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Chilling in Kargil : Tweaking the Srinagar-Leh road

May 24, 2008

The Srinagar-Leh road is the softest run to Leh , and probably the main source of the myth that going by land always is to be preferred. There are only a few factors to keep in mind .

Acclimatizing in Srinagar

… doesn´t work , period. Srinagar is just over 1500 meters , which means actually living there may give you a marginal advantage , for every one else nothing will happen. If you are setting off days for acclimatization , do it later/higher on the road. (Srinagar´s altitude is often said to be 1730 meters , one of many altitude related myths worthy of a separate post. Google Earth and Falling Rain
both place Srinagar around 1500. )

Acclimatizing in the Vale of Kashmir : : Sonmarg , 2700 meters.

Acclimatizing in Kargil  (alt. 2700 )

is the main advantage of the Srinagar-Leh road. Acclimatization response is about nights spent : if you choose to do   a allnighter  taxi run Srinagar-Leh this is about the same as flying in.

Acclimatization before Leh

After Kargil this boils down to two options : Saspol , some four hundred meter lower than Leh. Very nice location , a meditation cave complex above the village  that has been exposed after the collapse of a cliff side, two guest houses from what I hear now – it´s been a while since I was there.Across the river and few kilometers away you find Alchi , which is one of the must sees in Ladakh anyway : one of three places in the world where Kashmiri Buddhis art has survived.

Srinagar safety situation

Regardless of the actual situation , you will hear from a large number of people trying to sell or just being clueless that the situation is pinky peach in Kashmir just now. Situation is a lot better at the moment , but be very careful who you listen to in this : they were saying exactly the same in  July 2006
, for example ( yes , after the 11th ) . Better in this context is a highly relative term , you will still find Kashmir  taking the lead in the warnings section of  any and all official Indian travel advice for some time to com.  You´ll find current  news updates from Srinagar here

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2 comments

  1. [...] you are taking the Srinagar Leh road this summer then you are damn lucky (at least in my definition) and Vistet has some sound advice [...]


  2. revolt says : I absolutely agree with this !



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