If I had to pick one road in India that I would travel again to treat my eyes and senses , it would undoubtedly with the National Highway 1D...
As I sat in a dhaba in Rangdum, a village in the middle of nowhere, drinking Cognac with a bunch of strangers, talking about nothing in particluar, happy and at peace with myself, I couldn’t help thank God for bringing me to Zanskar. Ever since our trip to Ladakh last year, we had every intention to return to the land of high passes. The beauty of the vast Changthang plateau haunted us, and we’d planned to visit it again this year. However, as this year’s trip came closer, a doubt crept into our minds - although there was no questioning our love for Changthang, visiting it again this year might make our trip too similar to the last one. Chanthang was not going anywhere, and we could always go back to it later. We decided that this year we would explore another part of Ladakh - the wild wild west. The plan was to restrict ourselves to everything west of Leh - explore under-construction roads, trekking routes with motorable/ jeepable tracks, and most importantly, the remote Zanskar. The travellers: Aarti & HarshThe machine: Our very own wild ass - Tata Safari 4x4 - affectionately called KiyangTotal distance covered: 3850 kms. A taste of things to come:Day 1 (9th July): Delhi - Manali (580 kms, 12 hrs)Day 2 (10th July): Manali - Jam - 10m ahead - Jam - 10m ahead - Rohtang - Jispa (140 kms, 14 hrs)Day 3 (11th July): Jispa - Darcha - Detour - Darcha - Sarchu - Moreh Plains - Panginagu (260 kms, 13 hrs)Day 4 (12th July): Panginagu - Tso Kar basin - Debring - Leh (220 kms, 9 hrs)Day 5 (13th July): Leh, friends, dinners & permits. (20 kms)Day 6 (14th July): Leh, hospital, medicines, rest (50 kms)Day 7 (15th July): Leh - Nimmu - Chilling - Nimmu - Sham Valley - Part 1 of 2Day 8 (16th July): Lamayuru - Fotu La - Khangral - Chitkan - Dha - Batalik - Hamboting La - Kargil (150 kms, 6 hrs)Day 9 (17th July): Kargil - Rangdum Gompa - Juldo (150 kms, 10 hrs)Day 10 (18th July): Juldo - Padum - Karsha Gompa - Padum (140 kms, 8 hrs)Day 11 (19th July): Around Padum - End of Road-Zangla and Stongde (130 kms, 7 hours)Day 12 (20th July): Around Padum - Dzonkhul, End of road beyond Reru (135 kms)Day 13 (21st July): Padum - Kargil (230 kms, 11 hrs)Day 14 (22nd July): Kargil - Srinagar (230 kms, 10 hrs)Day 15: Around Srinagar - Wular lake & GulmargDay 16 (24th July): Srinagar - Jalandhar (475 kms)Day 17 (25th July): Jalandhar - Delhi (400 kms)