Taking a road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is a great way to take in the stunning landscape of the Himalayas. Being on the "bucket list" of many motorcyclists, pick up your bike from Chandigarh and meet the rest of your travelling companions.
There are several alternative roads that can get you to Leh, but the one that goes through Chandigarh and Manali is by far the most beautiful and scenic. Passing via Jispa and Darcha, two gorgeous Himachali villages will make your journey almost as pleasant as your final destination. During the road from Chandigarh to Leh, you'll ride through quaint rural communities, historic monasteries, serene valleys, and towering Himalayan peaks. One can witness the breathtaking beauty of attractions like the Hemis National Monastery, Khardung La Pass, and countless others!
This comprehensive travel guide can help make your trip from Chandigarh to Leh, Ladakh, go off without a hitch.
Winter: The months of September and October are ideal for a road journey from Chandigarh to Leh because they are prime trekking and exploration months. The occasional snowfall and fresh mountain air create a mystical atmosphere. Visitors can experience good daytime weather ranging from -5°C to 10°C and chilly evenings. However, post-October the temperatures can drop to sub-zero levels with several roads and highways closing due to the heavy accumulation of snow.
Summer: In contrast to the oppressive heat of the cities, the summer in Leh is pleasantly mild, making it the best time to visit. The typical highs and lows are around 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. In summer, you can visit nearly all of Leh and Ladakh, including several locations that are inaccessible during the colder months. Most high-altitude hikes and expeditions happen in summer when the weather is milder and the trails are less treacherous.
Fly from Chandigarh to New Delhi, and then from Delhi to Ladakh: One way to get from Chandigarh to Leh is to board a flight to Delhi, and then catch a connecting flight to Leh. There are both shared and private taxis available at Leh airport for your transportation needs.
Chandigarh to Delhi: 1 hour
Delhi to Leh: 1.5 hours
Total travel time: 3 hours Approx.
Fly to Srinagar from Chandigarh, and then to Ladakh: Another alternative is to go to Srinagar and continue on to Leh via a connecting flight. You can take a taxi or rideshare to Ladakh from Leh airport.
Chandigarh to Srinagar: 1 hour
Srinagar to Leh: 1 hour
Total travel time: Approx. 3 hours
Catch a train from Chandigarh to Jammu and then a flight to Ladakh:The best way to get to Leh is to fly from Jammu after taking a train from Chandigarh. Jammu Tawi Railway Station is the closest stop for trains, and some trains that travel between Chandigarh and Jammu are Hemkunt Express, Jammu Tawi Express, and Tata Jat Express.
It takes roughly from 7 hours to 12 hours to cover this journey by rail, and around 4 hours to fly from Jammu to Leh, where you may then take cabs or buses to reach Ladakh.
Get on a bus headed for Manali, and then another bus in Ladakh: Daily, direct buses run between Chandigarh and Manali. The buses of the State Transport Company (HRTC) are not only less expensive but also quite easily available. The trip to Manali is a long one, taking about 13 hours total, so an overnight bus is your best bet. The second quick alternative is to take a bus from Manali to Jammu and then a flight to Leh.
Leh Road Trip by car or bike: A road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is a must if you're keen on seeing sights as diverse as the Himalayan valleys, picturesque villages, and other features of Ladakh. The sense of fulfilment you get from making it through a mountain pass after a series of challenging turns, climbs, and descents are unparalleled.
Distance: 580 km approx
The best times to take a road journey from Chandigarh to Ladakh are during the summer and spring. That is because the mountains are thawing and the landscape is flowering during this time. In the daytime, the temperature rises to around 15-30 degrees Celsius, and the weather is pleasant and warm. Also, the mountains are framed by a rather bleak environment, giving them unparalleled beauty.
Road Route: Chandigarh - Manali – Rohtang – Gramphu – Kokhsar – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Zingzingbar – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang - Tanglang La – Gya - Upshi - Karu – Leh
Once you've arrived at paradise on earth, waste no time in experiencing all that Ladakh has to offer so you can bring back some unforgettable experiences.
Gas and oil are major considerations while organising a road journey from Chandigarh to Leh. You must take into account the number of gas stations and pauses along the route to guarantee a pleasant ride. Visitors can take a note of these gas stations before you hit the road.
If you're driving from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh, one further consideration is the availability of ATMs along the way. They are only available currently in the cities of Manali, Keylong, and Leh. Cash withdrawals can be made in either Chandigarh or Manali, from ATMs that can be found along the route;. When you get to Leh, you can use ATMs from SBI, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, ICICI, HDFC, or AXIS Bank.
Before preparing for a road trip from Chandigarh to Leh, make sure your vehicles are in good shape so you don't have to stop for repairs. But in case you face trouble with your vehicle, you can find repair shops in Khoksar, Keylong, Marhi, Sarchu, Darcha, and Upshi.
Often cited as India's first "planned city," Chandigarh is widely admired for its innovative layout and stunning structures. You can always visit the city's famous sites, such as the massive Capitol Complex and the renowned Rock Garden. During a Chandigarh to Leh road trip you'll also be in awe of the world at the jagged Shivalik Hills that form the city's backdrop.
Manali, the highest point in the Kullu valley, is a must-see on any road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh. In the Hadimba Temple located here, you can take a seat in the middle of nature and relax, or bike past Rohtang Pass. In old Manali, you may relax in cafes and restaurants along the river that provide a wide selection of delicious dishes. You will love the rustic, homely ambience here, complete with live music and other forms of entertainment in the city. Also, you may engage in amazing adventure sports like riding a parachute, paragliding, trekking, or even rock climbing in these valleys.
During a Chandigarh to Leh road trip, you must consider visiting Rohtang Pass to marvel at stunning views of the Chandra River, glaciers, Lahaul Valley, and Geypan’s twin peaks. You can also enjoy the snowy mountain scenery by taking a wooden toboggan or indulging in heliskiing. All in all, you will have a gala time indulging in other sports like gondola rides, paragliding, skiing, and riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). While on the road, you might also consider going night-camping by the river.
Keylong is one of the nicest stops along the route from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh, if you want to stay for the night as it is a convenient location, just off the Manali-Leh highway. But if you don't have much time, you should try to see the 900-year-old Kardhang Monastery first; the Baralacha La Pass, and the 16th-century Shashur Monastery, which is encircled by blue pine trees.
Jispa, a sleepy village in Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul district, is ideal for travellers and motorcyclists who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. During the road trip from Chandigarh to Leh you can stop by the Bhaga River, or the many Buddhist stupas that dot the town’s landscape. You can visit the Jispa Rural Housing Museums on the journey from Chandigarh to Ladakh, since it provides a refreshing glimpse into the life and ways of the locals.
One of the scenic stops on the way from Chandigarh to Leh is the town of Darcha, which straddles the border between Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Bhaga river provides soothing sounds for the senses, and the adjacent massifs provide a scenic backdrop for any trekking expeditions. Darcha will also be your jumping off point for the moderately difficult Padum Trek, which you can do as part of your road trip. You'll admire the village's beautiful Himalayan backdrop, which towers over a patchwork of shacks, tent camps, and stone homes.
If you're travelling from Chandigarh to Leh, stopping for a cup of tea or coffee at the world's highest roadside bar, Zing Zing Bar, is something you can consider. It occupies a strategic spot on the road between Manali and Leh, and it is here where you can stretch your legs and grab a bite. You can spend a lovely night beneath the stars in a tent or a multipurpose hut if you plan ahead and remain the night.
The Baralacha La Pass is located in the Zanskar ranges at an astounding 4,890 metres in elevation. It is a must-see on every road trip from Chandigarh to Leh as it was an important historical trade route linking Spiti, Zanskar, Lahaul, and Ladakh. Suraj Lake, which is emerald in colour and reflects the surrounding beauty majestically, albeit slightly twisted, is another magnificent sight that you can see.
Sarchu, at an incredible 4,290 metres above sea level, is a famous halt along the Leh - Manali highway. Presently, it serves as the departure point for numerous hikes into Ladakh's Zanskar region. Besides setting out on hiking paths that lead you through gorges and gorgeous pathways, you can visit the Lakes region to spot animals, if you are a wildlife enthusiast. Moreover, you can always camp here with other campers, mountaineers, and trekkers, to perfect your skills.
Gata Loops is a section of the Manali-Leh highway that features 21 hairpin turns at an elevation of roughly 17000 feet. It has inspired a number of scary folktales and you'll get a surge of excitement as you negotiate these sharp turns. The 19th curve of Gata Loops's 21 bends is the location of the ghost temple, which you can visit en route.
The Lachulung La Pass is another stunning mountain pass in Ladakh that follows the Manali-Leh Highway at an elevation of 5,059 metres. It is a popular stopping point for tourists on road trips, treks, and hikes because of the stunning natural scenery. The signpost marking the arrival at Lachulung La Pass on the road from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is a sight to behold, as it is covered in Buddhist prayer flags.
Pang, located in Ladakh at an altitude of 4,770 metres and spanning the regions of Sarchu and Leh, is home to the highest army transit camp in the world. Take a break from your travels here and let the breathtaking scenery revitalise your spirit. There are a tonne of tent camps and tea kiosks along this route, both of which will come in very handy for adventurers riding from Chandigarh to Leh.
Tanglang La, Ladakh's highest pass at an altitude of 5,328 metres, is a stunning sight. The route from Upshi southward to Tanglang La Pass is paved and makes for a pleasant drive. The pass, which is close to Upshi and Sarchu, is a well-liked resting place for bike riders because of its breathtaking view. Travelling to Tanglang La will take you through a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped mountains and foggy valleys.
Upshi is a small, peaceful village about 45 kilometres from Leh, on the well-known Leh-Manali Highway at an elevation of 3,609 metres. Not only it is one of the most exciting places to go riding in Himachal Pradesh, but is also well-known as the highest home of civilization in India. To take in the tranquil scenery, you can ride your bike from here to the Mahe Bridge and on to Tso Kar. During your Chandigarh to Leh road trip, you can get some of the best shots of the village from the helipad that is a part of the village complex.
Karu, India, is a little village at the beginning of the Leh-Manali highway where visitors can relax and get a sight of the Indian Himalayas. On your road trip from Chandigarh to Leh, do stop at Karu which is unlike any other place as of the chortens; which can be found in a wide variety of colours and provide a striking visual contrast. The drive from Karu to Leh is stunning in its own right, with breathtaking mountain scenery, tranquil streams, and jaw-dropping valleys.
Your road adventure from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh will culminate in the breathtaking magnificence of Leh. It's a beautiful, undiscovered part of the Himalayas where you may try your hand at all sorts of exciting activities like biking, rafting, safaris, etc. Aside from visiting the colourful monasteries, you may also embark on a variety of different hikes thanks to the abundance of hiking paths.
Your journey starts in Chandigarh, located roughly 300 kilometres from Manali, the first destination on your Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh road tour. Later you arrive in Manali, where you can settle into your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring the town.
Distance(By road): 307 kms
Travelling time: 8.5 hours, approx.
Places to Stay:
-Happy Camping, Solang Valley
-Into Wild Himalayas Camp, Manali
-Tirthan Camp, Jibhi
-Himalayan Cottage Stay Experience, Kullu
The next day, after breakfast, you should leave Manali and visit the nearby village of Jispa via Rohtang Pass. It offers a truly relaxing and peaceful stay, with the towering Himalayas and the trickling Bhaga river as your companions.
Many old Buddhist stupas can be seen in Jispa, which is located 20 kilometres from Keylong and 7 kilometres from Darcha. You can choose between staying at a hotel or a campsite in Jispa, with the latter being the better option for those seeking a more rustic experience.
Distance: 138 km
Travelling time: 4.5 hours
Places to Stay:
-Himalaya Home Stay
-Hotel Padma Lodge
On the third day of your trip from Chandigarh to Leh, you will leave Jispa and head to Sarchu. Many treks begin at Sarchu, a town surrounded by steep mountains, the Lachulung La Pass to the west and the Baralacha La Pass to the east.
Distance: 113 km
Travelling time: 6 hours
Places to Stay:
-Goldrop Camp, Sarchu
-Himalayan Routes Camp, Sarchu
-Adventure Camp, Sarchu
-The Apple Tree Lodge & Cafe
Sarchu, perched as it is on the snowy fringes of the Himalayas, presents a prime opportunity to see the region's untamed natural beauty. On day four, you'll make the final leg of your journey from Sarchu, to the beautiful Leh.
Distance: 260 km
Places to Stay:
The Grand Dragon Ladakh
Nubra Organic Retreat
Nomadic Life Camp
With an astonishing 17,582 feet in elevation, Khardung La is one of the most popular stops on the way from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh. This stunning passageway into the Nubra and Shyok valleys will astound you with its breathtaking beauty, being surrounded by snow-capped mountains in all directions.
Location: Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
Distance from Leh: 40 km
The Shanti Stupa is one of the most beautiful man-made landmarks in Ladakh. This white-domed Stupa perched at an altitude of 11,841 feet, and two stories tall, is home to an exquisite statue of Lord Buddha, and his remains. During your Chandigarh to Leh road journey, this is one of the best spots to stop and explore because you can see illustrations of the Lord Buddha's birth and death here.
Location: Shanti Stupa Rd, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir 194101
Distance from Leh: 5 km
Pangong Lake, located in the vicinity of the illustrious Chushul Mountains at an elevation of 4,350 metres above sea level, is the world's largest high elevation salt lake. Stop by Pangong Lake during your road trip from Chandigarh to Leh to spot the many migratory birds that pass by the lake, and to spend a wonderful time gazing at the crystal clear waters. You may easily locate places to stay near the lake because of the numerous amenities offered by the camps and tents erected around it.
Nubra Valley, one of Ladakh's most stunning landscapes, is a deep gorge carved out by the confluence of the Shyok and Nubra (Siachen) rivers. Riders must make a halt here to take in the splendours of Hunder and the Shyok River on your drive from Chandigarh to Leh. You'll not only have a blast riding on the Double Hump Bactrian Camels through the sand dunes of Hunder, but will equally enjoy rafting down the rapids of the Shyok River.
Tso Moriri is one of the most visited sites on a road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh, because of its serene beauty that is known to leave tourists speechless. This high altitude lake in Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary lets you spot a wide range of rare animals like snow leopard, the Tibetan wolf, wild yak, bharal, and marmot. Further, the exotic migrating birds flying above the lake and the calming reflections of the highlands behind Tso Moriri create a divine sensation of peace.
One of the most bizarre and fascinating stops on the road from Chandigarh to Leh is Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, located at an altitude of 14,000 feet. When riding you must stop by this magnetic road to witness the gravity-defying phenomenon and take in the region's stunning scenery. It's a great area to stop along the Manali-Leh Highway if you want to take some beautiful pictures, chill, or just enjoy being in the middle of nature.
The Leh Royal Palace, one of the most well-known tourist destinations, is a deserving pit stop on your Chandigarh to Leh road trip as it has a unique ambiance. When viewed from afar at night, the building takes on a more foreboding appearance. The majestic Stok Kangri range is set out below you, and you can look down on the lively town below. History buffs will also enjoy the palace's museum, which houses priceless artefacts that shed insight on the region's cultural past.
The Tso Kar Lake is a stunning waterbody located in the Rapshu region of southern Ladakh. If you're riding from Chandigarh to Leh, you should definitely make a pit stop here to take in the lake's brilliant blue. In part, this is due to the fact that it creates a striking visual contrast with the distant desert peaks, transforming the scene into something straight out of a picture postcard. The Kiang or the Tibetan Gazelle can also be seen here, in addition to the plethora of bird species that frequent the neighbouring marshes.
Lamayuru Gompa, one of Ladakh's most important monasteries, is situated at an elevation of 11,520 feet. You will undoubtedly pass by this magnificent building on your drive from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh. It can be seen along the Srinagar-Leh highway and houses close to 150 Buddhist monks. It is the oldest monastery in Ladakh, and its five stories open to stunning vistas of its snowy neighbours as a lovely settlement displays its full splendour.
Alchi Monastery, found in the centre of the settlement Alchi in the lower sections of Ladakh, dates all the way back to the 11th century! The religious and spiritual themes of the Hindu and Buddhist rulers of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are depicted in the monastery's murals. And because you can see the temples Lhakhang Soma and Lotsabha Lhakhang, it's one of the greatest spots to visit on your Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh road trip.
If you're taking a road trip from Chandigarh to Leh, you should definitely stop by the Shey monastery and palace, which dates back to the 16th century. At the Du-Khang, the monastery has enshrined a copper statue of Buddha that is about 10 metres tall and would leave you spellbound. Moreover, Shey Palace is home to Leh's biggest victory stupa, the top of which is made of pure gold, which you may visit and admire.
Hemis National Park in Ladakh is one of the best-known natural Snow Leopard habitats in all of Asia thanks to its location in a series of beautiful valleys. Stopping here on the way from Chandigarh to Leh, with its perpetual blanket of snow, is like pausing in heaven. To the north, you will find the free-flowing Indus River and the Zanskar Mountains. Besides, the peaceful atmosphere here will captivate your senses. You will also enjoy going to the Hemis Monastery, watching birds, and going on a safari in a national park.
The Dalai Lama resides at Namgyal Monastery, the greatest Tibetan temple outside of Tibet. Beautifully built in the 16th century, this monastery is an absolute must-see on any road trip from Chandigarh to Leh. Although the majority of the formerly magnificent brick red structure is now in ruins, it nevertheless has enough appeal to enchant riders like you. Visitors can clearly see the enormous, three-story-tall statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is a must see attraction.
The Spituk Monastery, located on a hill by the Indus River, is yet another breathtaking sight hidden among the mountains of Ladakh. A stop here on your road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is a necessity if you have any interest in history or Buddhism. Ride here only during the yearly Gustor festival, when the massive Kali monument is unveiled. Overall, it's a great place to learn more about Buddhism and experience Ladakhi culture.
The confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers, is also known as "Sangam Point," and may be easily identified by the two rivers' distinctive colours. While travelling from Chandigarh to Leh, you can stop and take in this spectacular view along National Highway 1. You may also try river rafting on the Zanskar River, which is also the setting for one of the most thrilling and distinctive treks—the well-known frozen Chadar trip.
When travelling from Chandigarh to Leh, you should stop by the lovely Gurdwara Shri Pathar Sahib, which can be found on the Srinagar-Leh Road. Situated among the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, this serene building surrounded by Buddhist prayer flags soothes your soul, in addition to the tasty prasad and blessings you receive here.
The magnificent Hall of Fame museum was built in memory of the valiant Indian soldiers who gave their lives protecting the nation during the Indo-Pak wars. Biking from Chandigarh to Leh, you won't be able to miss it because it is situated on the Leh-Kargil Road. You can visit the two-storey museum, which showcases the weapons and ammo used in the Kargil Wars. At the same ground-level projection room, you may watch a documentary about "Operation Vijay."
Thiksey Monastery, located at an elevation of 3,690 metres (11,811 feet), has a colourful facade that goes well with the natural environment. If you're biking from Chandigarh to Leh, you can't miss this massive Ladakhi monastery. By visiting the Lakhang Nyerma Temple, which is devoted to the goddess Dorje Chenmo, you can learn more about how Ladakhi and Tibetan cultures have merged.
Deskit, often spelt Diskit, is the oldest and largest of the Nubra Valley monasteries thus, a trip from Chandigarh to Leh wouldn't be complete without stopping here. Look around and take in the magnificent frescoes and wall paintings that adorn the interior, making it just as lovely on the inside as it is on the outside.
The journey from Chandigarh to Leh's Hemis Monastery is exciting on its own, and the sights along the way only add to the sense of discovery. The Hemis Monastery has a copper Buddha statue, gold and silver stupas, and many antique artefacts, making it one of India's prosperous monasteries. Amazing artefacts like Thangkas, gold sculptures, Tibetan literature, weapons, carriers, and a stuffed vulture pup are all kept there for viewing pleasure.
The best time to plan a road journey from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is between mid-May to September, when the roads are open and the weather is pleasant. The temperature during this time is warm and there is less risk of snow and road closures.
By Car: The distance of Leh from Chandigarh is around 733 km which can be covered in approximately 18 hours by car.
By Air: The nearest airport is Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport, Chandigarh which can be reached in around 50 minutes.
The distance between Chandigarh and Leh Ladakh is approximately 733 kilometers. The total travel duration by car from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh is usually around 18 hours.
The total distance from Chandigarh and Leh is approximately 733 kilometers which can be covered by various modes of transportation.
The permits required for a road trip to Leh Ladakh required a Rohtang Pass, TRC, Inner Line Permit for Indians and a Protected Area Permit for foreign citizens.
Thar, SUVs with high ground clearance, powerful engines, and four-wheel drive capability are suitable for the road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh. Popular motorcycles like Royal Enfield, KTM, and BMW as these bikes have ability to handle steep roads and challenging situations is a crucial strength required for a successful road trip in Ladakh.
There are several petrol pumps and ATMs on the way to Leh Ladakh from Chandigarh. You will find many ATMs in Manali, Keylong, and Leh whereas petrol pumps in Manali, and Karu.
The cost of a road trip from Chandigarh to Leh Ladakh depends on various factors such as the mode of transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. On average, the cost can range from INR 15,000 to INR 40,000 per person.
Here are the few tips to plan a trip to Leh Ladakh from Chandigarh: