So here we are discussing about the drive to the most extreme of Ladakh, Hanle, near India’s border with Tibet. Hanle is a vast sparsely populated, desolate, desert belt in southeastern Leh. The total driving distance between Leh to Hanle Village is around 254 kms on the direction to Hemis from Leh.
Leh to Hanle
You will have to hit the road early in the morning as the road conditions are not that good and the total journey time will be a bit longer inspite of the distance. The route that we will be going to follow will start from Leh – Chumathang – Nyoma – Hanle – Nyoma – Puga – Tso Moriri
Leh to Nyoma
After driving around 138km southeast of Leh will reach Chumathang followed by Nyoma which is around 42kms from here.
The Kesar Caves near Chumathang are the best known landmark of the village. Some of these caves are two storyed. They are on the right bank of the Indus and on the route that leads to Nyoma.
Down the same road, in the direction of Nyoma, are the old rock engravings found. Themes depicted includes the hunters and ibexes, as well as yaks. What make these drawings unique are the figures of camels and conical huts. Both are unknown in flat-roofed Ladakh.
Gaik is the next major archeological site on this route. Traces of a pre-historic village were discovered here. The boulders here have engravings of ibexes and wild goats.
Kungyum is a village that occurs before Nyoma. Ruins of a Dard (The Dards are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group) castle were found here, atop a massive rock. Boulders near the river have engravings of ibexes and wild goats.
Nyoma to Hanle
Wild asses are the biggest attraction of these desert plains. Some rocks in this stretch have the figures of animals (ibexes, horses and yaks) as well as humans engraved on them.
Near Nyoma, at a place called Rong are the ruins of an ancient settlement. It must have been a Dard Village, because the Dards had lived in that area.
Hanle is around 74kms from Nyoma, and has a gompa of the red hat sect atop a hillock. King Sengge Namgyal got the maney constructed here. Hanle has traditionally been known for its wild asses, birds and enormous plains. Now this tiny village is famous because it has the world’s second highest-located astronomical observatory. The Indian Astronomical Observatory, located here, has one of the world’s highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes.
Hanle to Tso Moriri
To reach this stretch you might need to cross River Indus at Mya. Puga is a valley known for its hot-water springs, boulders with engravings have beern found near Puga, Kidwang and at the Tso Kar. Kidwang is on the north-western side of the Tso Moriri. The distance between Hanle and Tso Moriri is around 159kms and you will have to drive back to Nyamo from Hanle first than you will be taking a turn to your right towards Puga.
Tso Moriri is a brackish water lake and is 19km long & 7km wide. Its colors changes as the sun moves during the day. In June it starts getting bright as early as 4:30 am.
There are many glaciers uphill from this lake. When they melt their waters form little streams that flow to the flat land below. All these streams merge to make up the Tso Moriri.
Leh to Hanle Distances
|Leh to Chumathang|
|Chumathang to Nyoma|
|Nyoma to Hanle|
|Nyoma to Puga|
|Puga to Tso Moriri|
Leh to Hanle Route Map
photo credit: Prabhu B Doss Road to Hanle. via photopin (license)