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Srinagar To Leh

Discussion in 'North India' started by Jindal, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Jindal

    Jindal New Member

    I will be on a road trip from Agra to Leh, and there will be a stop over in Delhi for one day. I wanted to take the route from Srinagar to Leh instead of the route from Manali to Leh as I have not seen Srinagar before and I would prefer a stop there and spend two or three days sightseeing.
    I would like some more help and advice regarding the journey from Srinagar to Leh on what it is like, here are some questions I have.

    1. What are the road conditions like from Srinagar to Leh?

    2. Which route is better Srinagar to Leh or Manali to Leh?

    3. Is there a travel time distance between the two routes from Srinagar and Manali to Leh?

    4. What stopovers do you suggest when using the Srinagar to Leh route?

    5. Please also recommend some hotels in Srinagar which have a good view.
  2. Akshay

    Akshay Member

    1. The road conditions from Srinagar to Leh can be a bit treacherous but generally speaking it is a smooth road to drive on. The roads have recently opened, but I do suggest you wait for another week or two before heading towards Leh, as the snow is just melting and there are chances of snow landslides.

    2. The Srinagar to Leh route is much better than the Manali to Leh route. The Srinagar to Leh highway is well maintained, and the drive will be better. Your body will easily get used to the attitudes which mean there would be fewer chances of (AMS) acute mountain sickness. The scenery on the Manali - Leh route is much better, but you can always take the Manali route on the way back. Do not think that the Srinagar - Leh route is not good regarding the views, that too would provide you will scenic views, but just not as good as on the Manali - Leh route.

    3. Yes, there is a travel time distance between the two routes. The Srinagar - Leh route will take less time as the roads are well maintained hence an easy drive.

    4. If you wish to make only one stopover on the Srinagar - Leh highway I would suggest Kargil are the stopover, as this is midway. If you prefer to have more stopovers they would be in the following order:
    Srinagar - Dras - Kargil - Alchi - Leh

    5. Hotels in Srinagar with a good view are, Hotel Al Mehar, Hotel The Grand Mamta, Hotel Pride Continental and Hotel New Prince Inn. You did not mention any budget, so different budget hotels have been suggested. You can also consider houseboats in Dal Lake.
  3. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Whatever you hear about travel time, make sure to add a couple more hours. There is construction and road repair on all routes, and that has narrowed the roads in certain places.
  4. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Jindal! Welcome to the forum!

    So first, here's the route you have to take from Srinagar to Leh:
    • Srinagar > Wayul > Sonamarg > Dras > Kargil > Mulbekh > Heniskot > Uleytokpo > Nimmu > Leh.
    The road conditions between Srinagar and Sonamarg are excellent. You won't encounter bad patches or unpaved roads here. Journey time is about an hour and a half between these routes. The only problem you might encounter here would be the presence of army trucks. However, they don't really pose any threat at all, they're just there to protect the area and the tourists. You won't see much people in the region as well as the population here is estimated to be around 400 only.

    The road conditions between Sonamarg and Dras are mixed. This is the route where your first high-altitude pass is located, Zoji La. It is approximately 3,528 metres above sea level. And yes, historically, this is the pass that the Pakistanis tried to seize from India. There are some rough patches here and you will encounter unpaved, dirt roads. But after Zoji La, the road conditions to Dras are good. You can halt for the night in Dras. Expect travel time between these routes to be an hour or so.

    The road conditions between Dras to Kargil are excellent. This is also where most people halt for the night on the way to Leh. The reason being, there are plenty of hotel accommodations here, which can be pricier that the ones in Dras. Since Dras is located at a higher altitude, you can reach Kargil if you're a bit uncomfortable as it is lower than the former. Make sure to visit the older mosques in here, they're a mix of Tibetan and Mughal styles.

    The road conditions from Kargil to Uleytokpo are good. Be prepared for the two high altitude passes here: Namika La and Fotu La. Namika La is about 3,400 metres above sea level and Fotu La is about 4,108 metres above sea level. As you can tell, Fotu La is the highest point at this route.

    The road conditions from Uleytokpo to Leh are mixed too. You'll encounter the Hangro Loops along the way which has winding and steep turns. But overall, it's an okay drive and you can reach Leh from Uleytokpo in about an hour or two.

    This is a tough one to answer. Both these routes have their own charm in a sense. Although the Manali to Leh route is more challenging, the scenic views along the way are worth it. However, the Srinagar to Leh route doesn't disappoint on the scenic views as well. So in the end, it's a matter of personal preference. And you can also choose both, take the Srinagar to Leh route one way and when going home, take the Leh to Manali route.

    But anyway, for the sake of argument, here is a breakdown of the advantages of both routes:

    Why Choose Srinagar to Leh Route
    • The acclimatisation process is slower with this route. The highest altitude pass is on the way to Uleytokpo and it's just at 4,108 metres. Before that, your body has properly acclimatised at Zoji La and Namika La. The ascent is gradual, not sudden, so the chances of having AMS are lower. Unlike with the Manali to Leh route, the passes are higher and the ascent is sudden.
    • You can enjoy the scenic views along the way without worrying about your health.
    • It's the better route for beginners. If it's your first time travelling to a higher altitude location, then you might be better off choosing this route. Also, if you're travelling with your family, then choose this route especially if you have children and elderly with you.
    Why Choose Manali to Leh Route
    • It's adrenaline pumping and more so for the adventure seekers. You will go through the five highest mountain passes in the country and even in the world. The Tanglang La is about 5,300 metres above sea level, Rohtang La is about 3,980 metres above sea level, Baralacha La is about 5,030 metres above sea level, Lachung La is about 4,891 metres above sea level and Nakee La is about 4,769 metres above sea level. Not to mention the Gata Loops, a series of 21 hairpin bends with a ghost story to its fame.
    • It is easier to reach Manali from Delhi. As compared to Srinagar, where you need two days to reach from Delhi, you only need a day to reach Manali from Delhi.
    • The scenic views along the highest passes are enough for any traveller, despite the hardship of reaching Leh from Manali.
    It depends upon you really. Just consider that the Manali to Leh route has a higher chance of acquiring AMS as compared to the Srinagar to Leh route. Aside from that, there are more gasoline station options, hotel options and restaurant options along the Srinagar to Leh route as compared to the other.

    But other areas like the Spiti Valley and Lahaul are better traversed via the Manali route. Plus, if you're an expert driver, then there's no problem with going through the Manali to Leh route. However, if you're a newbie driver, then just take the Srinagar to Leh route, for your own safety and your passenger's safety.

    Another case would be if you're travelling in early June and the roads leading to Leh from Srinagar are still closed. Then, your only option would be via Manali to Leh.

    So with the Manali to Leh route, it's about 473 kms and with the Srinagar to Leh route, it's about 415 kms. Ideally, both routes take about two days to complete as both require a night halt in between. There's not much difference between the two when it comes to the distance covered. But since the Manali to Leh route passes through high altitude routes, it can take longer to reach Leh this way.

    I recommend one of these places: Dras or Kargil. You can also halt in Alchi if you are experiencing some symptoms of AMS en route to Leh.

    In Dras, there's the J & K Tourism Department Bungalow. It costs very little as Rs. 200 per night. It's very basic accommodation though. But the good thing is, you can explore the nearby mosques. Aside from that, you can explore the nearby villages as well.

    In Kargil, there are numerous hotels with prices ranging from Rs. 1,800 and above. There are also plenty of restaurants and eateries around the area.

    Here are some hotels in Srinagar with a good view:

    Mid-Range Hotels in Srinagar
    • Lonely By The Shelter Heritage - This guest house/hotel has scenic views of the mountain ranges. Their Deluxe Single Room is at Rs. 1,200 per night. Rooms have television, attached private bathroom, carpeted flooring and heater in the winter. They also have a multi-cuisine restaurant with Indian, Chinese, Continental and Special Kashmir Wazawan cuisines. Jain dishes are also available in the hotel. Tours and sightseeing guidance can also be provided for by the hotel for the guests. Their address is: Near Major Bridge, Kursu Padsha Bagh, No. 4, Srinagar, 190008, Kashmir.
    • Hotel New Prince - The hotel is just a walking distance from the Dal Lake. Aside from that, some rooms offer a view of the picturesque mountains. Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 1,899 per night. Rooms have attached bathroom, television, heating facility and wardrobe cabinet. Their restaurant serves Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisines. Their address is: Opposite Azad Petrol Pump, Munwara Abad, Srinagar Kashmir.
    • Hotel Sadaf - This is about 15 minutes away from Dal Lake. The hotel also offers views of the mountain ranges. Their Standard Double Room is at Rs. 3,000 per night. This room has flat-screen television, attached bathroom, carpeted floors and closet. They also have a pure vegetarian restaurant in the hotel premises. Their address is: 45, Samander Bagh, SP College Road, Regal Chowk, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001.
    Luxury Hotels in Srinagar
    • Vivanta By Taj Dal View - The resort/hotel is perched on the Kralsangri Hill with an amazing view of both the Dal Lake and the Zabarwan Mountains. Their Deluxe Delight Room Lake View is at Rs. 19,000 per night. It has a private sit-out with panoramic views of the lake. It has an LCD television, telephone, safe, tea/coffee maker, attached modern bathroom and working desk station. You can even pick your own pillow from their menu. They have three in-house restaurants as well. They also have a swimming pool, business centre and fitness centre. Their address is: Kralsangri, Brein, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 191121.
    • Lalit Grand Palace - This was the former residence of the Maharajas in Srinagar. It was built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1910. The palace overlooks the Dal Lake and the mountain ranges surround it. Their Premium Palace Suite is at Rs. 22,000 per night. You can choose between a room overlooking the garden or the Dal Lake. The room has television, DVD player, WiFi, mini-bar, fridge, tea/coffee maker and modern bathroom. They also have three restaurants in the hotel along with a spa and a business centre. Their address is: Gupkar Road, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190001.
    • Heevan Resorts - The Zabarvan Ranges can be seen from the resort. Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 10,000 per night. It is centrally heated and has the following amenities: television, safe, tea/coffee maker, mini-bar and bathroom. They have two restaurants in the hotel premises. Their address is: Gupt Ganga Ishwar, Opposite Deevan Colony, Nishat, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 191121.
    I hope this helps.

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