Us city dwellers are strangers to how the clear night sky looks like. On this sojourn, you can gaze at a clear sky filled with stars in the company of ultra luxurious Mercedes-Benz SUVs.
Join Team OVERDRIVE on a drive into the great outdoors, far from the city, to go stargazing! Gaze at the stars from the iconic Hanle observatory nestled high in the Himalayas. To get there, drive the three-pointed stars that embody luxury, power and grace.
Embark on a journey with Team OD beyond the stars, on the next edition of the epic STARSTRUCK drive. In 2016 STARSTRUCK will take you to India's most important astronomical observatory deep within Ladakh. Travel with us to Hanle, where the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) and a High Altitude Gamma Ray Telescope (HAGAR) are located. Hanle is famous for being one of the best sites in the world for high altitude astronomy.
The telescopes are also some of the highest telescopes to be found in the world, which makes this STARSTRUCK experience one of the most unique yet.
Hanle falls in the Changthang region of Ladakh, a good 10 hour drive away from Leh. Our trip however begins in Chandigarh.
Day 1 will see you drive to the famous hill station of Manali. Enjoy river trout and the cool brisk mountain air at the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. Manali is also the best gateway into Ladakh and just a few kilometres away from Manali, you leave the concrete jungle behind to head up into the world’s highest desert landscape.
On Day 2, we will head from Manali to Jispa past the formidable Rohtang pass. At 13,050 feet above sea level, Rohtang isn't the highest pass on this journey but it’s certainly one of the toughest to drive past. Poor roads, quickly changing weather and your first experience of high altitudes will leave you breathless. And then you have the scenery unfolding ahead of you as you get your first glimpse of the formidable Himalayas as you descend from Rohtang to Khoksar. At this tiny police checkpost, get your first taste of Himalayan lamb curry stewing in your plate of rice when we break for lunch! Post a full meal a couple of hours ahead is the lovely village of Jispa. It gets cold here, but we promise you will find it exciting.
Day 3 begins bright and early, actually not so bright since we will depart much before the sun decides to climb up over the peaks. Our destination is the town of Leh, the central hub of Ladakh. Everybody drops a pin here on their journey through Ladakh. After a tremendous drive crossing over four mountain passes, small streams, the flat plains of More and the lunar landscape close to Pang, you will be more than ready to drop into a comfortable warm bed.
Day 4 is a day to rest and take stock. Probably also get in some of the local sights and cuisine, and let’s not forget, spend some money in the Tibetan markets.
The next day, Day 5, we all head out into new territory. A ten hour drive will take us to the village of Hanle located at roughly 14,000 feet above sea level. It’s the site of the Hanle monastery and of course our objective, the night skies for stargazing. At Hanle we will spend two nights in a campsite surrounded by nothing but the wilderness and the Himalayan peaks. It’s going to get cold, but the brilliant night sky will warm you!
Day 6 will be much of the same -- spend the day either chilling out reading a book, or walk down to the village of Hanle and see what Ladakhi life far from the cities we live is all about. And of course let’s not forget, this is also the time for you to sharpen up some of the photography skills as we get our shots for the magazine and website. Let’s capture those memories for all time!
Day 7 must see us bid adieu to Hanle. We will head out to Leh from where you will take your flights the following day back to your nest. And hopefully the experience will leave you wanting for more, seeking an adventure of your own!
Day 8 will have Group 2 join us in Leh as we retrace our steps to Hanle and then follow the exact same route in reverse as Group 1 did. It’s going be just as epic and unforgettable, this trip to the stars!