Manali to Leh
redspokes Indian Himalayas cycling holiday from Manali to Leh begins in Delhi. We transfer by vehicle via Mandi to reach Manali in the verdant Kullu Valley. We spend a couple of days here acclimatising. Manali is an interesting hill station in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh Situated at 1,950m (6,398 ft) and a popular tourist destination during the summer months.
After time to acclimatise our cycling begins with a ride out of Manali; we cycle through an evergreen area of pine and deodar trees, tackling the first set of many hairpin bends and switchbacks on our way to the Rohtang pass. Over the pass our surroundings become more barren as we continue cycling into more remote areas with just a few sheep dotted here and there. On the horizon you will see the bleak, magnificent spectacle of the Higher Himalayan ranges as we traverse a high-altitude desert to reach the isolated mountainous Ladakh region, so remote and stark it is barely populated.
Riding mountain passes and river valleys we are soon tackling the twenty-one zigzag Gata Loops 15,030ft up the canyon wall to reach the Lachulung La, the second highest pass on the Manali to Leh road at 5059m. After passing the Tso Khar salt lake we tackle the world's second highest pass, the Taglang La at 5,328m. Over the pass we descent entering more verdant terrain with a few more climbs and downhills to reach Leh. We have a rest day to draw breath and explore the sites such as the Leh Palace or the Sakar Gompa monastery. Our cycling route from Manali to Leh in Ladakh covers 476km (296 miles) over 8 days and includes five major passes. The Manali to Leh road is an old trading route and although described as a highway, is extremely narrow in places. For much of the year it is closed due to extreme weather conditions.
The redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday is one of the most demanding mountain bike tours in the world, offering extreme challenges and rewards through the very heart of the Himalayas. You will encounter sacred and spiritual landmarks in this celestial landscape on some of the finest roads an adventure cyclist could wish for, riding switchback after switchback for hours on end, ascending into the thin air at an altitude of 5,000 m.
Cycling the Highest Road in the Himalaya!
After our well-deserved rest day in Leh, reinvigorated, we face the ultimate challenge of the tour: the Khardung-La. Starting at 3, 600m (11,500 feet) in Leh we cycle to the top of the pass at a breath taking height of 5359m (17,583 feet) in just 39km (24 miles). This is one of the highest roads in the world accessible by motor vehicles.
redspokes Manali to Leh cycling holiday ends in Leh.
Not for the faint hearted - this is cycling with Extreme Altitude!
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Day to Day Details
Key details of our Cycling holiday in India:
- Delhi: India’s capital and gateway to the north.
- 5 major passes 2 above 5000m.
- Tso Kar alpine salt lake.
- Gata Loops: 21 zig-gagging hairpin bends.
- Leh: ‘little Tibet’,Buddhist Stupas, bustling bazaar.
- Kardung La: one of the highest motorable roads.
This map is for illustration purposes only and may not show the exact route taken on this India tour.