Spare Fuel for Ladakh Trip – Where do you need it?

by Vargis.Khan

When you are preparing for a trip to Ladakh; there are several things that you need to prepare yourself as well as your vehicle for. From AMS to bad roads to itinerary planning; the list is endless but I believe one of the top most concerns for anyone will be the scarcity of fuel. Places where your you can hope to find a gas station in Ladakh are still just a few and depending on your itinerary; there may be instances when you will have to run a stretch for miles or days without a refill. In this article, I will provide details on where do you need to carry spare fuel for Ladakh trip and how can you manage it.

spare fuel for ladakh trip

Spare Fuel for Ladakh Trip

Fuel Stations in Ladakh

To bring with, let us take a look at where can you find petrol stations in Ladakh. On Manali Leh highway; the last petrol pump is at Tandi post which there is no other gas station until Karu, for a 320 odd kilometers. Coming from Srinagar, you will find a petrol pump at several places. last one being at Khaltsi post which the next fuel station is in Leh, after 90 odd kilometers.

For local sightseeing, there is one petrol pump in Padaum (Zanskar valley) and one in Diskit (Nubra valley) but functionality of both these petrol pumps is highly questionable. There is a high chance that you will reach here only to find it closed. There are no gas stations on at Pangong, Tso Moriri, or on the routes leading to these lakes. Chushul route is highly remote so do not expect to find gas anywhere here. In the end, to sum it up, the only fuel station in Ladakh is in Leh town; so before you leave here, you need to decide how much spare fuel you should be carrying.

Spare Fuel for Ladakh Trip

The first thing to do is to be sure of is your vehicle’s mileage. Whether is it a car or motorcycle; please have a close enough estimate of how long your vehicle runs on a liter of Petrol or Diesel.




For example, if your car’s mileage is 15 kms per liter, then to be on a safer side; assume then it would go down to 10 to 11 kms per liter in Ladakh. Up there, you would constantly be running in low gears so fuel consumption will be high. Second thing to consider will be the tank capacity of your vehicle; followed by the distance you will be travelling before reaching the next gas station. Put all these facts together, do a little math; and you would know how much fuel you would be required to carry to ensure an event-less trip. I will provide the information related to distance and gas stations that you can add up with your vehicle’s mileage and fuel tank capacity.

Manali Leh highway

From Manali to Leh, the last petrol pump is at Tandi. It is a reliable petrol pump and always functional so you should tank up here. After Tandi, there is no other gas station for about 320 odd kilometers until Karu. So in case of Royal Enfields for example, with a tank capacity of 12-13 liters and 25 to 30 kilometers per liter; I would carry about five liters of petrol just to be on a safer side. In case of a Pulsar with 18 liters of tank capacity, I would not carry any fuel for Manali Leh highway. Calculate the same way for any vehicle you are travelling in; be it a car or motorcycle; and decide if you should carry any spare fuel at all.

Srinagar Leh highway

Unlike Manali Leh highway, Srinagar to Leh is better connected and populated. No need to carry spare fuel on this road, no matter what your mode of commuting is. You can easily find a gas station at several places; Srinagar, Kangan, Sonamarg, Kargil, Khalsi.all of which have reliable petrol p

Now let us take a look at some of the inner roads in Ladakh.  For most of the famous tourist destinations like Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso; one tank full in Leh and you can easily make a return journey. However if you are planning to commute on roads like Agham Shyok road; the Chushul route, you will have to make arrangements to carry spare fuel. Below is information on these routes in detail.

Leh – Khadrung La – Nubra Valley – Leh:  If you just want to travel to Diskit / Hunder and come back to Leh while covering Panamik on the route, total distance of the journey would be about 330 – 340 kilometers in which case you do not need spare fuel. If however you want to touch Nubra Valley end to end (Turtuk on one side and Warshi on other); then the total distance of the journey will be 510 – 520 kilometers; and you will need to carry some fuel with you.

Leh – Sakti – Chang La – Pangong Tso – Leh: Last petrol pump while traveling towards Pangong Tso from Leh is at Karu from where Pangong Tso is about 190 kilometers. So 380 kilometers in total and you may or may not need fuel; depending on your vehicle’s tank capacity and fuel efficiency.

Leh – Tso Moriri – Leh via Chumathang : Last petrol pump again is at Karu from which Karzok is another 180 kilometers via Chumathang so a total of 360 kilometers for a return journey.

Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang – Leh via Tso Kar: Spare fuel needed. Total distance covered would be close to 500 kilometers

Sham Valley: You need not carry spare fuel for Sham Valley. Either tank up at Leh or Khaltsi and you will be Ok.

Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso via Wari La – Leh via Chang La: Depending on what all places you cover on this route, average distance covered will be close to about 600 kilometers minimum so definitely carry fuel.

Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso via Agham Shyok road – Leh via Chang La: Minimum distance covered this way would be about 550 kilometers so definitely carry fuel.

Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri via Hanle and Chushul – Leh via Chumathang: Total distance covered will be between 700 – 800 kilomteres so you will need to arrange fuel.

Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso via Shyok or Wari La – Tso Moriri via Chushul Hanle – Leh via Chumathang: Total distance would be close to 1000 kilometeres. Spare fuel required.

Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso via Shyok or Wari La – Tso Moriri via Chushul Hanle – Leh via Tso Kar: Spare fuel needed. Total distance would be close to 1200 kilometers

Leh – Nubra Valley – Pangong Tso via Shyok or Wari La – Tso Moriri via Chushul Hanle – Tso Kar – Pang – Manali: Longest stretch without a gas station, distance travelled will be over 1500 kilometers so definitely carry fuel.

Leh – Tso Moriri via Chumathang – Tso Kar – Pang – Keylong – Manali: Total distance would be about 550 kms so carry fuel.

Leh – Pangong Tso – Tso Moriri via Chushul / Hanle – Tso Kar – Pang – Keylong – Manali: Must carry fuel. Distance travelled will be about 950 kms

Karil – Rangdum – Padum – Kargil: No need to carry any additional fuel for this journey. Just tank up at Kargil and it will be sufficient for a round trip.

These are just some common routes that I picked here as an example but of course; the journey can be done in a thousand different ways. If you are thinking of a different route; ask me in the comments section below and I can let you know if you need to carry spare fuel or not.

Another important thing to keep in mind would be in regards to rented motorcycles. These motorcycles are of course not in the best condition and their fuel efficiency is always low. The agency that you will be renting it from will of course not give you the true picture so do not rely upon their word.

If you are doing the longer routes that I mentioned above; then you would of course need to make fuel arrangements; but if you are just planning to do the smaller Nubra, Pangong and Moriri circuits; there are two things that you can do after you rent the motorcycle from Leh. Either just carry spare fuel to be on the safer side or do a test run in order to get an idea about the mileage. I would advise to go a few kilometers towards Khardung La as the ascent starts right after Leh so it will give you a fair picture of how the bike is going to perform while climbing and what will be its mileage. This statement applies more to Royal Enfield than other motorcycles because their tank capacity is less than other bikes like Pulsar.

I received an email from a reader asking if we can get Petrol or Diesel in Ladakh in black; or do any of the dhabas or chadar tents on Manali Leh highway sell fuel. About a decade ago, the answer to this question would have been a no; but after the sudden rise in tourism in Ladakh, this kind of arrangements are in ample. Almost all the dhabas/chadar tents/ camping sites on the route keep spare fuel and sell it at a higher price; (expect it to be over Rs. 100 per liter of petrol). This however should be a sort of last option for you as apart from the steep price; even the quality of the fuel is questionable. However if you do run in an unforeseen situation, then yes you can ask the dhabas on the way for fuel.

The last thing I would like to discuss is about how to carry the fuel. Jerry Cans of course are the answer. If you can get your hands on one, then try to carry a metal one rather than the plastic one. If you are buying a plastic jerry can, then please ensure that it is strong enough to withstand the journey. During my last trip to Ladakh, I came across a biker on Manali Leh highway whose Jerry can had burst open due to air pressure so please ensure that you are buying a quality product. Do not fill up the can all the way to the top as it may start leaking.

Leave some space and make sure that it is sealed tight. May want to put polythene on the lid first and then put the cap on to ensure that it is sealed properly and there is no leakage. If you are roping the cans on the sides of the motorcycles; you may first want to wrap the can in maybe a piece of cloth or something a little thick to provide an extra layer of protection. This will prevent any damage to the cans from pebbles or stones while riding on the dirt tracks. If traveling by Car, you can also consider those 20 liters Mineral water bottles. They are pretty strong and will not crack or burst open.

I hope this information on spare fuel for Ladakh trip was useful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our community forum and I would be glad to answer.

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51 comments

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Sunil negi May 22, 2019 - 1:39 pm

Hello Vargis ji

From sunil negi

Iam planning the trip with my family in creta (model 2017). Here is the plan. Pls suggest if u want any changes. Also suggest for extra petrol.

1-jun day 1 .- delhi to jammu – petrol full
2-jun day 2 – jammu to srinagar – petrol full
3-jun day 3 – cont in srinagar petrol full
4-jun day 4 – srinagar to kargil – petrol full
5-jun day 5 – kargil to leh- petrol full
6-jun day 6 – cont in leh- petrol full
7-jun day 7 – leh to nubra valley. is petrol pump available?
8-jun day 8 – cont in nubra valley
9-jun day 9 – nubra valley to pangong – petrol pump ?
10-jun day 10 – pangong lake to leh – petrol full
11-jun day 11 – leh to tso moriri- petrol pump?
12-jun day 12 – tso moriri to sarchu -petrol pump ?
13-jun day 13 – sarchu to manali – petrol full
14-jun day 14 – manali to delhi

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Vargis.Khan May 22, 2019 - 1:44 pm

Hello Negi Ji,

Your itinerary looks good. For fuel related questions, please read through the following post.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/fuel-availability-in-leh-ladakh-manage/

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Sunil negi May 23, 2019 - 11:28 am

Thx vargis ji

Few more advise from u

(1) can i carry 40 ltr extra petrol in car if travelling via delhi-srinagar-kargil-leh route.
(2) carring extra petrol in 2 VALVOLINE DIESEL ENGINE OIL drum
(3) any idea when rohtang pass will open. Because as per my schedule i will reach sarchu on 12-jun from leh and if on that time rohtang pass will not open then i will get problem
(4) how much ILP cost for 4 person including 2 adult + 13 yrs daughter + 4 yrs son for nubra vally, pangong, tso moriri, khardung la
(5) can i get oxigen mask in leh and what will be the cost

Thx
Sunil negi

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Derick Eugin April 24, 2019 - 11:24 am

Hello Vargis ji, I am planning for a leh trip this year. I am planning to cover Leh – Nubra valley(halt) – Pangong Tso(halt) – Tso Moriri(halt) in three days. Is it possible?

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Vargis.Khan April 24, 2019 - 12:31 pm

Hello Derick Ji – Do you mean

Leh to Nubra
Nubra to Pangong
Pangong to Moriri
Moriri to Leh

If yes then yes it is possible

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Derick Eugin April 27, 2019 - 12:14 pm

VargisJi, I am planning from Moriri to go back to Manali directly?

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Vargis.Khan April 27, 2019 - 7:19 pm

No then you should give up Moriri and do Pangong to Pang / Sarchu and Pang / Sarchu to Manali

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Derick Eugin April 28, 2019 - 4:59 am

Tso Moriri to Sarchu is only 145 kms right? I was thinking that was doable. I know the biggest problem we are going to face is the fuel availability.

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Raj Kumar August 24, 2018 - 6:44 am

Hello sir I am planning to go leh on September. 17, 2018 in my fortuner with 7 persons. Any advise from your goodselves thanks

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Aravindan August 16, 2018 - 7:17 am

Hi Vargis Khan. I am planning for a visit from leh to nubra to pangong to leh. Is it possible in bike RE 350cc. 1. How much litres of petrol I shud carry? 2. How many days required for pangong? 3. Can you guide me for this leh to nubra to pangong to leh trip. Is it good to hire cab or bike is also possible? 4. Can you give the approximate expense? Thanks a lot in advance.

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Shashwat singh August 2, 2018 - 7:20 pm

Hello,Mr.Khan ,we are 2 friends who are planning for a trip from Delhi-Leh ladakh on single bike (classic 350) via Manali along with luggage is it possible before 10th october ?And can you confirm a route in which we can cover most places?

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Vargis.Khan August 2, 2018 - 8:14 pm

Yes it should be possible but really depends on how the weather turns in September. How many days do you have in hand for Delhi to Delhi?

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Sukrit Sangwan May 27, 2018 - 9:18 am

Is there a petrol pump in nyoma?

I am planning leh – nubra – pangong via shyok – tso moriri via chushul – tso kar – keylong

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Rajnikant Das May 22, 2018 - 8:14 pm

Sir,

I am travelling to Leh in first week on June 2018, following will be my itinerary in Leh:

Day 1: Leh to Nubra Valley

Day 2: Nubra to Pangong Lake

Day 3: Pangong to Hemis

Day 4: Hemis to Tso Moriri

Day 5: Tso-Moriri to Sarchu

Day 6: Sarchu – Manali

Sir, Please suggest if my itinerary looks good or you can suggest any changes if required.
This would be first visit to leh and I am not very much aware of the places. It will be very helpful if you suggest me some more places to visit where I can go.

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Vargis.Khan May 23, 2018 - 1:50 pm

It looks good Rajnikant Bhai. How are you traveling BTW?

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Rajnikant May 23, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Sir, I will be riding my bike, Apache RTR 200 on this tour.
My bike has only 11 Liters fuel tank capacity, so I am little bit concern about the fuel during my travel. Although I have planned to carry couple of 5 Liters fuel jar canes.

Is there anything else which I have to take care of?

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Vargis.Khan May 23, 2018 - 2:07 pm

You will also get fuel in black at most of the shops in Ladakh but if you are carrying Jerry cans than it is even better.

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Rajnikant May 23, 2018 - 2:14 pm

Thank you Sir, for all the information.

Sir, could you please also suggest if there are any particular places which are not much explored and I can go there and visit?

It will be helpful, as this places is totally new to me and I only get information from internet, but I wanted to visit places which are not very much explored by others.

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Vargis.Khan May 23, 2018 - 2:47 pm

You can try going to Turtuk and Warshi in Nubra valley

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Rahul May 5, 2018 - 9:52 am

Hello Sir-

I am travelling in August with 11 others. Taking 6 Royal Enfield Bullets 500 CC from Leh for the rest of the route.

Planning to take the below route, Please suggest

1. Leh to Nubra. (Stay In Nubra)
2. Nubra-Turtuk-Nubra (Stay In Nubra)
3. Nubra to Pangong (Stay In Pangong)- Which route should be taken?
4. Pangong to Tso Morori (Stay in Tso Morori)- Which route should be taken?
5. Tso Morori to Leh. (Stay in Leh).

Please suggest me for the fuel Availability,Permits required for the entire route, road Conditions, Any specific thing we need to take care of?

Thanks In Advance.

Rahul

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Vargis.Khan May 6, 2018 - 2:50 am

Hi Rahul

1. Good
2. Good
3. Take Shyok road
4. Cannot go straight to Moriri from Pangong. That road is off limits this year. Will have to come back to Leh and then go to Moriri the next day from there.

See posts below for fuel and permits.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/fuel-availability-in-leh-ladakh-manage/

https://vargiskhan.com/log/obtaining-ilp-for-ladakh/

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Mitrajit Chatterjee April 25, 2018 - 9:47 am

I am planning Manali – Jispa – Tso Kar – Hanle – Umling La – Hanle – Pangong – Nubra – Leh – Manali in July 2018. Total about 1800+ Kms. I will be driving my Scorpio. Mileage (after reduction) must be about 9-10 ish. Do I need to carry fuel? If yes how and how much?? Are 20 Lts Bisleri cans safe for Diesel?

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Vargis.Khan April 25, 2018 - 2:36 pm

Hanle, Umlinga and Chushul routes are off limits this year, cannot go that way. See the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/permits-for-hanle-umling-la-chushul-suspended/

For fuel, see the post below.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/fuel-availability-in-leh-ladakh-manage/

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Pankaj sodi April 22, 2018 - 6:47 pm

Travelling in new Celerio Maruti car from Manali to Leh is a right decision or not. Please suggest

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Vargis.Khan April 22, 2018 - 6:59 pm

It depends on your driving skills. Is the car capable of doing the trip, Yes but then you must be experienced enough to take it across bad patches and water crossings without the belly of your car hitting the ground.

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Aayush March 3, 2018 - 1:48 pm

hello… i am planning ladakh this may on my dominar. It will be completing 1 year in June and will have done 7k to 8k kms by then. i read your articles regarding preparing bikes, anything else you will like to add?? and considering dominar has only 13 litre tank, i guess i need to make arrangements for spare petrol??

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Vargis.Khan March 5, 2018 - 5:33 pm

Hi Aayush – The only thing apart from what I mentioned in other articles that I will recommend in regards to Dominar is removing the lower faring. That tends to get damaged while crossing bad road sections and water crossings. And yes, depending on your itinerary, you will definitely have to make some fuel arrangements. What is your travel plan?

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Dev.N February 26, 2018 - 2:23 pm

Can I carry petrol in High quality plastic pet bottle like Tupperware bottles?

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Dev.N February 26, 2018 - 3:08 pm

I have read in one of your posts, that spare fuel can be carried in coke/pepsi bottle. So there’s no chance of burst due to pressure I hope. Logically it shouldn’t burst as Coke/pepsi/water bottle are also sold in ladakh, and they are being carried from lower altitude only. Your thoughts???

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Vargis.Khan February 26, 2018 - 3:36 pm

No it won’t burst. I always carry it that way. Just make sure it is packed at a place where it won’t get punctured by anything though.

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Vargis.Khan February 26, 2018 - 3:36 pm

Yes you can

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Dev.N March 2, 2018 - 12:10 am

Thank you 🙂

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Vargis.Khan March 2, 2018 - 10:44 pm

You are welcome

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Dipankar Saha September 13, 2017 - 7:15 pm

Hi ! Sir,

Is it safe to carry spare petrol in steel water bottles as I would travelling to Khardungla on my RE Himalayan ? Will the bottles hold good at such altitude ?

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Vargis.Khan September 13, 2017 - 9:21 pm

Hi Dipankar Bhai – Steel water bottles are fine but how big are those?

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Kiran August 19, 2017 - 6:37 am

Hello,

We will be traveling on bullet from leh to nubra to pangaong and back to leh and then to kargil and back to leh so will we need to carry extra fuel.

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Vargis.Khan August 19, 2017 - 9:00 pm

Direct route from Nubra to Pangong is closed so you cannot go, will have to come back to Leh. If it however open at your time of travel, then yes, you will need to carry extra fuel. No need for Leh Kargil Leh route. There is a gas station in Kargil as well.

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Punit Singh June 6, 2017 - 4:48 am

Hello Vargis Khan ji, we are family of 4 + driver in our xuv travelling from Lucknow to Leh via Manali in next 4-5 days. My xuv is 38500 kms & not yet 3 year old (july 2014). I want to go to Manali, Leh, Nubra, Pangong & Tso Kar if possible. Please tell what permits would be needed & how to get them. Someone was saying that getting them online is also possible. Do you know of any budget guest house in Chandigarh for our stopover before Manali, we just have to spend a night. Just plain AC & attached bath.

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Vargis.Khan June 6, 2017 - 1:28 pm

Hello Punit Singh Ji – You will need to obtain Inner line permit once you reach Leh in order to visit Nubra and Pangong. There was an online portal launched for ILP last week but it not complete and unreliable as of now so best is to reach Leh and get the permits in person. Please read the link below for more details on permits and how to obtain. I am sorry but I do not have any information on budget stay in Chandigarh.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/obtaining-ilp-for-ladakh/

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PRATIK DHAR June 2, 2017 - 3:15 am

Hi Vargis
Any idea on how time will it be neaded from jispa to manali. I have a night stay planned in Jispa and on the very next day I have to board bus at 5 pm from Manali. I will be traveling by bike .so by what time should i start from jispa to reach manali on time
.

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Vargis.Khan June 6, 2017 - 1:30 pm

Hey Pratik – Hmmmm, I thought I replied already to this comment but now its gone, strange. Anyways, I would advise that you leave Jispa between 5-6 AM and keep your breaks limited on the way to Manali. That should see you arriving at Manali by 2-3 PM and you can easily board your 5 PM bus.

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PRATIK DHAR June 7, 2017 - 4:01 am

Thanks Vargis… yes you replied to me.. but i mistakenly posted the same question in two different blog of yours .Thanks again for your reply.

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Vargis.Khan June 7, 2017 - 5:31 am

No worries brother … don’t forget to share a few pics once you are back from your trip

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Paritosh Gupta Adv. May 26, 2017 - 8:58 pm

My scorpio has run only 82000kms and is in mint condition as I have 4 more cars to drive but my scorpio is a October 2004 model, will it be allowed to go to Leh from Manali? As I have planned to start from Jabalpur in the 1st week of June. Please reply

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Vargis.Khan May 28, 2017 - 2:16 am

No, they will not issue you the permits for Rohtang Pass. The only way you can take your Scorpio is either via Srinagar or from Spiti route.

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Paritosh Gupta Adv. May 28, 2017 - 5:33 am

Thanks a ton Vargis ji! One more query can I come back from Leh through Manali route via Rohtang in the same Scorpio of 2004 model as going from Srinagar side as advised by you and returning from Manali side, then also do I require the permits? Please reply!

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Vargis.Khan May 29, 2017 - 3:02 am

You are welcome Paritosh ji. And yes, this is what I meant. You should go via Srinagar and return via Manali. The restriction of permits is only applicable if you are going from Manali towards Rohtang. No such restriction is in place for traffic coming from the other side of Rohtang towards Manali.

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Paritosh Gupta Adv. May 29, 2017 - 4:07 pm

Again Thanks a ton Vargis ji for ur precious nd valuable information, one thing more I just want to ask is that traveling to Leh from Srinagar side will be safe as regarding the present scenario going on in kashmir nd the hotels will be available immediately as we r not booking them prior! Will I get the hotels bookings immediately ! Please reply as I am only relying on u! Thanks!

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Vargis.Khan May 30, 2017 - 1:15 am

You are welcome Paritosh ji. Kashmir valley is under a complete shut down right now, curfew imposed and internet services unavailable. It should get better in a few days but with Kashmir, no one can really guarantee when it all may start again. Best would be to keep a check on the news before you start. No need to book hotels in advance, you will just end up paying more. Best would be to reach your destination, find a hotel of your liking and check in, plenty of options available.

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Paritosh Gupta Adv. May 30, 2017 - 10:32 am

Once again Thanks a ton Vargis ji, I know I am bothering you a lot but I have only you as a genuine reliable person wid whom I can clear my doubt, if I go to Manali via Shimla and kullu and then go to spiti then I will not be requiring the permits and then from spiti I can go to Leh, will this plan will work and then return back from Leh to directly to Manali as u have already helped me in felling that I will not get the permits fir my 2004 model scorpio! Please reply as going to Leh from spiti side will be feseable? And I really sorry to brother u again and again!

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Vargis.Khan May 30, 2017 - 4:40 pm

Not a problem at all Paritosh Ji, am happy to help. Yes, you can start from Shimla, travel to Spiti and from Kaza, go straight to Keylong to continue further to Leh. No permits needed here. On you way back, you can come to Manali and wont need any permits for return journey as well.

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