Major Ladakh routes and Passes

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Ladakh is a wonderful place which has been abundantly blessed with amazing scenic valleys and towering mountains. Car and bike trips through Ladakh is the best way to take in the beautiful sights of Ladakh. So in this article i’ll be covering all the major Ladakh routes which you will be taking on your amazing Ladakh trips.

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The roads built in Ladakh provide access to sensitive military areas including the strategic and the world’s highest battleground in Siachen glacier. This area faces rough and hard terrain and it is also constantly buffeted by extreme climatic conditions. Due to this reason, these roads are closed for four months during the peak winter season. So, plan your trip accordingly.

The major routes of Ladakh are :

1) Manali-Leh highway :

This important highway connects Manali, Leh, Spiti valley and Zanskar valleys in Ladakh. This highway was built and is being maintained by Border roads organisation (BRO) of Indian army. This highway allows the passage of the heaviest army trucks.

The average elevation of Manali-Leh highway is at an elevation of 4,000 feet from the sea level. The entire length of the highway is flanked by mountain ranges on both sides. The route map of this highway starts from Manali and ends at Leh. The complete route is from Manali Rohtang Jot – Gramphu – Kokhsar – Tandi – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Zingzingbar – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang – More Plains – Tanglang La – Gya – Upshi – Karu – Leh.

2) Srinagar-Leh highway :

The Srinagar-Leh highway connects the capital of Jammu and Kashmir state with the capital of Ladakh, Leh. This highway offers a contrasting view of the magnificent Himalayas. The lush green forests of Kashmir and the dry arid mountains of Ladakh is showcased brilliantly while travelling on this highway.

The route is from Srinagar – Sonmarg – Kargil and Drass – Mulbek – Lamayuru – Leh. The monastery of Lamayuru is very famous and a huge rock carving of Giant Buddha overlooks the town of Lamayuru.

As Ladakh is often called “The Land of Passes”, these two highways boast amazing passes that provide access. The journey through these beautiful passes complete’s ones expedition through the mystical land Ladakh.

Some of the major passes in Ladakh are :

1)  Rohtang Pass :

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Rohtang pass is an impressive pathway which connects Manali and Leh. It is situated at an altitude of 13,000 feet from the sea level. This road faces an increased frequency of traffic in the summer months as it also serves as an alternate route for the Indian army. Rohtang pass offers amazing scenic views over skyline from the laps of Himalayas.

2) Baralacha-La Pass :

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This pass is situated at an altitude of 16,000 feet from the sea level and it is located on the Manali-leh highway. This pass acts as a water barrier between the two major rivers of this region; The Bhaga river and the Yunam river. These rivers originate from a glacier near this area.

3) Lachulung-La Pass :

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Lachulung-La pass is a rocky pass situated at an altitude of 16,600 feet from the sea level. This pass offers undulating views from the lap of Himalayas as it is a high mountain pass. Because of its altitude, AMS can set in easily if one has not properly acclimatized to the heights.

4) Zoji-La Pass :

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Zoji-la pass offers beautiful panoramic views of the wonderful and the lush lands of Ladakh from the height of 11,500 feet from the sea level. This pass connects Srinagar with Ladakh and it acts as a barrier between the lush green forests of Kashmir and the dry and arid mountains of the Dras region. This pass is not accessible in winter due snowfall.

5) Namika-La Pass :

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Namika-la pass is located in the Mulbek valley and it connects the Lamayuru monastery in the Zanskar range. This pass offers ease of access between Srinagar and Ladakh. It is situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet from the sea level. A huge rock carving of Buddha overlooking the splendid scenery is the best feature of this pass.

6) Khardung-La Pass :

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Khardung-La pass is famed as the “highest motorable pass in the world” as it is situated at an altitude of 18,300 feet from the sea level. This high pass connects Leh to the Siachen glacier and it is located 40 kilometers from the capital city of Ladakh. The view from the topmost point from this pass is insurmountable. This pass is loved by adventure seekers from all over the world. This pass also plays a strategic role, as it is used to transport goods to the Siachen glacier.

7) Chang-La Pass :

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The Chang-La pass is situated on the way from Pangong lake to Leh. It is situated at an altitude of 18,000 feet. The Chang-La pass is home to the nomadic tribes of Changpa and the nearest settlement is a town called as Tangste. This pass has been named after Sadhu Changla Baba.