5 Indian Mountain Passes for Your Next Road Trip
Mountains have always acted as a giant wall, partitioning civilisations and shaping the local culture and climate. However, humanity has always tried to challenge this barrier by either creating or discovering routes through the mountains.
Several mountain passes in India play a vital role in connecting remote places and making lives easier for the local inhabitants. You will notice that most of their names end up with “La”, meaning “pass” in the standard Tibetan language.
All Indian citizens who do not live in the state where these passes are located will need Inner Line Permit or ILP from the respective state governments. You can obtain it from the local DC or SDM office of the particular state or also apply it online on the dedicated portal for that state. For some passes, you'll also need some special permits and NOCs, which are mentioned below.
Now, let's explore the following 5 amazing Indian mountain passes that will mesmerise you with their beauty and natural grandeur.
Located in the Leh district of the Indian union territory of Ladakh, at 18380 feet, Khardung La is the gateway to the Nubra Valley. It is one of the most strategically important mountain passes in India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier.
Apart from visiting Khardung La, you can also explore other nearby exciting places. Some popular tourist places are Sangam river point, Thiksey monastery, Shey palace and monastery, Stok Kangri, Pangong lake, Kargil war memorial, and the famous Magnetic hills.
Check into the exquisite Driftwood Ladakh resort and make it a base to explore the Ladakh region extensively. The elegant resort is situated amidst the mystic landscape with an unhindered view of the majestic mountains.
At an altitude of 19,024 feet, Umling La in Laddakh holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest motorable road in the world. The road connects important towns in the Eastern Laddakh's Chumar sector and offers more direct connectivity between Chimsule and Dhemchuk.
Note: As of now, you cannot get the ILP permit to reach Umling La. Being very close to the Indo-China border, it is strictly off-limits for civilians. The closest you can reach to Umling La is the village of Hanle.
At an altitude of 17,688 feet, Chang La is the third highest motorable pass in the world, behind Umling La and Khardung La. The breathtakingly beautiful mountain high pass connects Leh and the Shyok river valley. While driving through Chang La, you can see the majestic Pangong Tso lake of the '3 Idiots' (Bollywood movie) fame.
One of the most famous passes in India, the Rohtang pass, lies 51 km from Manali on the Leh-Manali Highway. A favourite among driving enthusiasts, the road connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti valleys.
Apart from visiting the Rohtang pass, you can also indulge in river rafting on the roaring Beas river or skiing in Solang valley. The Solang valley also has a Ropeway that you wouldn’t like to miss.
Plan a family holiday in the hills of Manali. Check into Club Mahindra White Meadows or Club Mahindra Snow Peaks at Manali. Both resorts offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities and unparalleled comfort and hospitality.
How to Get to Rohtang Pass?
You will need Rohtang Pass Permit to travel to this place. You can obtain a pass for a day by applying on this website - https://rohtangpermits.nic.in/Home
Do note that the Indian government closes this pass frequently during the year for weather or other reasons. So, if you're planning a trip here, it would be best to get the pass before making your other bookings.
Also known as Mana pass, Dungri La has strategic importance as it connects India and Tibet. Located in the Nanda Devi biosphere, this motorable mountain pass lies 52 km north of the famous pilgrimage town of Badrinath. Dungri La was an ancient trade route between India and Tibet.
How to get to Dungri La?
Apart from the ILP, you'll also need to take a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from ITBP and Army to travel here.
Many mountain places in India are favourites among tourists because of their scenic beauty and the pollution-free gateway they provide to the visitors from the plains. However, many might still be unaware of the nearby mountain passes worth exploring. So, embark on a road trip across these serene passes for an experience of a lifetime.