Home > Travelogue > Leh Trip June 2011–Day 1–Delhi to Manali

Leh Trip June 2011–Day 1–Delhi to Manali

Continuing with the last post we guys had planned to leave a little before midnight. As finalised, I was at Shashank’s residence and the four of us were ready to leave a little before midnight. Placing the stuff of four people along with essential items like cooking utensils, stove, food, snacks, water crates, tool kits, etc etc is another thing in itself. We all knew that  the Landcruiser’s boot is big, but the amount of luggage it can swallow surprised us again. We somehow managed to place all the stuff in the boot of the vehicle and thought that Inder’s (who would be joining us in Leh) stuff would have to go on the roof carrier. The only thing that remained were the jerry cans which were secured on the roof carrier.


From Left to Right : Harjeev, Shashank, Arjun & Randeep




Finally after months of dreaming, weeks of discussion and planning we were finally off for a trip of a lifetime. Further it being the first time for three of us made it all the more exciting. After filling up the fuel tank of our tank we guys were off at precisely  midnight. The drive from here on was pretty uneventful. Stopped for food at Karnal’s Zil Mil Dhabha and were at Chandigarh at exactly 5 AM in the morning and this is after a stoppage of 40-45 minutes at Karnal. I am pretty sure that during the daytime this journey would have taken atleast 6+ hours at the least. Some pictures enroute.


At the Panipat Toll Plaza (1.34am)


Zilmil Dhabha at Karnal (3AM)


Welcome to the beautiful city, Chandigarh (5AM)


Waiting at a railway crossing (no idea which one this was) (6AM)


Enroute (6.40AM)

IMG_5757 Pano I

Also crossed this water reservoir on our way (10:22am)


The ‘Aut’ Tunnel (12.07pm)

Just after crossing the above tunnel we stopped at a dhabha for some food as it had been a long time since we’d eaten something and Manali still seemed far away. Further we guys were held up at Kullu for about 45 minutes to an hour and were forced (reason being a big traffic jam due to road construction activity) to take the Kullu Manali road rather than the other highway. Having no option we proceeded and a couple of kms after Kullu we took the other highway crossing Naggar and finally reaching Manali a little after 3pm ish.


Me and Randeep posing besides the river (2.50PM)


Now its Shashank’s and Arjun’s turn


Some random pictures


Tired with all the driving during the night and the better part of the day we guys rested for a while but only to be reminded by our hungry stomach’s later that we needed to eat. Further as we needed to cross Rotang early next day and hearing horror stories of people getting stuck in jams for a good 6-7 hours we guys decided that we would again leave at 2am in the night. This way we would encounter little or no traffic and clear the stretch without any hitch.

But these things to come later and we needed to eat first. No one was in any mood to go to the mall road as the city was crowded like any busy market place like Delhi. Made some calls and the top recommended place was Il Forno. This place been also recommended in Lonely Planet’s India guide.


Randeep, Myself and Arjun enjoying the ride in the auto. The autowala whether stonned or tired, well you guess is as good as mine. (7PM)


Had some amazing food at this place. Don’t remember the name of the dishes but all of them were pretty awesome. The portions were however quite small.



Randeep Checking out the menu, only to be disappointed later that the only kind of beer these guys serve is Fruit Beer.


Finally called it a night as it had to be an early day next day.

Day I Delhi to Manali

The drive on day 1 Delhi to Manali

  1. July 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Hoz the condition of the roads , beyond Rohtang?

    • Harjeev Singh Chadha
      July 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      Good to average to a little bad to bery bad. Basically what mountain roads should be like. The Manali Leh drive wouldn’t be that wonderful if the roads were all paved and excellent. Would it?
      Cheers mate and thanks for checking out my blog

  2. July 11, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Have heard that , permits are needed to go beyond Kothi (Rohtang). Is it true?

  3. H V Kumar
    July 12, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I guess the night drive means sparse traffic out of Delhi – are there traffic pile-ups at Azadpur at that time?

    The Manali restaurant looks good – where exactly is it?

    Any reason why you went into Chandigarh and not go via Banur?

    • Harjeev Singh Chadha
      July 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      HVK sir. The time that we guys went the Adazpur scene was a breeze. Not that the ‘Mubarka Chowk’ flyover is complete the traffic snarls at that intersection are a thing of the past, in my opinion. Infact right till Chandigah we guys were cruising at 80-100 kmph with occasional diversions after Panipat right up till Ambala.

      The resturant is on the old manali road. We guys ditched our vehicle and took an auto ride, not being sure whether there was any parking in the resturant.

      Going through Chandigarh was because firstly we were under the impression that it was a little shorter, 2ndly we thought (and were right) that there would hardly be any traffic (not to mention the menace of the Chandigarh traffic cops) at 5Am in the morning not to mention the fantastic roads and thirdly Rahul Roy who did this trip in the beginning of June also recommended that we go through Chandigarh.
      Cheers sir

  4. July 14, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    I m planning to go by the Manali -Leh route , by my MM550. But m bit worried , that will it make it to Leh.
    Or should I go by Innova?

  5. July 14, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    We don’t have good mechanics for the Jeep. M not sure if it will be a good idea to take it

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