Adventure calls out to a lot of people and going for trekking at high attitudes is one such call that adventure lovers love. List of trekking destinations in India is never ending. The higher a person goes up, the surrounding temperature starts to drop and the thrill cannot be explained in words. Mountain passes are probably the most favourite trail that adventure lovers like me, love to travel through. If you are new, let me tell you what actually a mountain pass is. So a mountain pass is a route which passes through a particular range of mountains and sometimes over ridges as well. These roads are navigable and passes have of course been a great help to a lot of people.
As you might know, mountain ranges have acted as natural barriers and defended borders of various countries, this is not a new affair and have been there since forever. These passes through the ranges helped people to carry on trade works and wars. Lower altitudes maybe called hill pass. India is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas on the north. There are many passes in Himalayas and not only that the highest pass which is motorable, the Mana Pass is located in the Himalayas. You have surely heard about the famous Shiphki La pass too I guess. These roads are usually patrolled by bike riders who are good at riding and the Indian Army jeeps help too. Mountain passes in India is not very common these days. I went out on an adventure trail a few motorable passes in India and guess what? I already found 10.
List of 10 Passes in India Which Everyone Needs to Travel
- The Umlingla Top Pass
- The Dungri La Road
- Marsimik La Pass
- Photi La pass
- Dongkha LA pass
- Kaksang LA
- Chang La
- Khardung La pass
- Tanglang La
- Wari La
1. The Umlingla Top Pass
This is one mighty pass for sure. Situated near the border of India and china in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, this pass is the highest motorable pass in the world. I was stunned when I went there due to the length of the pass. It connects two beautiful villages in Ladakh and you would want to get down and stop on your way to watch them. One important thing about visiting this place is that one cannot just drive through this route as they want to, they will need a permit from the Indian Army.
2. The Dungri La Road
The highest motorable mountain road in the world is here. Located at the border, among Tibet and India, The Dungri La pass is responsible for joining India and Tibet along the Dungri La road. Even though it has not been organised for a long time, one like the previous pass needs to get permission from the Army and district magistrate.
3. Marsimik La Pass
Now that you know about the world’s highest passes, here is one which is the second highest mountain pass which is motorable. Located in the amazing Chang-Chemno Range in the northern part of India. When you will start along the road which leads to the pass, you will realise that there is a road right before the onset of Pangong Tso and there’s a road that turns towards the north and into the hills, instead of the lake. If you go ahead approximately after 20 kilometres you will come across the Marsimik La. This pass sees skilled riders and adventure lovers like me, come by every year. Again. You will need permission to climb up this pass from the Deputy Commissioner in Leh.
4. Photi La pass
All the regions around Ladakh are dotted with beautiful villages. You cannot help but stop and cherish the beauty of these small villages. One such village that we came across was the Hanle village on the Hanle-photi road which leads to the Photi La pass on the Zaskar mountain range of Ladakh. The breath taking hanle monastery is also located in this village. You might face breathing problems on your way up to the pass as the road is very dusty accompanied with the scarcity of oxygen. Do not forget to take the army’s permission before going on to this trail.
5. Dongkha LA pass
Now I come to the Dongkha La pass in North Sikkim which connects Sikkim in India with the mighty Tibet. This one of the 10 passes in India, which is on the Himalayas you should visit while you are on Himalayan Tour. This pass is famous for giving an amazing view of the Tibetan plateau. The world’s highest lake that is the Gurudongmar Lake, also known as the Buddhist Holy Lake is situated here. But one thing you need to keep in mind is that this area is highly restricted due to its closeness to Tibet. The security around here is very high and seldom do the Indian Army give allowance to civilians to walk by this pass.
6. Kaksang LA
Situated between Mahe and Chushul lie yet another high mountain pass in the Ladakh region which offers great views of the mesmerizing lakes, valley and even mountains all around the place. The Kaksang La is 17,841 ft high. Even though Indians can get access to visit the pass, it can be hard for foreign tourists.
7. Chang La
If you are into travelling roads and have done some prior research, you will obviously know this pass. Doesn’t ring a bell, yet? Well this pass has the highest research station in the world which was founded by the defence research and development organisation or better known as the DRDO. Chang La is really high pass with a height of 17,586 ft above the sea level. This pass is also of the main gateways to the Changthang plateau in the Himalayas.
8. Khardung La pass
This particular pass was built in the year 1976 and it became motorable to people in the year of 1988. Located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, this pass was often mistaken to be the highest motorable pass in the world. The pass is also the entry point to the beautiful valleys of Shyok and Nubra. The main crowd that Khardung La pass attracts go for its picturesque views and beauty. As mentioned in case of Kaksang La, this pass might be hard for foreigners to access, but not so much for Indian nationals.
9. Tanglang La
On our third position we have the Tanglang La pass which you will come across when you are on your way to Leh from the alluring Manali. This pass is definitely the highest pass amongst all these five passes on the highway of Manali-Leh which are motorable. Thus it is one of the most preferred weekend getaway destinations from Manali. There might be unpaved roads in some northern parts of this 17,420 ft high pass.
10. Wari La
Last but definitely not the least, on our list is the Pass of Wari La located at a height of around 17,400 ft. This pass connects Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso. This pass is highly uninhabited and it is kind of arid and desolate.
These are the top ten passes In India which are motorable. One should always know that overcoming these roads is not easy. If you have breathing problems, take necessary measures to do something about it because the higher you will go, it gets colder along with lack of oxygen. In my case I barely had any energy left to complete some paths. So plan accordingly beforehand and do not forget to enjoy yourself while you’re at it!