Like most of the Ladakh trips our plan was also to go via Srinagar and come back through Manali. It helps in acclimatizing as the height gain is slow. We had not been to Kashmir before, this was one more reason for us. The target time was second week of September for three weeks. Less tourists, good weather, better roads, no snow, these were the prime reasons for choosing this time. Because of our past very bitter experience with Madhya Pradesh roads, we had decided we will go through Pune – Ahmedabad – Jaipur – Srinagar instead of travelling through Central India. Total number of days were 23 including 2 reserve days. We had planned to cover Zanskar as well in this trip. We were joined by our friend Naga and his wife Divya. It so happened that he along with his wife, had their flight tickets booked for Leh for end of August from Bangalore. We decided to travel together in our vehicle. That way we will have mutual support and each other to fall back on. By then, we had agreed on the dates, shifting from the original plan. 19th September we would start from Bangalore and 12 October we will make a touchdown back in Bangalore. Giving us a good 24 days.
The final team looked like this:
Then the devastating tragedy happened in Kashmir. All our plans went haywire. Everyday I was eagerly looking for any information of J&K from every possible corner of the digital world. We started working on Plan B. Plan A was increasingly looking untenable. Finally the road from Leh to Srinagar opened first and then after some days the road from Srinagar to Udhampur. The ground condition remained impossibly bleak. We had to rule out our Plan A, the entry through Srinagar. This meant we will also not be doing Zanskar this time.
With us in no mood of reducing the number of days of our trip, Paramita was tasked to find an alternate location, which could fit in the place of Zanskar. Plan B was to make an entry through Manali. With days passing by and the day of our journey coming near, she was slogging day and night to find the best possible route and to come up with the places to see and places to stay.
Our Lahaul – Spiti itinerary was thus finalized.
Our final Plan B was this.
But the actual itinerary became like this.
Some candies from Himachal for now