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Sudeep Reddy

I'm planning road trip to from Hyderabad to Leh Ladakh

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Hello , 

I'm planning a trip from Hyderabad to Leh Ladakh on road in Swift Dezire. 

I'm planning to go in May,2018. 
Tell me the best route available on road and a road my car can handle. 
And travelling in may is good idea?(Being a student that is the only time I get to travel) 

How long drive should we drive maximum (in hours and distance wise)?
Things to carry?
And tell me the road which worth travelling (something else to watch).


Guide me through a plan where we can have the best days in our life ! 


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Hi @Sudeep Reddy, First of all congratulations for kick starting to plan on an epic road trip especially during college.. I would definitely call it a brave as this is going to be an adventurous one and I would definitely guide you through to plan your road trip. 

The time you have planned your drive is a little doubtful to do as the roads are unpredictable to be opened for a drive, Where as, if it's June 3rd week till September 2nd week, the roads are for sure opened.


There are usually 2 different routes to reach Leh after you cross Kurukshetra :


1) Via Manali (Adventurous due to tough terrains & obviously Scenic) 

2) Via Srinagar & Kargil (Undoubtedly scenic driving close by the borders over neatly laid roads between the majestic hills)

3) You can also cover both the routes taking one way via Srinagar and coming back Via Manali.


So your drive basically depends up on which one you choose, And I would suggest you the route via Srinagar as you are driving a Maruti Suzuki Baleno along with 2 kids with you which eliminates the complete risk of vehicle breakdown rough terrain.


Considering you as the lone driver throughout, I would recommend you to start off early in the morning everyday to eliminate traffic and sleep early to get ample rest possible.

And hence will be my plan based on the optimum drive time you are going to do per day. Also I will be guiding you by the 3rd option which covers both the routes.


Day 01 : Hyderabad to Chhindwara (Via Nagpur) - ~600 kms - (14 hours including breaks)

Day 02 : Chhindwara to Agra - ~700 kms (13-14 hours including breaks )

Day 03 :  Agra to Pathankot - ~ 700 kms (13 hours including breaks)

Day 04 : Pathankot to Srinagar - ~ 350 kms (10 hours including breaks) - The Himalayan nature starts to show up bright in your road trip from this day and hence short distances take longer drive time.

Day 05 : You can spend a day exploring Gulmaarg, Pahalgam and Dal Lake (or) Proceed to Leh

             --- Srinagar to Kargil (Via Sonamarg, Zoji-la pass & Drass) - 200 kms which will take a lot of time capturing the beauty of Himalayas and taking a lot of breaks in between.

Day 06 : Kargil to Leh ( Via Lamayuru monastery, Alchi and Magnetic hill) - 230 kms - Leh local tour is you reach before 4 p.m. (Leh monastery)

Day 07 : Leh to Pangong Tso (Via Chang la pass) - Dont forget to take the necessary Inner line permits before your start.

Day 08 : Pangong Tso to Leh 

Day 09 : Leh to Nubra Valley (Via Khardung La top and Diskit Budha statue and Monastery)

Day 10 : Nubra Valley to Leh and rest

Day 11 : Leh to Manali at a stretch is not possible to cover in a day even though it is around 500 kms.. So it is preferable to break the drive at Keylong / Jispa as other places en-route have less civilization.

Day 12 : Keylong / Jispa to Solang valley / Shimla (via Manali)

Day 13 : Shimla to Agra ~ 600 kms (14 hours including breaks)

Day 14 : Agra to Chhindwara

Day 15 : Chhindwara to Hyderabad 


All the pit-stops chosen for a night stay in the above itinerary have decent accommodations available for the families. 


Few precautions to be taken during your trip in the Himalayas:


1) Always carry altitude and motion sickness medicines with you.

2) Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol during the trip.

3) Avoid taking anti-depressants and always keep your body hydrated.

4) Make sure your body is warm most of the time and avoid sleeping at high altitudes.

5) Make sure you carry much winter wear with you as the weather turns out to be cold by the night how much strong it is during the day.

6) Make sure you always carry snacks with you.

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Road conditions:


1) Hyderabad  ---> Kamareddy ---> Nirmal ---> Adilabad ---> Hinganghat ---> Nagpur (Halt) ~ 500 kms

Hyderabad - Nagpur stretch is a good track for a drive but considering the rainy season scenario, it might be a bit dicey with a few unexpected ditches and potholes on your way. So, just drive carefully. Also, make sure you be maintain decent speeds.


2) Nagpur ---> Chchindwara ---> Narsinghpur ---> Sagar ---> Lalitpur ---> Jhansi ---> Gwalior (Halt) ~ 700 kms

Via Seoni is another route from Nagpur which will not touch chichindwara which is avoidable due to bad road condition when compared.

Narsinghpur - Jhansi is a perfect four lane all the way with hardly any traffic.

Jhansi - Gwalior is again pathetic with many diversions. There is significant traffic all the way about which 80 kms stretch might take 2 hours at least.


3) Gwalior ---> Morena ---> Agra ---> Noida ---> Delhi --> Ludhiana ~ 615 kms

Gwalior - Agra is again four lane track but the traffic is dense.

Agra - Delhi - Delhi is again a usual story. No way to bypass Delhi. Huge traffic jams at the toll is no option to escape from.

Delhi - Ludhiana is a 4-lane road, super good to drive.


4) Ludhiana --> Pathankot --> Srinagar ~ 530 kilometers
Roads are average, with beautiful views enroute.  Need to start early in the morning.

Main part starts from Srinagar: 
Srinagar --> Kargil --> LEH, you can plan this depending on your comfort.

On the return journey try to cover:
LEH --> Keylong --> Manali , roads are bit dangerous on this route.


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hi Sudeep,


Please inquire beforehand from when Srinagar to Kargil route will be accessible.

It usually should be opened max by last week of April or May first week, but I heard this year it look more time and it was opened only by May second week. That's why I changed my plans at the eleventh hour and flew to Leh from Delhi instead of taking the road trip from Srinagar - Kargil to Leh. That said, May is the ideal time to visit since it is less crowded and you can get good tariffs at all the hotels/guesthouses.



Im not sure if Swift Dezire is an optimal choice considering the road conditions especially within Ladakh?



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Hi @Sudeep Reddy

Not sure whether May is a good idea to travel that area. If you're taking 1st route as mentioned by @sagar, then chances of not opening of Zozi-la is there. And if you are going with the 2nd route then you need to count on your luck so that Rohtang la remains open. Though I heard that, they are making a tunnel alternative to Rohtang la, but not sure when that should be operational. So far as I know, BRO usually opens these passes during mid-end of June, when slowly summer kicks in in Ladakh region. Recently been there in Ladakh in Sept last week, localities informed me so..


As long as car is concerned, you can do it with Dzire, but I would strongly recommend to go in a group of 2-3 cars. In case of emergency, other cars can be useful that time (taking the mechanic from a distant to the place of occurrence).



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3 hours ago, chaitanyap said:


Im not sure if Swift Dezire is an optimal choice considering the road conditions especially within Ladakh?



Thinking the same, I had done this trip in a Scorpio. But to my surprise, I have noticed a few doing it in an i10, aria and dzire. Also, after doing this trip I felt any car designed as per Indian standards could do as the road is beautifully laid the BRO all through the Srinagar - Leh stretch except via Zojilla pass which is a mud road but pretty flat to access. One has to only doubt on what car he is taking if he is taking the Manali road to Leh. Perfect time (month) of planning this could be the key to finishing this smoothly.

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4 hours ago, chaitanyap said:

Im not sure if Swift Dezire is an optimal choice considering the road conditions especially within Ladakh?


Leh roads have been improved a lot in the last three years.

Srinagar --> Leh  roads are in good shape(compared to ~2013), many cars like Alto's and WagonR 's are doing without any issue.
I agree it is not an ideal car, but in the hands of careful driver, it can be done without any issue.


PS: Cars like Honda City/Civic completed Srinagar--> Leh without any major road blocks. 

Leh-->Manali is little unpredictable, If you are a road trip enthusiast, you should not miss this route.  


Preparation is key:

  • Brake pads
  • Tires
  • Suspension
  • Puncture kit 
  • Extra spare tire/Tube
  • Head lamp bulbs
  • Don't overload the car, would suggest you to stick 3 members(Max 4)
  • Battery
  • Spare key
  • Towing rope(must, don't buy cheap ropes from Amazon, they will snap under a minute)
  • Medical kit
4 hours ago, Pralay said:

Not sure whether May is a good idea to travel that area.

Yeah, end of may is more ideal for Leh --> Manali section.


Please go through the below link:


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Agree that it is doable. But it will be a lost riskier. Even we did this trip in a Scorpio. My driver narrated many stories about how people get stranded due to land slides which is quite normal to happen. I thought the toughest route in the entire stretch is between Nubra and Pangong via Agam-Shayok. Most standard tour operators do Leh-Nubra-Leh-Pangong(3 days) but we did Leh-Nubra-Agam-Shayok-Pangong(2 days) since my driver was experienced and thankfully much of the route was cleared by then(7-8 kms was still very bad). This route was completely blocked until last year and hopefully would have got better by now.

Edited by chaitanyap
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Agree to what your saying and the route between Leh - Nubra - Pangong is quite clear as of the present tourist season scenario. But, as said considering the landslides, any route between the Himalayas is unpredictable in these terrains. You should do Spiti valley soon :) Undoubtedly, You would feel that the Leh road trip was a cake walk comparatively cause Leh has turned out to be more commercial now and everything is being made more easy for a comfortable road trip for the travelers but still, mishaps happen cause it lays in the lap of Himalayas.

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Wow..its good to know that the Shayok valley route has improved now. Then it is definitely recommended to take this route to Pangong. Btw I have uploaded a pic of Pangong Lake from our trip in the 'most favourite travel pic' forum. Please have a look!


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32 minutes ago, chaitanyap said:

 I have uploaded a pic of Pangong Lake from our trip in the 'most favourite travel pic' forum. Please have a look!


Yeah, I've seen it. Looks beautiful :)


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Guest George Cheriyan

Hi Sudeep


We too are planning Hyderabad to Leh - Ladakh during Second / Third Week of May 2018., in swift.


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Highway to Leh will be opened in June/July 2018.
Expect very high traffic on these months. 

Manali-Leh section is a must visit. 
Srinagar-Leh is good but less challenging. 

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On 11/21/2017 at 11:00 AM, Sudeep Reddy said:

I'm planning a trip from Hyderabad to Leh Ladakh on road in Swift Dezire. 

Did you complete the trip?

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I'm planning to travel by train and then hire a bike there. Can any one please guide me in this regard. 

I'm planning to travel during last week of May-18

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6 hours ago, jithender said:

I'm planning to travel by train and then hire a bike there. Can any one please guide me in this regard. 

I'm planning to travel during last week of May-18


Hi @jithender, I would recommend you to post pone your trip by a month at least... Since you are planning to do this on a bike, Taking a train until Delhi and a bike ride from there would be suggested. I am planning you to postpone for the reason of routes being closed due to snow. Not all roads would be opened all the while and it is unpredictable. Some time after June 3rd or 4th week would be perfect and hassle free.. 

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