Winding through the mountain ranges of Ladakh is one of the highest and enviable mountain passes of the world – Khardung La stands at a remarkable 17,582ft. and is one of the highest motor-able roads in the world. It is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and offers entrance to the Shyok and Nubra valleys in Ladakh.
The pass of lower castle (or Khardung La as it is natively known) enjoys a strategic position that offers its visitors a rich and spectacular view of the Himalayan ranges. Its carpet of snow lasting all year round cloaks it with an awe inspiring beauty. Visitors will also be able to capture glimpses of Leh, the capital city of Ladakh.
Through the centuries, the mountain pass was a major caravan route for trading expeditions to Central Asia. Annually, it was dotted with thousands of camels, horses and merchants. Its modern history began in 1976, when it was built by the army to provide an important pass for supplies to the military base of Siachen Glacier. It was opened up to motor vehicles in 1988 and since then the army and the Boarder Roads Organisation have been in charge of maintaining the road throughout the year.
Possible Things to do in Khardung la pass
The locals claim it to be the highest motorable road in the world, though this is not factual; this mountain pass standing roughly at 5359 meters has a lot to boast about. If you are a thrill enthusiast, challenge yourself with a bike ride down the Khardung La pass. Also, you could enjoy the automobile and motorbike expeditions that are held there throughout the year.
Yak rides are available and they offer an opportunity to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the Ladakh ranges and the nearby valleys through photography. Buy some souvenirs for your friends and family at a small souvenir shop located in the pass. There is also a stop-over at North Pullu where you will find a small tea shop. Here, you can relax and take in the scenic vicinity before continuing with your trip.
You will need permits to make your way through the pass as there are checkpoints along the pass. Also the high altitudes make it advisable to take a tablet of prophylaxis (available at leading medical stores) against altitude sickness before planning a trip to Khardung La Pass.
Though the 39km road is mostly passable, there is a 14 km rough road (of gravel and dirt) which is prone to traffic jams but the army tries to shuttle the motor vehicles along and reduce the traffic build up. Due to weather changes and periods of snow and avalanches, many tourists prefer to plan their trip to Khardung La pass through the months of May to October.
Standing, literally, on top of the world, the Khardung la Pass enjoys a certified status as one of the most thrilling destinations in India.