Experience Ladakh


Getting to Ladakh

Although Ladakh is located on a high altitude, it is quite accessible by Air and Road. Here’s how you can travel.

By Air

Direct flights operate from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.


By Road

From Kashmir: 430 kms. Travel Time: 1 or 2 days
The Srinagar-Leh highway (No.NH 1D) is about 430 kms. It crosses the first La (Pass) at Zojila (3500m) where the highest tank battle was once fought. This pass remains closed from around November till April (depending upon the prevailing weather conditions).

Dras, the first major village is the second coldest inhabited place. Nearby is the ‘Kargil’ war memorial surrounded by Tiger hill and Tololing. Kargil town is about halfway and is a major town of transit and refuelling.

There are another two passes: Mankila and Fotula to finally descend in the Indus valley. Although it’s a passage through mountains, most of the stretch is a smooth ride.


From Manali: 470 kms. Travel Time: 2 or 3 days The Manali-Leh highway is about 470 kms and remains open from May through September (depending upon the prevailing weather conditions).

Well, this highway is not only a ride but an adventure. The road negotiates several high passes like Rohtang (3980m), Baralacha La (4890m), that cuts through the Great Himalaya Range, Lachung La (5000m) and finally Taglang La (5325m) that cuts through the Zanskar range. The more than 40 kms ride through one of the vast and desolate high altitude plains of Skyangchu Thang is an experience by itself. The road is a bit rough, particularly in early and late season. However, there are various temporary transit points providing basic services to travellers.

Useful Tips

Acclimatisation

Ladakh is a high altitude destination. It is therefore advised that you acclimatise yourself to the altitude and its environment, particularly if you land up in Leh by flight. High altitude sickness can occur to anyone at altitudes above 3,000m (10,000ft). Mild symptoms include headache, lethargy, dizziness, loss of sleep and appetite.


Inner Line Permit

Ladakh being a frontier area, certain areas are restricted for visitors. However, since 1994, new areas are open for tourist, but with an ‘Inner Line Permit’, which is available from the District Collector's office or arranged by a tour operator. All you need is a copy of your passport or identity card.


Weather and Climate

The altitude range causes wide variations in climate even within Ladakh. Summer is short, from June to August, with temperatures varying between Max 25°C - 30°C and Min around 15°C. Winter is chilling and long with temperatures dropping to Max 5°C and Min -25°C.


Spring and Autumn are very short and cold too. It is because of this peculiar climate that Ladakh is often classified as a Cold Desert.


Clothing

You may experience a scorching sun and chilling wind on the same day. Carry appropriate clothing and keep a reserve of woolens. A little snack with sufficient water to last a day should be handy. A pair of sun glasses with some sun screen cream helps you in this heat. The so called autumn and spring are also relatively cold, if not freezing. If you arrive even in the month of May or September, it would make sense to have a heater in your room. However, avoid LPG heating devices.