Sunday 3 May 2015

Chapter-(13) of my New Blog, Driving through NH-3, From Jispa to Pang

Chapter ---- (13)

Chapter (13) of My this Blog is regarding Driving through NH-3, From Jispa to Pang Via Darcha---Zingzingbar---Baralacha La Pass----Bharathpur---Sarchu----Gata Loops---Suraj-Tal Lake---Lachangala Pass---Naki La Pass---Pang

Day (17 ), 26th July 2015

After a little while from Jispa, we had to cross about three dangerous and furiously water flowing Nalas crossings.

Labor Force clearing the road at Nalas

One of the Nalas where our car got badly stuck

Today early morning we started driving further on to our on-ward's Journey from Jispa to Pang. After a little while from Jispa, we had to cross about three dangerous and furiously water flowing Nalas crossings. At one of the Nalas our car got stuck badly and whatever I did, it wouldn't move even an inch, unless a group of many en-route tourists too joined us and pushed our car out of muddy water churning  Nala. 

Darcha is situated at an elevation of (11,020 ft) above MSL and has a population of 298 people.

All passing vehicles must stop at Darcha's police checkpoint for personal documents checks.

Just a small makeshift refreshing shack on main road side @ Darcha

Darcha is a village situated on the banks of Bhaga River in Lahaul  region. It’s about 6 Km from Jispa. There is a primery Health centre and a primary school at Darcha. It’s not any important village. It’s just one of the villages en-route to Leh. It is also called as  as "a lonely cluster of dry-stone huts and dingy tent camps".

A rope-way hanging bridge that leads trekkers to treck to different trekking routes

Some buses between Manali to Leh stop for the night at Darcha, where travelers sleep in tents. The village is the end-point of a popular trek beginning in Padum, zanskar.  Roadside stalls offer basic food to the commuters.

All passing vehicles must stop at Darcha's police checkpoint for passport checks.

Zingzingbar village.

It’s just a tinny stop-over place, situated at an altitude of (14,010 ft) from the MSL and is about 26 Km from Darcha village.

The very steep ascent of about 18 Km to Baralacha La Pass starts at Zingzingbar.

Suraj-Tal lake and Bara-Lacha Pass

Bara-lacha La  Pass is situated at an elevation of (16,500 ft) above MSL.

snow clearing at Baralacha

Road at Baralacha

Baralacha La is also known as Bara-lacha Pass, or Bārā Lācha La and is at a distance of 18 Km from Zingzingbar village. It is one of the higest Passes of Zanskar Mountain Ranges, situated along the Leh-Manali Highway NH-3. The Baralacha La is better described as a plateau where three mountain ranges meet (Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Himalayas). The Baralacha La towers over three valleys that meet at a height of over 16,500 ft.

There is a very colourful prominent  Gompa at Baralacha that is covered with plenty of clourful  fluttering flags, at the Pass.

All the above series of pictures are of  road blocks at different locations caused by enormous landslides

View of Suraj-Tal Lake 
The Bhaga River, a tributary of the Chandrabhaga river, after joining other many tributaries it’s later also called as Chenab River , originates from Surya-Taal lake, which is situated a few of kilometers from the pass towards Manali. Suraj Tal is a popular and mythological lake.

When the snow melts and the road is open for travel, the peculiar shaped snow hiding between cliffs is a sight to watch. As we reached the Baralacha La, you came across the cool blue waters of the Suraj Tal that is usually marked by an outline of snow at its banks. There is a sharp contrast to the surrounding gray and off white coloured rocks that are scattered around the road and the lake.

Suraj Tal

As we crossed the Suraj Tal Lake (Sun-Bathing Lake), the snow capped summit comes into view and we reached the summit after we covered  250 ft up the mountain to reach the Baralacha La. The other major tributary of the Chandrabhaga (Moon-Bathing Lake), the Chandra also originates from glacier at Kunzumla Pass region. 


Folklore states that there were two lovers, Chandra  being the daughter of the Moon  and Bhaga the son of the Sun-God. To perform their eternal marriage, they decided to climb to the Bara-lacha-la and from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart, easily found her way and reached Tandi  after covering the distance of 115 km (71 mi). Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi, where consequently both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Bhaga covered about 60 km (37 mi) distance, which was very difficult. and in ancient times it was part of a trade route.


It is situated at an elevation of (16,000 ft) above MSL.

Baralacha-La to Bharatpur is just (2Km). It is a steady descent. The nights here are pretty painfully freezing one but the sunset is amazingly awesome. Almost every single person here at this high altitude, heavily gasps for breathing. Throughout the year all around the Baralacha-La-Pass, the mountain peaks are always covered with thick snow and Glaciers. Despite the snow covered mountains, the landscape is completely different. The mountains are still rugged but they start changing colours, from pink to black and even purple. It’s a feast of colours to eyes.


The distance between Bharatpur to Sarchu is 38 Km and is situated at an elevation of (14,100ft) above MSL.It has population of 180 people. 

Sarchu is a military base and has a police check post of (J & K) Police satation. At the police check post, every individual, be it Indian or Foreign tourist, have to enter his / her personal as well as vehicle documents THE (HIMACHAL PRADESH STATE ENDS HERE. AND LADAKH REGION OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR STATE STARTS HERE.) Here, the Lahaul region ends and the Zanskar region of Ladakh starts.

@ sarchu we are refreshing ourselves by sipping and savoring hot tea

 After Sarchu, the Gata Loops starts. It’s a constant very steep ascent with a succession of tiresome driving through 21 Hair-Pin bends those take us to an altitude above 15,000 ft above MSL.. And soon after Gata Loops, the Lachlung-La Pass and Naki-la Pass, follow before one reaches Pang.

Gata Loops and it's Legend Ghost story

It is situated at an elevation of (15,302 ft) above MSL.

Gata Loops has twenty one (21), hairpin bends up a mountain on the Himachal Pradesh-J&K border make for a good panoramic shot. 

Gurudatt Kamath and I desided to stop our car to take few picture shots of this panoramic view.

By the time we came out of our car, from our opposite direction a “Sumo” traveler tempo vehicle was coming towards us and the Sumo vehicle was driven by a local Ladakhi guy, who advised us and warned us not to stop anywhere on Gata Loops. We inquired the reason?

A local cab driver narrated us the Mythlogial Ghost story of Gata Loops.

 The local driver told us that it’s the place where no one stops unnecessarily on the Gata Loops then asked us to follow him till he took us to a place, a few bends up the road, where he pulled up at a particular spot. At this spot a small shanty memorial is built, which was, frankly, an eyesore in the middle of the pristine landscape. We saw that there was a pile of plastic mineral water bottles dumped in the middle of nowhere. A small temple, flag fluttering atop, sat amidst the trash. we noticed that all the bottles were full.

Then he narrated the local myth, faith and the belief, that years ago, it seems, a truck broke down on the same bend. The driver, mindful of the cargo he was carrying, told the cleaner to stay with the truck while he walked to the nearest village to get help. Off he went, trudging the forty kilometres of mountain roads that separated him from in-habitation
He got there, totally spent, to find no help in sight. A storm on another pass had closed the road, there were no mechanics to be found in the tiny village and, even as the driver waited, the weather closed in. He was stranded in the village for over a week before a mechanic and a vehicle came by. By the time the party reached the truck, they found the cleaner dead, felled by exposure and thirst, high on the bone-dry mountainside. Rather than carry a decomposing body home, the rescuers buried it close by.

above are series of pictures of temporary makeshift remembrance place of the ghost 

Then, things started happening. Travelers stopping on the loops started meeting a man who begged them piteously for water. People who refused were soon writhing with mountain sickness, and some even died of it. Those who obliged, though, saw the bottles they offered drop through the man’s hands, while he kept pleading for water. Terror struck the region and only subsided when the locals set up a memorial at the site and made offerings of water to placate the ghost.

After listening to the driver’s story, we thanked him and then, even we (Guru and me), picked up a bottle of Bisleri, leaned across from inside of our car and threw it onto the pile before the memorial. And then from inside the car itself we clicked few pictures of this memorial and procceded further on our enroute journey towards Pang.

 Pang is located at an elevation of (15,100 ft) above MSL. And is about 80 Km from Sarchu.

Series of panoramic pictures en-route to Pang

The location of Pang is at a mid point, where tourists can break their tiresome journey to refresh, relax and eat. Pang is a seasonal temporary make shift business centre camp site, where tourists halt either for breakfast or Lunch or the dinner OR over-stay for and the night halt. These temporary Tent-Camp sites also provide bedding for the night stay and charge very nominal. The allotments of these camp sites for pitching the Tents are occasioned auctioned at exorbitant price, at Leh.

For the night we too stayed at Pang, at one of the tents. It was raining torrential all through the night and we got worried that next day the road to Leh may get blocked due to landslides or flooding Nalas. But by the morning we left Pang, it had stopped raining and to our luck the road to Leh was open.


  1. Fantastic,awesome landscape,Baba ji carry on, as ,Michael Palin — 'Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life

  2. Ashok, thank you for the fantastic photos and your explanations of your trip! From Wayne and Ella

    1. I am happy that you liked my this travel blog too

  3. Thank you veerji for appreciating my travel blog

  4. Great Blog and interesting pictures.

  5. Excellent photos Gurudutt Sir

    1. Thank you Manjunath for your positive and encouraging complements

  6. Ashok,

    After a long time I am reading your posts one by one. Great shots by Guru and complimented by crisp and nice narrative by you. Heard about this trip from you and now the pleasure of reading and seeing photos. Thanks.

    Rajesh Naik.

  7. Awesome, this is fresh breath. keep on carrying!

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