Picture yourself embarking on a journey that promises to take you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in India. As you hit the open road, you're surrounded by diverse terrains, vibrant cultures, and mouth-watering cuisines that are sure to tantalise your senses. Yes, we're talking about the iconic Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip that every traveller dreams of taking at least once in their lifetime.
The journey from Mumbai to Leh Ladakh is not just any ordinary trip, it's an adventure that will challenge you, excite you, and leave you in awe. From cruising through the plains of Maharashtra to crossing over treacherous mountain passes, this road trip is a feast for the eyes and a test of your willpower. As you make your way through the diverse landscapes of India, you'll encounter people from all walks of life, each with their own unique story to tell.
While the road to Ladakh may be arduous, the final destination is worth every bit of effort. The serene valleys, glistening rivers, and majestic snow-capped mountains of Ladakh will take your breath away and leave an indelible mark on your soul.
So, whether you're a biking enthusiast or a lover of long drives, the Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip is an adventure you simply cannot miss. So, pack your bags, rev up your engines, and get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
The best time to go on a road trip from Mumbai to Leh Ladakh is during the summer months from May to September. During that time the weather is pleasant and favourable to take drives on the unobstructed dusty roads, admire the mesmerising landscape and catch a glimpse of the monasteries on the way. The roads can be slippery during the monsoon season from August to September and hence it is important to be cautious and prepared.
While driving along the Manali- Leh highway, one can find a petrol pump at Tandi which is 110 km from Manali, then at Karu which is 340 km from Manali and 30 kms before Leh. There are also numerous petrol pumps available within the city of Leh itself. Before starting the road trip from Mumbai, make sure the petrol tanks are already full.
The Srinagar- Leh Highway route passes through many major cities and intermediate towns and so finding a petrol pump is not a difficult task. There are many gas stations in Srinagar itself to ensure that your petrol tank is full before driving to Leh. You can also fill petrol at one of the many stations in Nagbal, Ganderbal, Kargil, and Khalsi.
ATMs are not available on the Manali- Leh Highway except for Manali and Leh. Hence, it is advisable to carry enough cash in hand if you are planning to stop on the way for food or to fill petrol. For other emergencies, you will need cash and so ensure that you withdraw plenty of money before starting the trip from Mumbai to Leh Ladakh.
ATM services from SBI, HDFC and J&K banks are available in the town of Kargil but the major issue is the availability of cash in the ATMs. So, it is better to withdraw enough cash in Srinagar so that you do not have to worry about finding an ATM on the Srinagar- Leh Highway. Moreover, petrol pumps in Kargil do not accept credit or debit cards.
Mechanics are available at many locations in the towns of Khoksar, Tandi, Keylong, Darcha, Sarchu, and Upshi on the Manali- Leh Highway. They might not be able to solve complicated technical issues but can resolve petty glitches in your bike. So it is better to learn some skills to handle your vehicle by yourself and complete the trip without any hassle.
One can find mechanics at the major towns of Kangan, Gund, Baltal, Lamayuru, Mulbekh, Nimmu, Ganderbal, Sonamarg, Drass and Kargil on the Srinagar- Leh Highway. They have the knack to remove punctures and solve minor issues in your vehicle.
Situated at an altitude of 18379 feet, Khardung La is an important attraction on the Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip. This highest motorable road in the world acts as the gateway to Shyok and Nubra Valley. It provides spectacular views of the Karakoram Range and Himalayas. The distance to the pass from Leh is around 39 kilometres and can be reached within an hour. The roads are in good condition for the first 25 kms, but get rough for the last stretch of 14 kms from South Pullu.
Renowned for its religious significance, domed architecture and scenic landscape, Shanti Stupa welcomes many travellers, especially those who go on the Mumbai to Leh road trip. It is just 5 kms from Leh and can be reached in 10 minutes. The stupa has two storeys housing relics of Buddhism, a life-size figure of Buddha and murals depicting his life. You can drive to Shanti Stupa on the way and witness stunning views of the snow clad mountains of Ladakh.
Pangong Lake is one of the enchanting locations in Ladakh that lures people going on the Mumbai to Leh road trip. It is a high altitude saltwater lake that is famous for changing its colour from blue to red and green. The distance between Leh and Pangong Tso is around 220 kms and can be covered via two routes. The easiest route is to travel through Shey, Hemis, Chang La, Durbok, Lukung and Spangmik.
Nubra Valley is a popular destination that is frequented by almost all the tourists visiting Leh Ladakh. From pristine river streams, huge sand dunes, remote villages to historic monasteries, Nubra Valley has everything that an explorer needs. It is about 160 kms away from Leh and travellers taking a bike trip to Leh can also drive to Nubra Valley via Khardung La or through Wari La.
One of the calm and sacred high altitude lakes in Ladakh, Tso Moriri is an enticing location that is touted to be a solitary paradise. The road trip from Leh to Tso Moriri is a straightforward journey with good roads for the majority of the route and alluring backdrop. As you drive through Karu, Upshi, Kumdok, Chumathang and Mahe, you can witness the beauty of the Himalayan Range and the flowing river.
Standing tall and magnificent on a hilltop in Leh is the Royal Leh Palace which flaunts the architecture of the 17th century Namgyal Dynasty. It is a nine-storey building that is presently a museum where you can find relics and artefacts portraying the cultural history of the region. The palace is a must-visit place for the tourists going on Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip as it provides stunning views of the vista.
As you embark on your road trip from Mumbai to Leh via Srinagar, make sure to add a visit to the enigmatic Magnetic Hill on your itinerary. This intriguing destination on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway will leave you in awe as you witness a peculiar natural phenomenon. Park your car in neutral gear near the box and witness the magic unfold.You'll feel a strange pull as your vehicle starts moving uphill on its own, defying the laws of physics. The car moves at a speed of 10 to 20 km/hour, making you wonder about the mysteries of nature. Don't forget to capture the moment on camera or simply soak in the magic of the Magnetic Hill.
Tso Kar in the Rupshu Valley of Changthang district is a picturesque location that can be seen on the way during the bike trip to Leh Ladakh from Manali. It is a high altitude saltwater lake that is perched at an elevation of 15280 feet. The lake is 153 kms away from Leh and can be reached in about 3 hours. The enthralling background with snow clad mountains, native wildlife and rich birdlife draws the tourists of Leh to Tso Kar.
If you are visiting Leh Ladakh, it is important to have a pitstop at Lamayuru Monastery as it is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery is located at a distance of 127 kms from Leh and on a steep hill at an altitude of 3510 metres. You can reach the monastery in just 2 hours by taking the route from Srinagar to Leh.
Set amidst the breathtaking background of Ladakh, Alchi Monastery is a favourite spot for travellers taking a bike trip from Mumbai to Leh. The monastery is just 66 kms to the west of Leh town and can be reached by taking a diversion from the Srinagar- Leh highway at Saspol. The intricate carvings on the walls, ancient wall paintings and the holy chortens in the monastery complex attracts the travellers to Alchi Monastery.
Shey Monastery is located 15 kims to the south of Leh on the Leh- Manali highway in Shey village. The monastery and Shey Palace is a must-visit place in the Ladakh region as it offers stunning views of the Indus Valley and Indus River against the snow clad mountains of Stok. The notable feature here is the 39-feet tall Shakyamuni Buddha statue in copper and gilded gold.
Hemis National Park is the largest national park in India that is famous for housing a huge population of snow leopards. The park is located 50 kms from Leh and you can reach it via Srinagar- Leh Highway or Manali- Leh Highway. The famous trek routes of Ladakh like the Soutik to Stok over the Ganda La Pass and the Markha Valley trek pass through Hemis National Park and tourists of Leh can go hiking here.
Namgyal Monastery, one of the important Buddhist shrines in Ladakh, can be seen on the way during your Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip. The monastery was built in the 15th century and is famous for the solid gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha. It is located on the top of a hill behind the Leh Palace and offers unspoiled views of the landscape comprising the Indus River and the Zanskar ranges.
One of the most visited destinations in Leh during the Mumbai to Leh Ladakh road trip is the Spituk Gompa. You can find a huge statue of goddess Kali, several small shrines and murals, paintings and idols of Buddha in the monastery. The gompa is located 8 kms from Leh and can be easily reached via bike or you can trek all the way to the monastery.
If you are going on a road trip from Mumbai to Leh via the Srinagar-Leh Highway, you can spot Sangam Point. Sangam Point is the confluence of the blue waters of Zanskar with the green hues of Indus. Located 48 kms from Leh near Nimmu village, you can spot the confluence as you drive along the highway. Sangam Point is a scenic location that is also famous for its fast rapids where you can enjoy adventurous rafting rides.
Bikers going on the Mumbai to Leh road trip via Srinagar often visit the Guridwara Pathar Sahib which is located 25 kms from Leh on the Leh- Kargil road. The gurdwara was constructed to honour the visit of Guru Nanak Dev to Ladakh. It houses the famous rock boulder which contains the imprints of his head, shoulders and back along with the foot of a demon he defeated.
The Hall of Fame is a museum run by the Indian Army to commemorate the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Indo- Pak wars. The museum has pictures of the soldiers and war, weapons, history exhibits and a souvenir shop. People travelling from Mumbai to Leh Ladakh via Srinagar-Leh Highway can find this museum on the Leh- Kargil road.
If you are travelling from Mumbai to Leh by road, do not forget to visit the Thiksey Monastery on the Leh- Manali Highway. Perched on the top of a hill at an altitude of 11,800 feet, Thiksey Monastery is the largest monastery in Ladakh with 12 storeys and is set amidst a charming landscape. You can spot stupas, paintings, statues and other artefacts relevant to Buddhism inside the Monastery.
Diskit Monastery in Nubra Valley is a hilltop monastery that offers scintillating views of the snow-capped mountains and the valley. The prominent attraction of Diskit Gompa is the 106-feet tall colourful statue of Maitreya Buddha. The interiors are adorned with beautiful frescoes while the Dukhang prayer hall houses images of Buddhist guardian deities. The monastery is located 116 kms from Leh and you can reach it via Khardung La.
Surrounded on all sides by colourful prayer flags, Hemis Monastery is the most visited monastery by tourists travelling from Mumbai to Leh Ladakh. The monastery houses the iconic copper gilded Buddha idol, a huge collection of paintings called Thangkas, stupas and statues made of precious metals. The easiest way to reach the monastery is by taking the Manali- Leh Highway while coming from Mumbai.