4 Idiots travel to LEH in XUV

Special thanks to Nandan, for taking me on board.

Ahhhhhhh………….Not sure or admit to say little bit lost from where to start my experience for the most CRAZY thing in my life which I did….. Yes, it is….. “DRIVE TO LEH” .

Life Event – Journey to LEH (4 IDIOTs)


It is easy to say / plan to go by car to LEH but believe me it is not so easy. You must be tough, you must be strong determine with plan, surrounded by positive, energetic and never die attitude people around you and last but not the least you should be positive with firm determination. While portraying my experience – JOURNEY TO LEH along with 3 of my friends – GOURAV, HARISH, NAVEEN and off course me (KAPIL) I feel that I had mix few of the things based on overall experience from our journey.

First thing first, I begin with 1000’s of salutes to BRO / INDIAN ARMY to make roads clear from snow / ice and make the route available from MANALI – LEH and back to LEH – SRINAGAR to bikers and off course riders. They don’t only clear the roads, also make it available for traffic movement, construct temporary small bridges on water falls every year, still if you stuck at any point after Rohtang pass until Leh only Indian Army can help you with food, medicines and shelter. Travellers are also available and they also ready to help but they have their own limitations.

I along with Naveen started from NOIDA on 12th June and reached MOHALI, meeting point @ Gourav’s place (+ Harish) to start early morning on 13th July. We were about to start from Mohali on 14 June but due to Permit which we got (1 day prior) we made swift change in plan due to which we were not make ourselves ready or equipped with all things which we suppose to have. I explained details about those things later in this article……so you may have details later.

Day 1 – 13 June 2019

Yes, as planned we started around 6 AM in the morning from Mohali, though me and Gourav couldn’t made a sound sleep last night (12 June) due to power failure in his locality so not very energetic but we started with short delay.

We moved and took small break on the way for own cook breakfast, we were lucky that among us we had a very good chef – Naveen (Vicky), equally supported by Gourav and Harish in our Journey for all our meals during the complete journey.

Mind you all Harish and Gourav already did a bike ride 2 years back from Mohali to Leh, so they had bit of experience with mindset of bikers, however this time we four planned to travel by my XUV 500.    

We reach Manali around 16:30 hrs and started arguing each other where we stay tonight. Few said in Manali and spent good time in old Manali with hippies…..but Harish was not agreed to this and suggested all to move from Manali towards Rohtang Pass and cover as much distance as we can today itself, as we heard lot about traffic jam at Rohtang pass.

Near Manali – we were excited by seing LEH sign boards.

Harish and Gourav had little bit of argument but later we all decided to move on. In fact, I was also agreed with Harish to some extent as I knew that I am the only driver for the entire trip for XUV as others had not much of the experience to drive the bull 😊. We move on…..

Koti Heights – Guest House (35 KM away from Rohtang Pass)

@ Koti Heights – (Manali – Rohtang road)

In short time we felt that we made a mistake, as in 2 hours of time we covered approx. 10 KM and feeling tired / bored & hungry too……but in another short time we made around 25 KM which was a fair distance. Reached Koti Heights and took a small cottage on rent Rs 700.

Finally, we unpack, took shower and had some Maggie along with Tea, during this we meet 4 travellers (they were from Faridabad and travelling in Scorpio) they all returned from Bara la cha pass, they were in adjoining room and update us about route conditions and after listening them we got to know that conditions are not bad they are in worse as in when you will move ahead from Rohtang pass.

As per them though ARMY opened the route on 10 June but due to heavy snow again on 11 June, routes are almost closed again, and it would take time to make it all clear again for travellers. They also updated that they were stuck for 3 days and return now from Bara La cha, few others also updated the same, moreover cottage owner lady also updated the same that we have no chance to go till Leh as now. Routes will open again after at least 7 days.

By listening all these facts, we all four were in dilemma what to do next? Shall we go back via Jammu? We all go back to our home town? Etc etc …..and in this confusion we all slept around 21 00 hrs during night…….no final plan now (confuse) and we all felt bit low as our plans were shattered now and excitement turn into ambiguity…….

Day 2 – 14 June 2019 @ 03 00 hrs

Ohhhh hmmmmm……. wake up @ 3 AM in the morning.

Something was cooking in the background, not sure but it was the case of some positive power by itself. I wake up around 02 30 hrs by the noise of cars moving from Manali to Rohtang pass, not sure why but found many cars passing our cottage one by one.

@ 3 AM, I request everyone to be ready and all were ready in sometime. We had tea and move from Koti Heights to Rohtang Pass without planning too many things. We all four had lot of questions on faces but no answers and believe me sometimes it is good not try to find out answers as it will come by the time only…… We all moved and reached the GULABA check post to show the permit which we acquire online. In some time we reach nearby Rohtang pass and found same as we heard lot about the place. Place is choke by the traffic and we found a long waiting traffic queue, stuck for approx. 4 hours and we felt lucky that we have petromax (gas for cooking) and most essential rashan with us to cook our food where ever we felt hungry. For sure please carry eatables, MTR food and small GAS for cooking purpose. Also carry milk tetra packs, water bottles, bean bags for garbage collection. Finally, we crossed Rohtang pass.

Guys please carry bin bags along with you, in our entire journey we never ever through anything on roads, all garbage collection we made in trash bag and dispose it at appropriate place.”

Finally, we crossed Rohtang pass and found bad patches of roads, hard to find out the roads only muddy roads water and snow was there. Start feeling some breathing issues and start taking Dimox 250 MG for breath easy.

Bad Roads after Rohtang Pass – 1
Bad Roads after Rohtang Pass – 2

For sure please carry all your medicines as after Manali you will find out things only in Leh, this is important and no 2nd thought on this.

We move on and reach to 2nd check post of permit check, Keylong was 50 KM approx. from this check post. Sudden off we found ourselves in mid of beautiful scenes, valley and we found road was OK to drive.

Scenic Views – lot of waterfalls on the way.
Car crossing the waterfall

In sometimes we crossed Keylong and Jispa and reach near to Zing Zing bar and we hold it that place for almost 3 hours and no traffic movement during period. We were in different thoughts may be this would be last point of our journey, as there was one truck fallen on road with iron rods and for that day Army announced that you all may have to stay here or any other safe place. No traffic movement until road will be cleared by Army. We came back to Jispa book a nice 2 tents for stay each Rs 1000.

We missed out own tents at this place as many of travellers start putting up their tents in the valley.

We cook our food did some chit chat and try to plan up things, but this is fact that whatever you plan it is up to you, but you will move only if weather and circumstances permit you.

So day 2 end at JISPA tent stay and feeling good that we move a good distance from Rohtang.

Day 3 & 4 – 15 & 16 June 2019 @ 08 00 hrs

OK….. so, Guys journey reach to it’s climax. As per the update we got to know that no one is going beyond Bara La Cha pass and today we were supposed to experience it. We started and stuck at Darcha check post for almost 2 hours around 5 KM from Jispa. Then we moved to Zing Zing bar able to reach there without many hiccups and then Army stop us and ask us to hold unless they will get to know the traffic clearance report from Bara la cha pass which is approx. 25 KM from that place.

We cooked and shared Poha and tea with some foreign tourists and share the same with Army as well.

Few Unknown friends on the way…

After Army made the route clear, our car was first on the route to move, and it is not always good to be first we realize this very soon. As we first to crossed one of the giant waters fall and we stuck there for almost 40 minutes. Water was chilled so can’t stand in the water for more than 30 seconds. With the help of bikers and other people we were able to push our car out.

My Car stuck in one of the waterfall

But it is not the end of the trouble, in fact it’s beginning of the toughest phase and soon we realize something is wrong technically in the car.

Soon with the help of few people we made it that our car steering motor is faulty, and we need to pour transmission oil again and again to carry on journey in either direction (towards Leh or towards Rohtang). We arrange some steering oil from the passers and discuss among us what to do next, as we were standing at the midpoint of Rohtang and Leh so we decided to move ahead towards Leh. Believe me it was a BOLD decision…

People already confirmed roads are worst ahead around Bara la cha pass and cars are skiting due to lot of snow and ice on road.So, for sure please carry all your rescue items as per your vehicle, all oils – for your vehicle (must to have), toiling rope, good jack, puncture kit etc etc. Also, good to have tent along with some food and tools as well.

We reach to Bara la cha passes around 15 00 hrs and found traffic jam, stand until 20 30 hrs in Jam.

Snow Flakes started, temp. dips to -4 and we are stuck in traffic jam.

Traffic Jam @ Bara La Cha Pass

At last we move on snow covered road, where cars dancing if you put break on. We covered worst roads and reach to Sarchu, without wasting much of the time. I decided to drive during whole night as we all know there is very low level of Oxygen in Sarchu and Paang.

Milestones during journey

Roads are bad in shape, you will find lot of stones and if you try to drive rash / fast it may tear your car tyre in sometime, lot of snow / muddy roads so you can’t drive fast on such roads. After crossing Paang, Leh is almost 170 KM and sudden off you will realize you are in different world. Roads are very good in condition and from high mountains you will drive in plain plateau.

Around 9 00 hrs we reached to city Leh, during the overnight journey we checked steering oil few times and whenever we were in doubt we pour it.

From Noida distance we covered almost 1210 KM.

Day 5 – 17 June 2019 @ 08 00 hrs

We start our day at the workshop of Mahindra and soon we got to know that we can’t stay much at Leh as the steering motor is not available at Leh workshop and they ask us to drive car in same way until Jammu or Noida where motor is available to replace.

@ Leh – Mahindra Workshop

We plan out the day @ 14 00 hrs to move Khar dung la pass, world highest (2nd highest now) motorable road. We hired local taxi, from the driver Rig Zig we meet at workshop only, Rs 3000 for Khardungla pass and Rancho’s school visit (3 Idiots movie place).

World 2nd highest motorable road @ Khardungla Pass
@ Rancho’s school – 3 IDIOTs

Keep remember to have your medicines along with you. Drink lot of water during your whole journey.

Day 6 – 18 June 2019 @ 09 00 hrs

Started from Leh to Srinagar, we know that roads are good from this route and as our car is also not very ok, so we are happy that we must cover good route now.

@ Gurudwara Pathar Sahib ji
@ Magnetic Hills
@ Kargil War Memorial
Tribute @ Kargil War Memorial

Route is extremely beautiful and you will find lot of views for photography and to admire.

Skies meeting Earth
Beauty at it’s best
Different Angels
saying something something!
View
STORY

Worst part of the route is Zozila pass, as all other passes you will find no road there. Snow covered mountains and terrible conditions of the roads. This is really bad all the way…..

ZOZILA PASS

Stay at Son Marg for dinner and it was a great stay, this was our first halt in the entire journey where we had our dinner from restaurant.

We reach Srinagar around 1 AM mid night, book our Hotel Nishant Regency online and stay there during night.

 It was a long drive on mountains, almost 450 KM from Leh to Sri Nagar.

Day 7 – 19 June 2019 @ 10 00 hrs

We went to Dal lake and spent some time in Shikara, local market and start out Journey around 17 00 hrs to Jammu.

DAL Lake – Heaven
SHIKARA
Life @ Dal lake

After reaching Jammu we all decided to move Mohali, did overnight drive to reach Mohali at 5 AM and after taking 4 hours of rest around 12 noon I started for Noida.

20 June at 18 00 hrs Journey finish, covered 2500 KM approx.

Checklist – Travel LEH by car:

Checklist – Things to remember if you are travelling LEH

Hope you enjoyed the journey story and it may helpful to you by one or the other way.

Free Advice –

Last but not the least if you LUV your CAR never plan travel on these Roads by your OWN CAR :)

GOOD BYE………

29 Comments

  • Gourav Kochar says:

    Hi Kapil, it was an amazing experience travelling to Leh with you, Harish and Naveen. This time we were able to explore more places then last time. And the adventure is unforgettable. Kudos to your stamina of continuous driving on India’s toughest roads!!!

    • Kapil Jain says:

      It was your appreciation too, that we plan such beautiful journey with positive group like you, Harish and Naveen.
      I feel proud at back of mind that we made success in 1st attempt as we know there are many who failed in few chances….

      Thanks for giving me these memories.

  • Nitin says:

    Amazing jiju.. Mast views..gr8 pics but car part :(..

    • Kapil Jain says:

      thanks Nitin. Great Journey, great memories and car I made OK now…….CRAZY things tough to tackle.

    • Shubhani jain says:

      Kapil Bhaiya , very well written about your amazing and adventurous journey experience with great pictures , it was fun reading that , keep exploring and posting

      • Kapil Jain says:

        Thanks Shubhani Bhabhi, keep motivate like this and will try to explore better in upcoming time.
        Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • Anil says:

    Read story it’s Interesting and see your memories. Now I am excited for these type of trip. Great job done by all of you. Kapil For your Free advice a big ✋.

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Anil, few things you not able to forget in life off course this is one of those…..I love the beauty and people to whom we meet during journey.

  • Shalini says:

    Great post.. looks like a fun ride full of adventures.. Thrilling pictures..

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Rinky. Yes the journey was with full of adventure and learning as well.
      Do things with your mind and feel it from heart :), crazy thing to do…..

  • Pradeep says:

    Very good read Kapil bro. Looks like u guys had a lot of fun. Checklist provided by u will be of great help for ppl planning for the trip. Great pics.

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Pradeep bro it was fun in the entire journey along with few confusions, excitements and learning. I am passionate driver what I think and use all my skills to the fullest.

      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav and Naveen

  • Harish Kochar says:

    It was amazing trip . You should have excellent driving skills then and physical fitness then you can think about this trip very easily. HATS OFF TO Kapil for such a amazing driving skills .

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Harish you were part of this crazy experience and out of those your role was to motivate things, which you did in the entire journey.
      Big claps and whistle for your ‘never die attitude’ and in future many more to come – is it!

      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up from the team – Kapil – U – Gourav and Naveen

      • Girish Kochar says:

        Very well illustrated Kapil..beautiful pics.. loved the checklist, kudos to your solo driving and yes huge respect for your bold decision to move forward standing at midway..
        Though one plan well, but you can never predict what may come next on your way, how adventurous & troublesome that could be, but at the end you would love memorizing all these throughout your life, that’s the beauty of the road trips. Happy driving!!

        One thing I didn’t like is your free ki advice

        • Kapil Jain says:

          Thanks Girish bro, keep motivate like this and will try to explore better in upcoming time. I will take all your comments and definitely try to portray better in upcoming time.

          Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up –
          from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • Sumit kumar says:

    Amazing, thrilled with post and get going attitude. Memories well shared and will be helpful for aspirants..

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Sumit, keep motivate like this and will try to explore better in upcoming time.
      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up –
      from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • Alka says:

    Very nicely penned out. Reader is getting the feeling of being a part of the journey.
    Nice pics..

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Alka, it’s really a compliment and thanks for taking your time out to read the entire story……

      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up,
      from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • Ankit says:

    Kapil dost…Kudos to you for:
    1) driving through such heights and roads
    2) taking time to write all the details.

    Such articles are super motivating and helpful for people who are considering this kind of trip.

    Really admire your spirit of not giving up and completing such tough journey successfully, despite so many hurdles and problems.

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Ankit, it’s really a compliment and thanks for taking your time out to read the entire story……
      Great to hear that it motivates few of readers.

      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up,
      from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

    • ankur sharma says:

      Illustration is v impressive Jain Saab. You guys had a life time journey. Really lucky and hope to see more of these jewels from your pocket. Keep it up

  • Hi Kapil …It was a amazing experience for all of u.Lots of twits and turns u people faced specially the cars problem..But what u shared in this blog will help a people lot to plan there trip and to take precautions well in advance for the same . But no pains no Gains.You people have have now life time memories .

    • Kapil Jain says:

      Thanks Gagan Bhaiya, it’s really a compliment and thanks for taking your time out to read the entire story……
      Your comments are very true and you sensitize the car problem very well, it was really a tough situation but we overcome very well out of that.

      Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up,
      from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • It was a amazing experience for all of u.Lots of twits and turns u people faced specially the cars problem..But what u shared in this blog will help a people lot to plan there trip and to take precautions well in advance for the same . But no pains no Gains.You people have have now life time memories .

  • Kapil Jain says:

    Thanks Gagan Bhaiya, it’s really a compliment and thanks for taking your time out to read the entire story……
    Your comments are very true and you sensitize the car problem very well, it was really a tough situation but we overcome very well out of that.

    Thanks for appreciating our effort and thumps up,
    from all of four travellers to you – Kapil – Harish – Gourav — Naveen

  • ankur sharma says:

    Illustration is v impressive Jain Saab. You guys had a life time journey. Really lucky and hope to see more of these jewels from your pocket. Keep it up

  • Kapil, welcome aboard!
    The story reads very well and I must say that your treacherous journey has created one of the best experiences for you. I am sure it shall remain a memorable one for you.

    Thank you for taking us with you on this journey!

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