The Manali-Leh road is a world on its own and must travel route if you want to say your Ladakh trip as complete :) For various logistical reasons we decided keep it in last leg of our dream trip. After overnight stay at Karzok (Tso Moriri) it was time to start our return journey towards Manali. The high altitude sickness which had dominated for most part of the trip suddenly started to disappear. Unfortunately by the time I got properly acclimatized to high altitude, the trip was almost over :)
|Unique Landscapes on Leh-Manali Road|
Our first planned site visit was Tso Kar lake. But we decided to give it a skip as it didn't look impressive from distance. The journey continued with a few pit stops for lunch, bio-breaks etc. Once we crossed Pang(world's highest military transit camp), the landscape changed abruptly. From Pang to Sarchu the landscape/roadscape was so impressive that our Ladakh sightseeing for last 6 days visit seemed inferior. May be we had not these visual in typical tourist post cards from Ladakh.
|Tented Accomodation at Sarchu|
After passing through LaChuLungLa and Gaata Loops we crossed the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, reached our first halt in Himachal Pradesh i.e. Sarchu. With Rigzin's influence we got tented accommodation at Sarchu at affordable rates (inclusive of dinner, breakfast).
|Suraj Tal Lake|
After overnight stay at Sarchu, the journey towards Manali continued with uphill ascent to Bara-lacha Pass and a brief stopover in front of SurajTal lake.
|Convoy of Indian Army|
Further ahead we had an unexpected pit stop due to movement big convoy of Indian Army with more 30 trucks ! By noon time we were in Keylong and our mobiles managed to receive signals after a gap of 4 days ! Since we were about to reach Manali a day before, Jatin had thoughts doing de-tour to Chandrataal from Keylong. But none of the drivers in Keylong agreed to get there and we had no option to continue our plan-A i.e. journey towards Manali.
|Rohtang Tunnel: Work in Progress !|
One of major hurdle for getting to Manali was Rohtang pass which is a nightmare for travellers between Manali and Leh. Before the ascent of Rohtang pass Rigzin showed work-in-progress for Rohtang tunnel which after construction would considerably cut down travel distance/time between Leh and Manali .
|Traffic Jam at Rohtang Pass :) [ photo by Jatin Muddu ]|
Then before getting to Manali, the ultimate thing happened. Traffic jams due to minor landslides and rush of tourists mostly from Chandigarh. With that our out-of-civilization trip to Ladakh ended and we were back to real chaotic world :) There's not much say about our 2 days stay at Manali. Only cherishing experience was food at Manikaran Gurudwara and cakes from German bakery in Kasol.
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