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  • The route from Manali to Sarchu leading to Leh is a much-loved destination for nature and adventure lovers. The route was made as a substitute for the Srinagar-Leh road. It is a dream route for biking and cycling enthusiasts. It is also enticing for nature lovers and shutterbugs. 

    Steal Deal: Ladakh Tour With Camping at Pangong @ Just ₹19,500
    Deal of the Day: Get Flat 12% Off on Manali to Leh Ladakh Bike Trip 

    The variety of the landscape is mind-blowing. The snow-capped mountains, barren desolated wasteland, tiny hamlets, lush green valleys and nomad shepherds make you feel being transported to another world, literally. The road remains open for roughly four and a half months every year, from June to October. 

    The Road from Manali to the J&K border where Sarchu is located covers a distance of 230 km. You can complete the distance in a day but that can be taxing. Ideally, you should keep 2 days to cover this stretch. This will let you enjoy the true beauty of nature on your trip to Leh-Ladakh.

    Best Deal: Get FLAT 15% OFF on Manali to Leh Jeep Safari
    Limited Period Offer: Leh Tour Package with Flights @ ₹29,400 Only!

    The route starts at Manali, and next major stopover is Rohtang Pass, after 52kms. It then passes through Gramphu, Kokhsar, and Keylong. The last gas station is located at Tandi. Jispa and Darcha are two major stopovers for most visitors. After passing through Baralacha La and Bharatpur, you reach Sarchu. It is a military base and the last stopover in Himachal on the route. 
  • 01Best Time For Manali to Sarchu Road Trip

    The Manali Leh Highway, which is the major route to reach Sarchu from Manali, remains accessible for the public from June to October. So, you need to pick from any of these 5 months.

    -June: It is not ideal if you are traveling to Sarchu for the first time. Even after the BRO clears the road, the road condition is not suitable for a long journey. There can be a risk of landslide and slush on roads.

    -July: This month is better for traveling to Sarchu from Manali. You will find better accommodation options along the route and road conditions are better. However, the downside is tourist rush until Rohtang Pass.

    -August: This month is perfect for the route and road conditions remain the best despite the monsoon. The hotels along the route all remain open.

    -September: This month is almost devoid of rain and the scenery is also amazing.

    -October: It is a mixed bag as the campsites start winding up and the temperature starts dropping at night.

    Click here to check out the list of best hotels in Leh-Ladakh and make your stay wonderful during your journey.

  • 02Best Offers on Ladakh Tour Packages: Enquire Now

  • 03How to Reach Sarchu From Manali

    On the Manali to Leh route, Sarchu is preferred by most tourists for night stay. This is where the border of Himachal Pradesh and J&K is located. Manali to Sarchu distance is approx 230 km.

    This is the midpoint in Manali Leh route and you get Swiss tents for a night stay with good amenities. The journey for covering the section of Manali to the town of Sarchu takes almost 8 hours if road conditions are fine. There are HRTC and HPTDC buses covering the route leaving from Manali and you can hire cars/cabs too.

    Add more cherished memories in your life. Go ahead and check out the Manali to Leh jeep safari and let the adventure begin.
  • 04Places to Stay on Manali to Sarchu Highway

    The Route from Manali to Sarchu is often devoid of basic facilities and finding suitable accommodation can be tough sometimes. However, the tourism scene is improving with time. You may not find many lavish hotels along the route but budget accommodation options have sprung up.

    Keylong :
    Located 117 km away from Manali, Keylong is the first place to take a break for the night while on the Manali to Leh bike trip. Listed below are some of the best hotels that go easy on the visitor’s pockets:
    • Hotel Dekyid,
    • Hotel New Gyespa,
    • Hotel Tashi Delek,
    • HPTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga,
    • Valley View Hotel

    Jispa :
    It is located 138 km away from Manali. Below are some best homestays that you can find there.
    • Dragon Camp & Cafe Jispa
    • Gemur Holidays
    • Jispa Journeys
    • Retro Valley Camping Resort
    • Padma Lodge and Camps, Jispa 

    Sarchu :
    After Keylong, one can also halt at Sarchu, which is located around 230 km from Manali or 96km from Keylong.      
    • Himalayan Saga Camps
    • Goldrop Camps
    • Planet Himalaya Camps
    • Antrek Camps
    • Blue Poppy Camps

    Backpackers can opt for the camping sites on the route and these are affordable. The campsite owners also let you put up your own tent for a small fee. If you seek comfortable accommodation, pick from the several guest houses, both govt (HPPWD or HPTDC) and privately run ones in the route. Of late, dorm style dhaba tents have become popular in this route.

    Explore more Ladakh attractions and activities that will leave you to want more and mesmerized at the same time
  • 05Highway Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

    When you plan for covering the road from Manali to Sarchu, a few road tips will come in handy:

    -Before you begin, plan for the accommodation options as the cost vary widely from one type to another. The charges of private and PWD guesthouses vary and the dhaba tents are ideal for budget travelers.

    -Along your journey along the Manali-Sarchu Highway, you can find mechanics and puncture shops around Khoksar, Keylong, Darcha and Sarchu.

    -It is better you keep SIMs of 2-3 networks. BSNL and Airtel networks work well here-usually.

    -Though there are too many ATMs in Manali, giving you sufficient opportunities to withdraw cash, after Manali, there is only one ATM you will find in Keylong. However, it is not mandatory that the ATM in Keylong will be in working condition.

    -The altitude at Sarchu is 14000 feet and not everyone staying at here has a comfortable experience for undergoing what is known as mountain sickness.

    -There are no petrol pumps as such but petrol is available in the road side grocery stores between Manali Leh highway. However, the quality of the fuel cannot be guaranteed.

    -You need to be careful about high altitude caused sickness. Try to Acclimatize as you take the journey.

    -Use sunscreen and wear sunglasses as sunlight is harsh at such high altitude places.

    -Refrain from boozing when you drive, in case you prefer driving your own vehicle.

    -Keylong is a place where you can find mechanic and vehicle spares.

    -The HRTC and HPTDC buses ply regularly along the route and they are most wallet-friendly options. If you choose shared cabs, do not opt for the non-stop journey. It leaves you exhausted and you miss out lots of scenery along the trip.


    Our Leh Ladakh road trip guide offers information about riding distance, ATMs & petrol pumps which you will require during your road trip to leh.

  • Places to Visit While Traveling to Sarchu

  • 06Manali

    The pretty, high-altitude resort town located in Himachal marks the beginning of the picturesque Manali to Leh route. The snow-covered landscape seems inviting to start the tour from Manali to Sarchu.

    The climate is overall nice and here you can find most kinds of stuff you will need for the trip, more so if you have the plan to cover the route by bike.

    You can also find some great eateries to gorge on authentic Himachali dishes before starting the tour. The natural splendor of Manali can leave you mesmerized no matter which time of year you visit it. The Beas River is a major attraction for any visitor.

    Also, If you would like to experience the Ladakh beauty ten times more then check out our Ladakh trekking packages. 
  • 07Rohtang

    The first major stopover on the Manali Sarchu route is Rohtang. This region of the reputed often remains congested. It is about 52 km from Manali. As you reach Rohtang Pass, the spectacular landscape grabs your attention. It is a very high altitude (3900m) place and the road is a mixed bag, based on when you visit.

    You may choose to have your breakfast here if you start early from Manali. Some tourists and adventure seeking people love playing with snow at a Snow Point, located just before Rohtang. The place is also ideal for the shutterbugs.

    A complete Chadar trek guide is all you need to know if you are planning for a trip over the frozen river in Ladakh.
  • 08Gramphu

    Gramphu Is the next major point in the Manali to Sarchu route after passing Rohtang Pass. This is where a section of tourists head to places like Chandratal Lake and Spiti valley. It is about 14 km from Rohtang pass and you have to pass through varying road conditions to reach the place.

    There are no accommodation options at Gramphu. However, you may find a few tea shacks or local dhabhas serving tea.

    Who needs a therapy when we can go for a camping experience in Ladakh and witness the unmatched scenic beauty of Ladakh.
  • 09Kokhsar

    Kokhsar is one small village on the Manali to Leh route. While it does not have many sightseeing options, it is the spot where you need to register and get vehicle documents checked before proceeding further. A small guest house is there in case you want to put up at the night.

    The cascading waterfalls, and natural green slopes make it a soothing relief for your eyes. You can explore nearby trekking routes and it is also possible to spot animals like yak, brown bears and jackals. Some tourists also visit the nearby Koksar Tholing Gumpa monastery.

    The real essence of the holiday in Ladakh not only lies in its attractions but also in the fantastic hospitality offered by the best homestays in Ladakh.
  • 10Keylong

    Keylong is the last town on this route where you can find a mechanic. So, you can get your car checked once after reaching Keylong. It is where you still get decent network signal and after that it is quite spotty. The good thing is it has a few decent hotels for staying in night.

    The Kardhang Monastery is located here too. The serenity of the place is enticing and the adjacent Bhaga Valley and river are also ideal for photography lovers. It is also eyed a lot by trekking lovers exploring Himachal.

    Leh Ladakh bike trip is a dream of many and we have included every little information that you need to know while planning for this dream-cum-goal.
  • 11Jispa

    Jispa, situated beside the Chandra River is a breathtakingly beautiful village on Manali Leh route. The gentle streams and scenic beauty of the place will fascinate your mind for sure. The greenery is lush and you will feel like spending some time here while heading to Sarchu from Manali.

    The place has plenty of camping spots which makes it ideal for those who love backpacking. Compared to Keylong it is much quieter and of late a mechanic shop has come up. After crossing Jispa, it will be hard to find any decent accommodation until Sarchu, as it is.

    Rafting in Ladakh can be a way to get the most from the mountains. It will leave you fulfilled and give you memories to cherish for forever. 

  • 12Zingzing Bar

    The Zing Zing Bar is a peace-lover joint located on Manali to Leh route and you should stop here for a while. It is not just like any other bar! It is where you will find some army cadets catching up for rest along with the tourists. You can eat and drink something for sure.

    Besides, you can also take rest in the nearby multi-purpose shacks. The ambiance of the place is absolutely peaceful. The range of beverages and foods you get at such a high altitude place is quite decent. You can get alcoholic drinks as well as steaming coffee.

    Manali Leh Srinagar bike expedition lets you challenge your gut by offering hikes to some of the world's highest passes and lofty mountain ranges.
  • 13Baralacha La

    The ascent to the picturesque Baralacha La begins after you cross Deepak Taal. After Rohtang, this is where you come across snow on this route almost all over the year. This mountain pass also serves as the confluence of many roads. Some people may feel breathing issues at this place but the scenic beauty is astounding.

    It links Himachal’s Lahaul district with Ladakh , which falls in territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is close to Surya taal lake -the source of Chenab river. It also serves as a natural divider between the Yunam River and the Bhaga River.

    Get a complete guide of the places to visit in Leh. Know that how spectacular the city is with a birds eye's view.
  • 14Bharatpur

    From Baralacha La you have to cope with a downhill rough ride to reach Bharatpur. The good thing is after this place, the road condition starts improving. If you have a problem with high altitude, do not halt at Bharatpur as it is located higher than Sarchu. However, the accommodation rates here are cheaper than what you find in Sarchu.

    You get some decent food stalls here. There is not much to explore here on your way to Manali to Sarchu and the better road conditions may prompt you to drive faster. However, you should look out for bumps on the way.

    Click here to check out the Delhi to Leh guide and start planning for a hustle free trip.

  • 15Sarchu

    This is the last point of your journey from Manali to Sarchu. The time you need for covering Manali to Sarchu distance will vary on your budget and priorities. At Sarchu, you approach the Jammu and Kashmir border.

    The altitude here is 14000 feet and not everyone staying at Sarchu has a comfortable experience for undergoing what is known as mountain sickness. There
    is a military base and many tents. There are a few Swiss tents too. Registering at the check post here is mandatory before you can proceed further. Some dhabas in Sarchu may offer fuel in case there is an emergency.

    Kick your next camping trip up a notch at one of the most 
    beautiful campsite at Sarchu.


Attractions in Ladakh

Trekking in Ladakh

Camping in Ladakh

Tents in Ladakh

Homestays in Ladakh

Cycling in Ladakh

Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favourite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri-armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except for the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the centre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Lamayuru Monastery

The high elevation where Lamayuru Monastery is located at amuses every traveler comes here. Existing on Leh-Srinagar Highway, around 15 kms east of the Fotu La, the monastery is perched on a height of 3510 meters. The murals, frescoes and the images of Buddha have created an interesting setting inside this famous Buddhist temple.

History

Lamayuru Monastery was originally the monastery belonged to Bon and the name means Swastika which symbolized eternity. The history says that an Indian scholar named Naropa caused a lake to dry up and there founded Lamayuru Monastery. Seng ge Sgang is the oldest building surviving which is dedicated to the builder-monk, Rinchen Zangpo.

The structure of the monastery

There were actually five buildings in the beginning and still one can find the remaining of the four buildings located in the corner. In the past there, were up to 400 monks and currently there are 100 monks residing in the monastery. There is a small temple can be seen which is dedicated to Avalokiteshwara.

Location: The monastery is located at a distance of 127 km from Leh in the Lamayuru region. You can reach the monastery via road by bus or jeep.

Timings: It is open on all days from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 30 per person

Highlights: There will be two annual Mask Dance festivals happen which is the most suitable time to visit the monastery.

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Alchi Monastery

After the endless mountain peaks, green valleys, high passes, monasteries in Ladakh are the prime factors behind the huge number of visitors to the paradise every year. Alchi Monastery, a group of Buddhist shrines is now a remarkable landmark and a must visit tourist attraction in Leh. The rugged valleys, uneven mountain terrains etc are creating a flamboyant view from the monastery and make the travelers feel elevated. Alchi is a part of the three villages that together constitute to the Alchi Group of Monuments.

History

Alchi Monastery and its current guardians are grateful the great translator Rinchen Zangpo who was the reason behind the construction of the monastery. He built it in the AD 1000 and there were 32 wood carvers and sculptors from Kashmir to help him. But when the Gelug sect decided to shift the activities to Likir Monastery permanently, it turned to be the administrative shrine of the Alchi Gompa, officially.

Structure of the monastery

Alchi Monastic Complex has three principal shrines named the Dukhang or Assembly Hall, the Sumtseng and the temple of Manjushri. Chortens have a special space inside the complex. The wall paintings seen inside are dating back to the spiritual and artistic nuances found in Buddhism and Hindu Kingdoms. Like we seen in other monasteries, here also, you will find the huge statues of Buddha and several wood carvings and art works appearing in Baroque style.

Location: The monastery is located in Alchi Village in the Leh District, 70 km from Leh.

Timing: May to September on all days: from 10:00 am to 01:00 pm and from 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm.

Entry Fee: For Indians: INR 25, For Foreigners: INR 50

Highlights: The views from the monastery have attracted a lot of film production sets. Good photographic location as well.

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Royal Leh Palace

A nine storey high building displays the influence of Potala Palace in Lhasa is the famed Royal Leh Palace that stands with its head high on a cliff top overlooking the ravishing Leh town. Leh Palace is a must visit during anyone’s tour of Ladakh region as it has been standing there as a symbol of the old glorious days of the royal family lived here. The top floors accommodated the members of the regal community and the low floors were occupied by stables and stores.

History

In the 17th century, King Sengge Namgyal led the construction of Leh Palace and it gained fame in a short span of time. Later, it was termed as an architectural icon and the symbol of pride and glory of Leh. The history says that during the time when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh, Leh Palace was abandoned and the members of the family were asked to move to Stok Palace. The Archeological Survey of India has restored the valuable ruins of the palace and opened to the public as a remarkable tourist attraction.

Structure of the palace

There is a monastery behind the palace which is a part of the palace and there you will find the statue of a seating Buddha in there in the monastery behind the palace. On the walls of the palace, you will see the old pictures and paintings including Tibetan thangka.

Timings: The palace is open to the public on all days from 07:00 am to 04:00 pm

Entry fee: For Indians: INR 20 and for Foreigners: INR 100

Location: Leh Palace is closely located to the town. Visitors can reach the palace by walking from Leh town as it is about 5 kms away from there.

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Zanskar valley

The Zanskar Range is the mountain range in Jammu and Kashmir that acts as the separating line between Ladakh and Zanskar. The Zanskar Range is a part of the Tethys Himalayas, formed with weakly transformed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is 6000 meters. It is an inevitable spot for adventure lovers during their adrenaline rushing trekking trips to the Trans Himalayas every year.

On the way to Zanskar Valley, one will come across the incredible Suru Valley which puts forth a decent trekking experience to adventure lovers. Zanskar is alluring always with its brightly shining mountain peaks and the presumably attracting villages, sometimes, it looks overshadowing the relishing Changthang Region as well. Tourism has caused a great enhancements on the economic side of the region like education flourished and the lifestyle of the people has changed but it took its toll on the fragile mountain environment.

Nevertheless, Zanskar is the favorite tourist destination still because of the vast area that is made beautiful by multiple hues, the distinct flora and fauna and the extremely variant climatic conditions. There are two main branches of the Zanskar River; one is Doda which has source near Pensi-La and flows south eastwards to reach Padum and the second one is formed by two tributaries called Kargyag River and it has source near Shingo La.

Height: The valley is situated at an average height of 6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: It is located at a distance of about 464 kms from Leh and would take around 10 to 11 hours to reach. Buses are available from Leh to reach the valley.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August and September are suitable to visit the Zanskar Range as the other months will cause heavy snowfall and the roads will be blocked.

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Hemis National Park

Around 4400 sq.km is the area the prime attraction of Ladakh spreads into. We are talking about the renowned Hemis National Park named after the popular monastery in the region that is Hemis Monastery. The very rare species of wildlife is the reason behind its global recognition. Bharal and snow leopards are examples for the unseen animal collection found in Hemis National Park. The park is located on the west bank of the Indus River. 

The animals, the flora, the birds and the nature in the park and its vicinity are coming under the highly protected areas and this is the only place in India where the protected snow leopards are seen in abundance. The Rumbak and Markha catchments were found to be protected with the discovery of the park in 1981 and it grew into 4400 sq.km in 1990 and becomes the largest national park in South Asia. Argali or the Great Tibetan Sheep, Shapu etc are the supporters of the prey base for the predators in Hemis. Asiatic Ibex, the Tibetan Wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and red fox are some of the endangered species found before and some are still present in the park. The crucial problem faced by the park is the regular animal-human conflicts because over 1600 people are living inside the park boundaries, mainly pastoralists living with poultry farming, goats and sheep.

Height: The elevation at which the park exists is 3000-6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: The park is located about 5 kms from Leh and Leh Airport is the closest airport to the park.

Best time to visit: To reach the park there are a number of trekking routes opened from Mid-June to Mid-October. But the best season to spot snow leopards is of course, in late winter.


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Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery in Ladakh has another name that is Pethup Gompa, very famous among the locals. It is located at a distance of 8 km from Leh and there are 100 monks inside the gompa. The major attraction at the monastery is the giant statue of Goddess Kali. The Buddhist monastery is at a site which was blessed earlier by Arhat Nyimagung.

History     

Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-de. He was the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. When he came to Maryul, he built the monastery and introduced the monastic community. But Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo on his arrival said that an exemplary religious sect should be there and thus the name of the monastery was changed to Spituk which meant exemplary.

Structure of the monastery

There are three chapels in the gompa with numerous statues of Buddha and several thankas as well. The Dukhang Hall is the highlight and the two rows of seats running to a throne at the end are also something unique found here. Visitors will come across the beautiful sculptors and chortens.

Location: The monastery is perched on a thrilling hill top near Indus and about 8 kms away from Leh on Srinagar road. It is at an elevation of 3307 meters.

Timings: It is open on all days from 08:00 am to 01:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 20 per person

Highlights: Gustor Festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calendar and it is for two days with mask dance and prayers. Usually, the festival falls on winter time which guarantees the presence of natives in large but the number of tourists would be comparatively lesser.


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Visit to the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame is a proud displayer of Indian Army simultaneously acts as the symbol of those dark days of India’s war against Pakistan. The museum that showcases seized arms and weapons of Pakistan army is located in Ladakh, the paradise of adventure lovers lying in the beautiful Himalayas. Moreover, the museum is considered to be a tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives during the war. To make it more appealing, the Indian Army has kept the photos and the things of those soldiers inside the museum. Also, the arranged items related to the history and culture of Ladakh, wildlife and vegetation have importance and amuses the visitors definitely. 

There are things which enhance every Indian’s patriotic feelings as well as they let us appreciate the bravery shown by every Indian soldier during the wars, from the heart. Different quotes, letters written by the soldiers, the tools, aircrafts, weapons, tents and what all the soldiers have used during the period are preserved which give every visitor a minute to think and pay tribute to those brave hearts who lost their lives to help every one of us sleep in peace. Located next to Leh Airfield, the museum is opened on all days. Every day, visitors will be able to watch a detailed documentary on Operation Vijai or Kargil War screened.

Entry fee:  For Indians: INR 10, for Foreigners: INR 50

Timings: 09:00 am to 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm

Highlight: Evening parade or march is a major event happening here

Location: 4 kms from the main town, on the way to Magnetic hill via Leh Srinagar Highway.

Tips: Camera and video are allowed inside but at an additional cost.


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Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but the unpredictable avalanche and severe climatic conditions make it scary some times. Nonetheless, it had made adventure seekers’ tour of Ladakh mind-blowing. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the proud Pir Panjal Range of the mighty Himalayas.

It acts as the connecting link between Kullu Valley and Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Being an ancient trade route, it was well maintained by the natives. The generic name of the pass suggests that either the pass was the oldest and the most used pass. With the increase of visitors every year, the fragile mountain ecology will be in threat, environmentalists worry.

But the exciting beauty of the mountain terrains seen from the top of the pass is indescribable and flamboyant. The Indian Government started building a tunnel which is 8.5 km long to bypass Rohtang pass in order to reduce the travel time and distance to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh.

The tunnel promises to reduce the distance by 50 km and the time by five hours between the south and north faces of Rohtang pass. Currently, the time taken to ascend and descend the pass itself is 5-6 hours.

Height:
 Rohtang Pass is located at an altitude of 3978 meters above the sea level in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.

Location:
 The pass is located about 51 kms away from Manali and you can reach the pass if you take Leh- Manali Highway.

Best time to visit: 
The pass will be open from the months of May to October as the snow starts melting and the paths will be cleared.

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Lachulung La

Apart from Khardung La or Baralacha La, Ladakh has numerous other passes at great heights which stand as Ladakh’s pride for centuries now. The glitters of other passes may be diminished by Khardung La mainly but all the other passes are equally important. Lachulung La is a single example.

The elevation of this pass is 5059 meters above sea level which is considered to be a dangerously exciting height for any pass after Khardung La. Lachulung La is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also, it separates the valleys of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. If you take Leh-Manali highway, you will be able to cross this pass that has other names such as Lachalung La, Lungalacha La etc. 

A fact that to be remembered before you head to visit this pass is, it is open only for four and a half months during summer. Any traveler should be prepared not to fall sick during the conquering of Lachulung La because its geographic status, the height, the rugged pathways and the remote villages it goes through may cause dramatic influence on your body. Being one of the most adventurous passes in Ladakh, Lachulung is a favorite stop avid adventure lovers.

Also, the surroundings are quite fictional as the towering Himalayan passes and the nature lying in correspondence to them are creating soothing visuals. Trekkers should be very careful while climbing the altitude up as altitude sickness is assured at the top and keep hydrated to maintain your body conditions with respect to the climate. But the descent is smooth and easy so that you will feel overjoyed till the end.

Height:
5059 meters

Best time to visit:
May to October

How to reach:
Take Leh-Manali highway, from Sarchu 54 KM and from Pang, 24 Km

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Tanglang La

Tanglang La is a high mountain pass, the glorious pride of Ladakh, the favourite tourist spot for bikers and trekkers. 5328 meters above the sea level is the dream like height of this pass which happily poses some threatening adventure to those who try to climb up the top. The road leading to the pass on Leh-Manali highway, from Upshi to Tanglang La is completely paved. A 500 meter long section of the road is the only part which is unpaved. Tanglang La is also beautifully paved to the make the climb easier. 

There are a lot of confusions existing regarding the position of Tanglang La in the list of world’s highest motorable passes and the world believes it to be the second highest which is proven to be wrong. The local sign on the top of the pass shows the altitude of the pass is 17582 feet or 5359 meters. But now, it is said that the sign board gives a wrong impression but the original height of the pass is 5328 meters. The pass is made beautiful by the innumerous Buddhist prayer flags despite the fact the road is tough to conquer and any type of traveler will fall for the scenery at the pass and adventure lovers would love to try their energy level by climbing up to the top. But remember, the oxygen level will be decreased as you cover the altitude and reaches to the half of what you feel at sea level.

Height: 5328 meters of 1248 feet

Best time to visit: May to October

How to reach: The pass is close to Leh-Manali highway and can be reached via 21 Gata loops

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