Tag Archives: Rohtang Pass

All you need to know about Rohtang Pass Permit

Treacherous, continuously ascending, bottleneck roads with mountains on one side and valley with the slithering river on other, where mountains keep on increasing height and changing colors, where landscape changes from lush green to barren, where weather changes from sunny to cloudy to even snowy, where temples give way to Buddhist Stupas, where Pagal Nallahs (water streams) abrupt out of nowhere and make you go weak on the way itself, where there is no permanent habitation for almost 30 Kilometers is what describes the path to majestic or mysterious Rohtang Pass from Manali / Old Manali. Lakhs of People visit Manali every year and the majority of them have Rohtang Pass on their list. Years before anyone could go to Rohtang top but in 2016 rules changed and the Himachal Pradesh state government started issuing Rohtang Pass Permit to limit the vehicles and to prevent pollution.

All you need to know about Rohtang Pass Permit

In this post, we will be discussing all the details about how, when to travel to Rohtang Pass and from where to take the Rohtang Pass Permit.

About Rohtang Pass

Rohtang the Ladakhi word is formed from a combination of two words “Ruh” and “Tang” means a pile of dead bodies. Yes, you read it right – The pass was known as a pass of dead corpses as many people lost their lives while crossing and working on the pass due to unpredictable weather conditions, frequent snowstorms, and landslides.

Rohtang Top
Rohtang Top

Rohtang Pass is also known as Rohtam Pass and lies at a grueling altitude of 13000 feet and 51 Kilometers from Manali on the Manali Leh Highway (also check the story of Gata Loops on Manali –Leh Highway). It is considered as an ancient trade route between the people on either side of the Pir Panjal range. The pass has strategic importance for India as it connects the landlocked Lahaul & Spiti Valley to Manali and is also a gateway to Pangi Valley and Leh Ladakh

Rohtang Pass in October
Rohtang Pass in October

The Pass is accessible only for a limited time in summers usually from May – June to October and during the rest of the months, it is completely snow-covered. Indeed, every year road diggers struggle with GPS to clear snow and find road buried under piles of snow. During these limited months, the pass can be visited as a day trip or while heading towards Spiti Valley or Leh Ladakh from Manali side via your own private car, HTPDC bus or shared cabs.

Route to Rohtang La (51 Kilometers)

Manali- Vashisht- Palchan- Gulabha- Marhi- Rohtang La

Conditions of Roads

Single lane and continuously ascending narrow roads are not at all for the novice drivers. For few kilometers expect a slushy and muddy road. In between, you too can encounter a huge or multiple small landslides. Sometimes the landslide is that worst that they can result in an 8-10 hours’ traffic jam.

Treacherous Ascending Roads to Rohtang La
Treacherous Ascending Roads to Rohtang La

Expected Time to Reach

Usually it takes almost 3 hours, rest completely depends on the landslides and traffic volume. In season time there are long queues and the time can go up to 6-7 hours or even more!

What is Rohtang Pass Permit?

Years ago, everyone was free to travel to Rohtang Pass but this led to a lot of Pollution and littering in this environmental-sensitive zone. So, to counter and stop this abuse, NGT (National Green Tribunal) restricted the daily vehicular and tourist movement to Rohtang Pass and started issuing a Rohtang Pass Permit for a visit or cross over.

Along with this tribunal also restricted other activities like horse riding, snow biking, paragliding, plying of snow scooters and setup of eateries at Rohtang. Although there are some temporary eateries and moving hawkers at Rohtam Pass. At Marhi there are around 10- 15 temporary setup shops and eateries which serve food and sell woolens to the tourists.

Temporary Shops set up at Village Marhi on way to Rohtang
Temporary Shops set up at Village Marhi on way to Rohtang

In 2019, only 1300 vehicles per day (i.e. 860 Petrol & 440 Diesel vehicles) were permitted to ply from Manali to Rohtang Pass, in order to maintain the ecology and prevent more environmental damage.

Types of Rohtang Pass Permit

Basically there are two categories of Rohtang Permits – Permit for Tourism Purpose & Permit for Travel Purpose.

Permit for Tourism Purpose

The Permit for Tourism Purpose is issued on a daily basis to the vehicles going to Rohtang top from Manali and returning back on the same day. This permit is further divided into two types i.e. Rohtang Pass Permit and Special Rohtang Pass Permit.  

Rohtang Pass Permit

This pass is applicable for both commercial and Taxi registered vehicles and under this type 1200 passes are issued i.e. 800 for petrol and 400 for diesel vehicles.

Special Rohtang Pass Permit

This pass is applicable for private 4 wheelers only and under this type only 100 passes are issued, which breaks down to 60 for petrol and 40 for diesel.

Permit for Travel Purpose

This permit is issued to the travelers who will be crossing the Rohtang Pass to go further to Leh Ladakh or Spiti Valley and there is no fixed daily quota for this category.

Note: One doesn’t need a permit while coming from Keylong side.

Rohtang Pass Permit Cost

Vehicles applying under permit for tourism purpose (Rohtang & Special Rohtang Pass will have to pay

  • Permit Fee (Car, Jeep, Buses, MUV, HMV) – Rs.500/- per day
  • Congestion Charges – Rs. 50/ day for Cars, Jeeps and MUV’s & Rs. 100/day for Buses & HMV

And vehicles (bike and 4 wheelers) applying under permit for travel purpose will just have to pay congestion charges Rs. 50/day, whereas goods vehicles will have to pay congestion charges Rs. 100/day.

Documents for Applying for Rohtang Pass Permit

The documents include :

  • Valid Identity Proof (Aadhar Card, Driving License, etc.)
  • Vehicle Registration Rate (Vehicle should not be more than 10 years old)
  • Valid Pollution Under Check (PUC) certificate

How to apply for Rohtang Permit?

Just like Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit, Rohtang Pass Permit also can be applied both online and offline. Online it can be applied only through the web portal. In 2018 authorities too had launched a dedicated Rohtang Permit mobile app (available both for android and IOS users) but till the day it is not functional for booking and helps only to check the Permit availability, validity and also helps to download the booked permit.

Rohtang Permit Mobile App (IOS & Android Users)
Rohtang Permit -Mobile App (IOS & Android Users)

While offline it can be booked through travel agents or in person at SDM office or Tourist Information Center in Manali.

Online Procedure for Rohtang Pass & Beyond Rohtang Pass Permit

  • Login to Rohtang Permit website
  • On the top, there are four options – Rohtang Pass, Special Rohtang Pass, Beyond Rohtang & Green Tax (Manali Tax)
  • Commercial & Taxi Registered Vehicle, click on Rohtang Pass whereas the Private 4 wheelers click on Special Rohtang Pass, for to and fro to Rohtang Top from Manali
  • Vehicles going ahead to Ladakh and Spiti Valley, click on beyond Rohtang option
  • Green Tax/ Manali Tax is the one which is charged at the entry of Manali and this doesn’t give the permission to visit Rohtang Pass. We suggest you not to pay this online as you still have to show the receipt at Manali entry and is not much time-consuming project.
  • After selecting the option, fill all the required tourist details (driver name, phone no, email id, purpose); vehicle details (like type & category of vehicle, fuel type, vehicle no, vehicle registration no, seating capacity), no. of travelers, ID Proof, Pollution under check (PUC) no and proceed to submit the form. After submission, you will receive an OTP. Fill the OTP and it will take you to payment gateway. Make the online payment and you will be directed to print permit window
  • Print the Permit issued, as it is compulsory. Forgoing ahead Rohtang we suggest you take multiple print outs. Also, take a screenshot and keep a copy of same in your phone
Rohtang Pass Permit MIS
Rohtang Pass Permit MIS

Offline Procedure for Rohtang Pass & Beyond Rohtang Pass Permit

The Offline Permit can be taken from the SDM office or Tourist Information Center which is open on all 7 days including Sunday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. The process of application is really simple but time-consuming. Fill up the form and submit the above-mentioned documents between 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. During the season the permit is not issued at the same time but you will be asked to collect it between 3:00 – 5:00 pm.

The other option is to get it booked by travel agent offices in the Manali market just opposite to SDM office. They too use the online portal to book but hand over the permit in 5 -10 minutes. They charge 550 +150Rs. for booking.

Our Experience with Rohtang Permit

During our recent visit to Rohtang Pass in October 2019, we tried booking the Permit online but failed at the payment gateway because of the slow internet. Ultimately rushed to the travel agent sitting in the Manali market, paid him Rs.700/- and got the permit in next 5 minutes.  But during our travel to Spiti in August 2018, we submitted the documents at the SDM office itself and got the permit in the next 15 minutes itself.

Rohtang Pass Permit
Rohtang Pass Permit

Some Important Points to Remember

  • Rohtang Permit is issued in two-time frames i.e. at 10:00 am (600 vehicles) and 4:00 pm (600 vehicles) and in a week i.e. from Tuesday to Monday – only 3 Rohtang Pass Permits can be obtained for each vehicle
  • Special Rohtang Permit (100 vehicles) window is open throughout the day and the permit is issued only once to one vehicle during the entire season
  • Beyond Rohtang Pass can be booked between 12:00 pm to 12:00 am and in a week i.e. from Tuesday to Monday – only 2 Rohtang Pass Permits can be obtained for each vehicle
  • Also, NO Vehicle is allowed on or can cross Rohtang on Tuesday from Manali side, as it is closed for maintenance whereas the vehicle coming from Leh and Spiti are allowed entry
  • Vehicles having wrong information on the permits as compared to valid proofs are not allowed to cross the barrier. So be really careful while submitting your details.
  • Importantly, your vehicle age shouldn’t be more than 10 years

Who all Needs Rohtang Pass Permit

Everyone traveling to Rohtang Pass or beyond Rohtang Pass from Manali by cabs, commercial or private vehicle needs a permit. But the people planning to travel by HRTC or HPTDC buses and cycle till Rohtang Top don’t need a Rohtang Permit.

HRTC / HPTDC Buses

HRTC/ HPTDC bus service starts at 5:30 am from the main Manali bus stand and the next bus goes after every 15-20 minutes. Also, 9 Electric buses with a passenger capacity 25, fare Rs.600/-   do to and fro every day (i.e. from Wednesday to Monday) to Rohtang top in season and takes almost 4 hours to reach. The bus service for the same can be booked here.

What if I apply for Beyond Rohtang Permit and comes back from Rohtang only?

Many have attempted booking Beyond Rohtang Permit and coming back from Rohtang Pass itself on the same day. And the consequences they have faced because of this is either they had to shell heavy fine of Rs. 5000/- from their pockets, as environmental compensation and some vehicles even have got blacklisted.

Remember, the authorities have put up a barrier system on both sides of Rohtang Pass i.e at Gulaba, (which is 20 kilometers from Manali and 31 kilometers from Rohtang Pass) and Khoksar (which is 19 kilometers ahead from Rohtang Pass on to Keylong road). So, the vehicles having Beyond Rohtang Permit Pass gets verified at Khoskar Barrier too along with Gulaba. At the day end, data between these two barriers helps to find the misuse of the permits. 

So, make sure to have the correct permit and if in case you have the wrong permit, then go ahead and don’t come back on the same day.

What are the Timing & Validity of Permit for Rohtang Pass?

Vehicles going to Rohtang Top and beyond are not allowed to cross the Gulaba check post before 5:30 am. The issued Rohtang Pass & Special Rohtang Pass Permit is valid only for 6 hours. And all vehicle has to leave from Rohtang Pass maximum by 4:00 pm.

What is the best time to visit Rohtang Pass?

Rohtang pass opens up in May end or June first week and closes down in October end or November first week. So, may – June is considered as a peak season, July –  Mid September is monsoon time, and October is the season end time when you can see the fresh snow.

Stupa at Rohtang Pass in August
Stupa at Rohtang Pass in August

We have visited Rohtang Pass in July – august i.e. during monsoons as well in mid-October and trust us the landscapes, roads, panoramic vistas, the weather looked extremely different each time. During monsoons the pass was under the clouds, mist, and rain, landscapes were lush green and there were landslides in patches whereas in October we experienced fresh snow and very fewer tourists. So, according to us these both are the good times to explore Rohtang Pass.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4cUXk-nky7/

How is the weather at Rohtang Top?

From May – September the temperature can go as high as 25 degrees Celsius and low to 10 degrees Celsius whereas in October – November expects the high temperature between 18 -20 degrees Celsius and low to 4-5 degrees Celsius. In October – November, expect snowflakes too.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3cEdA2n3Si/

Some more FAQ’s

  • Do we need a permit for a rented vehicle, which already has All India Permit?

Yes, you still need to take a Rohtang Pass or Beyond Rohtang Pass Permit according to the destination.

  • Do we need a permit while coming from Leh, Keylong, Chandartal or Spiti to Manali?

No, Permit is required for traveling to Manali from Leh, Kaza, Keylong, Chandartal and Spiti Valley.

  • Do I need permit for Motorcycles and cycles?

Yes, you need a Rohtang Pass/ Beyond Rohtang Pass permit for Motorcycles but cyclists don’t need any permit.

  • How many days before I need to apply online for Permit?

The online permits (Rohtang Pass, Special Rohtang Pass & Beyond Rohtang Pass) can be applied for the next 6 days from the current day.

  • Can I cancel the booked Permit?

No, you cannot cancel the booked permit. Please be sure of your travel and then only book, as only 1300 Permits are issued per day.

  • Where to contact in case of some queries related to Permit issuance?

For any other Permit issues, you can write a mail at rohtangrefunds@gmail.com

  • How many permits can I apply from my own mobile/ IP address?

Only 2 permits can be applied in a week from a single IP address or mobile unit.

  • Any email id where I can send my queries?

You can send your queries at dc-kul-hp@nic.in

  • My name spelling/ vehicle reg. no/ vehicle no./ license no isn’t the same as the issued Permit. Will it matter?

Yes, it matters a lot. You will not be allowed to cross the Gualaba Checkpost. So make sure to check the spellings, reg. no twice before submitting the form.

  •  Can I book a permit through Rohtang Permit App?

No, you cannot book Rohtang Pass Permit through their app. You can just check the Permit availability and validity. Also, you can download the booked permit from here.

  • Should I visit Rohtang pass without woolens?

We don’t recommend you to visit Rohtang Pass without woolens in any seasons. Weather changes here drastically. If one moment it’s sunny, another moment it may cloud and start raining. Please do carry windcheaters, a jacket, a cap, and gloves. If you are not carrying or have forgotten them, you can rent or buy them from Marhi shops. We too made a purchase for woolens at Marhi.

  • Do I get anything to eat at Rohtang Pass?

Yes, there are temporary shacks and some moving hawkers at Rohtang Pass. They serve you bun – omelets, Maggi, soups, tea, coffee, corn, and chana chaat and everything is almost priced at Rs. 50/- per plate. They have bins placed near their tents, so remember to put your trash in the same or get it back.

Munching over Chana Chaat at Rohtang Pass
Munching over Chana Chaat at Rohtang Pass
  • Do I get anything to eat on the way to Rohtang Pass?

Yes, there are around 10-15 shacks in Marhi, serving you lunch, tea, coffee and various types of snacks.

  • Is there any chance of facing AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) at Rohtang Pass?

Yes, you may feel headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, vomiting, or shortness of breath at Rohtang Pass due to high altitude and thin air. Please descend back if you feel the symptoms are getting worse. The advice is to keep having liquids and munchings at short intervals to stay fit.

  • How far I can go with the Rohtang Pass Permit?

You can go ahead for few kilometers to enjoy the views but cannot cross the Khoskar check post.

All you need to know about Rohtang Pass Permit

If you have any more questions, do leave them in the comment section. We will be happy to answer them.

Ladakh- The Land of High Passes

“Our Land is so barren and the passes so high, that only the best friends or the fiercest enemies come to visit us”

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The above saying can be found everywhere on the internet about Ladakh the Land of High Passes; also known as the roof of the world but never knew the deep meaning behind it. In July 2017, while doing a 13-day long road trip to Leh Ladakh from Delhi; we saw the same quote at various places posted by BRO (Border Road Organisation) and now after visiting quite the part of Ladakh; crossing one valley to another we have understood the real meaning of each word.

Ladakh: The Land of High Passes

It is true that the whole land in Ladakh is barren; a cold desert lying at an altitude between 10,000 – 25000 feet, where temperature even dips to -50 degrees Celsius in winters. The army is on its foot front guarding Indian border from Pakistan and China, and the passes are not only India’s but worlds highest. Some of these passes or La, as known in Ladakh are the highest motorable and treacherous roads. So, in this post, we will be talking about why Leh Ladakh is known as Land of high passes. The word Ladakh itself is composed of two words La and Dakh, where La stands for “passes” and Dakh stands for “many” which together comes to  Land of High Passes. It’s not 5 or 6 passes but overall there are more than 20  passes. And if you are following our itinerary then will be crossing around 15 passes. So, let’s see the passes covered by AllGudThings.

The route to Leh Ladakh from Delhi

Delhi – Ludhiana – Jammu – Srinagar – Sonamarg – Kargil – Leh – Hunder- Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri – Tso Kar – Keylong – Manali – Chandigarh – Delhi

Ladakh – The Land of High Passes

1. Zoji La

Altitude: 11,649 feet

Road: From Sonmarg to Zoji La, roads are serpentine and single Lane

Zoji La -Ladakh, the land of high passes

The first pass; Zoji La lies on Srinagar – Leh highway is 24 km ahead of Sonamarg and is the gateway to Ladakh. This highway is also known as NH1D and has high strategic importance, as it links Ladakh with the Kashmir Valley. Zoji La is quite daring and thrilling for nature lovers as the green valleys are taken over by barren cliffs and here the winter never seems to end. The tall walls of snow can still be seen in July- August too.

Snow Wall at ZojiLa- Ladakh,the land of high passes

Just meters ahead form pass, there is a Zero-point where no natural habitation exists. Here, the snow lovers can enjoy snow sports like sledding, snow bikes and trek to the barren mountain.

Zero Point at Zoji La - Ladakh, the land of high passes
Zero Point Near ZojiLa (Ladakh – The Land of High Passes)

Also, enjoy some Maggi with tea/coffee at shacks. It is really windy at the pass; so wear some woolen or windcheater, to protect yourselves.

Note: Zojila receives on an average, 60 feet of snowfall and it opens only in April end or May.

2. Namika La (Pillar of The Sky Pass)

Altitude: 12,198 feet

Roads: Well constructed road, continuous ascent, and descent; lie 16 km ahead of Mulbekh.

The Namika La is one of the two passes between Kargil (Also Read- Kargil War Memorial) and Leh in the Zanskar mountain range. The mountain at the pass has a pillar-like object rising to the sky. The mountains around are arid and offer a 180-degree view of the valley. The Tibetan prayer flags around the summit flutter at its best.

Namika La - Ladakh, the land of high passes

3. Fotu La / Fatu La

Altitude: 13,149 feet

Roads: Well constructed road with a thick layer of tarmac, continuous ascent and descent with hairpin bends, lies 36 km ahead of Namika La and 14km from Lamayuru.

Fotu La is considered as one of the highest points on Srinagar – Leh highway. From here one gets the perfect view of rugged, brown, stacked mountains. Ahead the road descends to beautiful Lamayuru town. Personally, we feel the views from this pass are photographers and videographers’ delight.

Fotu La; Ladakh - The Land of High Passes
Fotu La in Ladakh – The Land of High Passes

On the pass is also located the relay station of Prasar Bharati television that serves Lamayuru village.

Relay Station of Prasar Bharati Television at Fotu La: Ladakh, the land of high passes
Relay Station of Prasar Bharati Television at Fotu La

4. Khardung La/ Khardongla (Pass of Lower Castle)

Altitude: Claimed to be at 18,380 feet, but actual height is 17,700 feet

Roads: Lies 39 km from Leh; roads are paved from Leh till South Pullu i.e almost till 24 km; After that rock and dirt road with snow melting streams in between North Pullu to South Pullu. Overall the roads are continuous winding ones.

Time Taken: 2.5 – 3 Hrs

Khardongla lies in the Ladakh range and is a gateway to Nubra and Shyok valleys. The pass was built in 1976 and opened to the public only in 1988. The pass is strategically important as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Khardongla offers breathtaking views, is covered with snow all around and thousands of Tibetan prayer flags decorate the place.

KhardungLa; Ladakh- The land of High Passes
KhardungLa in Ladakh- The land of High Passes

For visiting this pass, Indian as well as International tourists both need a Leh Ladakh Inner Line and Protected Area Permit.

Note:

  • You will find hundreds of bikers, cyclists, and four-wheelers at the pass, so this La is highly packed.
  • The roads are quite narrow & slippery because of the melting snow.
  • At this high altitude one is likely to suffer from AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), so rush back towards lower altitude as the symptoms appear. Take help if it is severe.
  • The best time to visit is between May – September, however, the pass remains open throughout.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYYoe0JhVp-/?taken-by=suruchimittal

5. Chang La (Pass towards South)

Altitude: Lies at 17,590 feet

Roads: Steep climb, well-constructed road but almost 15 km before and after the Chang La pass, the road is of loose dirt and slush. Small streams too appear across the road.

The Chang La lies on the way to Pangong Lake via Leh and is covered with snow throughout the year.  It is the main gateway to the Changthang plateau located in the Himalayas. The views from the pass are mesmerizing, scenic and adventurous along with breathlessness and extreme chill. If one is lucky enough, one can get to witness snowfall happening.

ChangLa: Ladakh, The Land of High Passes

Both Indians, as well as international tourists, require Leh Ladakh inner line permit and protected area permit respectively for visiting Chang La and Pangong Tso too.

Road to Pangong Tso via Chang La: Ladakh; the land of high passes
Ascent to Chang La

There is a myth that Chang pass is named after Saint Chang La but the myth is banished by army personnel.

Note:

  • It’s quite windy and chilly at Chang La, so wear woolens and cover your head and feet too.
  • Don’t stay there for more than 20 -25 minutes, to avoid AMS.
  • Check the weather conditions from locals before leaving for this route.
  • The roads are slippery and steep, be really slow and careful.
  • The best time to visit is from May – October.
  • Enjoy hot tea served by the Indian army
  • Carry extra fuel from Leh

6. Rezang La

Altitude: Lies at 16,000 feet

Road: Completely dirt and gravel road, except for a few places there is a tarmac road.

Rezang La lies in the Chushul Valley, 46 km from Spangmik on the way to Tso Moriri. The landscapes on the way are beautiful, scenic and at times, one might be the only lone wanderers. Local advised us to follow the electricity wires, to avoid getting lost. The place is known for Rezang La Memorial; which is built as a tribute to the martyrs of Sino – Indian War, 1962.

Rezang La Memorial: Ladakh, the land of high passes
Rezang La Memorialin Ladakh; The Land of High Passes

Domestic tourists need an Inner Line Permit to travel along this way whereas International tourist needs special protected area permit.

Note:  Rezang La lies at a really high altitude, so just stop for a short span of 20-25 minutes.

7. Chagga La/Tsaka La

Altitude: Lies at 15,242 feet

Road: Gravel, dirt and rocky road, Continuous steep road.

Tsaka La Road: Ladakh, the land of high passes
Tsaka La Road in Ladakh; The Land of High Passes

The Tsaka La lies on the way to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso. The area around Tsaka La is almost barren and the roads are only accessible during summer months. It is advised to take this route only if you are confident enough to drive on steep mountain roads. The drive becomes tougher if roads are wet.

8. Namashang La

Altitude: 15800 feet

Road: Mostly gravel & Dirt road; steep too. One needs to be really attentive and careful here to be on the track.

The Namashang La lies between Mahe & Kyagar Tso on the way to Tso Moriri. Roads are only accessible during summers. And just like Rezang La and Chagga La, Indian tourists need Inner line permit and foreign tourists need Protected Area Permit.

9. Polo Kongka La

Altitude: 15800 feet

Road: Dirt road, not very steep, but maximum you can drive is at a speed of 20 -30 lm/hr.

Polo Kongka La lies on the way from Tso Moriri to Tso Kar near Pulga. On the way, there are many sulfur springs also known as Pulga Hot water spring.

Polo KongKa La; Ladakh: The Land of high Passes
Polo KongKa La; Ladakh: The Land of High Passes

Note: Do check the condition of roads before leaving for Tso Kar from Tso Moriri.

10. TagLang La

Altitude: Lies at 17,582 feet

Road: The roads are well paved while ascent from Moore plains and during descent towards Upshi.

Road to Taglang La, Ladakh: The Land of High Passes
Road to Taglang La, Ladakh: The Land of High Passes

The TagLang pass lies between Leh and Pang and is considered to be the highest pass among all the passes on Manali – Leh Highway. The pass is well made, paved and there is a shack on the top too. Luckily or unluckily, at Taglang La; we experienced rain, snow and chilled wind with almost zero visibility. The mountains around are snow-laden and the valleys are electrifying. The pass summit is overall laden with Tibetan prayer flags.

Taglang La, Ladakh: The land of high passes

The pass is impassable during winters. During snow melting and rains, roads become too slippery. There is a small temple on the Taglang La.

Note:

  • The temperature and oxygen supply at the pass is relatively low. So, there are high chances of AMS.
  • Stay maximum at Taglang La for 20- 25 minutes.

11. Lachung La / Lungalacha La

Altitude: 16,616 feet

Road: Steep paved road at a pass, in between patches of dirt and gravel roads, bumpy because of a lot of potholes.

The Lachung La lies on Manali – Leh highway and is 22 km from Pang. The pass is completely deserted and the cold winds blow at a very high speed. The vast landscapes, brown humped mountains, and valleys around it are known for its exquisite beauty.

Lachung La: Ladakh, The Land of High Passes

Note: The pass gains sudden height from 15000 feet and the cold here increases tremendously. If one is not acclimatized well, he/she will surely face the symptoms of AMS.

Views from Lachung La: Ladakh, The Land of High Passes
Views from Lachung La: Ladakh, The Land of High Passes

12. Nakee La

Altitude: Lies at 15,647 feet

Roads:  Well construct red asphalt steep road passes between the rocky gorge.

The Nakee La pass too lies between Pang and Sarchu; just 19 km ahead to the LachungLa. The Indus river flows along in the valley, leaving green patches on the arid mountain slopes. As you descend from the pass, one crosses 21 hair loops known as the famous Gata Loop. There is an interesting story related to the loop which you can read on our blog.

NakeeLa: Ladakh; The Land of High Passes

Just like other passes, here too, it is quite windy. The weather here is really unpredictable; in seconds it changes from the sunshine to rain and snow.

NoteRoads get slippery after rain and snow, so be really careful.

13. Baralacha La

Altitude: 16,040 feet

Road: Well constructed, steep, paved road with multiple water streams flowing in between and some of these are really wild. On one side there are huge mountains, while on another deep valley; so be careful while driving.

The Baralacha La lies between Sarchu and Jispa, 59 km from Sarchu in Himachal Pradesh, India. The pass summit has crossroads from Ladakh, Lahaul Spiti, Zanskar and was earlier a famous trade road. It is also a base for many treks. We encountered lightning and rain at Baralacha pass. Roads and the whole valley turned foggy but still, it was really serene. We guess the pass will be much prettier in clear weather.

Baralacha La: Ladakh, The Land of high Passes

Just 3 km ahead of the pass, we saw a pentagon-shaped, turquoise blue pond, known as Suraj Taal, which is the source of river Bhaga.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXNtSo7h5lZ/?taken-by=suruchimittal

The BaraLacha La closes down in winters due to heavy snowfall and one doesn’t need any permit to cross it while coming back to Manali from Leh.

Note:

  • There are multiple streams passing on the road. Cross only if it’s not extreme, as it can be dangerous.
  • Be careful with the falling rocks and landslides.
  • April to October is the best time to travel this pass.

14. Rohtang La / Rohtam Pass (Pass of Corpuses)

Altitude: 13,054 feet

Road: The road is really rough and in dreadful condition. There are patches of gravel and then completely muddy and slushy roads. There are a lot of potholes and one mostly faces traffic jams while ascending and descending the pass.

The Rohtang La is on the Manali – Leh highway in Himachal. It lies 53 km from Manali; connects Kullu Valley with Lahaul -Spiti and is a gateway to Keylong from Manali. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous passes. Every year the pass faces many landslides, gets completely embedded in snow and the road cleaners use GPS services to dig it back. There are always chances of getting stuck in between while crossing the Rohtang pass. Sometimes the jam gets cleared only after 10 -12 hrs.

Stupa at Rohtang La : Ladakh, The Land of high Passes
Stupa at Rohtang La

The pass is highly scenic, offers views of glaciers, peaks, lush green valleys, and Chandra River. Indeed it is one of our favorite passes too. While we crossed it, the whole pass was under and in between the clouds. There was hardly any visibility; the cold breeze was caressing our face but the fear of 13 days Leh Ladakh trip getting over had started biting us.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXk2Fsrhm7V/?taken-by=suruchimittal

Just 6 Km ahead of the pass submit lays a Rani Nallah, which is huge and ferocious and can be dangerous too.

Note:

  • The Rohtang Pass opens only for a short window between May end or June till November. If the snowfall happens earlier than November then it also closes early.
  • One needs a Rohtang pass Permit; for visiting it from Manali.
  • Drive really slowly and be very cautious while crossing the pass.
  • Every Tuesday, the pass remains closed because of the repair work carried out by BRO.

Rani Nallah at Rohtang La: Ladakh, The Land of high Passes
Rani Nallah at Rohtang La

Apart from this, there is one unknown pass around Chushul, and people have named it as Chushul Pass or Chushul La.

We encountered all colors of nature while being on this path. Crossing 15 passes in 13 days has actually made us believe that name Ladakh is perfect. It stands true to its words and is actually the mesmerizing Land of high passes. In case, you think we had missed out listing anyone here, do let us know. We will try to include it, as will cover the missed out La’s in our next post of Ladakh – The Land of high passes.

Other related articles from the Leh Ladakh series:

6 must-visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

A walk with Indian soldier at Kargil War Memorial

Nubra Valley: The Valley of Flowers in Ladakh

A day at White Lake Tso Kar in Ladakh

Attractions on the Srinagar Leh Highway

All you need to know about Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit

Leh Ladakh Road trip from Delhi – 13 days itinerary

Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi – 13 days itinerary

Some of the places are always your dream destinations; even after knowing that they are well connected by roads but still cut out from the rest of the world. Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi was one of our dreams. We were trying to accomplish this 3500 km road trip dream for three years and finally, it happened in 2017.

Route Map for Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Route Map

The each landscape, mountain, road, stream throughout the road trip is unique and has its own tale. So, now do we have?

Starting with Julley! Joolay! Julley from Ladakh- the land of high passes is a mesmerizing, indeed a magical word to say Hi, Hello, Namaste, Welcome and goodbye. It brings a smile whenever we say it. Anyways we have lots to talk about this epic road trip; starting with the itinerary or travel guide for Leh Ladakh road trip.

13 days itinerary for Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi

13 days Itinerary for Leh Ladakh road trip

There are two routes to reach Leh – one from Manali and another from Srinagar, Sonamarg. We did the circuit route, starting from Jammu to Leh and back via old Manali. So, we will be talking about the 13 days guide on it.

Day 1 (Delhi – Jammu)

Start from Delhi around 6-7 am and try to cover the distance till Jammu.

Route: Delhi – Ambala- Khanna- Ludhiana –Pathankot- Jammu

Total Distance: 588 Km

Total Time: 10 -12 Hrs

The condition of roads: Excellent; National Highway with multiple tolls. The whole route is plains.

Places to explore on the way: Nothing much except the huge swaying paddy field of Punjab.

Route to Jammu - Leh Ladakh Road trip from Delhi

Day 2 (Jammu – Srinagar- Sonamarg)

Start from Jammu around 7 am to reach Srinagar or Sonamarg. We planned to stay at Sonamarg instead of Srinagar because of the unrest going in Srinagar from the past few days.

Route: Jammu – Udhampur – Ramban- Anantnag – Srinagar – Sonamarg

Total Distance: 336 km

Total Time: 8-10 hrs

Condition of roads: Excellent; National Highway with tolls, plain as well as hilly drive

Tunnels: India’s longest 9 Km tunnel; Chenani – Nashri (also known as Patnitop tunnel) has got opened in 2017 itself and it has cut short the total distance by 41 km. Another, 3 km long Jawahar Tunnel; also known as Banihal Tunnel.

Places to explore on the way: Dal Lake, Shikara ride in Srinagar, and huge golden meadows of Sonamarg.

Dal Lake, Srinagar - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Dal Lake, Srinagar

Day 3 (Sonamarg – Drass – Kargil)

In the morning get up early to see the first sun rays striking the mountain peaks of Sonamarg, roam and feel its golden meadows (the real Kashmir). And leave for Kargil by 10 -11 am.

Route: Sonamarg- Baltal- Drass – Kargil

Total Distance: 125 km

Total Time: 3 -4 hrs direct-drive whereas 6-7 hrs with sightseeing

Condition of roads: Excellent roads but few broken patches too

Passes: Zoji La Pass at 11,575 feet which connects Kashmir and Ladakh Valley

Places to explore on the way: Zojila Pass, Zero Point, Baltal from where Amarnath yatra begins, Drass war memorial, Elephant ridge, view of Tiger Hill, Kargil War Memorial and apricot plantations

Zero Point at ZojiLa - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Zero Point at ZojiLa

Day 4 (Kargil- Lamayuru – Leh)

Leave from Kargil around 9 am to have full time for sightseeing on the way.

Route: Kargil – Mulbekh-  Fotu La pass – Lamayuru – Leh

Total Distance: 217 km

Total Time: 8 -9 hrs with sightseeing

The condition of roads: Continuous ascent and descents; good roads with few broken patches in between.

Passes: Namika La at an altitude of 12139 feet and Fotu La pass at an altitude of 13,478 feet

Places to explore on the way: At Mulbekh, the future Buddha statue dating back to the 1st century, Fotu La Pass, the ruins of Chiktan Fort; at Lamayuru the old Lamayuru monastery and moon lands, Gurdwara Pathar Sahib at Nimu, the magnetic hill and confluence of Indus – Zanskar River.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BW_XX9oB-H7/?taken-by=suruchimittal

In between the journey there are several attractions to explore on Srinagar Leh Highway. Don’t miss them!

Day 5 & Day 6: (Leh)

Take rest, get acclimatized, and explore the city of Lamas.

Places to explore: Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Hall of fame; Hemis monastery (45 km from Leh); and Leh market. Take a permit from the DC office to further explore Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake.

Also on the way, you must explore –6 must visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

On the way to Leh - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi

Day 7 (Leh –Nubra/Nobra Valley – Hunder)

Route: Leh – North Pullu -Khardungla Pass – South Pullu – Diskit – Hunder

Total Distance: 127 km

Total Time: 6-7 hrs with sightseeing

The condition of roads: Completely broken patch of 20 km at and around Khardung La till South Pullu.

Passes: Khardung La, the highest motorable road and pass at an altitude of 18380 feet

Places to explore on the way: Khardungla Pass, Diskit Monastery; the tallest statue of Maitreya Buddha and Hunder Sand dunes.

Nubra Valley - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Hunder; Nubra Valley

Day 8 (Hunder – Pangong Tso)

There are two routes to reach Pangong Lake from Khalsar (33 Km from Hunder); one via Shyok and another via Leh. Check with the BRO (Border roads organization) or locals if the route from Shyok is accessible or not. During our travel, there was a major landslide on the Shyok way, so we had to travel all the way from Khardung La again to reach Pangong Tso.

Route: Hunder – Khardungla- Leh – Thiksey – Changa- Tangtse – Pangong Tso  OR  Hunder – Khalsar – Shyok – Tangtse – Pangong Tso

Total Distance: 240 Km via Shyok and 351 km via Leh

Total Time: 8 hrs via Shyok and 11 – 12 hrs via Leh

The condition of roads: The roads are bad at and around Kardungla. Gushing streams; and the paved road is on the way to Pangong from Changla whereas for the other route via Shyok; local taxi driver narrated that the route has many streams flowing on the road itself and sometimes it gets impossible to judge the depth and condition of the road.

Passes: Kardungla Pass at 18380 feet and Chang La pass at 17590 feet

Places to explore on the way: Pangong Lake, Chang La pass, Shyok River, ruins of Shey Palace, Thiksey monastery, Hemis monastery.

Pangong Lake - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Pangong Tso

Day 9 (Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri)

Route: Spangmik- Man- Merak – Chushul- Nyoma -Tso Moriri

Total Distance: 215 km

Total Time: 7 -9 Hrs

The condition of roads: Gravel and dirt tracks with streams flowing in between and you can drive maximum at a speed of 20-30 km/hr.

Places to explore on the way: Kaygar Tso, Tso Moriri, Chushul pass, Rezang La, Tsaka La, Namashang La  and straight roads traversing among the barren mountains

Tso Moriri - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Tso Moriri

Day10. (Tso Moriri – Tso Kar)

Route

Total Distance: 90 km

Total Time: 4-5 hrs

The condition of roads: Gravel and dirt tracks, enclosed amidst the mountains. One can drive max at a speed of 20-30 km/hr (which can be irritating after a span). The road at Tso Kar village is metalled, a well-made road.

Places to explore on the way: Kaygar Tso, Puga hot springs, Polo KongKa La, and Salt deposits around Tso Kar Lake.

Kyagar Tso - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Kyagar Tso

Day 11 (Tso Kar – Keylong)

Start early from Tso Kar to reach Keylong by evening and trust me this is the most scenic ride.

Route: TsoKar – Debring – Pang -Sarchu – Zing Zing Bar –Jispa – Keylong

Total Distance: 250 km

Total Time: 8-10 hrs

Condition of roads: From Tso Kar to Manali Leh highway dirt road whereas afterward excellent paved roads till Pang, then continuous ascents, and descents with paved as well as dirt road patches, and too have to cross the famous Gata loops i.e. 21 loops within 6.5 kilometers

Passes: Lachalung La at an altitude of 16,616 feet, Lakeela at 15547 feet and BaraLacha at 16,040 feet

Places to explore on the way: Suraj Tal, Deepak Tal, Gata loops, Lachalung, Lakeela, and Baralacha pass

Gata Loops - Leh ladakh road trip from Delhi
Gata Loops (21 loops in 6.5 km)

Day 12 (Keylong – Manali)

The Keylong to Manali route is lush green and it’s just a 4-5 hr drive if the ascent to Rohtang pass is in good shape.

Route: Keylong – Sissu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi – Manali

Total Distance: 115 km

Total Time: 4-5 hrs

The condition of roads: From Keylong to Sissu excellent paved roads, then continuous bad road while the ascent of Rohtang pass and the good road while descents. Few gushing water streams in-between the roads.

Passes: Rohtang pass at an altitude of 13,050 feet

Places to explore on the way: Lots of seasonal waterfalls; Tourist Sissu village, Rohtang Pass, Old Manali, and lots of apple orchards. Note: You don’t need Rohtang Pass Permit while coming back from Leh to Manali. Also, shop the famous Bhuttico Kullu Shawls & Accessories known as the Gift of Kullu Valley.

Old Manali Bridge - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
Old Manali Bridge

Day 13 (Manali – Delhi)

It is always tough to say goodbye to the valleys and it was toughest for Leh Ladakh road trip. The last day is going to be a long hectic drive day.

Route: Manali – Mandi – Rupnagar- Ambala – Panipat – Delhi

Total Distance: 537 Km

Total Time: 11-12 hrs

Condition of roads: Excellent, national highway

Places to explore on the way: Mandi; Chandigarh and delicious Punjabi food at Dhabas.

On the way to Mandi - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
On the way to Mandi

Certain important Points for Leh Ladakh Road Trip

  • All these routes can be covered in a lesser time than mentioned, but we suggest stopping and taking the enthralling views.
  • There is neither a hurry to rush and reach anywhere in the valley, so drive slowly.
  • Listen to the locals for advice as they know the valleys better than a traveler.
  • Don’t drive at night as first you will miss the views and it is really risky. And if your vehicle breaks down there is nobody to help around for miles.
  • Spend a day or two at Leh, to get acclimatized for the higher altitudes.
  • Prepare yourself for AMS (Acute mountain sickness) which can vary just from a mild headache to breathlessness. If one is feeling severe restlessness, look for immediate help at the nearest shack or with BRO.

  • For certain areas in the valley, you need to take the Inner Line Permit.
  • Always have a day or two buffers in the Leh Ladakh road trip, as one never knows neither can predict the present and future situation of roads and landslides here.
  • Get your vehicles fuelled up at Leh as the next fuel station is available at Tandi, 365 km from Keylong.
  • For covering Tso Moriri and white Lake Tso Kar on the way from Pangong Lake, do carry extra fuel; at least 20 liters or even more.
  • If you are planning to go to Tso Kar directly from Pangong lake (which is 7-8 hrs journey), on the way you will cross Taglang La which is the world’s second-highest pass at an altitude 17,582 feet.
    TaglangLa - Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi
    Taglang La
  • Drink lots of water and say complete no to drinks while driving and during your whole Leh Ladakh road trip. This is for the safety as well as helps to get acclimatized
  • Don’t litter around in the valley.
  • The idea of Leh Ladakh road trip itself means being in the lap of nature; away from the daily hustle-bustle and social media. We simply mean that here there is no network. If you want to be in continuous touch with your family and friends do carry a BSNL sim.
  • ATM services are available at Srinagar, Leh and then at Keylong. So carry enough cash during your Leh Ladakh road trip and keep some as a buffer.
  • There are a lot of options for accommodations. Luckily, we got nice accommodation everywhere without booking but we recommend to have pre-bookings for the Leh Ladakh road trip.
  • In between, there are multiple shacks to enjoy Maggi, tea, coffee, paranthas, omelet, etc. These shacks do provide homestays too at very reasonable rates.
  • There are washrooms at the shacks for nature’s call and one needs to shell 5 -10 Rs each time.

Leh Ladakh road trip from Delhi: 13 days itinerary

This is just the start of our Leh Ladakh road trip travel series. Stay tuned to know and see more in detail.

You might be interested in checking our other series of Ladakh too:

Nubra Valley: The Valley of Flowers in Ladakh

A day at White Lake Tso Kar in Ladakh

Attractions on the Srinagar Leh Highway

Ladakh-The land of High Passes

All you need to know about Leh Ladakh Inner Line Permit

6 must-visit Leh Ladakh Palaces before they disappear

A Walk with Indian Soldier at Kargil War Memorial

Leh Palace

Hemis Monastery

Story of Gata loops, Manali Leh Highway

Dos and Donts for Ladakh road trip

All you need to know about Rohtang Pass Permit

Sonamarg Kashmir- The Golden Meadows of India

Our Love for Old Manali over Main Manali

You can also read about our other Spiti Valley road trip here.