5 Most Unusual & Stunning Natural Wonders On The Manali-Leh Highway Sure To Make You Gape At And Leave You Thirsty For More.
1. Rohtang-La- ‘pile of corpses’ is what it translates to as many people died due to bad weather trying to cross the pass in earlier times. But today it’s a buzzing tourist destination and even after the atrocious amount of silly tourism the place is a wonder in itself. A few kilometers ahead of the actual pass is Rani Nula it’s a glacier point and the unique thing about this place are the high snow walls on both sides that rise up to 20 feet in height. Rohtang-La/ Rani Nala comes on the route on the second day of the ride. A 16kms ride from Marhi, the night haul of the previous day.
2. The frozen Emerald Lake – Suraj Taal- literally means the Lake of the Sun-God and it’s just below the Bara-lacha-la pass (4,890m). It is the 3rd highest lake in India, and the 21st-highest in the world. The Lake is also the source of Bhaga River which joins the Chandra River at Tandi to form the Chandrabhaga in Himachal and the famous Chenab as it enters Jammu and Kashmir.
The stunning thing about this lake is it’s emerald color and it stays frozen through most part of the year. As it is surrounded by white snow walls the contrast is breathtaking and definitely calls for some photo ops. The lake falls on the 5th day of the ride en-route Bara-lacha-La.
3. Gigantic sand dunes @ Pang – These Mountains have some unique and fascinating shapes .They are actually wind-battered mountain faces with their powdered rocks and look like gigantic sand dunes. The landscape is absolutely barren with no trace of any greenery. If you are lucky you can spot some frozen waterfalls on the way as well. You get an opportunity to cross these mountains on the 7th day of the ride after one crosses the La-Chung-La pass.
4. Morey Plains – Arguably the most beautiful, unique and stunning landscape on this route. The board at the start point says – ‘Mountains in the Sky’ and so it is. It’s a flat bedded plateau of about 35 odd kms set amidst the highest mountains in the country and ends at the base of Tanglang-La , the 2nd highest motor-able pass in the world. The most exciting part of the story is, as one climbs from Pang a few kilometers later the mountains suddenly turns into a flat landscape of miles of grassland and hanging clouds. The plains fall on the 8th day of the ride along the highway.
5. Tso-Kar lake – Also known as ‘White Lake’ is one of the three high altitude salt water lakes in Ladakh. It’s surrounded by the marshlands that hosts amazing bird & wild life the most easily spotted mammals here are Kiangs, the largest of the wild asses. The hills and mountains around Tso Kar are also home to ibex, snow foxes and snow leopards. Surrounded by hills and mountains on all sides, the lake itself is a wonderful sight. You can also see the nomadic tribe called Khampas, also known as Chinese cowboys camping around the lake, they are herdsmen and rear cattle such as yaks, cows and goats. The most stunning thing about the place is the view at sunset; the mountains all around shining in the glow of the setting sun makes sight to behold , something that stays with you forever, itching you to come back..!
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