are backed by strong reasoning, barring superstitions like ‘the magnetic road is a straightaway to heaven’. Here’s a look at what each of these beliefs and theories have to say.

Blessed with amazing natural beauty and mysterious magnetic abilities, the magnetic road in Ladakh is where travelers stop by to experience the strange, gravity-defying phenomenon. A yellow box marked on the magnetic road, few meters away from the Magnetic Hill road, Ladakh indicates that the vehicle must be parked in neutral gear.

The superstition– Villagers residing in Ladakh believe that there once existed a road that led people to heaven. Those who rightly deserved were pulled to the path directly while those who didn’t deserve could never make it there.

The magnetic force theory– Next comes a sensible theory, which is also the most widespread. It states that there is a strong magnetic force emanating from the hill that pulls vehicles that are within its range.

The optical illusion theory– Another widely accepted theory says that the hill is no source of magnetic force, rather it’s just an optical illusion that makes the downslope of the road leading to the Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, India look like an up-slope. So, when you see the vehicle going uphill, it is actually going downhill.

The strange occurrence on the Leh-Kargil highway has been experienced and testified by travelers from across the world. As a matter of fact, the notorious hill has caused planes of Indian Air Force to divert their route in the past to avoid magnetic interference on them.

Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, is a beautiful Gurdwara Sahib constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, around 25 km away from Leh, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000 ft above the sea level. The Gurdwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to Ladakh, the founder of the Sikh faith.

During his lifetime Guru Nanak traveled to many distant places and one such place was Tibet. Guru Nanak is well respected by Tibetan Buddhists who consider him a saint; The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Buddhists in Tibet, has confirmed this in his discussions with some Sikh leaders saying that Tibetans revere Guru Nanak as a Buddhist saint under the name of Guru Gompka Maharaj.

During the period around 1515 when Guru Nanak was returning to Punjab through Srinagar, after travelling to Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet, he had rested at this place. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev reached Leh via Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Yarkhand. Today the site and the Gurdwara is revered by both the local Lamas and Sikh sangat. Currently the Army is looking after the Gurdwara.

According to a local legend, once a wicked demon live in the area who terrorized the people where the Gurdwara is now situated. The people prayed to the Almighty for help. It is said that Guru Nanak heard their woes and came to their aid. He settled down on the bank of the river below the hill where the wicked demon lived. The Guru blessed the people with sermons and became popular in the area. The locals called him Nanak Lama. Seeing this, the demon got into a rage and decided to kill Guru Nanak Dev.

One morning when the Guru was sitting in meditation, the demon pushed a large patthar / stone, down from the hilltop, with the intention of killing the Guru. The patthar / stone gained speed as it rumbled down the hillside, but when it touched the Guru’s body, it softened like warm wax and came to a halt against Guru Nanak’s back. The Guru kept on meditating unhurt and undisturbed. Thinking that the Guru had been killed, the demon came down and was taken aback to see the Guru deep in meditation. In a fit of anger, he tried to push the boulder with his right foot, but as the Pathar still had the softness of warm wax, his foot got embedded in it. Pulling his foot from the boulder the demon was founded to see the impression his foot had just left in the stone. On seeing this, the demon realized his own powerlessness in comparison to the spiritual power of the great Guru. He fell at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev and begged for forgiveness. Guru Sahib advised him to get rid of his wicked ways and asked him to lead a life of a noble person. This changed the life of the demon, who gave up evil deeds and started serving the people.

Guru Nanak Dev thereafter continued his holy journey towards Srinagar via Kargil. The pathar pushed down by the demon, with the imprint of the body of Guru Nanak Dev and the footprint of the demon, is at present on display in Gurdwara Pathar Sahib. It is said that since the visit of Guru Sahib (in 1517) to the building of the roadway in 1965, the local Lamas had held the Pathar sacred and offered prayers to it as, no doubt, they do to this day.

Hall of Fame, is a museum constructed by the Indian Army in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives defending the motherland in the Indo-Pak wars. The Hall of Fame museum is located on the Leh-Kargil Road, about 4km from the city of Leh. It stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made by our soldiers to ensure the safety and security of our country.

The Hall of Fame museum, consisting of two stories, is divided into various sections which contain several displays. In the upper floor, there is a section named OP Vijay Gallery. Here, you can see the various kinds of weapons used in the Kargil War, along with the various arms and ammunition captured by the Indian Army during the war. On the same floor, in yet another section, various kinds of apparel and amenities used by the Indian Army in the Siachen Region have also been displayed. Some of these show the pictures of army posts on the glacier, living accommodation of the troops and the training process of the troops on ice walls, besides others.

If you head to another section of the same ground floor, you will find the pictures of Kargil War on the walls. The pictures provide an elaborate and fascinating account of how the Indian Army fought the war. There is also a wall named “Lest We Forget” which displays the photographs of those soldiers who laid down their lives defending our nation. It’s a very moving sight to come across and reminds you of the enormous sacrifices made by our soldiers to ensure that our country is safe and secure from foreign aggression at all times.

On the same ground floor, there is also a projection room where you can watch a documentary on “Operation Vijay“. One particular moving sight on this floor meets you in the form of a frame on a wall named “The Last Post”. This was the letter written by Captain Vijayant Thapar to his parents some days before he attained martyrdom. Upon reading the letter, you are overcome by a profound sense of grief and pride, while your eyes well up with tears. You are reminded of the bravery and exemplary courage displayed by our soldiers while performing their service in the line of duty.

On the ground floor, there is a section which displays the history, culture and other associated facts with Ladakh. It also consists of a souvenir shop where you can buy several items including T-Shirts, Caps, Coffee Mugs and Pashmina Shawls, besides others. You can also get a photo shoot clad in the Ladakhi attire in the photo shop and get the prints after paying a small amount of money.

Suggested route from Srinagar to Leh

The routes from Srinagar to Leh have many options. The options depends on your nos of days in hand. But the most important thing to visit Ladakh is acclimatized yourself sufficiently for a smooth a memorable vacation. After spent at least one night in Srinagar you can move further towards Leh. Few options are as follows –

One Day Journey (Srinagar to Leh)

This option of completing the journey of Srinagar to Leh in a single day is most common among local people. It iis least or never recommend to you or any traveler, even you are in high rush. It can be spoil your total vacation suddenly.

Shared taxis are the preferred way to avail of this option. Although it could be the cheapest or time saving for you, this back-breaking, cannonball run of around 16 Hrs with least stoppages does put a heavy toll on the body as well as the mind of an average traveler.

This long journey is extremely tiring and by traversing through the varied amount of altitudes in a single day, you are definitely running a risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or some severe headaches and for initial days spent in Leh.

This is true in this case you have not stayed overnight in Gulmarg or Pahalgam or Sonamarg on previous nights of your tour and you have to start from Srinagar early of the day. Undertaking this journey in a single day may certainly kill the joy of the journey.

Two Days Journey (Srinagar to Leh with Kargil Nightstay)

Day1 – Srinagar  to Sonamarg (80 km) to Drass (65 km) to Kargil (55 km)

Day2 – Mulbek (40 km) to Lamayuru (70 km) to Leh (125 km)

By extending the journey of Srinagar to Leh Highway in two days, you give yourself a chance to explore the sightseeing places en-route thoroughly. There are many tourist destinations in the Ladakh region, which are situated on Srinagar-Leh Highway and require time if you wish to explore them.

Hence, by extending the journey with one day you give yourself ample time to explore these tourist places before you reach Leh. Most of the people those who want to enjoy the beauty of Ladakh, follow this option. This option can save you time as well as save your pocket also.

Two Days Journey Alternate Route (Srinagar Leh via Batalik, Dah, Skurbuchan with Kargil Nightstay)

Day1 – Srinagar  to Sonamarg (80 km) to Drass (65 km) to Kargil (55 km)

Day2 – Batalik (54 km) to Dah (20 km) to Skurbuchan (35 km) to Khalsi (30 km) to Leh (95 km)

There exists an alternate route to reach Leh after you reach Kargil, which is a bit more scenic than the usual route. The alternate, the less used route goes like Kargil to Batalik to Dah to Skurbuchan to Leh.

Please make a note that the route via Batalik requires you to get the Inner Line Permits from either DC Office Kargil or DC Office Leh. So, it will advise that you go to Leh from Kargil via Lamayuru following the usual route and then you can come back to Kargil via Batalik after getting the permits from Leh DC office.

Three Days Journey (Srinagar to Leh with Kargil & Alchi Nightstay)

Day1 – Srinagar  to Sonamarg (80 km) to Drass (65 km) to Kargil (55 km)

Day2 – Mulbek (40 km) to Lamayuru (70 km) to Alchi / Likir (55 / 75 km)

Day3 – Leh (75 / 55 km)

Please keep in mind that Alchi and Likir are not exactly on Srinagar-Leh Highway and you need to take diversions near Sasapol Bridge for Alchi. The distance between Alchi to Likir is about 21 KMs only.

Well, by extending the journey of Srinagar to Leh Highway in three days, you give yourself a chance to explore the sightseeing places en-route thoroughly enough. There are many tourist destinations in the Ladakh region, which are situated on Srinagar-Leh Highway and require time if you want to explore them.

Hence, by extending the journey with one day you give yourself ample time to explore these tourist places before you reach Leh. Very few people follow this option due to a lack of time and expensive. If these two things have no place for consideration at your grounds, then I will say go with it, and you will make your journey on Srinagar-Leh Highway much more than a memorable experience.

This option will mostly be available if you are traveling by your own vehicle. To be very frank, this option may not even available if you are hiring a private Srinagar registered taxi as well because Srinagar registered taxis are not allowed for local sightseeing in Ladakh region especially Sham Valley where all these tourist places are present.

In such a case you need to book a taxi to Kargil first from Srinagar and then hire yourself a taxi from Kargil to Leh, or you need to hire a Ladakh registered number taxi. Confirm in advance from the driver if he will do sightseeing for Sham Valley before booking it. Then, in the next two days after covering all tourist destinations including Mulbekh, Lamayuru, Redzong, Alchi, Likir, Sham Valley, etc. on the route you can reach Leh.

Things to remember for travel Srinagar to Leh

Phone Signals in Srinagar to Leh

BSNL Postpaid Connection does work many places. But most of the time when you traveled through the remote areas network might not available. You can get strong network at Srinagar & Kargil only in this route.

Petrol Pumps on Srinagar-Leh Highway

It is easy to find fuel or petrol on Srinagar-Leh Highway. One can get fuel on Srinagar Leh Highway at the places like Srinagar, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha, Khaltsi, Leh

ATMs on Srinagar-Leh Highway

Apart from Srinagar & Leh teher are ATM available at Ganderbal, Drass & Kargil. But it is advisable t carry enough cash along with you because most of the time the on route ATM have run out of money or become un-operational at any day or any time.

Medical Facilities on Srinagar-Leh Highway

Srinagar, Kargil & Leh has the only major hospital in this route. Though the hospital is well equipped, they might not be able to handle a major medical emergency. They can support you only non emergency situation. If you have a medical condition, it is best advised that you consult your doctor before going to Ladakh. There are few small clinics and dispensaries as well in Srinagar, Kargil & Leh.

Preferred Vehicles for Srinagar-Leh Highway

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones generally not required. However, the road conditions in this region is mostly good but we are not suggest to use any sedan or hatchback in this route. Road conditions in Zozila is not so good and few areas have Kachha Road / Mud Road also.

Best Time to access Srinagar-Leh Highway

Srinagar Leh highway connected with few major high altitude passes. So the road accessibility depends on the passes opening and closing time. Though this time is not fixed, it is depends on how many snow is there.

  • Mid November to Mid April, Srinagar Leh Highway may close. You could not access this route in this time.
  • Mid April to early May, Srinagar Leh Highway may open but, snow sliding and loose gravel, the road blocks are very common in the initial days, especially around Zojila Pass.
  • May, Srinagar Leh Highway is open and mostly stable and less chances of landslides. You can found snow wall around the road side in many places at this time also. Those who want to chilled weather this is the ideal time them. Valleys are colorful at this time, lots of flowers are there and make the valleys colorful.
  • June, July, August & September, Srinagar Leh Highway with full of tourist vehicle, which is the peak tourist season in Ladakh. Do not afraid about the monsoon, it may disturb you in few areas but Ladakh considered as dry zone.
  • October & Mid November, Srinaga Leh Highway, the tourists going to less. But in our opinion, this is the best time to visit Leh to see the full glory of the burning colors of Ladakh with clouds hovering like candies in the blue sky.

LEH CITY AND AROUND SIGHTSEEING

Leh, at an altitude of 11483 ft. Leh, the dream of reaching Ladakh is finally true, and if you love this place then the excitement to reach Leh will refresh each of your body parts even after these around 12 hours of an arduous journey on the Srinagar Leh / Manali Leh Highway in a single day.

It’s always better to spend a couple of nights at Leh for Leh local sightseeing and get a feel of the culture, people, traditions, Monasteries and magical aura of Leh-Ladakh. It will also help you acclimatize to further sightseeing places in Ladakh.

Main market and Changspa road are two happening places in Leh. So, if you like a lively environment, then try to get a hotel in Leh as close to them as possible. The next day, along with Leh local sightseeing, you can also arrange the Inner Line Permits for other Ladakh destinations you are planning to visit in Leh-Ladakh.

Thiksay Gompa / Thiksay monastery, is a gompa of Tibetan Buddhism religion. It is located on the top of the hill. It is very famous for its similarity with Potala Palace of Lhasa. This monastery is famous for pilgrim activities, architectural elements, sightseeing and exploration. The monastery has an interesting anecdote of how it was built in this exact location. It is said that when two Buddhist monks offered prayers and rituals at the Yellow Temple and were about to through a cake (offering to God) into the valley, a crow took away the cake and place it on a hilltop. They assumed this a divine order and built a monastery here. The morning prayer of Thiksey Monastery is one of the most attractive event and to know about the Buddhist culture.

How to Reach Thiksey Monastery

The Thiksey Monastery is located on top of hill of 3,600 m altitude in Thiksey village. This village is located on the Leh-Manali highway in Jammu and Kashmir. The village lies 18 km to the south of Leh. Leh has a domestic airport, which is the highest airport in the country. The frequency of flights to Leh from other parts of the country is very less. Tourists usually reach India via Delhi or Srinagar airport and choose any land transportation to reach Leh. You can either hire cab to reach Thikse monastery or choose bus. The bus to the monastery starts at 9 in the morning. The bus tour includes many attractions including the monastery and thus, the time limited for exploring the monastery will be less. If you are planning to enjoy the monastery completely, it is better to visit in a car.

Best Time to Visit Thiksey Monastery

The monastery is open to tourists from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening throughout the week. October and November is the best months to visit the monastery. After November, the place will be closed due to snowfall and it opens by May. After November, the routes to the monastery will be blocked by snow and it becomes dangerous to visit. If you visit during early morning, you can enjoy many unique rituals. Numerous people visit the monastery by 6:00 in the morning to take part in the morning prayers with delicious hot local tea served by the monk.

Entry Fee of Thiksey Monastery

The entry cost is 20 INR for both locals and foreigners but it may vary. There is no fee for camera. It would take around 2 hours to scale the whole place.

Places to Visit inside Thiksey Monastery

The monastery holds ten temples, home for monks, assembly hall, nunnery and others. The monastery has 12 levels. It is one of the largest structures in Ladakh. As you enter the monastery, you can find the statue of the protector deity in the entrance. From the monastery, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the flood plains of Indus valley.

  • Maitreya Buddha, is one of the important attractions inside the monastery. It is a large statue, which is two storey tall. This is the largest statue in Ladakh.
  • The Assembly Hall, is entrance has a wall that has murals of Tibetan calendar. The prayer room next to this wall has many books and manuscripts. Beyond the prayer room, there is a small sanctum. Apart from these, the assembly hall has many pictures, statues and murals.
  • Tara Temple, is a small temple dedicated to the Goddess. There are 21 images of the deity in this shrine. You can find many murals here.
  • Lamokhang Temple, holds many scriptures including Stangyur and Kangyur. Women are not allowed inside this temple. There is a small school on top of the temple where young boys are taught to become Lamas. You can find a large pillar with Buddha’s teachings engraved on it. Beyond the temple, you can find numerous white huts, the residence of Lamas.
  • Nunnery, is one of the most popular school for nuns in the Ladakh region..

Festival of Thiksey Monastery

Festivals takes place either in November or in October. The festival spans for two days. During this festival, after the morning prayers, the celebrations begin. A sacrificial cake is distributed during this festival. Top attraction of this festival is the mask dance, which is performed by the monks. It is said that the masked dance wade off the evil. The Black Hat dance is performed to re-enact the assignation of Lang Dar Ma by a monk. The exact date of the festival changes every year with respect to the Tibetan calendar. During this festival, a fair takes place at the monastery’s base. This fair is the best place to buy souvenirs and socialize with people.

What to Eat in Thiksey

The monastery offers dinner at 6:30 pm. You can join the monks to enjoy the simple dinner. You have to pick a bowl and stand in a queue to receive Thukpa, a noodle soup with many vegetables. You can also get butter tea here. If you are dining in the monastery, you are requested to clean your dishes.

Hemis Monastery, situated at an altitude of 12000 feet, is the largest Tibetan monastery in the Ladakh region. It is one of the most visited monasteries by tourists on a trip to Leh Ladakh. It sits on a mountain on the west side of the Indus River, only 45 km away from the town of Leh and is one of the prime attractions of the Ladakh trip.

Hemis Monastery belongs to the Drukpa lineage or the red sect of Buddhism and is said to have been first established in the 11th century, and then re-established in the 17th century (approximately year 1670) by the King Sengge Namgyal. So manifestly, it is enriched with a great deal of history and legends.

The history of Hemis Monastery is contained as a transcript of a biography of the pupil of yogi Tilopa – Naropa. This biography was found in the Hemis Monastery and was translated later in various languages. It talks about how Naropa met Tilopa, a tantric master and the tasks that Tilopa assigned to Naropa to achieve enlightenment.

Naropa is considered as the “Abbott of Nalanda,” the famed Monastery / University in the present-day Bihar. This Nalanda University flourished in its full glory until it was sacked by the Afghan-Turkish invaders, which could be the cause of Naropa’s peregrination to the North and ultimately Hemis, where he consequently met Tilopa. It was then that Naropa and Tilopa both traveled back to another university in the kingdom of Magadha in Bihar, called Otantra (no longer in existence now). Naropa went on to become the founding father of the esoteric Buddhist lineage of Kagyu. Thus Hemis became the seat of this Kagyu lineage of Himalayan Buddhism.

Another controversial story proclaims Hemis to be the origin of an unknown gospel of Christianity, according to which, during his ‘lost years,’ Jesus is said to have traveled to India. Today historians find an abundance of incertitude in this particular story as the pieces of evidence are said to be fabricated, rendering the entire account a hoax.

Besides the iconic copper gilded statue of Lord Buddha, the monastery houses a wide collection of historical and religious paintings called Thangkas and various stupas and statues made of gold, silver, and other precious metals.

There is a museum within the monastery where numerous carriers, weapons and other Buddhist relics and artifacts are displayed. The Hemis Monastery is one of the world’s highest settlements at the height of 12000 feet and is the center of Drukpa ancestry where they train Lamas for all the royal monasteries.

About 3 km away from the monastery sits another sacred hermitage, which is said to have been founded by the great Gyalwa Kotsang whose footprint and you can see hand print on a rock inside the cave. The hermitage is adorned by fluttering Buddhist flags and is this visible from far away.

The intricate designs, ancient murals, the three-dimensional mandala and the unique architecture of the monastic complex are a sacred heritage of a rich culture that existed here.

Hemis Festival held every year in the month of June a high-spirited festival dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). His birth anniversary falls on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monk year of the Tibetan calendar. What’s interesting to know here is that this day comes once every 12 years. Thus, it is celebrated as an extravaganza with great festivity and fervor.

People believe that the life mission of Guru Rinpoche was forever to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings, hence, at the festival, sacred rituals are observed to attain spiritual strength and good health.

The Hemis Gompa festival is celebrated in the princely courtyard of the monastery. The beating of drums as an early morning ritual and the clash of cymbals and a spiritual wail of pipes, and it is then when the portrait of Rinpoche is ceremoniously unveiled for all to worship and pay homage.

While you can see musicians performing traditional Ladakhi music in full swing, the main attraction of the festival is the mystic masked dance, called Cham Performance, which is one the most esoteric festivities of the Buddhist tradition. It is a part of a tantric ritual and is performed only at those Gompas that follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings. You can also see any monks performing tantric worship at the festival.

Hemis Festival Dates 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020

Hemis festival is one of the most important festivals among all the festivals of Ladakh. Usually, the festival is celebrated in the summer months of June and July, depending upon the Tibetan calendar. Here are some of the dates for this festival in the upcoming season of Leh Ladakh tourism.

  • Hemis Festival 2015 Date: June 26th & 27th
  • Hemis Festival 2016 Date: July 14th & 15th
  • Hemis Festival 2017 Date: July 03rd & 04th
  • Hemis Festival 2018 Date: June 23rd & 24th
  • Hemis Festival 2019 Date: July 11th & 12th
  • Hemis Festival 2020 Date: June 30th & July 01st

Best time to visit Hemis

June & July specifically would be the best time to visit the Hemis Monastery when the Hemis Festival is celebrated. Otherwise, May to September is a good time to visit here.

The roads to reach Leh from Manali or Srinagar are closed from October to May respectively, because of heavy snow, therefore traveling via air is the only option to reach Leh and Hemis Monastery during this time.

Hence, the best time to visit Hemis Monastery near Leh (apart from festival time) is the same as the best time to visit Leh Ladakh, that is, from May to September / October when the roads to Leh Ladakh are open from Srinagar and Manali side.

The road to Hemis Monastery from Leh is also open in the winter months. So, you can surely plan a trip to Hemis Monastery from Leh in winter months as well. Please ensure that you are willing to endure the cold weather and want to witness the white beauty of Ladakh.

Druk Padma Karpa School / Rancho’s School / 3-Idiots School, become famous after a blockbuster hit Bollywood movie ‘3-Idiots‘. The school’s sprawling campus is designed like a Buddhist Mandala, and the main gate does not have the word Rancho. Only two big, polished wooden panels on either side of the gate show the name ‘Druk Padma Karpa School’ and the architect firm which built the institution.

After the blockbuster hit movie it become a famous and must visit place in Ladakh region. Sometimes it will very difficult to manage tourist for the school administration.

The 2009 blockbuster was partly shot in the campus of the school which began in 2001. The wall of a building on its campus was featured in the closing of the film in which one of the characters, Chatur, tries to urinate on it but gets an electric shock as two kids dangle a wire with a bulb from the first floor. While the original wall – the ‘iconic idiotic wall’ (Main attraction of the school for tourist),  part of a building which was damaged in the 2010 flash floods still remains on the campus, the first floor, earlier made of bricks has been replaced with wooden structures typically used in Ladakh. The wall shows a dangling glowing bulb, a flying Himalayan crane, a rainbow behind the clouds. Students of class 6 and above are generally aware of this famed wall.

Keeping in mind, the influx of tourists from all parts of India and few parts of the world, a duplicate wall has been created on the other side of the school in another area, with an iron mesh door separating the two sides, carrying a sign – ‘Private gate, no public thorough fare’, so that no tourist can wander in the academic campus. School administrator have created a visitor’s centre and Rancho’s Cafe, Photo Zone to allow tourist to enjoy without disturbing the school which has over 800 students.

Few teachers and students, while aware of the overwhelming fame and spotlight the film has lent to the school, also want people to refer to the school as Druk Padma Karpo School and not as ‘Rancho’s School.

Shey Palace, is about 15 Km from Leh and lies on the Leh-Manali road. The Palace locates on the top of a hillock overlooking the Shey village and a sandy trail connects the palace with the highway. There are numerous prayer wheels along the trail which suggest the existence of a monastery inside the erstwhile royal palace. Deldan Namgyal, the 6th King of Ladakh, in the memory of his father built the Shey Palace and the Shrine in 1655. It was used as a summer palace by the royal families. The protruding balconies of Shey Palace are magnificent to give you a feel like a King while standing there and posing for a camera shot. In the extreme right side of the palace there are white chortens which add beauty to the splendid view of Shey. The Palace has the largest Namgyal Chorten (victory stupa) in Ladakh, the top of which is made of pure gold. A post of sentry still stands tall around the ruined fortress. The king who built the Shey Palace also built a monastery adjacent to it, which is known as “Shey Monastery”.

Spituk Monastery / Spituk Goompa, is, yet another interesting monastery, on the hill top near Indus about 18 kms. from Leh on Srinagar road. The Spituk monastery offers a commanding view of Indus. It has a totally new Gompa within the monastery as well as the old Gompa has also been restored meanwhile. It is constructed in a series of tiers with courtyards and steps. Higher up in the hill is a chamber which houses the enormous statue of goddess. Its face is covered and uncovered only once in a year during the festival time.

The Spituk Gompa was founded in 11th century by Od-De, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub-od. The Gompa was named Spituk (exemplary) by Rinchen Zangpo, a translator came to that place and said that exemplary religious community would rise. Initially the Gompa was run according to the Kadampa school then during the reign of king Gragspa Bumide he converted it to Gayluk Pa order. Many icons of Buddha and 5 thangkas can be visited in this 15th century monastery. The Dukhang Hall is the largest building and has two rows of seats running the length of the walls to a throne at the far end. Sculptures and miniature chortens are displayed on the altar. There is also a collection of ancient masks, antique arms and fine thangkas. Higher up the hill is the Mahakal Temple, containing the shrine of Vajrabhairava. The terrifying face of Vajrabhairva is unveiled only at the annual festival in January.

Every year, on the 17th and 19th day of the 11th of the Bodhi month, the Gelukpa order of monks celebrate the Spituk festival known as Gustor. During the festival, the lamas wear the masks of religious deities and perform the dances, which is normally about good and evil and mythological stories related to the Buddhism.

Leh Palace, is a former royal palace overlooking the town of Leh, in the lap of Himalayan Range. The palace was constructed approximately 1600 by Sengge Namgyal. The palace was abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century and forced the royal family to move to Stok Palace.

It is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, while the lower floors held stables and store rooms. Much of the palace is in deteriorated condition and little survives of its interior decorations. The Palace Museum holds a rich collection of jewellery, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns. Chinese Thangka or Paintings, which are more than 450 years old, with intricate designs still retain the bright colors derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones. Structures around the palace’s base include the prominent Namgyal Stupa, the colorfully muralled Chandazik Gompa and the 1430 Chamba Lhakhang, with medieval mural fragments located between the inner and outer walls. The palace is now being restored and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas.

Shanti Stupa, was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura as a part of the Peace Pagoda mission. The stupa is a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh. Within the stupa, there are relics of the Buddha, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. The stupa is spread over two levels. First level has Buddha idol, and second features relics depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha (mahanirvana) and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating.

Getting There

Located at an altitude of 3,609 metres (11,841 ft), Shanti Stupa can be reached by car or by climbing a series of 500 steep steps to the hilltop. Closest landmark to the Shantii Stupa is Leh Palace.

Timings:

05:00 AM to 09:00 PM, Open all days

Things to Do and See in and around

One can also visit the Leh Palace, which is quite close to the Shanti Stupa. Don’t forget to click some amazing pictures against the backdrop of the stupa. From here, the view of Leh is extremely beautiful. Tourists can also consider visiting the market nearby the Shanti Stupa to pick some local handicrafts.

Best time to visit

June to September will be the best times to plan a trip to the Shanti Stupa as the roads are clear. The day remains warm and sunny with a sudden dip in temperatures towards the evening.

Things to remember for travel to Leh-Ladakh

Phone Signals in Leh

BSNL Postpaid Connection does work like a charm in Leh town with some loss of signal at few places though.

Petrol Pumps in Leh

Many petrol pumps are available in Leh Town. But please keep in mind fill the fuel tank of your vehicle before leave the town.

ATMs at Leh

Many ATM are available in Leh Town. You can found the ATM from most of the major banks. But please keep in mind withdraw sufficient cash or fill your pocket before leave the town.

Medical Facilities at Leh

Leh has the only major hospital in entire Ladakh. Though the hospital is well equipped, they might not be able to handle a major medical emergency. They can support you only non emergency situation. If you have a medical condition, it is best advised that you consult your doctor before going to Ladakh. There are few small clinics and dispensaries as well in Leh.

Preferred Vehicles for Leh local sightseeing

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones generally not required. However, the road conditions in this region is mostly very good, and may use hatchback or a sedan. But, it depends upon your skills to drive.

Best Time to travel or explore Leh

You can explore Leh city through-out the year, but you have to decide which season is suitable for you or which beauty you are looking for.

  • January to March, Leh town have less tourist at this time and few roads may not accessible due to thick layer of snow. Only a few options are available to stay and open to welcome guests. Suggest for extremely adventurous tourist for this time who want to know how Himalaya look in this season. It is very difficult to survive in the chilled weather. Stay at centrally heated guest house / hotel at this time for your safety. Main problem in this season is chilled weather.
  • April, Leh, some guest houses / hotels start to open. You can see apricot flowers blooming around Leh town in few areas in April. This time is also considered for those who like chilled weather and heavy snow. Few roads may not accessible in time also. Stay at centrally heated guest house / hotel at this time for your safety. Main problem in this season is chilled weather.
  • May, June, July and August,  Leh, which is the peak tourist season in Ladakh. You can find all accommodation options open with full staff and support even in remote areas also during these months of the year.
  • September and October, Leh, the tourists start to reside as the cold starts to set in and accommodation starts to pack up too. In our opinion, this is by far the best time to visit Leh to see the full glory of the burning colors of Ladakh with clouds hovering like candies in the blue sky.
  • November to December, Leh going to partial shut down again. Temperature drop frequently. Few areas inaccessible due to snow falls started. Limited options are available to stay. Suggest for adventurous tourist for this time who want to survive and enjoy the chilled weather. Stay at centrally heated guest house / hotel at this time for your safety. Main problem in this season is chilled weather.

NUBRA VALLEY AND AROUND JOURNEY FROM LEH

Khardung La Pass / Khardung La, is situated at an altitude of 18,379 ft. above the sea level, Khardung La makes one feel on the top of the world. It was once believed to be the Highest Motorable Pass in the world, but facts prove it is among the highest motorable passes in India. This mountain pass in the Ladakh  union territory of  was prepared for motors in 1976 and opened in 1988 for the public.

Khardung Pass (as ‘La’ implies ‘pass’ in Tibetan Language) is the gateway to the remote Nubra Velley (Nubra and Shyok valleys). The mountain pass holds a special significance as it is the way to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. It offers astonishing views of the twisting roads up the mountain and the awesome valley.

Alternatively known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’, Khardung La Pass is the inspiration of motorbike, automobile and mountain biking expeditions. This makes it adventure aficionados’ paradise indeed. Visit to Khardung La is one of the must do things in Ladakh. The picturesque panoramas and pure air lures tourists from every nook and corner of the world.

  • Temperature at Khardung La keeps on varying rapidly. It is really obscure to predict the correct temperature here. However, the Average temperature in summer reaches up to 20 degree Celsius while in winter in can go as low as -40 degrees. The pass gets wrapped up by a 10 feet snow during snowfall.
  • Road Conditions to Reach Khardung La is one of a kind feeling. But, it isn’t a child’s play to be at such an altitude. It takes lots of efforts to get that victorious feel. The first 24 km of the road from Leh to Khardung Pass, i.e. till South Pullu Check are made up of concrete. Out of the 39 km route, the next 15 km of the road, i.e. till North Pullu is uneven consisting of dirt, loose rocks and some streams appearing due to snow melting. Going beyond this point is easy as the roads are very well maintained.

How to Reach Khardung La from Leh?

Khardung La lies at a distance of 39 km from the Leh. The breathtaking views en route make the journey worth experiencing at least once. Although, this pass is a gateway to Nubra Valley, people grab an opportunity to reach and spend quality time here only. Thus, with the passage of time, traffic is also increasing at this vehicle-accessible-road.

There are four stops from Leh to Khardung La. These are Leh – Phyang – South Pullu – Khardung La. Since, this pass is gaining popularity day by day, entry and exit timings are restricted. In order to run the traffic smoothly, vehicles coming from Leh are allowed from 9 am to 1 pm. Similarly, the exit timings from Khardung La to Leh are from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Things to carry while travelling to Khardung La

It is always better to be safe than sorry. One must carry some essential things while travelling to Khardung La.

  • Take Diamox for overcoming acute mountain sickness. But, do consult a doctor first.
  • Carry chewing gums, chocolate and energy bars with you.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Keep on eating light food at regular intervals.
  • Do keep some alternatives for oxygen like camphor or portable oxygen cylinders.
  • Take waterproof backpacks.
  • Keep some pain relievers with you.
  • Woolen clothes, extra socks and raincoats are a must.
  • A good quality camera to capture the superb moments.
  • Fully charged batteries and chargers.
  • Examine your vehicle thoroughly before the journey begins.
  • Large containers for fuel.
  • Sun glasses and sunscreen lotions.
  • Sturdy shoes.
  • Medical Kit. 

Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Khardung La

A sojourn to Khardung La is full of adventure and awe-inspiring views. Get clicked with the signage of Khardung La is a matter of pride for many. However, it is always good to keep an eye on some of the important things for security and safety, which are mentioned below –

  • Climate may change very quickly
  • One can suffer acute mountain sickness. Thus, it is better to leave the place after a short duration.
  • If someone feel problem don’t out from car.
  • Keep notice continuing to your children and senior citizen and avoid over physical activities.
  • Do not travel the pass during snowfall.

The thrill of being at the very top of the world is sure to give you butterflies in your stomach. Khardung La Pass is not just a mountain pass in Ladakh, it is an adventure of a lifetime. Adventure lovers swear by the mountain pass as a journey that changes you forever.

Maitreya Buddha, the impressive 106 ft tall statue, most popular tourist attractions in Ladakh, is visible from a distance as soon as one enters the Diskit Region. Perched atop a hillock, facing the Shyok River towards Pakistan and complementing the surroundings, Maitreya Budhha was constructed in 2006 keeping in mind three objectives – protection of Diskit Village, prevention of further war with Pakistan, and to promote world peace. The statue was inaugurated by H.H Dalai Lama in 2010. The imposing and colourful image, also known as Jampa is mounted on a large hall that has a preserved a huge drum and a collection of statues and Buddhist literature. One can see statues of Shakyamuni Buddha and Guru Rimpoche inside the hall.

Getting There

In order to reach Diskit and the Maitreya Buddha, one has to book a cab from Leh City. Bikes can also be hired.

Things to Do and See in and around

On the opposite hill of the Maitreya Buddha is the oldest monastery in Nubra Region, Diskit Monastery. One can witness the beautiful thangkas and frescoes here. Another thing to do around Maitreya Buddha is to visit Hunder Village, where there is a cold desert. One can enjoy ride on the double-humped camels here.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Diskit is in the summer, between the months of June and September. In winters, roads are mostly blocked due to heavy snowfall.

Diskit Monastery, the oldest and the largest Buddhist Monastery in all of Nubra Valley, stands tall at an altitude of 10,300 ft in the cold desert of Ladakh. It was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, in the 14th century and belongs to the Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a sub-gompa of the Thiksey Monastery.

Diskit, mostly because of the 106 ft tall Maitreya Buddha statue, has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ladakh. The Diskit Gompa / Monastery, milky white, is nestled on a high hill at the edge of a road that links with Parthapur and Those. You need to hike up to the monastery alongside the stunning white Chortens.

A popular festival called ‘Dosmoche’ or the festival of the scapegoat is celebrated here at Diskit with a lot of festivities usually in January or February. So if you are willing to endure the harsh winter months and want to explore the white beauty of Ladakh, visiting Diskit during the Dosmoche festival would be a good time.

Inside the Monastery Complex has intricate frescoes and wall paintings, the Gompa is a delight to the eyes and the soul. Inside Dukhang, the prayer hall, there are huge drums and images of the Buddhist guardian deities. Diskit Monastery also has an elevated cupola (dome adorning a roof), with a wall fresco that depicts the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet.

There are numerous shrines, and Mongolian and Tibetan religious texts preserved in the storehouse of the monastery. Diskit Monastery has some Mongolian influence as well, which goes like this: there once lived a demon near the monastery which was an evil anti-Buddhist being; he was killed at the monastery but is said to have been resurrected multiple times since his demise. Today, his wrinkled head and hand are said to be lying in one of the temples of the monastery.

Lachung Temple, is one of the oldest temples in the Nubra region is the Lachung Temple, which sits right above the monastery. Here, a large idol of Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect, is worshiped. The monastery also runs a school in its premises, which teaches Tibetan children, with the help of an NGO called The Tibet Support Group.

Diskit village, is located in the Nubra Valley, which is best known for the Double-Humped Bactrian Camel, its night sky, the desert, and scenic landscapes. The Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows parallel to the Indus River on the northern side of the Ladakh Range. As the valley is at a lower altitude, it has a favorable climate for lush green vegetation in the valley, thus rightly called the “Orchard of Ladakh.”

While visiting Diskit, make sure you visit the river below for stunning sceneries. You should also visit the nearby Hunder village. The distance of Diskit to Hunder Village is just 8 km. Hunder is popular for its Silver Dunes, Double Humped Bacterian Camel Rides, beautiful settlements, and a clear night sky for stargazing.

Turtuk Village, a hidden treasure, an unknown little hamlet, flanked by Nubra on one side and Baltistan on the other, lies along the shores of Shyok River. An enigma in itself, population around 4000, is the last northern most village before Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

While time has not touched the exquisiteness of this place, the friendly nature of its residents is hard to miss. Turtuk has a history as colorful as the apricot plantations one sees all around the region. therefore, it is an amalgamation of all the cultures that have lived here.

Turtuk known as village divided by a border, thanks to a petition by locals to connect with the world, Turtuk opened its doors to inquisitive souls in 2010. Turtuk was part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir up until 1971 when Major Chewang Rinchen got the village under India’s command. However, initially villagers were skeptical of India and their trust in Indian Army was non-existent. As many residents served in the Pakistan Army. Naturally, their allegiance to alter immediately was unrealistic.

Of course, for many born before 1947, they went from being Indians to Pakistanis to Indians again. For many, Pakistan was their only home. Thus, adjusting to a new life where the “enemy” now defined their identity was not an easy shift. Consequently, of 300 families that call Turtuk home, many have relatives on the other side. However, the Indian Army has kept its promise, keeping villagers safe & bringing about multiple reforms while encouraging growth and prosperity.

Mainly, Turtuk has been a secluded region, thanks to both geopolitical uncertainties of recent times and its exceptionally daunting geography. Cradled by The great Karakoram Range, it is one of only four villages in India that lies in the Baltistan Region.

Culture of Turtuk village and surrounding nearby areas follows mainly Baltistan. Baltistan was a separate kingdom far before the era of war glorification that have defined the region in recent times. The Yagbo dynasty, a Central Asian empire, with monarchs from Turkistan ruled the region from 800 to 1800 AD. Of course, as with Ladakh, Baltistan was a predominantly Buddhist region up till the 13th century. Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, an Iranian poet and prominent Islam scholar, brought about cultural changes in the region. Thus, they began settlements and unions of cultures. So much so, that one spots beautiful Gompas in this predominantly Muslim region. Turtuk’s Mosque reflects a delicate coming together of Swastikas, Buddhist patterns, and Iranian designs.

Geography of Turtuk

Since Turtuk is at the height of 9845 ft, it is far friendlier than the surrounding ranges. And it is one of the gateways to Siachen Glacier, making it a strategically important location. Also, Turtuk lies on the bank of Shyok River, around 85 km from Hundur (Nubra Valley). The village of Turtuk is integrated by way of three sections:

  • Chutang– Chutang is the settlement by the river bank. This place is the educational and cultural center of Turtuk. Early mornings, one can enjoy watching the kids’ daily routine, and hear bellowing symphony of the National Anthem when school begins. During winter months, villagers that stay at difficult heights, move down to the river bed- vegetation and water’s primary source.
  • Yul– The oldest area of the village, Yul, is densely populated, a sanctuary of greenery, tradition and generosity. It is home to one of the two mosques.
  • Pharol– Across the river, you can reach Pharol by crossing an idyllic bridge. With open buckwheat fields spreading as far as the mountains would allow, one can view K-2 peak from here. Pharol houses most of the guesthouses in the region.

Weather of Turtuk

Being a high desert, Turtuk virtually experiences no rainfall. Of course, the peak summer month is July and experiences temperatures of around 22 degrees. And, the lowest temperature of around -10 degrees can be experienced in January.

Languages of Turtuk

Turtuk boasts of a predominantly Muslim population, and influence of its history you can be seen in the local dialect. Here, the primary languages include Ladakhi, Urdu and Balti. Balti is an amalgamation of Persian and old Tibetan. Of course, old Tibetan they hardly use in recent times and the language is melodic.

Best time to visit of Turtuk

The best time to visit Turtuk coincides with the tourist season of the Ladakh region, i.e. June till September.

Inner Line Permits to visit of Turtuk

While visiting any remote area in the Ladakh region, Inner Line Permit (for Indian Nationals) or Ladakh Protected Area Permit (for Foreign Nationals) is required. One can get permits online. Also, they are available at TIC Office, Main Market, Leh on all working days between 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Major Attractions / sightseeing in and around Turtuk

Even though it is a small, idyllic village, there is a lot to do here. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to embark on your next crazy adventure, or seeking out spirituality and humanity, or learning more about new cultures – Turtuk has you covered. The below list does not include the multitude of Apricot and Walnut farms which you see sprinkled across the highest producer in Ladakh.

  • Natural Cold Storage– In Turtuk, all villagers keep their perishables inside little hollows, which are naturally cold. This practice is due to an underground glacial watercourse keeping these quarters icy throughout the year.
  • Polo Ground– A 16th Century Polo Ground. The younger generation loves to play Polo. Of course, if you’re lucky, you will be asked to participate in a friendly match.
  • Brokpa Fort– The ruins of Brokpa Fort will take you back in time, into how the Yagbo royalty lived.
  • Water Mill– A simple Greek-style watermill is bound to take you to the nostalgic period.
  • Mosque, Balti Heritage House, Monastery– All are beautiful touristy locations to visit. These showcase unique combinations of the plethora of cultures that have left their mark on the region.
  • Waterfall– A very tricky climb, literally hugging the mountain at certain places. This trek will take one high up to the origin of the waterfall. Yes, it is challenging, and it will have your heart pumping. But the view from the top is indescribable. In the distance, one will catch a glimpse of the mighty K-2 (the second highest peak in the world). The miracle of nature and the mightiness of landscape is something that easily leaves you speechless. However, you will have to earn your views with approx. 3 hour climb.

Important Tips to visit of Turtuk

  • Electricity runs only a few hours a day. Hence, please remember to charge your devices (mainly the camera).
  • Also, BSNL post-paid connections can work intermittently. So, ensure you connect with the outside world, as needed.
  • The nearest petrol pump is in Diskit, Nubra, so, it is intermittently stocked. So, don’t try your luck and carry enough fuel for your complete journey.
  • There is a public health center in Chutang. Also, Bogdang has a hospital, if need some medical help then you can go there.
  • Of course, as can be expected, there is a massive army presence in the region. Naturally, due to the region’s sensitive nature, movement is frequent. Also, when in doubt, feel free to get in touch with the Army for any assistance.
  • Carry your own water bottle and fill it up when possible. Undeniably, it is essential to stay hydrated to combat the symptoms of AMS in the high altitude desert.
  • Likewise, as there are no commercial places en route Turtuk after Hunder, so carry your essentials.
  • Visiting during Ramazan might leave one with limited food options, as being a predominantly Muslim region, almost everyone would be fasting. Guesthouses and home-stays will provide one with lunch.
  • Turtuk is a conservative place and it hasn’t been long since the place was opened to tourism and in fact for most residents of the village this was their first contact with the outside world. It is requested to tourists to please respect local customs, sensitivities and culture. Suggest to wear dress modestly in full-length trousers and long sleeved shirts, this applies to both men and women. Please don’t smoke or consume alcohol.
  • Though the village is Muslim, there is a small Buddhist Gompa / Monastery perched on a hillock above the village. It’s a pleasant hike up to the Gompa / Monastery and there are fine views from the top, including the snow-clad peak of K-2.

Things to remember for travel to Nubra Valley

Phone Signals in and around Nubra Valley

BSNL Postpaid Connection does work like a charm in most parts of Nubra Valley with some loss of signal at few places though.

Petrol Pumps in and around Nubra Valley

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Leh petrol pump. Now a day a petrol pump in Nubra has been constructed but it might be out of fuel most of the time. So better to full your tank at Leh and move further with few options of more fuel with your hand.

ATMs in and around Nubra Valley

You will not find any ATMs in Nubra Valley and hence, it is always better to carry cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Medical Facilities in and around Nubra Valley

Diskit Village has a hospital where you will be able to get basic medical aid and treatment.

Preferred Vehicles in and around Nubra Valley

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones generally not required. However, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well. But, it depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel when you take a hatchback or a sedan. But Hatchback and Sedan is not suggested vehicle for visiting this lonely planet or Himalayan Destination.

Permit for Nubra Valley
There are certain areas in Ladakh which are considered inner line (areas close to the border with either China or Pakistan), and Nubra Valley is one them. Therefore, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit for visiting this place. Foreign nationals visiting this place are required to obtain a protected area permit if they want to travel from Leh to Nubra Valley. Earlier, obtaining an Inner Line Permit (ILP) was a cumbersome task.

Best Time to travel to explore in and around Nubra Valley

  • Early December to March, Nubra Valley remains shut down for thick layer of snow. Only a few options are available to stay and open to welcome guests. Suggest for extremely adventurous tourist for this time who want to know how locales are survive in the cold desert. Stay at centrally heated guest house / hotel at this time for your safety. Main problem in this season is chilled weather as well as food and water.
  • April, Nubra Valley, some guest houses start to open, but the food does remain an issue in most places. You have to rely on home stays or guesthouses and home cooked food only mostly. You can see apricot flowers blooming all over Nubra Valley in April.
  • May, June, July and August, Nubra Valley, which is the peak tourist season in Ladakh. You can find all accommodation options open with full staff and support even in Nubra Valley during these months of the year.
  • September and early October, Nubra Valley, the tourists start to reside as the cold starts to set in and accommodation starts to pack up too. In our opinion, this is by far the best time to visit Nubra Valley to see the full glory of the burning colors of Ladakh with clouds hovering like candies in the blue sky.
  • Early October to early December, Nubra Valley, going to shut down again. Temperature drop frequently. Few areas inaccessible due to snow falls started. Limited options are available to stay. Suggest for adventurous tourist for this time who want to survive and enjoy the chilled weather. Stay at centrally heated guest house / hotel at this time for your safety. Main problem in this season is chilled weather as well as food and water.

PANGONG TSO / PANGONG LAKE AND AROUND SIGHTSEEING

Pangong Lake, situated at a height of almost 14270 ft, is the world’s highest saltwater lake. Its waters, which seem to be dyed in blue, stand in stark contrast to the arid mountains surrounding it. Extending to almost 160km, one-third of the Pangong Lake lies in India and the other two-thirds is situated in China.

Pangong Lake, one of the most famous lakes in Leh Ladakh, derives its name from the Tibetan word, “Pangong Tso”, which means “High Grassland Lake”. You could spend hours in contemplation here, and still not have enough of its beauty. Pangong Lake is also known to change colors, appearing blue, green and red at different times. If you have decided to go on a trip to Ladakh anytime soon, don’t forget to visit the Pangong Lake. The beauty which awaits you there cannot be described in words. It has to be seen, felt and absorbed within yourself.

At dawn, get out of your camp and watch the sunrise. Watch, as the rising sun gradually disperses the darkness and ushers in light. Carry a camera with you, and capture these splendid moments.

The route to Pangong Lake is as beautiful as the lake itself. To get a glimpse of this beauty, stop about 10km from Pangong Tso, if you are coming from Leh. You will be greeted by a few signboards saying, “Stop here to see rare endemic species Marmot”. Marmots are large squirrels which are found in mountainous areas and reside in burrows. Despite being quite dodgy, they do come out from their potholes during the day, so there is a good chance of spotting them.

An adventure is all about taking on challenges, and being brave enough to try anything unusual. One of the unusual things to do in Pangong Lake is to take a dip in its cold waters. Usually, tourists leave Pangong Lake after sunrise as they have to reach Leh before sunset. Before doing so, take a dip in the lake. Yes, it sounds crazy, and you would be crazy enough to try it. But craziness is what makes an adventure thrilling and memorable.

Suggested route to explore Pangong Lake / Pangong Tso

The routes to explore Pangong Pake have many options. The options depends on your nos of days in hand. But the most important thing to visit Ladakh is acclimatized yourself sufficiently for a smooth a memorable vacation. After spent at least two night in Leh and one night in Nubra Valley you can move further to explore the beautiful Pangong Lake. Few options are as follows –

Leh to Pangong Day trip and back to Leh

If you are short on time, then you should make a day trip to Pangong Tso via this route only because it is best in road conditions in comparison to other routes and hence fastest of all.

Leh to Pangong Lake distance by road using Karu – Chang La pass route is 170 km. This route to Pangong Tso is what most people take to visit this beautiful lake in Ladakh. You can reach in about 6 Hrs (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey). The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Leh to Karu (36 km) to Sakti (10 km) to Chang La (34 km) to Durbuk (32 km) to Tangste (9 km) to Lukung (34 km) to Spangmik (16 km)

Please remember in this trip you have to sacrifice the beautiful Sunrise & Sunset at Pangong Lake.

Leh to Pangong and night stay at Pangong and back to Leh

Leh to Pangong Lake distance by road using Karu – Chang La pass route is 170 km. This route to Pangong Tso is what most people take to visit this beautiful lake in Ladakh. You can reach in about 6 Hrs (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey). The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Leh to Karu (36 km) to Sakti (10 km) to Chang La (34 km) to Durbuk (32 km) to Tangste (9 km) to Lukung (34 km) to Spangmik (16 km)

You can cover Thiksey, Hemis & Shey Palace / Shey Monastery while going through this route. This route provides the best road conditions for all other routes. So, if you are one of those who prefer relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places then, suggest making a two day trip to Pangong Tso lake via this route from Leh. Assuming your body has been acclimatized properly by staying for a couple of nights in Leh and spending a night or two in Nubra Valley before attempting to sleep near Pangong Tso. You can enjoy the beautiful Sunrise & Sunset at Pangong Lake. Hence, when they visit Nubra Valley (always recommended for better acclimatization) first then back to Leh and stay another night then next day to explore Pangong Lake.

Nubra Valley to Pangong and night stay at Pangong

Many traveler want to visit Pangong Lake directly from Nubra Valley without going back to Leh. For all such people, there exist two routes from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso.

Route – 1 (Nubra Valley – Wari La – Pangong Tso)

Nubra Valley to Pangong lake distance by road using via Agham  – Wari La Pass route is 243 km. This route goes via mighty Wari La Pass, one of the remotest passes of the Ladakh region and retakes about 11 hrs. (depending upon several interim breaks you take). The route is long and rough and hence requires you to leave very early from Nubra Valley so that you reach Pangong Tso (Lukung or Spangmik) before the sun goes down.

If you are planning via Wari La route, then do check the conditions at Agham village before ascending towards it. It is a remote region, and you will hardly find any tourist or vehicle going past by you. Hence, in case required, help will not be easy to find.

You do not need any special permit for Wari La Pass route and permits for Nubra Valley & Pangong Tso are sufficient for traveling on this route.

The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Diskit  to Khalsar (19 km) to Agham (31 km) to Tangyar (11 km) to Wari La (28 km) to Tathok (25 km) to Sakti (4 km) to Chang La (34 km) to Durbuk (32 km) to Tangste (9 km) to Lukung (34 km) to Spangmik (16 km)

Do not attempt this route in the early season because firstly, Wari La might not be open being low on priority for BRO, and secondly, the roads are not stable in the early season. So, being a remote place, any help might be hard to find.

You may carry spare fuel from Leh to cover about 425 – 475 km because the Deskit petrol pump in Nubra Valley may not have fuel. Well, now a day, the fuel availability is much better at the Deskit petrol pump. If you do not find it then you will be covering Leh – Nubra Valley – Wari La – Pangong Tso – Leh without any other petrol pump.

Route – 2 (Nubra Valley – Shyok Village – Pangong Tso)

Nubra Valley to Pangong lake distance by road using via Agham  – Shyok Village route is 175 km. This route from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso via Shyok Village and has become quite popular among tourists with fewer days in the past couple of years.

It is much shorter than the Wari La route, takes about 7 hrs from Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso and hence will save more time and energy. But, again, there are some landslide prone stretches on this route and sometimes you may have a couple of nasty water crossings to tackle. You have to cross the main water stream Shyok River early before increase the water level. So, leave early in the day from Nubra and confirm about route conditions at Agham village. If you are alone, it is better to wait for a few vehicles at Agham village to tag along with them.

You do not need any special permit for the Shyok Village route and permits for Nubra Valley & Pangong Tso are sufficient for traveling on this route.

The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Diskit to Khalsar (19 km) to Agham (31 km) to Shyok Village (48 km) to Durbuk (18 km) to Tangste (9 km) to Lukung (34 km) to Spangmik (16 km)

You also need to carry spare fuel from Leh to cover 350 – 400 km because the Deskit petrol pump in Nubra Valley may not have fuel. Well, now a day, the fuel availability is much better at the Deskit petrol pump. If you do not find it then you will be covering Leh – Nubra Valley – Shyok Village – Pangong Tso – Leh without any other petrol pump.

Things to remember for explore Pangong Lake

Phone Signals around Pangong Lake

BSNL Postpaid Connection does work in many areas in and around Pangong Lake but most of the places are out of network signal.

Petrol Pumps around Pangong Lake

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Leh petrol pump. Now a day a petrol pump in Nubra has been constructed but it might be out of fuel most of the time. So better to full your tank at Leh and move further with few options of more fuel with your hand.

ATMs around Pangong Lake

You will not find any ATMs in Pangong Lake and hence, it is always better to carry cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Medical Facilities around Pangong Lake

There are no medical support available in this region. Only army can help you for initial assistance. Nearest support you can get at Leh town.

Preferred Vehicles for exploring Pangong Lake

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones generally not required. Road conditions at few areas are not good even few areas dont have any constructed road also. You have to cross few water stretches also. Based on this consideration high ground clearance vehicle are preferred for explore this areas. Hatchback and Sedan is not suggested vehicle for visiting this lonely planet or Himalayan Destination.

Permit for Pangong Lake

There are certain areas in Ladakh which are considered inner line (areas close to the border with either China or Pakistan), and Pangong Tso Lake is one them. Therefore, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit for visiting this place. Foreign nationals visiting this place are required to obtain a protected area permit if they want to travel from Leh to Pangong Lake. Earlier, obtaining an Inner Line Permit (ILP) was a cumbersome task.

Night Stay around Pangong Lake

For a comprehensive list of accommodation options or hotels or camps around Pangong Tso lake, you can refer these good stay options nearby the lake. Please keep in mind that starting from 2018, Leh DC has issued a ruling to vacate all of the illegal Pangong lake hotels and camps. Make sure you double-check with your hotel or camp folks before making the deal.

You cannot do camping near the shores of Pangong Tso lake as it a Ramsar site wetland reserve, which means you cannot camp nearby the lake.

Tangtse has few guesthouses having much better facilities to fight the cold and provide comfort in winter months also. Stay at Tangtse is the only options for the guest who travel in between October to mid April. If the sun is shining and you do not mind the hard cold winters, then also you can make a day trip to Pangong Lake from Tangste to see magical shades of blue color at this lake. However, do not forget to check the weather conditions before leaving Leh at the time of winter. Weather can change any time and can make a trouble for you.

Best Time to travel to explore Pangong Lake

In general, the best time to travel to Pangong lake is in the summer months when the Ladakh has in full flow of tourist.

  • January to March, Pangong Lake remains mostly frozen, has extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake except few basic home stays in Spangmik and Man – Merak villages.
  • April, Pangong lake starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful palette of multi shades of blue colors.
  • May to Mid September, Pangong Lake is the peak tourist season. Tourists flock to the shores of the Pangong Tso lake in these months. In this summer period, you can witness a large number of birds around the lake including the most common Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks. You can stay just bank of the lake, lots of camps are there to enjoy every moment of the lake.
  • Mid September and early October, Pangong Lake the tourists start to reside as the cold starts to set in and accommodation tents start to pack up. This is one of the best time to visit Pangong Tso, just because of to see the full glory of beautiful shades of blue color in this lake. The colors are purely magical at this time of the year, and with less number of tourists comparatively, you get better deals and enjoy more.
  • Mid October to December, Pangong Lake, all the accommodation packs up, and the only nearest place you can stay is either in some home stay with basic facilities to fight the harsh cold or in some guest house at Tangste, about 34 km away from the Pangong Lake.

HANLEY / CHANGTHANG AND AROUND SIGHTSEEING

Hanley / Hanle / Anley / Anlay in the Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, calm and soul losing places in India. Hanley has a lovely Hanley Monastery offering some great aerial views of the whole village that is a home of about 1000 people. Hanley village is one of the high altitudes villages in Ladakh at a staggering altitude close to 14,764 ft.

The views from the top of the monastery are just breath-taking. Hanley also houses an Indian Astronomical Observatory which is the World’s Highest Observatory at a staggering height of 4500 Mtrs. The Hanley Observatory is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru and currently The World Second Highest Optical Observatory, with an installed telescope of about 2.01 meters (6.5 feet) diameter.

The Indian Astronomical Observatory stands on Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanley in south-eastern Ladakh of Indian Territory of India.  Accessing the observatory, located near the Chinese border, requires a ten-hour drive from Leh, the district capital of Ladakh.

In the late 1980s a committee chaired by Prof. B. V. Sreekantan recommended that a national large optical telescope be taken up as a priority project. The search for the site of the observatory was taken up in 1992 under the leadership of Prof. Arvind Bhatnagar. The scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics found the site at Hanley.

The first light was seen by the Observatory 2-metre telescope on the midnight hour between 26 September and 27 September 2000.

The satellite link between the Centre for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST), Bangalore and Hanley was inaugurated by the then Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah on 2 June 2001. The Observatory was dedicated to the nation on 29 August 2001.

The Hanley site is deemed to be excellent for visible, infrared and sub-millimeter observations throughout the year. Specifically the observation conditions yield about 255 spectroscopic nights per year, approximately 190 photometric nights per year and an annual rain plus snow precipitation of less than 10 cm. In addition, there are low ambient temperatures, low humidity, low concentration of atmospheric aerosols, low atmospheric water vapour, dark nights and low pollution.

  • The Himalayan Chandra Telescope, is a 2.01 meters (6.5 feet) diameter optical-infrared telescope named after India-born Nobel laureate Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar. It contains a modified Ritchey-Chretien system with a primary mirror made of ULE ceramic which is designed to withstand low temperatures it experiences. The telescope was manufactured by Electo-Optical System Technologies Inc. at Tucson, Arizona, USA. The telescope is mounted with 3 science instruments called Himalaya Faint Object Spectrograph (HFOSC), the near-IR imager and the optical CCD imager. The telescope is remotely operated via an INSAT-3B satellite link which allows operation even in sub-zero temperatures in winter.
  • High Altitude Gamma Ray Telescope (HAGAR), is an atmospheric Cerenkov experiment with 7 telescopes setup in 2008. Each telescope has 7 mirrors with a total area of 4.4 square meters. The telescopes are deployed on the periphery of a circle of radius 50 meters with one telescope at the center. Each telescope has alt-azimuth mounting.
  • Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology (CREST), is situated 35 km to the northeast of Bangalore near Hoskote town. The Center houses the control room for the remote operations of the 2m Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory, Hanley, and the HCT data archive. The operations are controlled using a remote satellite link.

Umling La Pass, altitude of 19300 ft, is about 107 KMs from Hanley Village. Starting for traveler in 2018, no civilians are allowed to visit Umling La pass. Even anyone visit Hanley village they can’t also. You need to have a special stamp from the DC office or Tourist information center in Leh.

However, just for your knowledge, the route to reach Umling La-

Hanley to Photi La Pass to Photile Village (57 km) and then follow the route from Photile Village to Umlinga La pass (50 km)

You will come across two bridges / water crossings while going to Umlingla Pass from Photile Village. There is another route from Ukdungle village as well, but it is more of a dirt track only except a few km.

Suggested route to explore Hanley

The routes to explore Hanley have many options. The options depends on your nos of days in hand. But the most important thing to visit Ladakh is acclimatized yourself sufficiently for a smooth a memorable vacation. After spent at least two night in Leh, one night in Nubra Valley & one night in Pangong Lake you can move further to explore the beautiful Hanley of Changthang Region. Few options are as follows –

Leh to Hanley

This is the general route to Hanley that most people take to visit this ever beautiful place in Ladakh. Leh to Hanley distance by road using via Upshi  – Chumathang  – Mahe  – Nyoma route is 275 km. You can reach in around 10 hrs (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey).

The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Leh to Karu (36 km) to Upshi (13 km) to Kumdok (19 km) to Kere (53 km) to Chumathang (34 km) to Mahe (22 km) to Nyoma (25 km) to Loma (22 km) to Hanley (51 km)

You can cover Thiksey, Hemis, and Shey monasteries while going through this route if you haven’t covered them earlier while going to Pangong Tso. This route provides the best road conditions for all other routes.

Hanley is about 97 KMs from Mahe village, and the road runs through Nyoma and then Loma, where you need to pass the bridge on the right that takes you to Hanley further 50 KMs ahead of Loma. Hats off to BRO, that they have created such smooth roads in the cold desert at such high altitude and harsh conditions. As you move towards Hanley, the size of the mountains starts to decrease, and you start witnessing a series of small mountains clustered together, giving a feeling of a different world altogether. You can found various color of mountain on the way to hanley, specially one brawn color mountain, locals called Lal Pari.

The journey to Nyoma – Loma and up to Hanley is extremely nice with beautiful vistas all around you and in fact, it is one of those journeys which I can go ever and ever again. I had never been to such a beautiful place ever. Roads could look freshly laid, but with caution, do not cruise as there are inverted bumps left on the roads so that the water passes through them. Such bumps can damage your vehicle, so be careful while driving

Hanley is very near to the Line of Actual Control, so one needs to get Inner Line Permits for Ladakh. There is no option to get Hanley to permit online and you need to get a special stamp from DC office or Tourist Information Center in Leh.

So, if you are one of those who prefer a relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places then, will suggest making a three day trip to Hanley via this route from Leh. Of course, assuming your body has been properly acclimatized by staying for a couple of nights in Leh and spending a couple of nights in Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake as well before attempting to sleep in the cold desert of Changthang at Hanley.

If you are short on time, then you can also exit towards Manali via Tsomoriri and then towards Manali via Leh-Manali Highway. But you need to ensure you have enough fuel to cover about 850 km without any petrol pump.

Pangong Lake to Hanley

There exist a direct route between Hanley / Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso as well and in most general cases, you will always be doing it from the direct route of Pangong Tso to Hanley because-

Firstly, you can exit Ladakh from Tsomoriri towards Manali – Leh Highway after visiting Hanley and Tsomoriri without coming back towards Leh.

Secondly, both Hanley and Tsomoriri are higher than Pangong Tso, so as per the acclimatization schedule, you should stay near Pangong Tso before spending the night at Hanley and Tsomoriri. However, all depends subject to the approval of permits for this route via Chusul.

Foreigners are not at all allowed to go beyond Man – Merak Villages as permits are not issued to them. The route along with the distance between the subsequent places are as follows:

Spangmik (Pangong Tso) to Man (9 km) to Merak (12 km) to Kakstet (4 km) to Chusul (24 km) to Tsaga La (33 km) to Tsaga Village (20 km) to Loma (23 km) to Hanley (51 km)

Rezang La is a beautiful memorial situated after crossing Chusul.It took us another hour to reach Rezang La Memorial which was created in the remembrance of the brave soldiers of 13 Battalion of Kumaon Regiment, deployed under the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh, during the 1962 Indo-China War.

Tsaga La, is another on the way pass after Rezang La, altitude around 15,207 ft, with China on the left. You would find a lot of army outposts at your left on top of the mountains which are Indian Army check posts.

The road from Rezang La till Tsaga La seemed like an endless journey traveling on loose gravel & stones. If you faced the bad weather then, made it more difficult and monotonous for you too. It is the most scenic beauty route in the entire journey. You can found group of Kiang (wild ass) in this route, they are very dangerous and harmful if you try to disturb them.

Loma, in about an hour we reached Loma where the road to Hanley bifurcates. After Tsaga, you would start finding more greenery. You will now be approaching Loma where you will witness the mighty Indus River which is also the reason for all the greenery in this area. Finally, you find a tarred road between Tsaga and Loma for the first time after Pangong. Loma is another place where permits were re-checked.

Hanley is very near to the Line of Actual Control, so one needs to get Inner Line Permits for Ladakh. There is no option to get Hanley to permit online and you need to get a special stamp from DC office or Tourist Information Center in Leh.

So, if you are one of those who prefer a relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places then, will suggest making a three day trip to Hanley via this route from Leh. Of course, assuming your body has been properly acclimatized by staying for a couple of nights in Leh and spending a couple of nights in Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake as well before attempting to sleep in the cold desert of Changthang at Hanley.

If you are short on time, then you can also exit towards Manali via Tsomoriri and then towards Manali via Leh-Manali Highway. But you need to ensure you have enough fuel to cover about 850 km without any petrol pump.

The place is very scenic and feels out of the world. However, in actual reality, the place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive, especially in winters. There are only a few accommodations options are available in the village and you have to out of the luxurious facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc.

The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to this high altitude. Hence, one needs to plan his / her journey extremely carefully to make it an acute mountain sickness free vacation.

Things to remember for explore Hanley / Changthang Region

Phone Signals around Hanley / Changthang Region

BSNL phone tower has been put up in Hanley and at times, the phone connectivity is present in the village. However, do not rely much on it. There is one public satellite phone installed at a house in Hanley village.

Petrol Pumps around Hanley / Changthang Region

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Leh petrol pump. Nearest Petrol Pump is at Karu (around 240 km from Hanley and comes on the way from Leh via Chumathang / Mahe Bridge). Many time the Karu Pump has been out of fuel. So better to full your tank at Leh and move further with few options of more fuel with your hand.

ATMs around Hanley / Changthang Region

You will not find any ATMs near Hanley and nearby area, it is always better to carry sufficient cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Medical Facilities around Hanley / Changthang Region

You can get basic first aid including Oxygen doses at some of the army settlements in case of emergency but it will be better to carry your own oxygen cylinder from Leh especially in case you are visiting early in your itinerary.
There is a local pharmacy in Hanley village and Rhongo village but do not expect any major assistance.

Preferred Vehicles for exploring Hanley / Changthang Region

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones would definitely be helpful especially between Pangong Tso to Tsomoriri via Man – Merak – Chusul – Nyoma (Changthang) route to Hanley via Chumur to Tsomoriri.
However, for the general route via Chumathang or Mahe bridge, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well, which depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel. The roads are pretty well paved from Leh to Mahe to Loma to Hanley. Hatchback and Sedan is not suggested vehicle for visiting this lonely planet or Himalayan Destination.

Permit for Hanley / Changthang Region

There are certain areas in Ladakh which are considered inner line (areas close to the border with either China or Pakistan), and Hanley Village is one them. Therefore, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit for visiting this place.
Foreigners are allowed to visit Hanley Village from Pangong Lake directly via Man – Merak Villages as permits are issued since 2019. Foreigners can visit Hanley from Leh directly with collect / issued protected area permit.
If anyone interest to explore Umling La Pass then need to have a special stamp from the DC office or Tourist information center in Leh.

Night Stay around Hanley / Changthang Region

There are only a few accommodations options like basic home stay available in the village and you have to out of the luxurious facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. Few home stay arrange own solar panel supply to the rooms.

Best Time to travel to explore Hanley / Changthang Region

In general, the best time to travel to Hanley / Changthnag Region is in the summer months when the Ladakh has in full flow of tourist.

  • January to March, Hanley remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with only options to stay as home stays that may not be the as convenient option for you.
  • April, Hanley it starts to get a bit warm and one can afford to sleep even in home stays, but it is not easy to stay there in this month also as the home stay qualities are not so good and well maintained.
  • May to Mid September, Hanley is a very pleasant season to visit Hanley and a lot of tourists visit this place now. Hence, it is the best time to visit
  • Mid September and early October, Hanley the tourists start to reside completely as cold starts to set in again and you start a bit uncomfortable at Home stays but it is still manageable
  • Mid October to December, Hanley, snowfalls started and road may close any time. In this situation only options to stay as home stays that may not be the as convenient option for you.

TSOMORIRI AND AROUND SIGHTSEEING

Tsomoriri Lake in Changthang region of Ladakh, situated at an altitude of 15075 ft, is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred (for ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. It is higher than the Pangong Lake / Pangong Tso. In fact, it is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 km wide at its broadest point and about 19 km long.

Being part of the wetland reserve under Ramsar site, it is actually known as Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. You cannot pitch any camps near Tsomoriri or construct any stay option near the banks of the lake. It is the highest Ramsar site in the world. The place is full of flora and fauna is found in the region.

Since it is near to the Line of Actual Control, you need to get Inner Line Permit to visit Tsomoriri Lake, both as an Indian as well as a foreigner.

The beautiful multi-shades of blues offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic and breathtaking feel. However, in reality, the place is harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters.

There is only a couple of cemented accommodation available around the lake in the form of home stays and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are luxury in itself. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude and hence, one need to plan his / her journey extremely carefully so as to avoid acute mountain sickness. So, even though you might feel tempted to include Tsomoriri in your trip to Leh Ladakh, it is important to plan your trip to this high altitude place properly.

Suggested route to explore Tsomoriri Lake

The routes to explore Tsomoriri have many options. The options depends on your nos of days in hand. But the most important thing to visit Ladakh is acclimatized yourself sufficiently for a smooth a memorable vacation. After spent at least two night in Leh, one night in Nubra Valley & one night in Pangong Lake you can move further to explore the beautiful Tsomoriri Lake of Changthang Region. Few options are as follows –

Leh to Tsomoriri

Tsomoriri is well connected from Leh, distance around 240 km, from Leh. This is the most general route to reach Tsomoriri from Leh. You can reach in around 8 hrs (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey). The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Leh to Karu (36 km) to Upshi (13 km) to Kumdok (19 km) to Kere (53 km) to Chumathang (34 km) to Mahe (22 km) to Sumdo (10 km) to Korzok / Tsomoriri (53 km)

You can cover Thicksey, Hemis, and Shey monasteries while going through this route if you haven’t covered them earlier while going to Pangong Tso. This route provides the best road conditions for all other routes. So, if you are one of those who prefer relaxing vacation and do not want to rush through places. Will suggest making a minimum of two days trip to Tsomoriri lake via this route from Leh. Assuming your body has been acclimatized properly by staying for a couple of nights in Leh and spending a night or two in Nubra Valley & Pangong Lake as well before attempting to sleep near Tsomoriri or Korzok.

If you are short on time, then you can also exit towards Manali from Manali-Leh Highway from Tsomoriri via this route only, but you need to ensure that you have enough fuel to cover around 550 km without any fuel pump if you come back to Leh.

Hanley to Tsomoriri

After visiting Hanley, you can move further to Tsomoriri from where either you can go to Ladakh, or you can exit towards Manali via Manali Leh Highway. There exist two routes to reach Tsomoriri from Hanley-

  • One via Mahe bridge. This is most common and easily get the permit for this route. The distance around 164 km and takes time around 7 hrs. The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

          Hanley to Loma (51 km) to Nyoma (22 km) to Mahe (25 km) to Sumdo (10 km) to Kyagar Tso (28 km) to Tsomoriri (Karzog) (28 km)

  • The other route goes via Chumur whose permits are hard to come because of it’s go through more closer to the Line of Actual Control. As well as you have to consider, have to passes through one of the remotest passes of the Ladakh region and takes about 8 hrs. (depending upon several interim breaks you take). The distance around 145 km. To considering the above difficultly suggest to leave early from Hanley so that you reach Tsomoriri in time. It is a remote region, and you will hardly / may not find any tourist or vehicle going past by you. Hence, in case required, help will not be easy to find. You will be very fortunate if you can access this route and feel nothing gets better and adventurous on your Ladakh journey than this. The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

          Hanle to Salsal La (62 km) to Charchagan La (23 km) to Tsomoriri / Korzok (60 km)

You need to make sure you carry sufficient fuel for this route because you will be covering very remote place without any other petrol pump. And if you want to exit Ladakh through Manali Leh Highway from Tsomoriri then also carry sufficient fuel as the next petrol pump will be available at Tandi after Leh / Karu. Otherwise, you have to come back to Karu or Upshi and refill for move towards Manali-Leh Highway.

Pangong Lake to Tsomoriri

In most general cases, you will always be doing it from Pangong Tso to Tsomoriri because –

  • Firstly, you can exit Ladakh from Tsomoriri towards Manali Leh Highway after visiting Pangong Tso without coming back to Leh.
  • Secondly, Tsomoriri is higher in altitude than Pangong Tso. So, as per the acclimatization schedule, you must stay at Pangong Tso before spending a night at Tsomoriri. However, for informational purposes.

Generally two different routes available for visit Tsomoriri from Pangong. Routes are as follows –

Pangong Tso Lake to Tsomoriri Lake via Changthang (Merak-Chusul-Nyoma)

Pangong  to Tsomoriri distance by road using via Changthang route is 238 km. You can go to Tsomoriri from Pangong Tso directly via the remote and ever beautiful Changthang region. The drive between Pangong Tso and Tsomoriri is one of the most beautiful drives in the whole Ladakh region. Since 2019, foreigners are now allowed to go beyond Man – Merak Villages as DC office is issuing the permits to them for this route.

Hence, they need to follow the indirect, slightly longer route to Tsomoriri from Pangong Tso. A special permit to cross Chusul is required from Leh DC office in order to travel on this route.

The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Spangmik to Man (9 km) to Merak (12 km) to Kakstet (4 km) to Chusul (24 km) to Tsaka La (33 km) to Tsaka Village (20 km) to Loma (23 km) to Nyoma (22 km) to Mahe (25 km) to Sumdo (10 km) to Kyagar Tso (28 km) to Tsomoriri (Karzog) (28 km)

You need to make sure you carry fuel for around 600 km because you will be covering Leh – Pangong Tso – Nyoma – Loma – Tsomoriri – Leh without any other petrol pump. And if you want to exit Ladakh through Manali – Leh Highway from Tsomoriri then also carry fuel for around 700 km as the next petrol pump will be available at Tandi.

Otherwise, you need to come back to Karu or Upshi, refill and move further towards Manali-Leh Highway.

Pangong Lake to Tsomoriri Lake via Chumathang

Another route /  indirect route that goes from Chumathang is the longer one, where you need go back from Pangong Tso to Leh up to Karu and from there you can take a left towards Upshi – Chumathang – Korzok to reach Tsomoriri, distance around 342 km.

This route can be followed by foreign tourists who are not allowed the permit for Changthang region if they do not want to go back to Leh. But, it will suggested, one must go back to Leh from Pangong Tso, refresh themselves and start towards Tsomoriri next morning instead of the very long day via Chumathang with relaxing mood.

You need to mention both Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso on your permit form in order to undertake this route. The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Spangmik to Lukung (16 km) to Tangtse (34 km) to Durbuk (9 km) to Chang La (32 km) to Sakti (34 km) to Karu (10 km) to Upshi (13 km) to Kumdok (19 km) to Kere (53 km) to Chumathang (34 km) to Mahe (22 km) to Sumdo (10 km) to Kyagar Tso (28 km) to Tsomoriri (Karzog) (28 km)

Of course, you can plan the route from Tsomoriri to Pangong lake, but in general, it does not fit in the overall plan because of acclimatization and losing the opportunity of exiting via Tsomoriri to Sarchu to Manali route.

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Karu or Upshi petrol pump and if you want to exit Ladakh through Manali-Leh Highway then also carry sufficient fuel for about 550 km as the next petrol pump will be available at Tandi.

Otherwise, you need to come back to Karu or Upshi, refill and move further towards Manali-Leh Highway.

Things to remember for explore Tsomoriri Lake

Phone Signals around Tsomoriri

There will no mobile connectivity at Tsomoriri. You may get network en-route few areas. The only postpaid connections work in Leh Ladakh and BSNL have the widest coverage followed by Airtel and Reliance Jio.

Petrol Pumps around Tsomoriri Lake

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Leh petrol pump. Nearest Petrol Pump is at Karu (around 207 km from Tsomoriri and comes on the way from Leh via Chumathang / Mahe Bridge). Many time the Karu Pump has been out of fuel. So better to full your tank at Leh and move further with few options of more fuel with your hand.
If you have plan to exit to Manali then you have to consider more fuel requirement in your journey. So plan accordingly and move further.

ATMs around Tsomoriri Lake

You will not find any ATMs near Tsomoriri and nearby area, it is always better to carry sufficient cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Medical Facilities around Tsomoriri Lake

You can get basic first aid including Oxygen doses at some of the army settlements in case of emergency but it will be better to carry your own oxygen cylinder from Leh especially in case you are visiting early in your itinerary.
There is a medical health center at Karzog village but do not expect any major assistance.

Preferred Vehicles for exploring Tsomoriri Lake

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable, and 4×4 ones would be helpful, especially between Pangong Tso and Tsomoriri via Changthang route. However, for the general route from Chumathang, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well which depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel.
In general Leh to Tso Moriri road condition via Upshi – Chumathang route is good enough for any type of the car including hatches and sedan.
Hatchback and Sedan is not suggested vehicle for visiting this lonely planet or Himalayan Destination.

Permit for Tsomoriri Lake

There are certain areas in Ladakh which are considered inner line (areas close to the border with either China or Pakistan), and Tsomoriri is one them. Therefore, Indians will need to obtain an inner line permit for visiting this place.
Foreigners are allowed to visit Tsomoriri from Pangong Lake directly via Man – Merak Villages as permits as permit issued to them since 2019. Foreigners can visit Tsomoriri from Leh directly with collect / issued protected area permit.

Night Stay around Tsomoriri Lake

There are no accommodation facility is available in the bank of the lake. As it is, Ramsar Site Wetland reserve also sanctuary for migratory birds, restricted to pitch the camp or construct any building in this area. There are few accommodations options like basic home stay / guest house are available in the Karzog village. You can pitch your tent or rent tent in this village only, nearest location to the lake.

Best Time to travel to explore Tsomoriri Lake

In general, the best time to travel to Tsomoriri / Changthnag Region is in the summer months when the Ladakh has in full flow of tourist.

  • January to March, Tsomoriri Lake remains mostly frozen, extremely cold conditions with no options to stay around the lake. Apart from some home stays at Korzok is the next best bet to stay nearby this lake. In that time those option may not as convenient option for you.
  • April, Tsomoriri Lake it starts to melt and starts transforming into the beautiful palette of multi shades of blue colors. Still accommodation option may not suitable for tourist.
  • May to Mid September, Tsomoriri Lake is a very pleasant season to visit Tsomoriri and a lot of tourists visit this place now. Hence, it is the best time to visit. But compare to Pangong you will found less crowd here.
  • Mid September and early October, Tsomoriri Lake the tourists start to reside completely as cold starts to set in again and you start a bit uncomfortable here but it is still manageable. Option for nightstay is less than the June to August season. This is one of the best time to visit Tsomoriri and see the full glory of beautiful shades of blue color in the lake. The colors are purely magical at this time of the year and with less number of tourist
  • Mid October to December, Tsomoriri Lake, all the accommodation packs up and the only nearest place you can stay is either in some home stay with basic facilities to fight the harsh cold temperature at Tsomoriri. You can also find some home stays in Nyoma village and a guest house in Chumathang. Both Nyoma and Chumathang are much warmer than Tsomoriri lake in winter months.
    Nyoma has few guest houses having slightly better facilities to fight the cold and provide comfort in winter months than the ones in Korzok. Similarly, Chumathang has Hot Spring Guest House and due to the presence of hot springs, Chumathang itself is quite warm and lower in altitude.
    If the sun is shining and you do not mind the hard cold winters, then you can make the day trip to Tsomoriri from Chumathang or Nyoma to see magical shades of blue color at this lake. But it is fully depends upon the weather and road condition. However, do not forget to check the weather conditions before leaving from Leh.

JOURNEY TO MANALI AND AROUND SIGHTSEEING

This is one of the most scenic road of entire Ladakh. Beauty of this route is completely different over Srinagar Leh road.

Leh, at an altitude of 11483 ft. Leh, the dream of reaching Ladakh is finally true, and if you love this place then the excitement to reach Leh will refresh each of your body parts even after these around 12 hours of an arduous journey on the Srinagar Leh / Manali Leh Highway in a single day. But it is also nostalgic to leave Leh city for further your journey to Manali or Srinagar.

It’s always better to spend a couple of nights at Leh for Leh local sightseeing and get a feel of the culture, people, traditions, monasteries and magical aura of Leh-Ladakh. It will also help you acclimatize to further sightseeing places in Ladakh.

Main market and Changspa road are two happening places in Leh. So, if you like a lively environment, then try to get a hotel in Leh as close to them as possible. The next day, along with local sightseeing, you can also arrange the Inner Line Permits for other Ladakh destinations you are planning to visit in Leh-Ladakh.

Upshi, at an altitude of 11418 ft. Upshi has the first police check-point where you need to register your name along with vehicle number in the records. Foreigners need to get their passports verified at Upshi police checkpoint. This destination marks either your departure from Leh town or your arrival in Leh town.

Upshi is a small village from where the right will take you to Hanle and Tso Moriri lake via Chumathang. It does have few very basic home stays / guest houses with food.

A few km earlier from Leh to Upshi, at Karu, you will finally find the first petrol pump of Leh-Manali Highway. You should top up at Karu petrol pump when traveling from Leh to Tso Moriri to Manali or in your preferred destination without going back to Leh. But, you can ignore it if you travelling from Manali or any other place to Leh town, as there are lots of options are available.

Rumste, at an altitude of 13977 ft. When you travel from Leh, Rumste is the last settlement you will come across as you are leaving the Leh Valley. It is situated alongside the Indus river and has some tea houses and home stays.

The road conditions are in good shape at Rumtse. From Leh to Pang, the road conditions are excellent, not only that mostly on Leh-Manali highway. But exceptions always has to be considered. There will be a point when you are driving just beside the Indus river and definitely you will feel ecstatic, forgetting all about the swaying headaches in the past 3-4 hours.

When you travel from Manali then, after reaching Rumtse, you will start to breathe a bit better, and so as your head will also feel slightly lighter due to the decrease in altitude. But when you travel from Leh to Manali then you may feel some problem due to hike of altitude.

There might be no options for accommodation at Rumste apart from some home stays if the villagers allow you to stay. Secondly, the drive from Leh to Rumste is almost like driving in plains, and you can cover the remaining distance fast enough.

Hence, after clicking the pictures of this small village or spending time beside the Indus river, you better move ahead towards Manali / Leh.

Taglang La or Tanglang La, at an altitude of 17481 ft. Taglang La is the first and the highest mountain pass on Leh-Manali highway and fifth on the way from Manali to Leh road trip.

This pass is also the falsely claimed to be World Second Highest Motorable Road, after Khardung La (18379 feet) which is also falsely claimed as World Highest Motorable Road.

The winds at the Tanglang La pass are cold and the force is such that it will blow you off the cliffs. Sometimes, it’s even hard to stand on your ground even. Secondly, the oxygen level per breath decreases considerably and with almost nil vegetation, most people suffer breathlessness at this pass.

The raging pollution from trucks or oil tankers also accounts for the stoppage being brief, by most people. Don’t be surprised if your head may also spin many rounds at this place, especially when you travel to Ladakh from Manali side. It is not recommended to spending more than 15 minutes on Taglang La pass.

Debring, at an altitude of 15863 ft. At Debring, there are few wrecked shelters of road workers may be and some army camps too. Sometimes there you can find a make shift dhaba too where you can stop for tea.

Debring is the point where the diversion road to Tso Kar and Tso Moriri lakes connect at Leh Manali Highway. The road is a mix of good and bad to Tso Moriri from Debring.

However, you should not visit the Tso Moriri lake from Manali side as you will not do not have the inner line permits to visit the lakes. If you are traveling from Manali to Leh by car, even if you arrange the permits through a travel agent, it is not recommended that you attempt a stay at such high altitudes (Tso Moriri 15075 ft and Tso Kar 14863 ft) without proper acclimatization.

Well, on your return journey from Leh to Manali, if you have plans to visit Tso Moriri and Tso Kar lakes then you can exit on Manali Leh Highway at Debring via this route.

Moore Plains or More Plains or Morey Plains, at an altitude of 15518 ft. Next place in the Leh-Manali highway is one of the most interesting popular by the names More Plains or Moore plains, or Morey plains.

More plains are surprising, flat bedded plains amidst the highest of hills in the country, over a length of around 35 km. As soon as one reaches Moore Plains, the instincts force people to make their roads but it is advisable to you not to do so because it damages the ecology of the place and disturbs the wildlife. So, please stay on that beautiful blacktop road.

Thanks to BRO, for prepare such type of smooth and tarmac road in this high altitude. It is requested to all tourist, do not drive off-road or try to shortcut, it will damage our eco-system. Many of the wild animals live on the water sources present in Moore plains and running the car off the roads may damage those scarce sources. Many people try to do off-road for show off, and all sought of things with their vehicles, including the race with other fellow drivers. However, these jerks are unaware of the fact that along with risking the damage to the vehicle in loose soil or potholes in the middle of nowhere, they are also disturbing the ecology of the place. It is our responsibility to keep the nature calm, clean and maintain our eco system as nature want.

Keep your camera ready to capture Kiangs (Ladakh wild asses) and Blue Sheep too at Moore Plains on Leh-Manali Highway. but it is completely depends upon your luck.

Pang, at an altitude of 15092 ft, where you can see those unique looking soil formations on the mountains. The special and deserted colors of Ladakh will become lost after Pang and towards Manali. Pang also has the World’s Highest Transit Camps.

At Pang, there are available few tented accommodations in Dhabas for a night stay and one can also enjoy food or beverages on their short stopover at Pang.

Few km after Pang towards Manali, the road runs alongside a river which offers an exciting feeling and some very nice views. Pang, along with its surrounding areas, does offers some fantastic views to be captured in your camera. Hence, do not miss the opportunity to record a few live drive experience in between Pang and Sarchu.

Pang is at a higher altitude than Sarchu, which will account for headaches and  Mountain Sickness and offers much lesser accommodation options too. Hence, it is recommended to avoid night stay at Pang. But you can stay at Sarchu, which offers Swiss tents too unless you have some emergency.

You may get some fuel or petrol in black in Dhabas at Pang in case of an emergency.

Pang is an important place where you can find food and accommodation at least before Keylong (few small dhabas are available en-route of journey).

If you are coming from Manali / Leh and running late, then at Rumtse & Upshi (next option of Pang, if you coming from Manali) and Sarchu & Keylong (next option of Pang, if you coming from Leh) as well you are likely to be unlucky on the accommodation front. Hence, if you think you have gone late and don’t want to carry on till Keylong / Sarchu / Leh in the dark, then it is recomended to you stay at Pang only and thoroughly enjoy the rest of the colorful journey in the next day’s daylight. It will be worthy to you.

Some of the dhaba have electricity arranged from transit camps or battery backups, or solar panel, so, you may charge your phone or camera here. Also, the army transit camp may have a phone to call back home in case of an emergency.

In case of any medical emergency on Leh-Manali Highway, you can get help at the Pang army transit camp.

Lachalung La or Lachulung La, at an altitude of 16616 ft, is the Second Highest Pass on the Leh-Manali Highway and second on the way from Leh Manali road trip.

Get ready to start feeling some more breathlessness from here on. You will reach above an altitude of 16000 feet for the first time on your journey from Manali to Leh (if you are coming from Manali side). Naturally there is no options available for fuel, food or accommodation at Lachulung La pass.

Nakee La, at an altitude of 15547 ft, is the third pass from both side (travel drom Leh to Manali or travel from Manali to Leh) on the Leh-Manali Highway on your Leh Manali road trip. You will not find any soul, food, accommodation or fuel, or even trees here. The place is deserted.

There are few short cuts around Nakee La of dirt roads, it is strongly advise not to take any of the short cuts because, many cars losing control especially when getting down and losing tractions or burning brakes.

Gata Loops, at an altitude of 13747 ft, just after Nokee La Pass, with 21 hairpin bends or loops, around 7 km long stretches will takes you from 15190 ft to 13747 ft. Sarchu is around 24 km from here. These loops are famously called Gata Loops. There is no options of food and accommodation here.

Please note that there goes a story of a ghost of the Gata loops, please don’t pollute the environment in the name of the ghosts or superstitions and do not throw plastic bottles in the offering to them. Even if you are superstitious, offer the water and keep the bottle with yourself.

Sarchu, at an altitude of 14075 ft. From Sarchu Manali is around 222 km, is famous for the night halt because it offers some good tented accommodations on the Leh-Manali Highway. At Sarchu, you have entering another state called Himachal Pradesh. Also, at Sarchu The Project Himank ends and The Project Deepak start.

At Sarchu, there is a second police checkpoint where you need to register your name again on this epic journey on Leh-Manali or Manali-Leh Highway. The entry acts as a record of your arrival up to Sarchu.

Sarchu is almost a middle point of the journey on Leh-Manali highway offering some good accommodation options including the Swiss tents with attached toilets. Hence, many people do consider Sarchu for a night halt. People already having the night halt at Keylong or Jispa, usually stops for lunch at Sarchu. It does have a few Dhabas which offer food and beverages as well. Dhaba may not available all time, so taking lunch is depends on dhaba’s availability.

At Sarchu, you may get some fuel or petrol in black in dhabas in case of any emergency.

Advice to avoid night stay at Sarchu when you coming from Manali

Sarchu is at very high altitude and many people staying overnight at this rough place suffer from Altitude Mountain Sickness including sleepless nights, severe headaches or vomiting. Many traveler called Sarchu as Vomit Hilton.

If you are not properly acclimatized, you will surely be one of them, suffering the pinch or punches, especially at night. While traveling from the Manali side, the body does not acclimatize properly and in case you have not had a night stay at Keylong or Jispa, your body will be or may be suffer to adapt at such a high altitude of Sarchu at night.

Hence, even though Sarchu offers some good amount of stay options (tented) but it’s always better to avoid a stay at Sarchu over Jispa or Keylong in the same order of preference. However, if you are coming from Leh or Tso Moriri lake after spending a few nights at higher altitudes in Ladakh, then your body is properly acclimatized already. So, in that case, you can choose to stay at Sarchu to break the journey on Manali Leh Highway evenly.

Bharatpur (Kaylong Sarai / Sarchu Sarai), at an altitude of 15092 ft. In Bharatpur has a few Dhabas to have some food as well as a series of tented accommodation running road side of the Leh-Manali Highway.

Some people do stay overnight at these camps as well, but being in much higher altitude than Sarchu, it is not recommended to sleep at Bharatpur as well. The accommodation or camps at Bharatpur are cheaper as compared to the stay options at Sarchu. After crossing Bharatpur, you have to pass through a small deserted place named Kaylong Sarai or Sarchu Sarai towards Manali.

Once you cross Sarchu, after a few km, you will come across a road straight as an arrow leading towards Bharatpur. Your instincts will induce you to a break and just zip pass through it, especially after you have been held up by the road conditions since morning.

It will not suggested and not recommended to hold on to those instincts of pushing the accelerator of your as the road is straight, rather carpeted. Still, it does have lots of bumps (may be due to the loose soil beneath or due to holes dug by Himalayan Marmots). You do not want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere when the broken car at Sarchu.

All want to suggest that, while speeding through that road from Sarchu on Leh-Manali Highway, do not be too complacent else be ready for some super bumps on the way. When self-driving to Ladakh, always make sure you are not carried away by the emotions and drive with caution & care.

Baralacha La, at an altitude  of 15912 ft, is fourth of the five high mountain passes on the way from Leh to Manali. Baralacha La connects the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh to the Ladakh. At the North-West base of the Baralacha La range, the Bhaga river originates from Suraj Tal or Surya Tal, and at South-East base, the Chandra river originates from Chandra Tal. Yunam river flows on the Sarchu (Ladakh) side of Baralacha La.

There is another famous trekking route which goes to Chandratal lake, either starting from or ending at Baralacha La. You will not find any food or water or accommodation option at this pass.

In this route from Leh to Manali or Manali to Leh Baralacha is one of the most dangerous and difficult to cross through-out the year. It’s rules on his own rule! No one can break its rule. In the early season of this journey on Manali Leh Highway, you will certainly witness one or two vehicles either stuck aside or stuck in the middle which results in the traffic jams on this road. But this could be happen any time not in the early season.

The ice or snow melting from the slopes, battered by moving traffic either creates deep mud or deep water crossings by washing away the roads. This gushing water makes the journey more adventurous and full of challenges on this mighty mountain pass. In the late-season like September, the Baralacha La pass becomes mostly devoid of snow.

Suraj Tal, at an altitude of 16020 ft, is The Second Highest lake in India and 21st Highest lake in the world. The story behind the lake is geographical location of Baralacha La and just below the Baralacha La pass (8 KMs after Baralacha La pass), you will find this beautiful crystal clear aqua colored sacred body of water. It will comes to your left side from Leh to Manali. Suraj Tal is the source of the Bhaga river and remains frozen and cut off in the months of winter.

Early in the season, June, you will find this lake to be frozen as well. As get more into the summers, having snow-covered peaks around and emitting its aqua green color at the foothills, the Suraj Tal lake looks simply breathtaking. Do not miss to click a few pictures of this amazing high altitude lake in India on Leh-Manali Highway.

Later in the season time when the snow has melted, the Suraj Tal may not have much water in it and will not look as enchanting as it looks in the early season.

Zingzing Bar, at an altitude of 14009 ft, is a tiny place with few tented Dhabas that offers stay options in them as dormitory beds. Of course, these Dhabas do offer food and beverages too.

If you leave early from Sarchu (if coming from Leh) / Keylong / Jispa (if coming from Manali) and you prefer to have your breakfast, then you can choose Zing zing Bar Dhabas for breakfast as well. This point is from where the climb to the mighty Baralacha La pass starts.

Just before Zingzing bar from Baralacha, there was used to be a nalla (water crossing) created by the melting snow of the Baralacha range. People mostly used to get stuck in it when traveling later in the day. However, BRO has built a permanent bridge on top of it and the adventure of the most ferocious water crossings on Leh-Manali Highway is gone.

Still, there are a couple of water crossings on Leh-Manali Highway that becomes dangerous in the late noon. Based on the above consideration, it is advisable to start early on Leh-Manali Highway.

Patseo, at an altitude of 12508 ft, after passing through Zingzing Bar, you will reach Patseo just a couple of km ahead. Patseo is a small place where only a few army camps are present, and sometimes they divert the road in some weird zig-zag manner. Once you reach Patseo, the feeling of getting to the high altitude starts taking in effect (if you start from Manali to Leh).

Deepak Tal, at an altitude of 12500 ft, few km after Patseo on Leh-Manali Highway, on your right side(if you coming from Baralacha). It is a small man-made lake having its own charm and is one of the two lakes that you can visit when traveling to Manali or Leh.

The still water of the lake offers some very nice reflecting views, almost picturesque from many different angles to all those photography lovers. So, if you are one of those, then get ready to shoot some unique angle of yours.

You can enjoy a cup of tea or your breakfast at the Dhaba just aside Deepak Tal.

Darcha, at an altitude of 11024 ft, is a small village that is considered as the last northernmost civilized place in Himachal Pradesh. Primarily, everyone traveling on Leh-Manali Highway needs to stop at Darcha police check-point and has to register their names with vehicle number in the passerby records. Darcha has the second police check-point after Upshi from Leh.

This acts as a record that a person has passed Darcha on his journey on Leh-Manali Highway, which is useful in case of rescue like operations (or other purposes as well). Foreigners need to get their passports verified at Darcha police checkpoint.

  • Darcha is also the endpoint of a famous trek which starts from Padum, Zanskar Valley in Ladakh region and of course, you can start the same trek from here as well. BRO completed the new road from Darcha to Padum via Shingo La pass in 2018. So, if you are planning a trip to Zanskar, then you can travel to Padum from Darcha over Shingo La pass through this route also.
  • Food / Drinking Water / Beverages (tea / coffee) in dhabas or roadside stalls is available at Darcha on Leh-Manali Highway. This place also has some tented accommodations and a few people stay overnight at Darcha as well.
  • Darcha does has power connections, in case you need charge your phone or camera for one last time before reaching Leh (if you starting from Manali), then you may try your luck here as well. But if you want to call your nearer and dearer one then,  you can do it from village phone connection.
  • If you coming from Manali, beyond Darcha village, the vegetation will start to reduce, and the mountains will start to change their colors into dark brown watercolor paintings that we all used to paint in childhood. The decrease in vegetation also means difficulty in pumping the oxygen, and increasing altitude will make it even tougher. This is another reason why you need your body to be better acclimatized and always hydrated on this tough journey on Manali Leh road. Do not forget to intake a good amount of water to keep your minerals and oxygen levels correct in the body. It will be best if you can carry ORS diluted water or Glucon-D water with you all the time and keep sipping it after every half an hour or so to keep yourself adequately hydrated on Manali Leh Highway.

Jispa, at an altitude of 10893 ft., is a small village that is located on the banks of the Bhaga River. While you coming from Manali or Leh  side, Jispa is most preferred place for a night stay and to break the journey on Manali Leh Highway in two days those who want to stay more closer to nature.

The accommodation options in Jispa are limited as compared to Keylong, but if you book them in advance or you are going with best travel agency for Leh-Ladakh, then, you are worth spending time and money. There are a couple of other guesthouses and some camping tents, including the Swiss tents, which are available as stay options at Jispa. You can get the food as well as beverages here in Jispa. Few restaurant are there, serving delicious food.

The village also has a small monastery, a small museum along with numerous trails into the woods which you can explore or how about spending some time on the banks of Bhaga river.

There is a helipad as well in Jispa and it does have a telephone connection which you may use to call at home or inform someone close. If you coming from Manali then you may required of these because of you may going to another few days out of network, until reach Leh. Or if you coming from Ladakh then from here you may enter your mobile network area on this adventurous Ladakh road trip.

Keylong, at an altitude of 10105 ft. Keylong, which is the biggest town located on Leh-Manali Highway and is the district / administrative headquarter of Lahaul Valley and Spiti Valley districts of Himachal Pradesh.

The Keylong town is completely isolated and cut off from the outside world in the winter months of November to April, due to heavy snow present at Rohtang Pass.

The opening of the Rohtang Pass tunnel will provide year-round connectivity to Keylong and the rest of the Lahaul Valley. Although the road from Leh-Manali will remain closed at other mountain passes in winter months even after the Rohtang Pass tunnel is operational.

  • Kardang Monastery, in Keylong, which is the largest and most important monastery of the Lahaul district of the Drukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The views from the Keylong town are pretty nice with the Bhaga river flowing in between.
  • Lahaul Valley including Udaipur, Triloknath Temple, are few options for make Keylong as the base town. But for this you need to increase your vacation minimum 2 days.

There are many options for accommodation (hotels, guest houses and home stay) available at Keylong. It is the best options to stay whether you coming from Leh or Manali. It is the best option because of its low altitude compare to Jispa & Sarchu.

Here is your last chance to use your mobile phone uninterruptedly. You can call you love one and send them memorable moment from here. Mostly every network has worked from here till Manali.

Medical facilities are also available at the local hospital and there is also one State Bank of India ATM in Keylong town. So if you coming from Manali then it is your last chance to withdraw cash, as you will not find any ATM en-route till Leh. But it is suggested to carry cash from Manali, as cash may not available at Keylong ATM.

Tandi, at an altitude of 8442 ft. Next on the list of places to visit on Leh-Manali Highway is the most important place called Tandi. At Tandi, you will find the only petrol pump on Leh-Manali Highway after Karu till Manali. The last petrol pump is about 365 KMs away towards Leh from Tandi.

Hence, you mustn’t miss this petrol pump to top up the fuel (if required) when you travel from Manali and you may required from Leh also.. Apart from being famous for this only petrol pump on Manali – Leh Highway, Tandi offers a view of the confluence of Chandra River and Bhaga River. The merged river is called Chandrabhaga River, and when it enters Jammu and Kashmir, it is further called the Chenab river.

The Chandra River originates from Chandratal / Samudri Tapu, Spiti Valley, and Bhaga River originates from Suraj Tal or Surya Tal, Lahaul Valley. So, if you have time on hand then do click some pictures of the confluence too.

Sissu, at an altitude of 10400 ft. Sissu or Khagling is a small town situated at the right bank of Chandra River in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. There is a waterfall on the opposite side of town which looks spectacular especially near monsoon months.

Few accommodation options are there including hotel, guest house & home stay.

There are a few dhabas or food stalls where you can find food, tea / coffee, and drinking water as well. You may also get some basic healthcare facilities at the local Primary Health Care center at Sissu town.

There is also a helipad that is used for the chopper services and mainly utilized by locales in the winter months when the roads are closed due to heavy snow at Rohtang Pass connecting Kullu – Manali valley and Kunzum Pass connecting Spiti Valley including any emergency situation also.

Khokhsar, at an altitude of 10302 ft. Just a few km before Gramphu, you will reach Khoksar which is the first settlement in the Lahaul Valley of Himachal Pradesh. This place has several Dhabas where you can enjoy the food, a clean washroom or toilet to fresh-up yourself. There are few houses as well in this small village. You can found few options of night stay in hotel as well as guest house / home stay. The Chandra river flows through this place, and the surrounding views are just amazing from the village. It is a major eating point on Manali Leh Highway (especially when you going to Ladakh from Manali).

Gramphu, at an altitude of 10499 ft. After you crossed the northern area of Rohtang Pass, you reach a place called Gramphu. At Gramphu, there is a diversion towards the right which will lead you to Spiti Valley via Kunzum Pass. If you want to visit Chandratal then you need to take the diversion towards Spiti and once you reach Batal, go straight towards Chandratal. There are no stay options at Gramphu, but you will find a couple of tea stall / dhabas there.

Rohtang Pass, at an altitude of 13058 ft. Distance to Manali from here around 51 km. Rohtang Pass connects the tribal valleys of Lahaul and Spiti to Kullu Valley. This is the hottest Himalayan tourist spot in Northern India and people flood this place in the month of May and June. Though there has been some respite since the introduction of Rohtang Pass permit.

Do expect heavy tourist rush and traffic jam, if you are late in leaving from Manali in the early season (If you start you Ladakh trip from Manali).

Rohtang Pass remains closed for more than six months in the winter months due to heavy snowfall and thus closing the Manali Leh Highway. No permit can be issued on every Tuesday for crossing Rohtang Pass (if anyone start there journey to Ladakh from Manali).

Many people feel the altitude factor after reaching Rohtang Pass with headaches and feeling to puke. So, it better to keep yourself hydrated on the way. There is no place to stay or eat at Rohtang Pass.

Rohtang Pass is the last of the five major mountain passes from Leh – Manali Highway.

Rani Nala, is few km ahead of Rohtang Pass, which is a glacier point. This place is famous for its huge snow walls, more than 20 feet high. You can find snow here almost 8 out of 12 months. The feeling of going between these huge walls of snow is impeccable, especially in the early season. You can face traffic jam in this area in the early season due to the narrow passage and kill your time. You need to leave as early as possible like 5 am from Manali to avoid the traffic jam on Manali – Rohtang Pass road (If you start Ladakh Journey from Manali).

It is perhaps the last major point on the southern portal of Rohtang Pass. No stay options are available at Rani Nalla.

Marhi, at an altitude of 10827 ft. After Rani Nala, you reach Marhi which is the highest snow point in winters when the road to Rohtang Pass is closed. There are few Dhabas on Marhi by HPTDC but there are no stay options. Marhi is a common stoppage point for people doing cycling on Manali Leh Highway. Cyclists put up their own camps to spend the night at Marhi and get acclimatized for the ride ahead.

Gulaba, is famous as one of the lower winter snow point when the road to Rohtang Pass gets closed. There are only a few Dhabas on Gulaba and no options to stay. Running through few small villages (Kothi, Palchan etc.) of this beautiful lush green valley you reach to Manali from Gulaba, around 20 km.

Suggested route to Manali

The routes to explore Leh-Manali have many options. The options depends on your nos of days in hand. But the most important thing to visit Ladakh is acclimatized yourself sufficiently for a smooth a memorable vacation. After spent at least two night in Leh, one night in Nubra Valley & one night in Pangong Lake you can move further to explore the beautiful route to Manali. The options depends on your nos of days in your hand. After spent at least one night in Sarchu / Keylong you can move further towards Manali. Few options are as follows –

Two days journey (Leh to Manali with Sarchu / Keylong Night stay)

Day1 – Leh  to Sarchu / Keylong (252 / 357 km)

Day2 – Sarchu / Keylong to Manali (222 / 117 km)

Manali is well connected from Leh, distance to Manali around 474 km. This is the most general route to reach Manali from Leh. You can reach Manali with minimum 1 night stay at your convenient place (preferred Sarchu / Keylong) around 12 hrs (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey). The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Leh to Upsi (51 km) to Rumste (31 km) to Taglang La (29 km) to Debring (19 km) to Moore Plains (20 km) to Pang (21 km) to Lachung La (27 km) to Nakeela (28 km) to Gata Loops (2 km) to Sarchu (24 km) to Keylong Sarai (18 km) to Baralacha La (16 km) to Suraj Tal (8 km) to Zingzing Bar (10 km) to Patseo (11 km) to Deepak Tal (2 km) to Darcha (13 km) to Jispa (7 km) to Keylong (20 km) to Tandi (8 km) to Sissu (25 km) to Khoksar (14 km) to Gramphu (5 km) to Rohtang Pass (15 km) to Marhi (16 km) to Manali (34 km)

You have to start early in the morning from Leh. This route provides the best road conditions for all other routes. The view are different from other route. This route is more adventurous than Srinagar route.

Before leave from Leh keep your fuel tank full and take few top up for any emergency as you have not enough option en-route.

Two days journey (Tsomoriri Lake to Manali with Sarchu / Keylong Night stay)

Day1 – Tsomoriri  to Sarchu / Keylong via Tso Kar Lake (252 / 357 km)

Day2 – Sarchu / Keylong to Manali (222 / 117 km)

Tsomoriri is well connected from Manali, distance around 463 km, from Tsomoriri. This is not very common route to reach Manali. Very few, but now a day no of tourist increasing rapidly to exit Manali from Tsomoriri directly. But before taking this route you have to confirm from your pilot of the car about the route map and road conditions. Some time your car may be the only one, so let it be considered when planning your vacation. You can choose this route in the month of July & August then you may join with few other group, as in this month is considered high pick time and all routes are open to access.

The route to Manali from Tsomoriri is diverted to Sumdo through Tso Kar Lake. En-route enjoy the beauty of Puga Hotspring with the valley. The road to Tso Kar from Sumdo is not that well laid and is kind of a dirt track only. In this route you will pass through Polakongka La Pass at an altitude of 16293 ft. The wind was quite cold at the top of the pass. Somehow, you need to handle it when you are high up in trans Himalayas and you are already acclimatized yourself  in your last few days of journey. The scenery soon turned to dramatic as the dark cover was scattered and sunlight begun to break through the clouds, giving it a dramatic backdrop. The flat bed dirt roads to Tso Kar lake with wide landscape, clouds hovering at the top of Rupshu region, were too amazing to be real. You have to increase your photo break in this route.

Tso Kar Lake is a salt water lake situated in Rupshu region of Ladakh at an altitude of 14862 ft and having length of around 7.5 km. you may fall in love with the sight of it majestic backdrop of Rupshu mountains. There is another small lake, Startsapuk Tso, at its south-west end too. It was used to be an important source of salt as well for Changpas, which they used to export to Tibet. Tso Kar Lake is quite popular for the birds and animals found around this region, mainly around Startsapuk Tso being non-saline in taste. Bird Watchers who come over to this lake can spot grebes, brown-headed gulls, strip geese, rust geese, terns, black-necked cranes and Tibetan grouse, etc.. One can also spot Kiangs (Tibetan Wild Ass), Tibetan gazelles, Tibetan wolves and foxes, Teppe Marmots, yaks, horses, etc.. around it.

There are few staying options are available. But the quality is not up to the mark, more specifically you may be force yourself to out of the basic need. Electricity is the major issue, but few home stay / guest house have own solar panel. Maximum home stay / guest house may not have attached toilet also. It is preferable for adventurous traveler and group travelers only. But if anyone spend one night here that would be worthy to you.

The road is carpeted and conditions are very good and meet ahead of Debring with Leh-Manali Hightway. The Moore Plains have all been tarred roads now. From Tsomoriri to intersecting point with Leh-Manali Highway it may takes around 5 hours (depending upon the number of breaks you take in between the journey) and the distance around 118 km.

The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Tsomoriri (Karzog) to Kyagar Tso (28 km) to Sumdo (28 km) to Tso Kar (40 km) to Pang (64 km) to Lachung La (27 km) to Nakeela (28 km) to Gata Loops (2 km) to Sarchu (24 km) to Keylong Sarai (18 km) to Baralacha La (16 km) to Suraj Tal (8 km) to Zingzing Bar (10 km) to Patseo (11 km) to Deepak Tal (2 km) to Darcha (13 km) to Jispa (7 km) to Keylong (20 km) to Tandi (8 km) to Sissu (25 km) to Khoksar (14 km) to Gramphu (5 km) to Rohtang Pass (15 km) to Marhi (16 km) to Manali (34 km)

If you are short on time, then you can also exit towards Leh from Tsomoriri, distance around 257 km. The route along with the distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Tsomoriri (Karzog) to Kyagar Tso (28 km) to Sumdo (28 km) to Tso Kar (40 km) to Debring (31 km) to Taglang La (19 km) to Rumste (29 km) to Upsi (31 km) to Leh (51 km)

Things to remember for travel to Manali

Phone Signals on the way to Manali

There will no mobile connectivity at Leh to Keymlong or Tsomoriri to Keylong. You may get network en-route few areas. The only postpaid connections work in Leh Ladakh and BSNL have the widest coverage followed by Airtel and Reliance Jio. But after Keylong you can access mobile network even internet also on major area and can full use at Manali. You can get mobile network from all service provider after Keylong.

Petrol Pumps on the way to Manali

Do not forget to refill petrol / diesel at Leh petrol pump. En-route Petrol Pump from Leh to Manali is at Karu but no petrol pump from Tsomoriri to Manali. If you out of fueal from returning from Tsomoriri you have to go back towards Leh till Karu for refilling. Many time the Karu Pump has been out of fuel. So better to full your tank at Leh and move further with few options of more fuel with your hand.

ATMs on the way to Manali

You will not find any ATMs en-route Leh to Manali or Tsomoriri to Manali, it is always better to carry sufficient cash from Leh (the only place where you find ATM in Ladakh) itself.

Medical Facilities on the way to Manali

You can get basic first aid including Oxygen doses at some of the army settlements in case of emergency but it will be better to carry your own oxygen cylinder from Leh especially in case you are visiting early in your itinerary.

Preferred Vehicles for travel to Manali

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable, and 4×4 ones would be helpful, especially between Sarchu to Keylong. It is not advisable to travel with hatchbacks and sedans in this route.

Permit for travel to Manali

When you coming from Leh to Manali, you have to enlist your detail on Upshi & Darcha Check Point. As you coming from Leh or Tsomoriri you have already done the permit procedure. No need to addition permit for this route. But if you coming from Manali to Leh then also you have enlist your detail at Darcha & Upshi Check Point and you need to complete your permit procedure to visit restricted areas of Ladakh at Leh.

Night Stay on the way to Manali

There are few options availed for accommodation at Sarchu, Jispa & Keylong. Not only that few very basic accommodation also available in many en-route place to Manali or to Leh.

Best Time to access Leh-Manali Highway

In general, the best time to access Leh-Manali Highway is in the summer months when Ladakh peak season is in full flow. En-route you have to cross 5 passes to reach Manali from Leh. To access of this route is fully depends on the open and close timing of those passes.

  • Mid October to Mid June, Leh-Manali highway may close. You can-not access this route in this time.
  • Mid June to End June, Leh-Manali Highway may open but, snow sliding and loose gravel, the road blocks are very common in the initial days, especially around Baralacha La Pass.
  • July, Leh-Manali Highway is open and mostly stable and less chances of landslides. You can found snow wall around the road side in many places at this time also. Those who want to chilled weather this is the ideal time them. Valleys are colorful from Himachal Pradesh side at this time, lots of flowers are there and make the valleys colorful.
  • August & September, Leh-Manali Highway going with full loaded. This is the peak tourist season in Ladakh. Do not afraid about the monsoon, it may disturb you in few areas but Ladakh considered as dry zone.
  • Till Mid October, Leh-Manali Highway, the tourists going to less. But in our opinion, this is the best time to visit Leh to see the full glory of the burning colors of Ladakh with clouds hovering like candies in the blue sky. But you may stuck any time any where due to snow falls.

Please visit and let us give the opportunity to serve you and make your vacation memorable one……..

Clean Ladakh & Plastic Free Ladakh

09 NIGHTS & 10 DAYS COMPLETE LADAKH TRIP FROM LEH TO LEH ITINERARY

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival Leh Airport & Acclimatized

Arrival Leh Airport and meet our representative to assist you for the complete Leh Ladakh trip from Leh to Leh. Check-in to the Hotel. Welcome drink on arrival. We recommend you completely relax for the rest of the day to enable yourselves to acclimatized to the rarefied air at the high altitude. Overnight stay in Hotel at Leh

Day 2

Leh Local Sightseeing

After breakfast visit the Monasteries of Shey, Thiksey, and Stok Palace. Shey – it was the ancient capital of Ladakh and even after Singge Namgyal built the more imposing palace at Leh, the kings continued to regard Shey, as their real home. The importance which was attached to Shey - the seat of Ladakh's heartland - is attested by the enormous number of Chorten about the village, particularly around the palace complex and barren plain to the north of the road. Thiksey –is one of the largest and most impressive Gompas. There are several temples in this Gompa containing images, stupas and exquisite wall paintings. It also houses a two - storied statue of Buddha which has the main prayer hall around its shoulder. Hemis – Beautiful monastery located in Karu. Overnight stay in Hotel at Leh.

Day 3

Lamayuru Monastery Excursion

After early breakfast drive towards Lamayuru Monastery through Leh-Srinagar Highway. En-route visit Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Pattahr Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Alchi Monastery, Sangam and Moonland then reach Lamayuru Monastery. Spend some memorable moment there and back to Leh and evening take rest. Overnight stay in Hotel at Leh.

Day 4

Leh to Nubra Valley

After breakfast at hotel drive towards Nubra valley via Khardungla pass(18379 feet) by surface passing thru Horzey & Gangles Village. On arrival in Nubra Valley, drive to diskit, visit Deskit, the HQ town of Nubra Valley. Driving for 30 Kms takes to Khalsar Bridge. Visit desklit Monastery. Further drive from Deskit to Hunder, you may see a few Double Humped, Hairy and Bactrian Camels. Overnight stay in Camp / Hotel at Nubra Valley.

Day 5

Nubra Valley to Turtuk Village Excursion

Turtuk-village 80 kms from Hunder. Turtuk in Ladakh is a picturesque border village situated along the famous Silk Route that has quite a past. Most recently, Turktuk was one of the biggest stages of the Kargil war in 1999 when Pakistan troopers occupied a small area on the ridges overlooking Turtuk . Locals depend on farming and providing mules and porters to the Indian Army the five villages of Turtuk, Tyakshi, Thang, Pachathang and Chalunka were in POK till the 1971 war. Overnight stay in Camp / Hotel at Nubra Valley.

Day 6

Nubra Valley to Pangong Via Shayok Village

Pangong Lake 175 km from Leh is a beautiful lake. The name Pangong is derived from the Tibetan word Pangong Co-meaning long, narrow, enchanted lake. There is a narrow ramp-like formation of land that runs into the lake which is a favorite among tourists and photographers. Due to the saltiness in the water of the lake, there is very less micro-vegetation. There are no fish or other aquatic life in the lake, except for some small crustaceans. However, numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface can be spotted in plenty. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake. Overnight stay in Camp at Pangong Lake.

Day 7

Pangong to Hanley

After breakfast drive from Pangong to Hanley. Hanley is a village in Ladakh, India. It is the site of the 17th century Hanley Monastery (gompa) of the "Red Hat"Tibetan Drukpa Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism and is located in the Hanley Valley on an old branch of the ancient Ladakh - Tibet trade route. The valley is home to about a thousand people, with about 300 people living in Hanley village. Overnight stay in Guest House at Hanley.

Day 8

Hanley to Tsomoriri

After breakfast leave from Hanley and drive towards Tsomoriri Lake via Mahe Bridge The lake is at an altitude of 15,075 ft. It is the largest of the high altitude lakes entirely within India and entirely within Ladakh in this Trans-Himalayan bio-geographic region. The Tsomoriri Lake is 19 km long and 7 km wide and the panoramic view of the Lake is amazing with Turquoise colored water. Overnight stay in Camp / Hotel at Karzog.

Day 9

Tsomoriri to Leh via Tso Kar & Taglang La

Morning drive back to Leh, en route visit Chumathang Hot sulphur springs, famous Tso Kar Lake and the highest pass on Leh-Manali Highway. Check-in to the hotel at Leh. Evening free in Leh bazaar. Overnight stay in hotel in Leh. Overnight stay in Hotel at Leh.

Day 10

Leh Airport drop

After breakfast transfer from Leh to Airport to catch flight for your further journey while recalling all the memorable moments of your exotic trip…
  • Pick up & Drop location at Leh Airport by Individual Cab.

  • 09 Nights Accommodation in double or triple or quad shearing basis.

  • Transfers & sightseeing by 1 Non AC cab (Innova / Xylo / Scorpio / Tempo Traveler) as per the itinerary.

  • Taxes& Expenditures Included: Parking, Toll Tax, Luxury Tax, Green Tax Fuel Exp. and Driver Exp.

  • 09 Breakfast & 09 Dinner

  • Air Fare / Train Fare / Travelling or Accidental Insurance or Claim or settlement.

  • Monument Entrance Fee / Camera Fees.

  • Any Adventure Activity River Rafting, Yak ride, Boating, Paragliding Etc.

  • Any Personal Expenses – Laundry, Shopping, Tip, Extra Meals, Hard or Soft Drinks Etc.

  • Extra sightseeing other than specified or normal route.

  • Oxygen cylinder.

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This 434 KM long Srinagar Leh Highway usually closed on 15th November and usually opened up by the 15th April. It may vary due to snow, weather conditions. Snow clearing work will organized by BRO.

When making a road trip to Leh Ladakh over Srinagar Leh Highway, you must keep in mind that even when the road from Srinagar to Leh opens, it takes some time to get them stabilized. Due to snow sliding and loose gravel, the road blocks are very common in the initial days, especially around Zojila Pass.
Even there is one-way traffic with time restrictions of traffic flow in the initial days because the road is not wide enough due to snow walls and one-way traffic is only allowed at Zojila Pass.
Hence, it is recommended that you should wait for a couple of weeks before planning the trip on Srinagar Leh Highway after its official opening. You have to also considered on you Ladakh road trip from Srinagar, there are many lonely yet freezing stretches on this Highway in early April.

This 474 km long Leh-Manali Highway usually opens up in between the last week of May to the 15th of June and generally closed it by 15th of October. It has been a norm that BRO set up the targets to open the highway early only to realize that the weather has the last laugh. Eventually, it will all get down upon the weather and snow conditions in the month’s March / April when snow clearance operations are at peak in many parts of the Himalayas including this belt of Himachal Pradesh too.

When making a road trip to Leh Ladakh and you have to access Leh-Manali Highway, you must keep in mind that even when the road from Leh to Manali opens, it takes some time to get them stabilized. Due to snow sliding and loose gravel, the roadblocks are very common in the initial days.
Even there is one-way traffic with time restrictions of traffic flow in the initial days because the road is not wide enough due to snow walls and one-way traffic is only allowed at Rohtang Pass.
Hence, it is recommended that you wait for a couple of weeks before planning the trip on Manali Leh Highway after its official opening. The last thing you will want on your much awaited Leh Ladakh road trip is to get stranded on some lonely yet freezing stretches of Leh-Manali Highway in early June or late May.

If you want to explore Ladakh with sufficient time then it will always be recommended, you should always travel to Ladakh from Srinagar Leh Highway and come back from Manali Leh Highway. Though some of traveler suggest from Manali, as Manali to Leh is more adventurous. But if you give some consideration, you can enjoy the beauty from both ways. Here some reasons to why start from Srinagar than Manali -

• Properly Acclimatization
When you travel to Ladakh via Srinagar-Leh Highway, you passes the altitude in a gradual manner. That means, your body gets more time to get acclimatized for the high altitude of Leh and you feel much better plus relaxed upon reaching there. Science tell that, if you increasing altitude gradually then, the chances of facing AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is lower.

If you start your Ladakh trip via Manali-Leh Highway then most of the places go through more than 13000 ft. Not only that you have to cross few highest passes in this route from the very beginning. Hence, by the time you reach such a high altitude, your body is not properly acclimatized and it will increase the chances of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), which can spoil your whole Ladakh trip.

• Disproportionate Travel Distance
It is suggested on both route (either Srinagar-Leh Highway or Leh-Manali Highway), to divide the distance minimum in two parts. When you travel from Srinagar it will divided more proportionately than Manali-Leh route. Generally traveler stay at first night at Kargil and very next day they reach at Leh, it is more proportionate.
But, when you start you Ladakh tour from Manali it will suggest to stay at Keylong and to avoid Sarchu (high altitude than Keylong) and very next day you have to travel till Leh. You have to cover more than double distance on very next day of your tour.
But, when you come from Leh and go to Manali then your body already acclimatized properly and you can stay at Sarchu. So the distance also divided properly and proportionately.

• Better Placement of Tsomoriri Lake in the Itinerary
As you already aware after read the detail blog, Tsomoriri is one of the best part of Ladakh. if you travel towards Manali from Leh then you can better place Tsomoriri lake in your itinerary and save a day for you.
You should not visit Tso Moriri while coming from the Manali side because first, you will not have any permits and secondly, even if you get the permits somehow your body will not be acclimatized properly to sleep at a very high altitude of Tso Moriri lake.
So, you will have to go to Leh first, get the permits for Tsomoriri, do all your sightseeing in Leh Ladakh and then visit Tso Moriri from Leh. Then again, go back to Leh from Tsomoriri to exit from Leh to Srinagar-Leh Highway. All it means is that you should include one more day in your Ladakh itinerary.
But you can always exit from Tsomoriri lake towards Manali via Tso Kar lake near Leh-Manali Highway, it gives more flexibility to place it in the itinerary when you travel from Leh towards Manali.

• Avoid to issue permit of Manali-Rohtang Pass for Non-HP vehicle
In 2011, the Himachal government floated a strange rule which disallowed any Non-HP vehicle (now) including two-wheelers (bike / scooters) to ply on Manali to Rohtang Pass road. The govt. stated that this rule was brought into effect to regulate un-necessary traffic plying on Manali to Rohtang Pass road and make the traffic situation a bit better.
Later the blanket ban was lifted and only 1200 tourist vehicles are permitted on Rohtang Pass every day. You have to get the Rohtang Pass permit to visit Rohtang Pass from Manali now.
For the people going past Rohtang Pass towards Lahaul or Spiti Valley or further to Leh Ladakh, the rule required to get a Beyond Rohtang Pass permit which is available online or using the mobile app now. If you plan to rent a bike, this will mean a delayed start from Manali as it required you to provide vehicle RC number to apply for Beyond Rohtang Pass permit.
But the most important thing is that, those vehicle are coming from Rohtang to Manali (Ladakh to Manali & Lahaul-Spiti to Manali), do not required any permit.

• Rohtang Pass permit not issuing on Tuesday
If you are traveling from Manali side to Rohtang Pass, you will not be allowed to travel on Manali-Rohtang Pass road. Also, the permit to cross Rohtang Pass will not be issued on Tuesday.
However, you can travel from Keylong side to Rohtang Pass on any day, including Tuesday also. Then you do not need and permit for Rohtang Pass when you travel to Manali from Keylong side.
So you can plan any day of the week.

• Better Enjoyment of Views on Manali Leh Highway
The scenic beauty of Manali-Leh Highway is lifetime achievement. As well as this route is more adventurous than Srinagar-Leh Route. So don't spoil it ! For better enjoyment you have to acclimatized properly.
It is not only very risky but also difficult to enjoy the beauty of landscape with tired or exhausted mind or health on very first day of the tour. So it will much better to enjoy the beauty with pleasant mind and make the journey memorable.

Based on the above consideration start your dream vacation from Srinagar & end at Manali and make your vacation memorable one.

Tsomoriri is a must visit place of Ladakh. Where you can found raw nature and taste of remote Ladakh. Few travelers planning to visit Tsomoriri from Manali side but, few points are below behind reason why you should avoid Tsomoriri from Manali side.

• No properly Acclimatization to sleep at Tsomoriri
You should not visit Tsomoriri from Manali side because your body will never be acclimatized properly to sleep at such a high altitude on very beginning of the tour. It is never recommend people to even sleep at Sarchu while traveling from Manali to Leh. Please keep in mind, altitude of Sarchu is around 14075 ft and Tsomoriri is around 15075 ft. Thogh Sarchu Altitude is less than Tsomoriri, but the altitude difference between two places are only 1000 ft. But when comes to altitude, then 1000 ft is is quite a lot.
Especially when you suffering from AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), then 350 ft altitude difference may save your life. As traveler called Sarchu The Vomit Hilton and it observed that very few people can survive at Sarchu without any problem. So, is it worthy to take risk at such altitude from very first day to spoil your vacation?
Now, Tso Moriri lake is even higher in altitude than Sarchu. So, there is no gradual ascend for your body to accept such a high altitude. You cannot sleep that early in the trip at such height. It is because you may have only slept properly at Manali (the day before yesterday), or even sleeping at Keylong / Jispadoes (last night), but it may not help.
While on the other hand, if you are coming back from Leh side, then your body is in much better condition to accept sleeping at the high altitude of Tso Moriri lake. The main reason is that you are coming after covering other high altitude places in Ladakh, especially sleeping at Pangong Tso. Such acclimatization will help you enjoy the beauty of the lake much more and without any worries of falling sick.

• Helpless when medical emergency required
Tsomoriri is located at a desolated place in Ladakh and in case if there is any help that is required whatsoever after falling severely sick due to AMS (is travel from Manali side), you are looking for about 8 hrs drive to Leh.
Any wise person can judge what it means to be away from medical help for about 8 hrs in any medical emergency. Hitting with AMS badly, is indeed is an emergency as AMS can be fatal if not dealt with quickly.
The main problem is when people are suffering from AMS, they tend to avoid admitting it and either say it is motion sickness or says it is fatigue. This ignorance aggravates the symptoms further, and the condition worsens mostly.

• Tsomoriri allow only Leh Taxis
As per Leh taxi union rules, you will have to a taxi from Leh to visit Tso Moriri lake unless you are not traveling by your own car or bike. When coming from Manali, you will be having Manali taxi in most cases unless you plan to call a Leh based taxi to pick you from Manali or make such an arrangement on the way to Tsomoriri in Manali-Leh Highway. Behind this reason is again properly acclimatized.

• Tsomoriri allow only Leh rented bikes
As per Leh bike rental union rules, you will have to rented a bike based out in Leh to visit Tsomoriri lake unless you are not traveling by your own bike. When coming from Manali, you will be having Manali or Delhi rented a bike which will not be allowed at Tsomoriri, if confronted at the various checkpoints installed by union guys.
Gain behind this reason is properly acclimatized.

• Inner Line Permits are required to visit Tsomoriri
In case you need to visit Tsomoriri lake from Manali or Ladakh, Indians also need Ladakh Inner Line Permits to visit Tsomoriri.
Although inner line permits are available online, domestic tourists need to get the permit copy stamped from the DC office in Leh or Tourist Reception Center (TRC) in Leh. Also, the fee for the Inner Line Permit needs to be paid in person.
Hence, you will need to reach Leh to get the inner line permit stamped and pay the required fees. Otherwise, you need to get the permit arranged in advance and handed over to you before the check post, either at Tso Kar or Debring.
In case you are a foreigner, you need the protected area permit to visit Tsomoriri. This permit is issued from the DC office in Leh as well as online. In the case of Protected Area Permit online, you can select the travel agent and pay the fee as well. So, this is a minor issue for a foreigner visiting Tsomoriri lake.

If you are traveling from Manali side to Rohtang Pass, you will not be allowed to travel on Manali – Rohtang Pass road. Also, the permit to cross Rohtang Pass will not be issued on Tuesday.
However, you can travel from Keylong side to Rohtang Pass on any day, including Tuesday also. Then you do not need and permit for Rohtang Pass when you travel to Manali from Keylong side.
So you can plan any day of the week.

If any nature lover goes to choose between Pangong Lake or Tsomoriri, then Tsomoriri lake will get much higher position than Pangong Lake. Just because of its raw nature and less crowd or less commercialization. However, if you are visiting Leh Ladakh for the first time, you should visit Pangong Lake because it is something that you should not miss on your first trip to Ladakh without regretting it.

In winter, the roads to Ladakh from Manali and Srinagar are closed. Hence, the only way to make a trip to Ladakh in winters is to fly to Leh and then do the sightseeing within Ladakh to places like Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley and Tso Moriri.
The roads within Ladakh over Khardung La and Chang La remain open all around the year with the exception of few days of heavy snowfall. So, you can make a trip to both Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso over them, respectively.
There are no high passes that come on the way to Tsomoriri via Mahe bridge route. Hence, the road from Leh to Tsomoriri remains mostly open all around the year from the Mahe bridge route. Similarly, the road connectivity between Leh and Hanle exists in the winter months. But due to heavy snowfalls of snow road may closed any time.
Few things you have considered before planning a winter trip to Ladakh.

• Take sufficient rest
Directly flying to Leh any time may trigger AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). But in winter, chances of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is very high. So, take complete rest at least 48 hours after arrival at Leh. Plan your vacation properly to avoid too long journey and high altitude from very first half of your vacation. Increase altitude level gradually to avoid AMS.

• Maintain your body Oxygen level and Minerals
In this high altitude you have yo maintain your body Oxygen and minerals level. Take adequate water and keep sipping black tea, black coffee or hot honey lemon tea or you may use ORS water or Glucon-D water and keep sipping it after every half an hour to keep yourself adequate hydrate and maintain your body Oxygen and minerals level.

• Ready to fight with very cold weather
Directly flying to Leh, that too in winters, may trigger some AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) issues. So, take garlic & black pepper too as they provide warmth in the body. Sometime in high altitude you may face chilled wind so take sufficient woolen clothes with you to combat with cold.

• Carry good sleeping gears
As not all hotels will be open, so you might be staying at home stays, especially at Nubra, Pangong Tso, and Tsomoriri. Best is to carry your sleeping bags if you find the quilts provided by the home stay uncomfortable or inadequate. Best to stay those hotel / guest house, provide centrally heating system.

• Carry enough dry food and cash
In this season ATM and en-route Dhabas might be shut down even Leh also. So please carry enough cash and carry enough dry food for any emergency situation.

• Don't plan with tight schedule
In this season you may stuck any time anywhere for a couple of days. BRO tries to keep the roads over Khardung La and Chang La open all around the year but in case of heavy snowfall, the roads may get closed for a couple of days. So don't plan with tight schedule and add few buffer days in your itinerary.

• Book a window seat of your flight
In this winter season the frozen beauty of Ladakh attracts many tourist. You can enjoy this beauty after arrive at Leh Airport. But when you in the sky you can also enjoy the frozen vistas also. To enjoy the Arial view of most attractive Himalayan range and frozen vistas, book a window seat in your flight. It can gives you a lifetime memory.

The July and August has been considered monsoon season in North India. Few areas of Srinagar Leh Highway (till around Kargil) and Leh-Manali Highhway (till around Baralacha La) you may face monsoon effect. Landslide may affect your vacation. There will be mud in road especially Zozila Pass, Rohtang Pass and lower area of Himachal Pradesh & Jammu-Kashmir.
But once you get closer to Ladakh, then Ladakh being a rain shadow region is very less affected by monsoon rains. Things are changing all over the world, but it is generally safe and secure. But no one can guarantee about the sudden incident.
In this season you can found the clear blue sky at Ladakh region. So it is the best time for photographer. Following are some tips to plan Ladakh in monsoon season.

• Be prepared for monsoon hassles in lower hills
August is peak monsoon time in general up in North India. At some parts of Leh-Manali Highway (generally after Baralacha La pass) you will surely face monsoon hassles and can face around Sarchu also. The Baralacha La mainly marks the boundary of the rain shadow region from the Leh side.
Similarly, Srinagar-Leh Highway will be in mess before Drass and Kargil belts. You will face monsoon rains and slush especially till the moment you cross Zojila pass from Srinagar side. Beware, with rains Zojila Pass will be a nightmare.
But once you start getting closer to Leh Ladakh, then being a rain shadow region, it is less affected by monsoon rains. Please note that, when traveling to Leh Ladakh in August, you may face sometime the landslides or roadblocks in the lower hills due to heavy rains.
Especially the route on troublesome between Sonamarg to Zojila Pass and Keylong to Manali, around Darcha.

• Be prepared for driving in slush
There will be mud on the roads, especially around Zojila Pass on Srinagar Leh Highway and similarly around Darcha near Keylong & Gramphu to Rohtang pass on Leh-Manali Highway.You must be prepared, drive with extra care in slush and do always remember the location of the engine chamber of your car if you are self-driving.
There could be stones hidden below in slush which can damage your engine sump / chamber, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Do not push through too much in case you get stuck, try the back-n-front tactic to come out or use push or wooden plank / rubber mat. Otherwise, you may end up with burned clutch plates.Do learn some tips and tricks about driving in slush and do not forget to carry must-have essentials when self-driving to Ladakh.

• Be prepared for crossing furious water stream
When you travel to Ladakh in monsoons, you will notice that most rivers will be flowing in spate and so does the water crossings on Leh-Manali Highway.
Many of the water crossings have been passed through using pipes or making bridges on Leh-Manali Highway by BRO. However, some of the water crossings are still troublesome on Leh-Manali Highway, especially between Sarchu to Zingzing Bar to Jispa.
If you reach late at such water crossings in the day, they may become the reason for spending a night in the middle of nowhere or puncturing your engine sump while crossing it.
If riding a motorcycle, gumboots will help you move on overflowing water crossings and help you keep your other boots dry to ride further.

• Be alert on shooting stones
When you travel in a monsoon in the hills, the landslides are common and so does the shooting stones. When driving or riding or even sitting in the car, you must always be alert. Watch out to see over a shooting stone from the side of the mountains. Hence, be a attentive driver and passenger when traveling to Ladakh in August or monsoons.
Be careful on stretches that have loose gravel or mud, like the ones you can spot between Khardung village to Hunder in Nubra Valley and road along with Shyak River. Such, stretches are more common for shooting stones. Even a small stone can pierce through the windshield, and your trip will be screwed. So be alert and keep a watch on the movement when traversing such mountains which are exposed to shooting stones.

• Carry water resistant clothes and boots
Always carry a rain coat, waterproof shoes or sandals at least along with a water repellant lower & upper with quick-dry material. Carrying such a jacket will help you in many ways when there is rain. It may end up saving your electronic equipment too.
So, do not forget to carry these at the very least. For riding bikes, gumboots are always an essential things to cross the water stream.

• Carry tarpaulins & few waterproof bags
Apart from the rain coat, carrying small tarpaulins or waterproof bags which will protect your clothes, luggage or electronic gear if the need arises. It will also help you protect your luggage which you may plan to put on top of your car.
It is one of the cheap yet effective essential equipment for a trip to Ladakh in monsoons. If you hire a car then ask your car pilot to do this.

• Check windshield wipers
When you are driving windshield wipers are very essential and before start your journey check the wipers are properly working or not.

• Always sleep early and leave early
When you exploring the remote areas or easily inaccessible areas of Himalayan Destination, you should be always follow a rules “Sleep Early and Leave Early”. It becomes more important in the rainy season as you are already expecting delays due to landslides, roadblocks, slow speed of cars in rain.
So, always try to follow this principle as it will allow you to give extra time on your day trip. It will also help you cross the water crossings when water is less in the early hours of the day.

• Plan with couple of buffer days
You should expect rains in monsoons, which may delay your daily plans or make you stuck behind a landslide for a day or two sometimes. If you are running with a tight schedule, well, delay of one day somewhere will trigger tensions in mind, which will not help you enjoy the Land of Lama. You will continuously keep worrying about missing a flight or train.
So, always better to plan your trip with a couple of buffer days when traveling in monsoons.

• Protect your electronics devices from moisture
Always protect your electronics devices from moisture. Always put them to a safe zone in your luggage.

Hikers, skiers, and adventurers who travel to high altitudes can sometimes develop acute mountain sickness. Other names for this condition are altitude sickness or high altitude pulmonary edema. It typically occurs at about 8,000 feet, above sea level. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath are a few symptoms of this condition. Most instances of altitude sickness are mild and heal quickly. In rare cases, altitude sickness can become severe and cause complications with the lungs or brain.

Higher altitudes have lower levels of oxygen and decreased air pressure. When you travel in a plane, drive or hike up a mountain, or go skiing, your body may not have enough time to adjust. This can result in acute mountain sickness. Your level of exertion also plays a role. Pushing yourself to quickly hike up a mountain, may cause acute mountain sickness.

The symptoms of acute mountain sickness generally appear within hours of moving to higher altitudes. They vary depending on the severity of your condition. Few type of sickness are as follows with there general symptoms -

1. Mild acute mountain sickness : If you have a mild case, you may experience.
General symptoms are dizziness, headache, muscle aches, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, irritability, loss of appetite, swelling of the hands, feet, and face, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath with physical exertion etc.

2. Severe acute mountain sickness : Severe cases of acute mountain sickness can cause more intense symptoms and affect your heart, lungs, muscles, and nervous system. For example, you may experience confusion as a result of brain swelling. You may also suffer from shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs.
Symptoms of severe altitude sickness may include with Mild acute mountain sickness as followed by coughing, chest congestion, pale, complexion and skin discoloration, inability to walk or lack of balance, social withdrawal etc.

Your risk of experiencing acute mountain sickness is greater if you live by or near the sea and are unaccustomed to higher altitudes. Other risk factors include the follows :
1. Quick movement to high altitudes.
2. Physical exertion while traveling to a higher altitude.
3. Traveling to extreme heights.
4. A low red blood cell count due to anemia.
5. Persons who have Heart or Lung disease.
6. Taking medications like sleeping pills, narcotic pain relievers, or tranquilizers that can lower your breathing rate.
7. Past bouts of acute mountain sickness.
8. Taking Alcohol or Tobacco may increase the chances of AMS.

If you’re planning on traveling to a high elevation and have any of the above conditions or take any of the above medications, talk to your doctor about how best to avoid developing acute mountain sickness.

You can take some important preventive steps to reduce your chances of acute mountain sickness. Get a physical to make sure you have no serious health issues. Review the symptoms of mountain sickness so you can recognize and treat them quickly if they occur. If traveling to extreme altitudes (higher than 10,000 ft), ask your doctor about ACETAZOLAMIDE, a medication that can ease your body’s adjustment to high altitudes. Taking it the day before you climb and on the first day or two of your trip can lessen your symptoms.

When climbing to higher altitudes, then you have to plan accordingly to gain altitude gradually.

Generally we used Non AC Innova / Xylo / Scorpio / Similar for this route up-to 6 head and above 6 head used Tempo Traveler.

Inquire to us or reach us directly 7980464525 / 8697471273 and book your package with advance amount as directed to you & we will sent to you the confirmation detail within 7 working days from date of advance received.

More than 45 days advance amount is non refundable.
In between 44 to 30 days 50% of the total tour cost.
In between 29 to 15 days 75% of the total tour cost.
In between 14 to 07 days 85% of the total tour cost.
Less than 7 days / No show or after arrival in Bhutan 100% of the tour cost.

Yes you can. But it is fully depends on houseboat / hotel / camp / guest house / transportation availability. Cancellation policy may applicable as per houseboat / hotel / camp / guest house / transporter policy. Seasonal hike may applicable for this circumstances.

Yes you can with prior information. Additional costing may applied for this up-gradation. Up-gradation is depends on availability.

For all Indian citizen Voter Card / Passport / Aadhar Card / Driving License (Adult only) & Birth Certificate / Passport (Child only) with photocopy of the said documents and passport size color photo for all traveler.
For all foreigner Passport is mandatory with photocopy and passport size color photo for all traveler.

Please note that without valid documents permit can not be issued. Better to ask before travelling for valid documents list. Several parts of Ladakh falls under protected area and you need a special permit / Inner Line Permit (ILP) and suggested go with a trusted / reliable Tour & Travel agencies only.

Inner Line Permit or ILP, is a travel document issued by the Government of India which allows an Indian and foreigner travelers to travel to a protected area for a limited time period. Obtaining this permit is mandatory for all the citizens who do not belong to Ladakh.
Foreigners visiting Ladakh are required to obtain Ladakh Protected Area Permit (PAP) before entering this region.
The Inner Line Permit, or ILP, is valid for a period of 3 weeks for Indians, and 1 week for foreigners. It should also be remembered that there is no limit on the number of times you visit a place within the valid period as long as you have the necessary permits with you.

Please noted that the Inner line Permit is not required for visiting all the areas. In fact, it is only required for some areas like Dah Village, Hanu Village, Khardung La, Nubra valley, Turtuk, Sumur, Panamik, Pangong Tso, Man Merak, Chusul, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Hanley, Didder La, Tangyar, Tsomoriri & Tyakshi.

Now, it has become easy to apply for inner line permit without visiting any government office. Just visit the newly launched portal and apply here for ILP. The whole process for obtaining the permit has been described below.
o Firstly, go to http://lahdclehpermit.in/ and after entering the URL, allow the webpage to load first. When it has loaded, click on the half circle which appears at the bottom of the screen and reads “Issue”. When you do this, a fly menu will appear on the screen. Next, click on “Domestic Clients”.
o This will take you to another page which will require you to fill out your details elaborately.
o Next, mention the year of your travel, your name, the state you reside in and your gender. Click on the ID type on the drop down menu and select the one which you feel the most comfortable with, or which you possess with you.
o Fill out the information of your Aadhar Card, Driving License, Passport or Voter ID number.
o Mention your complete address
o Under the section, “Issue Permit” field, select “Directly”.
o Click on the field mentioned “Date of Arrival”. When you do this, a calendar will appear on the screen. Select your date of arrival in Leh town.
o After you have completed filling all the information, review the entire information once again because once you submit it, you cannot alter the information any longer.
o Next, click the Submit button. A fly out which will appear on the screen will tell you that you have been successfully registered. Click “Ok”.
o After you have done that, you will be taken to the next page where you will be required to select the areas that you need an Inner Line Permit for.
o At the bottom of the screen, select your date of arrival in Leh as well as the date of departure.
o Select the apply button for Permit
o A new fly out will pop up on the screen informing you that the circuit has been assigned successfully. Click OK.
o A new pop up which reads “Inserted Successfully” will appear on the screen. Click OK.
o After you have done that, you will be taken to another page which will contain the details of your permit. The page will mention your name, ID number, state of residence and different fee related structures.
o You can now either take a print out of it or take a screenshot of it.

After completing the above procedure you need to submit the fees. It should be noted that there is no option for making the payment online. For making the payment and getting the permits signed or stamped, you will have to take the printout of the online form along with a copy of it and visit the following address:
TIC Office, Opposite J&K Bank
Main Market, Leh