Srinagar - leh or the NH 1D connecting Srinagar to Leh is comparatively a easier route than the Manali - Leh route.
The heavy army presence can be a deterrent but its a necessary evil!
The route is far more convenient as far as availability of food and petrol is also concerned. On the way to leh from Srinagar you will pass through Sonmarg, Zoji la, Drass, Kargil and Lamayuru. If you are on a long trip you may also visit Zanskar from Kargil. On the way to Leh from this side you may also visit Mulbek famous for the three story high rock carving of Maitreya, the future buddha.
Leh via Srinagar
Leh via Srinagar is the easier route and is recommended as the route to take towards Leh. Taking the Srinagar - Leh route on the onward journey would your body a better chance to acclimatize to the high altitudes of Leh Ladakh.
The Srinagar - Leh route would also take more than a day and one would have to stop over at Drass or Kargil on the way to Leh.
Acute Mountain Sickness
AMS is common at high altitudes at elevations over 10,000 feet as oxygen reduces by roughly 40% at such heights. The first syptoms of AMS is headache, dizziness and shortness of breath. If you experiance any of this make sure you stop at Keylong and get it attended to.
Best Time to Travel
Mid May to September is the time window when Srinagar – Leh Highway is open and is considered as the only time for doing a road trip to Leh via Srinagar.
Srinagar Leh Travel Guide
Srinagar - Leh route can be covered in two days with a stop in Kargil. The ride will take you through the beautiful valley of Sonmarg and give you the first taste of high mountain passes at Zoji La. You may visit the Drass war memmorial a few kms after Drass built in the memory of fallen soldiers in the 1999 Kargil war. Kargil to Leh is about 250 kms and you may also visit the Lamayuru monastery on the way.
Maitreya - Mulbek
Situated 45 kms from Kargil towards Leh, Mulbek is a small village famous for the gigantic rock cut image of 'Maitreya' the future Buddha. The centuries old 9 metre tall rock cut image is located just off the main Kargil - Leh highway.
Mulbek gompa the main monastery here is located nearby atop a hill with a sweeping view of the valley below.
The route from Srinagar to Leh is comparitively much easier than the Manali - leh route. There are three high mountain passes enroute. Apart from Zoji La pass there is Namika La and Fotu La which are located between Kargil and Leh. Fotu La at 13,478 ft is the highest point on this highway.
Zoji La Pass
Zoji la Pass is one of the highest mountain passes on Srinagar - Ladakh highway about 100 km from Srinagar ahead of Sonmarg. Zoji la pass remains closed to traffic for nearly six months in a year due to heavy snowfall in winter. (Opens by April end)