The Fine Art Of Getting Leh'ed - Leh & Beyond

The Fine Art Of Getting Leh'ed - Leh & Beyond

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Trip Introduction

I have been an avid traveler to the hills over the last 15 years of my independent life but somehow a trip to Leh had remained unticked in the ever increasing bucket list checklist that keeps getting bigger as one ages. The biggest reason for the delay was to do a road trip and not a Plane journey to Leh that makes you recover from altitude sickness sitting in the substandard hotel rooms of Leh. After exploring the usual sceneries in and around Leh and visting a few places that are slightly offbeat, I am in a position to share my travel journey which you may find useful if you are also planning to travel to Leh soon. So here I go. Lets start the Travelgue with a few photos that will get you in the mood for reading about the 'Desert In The Skies'

Sarchu Valley

Sandbergs - Interesting Rock Formations at Sarchu

The Incrediblle and Stunning Morey Plains

Village in the Valley Enroute to Leh

One of those many villages in the valley that you will run through during your road trip to Leh

Mandala Drawing By Monks at Thiksey Monastery

Mandala Drawing By Monks at Thiksey Monastery

Tents along Pangong Lake

Pretty Little Tents Lined Across the mesmerizing Pangong Lake

I think if you have read this far and enjoyed the pics, you will be willing to read a little more about my journey and the destinations that i visited. So here I go : 

The Manali To Leh Road Trip :(Detailed Itinerary)

Delhi To Manali : I took the Delhi to Manali HRTC Volvo bus from Inter State Bus Terminal in Delhi. You get to sit in a push back seat and watch trashy Hindi movies till late night. The drivers are experts at their job and around 7 AM in the morning you get the first glimpse of the hills near Mandi(50 Kms from Manali). One reaches Manali around 9 AM 

Volvo Bus Ride To Manali

Dont Miss Sitting in a Video Coach Bus and Watching a Hindi Movie

Vegetarian Food at a Dhaba enroute to

Most of the buses stop at Vegeterian Joints - Try the Chole Chawal with a Quarter of White Butter

Halt at Manali For a Day :  I stopped at Manali for a day at The Tranquin Inn : A Boutique Hotel run by my pal from MBA Days. With an apple orchard at the back and the views of the inviting Himalayas from both sides, it was a pretty good day of rest that I got. In the evening I also met the Tour Organizer , Mr Vikas Panghal who made the entire group for the tour have dinner together. We had a hearty meal at Johnsons Cafe and worth mentioning is the Rainbow Trout and Chicken Kadhai and Soft Tandoori Roti.

The Tranquil Inn

Fresh and Juicy Apples Straight from the Orchard - At Tranquil Inn

Manali To Jispa (120 Km) : The first days drive is pretty easy and one gets to experience for the first time the amalgamation of Clouds, Mighty Mountains and Open Roads(In Patches). The Journey to Jispa will take you through Marhi(Stop to try the Aloo Paratha - One of the best I have had), The Rohtang Pass(The fastest winds that I experienced during the trip), Kokhsar(You can stop there for Tea and chitchat with the Cafe Owner Karma), Sissu, Tandi(has the last Petrol Pump before Leh) and Keylong. 

At Rohtang Pass

At Rohtang Pass (Watching the Far Away Views Of Lahaul Valley)

Be 100% sure to Fill your tank at Tandi Petrol Pump

Padma Guest House at Jispa

Sitting at the back balcony of Padma Guest House and Watching the Natural Streams

Jispa To Leh (350 Km) - The Day of Many Passes : Be sure to sleep early at Jispa as the day starts early as one has to drive 350 Km to Leh. This the day of 4 passes and the body will go through changes. Our tour organiser Vikas explained it well : When one reaches high altitude the brain tells the body to produce more RBC's. This does not happen immidiately and that's why the concept of acclimatization. There will be lots of advice to take medicines like diamox during the trip but dont take any. Just have lots of water(3-4 Litres a day) and dont exert yourself unnecesarily.This journey is one of the best with scenic drives via Zingzinbar,Sarchu,Ghata Loops(22 Loops across the Mountain), Pang, Morey Plains, 4 high rise Passes and finally the view of Zanskar River when entering Leh. Lets live it through some photos

Zingzingbar Leh

At Zingzingbar Cafe - The First Stop where you start feeling the Leh Moonscape

Baralachla Leh

The Desolated Baralachla Pass

 Sarchu Leh

The Incredible Terrain Of Sarchu

The simple and ever smiling tea stall staff at Pang

Sittin Pretty at Morey Plains

The Last Pass of the Day - The Mighty Tanglangla

By the time we reached our Hotel at night in Leh, we were both mesmerized and tired from the journey and just wanted to sleep. This night one faces dufficulty in sleeping as your body is getting used to the hieght.Anyways below is the view I was greeted with the next morning I stepped out for Breakfast  

How to get there

There are two ways to reach Ladakh : By Road and By Air. By Road, there are two options : A. Via Srinagar and B. Via Manali. I would not advice at all to travel to and from via flight, but a smart move can be to take a return flight from Leh to your Home Destination. In case you plan to travel via flight,then book early as only Jet Airways, GoAir and Vistara airlines operate from the tiny airport of Leh(Which is actually an Army Airport)

The view of the Himalayas from the plane - During the Return Journey

In case you decide to travel by road, then deciding the right itinerary is critical. With the situation in Kashmir, its advisable to travel via Manali. Of course in this tradeoff, you will miss doing the Srinagar to Leh route, the Dras and the Kargil Route, but still feel its way safer. In case you are travelling via Manali, then halting at Jispa is a great idea. Manali to Jispa is 120 Km and after a nights halt, Jispa to Leh is another 350 Km which can be covered in a day. From Jispa to Leh, you will cross 4 Gigantic Passes in a single day , so your body will take a toll. I will explain more on this later in the travelogue

Conquering the 4 Passes in a Single day feels great



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