You have three choices:
1. Drive Your Car
You can take the following routes depending on your itinerary and budget:
- Jaipur – Delhi – Chandigarh – Manali – Leh
- Jaipur – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh
The Jaipur to Manali to Leh road passes through four national highways (NH) 8, 1 (Grand Trunk Road), 71 A, and 21 and Leh-Manali Highway. You will drive through six states of north India and one union territory: Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. About 1,300-kilometre drive requires up to 30 hours and lots of fuel. If your car mileage is about ten kilometres per litre of fuel, you will need about 130 litres of fuel. The fuel cost for the trip would thus amount to INR 9,750 for four (@ INR 75 per litre of petrol).
You may cover the distance in two or three days. Therefore, you will also require a room (s) for one or two nights. Budget for it also.
2. Hire a Taxi
Hiring a direct taxi from Jaipur to Leh is not only difficult but also not advisable (Read caution section of this post.). You can break the journey in three segments and change the taxi at two en route destinations:
Jaipur – Jammu
Jammu – Srinagar
Srinagar – Leh
Jaipur – Delhi
Delhi – Manali
Manali – Leh
The cost of a Jaipur-Delhi taxi ride for a group of four travellers in Tata Indica (AC) starts from INR 5,900, that of Delhi-Manali trip from INR 10,844, and that of Manali-Leh from INR 22,050. The total cost of the taxi ride from Jaipur to Leh therefore amounts to at least INR 38,744 for four. You can book the taxi online at http://www.clearcarrental.com/.
3. Board a Public / Private Bus
No direct bus plies between Jaipur and Leh. You have to change the bus at least twice. The possible routes:
- Jaipur – Jammu – Srinagar – Leh
- Jaipur – Delhi – Manali – Leh
Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (R.S.R.T.C.) offers two daily bus services between Jaipur and Jammu: via Bhatinda and via Delhi. The Jaipur-Bhatinda-Jammu journey covering 871 kilometres starts at 03:30 p.m. and ends at 12:15 p.m. next day. This long journey costs INR 658 per passenger. The 12-hour Jaipur-Delhi-Jammu bus ride begins in the morning (06:17 a.m.) and costs INR 693 per passenger.
The corporation runs more than 180 bus services from Jaipur to Delhi, about 290 kilometres drive, daily. Some services start from Jaipur itself, whereas others originate from some other parts of Rajasthan and pick up passengers from Jaipur. You can choose from AC sleeper (INR 476 per passenger), air conditioned (INR 476 per passenger), express (INR 196 per passenger), semi deluxe (INR 222 per passenger), sleeper deluxe (INR 319 per passenger), Volvo Mercedes (INR 670 per passenger), and Volvo MXL (INR 670 per passenger) buses.
Most of the express buses do not offer advance reservation option. However, other buses generally allow advance reservation. The bus service is spread throughout the day.
You can review the details of the journeys at http://rsrtc.rajasthan.gov.in/rsrtc_enquiry/enquiry/ without login. However, you have to register and login to purchase the bus tickets online.
You can board either public or private buses for the Srinagar-Leh segment. But remember this route is not frequently plied probably because of two long days required to complete the journey via Kargil.
Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (J.K.S.R.T.C.) offers one bus service between Srinagar and Leh daily. The bus starting from Srinagar at 07:30 AM, reaches Kargil in evening for a night halt. Next day the bus arrives in Leh around 04:00 p.m. The deluxe bus ticket costs INR 1,050 per passenger exclusive of the night halt expenses. The ticket can be booked only one day before the journey date. The advance booking begins at Inter State Bus Terminus (I.S.B.T.), Srinagar around 06:00 a.m. You cannot book the seat online for the 2*2-seater bus.
J.K.S.R.T.C. also runs several buses between Jammu and Srinagar daily. The cost of this six-hour long journey starts from INR 250 per passenger.
You can board the bus of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (H.P.T.D.C) from Manali for Leh during peak season (July 1 to September 10) on every fourth day. The two-day overland journey costs INR 2,200 per person inclusive of a night stay in Keylong (Himachal Pradesh) and two meals. The bus starting from Manali at 09:00 reaches Leh around 07:00 p.m. next day. You can purchase the bus seat online at http://hp.gov.in/hptdc/Availability.aspx.
You have another bus option: Himachal Road Transport Corporation’s (H.R.T.C.) ”direct” bus service connects Delhi to Leh via Manali from June to September daily. You have to pay at least INR 1,203 per person for this tough 1,050- kilometre-long bus journey requiring more than thirty hours. You can book a seat at http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/.
The following map websites allow printing driving directions for the journey:
Map My India www.mapmyindia.com
Google Maps https://maps.google.co.in/
Do not rush to Leh because the town lies in a high altitude cold desert and the road crosses the passes as high as 5,000 meters or more. Acclimatization is thus necessary. Break the journey in at least two days to minimize chances of high altitude sickness.
If you are going to Leh via Manali, acclimatization requires some more time because you will drive through four high altitude passes: Rohtang (4,000 meters / 13,100 feet), Baralacha La (4,890 meters / 16,040 feet), Lachung La (5,059 meters / 16,600 feet), and Taglang La ( 5,328 meters / 17, 480 feet).