ROAD TRIP: SRINAGAR-LEH-MANALI CIRCUIT (13 DAYS)




Hi Guys..

I recently went on a road trip with my husband and four of our college friends in Toyota Innova. And guess where..?? Yeesss, you have read the title correct and this trip was literally a dream come true.

Ladakh is a magical world and a dream of almost every youth in India, who love some adventure and adrenaline rush, to go on a road trip here. The route takes you through rugged terrains, high passes, snow clad mountains and many more spellbinding experiences. This region is so miraculous that after you visit the place you get this urge to visit it every year. And I am not at all exaggerating here; once you visit Ladakh you will understand my emotions.

We completed the Ladakh circuit in 13 days and we ended up learning a lot about the culture, food, lifestyles of locals and so much more beyond the words.
I am sharing below the complete itinerary and route which we followed. You can follow this itinerary or can customize it as per your requirements.


COMPLETE DRIVING ROUTE
Here is the complete route that we followed while on our road trip that started and ended at Chandigarh.
1.     CHANDIGARH
2.     PATHANKOT
3.     PATNITOP
4.     ANANTANAG
5.     SRINAGAR
6.     SONMARG
7.     DRASS
8.     KARGIL
9.     LEH
10. KHARDUNGLA
11. HUNDER (NUBRA)
12. PANGONG TSO
13. CHANG LA
14. LEH
15. TSOMORIRI
16. SARCHU
17. JISPA
18. KEYLONG
19. MANALI
20. CHANDIGARH


ITINERARY



Day 1:- Chandigarh to Patnitop (400 kms)
We started the journey from Chandigarh at 9:00 am and reached Patnitop by 9:00 pm. As soon as we reached the Shivalik belt we could feel the fresh air. The best part was all 6 of us weren't tired at all. After checking in we had our dinner and strolled around for a peaceful nature walk.




Day 2:- Patnitop to Srinagar (190 kms)
After having some amazing paranthas in the nearby dhaba we started our journey to Srinagar at around 10:00 am. On our way we made a halt at Pampore to purchase the worldwide famous and authentic Saffron (Kesar). We reached Srinagar by 5:30 pm and checked in to the beautiful boathouse on Dal Lake. Later we took a shikara boat ride and viewed the beautiful floating market. We also purchased few things from the shops along the banks of Dal Lake. This experience on a whole was truly dreamlike.




Day 3:- Srinagar to Kargil (209 km)
After waking up to this wonderful view of Dal Lake and having an amazing kashmiri breakfast we began our journey at 10:30 am. On our way we witnessed an enchanting beauty of Sonmarg which totally made us spell bound. As we moved ahead the scenery got more and more spectacular by Indus River running parallel to the road and the green mountains covered with snow cap. Next on the route we stepped out of our car at Zozila which was completely covered with snow and we did some fun snow activities. After this long halt we set off our journey again and finally reached Kargil at 10:00 pm.




Day 4:- Kargil to Leh (213 kms)
From making our way through green mountains, snow capped mountains and glaciers, now we finally made it to the dry and barren mountains. Our resort at Kargil was covered with mountains from all the sides and it was literally a breathtaking view. Having our belly filled breakfast we started off towards Leh at 9:30 am. This journey from Kargil to Leh was a total display of an exotic landscape and we all were mesmerized by it. We passed through Lamayuru Moon-land landscape, Magnetic Hill, and few villages along the way. We saw colourful paddy fields surrounded by dry mountains and deep blue sky. These all were a part of exotic Ladakh landscape, truly heaven on earth. On our way to Leh we visited Lamayuru monastery. It is one of those fascinating places which one must visit while travelling in Ladakh. We finally made it to Leh at around 5:00 pm. Though we travelled to leh by road, we gradually adapted the air with low oxygen but as we checked in to our guest house in Leh and slowly climbed few stairs to our room, we all were caught running out of breathe. So, it would be more difficult for them who travel to Leh by flight. But not to worry about this too much, just take rest for few hours and you will be back on track.




Day 5:- Leh to Nubra ( 123 kms)
After checking out from the guest house at 9:30 am, we spent couple of hours in the DC office in getting the permit to travel to NUBRA, PANGONG and TSOMORIRI. As soon as we reached back to our car, we all were stunned by looking at our car's all four flat tyres. We had parked it in a parking lot but the locals said that the space is only for local taxis and thus someone punctured all four of our tyres. It almost took four and a half hours to fix the punctured tyres as no mechanic was available nearby. Finally by 3:30 pm we officially started our journey to Hunder in Nubra Valley. It took us around one and a half hour to reach Khardungla, the highest motorable road in the world. The whole area was sparkling white with the continuous heavy snowfall. As we already started late, we reached our destination by 9:30 pm.




Day 6:- Nubra to Pangong
We started off with a stunning morning in Nubra Valley - The Land of Cold Dessert. One would certainly feel mesmerized by those majestic mountains. We pit stopped at the sand dunes and took a relish ride on the Bactrian camels a.k.a double humped camels which are found only in Hunder. Initially we had planned to go back to Leh and then travel to Pangong the day after as per the recommendations made by most of the travelers as the direct road from Nubra to Pangong is very hazardous. But on our way back to Leh we were informed by fellow travelers that road to Khardung la was closed due to heavy snowfall last night. So by trusting the few taxi walas we took a U turn and started off our journey to Pangong on that direct route from Nubra to Pangong at around 2:00 pm. But to our surprise the road was not in that bad condition though most of the journey was through rough roads but those dramatically mountain roads made it worth. We finally made it to the mesmerizing Pangong Lake at 7:30 pm and yes it was extreme cold.




Day 7:- Pangong (Finally a rest day)
It was an amazing day at heavenly Pangong Lake. As there was no travelling, we spent our day in leisure with the beautiful landscape of Pangong. Near the lake we saw so many of those yellow scooters, the same which Kareena Kapoor drove on lakeside in 3 Idiots. To make their cafes more attractive and popular, majority of them has named it after Rancho or 3 Idiots. All six of us had our time of our life which we all would never forget. We all couldn't get enough of the wonderful view we spent admiring at and those star gazing night sky, which literally gave us goose bumps.




Day 8:- Pangong to Leh (227 kms)
We started our journey back, as early by 8:00 am and reached Leh by 3:00 pm. After checking in and getting refreshed we visited the famous Leh Market and shopping there is an absolute delight. We did some souvenirs shopping, had some snacks and came back to the guest house.




Day 9:- Leh to Tsomoriri (214 kms)
The next morning we head started to Tsomoriri by 9:30 am and reached the destination by 5:00 pm. Tsomoriri Lake is less visited by travellers as many of them still are not aware of its serene beauty. Tsomoriri Lake is as similar as Pangong Lake, but after 3 idiots the latter one grabbed more tourism. But tsomoriri is best place to camp along the lake side as this place is not yet commercialized.




Day 10:- Tsomoriri to Keylong (327 kms)
After spending a chilling night at Tsomoriri, we started our journey to Keylong at 9:30 am. Though initially we had planned to make a night stay at Sarchu camping, but the previous night at the camps were terrifically bone chilling that we planned to go ahead to Keylong and spend this night at a cosy room. We checked in to a hotel at around 10:00 pm.




Day 11:- Keylong to Manali (116 kms)
We checked out from the hotel in the morning at 10:30 am and kick started our journey to Manali. On our way we crossed the famous Rohtang Pass and also got stuck in huge traffic jam for couple of hours. There wasn't any fresh snow in Rohtang rather black and polluted, and you will breathe exhaust fumes all the way till you cross the pass. Having descended the Rohtang pass, we came across beautiful lush green mountains of Manali. On our way we experienced Paragliding which was worth a shot and was an experience of a lifetime which no one should miss. Throughout the flight I was feeling full of ecstasy. The view was incredible and the best part - I was flying parallel to the birds (that was one of my dream). Next we checked in to our hotel by 6:00 pm took off for the old Manali market for having our dinner. We explored so many awesome cafes and small but beautiful shopping stalls.




Day 12:- Manali (Exploring the incredible valley)
After having the delicious alloo parantha in a small dhaba located in old manali, we made our way to experience the popular river rafting of Manali in beas river (Hell yeah). Our entire journey couldn't have a better ending than experiencing this ecstatic adrenaline rush activity which was full of thrills. After finishing this fun filled experience of river rafting we went back to the old manali street and enjoyed our last night of the circuit by dancing our heart out.




Day 13:- Manali to Chandigarh (300 kms)
We began our journey at 10:00 am to the final destination of this road trip. Before leaving Manali, we bought so many different varieties of mouth watering fruits that we didn't even knew existed. Finally we made it to Chandigarh by 9:00 pm and said goodbyes to each-other as well as to this wonderful 13 days road trip.




So, what do you think of the details here...??? Are you planning a trip to Ladakh, let me know in the comments below. Also do share it with your fellow mates who are a travel enthusiast.




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