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About Ladakh


Leh- Ladakh by Road

Leh is connected by good motorable roads to all major places in India. Leh is: 1047 km from Delhi, 434 km from Srinagar, 230 km from Kargil, 494 km from Manali, 380 km from Keylong, 118 km from Deskit (Nubra Valley), 690 km from Jammu. The overland approach to Ladakh from Kashmir Valley via Kargil is approximately 434 km, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. The dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 11,500 feet 3,505 m high Zoji-La, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the gateway to Ladakh. There is also a motorable route between Manali and Leh which is 473 km long. Manali-Leh Road has been serving as the second overland approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from around mid-June to early October, this high road traverses the upland desert plateau of Rupsho, where altitude ranges from 3,660m to 4,570m. A number of high passes fall en route among which the highest one known as Taklang-La is the world's second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet/5,235 m. Both the Himachal Pradesh Tourism (HRTC) and J&K State Tourism (SRTC) operate daily deluxe and ordinary bus services between Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu or Pang. And the Srinagar-Leh trip takes 17 hours.


Permits and Borders

No special permit is required to visit most of Ladakh, including Leh and Kargil towns. Permits are required for all tourists to visit the "Inner Line" areas, i.e. Nubra Valley; Panggong Lake and the Durbuk Block that it lies in (i.e. north of the Changla Pass); Tso-Moriri and Tsokar Lakes and the area along the Indus River east of Upshi; and Dha-hanu and the area along the Indus River northwest of Khalatse. These permits are easily available in Leh town and do not need to be acquired while applying for an Indian visa. Foreigners must get their permits through a travel agents. Permits are not available for foreigners to go to the far reaches of each of the above-named areas close to the borders (or Line of Control, etc.) with Pakistan and China. For example, foreigners can go to the edge of Panggong Lake and Maan and Merak villages, but not along the edge of it to Phobrang or Chushul villages; they cannot proceed east up the Indus from the Mahe Bridge; and in Nubra, they can only go as far as Panamik to the north and Turtuk to the west. There are no border crossings open between Ladakh and neighbouring regions of Baltistan (under Pakistan) or Tibet (under China). To get the inner line permit the tourist has to carry a valid ID proof issued by Govt of India like Passport, Driving license, Pan card, Aadhar card etc. to the DC office in Leh.


Distances

• 1: Manali (altitude 1,950 m (6,400 ft)) to Marhi at 3,300 m (10,800 ft) elevation 33 km (21 mi). It is a steady climb. Good roads • 2: Marhi to Rohtang Pass at 3,980 m (13,060 ft) elevation 18 km (11 mi). It is a steady climb. • 3: Rohtang to Gramphu at 3,200 m (10,500 ft) elevation 19 km (12 mi). It is a steady descent. Turn left (towards west) at Gramphu on the highway along Chandra river to proceed towards Leh. The right turn (towards east) at Gramphu leads to Spiti valley and Batal, Kunzum La and Kaza on a road along Chandra river that is paved for some distance and then unpaved. Decent roads • 4: Gramphu to Kokhsar, the first village north of Rohtang Pass.6 km (3.7 mi). • Foreign nationals have to show their passports with valid visa at the police check post here. (Anyone can visit Leh freely. However, special permission is needed to visit some restricted areas beyond Leh. This permit can be obtained at Leh.) pure offroad • 5: Kokhsar to Sissu at 3,130 m (10,270 ft) elevation 25 km (16 mi). There is a helipad at Sissu. The highway runs along left (south) bank of Chandra River. Brilliant roads • 6: Sissu to Tandi at 2,570 m (8,430 ft) elevation 8 km (5.0 mi). Tandi is situated at the bottom of the river valley at the confluence of the Chandra river and the Bhaga river (flowing down from north) which merge to form the Chandra-Bhaga river (that later becomes known as Chenab downstream in Jammu and Kashmir). Cross the Bhaga river over the bridge towards the right, take the right turn at the fork and the road again starts climbing. Good road except for a 1km stretch of offroad. • 7: Tandi to Keylong at 3,080 m (10,100 ft) elevation 9 km (5.6 mi). Good road • 8: Keylong to Jispa at 3,310 m (10,860 ft) elevation 22 km (14 mi). Good road • 9: Jispa to Darcha at 3,360 m (11,020 ft) elevation 6 km (3.7 mi). All tourists have to register at the police check post here. Mixed road offroad and decent road • 10: Darcha to Zingzingbar 4,270 m (14,010 ft) elevation 26 km (16 mi). The steep ascent to Baralacha La starts at Zingzingbar. Mixed road • 11: Zingzingbar to Baralacha La pass at 5,030 m (16,500 ft) elevation 18 km (11 mi). It is a steady climb. (Both the Bhaga river and the Chandra river originate from melting snow at opposite sides of Baralacha La, the former flowing southwest and the latter flowing first southeast and then northwest to merge at Tandi.) offroad • 12: Baralacha La to Bharatpur 2 km (1.2 mi). It is a steady descent. Offroad • 13: Bharatpur to Sarchu at 4,300 m (14,100 ft) elevation 38 km (24 mi). Sarchu is a military base and has a police check post. Register at the police check post here. (Himachal Pradesh state ends here. Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir state starts here.) offroad. • 14: Sarchu to Pang 4,600 m (15,100 ft) elevation 80 km (50 mi) climbing 500 m through the Gata loops (22 hairpin bends) at 4,190 m (13,750 ft) elevation and traversing through Nakee La pass at 4,739 m (15,547 ft) and Lachulung La pass at 5,065 m (16,616 ft) elevations. Register at the check post at Pang. offroad • 15: Pang to Tanglang La pass at 5,328 metres (17,480 ft) elevation, 69 km (43 mi) through a 4,700 m (15,400 ft) plateau called More plains or Morey plains. • 16: Tanglang La pass to Upshi 60 km (37 mi). Upshi has a Customs and Excise taxation check post before crossing the river. Stop here for checking of vehicles. Then cross Indus river to reach Upshi village on the right bank (north) of the river. An ancient trading road (right turn while coming from Manali and going to Leh) heads to the east from Upshi towards Tibet. There is a helipad on this road. Brilliant roads • 17: Upshi to Karu 16 km (9.9 mi) After crossing Indus river, the highway is on the right bank (north) of the river from Upshi to Leh. Turn left at Upshi for Karu. Do not take the right turn that leads to the east towards Tibet. Good road • 18: Karu to Leh at 3,500 metres (11,483 ft) elevation, 35 km (22 mi) Continue on the highway towards Leh. Do not take the right turn just before Karu that leads to Shyok. Good road • The distance from Lachalang La pass to the Tanglang La pass is 87 km (54 mi) via Pang.