It was a wonderful stay at Ladakh and now the time has come to start the return journey. We started early in the morning from Leh as we were not aware of the road conditions towards Manali and didn’t want to take risk of getting stuck in between. People had already scared us in Leh that roads at Manali side are in worst condition and at some places it’s almost impossible to drive because there is no road at all.
We had our fuel tanks refilled in Karu and got the extra petrol in back up containers. Next petrol pump after Karu in Manali road was at Tandi which is 370 KMs from here. It’s necessary to carry extra petrol because bike tank capacity was not enough to have petrol for 370 KMs drive in extremely hilly roads.
We had our breakfast at Upshi after traveling 50 KMs from Leh. The experience of driving in this road was amazing. There were mind bowing views and we took a several breaks for photography sessions. Before reaching Pang, we crossed the Tanglang La pass at 5328 mtrs and More plains at an average height of 4000 mtrs. More Plains is almost a stretch of 40 KMs plain and straight road flanked by mountain ranges on both side. This stretch provides a stunning experience with view changing in every couple of KMs. This particular stretch makes the Manali-Leh road one of the most beautiful roads. We reached Pang in the afternoon. Pang is the only place after Upshi where you can find something to eat. There were a couple of Dhabas setup temporarily by Ladhaki people. We ordered for lunch at a Dhaba and they prepared all fresh in front of us. It took half an hour for them to prepare the lunch. Lunch was simple with Rice, Rajma, Dal and pickle but we enjoyed it the most in our trip. We felt like having lunch at home and this is the feeling one wants most after being away from home and traveling for last 10 day.
After having the Lunch at Pang we headed towards Sarchu. At some places the condition of road was not good but not as bad as narrated to us in Leh. Driving in this stretch was not very easy as there were deep gorges along the road. We saw some oil tankers and trucks down in the gorges. They were visible like small toys from the road. We took extra pre cautions in driving while passing the Nakee La pass and Lachulung La pass. There were strong winds blowing in the passes and at one time I felt like the wind will push me out of the road.
We reached Sarchu at 4 PM and were in a confusion of if we should have the night stay here or in Jispa. Sarchu is at the border of J&K and Himachal is surrounded by mountains from all sides. This place is infamous for travelers having breathing problems during sleep and there were some incidents in past where people died because of the breathing problem. Most of us wanted to move ahead and stay at Jispa, which is 85 KMs from here. But the major hurdle was crossing the Baralacha La pass. The distance to Baralacha La pass from Sarchu is 35 KMs and this is the most snow bond pass of entire Ladakh circle. The chances were high of water streams flowing in the road and crossing them in evening was a dangerous affair. So we were left with no option but to stay in Sarchu. There were three tent sites at Sarchu and we booked one of them. We had couple of Coffees and then roamed around the tent site in the evening. By the dinner time the temperature was freezing and strong chilly winds continued throughout the night. Winds were so strong that it felt like tents may not hold in this wind. This was the worst night we had in our entire trip. I also felt some suffocation in the mid night for a couple of minutes.
Despite all the odds we were able to spend the night in Sarchu. Tomorrow we’ll start for Manali which is 230 KMs from Sarchu and cross the most beautiful pass of all Baralacha La.
Distance Traveled on Day 8:
Leh to Sarchu: 260 KMs