There is a lot of talk about road connectivity for any climate with Ladakh now. People began to wonder if they can plan their trip to Ladakh by road in the next few days; so I thought of posting this short article as a quick update for anyone who was thinking the same. Yes, it is a possibility, but not now and it is definitely not for tourists. We are still a few years from the time when you can plan a trip to Ladakh, even during the peak of winter. From now on, this can only be done by air and not by road.
The route that started all this conversation is actually through the Zanskar and Shinku La (Shingo La) pass. A motorized road has been under construction in recent years, which will connect the Lahaul valley to Zanskar via the high-altitude passage of Shinku La. It will start near Jispa in Lahaul and end in Padum in Zanskar. So, if you wanted to reach Ladakh by road, you will first reach Jispa, cross the passage to reach the Zanskar valley; and then go to Ladakh via Kargil.
Connectivity in any road condition to Ladakh?
There are two problems with this plan now. First is that you cannot reach Lahaul by road. The Rohtang Pass is already closed and until the Tunnel is opened to tourists, you cannot go to Jispa de Manali by road. Sometimes the closest estimate to the opening of the Rohtang tunnel is at the end of next year. The second obstacle is that the road through Shinku La is not yet fully operational and open to civilians. The Army has completed the road, but is still working on it and not allowing civilian traffic.
In fact, I doubt that BRO will be able to keep Shinku La open all year. Lahaul and Zanskar receive large amounts of snow each year and Shinku La is at a very high altitude. Keeping it open during the peak of winter is like keeping Rohtang open all year, which never happens.