Juley! Ladakh – The road from Manali

Juley!! a word that is the most heard word in Ladakh. Hi, Hello, How are you, Thankyou, Welcome and Bye all can be substituted as Juley! And the way you understand is based on the situation. And the way Ladakhis say it is lingers on you for long. The 3 men who went to Ladakh ( the inspiration of this blog) still greet each other with Juley!!!

Coming to the trip, after almost 4 years of planning this dream was realized, times were coordinated and after an initial group of 12 people who were interested, 3 people actually boarded the train to Chandigarh. From Chandigarh it is an overnight journey to Manali which formed our base camp. We visited some locations in Manali which are usually famous as the day tourist points that most taxi guys would take you to.

steel, bridge, temporary, beas, river, manali, himachal

Misty, Clouds, Greenery, weather, Manali, Himachal

We chanced on an opportunity one night in the market with the HPTDC office offering a bus ride to Leh, with an overnight stop at Keylong. The ride was the most beautiful experience of my life with the natures beauty at it best. The terrain changes from lush green pine trees, to the icy Rohtang pass to the sparse vegetation to the desert that Ladakh is. The photos are a testimony of the feast of the ride those 2 days were. Once you approach Leh you can see the oasis that Leh is at 3000 ft above sea level. That is the last of what you see as green. Above that oxygen and the air both get thinner.

Cloud, road, Manali, Leh, Ladakh, Route
weathering, natural, manali, ladakh, route, view
weathering, natural, manali, ladakh, route, view
Indian, army, truck, convoy, desert, highest, leh, ladakh, manali, route, view

The overnight stop at Keylong is at in tents at the Himachal border in the Himachal Tourism Hotel. Your mobile signal will start reducing from this point on, but on the other note, who cares? The nature captures you and keeps you enthralled. You will pass many high routes from where some stunning images can be captured

View, highest pass, route, manali, leh, ladakh, himalayas, mountains, snow clad
Manali, Leh, Kaccha road, route, way, Ladakh, innova, travel

There were 2 most interesting parts to our bus ride.

  • In a bus of 20 people, we were only 5 Indians, 3 of us, the driver and the cleaner. Rest all foreign tourists from Spain, Germany, Korea and Vietnam. Something that surprises us to date as the Indian preferred the private cars which is a much more expensive option. Here were made some friends with whom we traveled to Nubra Valley the next day.
  • The road after Rohtang pass was very bad because of the landslides in the past week (see images) Trucks, buses and cars were getting stuck in the mud, and in all honestly we found it amusing to see the people in the bus get down, push and help people in need. A sight that i would cherish for long.
Rohtang, Manali, Landslide, Stuck, Truck, Mud, Leh, Ladakh, way

The drive hurt the back as the bus takes 30 hours for a drive of approx 365kms. But it was worth all the pain because of the treasure captured in the eyes and the camera. It was also the first trip where I took my DSLR out with just a 18-55 mm lens at disposal. Cant get into further detail as the trip was about 4 years and this is the detail I remember.

Word of caution
There is another option of flying to Leh, Leh airport is well connected from Delhi and Srinagar. Flights are allowed only early in the morning, rest of the time the Indian Air force uses it as their base.  If you take the option, the views are stunning but remember to keep a day for acclamation spare with you

Oasis, Leh, Ladakh, greenery, View, Highest Desert,

View of Leh as you approach the city

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