4,290 meters above the sea level, Sarchu or Sir Bhum Chun in a significant hiatus on Leh-Manali highway. Flanked by Lachulung La on its north and Baralacha La towards its south, the village halt also marks the beginning of arduous Zanskar trek of Ladakh. 250 kilometers from Leh and 220 kilometers from Manali, the rugged barren aesthetics and nerve-chilling treks of Sarchu beckon nomadic tribes, nature lover and professional mountaineers in equal measures. The once significant trading post of the ‘Ancient Silk Road’ lists also among the highest motorable passes of the world at 17,500 feet above the sea level – The Tanglang La Pass. The valley is otherwise swarming with camps between May – September and is closed and blocked during the winters owing to heavy snow fall. Of the many hard knocks of visiting this hinterland, medical afflictions are one. Altitude sickness for example is not unheard of to begin with, also there are no nearby ATMs or gas /petrol filling stations in Sarchu, the travellers are therefore recommended to keep a closer eye on their supplies. Immediate medical assistance however is easily available in one or more camps in the vicinity. There are no luxury hotels in Sarchu to accommodate the visiting tourists but the semi-permanent camps that throng the valley between May & early October. The gorges and treks of Sarchu are not meant for the faint-hearted and not all, though highly trained and pro are able to complete the trails. But for those few who dare the experience in truly indescribable.
Summer: 4°C to 25°C
Winter: -17°C to -2.8°C
Monsoon: 5°C to 16°C
Chandra Taal Lake
The crescent shaped lake, perched at an elevation of 4,300 meters [approx. 14,100 feet] on Samudra Tapu Plateau is a panorama to behold. Enveloped with richly green meadows, blanketed with kaleidoscopic wild flowers on its banks, the lake and its environs are a stop-over point for campers and trekkers. The lake can be reached on foot both from Batal and Kunzum Pass.
Said to be established in 11th century A.D by Dromton, a pupil of renowned 10th-11th century Buddhist teacher Atisha Dipankara – a key figure is spreading the messages of Mahayana – Vajrayana Buddhism in Asia, Key Monastery is not only the largest monastery in Spiti Valley but is also a religious study centre for the Lamas. The monastery is home to over 250 Lamas of Gelugpa sect who receive their religious training here. The beautiful three storeyed structure has walls covered in exquisite murals and paints with imprints of Chinese art influence from 14th century.
Baralacha La Pass
Stationed at a height of 4.890 meters above the sea level, Baralacha La Pass is among the prime attractions around Sarchu. The breathtakingly beautiful couloir is strategically placed on the intersection where Lahaul and Ladakh valleys run into each other. This significant passage of Lahaul Spiti Region is also the gateway to Jammu & Kashmir region from Himachal Pradesh. The Pass is located at a distance of 75 kilometers from Keylong.
Lachulung La Pass
At 5,059 meters, Lachulung La is among one of the few and most treacherous, adventurous and adrenaline-pumping mountain-passes of the world. A particular favourite among trekkers and climbers, the pass demarcates the boundaries of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir and is only open for four and a half months through-out the year during the summers.
Dangerously positioned at an altitude of 17,000 feet, Gata loops are a treacherous series of 21 hairpin loops leading to one of the highest motorable passes the ‘Nakee La Pass’. The loops are as savage as they are spine-chilling, according to the here says, the loops and the road leading to the top is haunted by the presence of a ghost who menaces the drivers passing through this pass. In order to pacify the ghost, the passers-by have to make offerings of cigarettes and mineral water in a small nearby hut.
There are no markets, malls or bazaars in Sarchu
Places of Worship:
Places of Entertainment: