Khardung La Pass: Ladakh Travel Guide

Introduction

Situated at an altitude of 18,379 ft. above the sea level, Khardung La makes one feel on the top of the world. It was once believed to be the highest motorable pass in the world, but facts prove it is among the highest motorable passes in India. This mountain pass in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir was prepared for motors in 1976 and opened in 1988 for the public.

Khardung Pass (as ‘La’ implies ‘pass’ in Tibetan Language) is the gateway to the remote Nubra and Shyok valleys. The mountain pass holds a special significance as it is the way to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. It offers astonishing views of the twisting roads up the mountain and the awesome valley.

Alternatively known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’, Khardung La is the inspiration of motorbike, automobile and mountain biking expeditions. This makes it adventure aficionados’ paradise indeed. A visit to Khardung La is one of the must things to do in Ladakh. The picturesque panoramas and pure air lures tourists from every nook and corner of the world.

Temperature at Khardung La

The temperatures at Khardung La keeps on varying rapidly. It is really obscure to predict the correct temperature here. However, the Average temperature in summer reaches up to 20 degree Celsius while in winter in can go as low as -40 degrees. The pass gets wrapped up by a 10 feet snow during snowfall.

Road Conditions to Reach Khardung La

Reaching Khardung La is one of a kind feeling. But, it isn’t a child’s play to be at such an altitude. It takes lots of efforts to get that victorious feel. The first 24 km of the road from Leh to Khardung Pass, i.e. till South Pullu Check are made up of concrete. Out of the 39 km route, the next 15 km of the road, i.e. till North Pullu is uneven consisting of dirt, loose rocks and some streams appearing due to snow melting. Going beyond this point is easy as the roads are very well maintained.

How to Reach Khardung La from Leh?

Khardung La lies at a distance of 39 km from the Leh. The breathtaking views en route make the journey worth experiencing at least once. Although, this pass is a gateway to Nubra Valley, people grab an opportunity to reach and spend quality time here only. Thus, with the passage of time, traffic is also increasing at this vehicle-accessible-road.

There are four stops from Leh to Khardung La. These are Leh – Phyang – South Pullu – Khardung La. Since, this pass is gaining popularity day by day, entry and exit timings are restricted. In order to run the traffic smoothly, vehicles coming from Leh are allowed from 9 am to 1 pm. Similarly, the exit timings from Khardung La to Leh are from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Things to carry while travelling to Khardung La

It is always better to be safe than sorry. One must carry some essential things while travelling to Khardung La.

  • Take Diamox for overcoming acute mountain sickness. But, do consult a doctor first.
  • Carry chewing gums, chocolate and energy bars with you.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Keep on eating light food at regular intervals.
  • Do keep some alternatives for oxygen like camphor or portable oxygen cylinders.
  • Take waterproof backpacks.
  • Keep some pain relievers with you.
  • Woolen clothes, extra socks and raincoats are a must.
  • A good quality camera to capture the superb moments.
  • Fully charged batteries and chargers.
  • Examine your vehicle thoroughly before the journey begins.
  • Large containers for fuel.
  • Sun glasses and sunscreen lotions
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Medical Kit

Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Khardung La?

A sojourn to Khardung La is full of adventure and awe-inspiring views. Get clicked with the signage of Khardung La is a matter of pride for many. However, it is always good to keep an eye on some of the important things for security and safety, which are mentioned below.

  • Climate may vary
  • One can suffer acute mountain sickness. Thus, it is better to leave the place after a short duration.
  • Do not travel the pass during snowfall.

The thrill of being at the very top of the world is sure to give you butterflies in your stomach. Khardung La Pass is not just a mountain pass in Ladakh, it is an adventure of a lifetime. Adventure lovers swear by the mountain pass as a journey that changes you forever!


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