Polongka La road is truly an unforgettable experience
Polongka La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4,844m (15,892ft) above the sea level, located in the southern part of Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The road to the pass, also known as Pologongka La or Polokongkha La, runs from the Leh-Manali Highway. From this point, the pass is 40,8 km long. It starts with a very good tarmac road. Beyond Tso Kar Lake, the road turns into a terrible gravel track with extreme holes. At the summit are hundreds of Buddhistic prayer flags. As you progress on the road, you will notice the change in not only climate, but landscape and culture with its strong Tibetan influences.
This trail passes through remote areas, so you need to be prepared. Carry an extra can of fuel because the nearest fuel station in any direction is in Leh or Keylong. If you plan to stay overnight in one of the tents, then make sure you wear protective woolen clothes and carry an extra pair. It can get really chilly and also windy in the open grasslands. There are no ATMs nearby so do not forget to carry cash. The drive is truly an unforgettable experience but can be a challenge.
The climb is simply terrible, with a notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. Due to the high altitude, the climate is extreme in the winter; temperatures below -40°C are not uncommon. In the summer the temperature rises above 30°C, with extreme fluctuations during the day. Precipitation in the form of either rain or snow is extremely rare. A sudden drop in the temperature, even in summer, can trigger winter-like conditions.
Pic: akash deep