India is a land of endless opportunities and diversities and so are there roads. The endless kilometers of road stretches are one form of life where one can embark upon the journey of their lives and see the heaven exist in front of their naked eyes. The natural beauty, flora and fauna and the vegetation will enable the traveler to explore the world and see a new perspective towards a life. The luxury of travelling and doing the famous road trips will satisfy the traveler's urge to explore and create a new dimension of life.
In this part, we shall embark upon the most toughest and highest terrain of the country to a road trip from Manali to Leh. Manali a hill station nestled in mountains of Indian state Himachal Pradesh is a base point of Manali Leh Road Trip. The total journey of 476 Kms is covered in approximately 03 days. This route is the most popular sites of Indian Road Trips. The road bears a sullen and deserted look as it is less traveled and closed during most part of the year due to heavy snow and harsh climatic conditions. The life in this part of the region comes out during summer months and hibernation presumes upon in the Winters. This road is often referred as the most toughest motorcycling road of the world. The Travel enthusiasts look forward to explore this area and embark their journey upon this road. The road gives them the appetite of thrill, adventure and passion to conquer and a spectacle to the most amazing views of the valley.
The route followed in this road trip is:
Manali -- Rohtang Pass -- Keylong -- Tispa -- Zing Zang Bar -- Baralacha La (Pass) -- Sarchu -- Ghata Loops -- Nakee La -- Lachung La -- Pang -- More Plains -- Tanglang La -- Upshi -- Karu -- Leh
Rohtang Pass: It is a high mountain pass which connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh. It is a part of Manali - Leh Highway NH 21.
Keylong: The administrative centre of Lahaul & Spiti, it is located on Manali - Leh Highway on the banks of Bhaga River. Visit the world famous Kardang Monastery, which is the largest and the most important monastery in Lahaul, which is on the slope across the river from Keylong. Also visit various sites near Keylong which includes Kardang, Shasur, and Tayul Monasteries. Located at an altitude of 3080 m, this place is open only during summers.
Jispa - Located at an altitude of 3200 m, it is a village in Lahaul & Spiti District. Travelers often stop here for the night. This village has a hotel, a mountaineers hut, and a campground. Jispa also has a small folk museum.
Baralacha La (Pass) - The pass at an altitude of 4890 m is a high mountain pass in Zanskar range connecting Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir situated along Manali Leh NH 21. It is a plateau where three ranges of Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Himalayas meet. It is a natural divide between the Bhaga and Yunam River. This place is a starting point of several treks and the trek to Suraj Tal is amongst the famous ones. The peculiar shaped snow hiding in summers is worth a watch. Here you can also witness blue waters of Suraj Tal that is usually marked by an outline of snow at its banks. There is a sharp contrast of the surrounding grey and off white rocks scattered around the road and the lake. As you cross Suraj tal, witness the snow capped summit which is 250 feet up the mountain to reach the Baralacha La. There are few tents at various camp sites where you can stay and relax overnight. Staying with locals is also an option here.
Sarchu - Also known as Sir Bhum Chun, it is a major halt site with tented accommodation in the Himalayas on the Leh Manali highway NH 21. Situated at an altitude of 4290 m, this place is used for an overnight halt. This spot can also be used as a start point of Zanskar treks.
Tanglang La - At an elevation of 5328 m, it is a high mountain pass in Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir. It is the highest motorable pass on the Manali Leh highway. It is one of the main highlights of this route.
Upshi - Upshi is a village and road junction on the Leh Manali highway.
Leh - Your final destination is here. Situated at the height of 3524 m, this town is a travelers paradise. A dream destination amongst travel enthusiasts, this place for sure will bring an adrenaline rush. It is the land of monks and monasteries. One of the coldest deserts of the world, this place will surely offer you the trekking trails, valleys and picturesque lakes. Indeed the amazing piece of land on earth to viewed in lifetime.
A PERFECT ITINERARY FOR LEH LADAKH
DAY 0 : MANALI
Reach Manali. Overnight stay in Manali.
DAY 01 : MANALI TO JISPA
Start your drive from Manali uptil Jispa. The driving time is about 6 - 9 Hours depending upon the road and weather conditions. On the way stop to Rohtang Pass and Keylong to enjoy the picturesque beauty and the nature. Overnight stay at Jispa.
DAY 02 : JISPA TO LEH
Start your journey at the first light of the day. The entire day journey to Leh is indeed very tiring. Stop at various mountain passes and heights to view the Pir Panjal, Himalayan and the Zanskar ranges. On the way have a look at beautiful villages, monasteries and temples and keep checking the altitude stone at every location. Do not forget to get yourself clicked at these altitudes. Reach Leh and enjoy a overnight stay in Leh.
DAY 03 : LEH
Take it easy in Leh on the first day. Just roam around the town and get familiar with it. Avoid going to monasteries and palaces and acclimatize yourself with the high altitude. Roam around the local street, explore the markets and eating places and talk to the locals of the area, who are generally very friendly with the guests. Try butter tea at one of the stalls. Visit Shanti Stupa in the evening to have a glimpse of amazing sunsets of Leh. Check out the Donkey Sanctuary which is worth a watch. Enjoy a comfortable stay in Leh.
DAY 04 & 05 : LEH
Visit Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Stok Palace, Shey Palace and the Leh Palace. Also check out the monasteries at Matho, Phiyang. Take a dawn or dusk walk along the rives Indus. While at these monasteries, catch up for a chat with these Lamas, who are usually very accommodating and friendly in nature. They share the whole lot of experiences and stories of Leh Ladakh and their usual life around the town. Do not miss the early morning visit to Thiksey Monastery, as they have highly serene and worth attending prayer sessions with over hundred Lamas praying together. These prayers will bring to you a new zenith never seen or felt before, a calmness never attained before and a peace never witnessed before.
DAY 06: LEH TO PANGONG TSO
Start your day with a drive to Pangong Tso. Pangong Tso is a a lake situated on the upper reaches of Himalayan Mountain Range in Leh district of Jammy & Kashmir. The most notable feature of this lake is ther ever changing hues. It is about five hours drive from Leh in Ladakh region. The route passes over the beautiful Ladakh countryside, over Chang La, which is the third highest motorable mountain pass in the world. The first glimpse of the serene, bright blue waters and rocky lakeshore remains etched in the memory of tourists.
DAY 07 & 08 - NUBRA VALLEY
Start your day with the drive to Nubra Valley via Khurdungla Pass. Nubra Valley known for its orchards, scenic beauties, camels and monasteries. Situated about 150 kms from Leh, Nubra Valley is known as a Orchard of Ladakh. The view of the valley is worth a visit. This valley is also the hub of Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh. Overnight stay in Nubra Valley.
DAY 09 - ALCHI
Head out to Alchi from Nubra Valley. Look around the local monasteries and villages to have a glimpse of Ladakh region and enjoy the picturesque beauty of the region.
DAY 10 - LEH
Head out from Alchi and visit the world famous monasteries of Likir and Lamayarm. Spend few serene hours in these monasteries and get back to Leh.
DAY 11 - DEPARTURE
Head back to Manali on the same route and carry forward all the memories you have lived past 10 days!!
These roads shall bring back a new perspective of life. You can view beautiful villages, narrow passages through the mountains, Buddhist monasteries and their culture. You will come across various stupas, mud brick houses, Indo - Tibetian culture, their food and their palaces. Leh is one place to fall in love with. One place which will call you time and again and make you tougher and stronger to explore the never ending opportunities.