When someone talks about the most coveted hill station of Himachal Pradesh, it could be none other than Manali, which becomes the most celebrated honeymoon spot when harsh Indian summer starts unraveling itself as the earth changes its position on its axis. But there is something more the place is related to which only daredevil can attempt to take- a road trip from Manali to Leh. Add to it the fun of trekking and here it becomes the most adventurous thing to do during the month of May or June to mid October. This is the only time this Manali to Leh highway is not blocked by snow.
The journey starts from Delhi, but adventure of Jeep Safari on this uncompromising road starts unfolding from Manali. Passing through Rohtang Pass and Baralacha La the road takes to Sarchu, and finally to Leh, but this is just the beginning. As the distance is eaten up by the Jeep, there are various colors of tourism in the culture and religion of the changing panorama of all the small and big hamlets, villages, town and cities. Monasteries of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis are an indelible presence of a trip to Leh.
For an extended trip in the region, choose to add some of the minor destination on following days of Jeep Safari on Manali-Leh, such as Tsokar, Tsomoriri, Shakti, Pangong, Nubra Valley via the highest of passes- Khardung La as well. However, this could not be achieved without acclimatization, which is the most important aspect of such a journey. In order to have lesser or no health issues at all due change in altitude, some precautionary medicines in addition to slow descent could do wonders, meanwhile allowing best of the scenic views of the mountain ranges.
Day 1 Delhi – Manali
In the evening catch AC Volvo coach for Manali at 18:00 hrs. Overnight journey
Day 1 Manali
Arrive Manali by morning at 08:00 hrs. check into hotel. The day is for exploration the nearby area or relaxed. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 2 Manali – Sarchu
Morning after breakfast drive to Saruch via Rohtang Pass & Baralacha La. This Journey is the beginning of our exciting and spectacular journey through the mountains into the lap of the Himalayas. Overnight in Camp.
Day 3 Sarchu – Leh
Early morning drive to Leh gives you a feeling of being in the high Tibetan Plateau. One climbs a series of Galta loops consisting of 32 hairpin bends on the way up from Sarchu and come out in Pang valley. Cross to the other side of the Pang, Tzanspo River to continue drive up to yet another plateau for a long traverse on the legendary Moore plains. The highest of the Tibetan Plateau at 4200 Mts. Continue driving Tanglang La (5280 Mts.) the second highest motorable pass in the world that commands breath taking views of the Zanskar range. A pleasant drive about 20 Kms brings you to the Ladakhi hamlet, Gya, heralded by prayer flags. After crossing few more villages one reaches the great Indus River. Further drive to Leh town, over night at hotel.
Leh: Leh is the fascinating capital of the Autonomous Hill Council of Ladakh, also known as Little Tibet. The important monasteries to visit in and around Leh are Shey, Thiksey, Hemis, Spituk, Shakar as well as the Shanti Stupa, Stok Palace and main Bazaar. The Leh palace dominating the town was the former home of the Namgyal Dynasty. The monastic festivals are very popular and Hemis, Phyang and Lamayuru festivals in summer are visited by lot of tourists who throng to see the Cham Dances.
Day 4 Leh – Shey – Thiksey - Hemis
On this day you will go a sightseeing trip to some ancient monasteries in this area.
Shey Gompa is about 15 kms from Leh. It used to be the summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. There are lots of Stupas and Gompas built around the palace. Shey palace was built by Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of 17’Th century AD. Main attraction in Shey is the 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the Dresthang Gompa.
Thiksey Gompa, close to Shey is about 17 kms from Leh. The monastery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukspa order.
Hemis, about 45 kms south of Leh it is one of the most famous and largest monastery in Ladakh. It belongs to the Drukpa order and was founded in the early 17’Th century. The setting is perfect with the monastery cradled in a lovely valley, surrounded by streams and fronted by long Mani walls. Overnight stay at the guest house.
Day 5 Leh - Tsokar - Tsomoriri
Start early for Tsokar. On the way, you will pass Tanglangla, the second highest motorable pass in the world and part of the Changthang plateau called More Plains. After spending some time at Tsokar, head to Karzok which is on the banks of Tsomoriri. Stay the night at Karzok.
Day 6 Tsomoriri – Shakti
Explore the lake and surrounding areas. Look out for high altitude wildlife such as Kyang (the Tibetan wild ass), bar-headed geese, snow fox etc.
Day 7 Shakti – Pangong
Trace the route to Pangong Lake over Changla pass to the huge Pangong Lake, 2/3 of which lies in Tibet. Overnight stay at Spangmik on the banks of the lake.
Day 8 Pangong – Leh
Return to Leh. You can explore the Leh for the rest of the day.
Day 9 Leh - Diskit via Khardung La
Early morning, drive from Leh to Nubra (7 hrs drive), The Nubra Valley lies in the north of Leh and is accessible over the Khardung la (18,380 ft.) one of the highest motorable roads in the world. The valley is on the trade route from Leh to Khardung via Saser and Karakoram passes. Apart from unparalleled trekking opportunities, the valley houses several Buddhist monasteries such as Sumur (Khagar) and 350 years old Diskit Gompa famous for its murals. From Khardung la, drive to the village of Khardung and then through starkly beautiful countryside to the TCP at Khalsar where permits have to be registered/checked. From here, one has to turn to the left of Shyok River and drive for about 15 miles over a narrow steep road to Diskit where one has to stay in camps.
Day 10 Diskit - Leh
After breakfast, drive downward Shyok River. An extremely rough and rocky stretch of flat ground. Cross the river over a bridge and arrive at the first village of Tirith. The road from here is extremely bad all the way up to Panamiki. The scenery however is spectacular with the snow-capped Karakoram Mountains in the background. The weather being much warmer in comparison to the Indus Valley, vegetation is thicker with a variety of trees and flowers. Visit the 150 years old Samasthanling Gompa at Bumur/Khagar. It is a big complex of 7 temples including the Ricpoches room. Walk half an hour from the gompa to Tegar village where there is another small gompa. Walk through the village and explore the surroundings. Also a small lake lies there. Later, transfer to Leh (106.8 miles). Dinner Overnight at hotel.
Day 11 Leh - Delhi
Transfer to the airport for the spectacular flight across the main chain of the Himalaya to Delhi.