Traveling to Ladakh via Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir, is a popular and scenic route that offers breathtaking landscapes and cultural experiences. Travelling to Ladakh via Manali is another popular route that offers stunning landscapes and a thrilling road trip experience. Both routes are popular and provide beautiful scenic views, and it ultimately depends on your personal preference and travel plans.
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If you have the time and wish to experience the stunning landscape of Kashmir, then the Srinagar- Leh route is the best option. It is a longer route but offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas, verdant valleys, and pristine lakes. Along the way, you can visit some popular tourist destinations such as Sonamarg, Drass, and Kargil.
1. Arrive in Srinagar:
Start your Ladakh adventure by flying or taking a road trip to Srinagar. Explore the beauty of Dal Lake, take a shikara boat ride, and visit the iconic Mughal Gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh.
2. Acclimatise in Srinagar:
As Ladakh is located at high altitude, it is important to spend a day or two in Srinagar to acclimatise before heading to Ladakh. This will help prevent altitude sickness.
3. Travel to Kargil:
From Srinagar, embark on a picturesque road trip to Kargil, which is approximately 205 kilometers away. Along the way, pass through magnificent mountain passes like Zoji La and enjoy stunning views of snow-capped peaks and valleys.
4. Explore Kargil:
Spend some time exploring the historic town of Kargil. Visit the Kargil War Memorial to pay homage to the brave Indian soldiers who fought in the Kargil conflict. You can also explore the local bazaars to experience the unique culture and cuisine of the region.
5. Journey to Leh Ladakh:
Continue your journey by driving from Kargil to Leh, the main city of Ladakh. This route takes you through the famous Fotu La pass and offers breathtaking views of the barren yet beautiful landscape of Ladakh.
6. Discover Leh:
Once in Leh, take some time to acclimate to the high altitude and explore the city. Visit the Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, and Leh Market. Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying traditional Ladakhi cuisine and shopping for handicrafts and souvenirs.
7. Explore Nubra Valley:
From Leh, you can take a trip to Nubra Valley, known for its sand dunes, double-humped camels, and stunning landscapes. Cross the famous Khardung La pass, one of the highest motorable passes in the world, and visit the picturesque Diskit Monastery.
8. Visit Pangong Lake:
Another must-visit destination in Ladakh is the famous Pangong Lake. Travel from Leh to Pangong Lake, crossing the Chang La pass on the way. The azure blue waters of the lake surrounded by majestic mountains make for a breathtaking sight.
9. Return to Srinagar:
After exploring the beauty of Ladakh, you can return to Srinagar by road. Enjoy the scenic journey back, passing through picturesque towns like Lamayuru and Drass.
10. Depart from Srinagar:
Conclude your Ladakh adventure by bidding farewell to Srinagar. If time permits, explore more of Srinagar’s attractions, such as the historic city center and the floating vegetable market on Dal Lake, before you depart.
Ensure you check the weather conditions and road conditions before embarking on your journey, as Ladakh is only accessible by road during the summer months. It is also advisable to carry warm clothing, sunscreen, and stay hydrated throughout your trip due to the high altitude. Enjoy your unforgettable journey through the scenic landscapes of Ladakh via Srinagar!
On the other hand, the Manali to Leh route is a more adventurous and challenging route, offering an opportunity to see the stark and barren landscape of the rugged Himalayas. The journey involves crossing some of the highest motorable mountain passes in the world, including Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La.
1. Arrive in Manali:
Start your Ladakh adventure by traveling to Manali, a picturesque hill station in Himachal Pradesh. Take some time to explore Manali’s attractions, including Hadimba Devi Temple, Vashisht Hot Springs, and the charming old town.
2. Acclimatise in Manali:
As Ladakh is located at high altitude, it is important to spend a day or two in Manali to acclimatise before heading to Ladakh. This will help prevent altitude sickness.
3. Travel to Rohtang Pass:
From Manali, start your journey towards Ladakh by driving to Rohtang Pass. This mountain pass offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks and is the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti valleys.
4. Cross Baralacha La Pass:
Continue driving from Rohtang Pass to Ladakh, crossing the famous Baralacha La Pass. This high mountain pass sits at an elevation of around 4,890 meters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
5. Discover the beauty of More Plains:
After crossing Baralacha La Pass, you will reach the vast and scenic More Plains. This flat stretch of terrain offers panoramic views of the Trans-Himalayan region, with the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the backdrop.
6. Reach Leh:
Continue on your journey from More Plains to Leh, the main city of Ladakh. Leh is known for its monasteries, such as Hemis Monastery and Thikse Monastery, as well as the historic Leh Palace.
7. Explore Nubra Valley:
From Leh, take a trip to Nubra Valley, known for its breathtaking landscapes, picturesque villages, and the famous Diskit Monastery. Enjoy a camel safari on the sand dunes of Hunder and soak in the beauty of this surreal region.
8. Visit Pangong Lake:
Another must-visit destination in Ladakh is Pangong Lake. From Leh, drive to Pangong Lake, crossing the Chang La pass along the way. The lake’s mesmerizing turquoise-blue waters set against the backdrop of majestic mountains create a surreal atmosphere.
9. Return to Manali:
After exploring the beauty of Ladakh, you can return to Manali via the same route. Enjoy the scenic drive back and take in the stunning views once again.
10. Depart from Manali:
Conclude your Ladakh adventure by bidding farewell to Manali. If time permits, explore more of Manali’s attractions, go for adventure activities like rafting or paragliding, and savor the local Himachali cuisine before you depart.
Ensure you check the weather conditions and road conditions before embarking on your journey, as the accessibility of certain passes may be affected by weather conditions. It is also advisable to carry warm clothing, sunscreen, and stay hydrated throughout your trip due to the high altitude. Enjoy your thrilling road trip to Ladakh via Manali!
However, keep in mind that the Manali to Leh route is only open from May to October, while the Srinagar to Leh route is open for a longer period. The choice between these two routes depends on your travel plans, the duration of your trip, and your interests.
It is recommended to consult with a local tour operator to know more about the road conditions, weather, and other essential information before making a decision about the route. No matter which route you choose, Ladakh is undoubtedly a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience.