Ladakh owes its name to the high-altitude mountain passes that crisscross through its landscape and is rightly known as the ‘Land of High Passes’. ‘La’ means Pass, and ‘Dhak’ means many. Offering breathtaking views and panoramas to all travelers, the numerous mountain passes of Ladakh make it a favorite destination for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. The beautiful mountain passes in Ladakh act as natural gateways to the land of alluring monasteries, serene lakes, and craggy mountains.
Most tourists across the world come to Ladakh for a road trip. It’s all about driving past the crisscross passes and exploring the true essence of beauty. Ladakh has many mountain passes; the most popular among them include Khardung La Pass - Highest Motorable Pass globally, Baralacha Pass, Chang La, Fotu La, Namika La, Tanglangla Pass, and Zoji La. As these passes are at extremely high altitudes in the mountains, the locals have built temples where fluttering prayer flags and hanging bells can be seen.
The Most Famous Mountain Passes in Ladakh -
Khardung La Pass
This is claimed to be the world’s highest motorable pass by BRO aka Border Road Organisation. This mountain pass in Ladakh gets you entry to Shyok and Nubra Valley. Located roughly 40 km from Leh city, it lies at 18,379 feet above sea level, offering majestic views. It is easily accessible between May and October when bikers worldwide visit Ladakh to enjoy riding on this pass. For more information, click here!
Chang La Pass
Among the world’s highest mountain passes, Chang La Pass is situated at 5360 m. It was named after Sadhu Changla Baba and there is also a temple dedicated to him. Visit here for surreal beauty, a tour of Tangste Village, and views of the barren landscape and snow-clad peaks. The pass has a tea point managed by the Indian Army. If you are a biker, this pass could turn out to be one of the real charmers of Ladakh road trips.
Located in the Zanskar ranges, this is one of the most famous Ladakh mountain passes at 16,040 feet. This pass is a confluence of three mountain ranges - the Great Himalayas, Pir Panjal, and Zanskar. You can visit Baralacha La between April and October. Also, there are many treks starting from this pass like the Chandra Tal trek. To know more about this high-altitude pass in Ladakh, click here!
Taglang La Pass
Located at 17,582 feet above sea level, Tanglang La Pass is the second highest mountain pass in Ladakh. It is the neighbor of the Leh-Manali highway and is accessible through 21 Gata loops. It offers breathtaking views of the snow-clad peaks, attracting many bikers and nature lovers. This pass has hairpin turns, so if it’s your first time at Tanglang La, make sure you are accompanied by an individual with experience. If you want to know more,read here!
This pass connects Kashmir and Ladakh, 9 km from Sonmarg. It lies in the western part of the Himalayan mountain ranges on National Highway 1 between Srinagar and Leh. Zojila Pass opens in April end and offers panoramic views of the mighty Himalayan Mountains. If you visit during peak winter months, you will find it inaccessible but BRO extends traffic during most part of the year. For more details, visit this page.
Lachung La Pass
Elevated at 16,600 feet above sea level, this pass is located on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu, and Kashmir. Moreover, it divides the valets of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. This pass is only open for 4.5 months during summer. If you fall sick during your visit here, the causes might be the height, the rugged pathways, geographic status, etc. If you want to know more about this mountain pass in Ladakh,click here.