Chilling in Kargil : Tweaking the Srinagar-Leh roadMay 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