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Ladakh Passes

Ladakh is known as the land of passes. There are many passes in Ladakh which serve as the natural passes to this land of jagged peaks. The famous passes associated with this beautiful land are:

Zojila Pass
Zojila Pass is one of the highest mountain passes of the world. The strategic Srinagar-Ladakh highway passes through the 11,578 feet high Zojila Pass which lies on the lower depression of the Himalayan ranges, about 100 kms. from Srinagar. This pass marks the boundary between Kashmir and Ladakh. The road here is unsurfaced, narrow and with steep unprotected drops which can be a little worrying. This

Zojila Pass, Ladakh

is the first of the passes on the Srinagar - Leh Highway which receives the heaviest snowfall during winter and as such it remains closed to traffic for nearly six months in a year. The accumulation of huge quantities of snow over Zojila Pass, presents the biggest hurdle to traffic on this road. The 434 km long highway is Ladakh's lifeline and after Kargil skirmishes in 1999 with Pakistan, the government has stepped up the pace of road construction because of the strategic significance of the area. The approach is a long haul across a slate mountainside which looks a though it might sheer off at any moment.

Khardungla Pass
Khardungla Pass, Ladakh

At 18,380 feet, the world's highest motorable road and gateway to Siachen Glacier is Khardungla Pass. It is just about 40 kms. north of Leh by road on the way to the Nubra and connects Leh to the Nubra Valley. Although one needs a permit to visit the Nubra Valley itself, but it is not necessary to have a permit just to ride to the top of the pass. The ride itself is quite good, providing good views towards Leh, and at the top one can see the Karakoram range to the north of the pass, and then by turning 180 degrees see the Himalayas back towards Leh. The descent from the checkpoint is fantastic because it is so long.


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