My friend and I are planning a trip from Delhi to Phugtal Monastery in late Feb/early March 2018. We have about 9 days allotted for this portion of our trip. We read your excellent posts on the subject and understand that it’s probably not possible to come from the Leh route this time of year due to the closed roads.
Instead, we wanted to try to fly from Delhi to Kullu airport, and then rent a car and drive from Kullu to Purne/Chah (or as close as we can get to Phugtal).
Here’s a map detailing our plans:
Do you think this route is reasonable? We couldn’t find many people coming to the monastery from the southern route and saw some reports that this road was under construction. Do you foresee any issues with the roads we’re taking (closures, etc.) and would you be able to recommend a place to rent a car near the Kullu airport?
If this isn’t a good route, do you have any suggestions for a route from Delhi during late February?
Thank you very much!
The route you have outlined does not exist right now. It is under construction and may open next year/season end. They have built the road till Shinko La and a bit further ahead but not other part of the road is yet to be made motorable. Also, the road from Kullu to base village of this route Darcha will open in May as Rohtang Pass is closed for the season now.
So, unfortunately, you cannot make Phuktal Monastery trek in the month of Feb-March. Th only way to do is to fly into Leh, then do the full Chadar trek in Feb to reach Padum and then do Phuktal. But that will require too many days and experts guidance.
Thank you so much for your input, Dheeraj! My friend and I have completed our trip planning based on your advice and we’ve settled for a short trip from Leh airport to Pangong Tso lake area instead of Phuktal Gompa.
However, we really still want to see the full beauty of the Zanskar Valley and Phuktal, so we also looked into the Chadar trek that you mentioned (there seems to be a tour available on this site) and are considering this as an option 🙂 The 9 day trek could fit into our trip plans – do you have any good resources for someone considering this option to read in preparation?
We were also wondering if there are any other more far-fetched/unexplored possibilities, such as a helicopter ride from Leh, or if there is a special vehicle that can cross the snow/ice on the roads.
Thank you very much,
I will suggest the same John, you should focus on Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso in the same order and leave Phuktal for some other time. I am not aware of any helicopter services and highly doubt they are operational. Regarding Chadar trek, will suggest to skip unless you have good number of days. Many of the operators does half Chadar trek and that means you do not reach Padum from where trek needs to start. If required I can get you connected with locals in Padum, if you are seriously interested in it.
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