Just think about the ancient trade routes in the mountain regions! Well, many of these routes were connected by mountain passes. Mountain passes are mountain ridges or paths which connect two high points (mountains or hills). In fact, mountain passes have always played a great role in business relations between the bordering countries. They are the connectors and often play a significant role in wars as well.
Now many these mountain ridges are the perfect ground for adventure lovers and travellers. They invite us to experience the beauty of ice-caped mountains and the picturesque landscapes. Hence, they are also some of the popular tourist places in the Himalayan regions.
Shall we have a look at some top mountain passes in India?
Photo Courtesy: Steve Evans
Kardungla Pass is a famous mountain pass in Ladakh. Kardung La pass is also known as the gateway to Nubra and Shyok valleys. Interestingly, Kardung La is touted as one of the highest motorable passes in India. This mountain pass is also a strategic point as it is used for supplying materials for the army base in Siachen Glacier which lies after this pass.
Photo Courtesy: Yathin S Krishnappa
Sela Pass is not just a tourist place but also a holy place for Buddhists. Sela Pass is one of the famous mountain passes in Tawang, which draws many travellers. It is surrounded by several lakes (around 102 lakes) which have religious importance for the Buddhists. Although snow covers it on almost at all months, it is the scenic landscapes that are alluring. One of the main attractions here is Sela Lake which remains half frozen during winters.
Photo Courtesy: Manojkhurana
Some reports suggest that Kardung La pass is the highest motorable mountain pass in the world. However, some recent reports have confirmed that Mana Pass is the highest vehicle accessible mountain pass in the world. Mana Pass located at the border of India and Tibet is part of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and one of the famous mountain passes in India located in the Himalayas.
Photo Courtesy: John Hill
Kunzum Pass opens from Mid-June to September every year. Kunzum Pass situated in the Kunzum Ranges of Himalayas acts as a connector for Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley to Spiti! The popular 13km Chandra Taal trek passes through the Kunzum Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
Photo Courtesy: Iapain wiki
Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas is considered one of the dangerous mountain passes in India. Hence, the name also means 'Pile of Corpses' because people used die trying to cross this mountain ridge. Today, Rohtang Pass is a famous one yet known for its unpredictable climatic conditions in Himachal Pradesh. Rohtang Pass has also served as a trade route in the ancient times.
Karakoram Pass is one of the deadliest mountain passes in India. Its location is at the Indo-China border which was part of an ancient trade route between Leh, India and Tamrin Basin China. Siachen Glacier, which lies to the west of Karakoram Pass, is one of the highest altitude Indo-Pak borders that has been in controversy for quite some time. Hence, Karakoram Pass has a great strategical importance.
Photo Courtesy: Anwaraj
Zoji La Pass connects Srinagar and Leh; located about 9km from Sonamarg, Zoji La Pass gives a good link between Ladakh and Kashmir. Zoji La Pass is also the 2nd highest mountain pass in the Srinagar-Leh Highway.
Goecha La Pass
Photo Courtesy: Shillika
Goecha La Pass
Have you ever observed the picture of mountains in the 100 Rs. Note? Once some governement officials went to Goecha La Pass and were stunned by the picturesque view of Mt.Kanchenjunga and decided to print on the Rs.100. Truely, the view of the mountains around Goecha La Pass is just amazing. Interestingly, it is also the base camp for the trek to Mt. Kanchenjunga.
War Memorial at Nathu La Pass
Photo Courtesy: Abhishek Kumar
Nathu La Pass
'Nathu' means listening ears and 'La' means pass; Nathu La pass is an offshoot of the old silk route. Nathu La Pass is open border trade posts between India and China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It is located around 60km from Gangtok!