Thursday, March 14, 2013

Overview of Kashmir - Ladakh Trip



This is a series of Travel log from my Journey to Kashmir and Ladakh region. 

We started our trip from Mumbai and went to Leh , Ladakh via Amritsar- Jammu-Srinagar- Kargil and returned via Manali-Delhi route.


In this post I will just point out the overview of the whole trip which you will require to plan your own. I will indulge into as much detailed explanation as possible in following posts.

So there are just two ways to reach Ladakh.

  • One take the Plane from Delhi or Srinagar. There are also connecting flight available from other Indian metros. 
  • Take the roadway from either Srinagar to Leh via Kargil or Manali to Leh route. Roads are open during the summer time. The roads are closed when snow increases drastically then during summer as snow begins to melt the BRO clears the road. See this Official webiste of Leh which displays the current situation of roads http://leh.nic.in/ . It also gives useful information like current Taxi rates and the dates for ongoing festivals, Places of interest.   
Now there are some catch point in both of this things. 

Flight
  • Flight is certainly the fastest option and the costliest one too. If your are bent on this one see some websites like makemytrip.com or cleartrip.com to see the monthly air fare. One in a week the fare goes down something like 40-50 %. 
  • If time is your constraint do go with it. 
  • One serious medical condition that arises in Ladakh by taking a Plane is that you are prone to Altitude Sickness.  To explain simply Ladakh is at a very high altitude with average around 3505 mts. When you ascend from sea level to such heights the oxygen in the air drops and your body needs to get used to such atmosphere. The severity of it depends from people to people. It is most strictly advised to rest one day if you arrive by plane. Some get attuned after a good night sleep while some are whisked to hospital and given oxygen. There is also medication available called Diamox over the counter in India to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. Consult your physician before taking it. 
As I mentioned before the effect of Altitude sickness differs from people. I had seen some youngsters who were given oxygen cause they walked too much while some small children were totally fine running all over the place. Also no matter how much of a Macho man you are there will be experience of breathlessness and your stamina will reduce a bit. There is nothing to be ashamed of cause it's bound to happen. If you are felling seriously unwell then contact some doctors they will help you. Don't ignore it or else then the only solution left is to take you to a lower altitude to stabalise you which means getting you out of Ladakh. 

Roadway


  • Roadway is more safer with respect to altitude sickness. Because it take two days to reach Leh via road and there is a night sleepover at a place where altitude is around 2000 mts. This will speed up acclimatization process. Tip : If you watched documentaries on Journey to Mt Everest, acclimatization is an important factor for surviving the Journey. 
  • Roadways can be cheaper compared to flight if you take state transport bus or your own vehicle. If you book a Taxi the charges rise drastically.
  • These are unsafe wrt to frequent Landslides, Terrorist and accident perspective. 
  • Only open when going in summer season.      

Now there are two main Highway that connect Leh. This routes are open

  1. Srinagar-Leh : This takes two days to reach Leh with a nighover at Kargil . You can either take a taxi, jeep , your own car or the Public transport bus. To book a Public transport bus go to the Bus station opposite the Main Taxi stand in srinagar. No online option available for this. The fare as of 2012 was 970 rs per person. This bus are old ST bus . See following post to see more info about it.  
  2. Manali - Leh : This route can be covered in 18 hours straight journey. There will be some stops for stretching legs during eating time. This also costs around 980 rs per person. Same type of old ST bus. There are also some bus which stop during night making this a 2 day journey. See following post for more info. 



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