Prologue, Itinerary & Road Updates | Ladakh Mega Meet

49

First and the foremost… A very very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 to you and your family…

I know it was long long due BUT now I have written it to share with you. Yes, I am talking about the Epic log of DoW Ladakh Mega Meet 2013 where we had a target of covering “12 Lakes and 12 High Mountain Passed in 12 Days”… Well, for a trip that sounds outrageous from the word go and ever since its announcement over DoW Blog there had to be surprises and changes in the plans along with numbers. Luckily for us the numbers just got increased only and 10 out of 23 people who joined in this EPIC run of 12 days over trans Himalayan region of Ladakh and Spiti Valley, were able to experience the beauty of 14 Lakes and magnanimity of 17 High Mountain Passes… Yes, you read it right, we coved 14 Lakes and 17 passes in just 12 days of mad mad adventure run in the High Altitude Wilderness 😯 😯 …

All Races are Not Meant to Win…
All Races are Not Meant to Win... Devils at Nidar - Changthang, Ladakh

The trip was announced with the article of 12 Days, 12 Lakes & 12 High Mountain Passes – DoW Ladakh 2013 where in after receiving responses and urge of lots of readers to travel along in one of the DoW Expeditions, I made up my mind to finally conduct such an event on the lines of DoW – Causes | A Step Towards Responsible Travel. There were too many people who registered, then they backed out, then some last minute joinings and in between loads of drama behind the scenes 😀 :D… Though it was quite a learning curve for me and DoW of course. Finally, the day came (21st September) and number of people joining in settled to 23 Souls out of which some had most of the plan aligned with us only. But in the end, there were 10 of us who completed the entire tour together 🙂 🙂 … In our convoy of vehicles we had 2 Bikes, 2 XUVs, 1 Scorpio, 1 Xylo, 1 Innova and 1 Ertiga with 23 people on board in them. I feel now all of these 23 mortal souls also believe in my initial quote of “Ladakh is a place for LifeMeinBaarBaar” as together we all:

  • did spin over the barren landscape,
  • did unwind through the lush green meadows,
  • did fly with the wind at some of the highest mountain passes,
  • did get lost in one of the remotest yet magical places in Himalayas,
  • did walk over the sand dunes of cold desert,
  • did witness the burning colours in their most beautiful form,
  • did witness the beauty of Moon Land and Moon Lake,
  • did witness some of the largest lakes change their blue hues several times a day,
  • did witness the chill on few of the most isolated stretches,
  • did experience a journey, beyond limits,
  • did Explore THE Unexplored !!
The Lovely Blue Hues of Pangong Tso
The Lovely Blue Hues of Pangong Tso
Ready to Run… Srinagar – Leh Highway
Ready to Run... Srinagar - Leh Highway
Jai Hind… Kargil War Memorial
Jai Hind... Kargil War Memorial
Leh City at Night as seen from Shanti Stupa
Leh City at Night as seen from Shanti Stupa
DoW Ladakh Mega Meet… The Happy go Lucky Souls
DoW Ladakh Mega Meet... The Happy go Lucky Souls
Our four Heroes who supported us all the way
Our four Heroes who supported us all the way

As I kick start this Epic Travel Tale of Ladakh, in this article I will brief out the plan we followed in terms of itinerary, the road conditions over that route and the expenses that incurred in general to most of us. Finally, a peek into the titles of the articles to be followed in time to come on this Epic Travel Tale but be assured that the updates will be quick and crisp 😉 😉 …

Itinerary on Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

As usual, we were carrying our DoW – Maps of Ladakh | Nubra Valley & Changthang and our itinerary had couple of deep regions of Changthang marked over it for this mega meet. Well, we had 12 days in hand and we followed the itinerary as below:

  • Day 1: Started 5 AM in morning from Delhi by flight to Srinagar and reached Dal Lake Ghaat No 1 where all of us assembled together. We went from Srinagar to Sonamarg – Zojila Pass – Drass road to Kargil where we stopped for the night at Hotel PC Palace near Taxi stand.
  • Day 2: We ran further over Srinagar – Leh Highway starting from Kargil covering Namki La – Fotu La – Lamayuru – Hangroo Loops – Khaltsi – Nimmu – Magnetic Hills – Pather Sahib – Leh. At Leh, we did put up overnight at Hotel Panorama on Shanti Stupa road.
  • Day 3: It was a relaxing day in Leh to acclimatize, get with permits, short walks and some sleep to rest. Some updates have happened to Leh – Ladakh Permits Process which I have already documented in the article Ladakh Inner Line Permit Updates on Process & Download Form
  • Day 4: We ventured into Nubra Valley from Leh over Khardung La Pass. Looked over Diskit Monasteries and settled for night at Hunder at Yourdum Guest House, Hunder village after exploring sand dunes in the evening.
  • Day 5: We went to Pangong Tso from Nubra Valley over Wari La – Shakti – Chang La – Tangste – Lukung – Spangmik route and rested for night at Himalayan Wooden Cottages.
  • Day 6: It was a decisive day as we took the route to Hanle from Pangong Tso via Chusul – Tsaga La – Loma route. Finally reached Hanle and stayed overnight at Padma Homestay which finally had their pending complex completed with construction with Indian Toilet washroom ready for the tourists 🙂 (for last couple of years it was under construction only). We executed DoW Causes at the primary school of Hanle (click link to see smiles) after which most of us were quite emotional to see the smiles around us 🙂 🙂
  • Day 7: This was the day to explore the unexplored as we did Hanle – Kyon Tso 1 – Kyon Tso 2 – Thitzorba La – Nidar – Mahe – Yaye Tso – Hora La – Chumathang. We stayed at Chumathang Hot Springs Resort / Guest House at Rs 100 per bed 😀 :D. Again we executed DoW Causes at a primary school in Nidar region (click link to see smiles).
  • Day 8: We started from Chumathang for Tso Moriri via Namashang La – Kiagar Tso but it was overcast so missed the colors and started to Tso Kar via Polokong La in order to cut short next day’s journey. But, Tso Kar did not have accommodation so were forced to Manali – Leh Highway from Debring – Moore Plains to rest at Pang. We stayed overnight at a Dhabha tent cum shed paying Rs 100 per bed.
  • Day 9: This was easy, relaxing and beautiful drive over Manali – Leh Highway from Pang to Sarchu via Lachulung La – Nakee La. Encountered light snowfall too while we ascended Baralacha La and went down to Zingzing Bar – Jispa – Keylong to reach Sissu for overnight stay. At Sissu we stayed at Hotel Triveni which is right on road itself.
  • Day 10: We started for Chandratal Lake following Gramphu – Chattru – Chota Dhara – Battal. Relaxed around Chandratal for couple of hours and then went over Kunzum Pass to Losar for overnight stay at Nomads Cottage. We distributed the remaining material of DoW Causes in the near by school at Losar (click link to see smiles).
  • Day 11: We started the painful journey back from Losar to Kunzum Pass and then towards Manali via Battal – Chota Dhara – Chattru – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Marhi and finally halted it at Manali. Five of us including me decided to leave Manali that evening itself and rest of the people stayed in Manali as they had tickets of overnight Volvo for the next day.
  • Day 12: We reached Delhi in the morning and rested for the day at Sweet Home !! 🙂 🙂
Beautiful Flowers from Ladakh
Beautiful Flowers from Ladakh
Road to Peace in Life… Lord Buddha in Nubra Valley
Road to Peace in Life... Lord Buddha in Nubra Valley
The Riders on the Run to Wari La
The Riders on the Run to Wari La
Adrenaline Running Adventure…
Adrenaline Running Adventure towards Wari La
Some Moments, Some Words and Some Views Can’t be Forgotten
Some Moments, Some Words and Some Views Can't be Forgotten - At Hanle
Road Conditions on Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

Road conditions are just some relative terms only when we talk about Trans – Himalayan region of Ladakh or Spiti Valley and a lot depends upon what time you are traveling in the year. Since, we went in late or end of season, the roads were generally dry, with least water crossings and much better than it remains rest of the season.

  • Srinagar – Sonamarg – Zojila Pass – Drass – Kargil: Most places it is good. But very rough, dusty roads near Zojila Pass. Rest barring few patches of bad roads, all good.
  • Kargil – Mulbekh – Lamayuru – Hangroo Loops – Khaltsi – Nimmu – Leh: Again mostly good roads barring few patches of bad roads.
  • Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder (Nubra Valley): Roads are good barring the bad roads between North Pullu and South Pullu which remains mostly as it is.
  • Hunder – Agham Village: Good, tarred roads.
  • Agham Village – Wari La Pass – Shakti Village – Chang La Pass: Roads are mix of bad and good here especially around both Wari La and Chang La. There was one water crossing too just after Agham Village.
  • Chang la – Tangste – Lukung (Pangong Tso): Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Lukung – Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga La – Tsaga: Road is like dirt track, can be called bad roads with some very bad sections. High ground clearance vehicle required.
  • Tsaga – Loma – Hanle: Well, tarred roads.
  • Hanle – Kyon Tso 1 – Kyon Tso 2 – Thit Zorbit La – Nidar: Very Very bad roads, in fact no roads on most of the sections. Only high ground clearance with good driving skills recommended to venture on this route. There were marshes, river bed, rocks, pot holes, water crossings, etc.. on which we actually drove 😉
  • Nidar – Nyoma – Mahe – Horala – Yaye Tso – Chumathang: Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Chumathang – Sumdo – Namashang La – Kiagar Tso: Mix of good and average roads. Some sections are metalled but some have potholes.
  • Kiagar Tso – Tso Moriri: Bad road like a dirt track but manageable with hatchback as well as sedans.
  • Sumdo – Polokong La – Tso Kar Lake: Average roads with mix of tarred but not so good and maintained. Rest sections were like dirt track.
  • Tso Kar – Debring – Moore Plains – Pang: Good, tarred roads all the way. You can cruise on Moore Plains.
  • Pang – Lachulung La – Nakee La – Gata Loops – Sarchu: Mostly average roads.
  • Sarchu – Baralacha La – Darcha: Mostly average roads with couple of water crossings and few good sections. Some sections near Darcha are bad and narrow.
  • Darcha – Jispa – Keylong – Sissu – Khoksar – Gramphu: Good, tarred roads barring few sections only.
  • Grapmhu – Chatru – Chota Dhara – Battal: Horrible roads throughout with 3-4 water crossings, though still better than Kyon Tso route.
  • Battal – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Losar: All bad roads with couple of water crossings.
  • Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Manali: Mostly good with just about 2-3 KMs of ascend from Gramphu to Rohtang Pass & near Rani Nalla  being bad. Rest all tarred even the Rohtang Pass top.
The Star Studded Night at Hanle
The Star Studded Night at Hanle
The Pristine and Pure Water of Himalayas
The Pristine and Pure Water of Himalayas
The Ever so Beautiful Korzok Village near Tso Moriri
The Ever so Beautiful Korzok Village near Tso Moriri
Nabeel, The Brave Biker from Kerala with his DoW-ed Ride in Changthang
Nabeel, The Brave Biker from Kerala with his DoW-ed Ride in Changthang
Devils Spreading Smiles at Nidar, Nyoma in Ladakh
Devils Spreading Smiles at Nidar, Nyoma in Ladakh
Expenses Incurred for Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

My actual expense on this mega Ladakh trip was approximately about Rs 24000 including Taxi charges where we paid almost Rs 13000 per head as for 2 dedicated taxis for 9 people (Scorpio + Innova). Rest, Rs 2900 was spent for Delhi – Srinagar flight ticket and Rs 1500 were spent on overnight Volvo ticket of Manali to Delhi including approximately Rs 250 as cancellation charges. Rest around Rs 6500 per person was spent on Food, Accommodation, Permits and other misc. charges like monastery fees, tips, etc.. for 11 days as on 12th day I reached home in the morning itself. Most others who accompanied us had similar expenses.

The High Views of Manali – Leh Highway
The High Views of Manali - Leh Highway
Trans Himalayan Trip is so incomplete without Bumble Bee 🙂
Trans Himalayan Trip is so incomplete without Bumble Bee :)
Finally I saw… The Charismatic Chandratal
Finally I saw... The Charismatic Chandratal
Index – Travel Tale of Ladakh Mega Meet 2013

Worry not as the detailed travel tale will start getting published soon but in the mean time you can check below the series of articles which I will be writing for this epic Travel Tale of Leh – Ladakh and Chandratal Lake:

So all is set to roll out this epic travel tale and I am sure in time to come you are surely gonna enjoy every bit of it as I am re-living those moments again while writing this log :)…

The Journey ahead…

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About Author

You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

49 Comments

  1. We are a group of 7 people If you can help us in making itinerary for Leh-Ladhak, we would be grateful to you.

    As of now Following is our plan:

    25-Jul Friday MYS-BANG- Delhi
    26-Jul Saturday Delhi-Srinagar
    27-Jul Sunday Srinagar-Kargil
    28-Jul Monday Kargil-Leh
    29-Jul Tuesday Leh visit + Acclimatisation
    30-Jul Wednesday Leh-Khardung la-Nubra Valley (on enfield)
    31-Jul Thursday Nubra Valley-Khardung la-Pangong Tso (on enfield)
    1-Aug Friday Pangong Tso-Leh (on enfield)
    2-Aug Saturday Day for Water rafting
    3-Aug Sunday —————————-
    4-Aug Monday —————————-
    5-Aug Tuesday Leh-TsoMori(on Local taxi which will take us to manali also via sarchu)
    6-Aug Wednesday Tso Moriri-Sarchu
    7-Aug Thursday Sarchu-Manali
    8-Aug Friday Manali-chandigarh
    9-Aug Saturday Chandigarh-Bangalore

    We have following queries :
    1. Can we get a local cab from Leh on 5th august to Manali which will halt at Tso Morriri 1night & Sarchu 1 night and Head for Manali next day. If yes how much will it cost us 
    2. If possible can you give numbers for taxi drivers who can pick us from Srinagar to Leh, especially who are returning from Srinagar after dropping people from leh to Srinagar so that we can save some money.
    3. If you can suggest for any good places to visit on 3rd to 4th august it would be good, since we are unsure as of now 
    4. Is one day enough for water rafting or shall we keep two days for it.
    5. We want to do paragliding as well. Please suggest where to go for that and how should we incorporate it in our plan.

    Thanks a Ton in Advance 

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  9. Me along with 3 friends planning to do a manali – ladakh trip this june. I got your contact from your blog. We are planning a trip of 9 days in total. Can you please suggest some good options either for hiring a bullet or a Gypsy with driver. To be frank our trip budget is 20,000 per head. I would like to hear more from you. Could you please help us on.

    Regards

    • Anton, you have just 9 days? are these 9 days ex. Delhi? or ex. Manali? For the leh – ladakh taxi union rate list 2014 – 15 including the contacts of some reliable taxi drivers within Leh – Ladakh, check the link here. You can get about 10-12% of discount by directly getting in touch with drivers and of course, talking in person rather on phone always help in bargaining more.

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  12. so is there any such trip in cards this year?
    i and my frnds r planning to finally take up this long awaited trip this year. and it wud b great if we cud join someone experienced like u. plz let me noe if u r planning again. 🙂

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  16. Wow! It was heavenly reading your stuff. Thanks For all the help during our planning stages. If you remember I had asked about missing Tsokar and you advised against it, finally we missed it, and missed Nubra too, because of snow fall. please do have a look at my blog.
    you are right its life mein baar baar for us too, and we cant wait to get back.

    thanks again and have a great year.

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  21. MOHIT K SHARMA on

    DHEERAJ. WISH U A GREAT YEAR 2014. I WISH TO VISIT LEH LADHAK IN JUNE, 2014 IN MY SUV. PLS HELP WITH ALL THE DETAILS.

  22. Jinesh Shah on

    Wow Dheeraj!!!

    I just realized that have not seen anything in Ladakh…. 🙁

    Hope to travel with you guys at the earliest…

    Happy New Year bro!!! 🙂

    • Hi Jinesh,

      Happy New Year to you and your family too brother !!

      Ha Ha Ha, well I have been there more about 5 times and still feel I have not seen anything there 😀 😀 … Ladakh is such a place brother, so take it year by year 😉

      But, for now try and book your calender if interested to be a part of DoW Mega Meet 2014 in Spiti Valley having landscape similar to Ladakh from 2nd October to 12th October.

      Regards
      Dheeraj Sharma

      • Jinesh Shah on

        Hi Dheeraj,

        I tried looking out for the details about the DoW Mega meet..but am unable to find it…

        Can you share the itinerary or link for the same??

        Regards,
        Jinesh Shah.

        • Hello Jinesh,

          Please stay tuned there, it is too early to decide upon the itinerary as we have just finalized the date and place. Somewhere in April, I will post the detailed article over it on the blog as well as community and we can take it ON. Rest assured that it will be one hell of an adventure trip to Spiti Valley 😀

          Regards
          Dheeraj sharma

      • Jinesh Shah on

        sounds like a plan Dheeraj!!!

        The sooner you tell me, the better for us so that we can book our air tickets in advance.

        This year is gonna be a year full of treks for me.

        If luck and lakshmiji 😉 permit…i may go for the Chaddar trek next month..fingers crossed 🙂

        • Yeah, Jinesh for sure. But, dates are final and won’t change 2nd October to 12th October 2014… Awesome to know and I wish you luck and all wishes that your dream come true for Chadar Trek. If you want more info. about Chadar, please get in touch with Sudhir Gaur (handle on DoW Community) who did it last year.

  23. swapnil k on

    Wishing you a very happy & adventurous new year ahead. 🙂
    Many more congratulations for completing one more wonderful journey to heavenly land of Ladakh.
    I have 2 queries as planning again for ladakh…
    1.Does route from Spangmik to Hanle ( via chushul) is possible now ?
    2. Also route from Agham to Spangmik via shyok ??
    Also is there any possibility that China will handover complete Pangong Tso & rest of holy lakes in Tibet area 😉 ??? 😛
    With Thanks,
    Swapnil K.

  24. Nabeel S R on

    Its awesome bro…..its felt like want to go again and again……waited so long for the brief….waiting for the detailed one soon….thanks for my photo mentions…thanks so much deeraj bahi..its my best and first new year gift i ever had

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