Arano in Winter
Leh - Arano - Leh by a non-shared taxi: ₹4,000 Buses ply on Leh - Arano route but no direct and regular service. The route can be covered in a pair of separate bus journeys. Leh - Diskit by bus: approximately 125km (4hrs). The bus starts from Polo Ground in Leh. Diskit – Arano by bus: approximately 60km (2hrs) Advance booking is allowed for neither of the bus routes, so chances of getting seat are bleak. Do check the bus schedule for both legs of the journey one or two days ahead as buses may not run every day. Poor demand may also impact bus frequency. Alternatively, get down from Leh – Diskit bus at T-junction on Leh – Khardung La - Arano road and catch another bus or shared jeep or taxi. Since infrequent bus services lengthen wait period, plan extra time.
On foot Your own vehicle Taxi pre-arranged by your host on request
All visitors need a permit for Arano that falls under the following official circuit:
Circuit Name: “Khardong, Khalsar, Trith upto Warsi and Yarma Gonbo, Disket, Hunder, Turtuk, Pachathang, Tyakshi in Nubra Sub-division.” The permit cost includes three types of fees: (1) Red Cross fund (₹100), (2) Environmental fee (₹300), and (3) Wild life fee (₹120). I paid ₹520 for a six-day trip to the circuit. Interestingly, the permit mentions that these three fees are to be paid only once in a year.
You can apply for the permit online or offline. The former mode is easier and faster. Here are the steps for acquiring an online permit:
• Fill a simple short online permit application (http://www.lahdclehpermit.in). You will need a government approved identification card, say Aadhar.
• Pay fees online.
• Note down transaction numbers. • Print both permit and payment receipt.
• When you reach Leh, get the permit stamped and signed by permit section in District Magistrate office near Polo Ground during working hours that may slightly vary with season. You can check the hours at the Leh airport on arrival. Tip: Permit would be meaningless without the aforesaid stamp and signature.
• Photocopy the permit. Keep at least 4-5 copies of the permit for handing over at the check posts.
Do follow health advisory and guidelines by defense and police personnel and local administration (if any).
Eat, Sleep, Stay
Arano village did not have any accommodation except a formal halfbuilt homestay. Samsket homestay had two rooms ready on ground level along the main road. A double bed room (₹1,000 per night, per person) featured a small tiled en suite washroom appointed with a western commode, ceramic washbasin, tap and shower. The taps ran dry in winter because water freezes in all pipes. Adequate amount of bucketed water was supplied.
Bucketed water turned into ice overnight. The room equipped with a wooden bukhari always had an aluminum vessel on it, supplying hot water. So, hot water was available whenever I was in the room. The cozy room had a looking glass, traditional table, folding chair, carpeted floor, cotton quilt (very warm), multiple blankets... The host supplied fire wood daily and some kerosene to start the fire. Food choices were absent; I had to eat whatever was served. Home-prepared simple vegetarian food was enough and invariably fresh and hot. The bright sunny room was not cleaned even once during my stay. Electricity was available for limited hours: 08:0011:00pm and 06:00-08:00am. A small shop offering some grocery and ready to eat snacks opened once during my six-day stay. There were no dhabas or tea stalls. You may get a bed in a local house on request. Finding a trekking guide is difficult; check with your host.
Only post-paid SIMs of the following mobile networks offer signals of inconsistent quality along this circuit: 1. Airtel (up to Leh View Point) 2. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (B.S.N.L.) 3. Jio
Info Bytes Location
District Leh, Ladakh, India
Driving Route + approximate Altitude + Distance
Leh (3,485m) – Leh View Point – Ganglass (3,788m) - South Polu (4,394m) – Khardung La (5,449m) – North Polu – Khardung Village (4,091m) – – T-junction Khalsar (3,479m) – Tirit (3,176m) – Lughzhun (3,148m) – Sumur – Tiggur – Kuri - Tirisa Lake (3,182m) – Panamik – Ayi (3,334m) – Arano (3,334m) Total distance: 155km Total duration: approximately five hours excluding any wait period
Best season depends on your preference for wild flowers or snow.
None along the road Nearest petrol pump is in Diskit and Leh.
Money, Bank, ATMs…
None along the road except an A.T.M of State Bank of India (S.B.I.) on the Khardung La A branch of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) bank is located in nearby villages, Diskit and Panamik. Diskit also has an A.T.M of J&K Bank.
Public conveniences except one or two ill-kept traditional toilets, a hole in ground, remain closed at South Polu, Khardung La, and North Polu during off-season.
Variants of Geographical Names and Spellings
Arano, Aranu, Aranoo, Arann
Do check bus schedules. Carry food for the day journey, as almost all eateries beside the road lock their shutters during off-season. Do an all-inclusive deal (all meals, snacks, room, transport…) with the host for a winter trip to Arano that lacks alternatives. And save money and time.