Let’s start with the stay route options, road conditions, stay and other amenities one would be interested in knowing about the highway which connects Delhi to Leh via Srinagar!
There are approx 6 different routes to reach Leh and this one is the easiest route. Easiest if you compare it with others 5 routes.
I took this one for my Solo Bike trip to Ladakh in May 2017. The total distance between Delhi to Leh via Srinagar is around 1,250 KMs.
Because of the international border dispute in Kashmir, the Srinagar route is always challenging. While writing this, 7 Amarnath devotees were killed in a terrorist attack on the same highway. So, it’s a scary reality we can’t ignore!
Delhi to Leh – Journey, Experience and Road Conditions
If you have 4 Days for this journey, you can enjoy and visit (almost – but never will) all the places on Srinagar-Leh Highway.
People try to cover this distance in 2, 3 days but, trust me, it’s totally worth if you take 4 days to reach Leh. You’re doing it to have experience of new places, right?
Day 1 (Delhi to Udhampur – 630 KMs)
When I started from Delhi, I took the NH 44 after crossing Sindhu border. I kept going on NH 44 as it goes straight to Srinagar.
NH 44 is one of the best Highways in India and also the longest (from Kashmir to all the way down to Kanyakumari).
Roads are quite great till Udhampur and with moderate traffic, you can easily cover the distance of Delhi to Udhampur on Day 1 of your Journey to Leh.
Road Status between Delhi to Udhampur: Roads are in perfect condition.
Day 2 (Udhampur to Sonamarg – 280 KMs)
On Day 2, I continued towards Sonamarg, where I crossed some rough patches till Patnitop.
You can skip the Patnitop by taking Chenani-Nashri tunnel which reduces the distance of Delhi Srinagar by around 40 KMs and 2 hours.
From Ramban to Banihal you may face traffic jams because supply trucks and army convoy passes every day. Once you’ve crossed the Jawahar tunnel, you will be in Kashmir Valley, as it’s the connecting tunnel between Jammu and Kashmir!
Here, you may again face traffic from Qazigund to Srinagar. All these areas are well populated.
Important – Avoid stopping anywhere in between Banihal to Srinagar. The area is highly disturbed and the situation can change anytime. Once it goes haywire, you may face curfews for several days. So, it’s better to cross Srinagar, as soon you can!
During my journey, the area was peaceful and everything was normal but, after two days, some clash between Army and militant happened, and the area was closed for tourists. A lot of people were stuck in their hotels in Srinagar.
If everything stays normal during your visit, visit a few local places in Srinagar like Dal Lake (Beauty!), Mughal Garden. Then you can continue towards Leh by taking NH-1 from Srinagar.
I stayed at Dal lake for a while and after lunch, I was on my way to Sonamarg.
Sonamarg is just 80KMs far but the journey is scenic and I stopped for countless time on that 80 Kms of stretch due to rain and to take pictures. As a result, it took me around 6 hrs to cover that distance, which shouldn’t have taken more than 2-3 hours.
Road Status between Udhampur to Sonmarg: From Udhampur you may face many bad patches on the road. And, from Ramban to Qazigund you may get traffic jams. After Srinagar, roads are in perfect condition with moderate traffic. Only thing which stops you from driving further, are the views.
Day 3 (Sonamarg to Kargil – 130 KMs)
The distance is just 130 KMs but, you will be on one of the most treacherous roads in India. Views are mesmerising and road conditions are quite good except the stretch of 30 KMs near Zojila Pass.
Zojila Pass (3528 m) separates Kashmir Valley from Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. It stays closed during winters and opens in the month of May every year.
When I was crossing Zojila in the month of may, it was covered with snow and I was riding in between the snow walls of around 20-30 feet on both side of Road.
You can enjoy winter sports at Zojila Zero point. There are plenty of pit-stops to have Maggi, Tea, Coffee, Kawa, etc.
After crossing Zojila, you will be in Kargil area. There is an army check post and they will ask to fill personal identity and vehicle details for their records. Then you can move towards Drass sector.
Drass is the coldest place in India and during winters, the temperature touches (freaking) -40 degrees Celsius.
You can halt there for food. Drass is a small village but you can find all basic facilities except a Petrol/Gas Station.
After crossing Drass you must visit Kargil War Memorial to pay a tribute to our great war heroes and their sacrifice for our country.
You can fill your petrol tanks in Kargil as there are a bunch of petrol pumps. I’ll advise to stay in Kargil for a night and drive towards Leh on next day.
Day 4 (Kargil to Leh – 220 KMs)
Kargil to Leh stretch is around 220 KMs but there are so many things to visit in that stretch. You will cross the two other major passes Namki La (3815 m) and Fotu La (4108 m).
You must visit Mublek Chamba Temple, Lamayuru Monastery, Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill on Kargil-Leh Highway.
Sightseeing on the Srinagar – Leh Highway
- Lamayuru Monastery
- Maitrey at Mulbekh
- Kargil War Memorial
- Lunar Landscape
- Alchi Monastery
- Likir Monastery
- Indus and Zanskar Confluence in Nimmu
- Phyang Monastery
- Spituk Monastery
- Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib
- Magnetic Hill
Stay Available on Delhi – Leh via Srinagar
Data applicable when case you start your Journey from Delhi or Chandigarh.
- Pathankot (Hotels)
- Udhampur (Hotels, Guest Houses)
- Patnitop (Hotels are available, but you can avoid visiting this Place by taking Chenani Nashri Tunnel)
- Srinagar (Hotels, Guest Houses)
- Sonamarg (Hotels and Guest Houses)
- Drass (Homestays and small guesthouses)
- Kargil (Hotels and Homestays available)
- Mulbekh (Homestays and Local guest houses)
- Lamayuru (Homestays)
- Leh (Homestays, Hotels, Guest houses)
Phone and Internet Connectivity from Delhi to Leh
Only Postpaid connection works in Jammu and Kashmir and if you have BSNL sim then you will get the best network in most of the places. Airtel do work in many places!
However, be prepared to enter and live in No-Connectivity zone once you’re in remote locations in Ladakh region. Data connectivity is almost dead in most of the places.
In Leh, you can get better signals and data connectivity works at 2G speed for BSNL and Airtel users.
Petrol Pumps on Leh-Srinagar Highway
No dearth of Petrol Pumps till Srinagar, and you won’t need to carry extra petrol till Leh.
You will get petrol pump in Ganderbal, 13 KMs before Sonamarg, then in Kargil, Mulbekh and Khalsi. So, you can easily reach Leh without need to carry additional fuel, unless you’ve a plan to burn a lot!
Just make sure to top-up the fuel tank at every Petrol/Gas station you see in mid-way. I did the same!
Over to You
Before you start this trail of Delhi to Leh via Srinagar, it’s important to check the current status of the situation in Srinagar. You can reach Udhampur, stay for a night and leave the place towards Leh, only if the situation in Valley is accepting any tourists.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding this Delhi to Leh via Srinagar route. If this write-up helped, then don’t forget to share with others. I’ll take your leave with a recommended video from Nishant Views YouTube channel.