Apr 24, 2006

The Leh Manual 3

Continued from here

How we did it:

  • Day 1:
  • Delhi – Chandigarh
    Normal highway driving. Stay the night at C'garh.

  • Day 2:
  • Chandigarh – Manali
    Brilliant ride into the mountains. Superb road. Outstanding scenery.

    Just after Rohtang and Khoksar
  • Day 3: Manali – Rohtang – Keylong/Tandi
    Filled fuel for the last time at Tandi, just outside the night halt, Keylong. Crossed Rohtang. Rohtang is usually clogged with tourists. There is nothing you can do about that. You will spend at least three hours or more on top stuck. On the other side, road gets bad almost instantly. Khoksar, at the bottom of the descent has a good dhaba with really good grub. This is opposite the tourist registration office, on your right as you drive in.

    The ascent to Baralachla with fresh snow for a chaser
  • Day 4: Keylong – Darcha - Baralachla – Bharatpur City – Sarchu
    Tough day. The road is really bad in parts, and the climb to Bara-La is almost unending. Darcha is the camp at the bottom on the Manali side, very good looking place.

    Bharatpur CityBharatpur City (misnomer. A collection of tents is what you're looking for) is a relief, for it means you've completed the Bara-La descent. The road to Sarchu is paved and gorgeous. But don't speed. The tarmac hides fairly big undulations (I was thrown up from the seat repeatedly until I learned).

    Colourful mountains at SarchuSarchu starts with a meadow that has a bunch of tourist tent camps on your right. Your tent should be here. More tents, more downmarket are further down the road, about 5 km, where there is another tourist registration office, dhabas, tents and some Army presence.

    Tso Kar lake
  • Day 5: Sarchu – Lachulungla – Pang – Moray plains – Debring
    The drive up to Pang is great. Road is as good as can be expected I guess. Pang has a good set of dhabas and the army camp. Drive slow in Moray. I'm told an Esteem once flipped head over heels because bumps on the tarmac chucked it into a forward somersault!

    Moray PlainsThe plains are beautiful and up high. Stop to click, sigh etc, but remember to keep drinking water.

    About three-fourths of the way down, there's a small brown board that says Camp something or the other. This is a sand trail that leads to the Tso Kar lake. It's a fun drive in a 4x4, an utter nightmare on a bike. Try it if you like. The camp we stayed in should be halfway down the road on your left.

    Shanti Stupa at Leh
  • Day 6: Debring – TaglangLa – Leh
    The climb to Taglang La is boring, extended and taxing. As is the descent. But soon after you come down the other side, you will hit the freshly tarmac-ed road to Leh. It's a tremendous drive. Watch for rocks on the road when the mountains turn pink.

    Tents at Sarchu, the luxury ones
    On the return leg, we combined the Sarchu – Keylong, Keylong – Manali into a single day. The bikes hit Manali after dark.
    The climb to Rohtang begins here

    Finally, the last day's drive (Manali-Delhi, or Chandigarh-Delhi) can seem utterly boring after the rest of the trip. So be careful and don't sleep off. It's happened to loads of people.
That's the trip.

Police Checkpost at SarchuOnce you pass the treeline, this is all you get to see
Continued here

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