Why Should You Go on Leh-Manali Self-Driving Trip?

In “Should You Do Leh-Manali Trip by Bus or on Your Bike?” I briefly talked about advantages and disadvantages of the bus and bike trips. Today I add one or two new arguments in the favor of a Leh-Manali self-driving trip.

Don’t stare at women’s curves. Don’t waste your energies in raping women. Because raping taints your masculinity forever. Be a civil adventurer. Stare at the curves of the Ladakh Mountains and Lahaul Mountains. Drive on these energy-consuming mountainous curves. Feel accomplished. Be a civil adventurer.

The two-day drive from Leh to Manali takes you across these mountains. Do this if you love bikes. But non-drivers should not feel disheartened. Because non-drivers can board Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) buses during the season. So the non-drivers or unwilling drivers have a chance to enjoy the landscape instead of focusing on steering wheels / bike bars and breaks.

The Leh-Manali highway is mostly free of billboards, traffic lights, and usual urban commotion. The skyline switches between craggy crowns and rolling crests. The slopes change the attire a number of times. The wardrobe presents dresses in subtle earthy hues, including purples and yellows, snow and stone patchwork dresses, and dresses in fresh green hues. The highway environs cradle settlements sporadically.

The vehicles stumble over potholes and broken sections of the highway, crawl along quaint high altitude passes, slink in scantily or non-populated plains, and run along empty gentle slopes of the mountains. But never sprint. So the visitors get the time to watch the mountains, feel the fresh air, identify the subtle iconic colors, look for fauna, slow down, and do other different things for rejuvenation, the aim of every holiday.

In July 2014, I boarded the HPTDC bus because had I drove I would not have had a chance of photographing the journey. I preferred photographing to driving. The shared small bus windows limited my photographic movements. But still I tried to capture the highlights from the bus window. A Russian couple occupied the seat behind mine. The wife never moved her point and shoot camera away from the window that I shared with her. So there was a silent tiff for where to park the window glass that protected us against occasional plumes of dust, rain drops, and cold wind from the top of the mountains. The wife and I pushed the glass towards each other on several occasions for more space and maneuvering the cameras to get photos from the best possible angles.

This photo story is about roadside attractions from the second day of the bus ride connecting Keylong (Lahaul Spiti) and Manali (Kullu).


Keylong the capital of Lahaul Spiti

A bridge over the Bhaga River near Keylong


A photo story about Leh to Manali drive

Fields along the Leh-Manali highway


Farmers in fields of Himachal Pradesh

Farmers work in fields hemming the Leh-Manali highway.


See these photos before planning Leh-Manali self-driving trip

A Himalayan hamlet


A tiny settlement in Himachal Pradesh Himalayas

As we approach the Rohtang Pass, more settlements come in view.


Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh

The environs of the Rohtang Pass


Pictorial tips for Leh-Manali self-driving trip

A big patch of old and dirty snow along the Leh-Manali highway


On the 2nd day of Leh-Manali self-driving trip, the road winds through Himachal Pradesh.

The loops of tar road as seen while descending from the Rohtang Pass. (Left) The Beas Kund (Right) Marhi

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