Great things are done when man and mountain meet.
The mighty Himalayas are the home to numerous passes and as we travelled across Northern part of India, we came across a few of them. As we travel, we see new places and make memories which are everlasting. Here we present eleven memorable passes we encountered. Crossing each of them through bizarre condition definitely gave us a high we experienced never before.
Please feel free to comment and enrich our experience….
Khardung La, Leh- Nubra Highway (18,380 ft)
There are few adventure loving Indians who have not taken a ride through the Khardung La. Khardung La is at a height of 18380 ft on the road between Leh and Nubra Valley. The Ladakh and Karakoram ranges spreading at the sides provide a magnificent view. You can see all the snow-capped mountains at a touching distance. And if you are lucky, you may also experience snowfall giving you a feeling of top of the world. So, without waiting further, kick start the bike or SUV and pass through the Khardung La. It has a small army outpost which serves tea and other eatables to the tourists. You would really enjoy the tea after a bumpy ride to the Khardung La.
Tanglang La (17,582 ft)
Tanglang La is on the Leh – Manali Highway providing a gorgeous and rugged view of the trans Himalayas.
Chang La (17,586 ft)
Another beauty from Leh is the Chang La which connects Leh to Pangong Lake. The trip starts with a narrow, well built road at Sakti and then follows into a bumpy ride to the Chang La. Considered to be the third highest pass, it has a beautiful café around. The silence at Chang La is just a trailer to the climax you will experience at the Pangong.
Baralacha La (16,640 ft)
Baralacha La is along the Leh- Manali Highway, which is amongst the most unforgettable journeys you would cover. At a height of 16,040 ft, it towers over three valleys. It the starting point of Chandra Taal trek.
According to folklore, Chandra, the daughter of the moon and Bhaga,the son of the sun met at Baralacha La and fell in love with each other. However, their union was not approved by their parents and they were not allowed to marry each other. This broke their heart, but the young lovers were not easily defeated. They decided to elope and meet at Baralacha La. Chandra reached at Baralacha La ahead of Bhaga and she wandered off in search of him towards the Kunzum Pass. She wandered back towards the Baralacha La and finally found Bhaga coming from the opposite direction looking for her. They finally met and the celestial marriage was performed.
Lachulung La (16,600 ft)
It is the second highest Pass in the Leh – Manali Highway between Sarchu and Pang.
Se La, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh (13,700 ft)
The mesmerizing Se La, also called Sela pass colloquially is situated in Arunachal Pradesh. It is not only a pass, but the only gateway that connects Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh to the rest of the country.
Se La is located at a height of 13,700 ft and is covered by snow for most of the year. After a very bumpy ride from Dirang and travelling through the clouds amidst many loops and turns you arrive at the Se La.
The ride is no doubt thrilling and the landscape with barren and rugged feel at the backdrop of the snowy ranges is definitely worth all the journey. The nearby Sela Lake also gives a magnificent view.
Rohtang La, Manali, Himachal Pradesh (13,497 ft)
Rohtang La is one of the most famous destinations of the Indian tourists. Located about 51 Km from Manali, it is totally snow covered from December to May and provides many tourist attractions. Just imagine high mountains, narrow roads between pristine snows as that of human height with honeymooners moving around. At peak season, Rohtang La provides winter sports like skiing.
We visited Rohtang La at July and the Rohtang Pass we encountered at that time was starkly different from that during the peak season. Where ever we landed our eyes, it was green and green. It totally looked like a fairy tale with lush green meadows and white horses grazing! The most romantic thing about the Rohtang La is its capricious climate… on a bright sunny day, suddenly clouds might descend and engulf you.
Fotu La (13,479 ft)
Fotu La is also along the Leh-Srinagar highway after crossing Mulbek. The road is awesome and the surroundings breathtaking with the mighty Ladakh and Zanskar ranges.
Namik La (12,198 ft)
Namik La along the Leh-Srinagar Highway is at an altitude of 12,200 ft also gives you the feel on top of the world.
Zoji La, Srinagar – Leh Highway (11,575 ft)
Zoji La at Leh-Srinagar Highway is considered to be one of the most treacherous passes. The roads are muddy and gravelly with sharp turns and curves.
Dochu La, Bhutan (10,900 ft)
The most scenic of the lot is the Dochu La. It is about 30 km form Thimpu towards Punakha and is 10,900 ft above sea level. It offers a picturesque view of the 108 chortens or stupas known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens.
The tranquility of the chortens touches you to the core; and as you admire the flowery bed, the clouds seem to descend towards you taking you to an entire new space. And as the rays of sun falls on you peeping through the clouds, the serenity transcends all emotions.