Ladakh, the land of jagged peaks and barren landscape is alluring and awe-inspiring. Hidden behind this harsh and forbidding façade is an ancient civilization and captivating people. Beyond the old frontiers lies the land of wilderness with its unaltered character and overwhelming natural beauty beckoning the more intense and adventurous of travelers. This awesome wildness and magic belongs to that great land of towering mountains and Buddhist simplicity-Ladakh.
The largest of the 10 provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is bordered by the Karakoram chain of mountains in the north and the Himalayas in the south. With the great Indus flowing right through Ladakh, the province is divided into Leh, the capital, Nubra, Zanskar, lower Ladakh and Rupshu. The many distinctive features of Ladakh are its uplands, craggy, barren cliffs and plateaus. Governed by a climate that provides about 50mm of rainfall each year, Ladakh is cold and dry. One, therefore, will be faced with a long and bitter winter of frozen landscape but yet very beautiful, and a short, hot summer when the precious glaciers melt.
First Approach- Srinagar to Leh
The first route is reaching Ladakh from Kashmir Valley through Kargil, around 434 km away. This route remains open from the starting of June till November. Zoji-La pass, at an altitude of 11,500 feet, is a gateway to Ladakh. Regular ordinary as well as deluxe buses are run by Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (J&K SRTC) between Srinagar and Leh. Hire a car, a jeep or a taxi from Srinagar. If you are traveling in groups, renting a bus for Kargil, Leh, and Padum (Zanskar) from Jammu & Kashmir SRTC at Srinagar is another option.
Second Approach-Manali to Leh
Since 1989, Manali-Leh road stretching to 473 km, open from mid-June to early October, has been the second road route to Ladakh. This road takes you via the desert plateau of Rupsho, ranging between altitudes of 3,660 m to 4,570 m. A number of high passes fall on this route, including Taklang-La, the world's second highest motorable road, 17,469 feet (5,235m) above the sea level. Ordinary and deluxe buses run between Manali and Leh every day and are managed by Himachal Pradesh Tourism (HRTC) and J & K SRTC. This journey is of around 2 days with night camping in Serchu and Pang. Another option is to hire a jeep or a Gypsy.
Travelling through public buses that have a fixed schedule and route is the best option. This option is pocket-friendly and comfortable too. Another option is of hiring a taxi by fixing its price. It is necessary to take the services of registered travel agency in making your transportation arrangement is you are travelling to Tsomoriri Lake, Nubra, Pangong Lake, Tsokar Lake and Dah-Hanu.
Distances by Road
- Delhi - Leh: 1047 Km
- Srinagar - Kargil: 204 Km
- Srinagar - Leh: 434 Km
- Manali - Leh: 473 Km
- Leh - Kargil: 234 Km
- Leh - Deskit (Nubra Valley): 118 Kms.
- Kargil - Padum (Zanskar): 240 Km