Destinations - India Ladakh Mountains

Ladakh | A Photogenic Drive along Indus river!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Driving along Indus river is a spectacular experience. We had enjoyed that while driving from Manali side few day back before this drive. It was fantastic.

On the way back from Leh to Srinagar last year, our driver Imtiaz offered a brilliant idea we could not refuse. On Leh – Srinagar highway, you get a fork where you continue straight to Srinagar via Kargil on the National Highway 1. The road on the right along Indus river takes you to Kargil via Batalik. Imtiaz said that since Poorna is from Army, permission wouldn’t be a problem, why not go via Batalik and the drive is spectacular. We jumped at the offer and what a mesmerising journey it was.

The Indus river takes birth in Tibetan Himalayas and flow through Ladakh and Batalik before entering Pakistan. Here is a photoblog on our drive along the Indus river. Join us and experience it…….

Please click on the pictures to see in larger size which provides a different experience.

We start driving along Indus river from this place. A lovely monastery just off the highway. There is a lovely view-point here on the highway from where one can see the beautiful valley of the river in Leh.

Indus river Ladakh

It is early morning and the colourful mountains are glowing in the morning sun. The beauty of Ladakh mountains with myriad colours is on full display. You will never get satiated.

Indus river Ladakh

We drive along the river which gives us company to our left. It is still deep down in the valley. But mountains start mesmerising us. This is only the beginning of a stunning photogenic drive. You will see more of it later. We cross the famous Basgo Gompa and now the mountain colours get more enticing.

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

The black top road flanked by spectacular mountains is fantastic. Looking at what we see in the front, we are definitely in for some more surprises!

Indus river Ladakh

We start driving along the Indus river. The turquoise blue water of Indus river is inviting. The river hugs the road and the road hugs the colourful mountains! The twists and turns of the river is complemented by the road as well.  Notice the change in colour of landscape and ruggedness of the terrain every few kilometres. 

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

We see this army convoy of trucks moving slowly against the background of pink mountains.

Indus river Ladakh

The river teases us with its twists and turns…..

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

We now get off the national highway 1 and enter the Batalik road. A narrow road but well metalled. The ride from here till Batalik is like a roller coaster. We climb up and drop down. The never-ending curves make the journey more interesting and challenging.

Notice the colourful mountains in the distance. We never thought it would be beautiful. Let us check it in next pictures.

Indus river Ladakh

Another interesting part of driving in Ladakh Himalayas is the shadow play you constantly enjoy. Here is one to start with.

Indus river Ladakh

It gets bright and the landscape turn almost golden!!

Indus river Ladakh

This is a pretty sight. The poplar trees give much-needed contrast to the colourful rocky terrain.

Indus river Ladakh

We start climbing up for few kilometres and then climb down. The colours of the mountains is spellbinding.

Indus river Ladakh

Look front. Look at the colours. It looks like a surreal painting. Nature at its best! We click zoomed up pictures of the landscape and it is just stunning. 

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

Indus river Ladakh

We were so dumbstruck with the spectacular landscape in the front that we forget to look to our left. There it is another celebration. Of Violets, browns and grey!

Indus river Ladakh

We spend few minutes enjoying the spectacle. There is no one in the vicinity except for us. We start again and immediately are treated with another shadow play!

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We see the first and largest village – Takmachik – on this road. What a setting!

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We start climbing up. We see more number of army vehicles now as army has a good presence in this place. The goes river deeper and we drive on top. The colourful landscape continues unabated.

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We had to stop over here for a cup of chai at the “wet canteen” of an army vehicle workshop.

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The journey continues. The river gets wider. The mountains get taller.

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A bridge and the bend in river. Lovely isn’t it?

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The river narrows now and gets ferocious. High rapids can be seen. Notice the way the stones have got carved out because of the force.

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Himalayas never cease to surprise you! We suddenly notice moonscape!

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A nice gompa built on the small hill.

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We continue our climb. Notice our height compared to the bridge below.

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Some interesting stretches of road. Carved through the stone. It reminded us of Spiti trip.

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We knew that we were going through the interesting region of the country. The village Dah and surroundings is known for the settlement of Aryans. They have still preserved their culture. Due to lack of time, we did not plan a detour. As luck would have it, we see them in a village and stop to click some pictures. They are all in traditional attire waiting to welcome local member of parliament! Notice their sharp features.

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As we drive closer to Batalik, we start climbing up. The Indus river is flowing deeper in the valley.

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We stop over at an Army Officers’ mess for lunch. We could see from the mess the journey of Indus river into Pakistan.

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A memorable drive in the mountains. We continue rest of our journey to Kargil which is beautiful indeed. We bid good-bye to the great river which gave us company for 7 hours. We loved every second of it.

Travel Tips 

1 You need to be an army personnel or need permission from army authorities to travel on this road.

2 This road is not for everyone. Need to have expertise in driving in the hills.

3 You don’t have too many choices to eat on the way. Make sure you eat whatever you get. Places like Army wet canteens o the road is good bet.

4 We did not see any private petrol bunks on the road. Please fill up your tank in Leh before starting.

5 Unless, you are a local, don’t attempt to drive at night. It is no fun either as you miss out savouring the landscape.

6 One can take a detour and visit Aryan villages which also has options to stay in home stays.

7. The road condition surprisingly is very good except for one patch of half a kilometre. But is narrow and single lane at many places.

8 The drive to Kargil via Batalik from Leh will take 12 hours.

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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