Delhi to Leh by Road A Travel Guide for the Adventurous Souls- Ngtraveller
As you drift away from the historic landscapes of Delhi and head towards this rugged and undulating land of the Himalayas, located at an altitude of over 11,000 feet, you will see dreamy settings and scenic locations that are sure to make your journey as exciting as the destination. , if not more. Whether you are traveling a true blue highway or are just starting out, this is a road trip that you must try at least once in your life.
So are you up for the challenge of embarking on an adrenaline pumping journey even at low oxygen levels? Then here comes our guide for a road trip from Delhi to Leh.
Popular Routes from Delhi to Leh Ladakh
You can choose from two incredibly scenic routes when taking a trip from Delhi to Leh Ladakh by road. One follows the Manali Scenic Highway and the other takes you through stunningly beautiful Srinagar. Luxurious bottoms and adventurous paths are common denominators on both routes. However, each route presents you with unique views and experiences. With captivating stops and countless places to capture mind-blowing images, a road trip from Delhi to Ladakh is exciting and fun in equal measure. Let's review each of these paths in detail.
Route 1: Delhi to Leh via Manali
From Delhi to Leh by road through Manali is a trail that will take you through many twists and turns, literally. This is a two-part excursion: the first from Delhi to Manali and the second from Manali to Leh. You can stay in a hotel in Delhi and get a good night's sleep before the flight starts. Most of the time you will be in NH 1 when driving towards Manali. At first the road will seem completely normal, but as soon as you start approaching Ganauli, the climb will begin. Make sure the refreshing views along the way are more than just make-up for the effort it will take to drive uphill. After crossing Manali, the road will take you through the Rohtang Pass, one of the most popular weekend getaways near Delhi. While on this road, you will drive on some of the highest motorized roads in India and can also see the entire Ladakh plateau as you pass the Lachulungla pass.
The Route: Starting in Delhi, you will go through Karnal, Mandi, Manali, Jispa (via Rohtang pass), Sarchu and Tanglang La, then you will reach your destination, Leh.
Distance: 1011 km (Approx.)
Travel time: 24 hours (approx.) Without transfers
Manali: Nestled among the majestic hills, Manali is a scenic haven carved out of the vegetation and accentuating the snow-capped mountains. Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass are among the top attractions near Manali that are worth a stop.
Rohtang La: Considered one of the highest mountain passes in the country, Rohtang La is located on the road leading to Keelung and then Leh. Here you can take a look at the amazing meadows, valleys and mountains. The place always sees snow so you can also indulge in some snow adventure activities like snowboarding and sledding.
Keylong: Keylong is located in the Lahaul Spiti district and is considered a little piece of heaven on earth. Blessed with lush greenery, the place boasts of snow-capped mountains and a sparkling river. Gemur and Shashur are two monasteries that you can visit during your stopover in Keylong.
Gispa: Most of the tourists who follow the Delhi to Ladakh road map choose Gispa to stay overnight. Camping in the open field over 10,000 feet has a charm of its own, don't you agree? Furthermore, Jispa is blessed with astonishing landscapes that add to the attraction of the place.
Darcha: A picturesque town located 23 km from Keylong, Darcha is surrounded by pristine valleys and mountains. It is an excellent place for camping and trekking.
Baralacha La: The picturesque Baralacha La mountain pass is located in the Zanskar district and connects Lahaul with Ladakh. You will be able to delicately observe the three valleys that surround this pass that is located at an altitude of more than 16,000 feet above sea level.
Sarchu: Sarchu, also known as Sir Bhum Chum, is another amazing area that you will come across during your journey from Delhi to Ladakh. If you want to stop for a night in Sarchu, choose to stay in camp in one of the open fields that dot this landscape. Sleeping under the starry sky is an experience that you cannot enjoy in the places to visit in Delhi.
Gata Lops: Those adventurous people who make the journey from Delhi to Leh by bike will love passing Gata Lops on their way. This place is often associated with ghosts! We can't say for sure if you will encounter ghosts or not, but you will definitely find great views of the area.
Lachulung La: Your flight from Delhi to Leh Overland will take you through this pass, which remains open for less than five months out of the year (that is, during the summer). The pass is 54 km from Sarcho, and has an unrivaled mountainous beauty.
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Tanglang La: Tanglang La is the second most important mountain pass in this region, second only to the Khardungla pass. The wonderful views of the surroundings make a stop at this place worthwhile and its energy.
Upshi: A picturesque town located on the banks of the Indus River, Upshi is a great place to spend some quiet time. The town is located near an ancient trade route that once served as a link between Tibet and this region.
Suggested Stops for Breakfast and Lunch
You can find quite a few decent places to eat at Rohtang Pass and Sissu, although they may not be as fancy as the restaurants in Delhi. Keylong is another place where you can find a number of good restaurants. Zingzing Bar is probably the only place that serves not only food, but also accommodation facilities.
Petrol Pumps along the Manali-Leh Highway
In Manali there are few gas pumps where you can refuel your car. Going further, you can find the next gas pump in Tandi, about 110 kilometers from Manali. If you need to refuel in the future on the trip, you can do so in Karu, which is about 345 km from Tandi and only 30 km from Leh.
Route 2: Delhi to Leh via Srinagar
The journey from Delhi to Leh by road through Srinagar allows you to experience not only the natural beauty but also some man-made creations. As you drive out of Delhi, you will head towards Amritsar, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. This route is often preferred by history buffs and religious spirits on the Delhi to Ladakh road trip. As you travel this route, you will come across picturesque villages, war memorials, gurudwaras, and monasteries, not to mention very picturesque landscapes. Whether it's the gleaming golden temple or the green fields of Sonmarg, you won't be short of sights and sights to enjoy during this trip. But remember, sometimes the roads can be very rough or bumpy. So, get ready to face some harsh conditions while enjoying the wonderful scenery.
The Route: Starting in Delhi, this trek will take you through Amritsar, Srinagar, Sonmarg, Dras, Kargil, and Lamayuru before reaching Leh.
Distance: 1055 km (Approx.)
Travel time: 24 hours (approx.) Without transfers.
Amritsar: Steeped in rich history, Amritsar is the place where you can witness the beauty of the magnificent golden temple and be honored at Jallianwala Bagh. The nearby Wagah border is another attraction here.
Srinagar: Situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar is one of the most picturesque cities in the Kashmir Valley. Bordered by evergreen mountains, the serene Dal Lake with beautiful floating boats adds to the beauty of the place.
Sonmarg: Alpine forests, lush meadows, and great views of the surrounding glaciers such as the Machoi Glacier and the Kolhoi Glacier make Sonmarg a must-see along the way.
Duras Valley: Duras Valley is known as the gateway to Ladakh. Located along the Drass River, the valley calls for attention not only for its natural beauty but also for its hot springs.
Kargil: Kargil is proud to be the second largest city in Ladakh, the first being Leh. A pleasure to witness the rugged mountainous terrain of this region any day. While heading to Kargil, make a detour into the Suru Valley. It is considered the greenest valley in the Great Himalayas.
Mulbekh: Perched on top of a hill, Mulbekh Monastery is famous for its two gompas. The monastery has two sub-monasteries within its facilities, known as Gelugpa and Drukpa. The Maitreya Buddha statue is one of the main attractions here.
Lamayuru: Lamayuru Monastery, listed among the oldest and largest monasteries in Ladakh, is an attractive sight. It is located on a steep mountain and offers exceptional views of the surroundings.
Moon Land: If Ladakh is called a trail paradise, Moon Land is an adventure paradise. The quiet and picturesque area is among the most incredible places to stop on your road trip.
Alchi: An attractive town in the Leh district, Alchi is famous for its Alchi Monastery. It is an old monastery dating back to the 12th century and is definitely worth visiting.
Likir: Located in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir, Likir is a beautiful city famous for the Likir Monastery. Built in the 11th century, the monastery houses a 75-meter tall Buddha statue, a sight to see.
Suggested Stops for Breakfast and Lunch
You will find a number of restaurants and eating places in Amritsar to satisfy your hunger as you travel from Delhi to Ladakh by road. Like the bars in Delhi, this historic city also has several bars to have a good time in. The beautiful hill station at Patnitop is another place where you can expect to find good quality restaurants. Along the way, Sonmarg and Srinagar have many good places to satisfy your culinary cravings. You will also find some dabbas along the country roads catering to hungry spirits.
Petrol Pumps along the Srinagar-Leh Highway
There is no shortage of gas pumps in Srinagar. Once you are out of this city, the next gas pump can be found in Mangan, about 32 km from Srinagar. To refuel next time you will have to travel 48 kilometers and reach Sonmarg. Make sure to fill your fuel tank in Sonmarg because you will find the next gas pump 124 km away in Kargil. About 40 km from Kargil is Malabek, which is the site of the next petrol pump on this road.
When you finally reach your destination, you can continue exploring the city and its surroundings. You can even organize your stay in one of the monasteries for a few days to experience the way of life there before heading back to Delhi. You will definitely find it as a unique experience. With such fascinating views and experiences, isn't it time to hear the call of the mountains and put the pedal to the metal?
Fab Safety Tips for Road Trips from Delhi to Leh
Ready to hit the road? Before leaving, take our penny on what to do and don't take a flight from Delhi.
- Put on masks and gloves.
- Wash your hands every time you get out of the car or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Choose a 100% healthy hotel to enjoy a safe stay.
- Prefer bottled water and eat only in a clean restaurant.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth frequently.
- Take vitamin C and D along with zinc every day to boost your immunity.
- Bring essential items like flashlight, hand sanitizer, snacks, protein bars, sleeping bag, and water.
- Bring a pair of comfortable shoes in your luggage.
- Always have the map handy or download offline maps when you are alone and go to explore any unfamiliar area.
- And, obviously, follow all COVID-19-related guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, including hygiene and social distancing practices.