Srinagar Leh road trip is one of the most spectacular road trips in the world. This is the third part of our journey from Srinagar to Leh. The first two parts can be read here Srinagar Leh Road Trip 1 – Magnificent Mountainscape and Srinagar Leh Road trip 2 – Surreal and Spectacular.
After ascending to the tallest point on Srinagar Leh road, we descend to Lamayuru. The road continues to be excellent. The landscape changes from surreal natural formations we saw in Mobulukh to that of colourful and undulating valleys. It is late afternoon and the colours of the mountain are stunning even as the rays of the sun caress it. The afternoon sun also bring in the shadow play which has its own charms. There is hardly any snow on the peaks.
The interesting part of this part of Srinagar Leh road is the moonscape near Lamayuru. We are all excited even as Mustafa cautiously drive on the excellent but winding road. We ask him to stop at many places to click pictures. With a smile on his lip, he always oblige us without getting annoyed. At one point of time when Poorna asked him for few minutes more he said “Take your own time. You have come to have a memorable trip and i am here to help you in that”. That was so nice of him having seen many drivers who act fidgety.
Join us as we drive through the moonscape and magical mountains of Himalayas. Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.
We reached Nimmu by evening. We were staying in the Officers Mess in Nimmu cantonment. Courtesy, one of Poorna’s batch mates who was a commander there.
This was a phenomenal road trip. It was as good as the one we did when we came via Manali five years ago. Though not as tough as Manali – Leh road, it is spectacular in every sense.
a) Total distance from Srinagar to Leh is 434 KMs. The highway runs along side the Indus River through three high mountain passes named Zoji La (3528 Mtrs), Namki La (3815 Mtrs) and Fotu La (4108 Mtrs). This road trip offers some breathtaking landscapes ornamented by various historical and cultural constructions.
b) The road remains closed for about 6 months in a year starting from November to May due to heavy snowfall on the mountain passes mainly Zoji La pass.
c) The best season to travel is between June to October. Expect heavy rush during July – August on Srinagar – Kargil sector due to Amaranth Yatra.
d) It is difficult to drive through Zoji La during rainy months of July – early august. Late august till October is best time to drive. But you will not see much snow.
e) If you are doing a self drive trip, then better take a SUV with good ground clearance. If you are hiring a Taxi at Srinagar, then be aware that these taxis can be used only for drop in Leh and can not be used for local sightseeing in Ladakh for which you have to use Taxis registered in Ladakh. Taxis are available at Taxi stand in front of tourist reception centre and a trip to Leh from Srinagar will cost Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 depending on type of car.
f) Jammu and Kashmir transport corporation run buses between Srinagar and Leh. It is a two-day journey with night halt at Kargil.
g) Shared taxis are available and we don’t advise it. It is back-breaking as 7-8 people travel in it and the complete distance of Srinagar – Leh is covered in one day driving at break neck speeds!
h) Ideally, Srinagar Leh road trip should be planned over two days with a night halt at Kargil/Drass where accommodation is available. If you want to explore more than another halt at Lamayuru is advisable. Doing over three days will give an opportunity to explore Alchi as well.
i) Though the ascent on this road is gradual which help in good acclimatisation, it is still better to take following precautions to avoid Altitude Mountain Sickness. Try to cover the Srinagar – Leh journey in two days with a night halt at Kargil most preferably.
- Try to do Srinagar Leh road trip in two days with a night halt at Kargil most preferably.
- Keep your body properly hydrated.
- Avoid sleeping at high altitudes.
- Avoid over exertion.
- Avoid tobacco and smoking and alcohol and other depressant drugs.
- Keep your body warm and eat lots of carbohydrates.
- Avoid sleep during the day.
- Sleep in upright position, if possible.
- Carry preventive medicines for AMS.
- Immediately descend, if symptoms increase.
j) Except for the Zoji La pass stretch, the road is absolute beauty. This sometime encourages people to drive fast and rash. This should be avoided at any cost as driving in mountains is always a risk.
k) This drive is not be rushed and has to be done leisurely and enjoyed. Make sure you tell this to driver at the beginning itself.
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