Stories From the Road: To Leh and Beyond

Two Days, Two High Mountain Passes and Zero Degree Temperature

You know the secret of adventure is not to carefully seek but walk in a way that it finds you, comforting our fear of the unfamiliar and the unsettling. Adventure will find you like it did for us. In a way adventure becomes your daily part of travels and you start seeing/experiencing everything in a new way.

A mix of good roads and bad awaited us on our way to Sarchu crossing a high mountain pass.A couple of hours on the road, and we refueled at Tandi which has the last petrol pump before one reaches Leh, 365 km away. Soon, we found ourselves at Baralacha La, the first pass of the day which took us to an altitude of 16,040 ft. We then made our way ahead to Sarchu at 13,080 ft via Jispa. We spent the coldest night of our trip here. The wind chill was high, while our lodgings at Camp were arranged with all basic amenities.The next day was cold but gave a picturesque view of the entire valley with snow – capped hills.

Sarchu - on way to leh

Adventure Camp Sarchu

Sunrise at Sarchu

The day’s drive was the best in terms of views and the quality of roads. The landscape was dotted with rugged mountains formed by an interesting mix of sedimentary rocks. We crossed three passes and the famed Gata Loops with its 21 hair pin bends opening up to some breathtaking vistas on the road cutting through Nakee La (15,547 ft), the Lachalang La (16,598 ft), and Tanglang La, the world’s second highest pass at 17,480 ft.


Nakeela Pass Leh

La Chungla pass

La Chungla pass

The final challenge that one must pass before one gets back to civilisation and the highway to Leh-the Tanglangla. At 17,500 ft, this icy pass is the world’s third highest one. At the top bone-chilling winds whistle through the mountains scything into the protection of thick jackets and woolens. When we scaled the Tanglang-la, the temperature gauge in our car dipped to 1 degree! Past what is perhaps the most challenging road in the country, it’s fairly easy work till Leh.

We had our lunch and Upshi and ended our day’s ride at Leh in our Homestay.

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