Been dreaming of it since eons? Now is the time to make it happen. While we totally agree that a road trip to Ladakh is no child’s play, at the same time truly the stuff dreams are made up of. The silence, the tranquillity, the cobalt blue skies, the hues of the rainbows, and glistening lakes are just what the traveller in you needs. From the highest motorable road in the world (Khardung La); to some of the highest mountain passes in the world like Zoji La and Tanglang La; spectacular scenic drives in remote regions, and some little known gems, this road trip is just like none other. Let us help you out with the journey as we map out the road trip from Delhi to Leh and back again via two spectacularly scenic routes: via Manali and via Srinagar.
So, let’s get started.
Best Time to Visit Leh from Delhi
The harsh weather conditions makes Leh inaccessible for most of the year. So the most apt time to head there is between May – September.
Delhi – Nalagarh ( 320 km/5 hrs)
Reach Nalagarh from Delhi via Karnal, Ambala & Pinjore.
Nalagarh – Manali (275 km /7 hrs)
Start your drive to Manali via Bilaspur, Mandi & Kullu. Reach Manali by late evening and stay overnight at Nalagarh. Enjoy the city ambience while you’re at it.
Manali to Jispa via Rohtang Pass (140 km /6 hrs)
Start really early the next morning and reach Jispa, a small hamlet in the Lahaul region. You will be able to see Rohtang Pass which is located at 13,050 feet. Bordered by mountains on all sides, the landscape is a beauty to behold. Enjoy a hearty lunch and continue driving towards Jispa. You could refuel at Tandi.
Overnight in Jispa
Jispa will get you ready for the steep climb in the forthcoming days. Enjoy the culture and the panoramic beauty of the place and take it easy for a day.
Jispa to Leh (330 km /10 hours)
Gear up for a long drive on high altitudes. Get an adrenaline rush as you move forward towards the mighty Baralacha-La Pass (16,049 feet above sea level), Pang Valley and Tanglangla Pass (17585 feet above sea level). The terrain is jagged, the air pure and the villagers simple-hearted and lovely. Enjoy your lunch at Pang and reach Leh by late evening. Overnight stay at Leh.
Take a break and breathe easy for a bit. Relax for a day in Leh or the roof of the world as it is known. The Shanti Stupa awaits you. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Leh town from the Stupa. Monasteries beckon you and we are sure your spirits will rise by just being in Leh. Overnight stay in Leh.
Leh – Pangong Lake (320 km / 10 hours)
Start really early and get to Pangong Lake, situated at an altitude of 14,271 feet above sea level, in the northeast of Leh. Fantastic views lie in wait for you. Splendid lakes, beautiful monasteries and rolling hills make the effort much more than worth it.
The second stop is the Changla Pass (17,350 ft.), which could be a difficult time for your lungs. But carry on till you reach Pangong Lake, a haven for travellers and a geological wonder. Part of the lake runs through the Indo-Chinese border. Enjoy a hearty meal as you also take in the sparkling blue waters of the lake. Move back towards Leh and arrive by late evening.
Leh –Nubra Valley (120 km /4 hours)
Fill yourself with a good breakfast and start driving towards Nubra Valley. The valley is situated in the north of Leh, at about 10,000 feet above sea level. The road, which goes up and over the Khardung La, at approximately 18,380 feet, is renowned to be the highest motorable road in the world. Having crossed the Pass, you will come across the Khardong village, stop for lunch at Khalser and cross Deskit (the main villages of Nubra valley). Overnight stay there.
Nubra Valley – Leh (120 km /4 hours)
Leave in the morning to get to Hunder village. The two hump camel waits eagerly for you here. Enjoy a camel safari in the sand dunes and then move on towards the famous Deskit monastery. Stop for lunch at North Pullu and arrive at Leh by afternoon. Soak in the sights or just shop around. You could choose to do nothing and just laze too. Overnight stay in Leh.
After so many days of driving, it’s time to take a break and chill in the laid back town of Leh. If you still want to get that adventurous side up and going, try river rafting!
Leh –Kargil (230 km /6 hours)
After breakfast, head for Kargil. Enroute, you could visit Pathar Sahib gurudwara and stop at the Magnetic Hill. You will be mesmerised by the breathtaking views all around. The rocks vary in not just hues but also forms and shapes. This is something that is sure to be etched in your mind forever. Stop for lunch at Mulbek village. Overnight in Kargil.
Kargil – Srinagar (210 km /6 hours)
Next morning, leave for Srinagar, crossing Zozilla Pass (11,575ft) and Drass Valley, the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Stop at Sonmarg for lunch and complete the final leg of the journey towards Srinagar. Enjoy your stay in gorgeous Srinagar.
Spend the day enjoying the sights in Srinagar, a utopic valley in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Enjoy a shikara ride on Dal Lake and get enamoured by the floating vegetable gardens. Also, do not miss out Nishant Bagh or the Shankaracharya Temple. Shop for souvenirs at Lal Chowk market.
Srinagar – Amritsar (460 km / 9 hours)
Start early in the morning and brace yourself for the long drive to Amritsar. Stop for lunch at the gorgeous hill station of Patnitop. Stay overnight in Amritsar.
Amritsar – Delhi (460km / 9 hours)
Finally, on the last day of your long and adrenaline-filled drive, visit the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh. In the afternoon start heading towards Delhi.
Your dream run and the destination of your dreams have truly come alive with the completion of this trip. We are sure that this is going to be etched in your memories forever and ever.