The route to Leh through Chandigarh and Manali is one of the most strenuous and beautiful roads to travel on.
What makes it so popular among bikers, tourists and cyclists?
The erratic and monumental altitude changes, the ninety degree stone paved roads, the deadly loops, the un-timed heavy snowfall and sky blinding mountains and the acute dry climate make this road a rare path to set sight on.
In this condition, your ample liters of water and nuts will not be enough to save you! So slow down, stop by these food joints and replenish yourself before you move on towards the heavenly Leh, Ladakh.
Before you set off for the long journey towards Manali from Chandigarh, you can stuff yourself up with some traditional Aloo Parathas and Lassi at Pal Dhaba, which proudly flaunts its popularity with pictures of the celebrity visitors put up on its walls. The endearing food and extra butter will not just ensure a longer satiety till you reach the foothills of Mandi, but also prep you up emotionally for the strenuous journey ahead!
Lying at the entry point of ‘permit only’ access of Himachal, Beas Dhaba serves the perfect spicy Khichdi to warm up your body and start the acclimatization process. You cannot miss the panoramic view of the mountains and a mystical temple that surrounds this Dhaba while you store up some heat from your delicious pahadi meal.
Maggi Point at Khoksar
At the confusion inducing junction of the detour route towards Spiti and the straight road towards Keylong, is a small food stall named Sherpa Dhaba, which serves delicious Maggi and black tea. This is when the feeling of heading towards Leh sinks in and grabs you by an alien remoteness.
Though not in Leh, but a few kilometers from Jispa on the banks of the Darcha river is a small Dhaba which is known for its onion parathas and spicy thecha (chillies) chutney. You will need these parathas to gulp down the reality of the area’s serenity.
The tents of Phaang
It’s often said that if you’ve reached Phaang, you’ve won half the battle! The hospitable locals take utmost care of you as you try to absorb the climatic hostility of this war torn zone. The garlic soup served in these tents along with super-thick blankets will work wonders in dealing with altitude sickness.
It is worthwhile to remember that there are no hospitals, restaurants, food stalls or toilets between Phaang and Upshi – which is an approximately ten hour route. Do stack up some extra garlic soup in the thermos, some fruits and nuts and lots of water and as you traverse through one of the highest motorable roads in the world.
– Written by Ayushi Limbachiya