MANALI TO LADAKH VIA PASSES

Trip Commences From: Chandigarh
Trip Ends At: Leh

Day 01

Arrival in Chandigarh | Kullu-Manali (300 kms / approx. 8 hours)

Meet our representative on arrival in Chandigarh and proceed to Manali, a popular hill station in Kullu Valley situated next to the Beas River. A staging point for a number of treks, it is an entry gate to Ladakh via Lahaul & Spiti. After arrival in Manali, check in at the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 02

Places of Interest in Manali

Enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour of Naggar. Visit the Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery, Roerich’s house converted into an art gallery. The gallery houses a number of rare paintings and other art specimens. The paintings here reflect the unmatched grandeur of sunlit Himalayan mountains which were experienced during the painter’s scientific expeditions to the central Asian regions of Sikkim, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Leh-Ladakh, Lahaul-Spiti and Kashmir. Later, visit temples in Naggar: Jagatipatt Temple, Tripura Sundari Temple and Gauri Shankar Temple. In Manali, Hadimba and Vashisht Temples too could be covered. Return to the hotel in Manali for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 03

Drive from Manali - Sarchu (225 kms / approx. 8 hours)

After breakfast, proceed towards Sarchu through Rohtang Pass to Lahaul Valley, along the Chandra River to Keylong (district headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti). Experience the ever-changing landscape which is mesmerizing and spectacular. En route, visit the Jispa Monastery on the left bank of the river Bhaga, built to commemorate the auspicious 18th Kalachakra initiation by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in July 1994.

Drive through Darcha, Patsao, Zingzing Bar and over Baralacha La pass, which is one of the highest passes on the way to Leh. One can see panoramic views of the towering mountains. On the top of Baralacha La pass is Suraj Tal (lake), a source of river Bhaga surrounded by the Chandrabhaga mountain ranges. Gradually descend through Kalung Sarai to Sarchu. Overnight stay in the camps at Sarchu.

Day 04

Drive from Sarchu - Leh (250 kms / approx. 8 hours)

Check out from the camp and start your journey towards Leh. Drive through Gata Loops, 21 winding curves along the road. Adding to the adventurous sojourn is its high altitude. Once you get here, you do feel like being at 17,000 feet above sea level, given the crispness of the winds and diffused sunlight. As you travel along the hairpin bends and curves, feel the adrenaline rush of being challenged by the terrain.

Later, drive through high passes: Nakki-La, Lachung-La and Tanglang-La (second-highest motorable road in the world). At the top of these passes, a tiny temple and a few prayer flags flutter in the strong winds that are peculiar to these passes. After that, drive all the way down to Rumptse, an oasis surrounded by barren craggy hills which is the first village on the way to Leh and the last village towards Manali. Reach Leh by evening and check in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 05

Visit Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace

It is advisable to relax and acclimatize to such a high-altitude region. Post lunch, visit the Shanti Stupa. Built in 1991 by Japanese monks to promote world peace, this large, hilltop stupa has brightly-coloured reliefs on its midlevel and is topped by a spired white hemisphere. The greatest attraction is the stunning view of Leh. Ideally, make the breathless 15-minute climb when the golden afternoon light still illuminates the city but the steps up from Changspa are already bathed in cooling shadows.

Later, visit Leh Palace, a nine-storey dun-coloured palace of the 17th century. Today, the very sturdy walls are mostly unadorned, but it is gently thrilling to weave your way through the maze of dark corridors, hidden stairways and makeshift ladders to reach the rooftop for great views across the city. You can seek out the small palace prayer room and a one-room exhibition showing photos of state monuments. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 06

Drive via Khardung La Pass - Nubra Valley and Hunder Sand Dunes (160 kms / approx. 5 hours)

Check out from the hotel after breakfast and drive over Khardung La, the world's highest motorable road situated at 18,832 feet above sea level. At Khardung La pass, the snow-capped peaks and the mountain views are amazing. The road then passes through a bridge – laid on a glacier – which is mentioned in the Guinness World Records. Drive through the valley which is extremely beautiful for photography. Nubra Valley is the oasis of Ladakh as you see some colourful trees in this region. Later, reach your camp site and visit the sand dunes. You are likely to see double- humped Bactrian camels. Enjoy your time at the sand dunes of Nubra Valley spread across Hunder Village. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 07

Nubra Valley - Pangong Lake via Shyok Valley (170 kms / approx. 7 hours)

After an early breakfast, check out from the camp and drive towards Hunder where you will get an opportunity to ride on a double-humped Bactrian camel amidst the sand dunes of this high-altitude desert with snow-capped mountains on the horizon. Between Hunder and Diskit, you come across sand dunes besides the road. Seen in isolation, you could well be amongst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan.

It is indeed a strange sight since immediately to the left of the road are rocky mountains that characterize the Ladakhi landscape, and in the distance can be seen snow-capped mountains. On the way back, stop at Diskit which is the headquarter town of Nubra Valley. Stroll around the bazaar observing the shops and local people going about their daily chores. Diskit is famous for a 515-year-old Buddhist Monastery, magnificently situated on a hilltop, facing the entire Valley. Later, drive towards Pangong Tso via Agham & Shyok Valley. Some of the road patches in areas are extremely tough (towards the Nubra side) in terms of road conditions; however, the journey is very scenic!

After crossing this adventurous part, drive further towards Durbuk & Tangtse for Pangong. Pass through a few small villages of Changthang before the Pangong Lake - situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m) - suddenly comes into view. This famous blue brackish lake is 5-6 kms wide and over 133 kms long, with half of it running on the other side of the Indo- China Border. One rarely feels so close to nature and the environment, and the scenery is unforgettable. After the success of the film 3 Idiots, this beautiful natural location has attracted more tourists from all over the world. Upon arrival, check in at a camp near Pangong lake. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.

Day 08

Pangong - Leh via Hemis (240 kms / approx. 6.5 hours)

Morning at leisure to explore the beauty of the lake. Later, we drive back to Leh via Chang La Pass (5,486 m), en route visiting Hemis Monastery and Rancho School, made famous by the film 3 Idiots. Drive further to Leh and check in at the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 09

Leh Excursion to Sham Valley (40 kms / approx. 2-3 hours)

After breakfast, drive downstream along the River Indus on Leh-Kargil Highway. Start your sightseeing with Hall Of Fame, a museum constructed by the Indian Army near Leh; this is worth visit by every Indian. Proceed further to Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, situated at an altitude of 3,600 m and around 22 kms from Leh. It was constructed in memory of Guru Nanak Dev. A drive of another 4 km will take you to Magnetic Hill which defies the laws of gravity. As you move ahead from Magnetic Hill, just before Nimmu Village, there comes a famous confluence of two rivers: Indus River coming from Tibet (left) and Zanskar River coming from Zanskar Valley (right). Zanskar River is known for its famous Chadar Trek. Later we drive back to Leh. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10

Departure from Leh

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Leh airport for your return flight.

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