Manali to Leh
( via Rohtang pass .)
12 Nights , 13 Days ( LDK/Mtb-03 )
If you are looking for something long, challenging and exciting tour, you are at the right place because cycling from Manali will be an ascending tour as you will be climbing higher from sea level through some high passes of Rohtang, Baralacha, Nachunglung la, Nakila etc.Best Time: Mid June to Sept.
Highest pt.: 18,380 ft (K-Top)
Day 1 : Arrival.
When you will reach Manali, you will be briefed about the tour and bikes will be checked. And most importantly your health will be checked too for your own health and safety.
Day 2 : Full day cycling and exploring temples and monuments.
This is the day to increase the duration on our bikes, we take the route of Naggar and visit ancient Naggar Castle and have our lunch here. The journey goes through several small villages of Kullu Valley and evening we explore the Manali town with dinner in the market.
Day 3 : Manali to Marhi cycle, 36 Kms.
In the mountains, certain beliefs are very strong and a powerful nature is always there to experience and get support. A Buddhist Monk performs a ritual (Pooja) at the hotel before we start our major expedition to high passes of Ladakh. Then we start to Marhi from Manali on Manali- Leh highway. After 6-7 Kms the road slowly starts getting elevation and the grip on our paddles strengthens. The road is fine except the last few kilometers where you find water and small boulders on the road coming through the mountain streams and possibilities are there that at least one time you encounter the army vehicles coming towards Manali from Leh and they might take few extra minutes to your arrival to Marhi but it is not for sure every time. The facing mountains are high, snowcapped and beautiful from where numerous small streams emerge and move down like the streams of milk at some places. The last stretch of Gulaba is the small area of wild flowers and herbs which create several colors in your journey and through the several curves of road, you see the open valley of Manali you have left behind. You reach Marhi, which is a small tourist settlement with temporary establishments and the place remains under snow for 4-5 months. You will have your first night at a luxury camp.
Day 4 : Marhi to Keylong 3350 M, 74 Kms:
Morning at Marhi is extremely fresh and vies are stunning, we leave our camp and ride for about 12 Kms straight to our first mountain pass, Rohtang La pass. The last 2 Kms are over an extremely old glacier of Rani Nalla and the views are fantastic with surrounding mountain peaks. Rohtang Pass is “must see destination for the Indian tourists” so is always covered with hundreds of tourists enjoying snow. The pass is spread in a huge area and the road from the pass to another side is extremely nice in the beginning. One can watch the CB Ranges facing to him, the high mountains & peaks on Lahoul side and the barren valley leading towards Spiti- the forbidden land in the Trans Himalayas. We reach to Koksar after 19 Kms downhill cycling, the place to register yourselves and the place to eat also. Now we are in the Lahoul valley, which is a house of two religions under one roof, Buddhism and Hindu. The road moves along the biggest river of the state, Chandra and through Sissu and Gondhla, we reach Tandi on the foot hills if Pir Panjal Ranges. Tandi is the meeting point of two rivers, Chandra (coming from Spiti valley) and Bhaga (coming from Baralacha), the both rivers meet here and flow towards Pakistan with the name of Chinab. We see the runs of Gondhla Fort before reaching Tandi and from there; Keylong is one more hours ride. We reach Keylong, the headquarter of Lahoul & Spiti and check into our hotel.
Day 5 : Keylong to Patseo 3820 M, 48 Kms.
This day is relatively easy as we don’t have any pass to cross and even the distance is also not much. On the route, which is dusty and rocky, we can stop at a small monastery of Jispa and later after 5 Kms; we reach Darcha- the base camp for the popular trekking routs to Zanskar. From here we cross a bridge and start an ascent to Patseo. We now get a sense of the isolation of the area, with a few sheep dotted around and we begin to enter the territory of the Lamas. In the far horizon you can see the bleak and awesome spectacle of the Higher Himalayan ranges. Patseo is a open ground where till 1960 a temporary office of the Government of India was functional to control the trade on silk route between India and Tibet. The ground was the place of trade exchanges in ancient times but today it is used by the Indian army as its base for Ladakh, both the store the commodities and secure the boundaries. The campsite is beautiful and you can enjoy the evening nicely.
Day 6 : Patseo to Sarchu 4255 M, 58Kms.
We have another challenge today to cross the Baralacha La Pass, off course it is hard and long but the surroundings are too supportive. In the total isolation, you can “live” with your bike and love it more as your very reliable companion of this wonderful expedition. Zing Zing Bar is a place from where you rally start climbing, don’t expect any bar here this is probably the sound of an isolated soldier which has created such name at this barren place. On the way, you will find Whisky Nalla and Brandy Nalla after Sarchu and before Sarchu; you have a place named Bharatpur City. The soldiers working on road constructions and maintenance have used such names to eliminate their monotony and need for a bar, whisky and city at this barren land which only had the monks, shepherds and traders to Tibet for ages. Close to the top of Baralacha La pass is a beautiful lake named Suraj Tal, the lake of Sun and the origin of Bhaga River which moves towards Tandi and meets with Chandra River. This is one of the biggest Indian River and moves through Punjab to Pakistan. The banks of Chinab have soulful stories including the story of Sohni and Mehiwal, the two great lovers. From Baralacha La pass, we descend down to the valley of Sarchu and after Kilang Sarai, we reach at our fixed campsite for the overnight stay.
Day 7 : Sarchu to Whisky Nalla 56 Kms.
From Sarchu, few kilometers are flat cycling in the morning but we are soon tackling the zigzag "21 loops of Gata" at 15,030 feet up the canyon wall. We reach the summit of the Nakeela Pass and descend to the Whisky Nalla, where our camp is set for the night. The day passes some beautiful arid mountain scenery of the high ranges.
Day 8 : Whisky Nalla- Moray Plains to Debring over Lachalung La & Tanglang La 82 Kms.
Morning we are set for ascending the second highest pass on the Manali-Leh highway up to Lachalung La. The road here is likely to be the worst of the trip with a distinct lack of tarmac, it's very gravelly and there are many loose stones. We have a long descent to Pang down a steep sided gorge followed by an 8 Kms switchback climb before reaching the flat top of the Moray Plains. This barren area is known for its extreme temperatures in the morning and evening, fast winds and sandstorms. The only sign of life is the hardy Nomadic Changpas who can be seen tending their yaks in this most desolate place. We camp at Debring 20 Kms below the world's second highest pass, the Tanglang La.
Day 9 : Whisky Nalla- Moray Plains to Debring over Lachalung La & Tanglang La 82 Kms.
Debring to Rumtse 4200 M, 51 Kms.
Day 10 : Rumtse to Leh 3600 M, 91 Kms.
As we continue the flat ride and descent up to Upshi the scenery changes dramatically as we arrive in a fertile irrigated valley by a river dotted by pretty villages and Stupas. The spectacular red colored mountains around us add to the beauty and richness of the scenery. Crossing the Indus River the road improves. This is remarkably an easy ride and we pass the Thiksey Monastery before we reach Leh.
Day 11 : Whisky Nalla- Moray Plains to Debring over Lachalung La & Tanglang La 82 Kms.
This is the day to relax yourself, have small walks in the market and we organize visits to few monasteries this day to experience Leh.
Day 12 : Leh to Khardung La Pass and back Leh, 41 Kms (one side):
This day we take another challenge to bike up to the highest motorable road to Khardung La Pass, the highest pass of the world connected with road. The view from the top is spectacular, stretching from the Indus valley in the South over the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range to the giants of the Saser Massif in the North. Khardung La is the entrance to Nubra Valley and being at this altitude with your bike is surely an experience and achievement for the whole life. This is what you have probably you decide to come on this trip. We some time at the top and bike back to Leh.
Day 13 : Leh to Delhi flight (End of the Tour): .
Morning, transfer to the Leh airport for your flight to Delhi. It is a spectacular flight of one hour by around noon you reach to your Delhi hotel. If time allows, we can also organize a small sightseeing of the city.