Ladakh is a beautiful region situated in Jammu and Kashmir that is surrounded by the majestic mountain ranges of Kunlun and the great Himalayas from the north and south, respectively. The ethnicity of this sparsely populated place mainly consists of the Tibetan natives and Indo-Aryan tribes. A strong Tibetan influence can be felt in the culture of this place, which is why it is also called Little Tibet. The scenic hilly environs, gleaming tarns and virgin valleys of this place have made it a well-known destination. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh and a significant administrative division. This place, which is among the prominent centres of Buddhism in South Asia, attracts several tourists round the year. There are a number of well-connected routes to reach Leh from major cities of the country. The available options to reach here include flights, buses and trains. However, there are some travelling enthusiasts who like to drive to this isolated location. Travelers returning home from here usually take either of the two prominent routes, which pass through Manali and Chandigarh.
Driving is considered one of the best ways to come back as it lets people behold the stunning landscapes that lie along the route. Starting from Leh, travellers can cross several small locations like Shey and Karu to reach Taglang La, which offers scenic views of the greenery along the Indus River and its tributaries.
From here, people can reach the high-altitude plains of Pang, where the nomadic Changpas and their livestock herds can be seen. A number of eating points are available at this place to let travellers have a delicious meal break. Medical help is offered for tourists at the nearby Army base. Few more hours of driving takes people to the Gata Loops, where the roads start to loop up for around 10 km. These loops are the reason behind the naming of this place as Gata Loops. This location offers a panoramic view to behold that is worth capturing in the camera. Sarchu can be reached within a driving distance of 40 minutes and is the end point of Ladakh as well as the starting point of Himachal Pradesh.
After entering personal particulars and travel permits at the check post, vacationers can proceed further. Blue Poppy Camp is the next stop on the route and is recommended for spending a relaxing night. People staying here are advised to stay inside the tented accommodation as walking out in the midnight can expose them to the howling winds around. Travelers can also drive straight to Jispa, which takes around 11 hours in all. The only issue with this alternative is that people may get late due to traffic snarls or roadblocks; hence, forcing them to drive in the dark. In that case, it is advisable to have a night sleep and start early in the morning so that Leh can be reached within daylight, even if there are short delays in the journey. Unseasonal snowfalls can be witnessed at Baralacha La, which is among the high mountain passes of the area. The roads are often blocked by ice walls or reduced to a single lane, thus becoming difficult to drive through.
A 3 km drive from Baralacha La takes travellers to Suraj Tal – the big and scenic lake, which remains fully or partially frozen during the summer season. Deepak Tal is another beautiful but small lake, on whose banks tourists can stop to have a meal, tea or snack break at the nearby Hozer’s shack. From here, Jispa is located at a driving distance of just an hour. The route from Leh to Jispa is quite rough and calls for careful driving as it offers long stretches of broken roads and dust tracks. Driving from Jispa to Manali is one of the most memorable experiences on the route as tourists get to see some lovely monasteries and natural vistas of the Rohtang Pass. This long drive of about 5 hours calls for an attentive journey as the route comprises some rough stretches and the weather conditions can change within a few hours. Some more hours of driving lead vacationers to the Delhi/Haryana border, which is just about 30 km away from the centre of Delhi.