Avoid Planning for Manali – Leh Highway in October or November

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Well, few weeks back I posted a news about Manali – Leh Highway being open till the end of November linked here. As at that time I had all sought of doubts on how BRO will be able to manage the extreme weather conditions, the latest reports are just complimenting to the risks of traveling on Manali – Leh Highway late in the season and few of them I already mentioned in my earlier article on 5 Reasons to Avoid Manali – Leh Highway in Late September or October. Hence, it was quite a suprise when I first read the news about Manali – Leh being open for another month :shock:.

Late October and November for me is just too too late and with latest reports it is clear that many sections of Manali – Leh Highway have already frozen. There is black ice on roads especially when traveling early mornings and evenings poses a great risk of driving over it as chances of skidding are very much likely and is too dangerous for newbie to attempt such sections of roads. It is quoted that three stretches between Darcha and Sarchu in Lahaul-Spiti, including a stream at Bharatpur have frozen completely as temperatures are running below freezing points in-around them.

The route can experience heavy snowfall at anytime now thereby may get closed for several months. An advisory for tourists not to ply on Manali – Leh has already been issued by General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) considering similar risks. GREF, a wing of the Border Roads Organization, maintains the highway that passes through rugged Himalayan ranges, including the 475-km Manali-Leh highway that passes through Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla Pass (17,480 ft). Read more here and below.

MANALI, October 17, 2011: Following risks associated with driving on many frozen stretches of Manali-Leh highway, the movement of tourists along this route has almost stopped. It has hit the tourism industry in Manali.

Less than a dozen cabs from Manali are plying Manali-Ladakh highway these days as driving on frozen road is dangerous. Most of the tourists are preferring direct flights from Delhi to Leh, which has left hundreds of taxi operators unemployed. Tourists while leaving for Ladakh, use Manali as their halt for a day and hire cab for their onward journey. October and November being off season here, taxi operators are waiting for passengers. Now, most of the drivers have parked their cabs sans passengers.

With more than 1,700 cabs and 80 mini buses, the Him-Anchal taxi operators union here is the largest in the state. The vice-president of the union Beas Dev said, driving on Manali-Leh highway is dangerous both for driver and tourists. He adds, “Only some experienced drivers are daring to drive on frost. Most of the tourists are opting for airways. Now, we are hoping for good business during Christmas weekend in December.”

The temperature being below freezing point, three stretches between Darcha and Sarchu in Lahaul-Spiti, including a stream at Bharatpur have frozen completely. The route may experience snowfall any time. And it would be blocked for traffic. To avoid dangers, travel agents are advising tourists to take alternate means of transport.

Padam Singh, owner of two mini buses and a SUV here is upset as he has no work to do. “I had purchased cabs to earn from tourism in Ladakh. The rough Manali-Leh highway is suitable only for SUVs and buses which are not in demand now. Tourism in Manali is already dull. Now we will have to face the recession period till May 2012,” he said.

Similar is the condition of most of the taxi operators in Kullu and Manali. The Manali-Gramphu-Spiti highway too is reported frozen at many stretches near Kunzum pass.

External Link: Frozen Manali-Leh highway freezes tourism

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19 Comments

  1. Gunjan mehta on

    Hii.. m planing to go leh on 26th oct by flight from delhi.. aur leh se fir manali.. is time jana thik rahega kya..

  2. pritpal bajwa on

    I am planning a trip to leh-ladakh near christmas..please tell about the road conditions in december and january…

    • Deepanshu, Manali – Leh Highway is closed as of now. If you want to track the latest status, we keep publishing all the major updates in DoW Community at the threads in the forum: Road Status & Conditions

      You can check last ear threads and once the snow clearance operation begins in March 2014, we will start back the sticky threads for both Manali – Leh Highway and Srinagar – Leh Highway again where all the status will be posted.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  3. Shobhit Madan on

    Hello Dear

    i am planning for my honeymoon in leh ladakh from 17 nov 2013 onwards for a week is it a right time to visit? and who is the best travel agency to get package deal for a week

    • Shobhit, it will be veyr very cold up there in Ladakh at that time ofthe year and frankly speaking Ladakh is not a place for honeymoon dear. It is an adventure destination, so do not risk it with honeymoon 🙂 … In case you still interested you can plan the trip on your own at ease and at DoW, you can find all the information related to traveling to Ladakh. But, in case you really want to go with some travel agency, you can check with info@offbeatescapes.com

      PS: Sorry for delayed reply as I was traveling Ladakh for last couple of weeks.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

  4. Can any one tell me the road conditions from leh to manila by the month of late january and feb

  5. Saugata Bagchi on

    Hi Dheeraj

    What would be the road conditions of Manali Leh highway (in general) during 15-22 September? Would it be open?

    • Hello Saugata,

      Road conditions would be good in September end, almost bets in condition in whole season, if the Monsoons rains have resided the region (which generally it does by that time). Yes, it would be open at that time. It closes down only after heavy snowfall, generally in November types. I hope this helps.

      Regards
      Dheeraj sharma

  6. Pingback: Manali-Leh Highway Closed for 2011

  7. ZSXR 1127 ZIXXER on

    Hello Dheeraj, can you advise me on what the road conditions are like on the highway in early October? I plan to travel from Manali to Leh and back to Manali on a six day journey in the first week of October. It will be my first time in India and unsure what the Manali Leh Highway is like at this time of year. Would I be better to rearrange my plans and visit in September? Thank you for your help,

    Darren.

    • Hi Darren,

      Perhaps a read at the article linked here I wrote about planning a journey on Manali – Leh Highway in October or late September will be a good start. Though in recent years we have been having delayed monsoons as well as snowfall. So, the window of thee reasons to avoid might shift to October but since, it is weather nothing can be guaranteed. But, overall I feel that first week of October shall be fine now a days due to delayed snowfall and prolonged/delayed monsoon as well for the last two years.

      If you are planning in October then keep the plan flexible, do keep track of weather updates and then only plan for it. Otherwise, my sincere advice would still be if you can plan it by mid September types and it will be good enough.

      I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any queries or doubts you might have for your trip.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • Darren Keegan on

        Thank you very much Mr. Sharma. I will take your advice and travel in September. The Manali Leh Highway is the highlight of my journey to India so I will plan my whole trip from Ireland to India around this ride. Thank you again for the information and the excellent site filled with useful tips. Darren.

        • Hi Darren,

          Thanks alot for liking the information present on the blog here. If Manali – Leh Highway is the highlight of the trip then please do go through the comprehensive guide on planning the journey on Manali – Leh Highway linked here. It will answer almost all the queries or doubts you may have related to accommodation, sightseeing, night halts, public amenities, fuel pumps etc. while traveling on Manali – Leh Highway. I am sure you will find useful information on the link for your trip.

          Welcome to India, in advance 🙂 … Feel free to let me know in case you have any query or doubt. Best wishes for the trip..

          Regards,
          Dheeraj Sharma

  8. hi.

    iam sainath. iam planning to go for trip to manali,kullu,rhotong pas,and shimla.please, tell me wheather the roads are blocked in january or not and is it safe to go by bus.

    • Hello Sainath,

      Nopes, the roads are not blocked for Manali, Kullu and Shimla but yes you will not be able to go to Rohtang Pass as that is already closed for the tourists due to heavy snow. But, you will be able to enjoy snow at snow points of Gulaba/Marhi or Solang Valley around Manali. Yes, it is safe to go by bus and both Shimla and Manali are even well connected with Volvo buses from Delhi.

      If interested in more details on Manali including sightseeing places, accommodation options, food joints, etc you can go through the Manali travel guide available at the link here

      I hope this helps. Please let me know incase you have more doubts or queries.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

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