How to Reach Ladakh

There are two ways to travel to Leh, Ladakh, by flight and by road. Nature has blessed this high-altitude mountainous land of Ladakh with immense beauty and the road trip is both tough and challenging but very thrilling and adventurous. If you ever get a chance to go to Ladakh on a road trip, dont miss it as it is going to be a jorney of a lifetime.

Leh By Air

Leh the capital of UT of Ladakh has an airport named “The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport”. It has has flights from Delhi year-round on Jet Airways, Vistara, GoAir, and Air India. Air India also operates weekly flights to Jammu and Srinagar and one can take flight from Jammu and from Srinagar for Leh.

Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport, Leh Ladakh

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IATA: IXL, ICAO: VILH) is a military airbase in Leh, the capital of the UT of Ladakh, India. It is the 23rd highest commercial airport in the world at 3,256 m (10,682 ft) above mean sea level. The airport is named after 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, an Indian statesman and monk, whose Spituk Monastery is in direct vicinity to the airfield. Due to the presence of mountain winds in the afternoon, all flights take off and land in the morning. The approach is challenging as it is unidirectional and has high terrain towards the eastern end of the airport. Airport security is tight with Indian Army patrols. Due to its location in between the Himalayas, the approach to Leh Airport has been named as one of the world’s most scenic approaches. (from wikepedia).

Ladakh via Manali, Himachal Pradesh by Road

Delhi to Leh by road via Manali, passes through Chandigarh, Bilaspur, Sundernagar, Mandi, Kullu Manali, Keylong, Jispa, Pang, Sarchu and finally reaching Leh ad is undertaken in 2 to 4 days. Day one can be done from Delhi to Manali (540 kms), Day two can be done from Manali to Leh (480 km appx) but is going to be very tiring. It is therefore advisable to make a halt at Sarchu (240 km from Manali) on day two. On day three, the road travel from Sarchu to Leh covers a distance of 260 km approx.

Rohtang Pass (13050 ft), Baralacha La (16500ft), Taglang La (17480 ft)

The road condition from Delhi to Manali is excellent and comfortable. From Manali starts one of the most adventurous road trips ever, passing through his passes of the Himalayas like Rohtang La (13060 ft), Bara Lacha La (16500 ft), Tag Lang La (17480 ft) and thence onbwards to Leh. The highway is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides, featuring some very stunning natural sand and rock formations.

The highway crosses many small streams of ice-cold water from snow-capped mountains and glacial melts and sometimes there is no bridge. It requires some excellent driving skills to negotiate fast-flowing streams. However the landscapes all throughout the trail is stuning and mesmerising to say the least.

The Leh Manali Highway

The Leh-Manali highway is generally two lanes wide (one lane in each direction) without a road divider, but has only one or one and a half lanes at some stretches. It has over a dozen Bailey bridges, some in poor condition. The highway has many damaged stretches and under-maintained portions, where even a little rainfall can trigger dangerous landslides. The road quality is poor in many places and high speed can cause discomfort.

The Route for Delhi to Leh Trip by Road

Route: Starting from Delhi, you will make your way through Karnal, Mandi, Manali, Jispa (through Rohtang Pass), Sarchu, Tanglang La, and then reach your destination, Leh.

Ladakh via Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) by Road

Another route to reach Leh, Ladakh via road is the Srinagar-Zoji-La Pass- Kargil-Leh route. It is also known as the National Highway 1d (ND1D). This road is open from April or May to November or December and is generally remains cut off during the winter season due to heavy snowfall especially at the Zoji La Pass. For most part, NH 1D passes through some extremely treacherous terrain and follows the historic trade route along the Indus River, thus giving modern travelers a glimpse of villages on the route, which are historically and culturally important. There are two high passes on the NH 1D viz Fotu La at 4,108 m (13,478 ft) elevation and Zoji La at 3,528 m (11,575 ft) elevation.

Ancient Trade Route – Srinagar to Leh

In ancient times, this old Central Asian trade route Srinagar-Leh-Yarkand was also known as the Treaty Road, after a commercial treaty signed in 1870 between Maharaja Ranbir Singh and Thomas Douglas Forsyth of the British India.

This road trip from Delhi to Leh by road via Srinagar is full of natural beauty, passing through popular tourist destinations like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Pathankot, Jammu, Katra, Udhampur and thereon to Srinagar, Sonamarg and so on.