4 tunnels to improve road connectivity to Ladakh

March 2, 2017 at 11:54 am

Soon 4 new tunnels will be under construction in Ladakh to improve its road connectivity to rest of India. At the moment, Ladakh is completely cut off from rest of India by road for 5 months every year!

This poses a security risk for India since Ladakh is the only place where Indian Army faces off Pakistani and Chinese Armies.

Three of these new proposed tunnels are to come up on the Manali – Leh Highway.

1. 14.78 km long tunnel under Lachung La.
2. 11.25 km long tunnel under Baralacha La.
3. 7.32 km long tunnel under Tanglang La.

inspection route for Tanglang La tunnel

inspection route for Tanglang La tunnel

These tunnels will not only help BRO keep the Manali – Leh Highway open during the dead of winter, these tunnels will also significantly reduce the distance.

The fourth tunnel is to come up under Shingo La, the only pass on the Manali – Darcha – Padum – Nimmu – Leh all-weather highway, which is currently under construction.

Work for Zoji La tunnel, which is supposed to help keep Srinagar – Leh Highway open is supposed to begin soon. However, the project has run into multiple controversies, due to lack of interest shown by the bidders and is likely going to be constructed by Government of India.

These 4 new tunnels will be constructed by the same consortium, which is currently working on the Rohtang Tunnel and feasibility studies for them will be done soon.

Manali – Leh Highway to open late in 2017

February 23, 2017 at 11:32 am

2017 is likely going to prove quite challenging to BRO, tasked with reopening of the crucial Manali – Leh Highway. This is due to record amount of snowfall occurring in Himachal and Ladakh, which has led to higher than normal snow accumulation on the highway.

Nevertheless, BRO (Border Roads Organization) is planning to do its best to reopen the highway, as soon as possible. In a statement issued today, BRO commander, Colonel Arvind Awasthi said, “Though it depends on weather conditions, we target to officially start the snow clearing operation from Manali-Leh highway till Sarchu from March 1.”

However, all this depends on the weather remaining favorable and due to the risks involved in clearing the highway under several feet of snow, BRO is in constant touch with Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE).

If there is high chance of avalanche or snowfall, then BRO is likely to delay its operations. Because avalanches and heavy snowfall can not only cover the already cleared road and block it, it can also lead to casualties of BRO workers and officials involved in the clearing operations.

Despite of heavy snowfall, BRO has managed to keep most of Lahaul Valley connected internally by road and is now planning to reconnect Udaipur with rest of Lahaul. For this purpose they have even flown in their personnel to Udaipur and Stingri.

Rahni Nullah, Beas Nullah, Chumbak Mor, Rakshi Dhank and the road leading to Baralacha La will prove the most challenging to BRO. And while Rohtang Pass is expected to reopen comparatively early, reopening of the highway till Leh will take longer, thanks to higher snow accumulation at Baralacha La pass.

Ladakh digitally disconnected from India

February 3, 2017 at 11:55 am

Since 25th of January, Ladakh is digitally disconnected from rest of India, due to a fault with BSNL Optical Fiber Cable near Zoji La.

With some of the heaviest snowfall seen in Ladakh and Kashmir in recent years, Drass has been cut off from Kargil. And while the army team has confirmed technical issue with OFC at Shaitan Nallah near Zoji La. BSNL’s team from Kargil is unable to travel to Drass, in order to further investigate the issue.

Broadband, WiMAX, WLL, mobile, STD/ISD and even army telecommunication has been affected due to this OFC fault.

As per the BSNL TDM, Phunchok Dorjay, if there is any technical fault, it will be restored within 2-3 days, once BSNL technical team is able to travel to Drass. However, if there is a major damage to the cables, then it can only be repaired, once the road is clear.

We hope, it isn’t a major fault with the OFC and it can be repaired within the next few days. Otherwise, Ladakh will continue to remain cut off both digitally and by land from rest of India for the next couple of months or more!

For travelers visiting Ladakh in the upcoming days, it is best to inform your loved ones in advance, that it would be difficult to call them during your trip, so that they do not worry unnecessarily.

And for the sake of travelers and locals alike, we really hope BSNL and other private operators lay OFC through Manali as well, in order to provide some redundancy to their network.

Pangong Villa, Spangmik (Pangong Tso)

January 30, 2017 at 4:28 pm

During my September 2016 trip to Ladakh, I stayed at Pangong Villa, which is located in Spangmik Village near Pangong Tso.

Real benefit of Pangong Villa is that it is one of the last hotels, located towards the end of Spangmik Village. So early in the morning, this is the view that awaits you from your room.

view-from-pangong-villa

In fact view from the room was so good; I had shot 3 time-lapses from right outside my room. In the freezing September winds of Ladakh, the value of being able to setup a time-lapse and run back into the comfort of room is something that is unparalleled.

Rooms are fairly cozy as well, well as cozy as they can get in freezing temperature of Ladakh. Thanks to traditional construction, rooms are warmer than the concrete guesthouses. However, heater isn’t available. Since a generator is used to provide electricity in evening.

pangong-villa

pangong-villa-room

pangong-villa-toilet

Rooms are available on MAP plan i.e. cost of dinner and breakfast is included in the price. Buffet dinner is served in the dining room near the rooms. And you can ask Dorjey to pack your breakfast, in case you plan on leaving early in the morning.

In fact Dorjey was kind enough to get us warm water and tea around 6am.

Mobile phone network (BSNL) only comes at a certain point in the dining room, though this is the case with most of Spangmik, since proper mobile phone network is only in Lukung.

In 2016, tariff was Rs. 2,500 per night on MAP plan, and you can bargain a bit with Dorjay for discount.

Overall a good and cozy place to stay at Spangmik, if you want proper room with attached toilet, without breaking the bank.

For bookings, contact Dorjey +91-9419342720, 9622960460.

Ladakh Monastery Festivals 2017

January 28, 2017 at 12:33 am

Ladakh is home to several ancient Buddhist Monasteries, each with their own legends and certain traditions. And nowhere are these legends and traditions more apparent than at the annual festivals these monasteries hold each year.

These colourful and enchanting festivals give you an insight into the ancient history and traditions of Ladakh, something that is becoming less and less apparent in ever modernizing society of Ladakh.

ladakh-monastery-festivals

Here is the calendar of festivals which will be held at various monasteries in Ladakh and Zanskar this year.

Spituk Gustor: 25-26 January 2017
Leh and Likir Dosmochey: 24-25 February 2017
Yargon Tungshak: 2-3 March 2017
Stok Guru Tsechu: 6-7 March 2017
Matho Nagrang: 11-12 March 2017
Saka Dawa: 9 June 2017
Yuru Kabgyat: 21-22 June 2017
Hemis Tsechu: 3-4 July 2017
Sachkul Gustor: 11-12 July 2017
Stongday Gustor: 12-13 July 2017
Karsh Gustor: 21-22 July 2017
Phyang Tsesdup: 21-22 July 2017
Korzok Gustor: 26-27 July 2017
Dakthok Tsetsu: 2-3 August 2017
Sani Nasjal: 6-7 August 2017
Diskit Gustor: 17-18 October 2017
Thiksay Gustor: 6-7 November 2017
Chemday Wangchok: 16-17 November 2017
Galdan Namcho: 12 December 2017