The distance between New Delhi and Leh, Ladakh, is almost 1000 km. It can take well above a day, to reach Leh, Ladakh by road. The best way to reach Leh, Ladakh from New Delhi, is by flight. It takes just above an hour to reach Leh, Ladakh from New Delhi, by flight. There are plenty of planes flying between New Delhi and Leh every day. The fare for a single adult can vary from Rs. 3500 to 5000, depending on the airlines and the time of booking. From Leh Airport, one can hire a cab to go around the region.
Transport options from New Delhi to Ladakh (Leh)
New Delhi to Ladakh (Leh) By Flight: By Flights: Take a direct flight from New Delhi Airport to Ladakh Leh Airport, which takes just around an hour. Ladakh Leh Airport is located at a distance of around 9 km from the city centre. You can reach the city centre by taxis, cabs and buses. Flights are comfortable and are recommended while travelling with seniors and kids.
New Delhi to Ladakh (Leh) By Car: Hire a jeep or rent a car or a bike to reach Ladakh Leh, which takes around 18 hours. Cost of cab ranges from INR10 to INR45 per kilometre, depending upon the type of car. This option is tiring as well as time-consuming.
New Delhi to Ladakh (Leh) By Bus: No direct bus is available from New Delhi to Ladakh Leh. However, you can take a bus from New Delhi to Jammu and then to Ladakh Leh, which takes around 24 hours. The bus stand of Ladakh Leh is located at a distance of around 4 km from the city centre. Take a local taxi, coach or mini-bus to reach the city centre from the bus stand. Suitable for youngsters, backpackers and individual travellers.
Ladakh is a very beautiful province in India which is less explored and is still pure and full of beauty. People will enjoy this place like no other. People who love peace, serenity, calmness, it's an amazing place and one should see the view when the flight lands and touches the ground.
It all started from 2012, when two of our friends been to Leh and we were stunned and bit jealous (I wont mind accepting it now :P), as they have been to the place (LEH) we could only dream of. But as you know college blood is warm and so we all agreed to a pact of visiting Leh in next summers i.e 2013.
So after waiting for almost a year the real time came and as you know we being student it was not easy for us to manage the budget and also the riding part (as we are experienced in riding in hilly areas like Musoorie or uphill till Rohtang Pass only). But now I was all up for the trip with around 20 k in my pocket.
Almost all the friends backed out at the real time (obviously due to there personal problems), but I was on a stage where there was no going back. So me along with one of my friend Manu Tyagi (who hardly had any experience regarding bike rides),launched for Manali from Delhi in bus (there was no biking till this point). We stayed at Manali for a day, visited all the rental points, checked-out every single bike and finally decided to choose Bajaj Pulsar 150 (though a weirdo choice :P). So finally kicked off our journey from Manali at 12:30 pm. The weather was too perfect, best we could have thought of. Road to Rohtang was all muddy (as most of the times), but I managed to ride through it safely. After Rohtang it was all broken road till Keylong,we also came across some harsh winds on our way to Keylong and lacked visibility at times, but MANU managed to ride through it (I was amazed, as he hardly had any riding skills or experience). We decided staying back at Keylong for the night.
Day 2: We started off at 5:30 am and this was the day we came across the main obstacles with low temperature being the first ;) and broken roads, natural falls, flowing on the road and many more. But whenever you cross one obstacle and the inner piece you get after that, only the true rider can feel it. We continued riding and managed to reach Sarchu by 12:30 pm. All our shoes, socks were wet, so we wrapped poly-bags around them and took 1 hr rest and decided to continue. But the journey got tiring now, as reaching PAANG by 3:45 was too long but we did it. This was among the varied mountain ranges we came across, the shades kept changing and we simply couldn't believe it. It was astonishing and the beauty just caught us. We were all tired our back paining because we hardly had any equipment (just our biker gloves), though low temperature was never our concern but riding in wet shoes and socks was :P. We thought of spending night at PAANG only, but something just kept us going. So we decided to go further as much as we can. The road ahead proved our decision to be right, it was like sleeping on a soft mattress and the cloud formation was like the one we used to draw in our fancy sceneries. Though you have already seen it in some wallpaper or through snaps, but seeing it with bare eyes like real view was something, I don’t have words to explain. I got so excited looking at it that I decided to pose for it without putting on my jacket (which didn't proved to be a good decision, but who the hell cared that time). So after riding some more time we decided to spend night just some 30 km before Tanglang la, at the road side camp. The dinner turned out to be the reason for me not feeling well next morning.
DAY 3: So. I wasn't well or rather fit for riding the next morning, but we cant afford loosing a day. So Manu choose to ride the next morning and there was no stopping for us, though we took 2-3 small breaks in between and reached Upasi had magi and then continued riding again, with me back on handle. Reached LEH somewhere around 2 and the ultimate peace you get after reaching that place is something you call happiness.
In the end all I wanna say, its something that I managed to do in my college life, so if I and many people like me can do it, even you can. Just quit saying NO.
The flight was Air India from New Delhi to Leh. It was from T3 terminal. When we were flying over Leh the view from the air was awesome. It was so worth flying. At the Leh airport the weather was chill, temperature was around 8 degree and the wind was chilling. The service on the flight was good. The crew members of the Air India follow their tradition of service. The flight experience was comfortable. Takeoff and landing was comfortable.
Air India was fantastic. On time. Neat and inflight services very good and so was the route. Amazing views enroute. Air India had very good connectivity and the cost of the travel was also suitable. Even I returned via Air India. In total an amazing experience.
We just got back from our road trip via Ladakh and J&K. Three of us classmates from school have been planning to do this for the last five years and well it finally happened which only goes to prove Anupam Kehra's adage true “Kuch bhi ho sakta hai”.
With months of planning and a 30 page prep dossier to boot, we finally made it through the ifs and buts, floods, scares and personal commitments to the put- in point as it were from where there was no turning back.
With me stationed in Gurgaon and the other two buddies arriving on the 14th and 15th we were get set and go.
Dates: Ex Gurgaon on 15th September 2014 - 29th September 2014.
Vehicle: Bolero 2013 Model SLE 2.21 litre. The car arrived from Bhopal driven by a handyman whilst Karia arrived Gurgaon directly from Bombay on the 14th and Kanjani from Bhopal on the 15th morning.
Kilometers: 4787 km
Day 01- 15th September :- Gurgaon to Swarghat, 337 km Duration: 07 hours 12:30-19:30
We left Gurgaon at 12:30 on 15th Sep and arrived Swarghat at 19:30 after one brief halt at a Cafe Coffee Day in Mohali. The road leading up to Swarghat was not very good and getting out of Delhi through ISBT on to the GT Karnal Road took us two hours approx. Spent a rather comfortable night at the HP Tourism facility in Swarghat.
Day 02, 16th September: Swarghat to Manali, 220 km Duration: 10 hours 08:00-18:00
Surprising statistic that but that's because we faced what was to be our only car trouble on the whole trip thankfully, an AC hitch which took two and a half hours or thereabouts to fix at the Mahindra dealera's in Mandi. Moreover the roads all the way to Manali were the pits with the Swarghat to Bilaspur section abut the worst on the entire trip. The AC repair gave us the opportunity to have a long leisurely lunch at Mandi though and the beer was nice and cold.
Overnight at the rather nice Johnson Lodge in Manali.
Day 03- 17th September: Manali to Sarchu 230 km Duration: 10.5 hours, 07:30-18:00
Another statistic that looks skewered only because we had to wait over two tours at Khoksar after crossing the Rohtang Pass because workmen were laying steel plates on the bridge.
Crossing the first of what would be 10 passes that we would negotiate through the trip and it's a 52 km stretch and took us 13050 feet and connects Kullu to Lahaul and Spiti. It served as an ancient trade route across the Pir Panjal Range. Thankfully we encountered no jams since the season was almost over but some sections of the road were really bad.
The pass itself took two hours to cross and get to Khoksar. We left Khoksar at 13:30 and got to Tandi the last petrol pump for the next 365 km to Leh and found ourselves on the second pass of the day the Baralacha La which took us to 16040 feet and down to Sarchu at 13080 feet crossing Jispa at around 15:00. The 75 km to the more plains of Sarchu from Jispa took us three hours.
Though Sarchu, was low comparatively at almost 14000 feet, it was the coldest place we stayed in through the trip. The wind chill was high and overnight was at the rather basic Dorje Camp where the only good cheer was meeting a lot of young bikers on their ride through this great region.
Might have been a better idea to stay at Hotel Ibex, Jispa at almost 11000 feet and done the 325 km to Leh the next day but we plodded on not knowing what kind of roads we might encounter and wanted to reach Leh the following evening.
Day 04 : 8th September 2014, Sarchu to Leh, 245 km Duration: 08 hours, 07:00-15:00
Easily the best drive just in terms of sheer scenic beauty, passes, road quality and the experience. 75 km of this road was bad the rest 175 km was sheer beauty including what we called the airstrip section across the more plains and the views were spectacular. With three passes to cross that day including the Gata Loops, 21 hair pin bends with each turn offering a different and spectacular view, crossing the Nakee La at 15,547 feet, the Lachalang la at 16598 feet, to Pang and then taking the Tanglang la pass the second highest pass in the world at 17,480 feet.
This took us to Gya and Upshi and finally to Leh.
We based ourselves at the druk in Leh, a nice comfortable base for our further explorations where we spent a total of 05 nights and an additional 02 nights in Pangogong and the Nubra Valley.
Day 05th on 9th September: At Leh and a total of 100 km
The arrival of our very own version of Kalki from Zindagi na milegi dobaara, my dear wife Archana by plane. We relaxed and managed to to Thiksey and Stok that evening.
Day 06- 20th September Leh to Pangong Lake 150 km Duration : 04 hours 05:15 - 09:15
We left at the unearthly hour due to a planned chakka jam or road blockage by civil society protesting against the district administration's wilful grants of permits leading to ecological and environmental damage. The strike was to start at 0700 and carry on till 18:00. Our plan was to beat the striking hordes by leaving early.
The drive was great taking us to the Chang la Pass the third highest pass in the world at 17688 feet. It was extremely cold up there maybe due to the early hour. The road then took us to friendlier country where we actually saw some vegetation. A lovely drive brought us upon a little pond where we enjoyed the packed breakfast the good folks at Druk had prepared for us.
Our first sight of Panggong was mesmerizing to say the least. The sheer size and hundreds of colours and shades of blue through the day were mind blowing and finding lovely comfortable quarters at the Changla Cottages, Apine log huts all the way from Poland right on the banks of the lake was a bonus. We spent the day by the lake, leisurely meals and a walk on the hill. Overnight at Changla Cottages.
Day 07th 21st September Pangong- Leh 150 km Duration : 04 hours 09:00 -1300
Day 08 22nd September Leh- Nubra Valley 120 km Duration: 04 hours 10:30-14:30
After much debate and discussion wherein we earlier we thought we would use this as a rest day to do stuff in and around Leh, we decided to cross the Khardung la into Nubra Valley since the weather was beginning to get uncertain and we didn't want to delay a day and risk not travelling at all. Fortunately the day was lovely and after a leisurely breakfast we started off for Khardung la.
The excitement levels were really high since we would be crossing the highest motorable pass in the world at 18388 feet. The pass is used to carry supplies to the Siachen as well. We took a short cut right behind our hotel and began the climb to South Pullu. Fantastic drive, fantastic views and even a photo opp cut of the grand vistas at a strategic viewpoint. The border roads organization is doing a fabulous job of building and maintaining the roads throughout this region. Hile most sections were pretty smooth there were a few stretches where we hit gravel and dirt.
Khardungla itself was heady. Mo frozen daiquiris for us despite the intense acclimatization would already undergone, stay out long enough and you can get a bit woozy. Do not recommend staying out for more than 5 minutes. A quick loo break and photo is about all one should muster.
Nubra Valley itself was a tad bit disappointing and we went up to Duskit only and didn't wander off to Hinder or the sand dunes etc. Found lovely tented accommodations at the Desert Himalayan Safari campsite real five star deluxe stuff so decided to spend the rest of the day and night there.
Day 09 23rd September Nubra Valley- Leh 120 km Duration : 04 hours 09:00 – 13:00 Magnetic Hill- 30 km one way
Our return to Leh was uneventful until we decided to carry on to the Kargil road and saw what the Magnetic Hill was all about. Despite several attempts at being drawn as it was by the hill, nothing budged until our man Flint, Kanjani decided to speed up the hill in an attempt to make the damn jeep stick. The air finally got to him methinks!
Spent a relaxed evening, one of our last in Leh at the Golden Dragon Hotel over dinner.
Day 10 24th September Leh- Chilling to Leh 64 km one way Duration: 06 hours 11:00-17:00
Instead of doing the Leh Palace and Hemis Monastery ( which we should have visited on our drive into Leh from Manali), we decided to hit the confluence point of the Indus and Zanzkar rivers and do the Sindhu Darshan as it were. We then headed off to the rafting put in point at Chilling. Hadn't pre-booked a rafting trip so we made do with beer by the river.
Day 11 25th September Leh- Sonmarg 340 km Duration: 09 hours 09:00-1800
After dropping Archana off to the airport for her flight back to Delhi, we continued on the Leh Srinagar Highway to cross Kargil ( 230 km) Dras ( 50 km) and arrive at Sonmarg ( 60 km) where we halted for the night.
The drive took us through the three passes on this route Fotu la at 13479 feet the highest pass on this road, Mika La 12,388 feet and Zojila at 11,649 feet.
Off the 230 km to Kargil, about 20 km were bad roads. The drive to Dras was nice and Dras itself is beautiful. Zojila pass was really bad for most of the sections and we arrived to a depressing and desolate Sonmarg. Depressing because with the recent havoc in Srinagar, the season has been lost and the damage has set Kashmir back according to one local we spoke with a hundred years.
Though there was no damage in this neck of the woods, the lack of tourists, the fact that the only four star hotel (or so they said) in the area was opened up especially for us its only guests was proof enough of the state of affairs. Markets and restaurants were generally closed and people seemed to be resigned to their fate and had started preparing for the winter.
Overnight at the Tranquil Retreat a nice and comfortable hotel.
Day 12 26th September Sonmarg- Chandrakot 250 km Duration: 14.5 hours 09:00- 23:30
Easily, the worst day of our travel! This is when you realize the law of averages finally catches up. You can't be on a roll forever! We took a decision to axe Pahalgam and try and get to Patnitop instead and see if we could get to Katra and visit Vaishno Devi.
We reached Srinagar at 1030 and drove through the bypass and outskirts to reach the Jammu road but the devastation and destruction was visible through the far outreaches as much as it would have been in the main town. Our main aim was to cross as fast as possible but up and down convoys, road blocks and traffic jams along the route finally got us despite assistance from the powers that be and we finally ended up doing the last 25 km to Chandrakot 140 km short of Jammu in 6.5 hours
Day 13 27th September Chandrakot- Katra 110 km Duration: 04 hours 09:00-13:00
Pretty relaxed drive once we crossed the last mile trucks piled up on the highway and got to Katra by. We started the climb at 2 pm and made it by 5.30. The gates had closed for the aarti so we waited till 8 pm when the pilgrims were let in once again. Darshan was peaceful and easy and there wasn't much rush despite it being Navratri, which just goes to show how people have stayed away from J&K this year due to the recent floods.
By the time we came down it was 2 am and were lucky enough to grab a bite at the only open dhaba in town another sign that all was not well. Normally most joints are open 24 hours.
Overnight Asia Hotel very nice, comfy and friendly staff.
Day 14 28th September Katra- Jammu 55 km Duration 01 hour Checked in to the Asia Hotel Jammu spent the day with our classmate and generally capped off a great trip with some great grub, booze and conversation
Day 15: 29th September Jammu- Delhi by air
We ended our journey in Jammu and let the handyman Bhau take the car back to Bhopal.
For those interested in the numbers:-
Days: 15 Pax: 04 and 05 for the Leh piece Diesel Bhopal- Bhopal 27865/- approx. 450 litres Diesel Gurgaon- Gurgaon 20,000/- approx. Mechanic 3380/- Handyman 5500/-
Alcohol consumption:- not as much as we had to respect the mountain Beers: 30 cans, 12 bottles Whisky : 2 bottles Punctures and car trouble: None except for the AC bit initially Altitude Sickness: None thanks to Diamox
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