A Manali-Leh-Manali Roadtrip

There are some road journeys that you never forget. The Manali-Leh-Manali road trip falls in that category. We did the onward journey in the style that is called as the cannon ball run. It means doing Manali-Leh at one go, we did it in a shared jeep too. While coming back we took a government bus which had a night halt at Keylong. We thought that the journey might be easier with a night halt, but I am not so sure. In the bus my husband, I and one young couple of Indian origin were the only tourists. Otherwise it was used only by the locals or the army men.

Snow on the Manali Leh Highway
Snow on the Manali Leh Highway
The above picture would give you some idea abut the condition of the road! And the amount of water that is visible on this patch is nothing. At other places it could look like a small stream flowing right through the road. But how beautiful the road was! This narrow road could contain a big bus and the government bus driver was so skilled in negotiating it. There were many empty seats so I was glued to a window seat with my small point and shoot camera. Every twist and turn looked magnificent to me. For a long time I was lost in this surreal world, without a care in the world.
However, after a few hours fatigue would take over. The ride got quite tiring too. Having motion sickness on the mountain roads didn’t help either. I take a medicine for it, which helps. And that there were hardly any toilets along the way! When we continued from Keylong, later in the day we got a massive traffic jam at Rohtang Pass, which added to the fatigue of the journey. Still, on any given day I would like to go back.
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22 thoughts on “A Manali-Leh-Manali Roadtrip”

  1. Wow! This is India????!!! I never have imagined snow in India. It’s really a beautiful photograph. Especially because the road seems to blend right in with nature.

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  2. But India has Himalayas and the Himalayan region is definitely going to get snow. Some of the motorable roads on Manali-Leh region are situated at more than 17,000 feet of altitude. But definitely I never get to see snow at New Delhi, where I live. I am so glad you liked the picture.

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  3. Free Spirit, you make me curious. Have you been to India or you made your impressions based on media reports? I guess India is so huge and has so many shades to it that it is different to form one image about it? Many things don’t work here but many things do!Thanks a lot for stopping by.

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  4. Hi Mridula, that is a fantastic photo of the Manali-Leh highway. I am planning on going there in a few week’s time on a motorcycle and drive to Leh from Manali and drive around Laddakh in general on my motorcycle. I have a few questions for you. It would be great if you could answer some! When did you travel from Manali to Leh? Do you think it is practical to motorcycle that road? What tips would you have to someone who would want to do it? I have been reading a lot about it and been checking with people who have done it. Just wanted some feedback from people who have been there recently. Thanks for you time, and this is a beautiful blog :).

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  5. Hi Vikram,Thanks a lot for stopping by. I went to Ladakh In June 2005. While we traveled by bus, we saw many people on bikes on the Manali-Leh road and how I envied them! I think it is an entirely feasible idea. I would look out for the weather and the road conditions first. I wonder how people do maintenance if and when required on the road. I guess one should have an idea about that too?I have even seen a few brave ones doing Manali-Leh stuff on bicycle! Now don’t you think that is incredible? Have a great trip.

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  6. Thanks a lot Mridula, I will definitely be checking on the weather before I set off. Yes, you are right, one should know a little about fixing the bike when doing a trip like this (Adjusting air intake, fixing a flat tire, etc). Bicycling along that road sure seems like an incredible adventure! I am sure it takes a lot of training to be able to do it. Its not as easy at that high altitudes. I do envy people who are able to do such feats. I have bookmarked this blog, and I will be checking it regularly. Its an excellent read! Thanks a lot for writing! 🙂

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  7. Vikram, how many of you are going? I hope you are doing this in a group? With the kind of the trip you are planning, why don’t you start writing about it yourself, it will help many people who intend to take similar trips, that is if you are already not writing. And if you do write, why don’t you leave me a link?

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  8. Thanks a lot Mridula for beautiful pictures.While searching from bike trip from Manali to leh i got your page. Here is a message for Vikram.. Can you mail me about your plan. I am interested.I did some trek in Hilamayasbut no biking experience.My mail address is ch_nilay@yahoo.co.in

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  9. Nilay, I hope you had a wonderful trip.Rabin, I am a dud when it comes to vehicles. As I have suggest in the email too, please try posting your query at http://www.indiamike.com it is a good India travel forum and I am sure you will find help there. All I can tell you is that I have seen Tata Sumo plying on that route in the highest numbers.

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