For most of the people planning to visit Ladakh, Manali-Leh highway becomes the highlight of the journey; and the route from Srinagar becomes just a road that they take to avoid coming back the same way. Sometimes people ask me if Srinagar – Leh route is really worth it or shall they come back the same way to Manali; and my answer always is that a journey to Ladakh is not complete unless you have covered both the highways. While Manali-Leh route is definitely tougher, the road from Srinagar has a charm of its own. Manali-Leh road has a benefit of challenging the driver or rider; but when it comes to a scenic drive, in my opinion Srinagar Leh road wins hands down. Below is a list of places to see on Srinagar Leh Highway.
Places to See on Srinagar Leh Highway
Some of the key attractions of this route are a below. This is really a list for a 2 day trip on this road; places that you can visit while on the way. If however you have more time and you are planning a longer stay at the town in between; then I would recommend that you read through Tourist Attractions on Srinagar Leh Highway for a comprehensive list of all must visit places.
Srinagar-Leh highway is more convenient and remains in better drivable conditions that Manali-Leh road. It also stays open for a longer period of time. While some people take this journey for a challenge, there are several people visit Ladakh with family; and for whom it’s more of a vacation than a challenge. For these people, Srinagar Leh road is bliss. It also gives you a better chance to get used to being at high altitude heights which Manali-Leh road doesn’t. There are petrol pumps on this road at equal distances; and your phone network will also work better than Manali-Leh road where it doesn’t work at all.
The Eye Catching Scenery
In my opinion, Road from Srinagar is way more scenic than from Manali. It gives you a full taste of mighty Himalayas from lush green to white snow to barren wasteland. No I am not saying that Manali Leh route is less scenic but it misses the mesmerizing vistas of Kashmir that only Srinagar Leh route can give you. Traverse on this 400 odd kilometers long road and you will know why Shah Jahan called Kashmir the paradise on earth.
If you were thinking that this road is not challenging enough, think again. Crossing Zoji La is a task in itself. As a matter of fact I always advise people to drive carefully while going across this high altitude pass. There are ascents on this road enough to send shivers down your spine. The steep ascent mixed with bad road and slush all around at Zojila will put your driving skills to test. Some of the stretches on Srinagar Leh stretch are tougher than even Manali Leh road.
This road is right through some of the very famous towns, places that you have been long hearing or reading about. Primary attraction is Srinagar where you must spend a day and visit the Dal Lake. As a matter of fact, it is advised that you spend your time here in a houseboat. An evening on the docks of the boat, watching the city lights glimmer in famous Dal Lake is quite mesmerizing. Other towns are Drass, second coldest inhabited place on earth. Then comes Kargil, the famous town where our soldiers laid down their lives protecting our country. Sonamarg is what would make you realize that Kashmir is indeed paradise on earth.
Also read: Is Srinagar Leh Highway Safe for Tourists
There are several monasteries on this route, if it is something that interests you. Likir, Alchi, Basgo and Lamayuru monasteries are a few of the noted ones.
You have heard about it and you have read about it but now is the time to find out whether it is true or not. This portion of the road where everyone says that vehicles move on their own is definitely a key attraction. Take a ride or drive here and find out if all that you heard was truth or just made-up stories.
Gurudwara Patthar Sahib
A beautiful Gurudwara en-route, believed to be one of the highest located Gurudwaras in the world. A must visit.
Indus and Zanskar Confluence
Watch these 2 mighty and beautiful rivers merge into one another, a very beautiful sight.
Kargil War Memorial
A must visit for every Indian. Stop here and pay respect to our fallen heroes.
This is the mountain that Pakistan tried to capture during Kargil War. They actually captured it and we had to drive them back beyond LOC. This peak is visible from Drass.
“Dhyaan se chaliye, dushman aapko dekh raha hai” reads a board along the highway. Yes, it’s correct. You are right along the border and visible from Pakistan.
Yes, you read it correct. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, you cannot complete this journey unless you have tasted the food at Kargil, Drass and Sonamarg. Highly recommended, you will cherish it for life.
Places to See from Srinagar to Leh
I hope the list above was of help. If you have any further questions; or need any further details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer. If you have traveled from Srinagar to Leh and know of a place that I missed adding in the list, please do comment and suggest.