How often do you hear “mountains calling?” Until you travel in a mountain pass all by yourself, the phrase will remain a mystery. Spread across the country, mountain passes owe much of India’s exotic beauty. All over the world, tourists gather to witness the beauty of the mountain passes of India.
With such a breathtaking view of mountain passes, how can one hold himself/herself? There’s a different kind of delight and thrill that you feel while visiting a mountain pass. If you are travelling with family or friends, the moments you create here are all priceless.
In this article, we have listed all the mountain passes in India, which are great places for exploring nature on a road trip. While some of them are in very remote locations, it’s needless to say they are blessed a uniquely beautiful atmosphere and rarely found peace.
You will find ultimate relaxation while visiting one of these mountain passes in India.
1. Asirgarh (Madhya Pradesh)
Also known as the ‘Doorway to the Deccan’, Asirgarh pass is situated in Madhya Pradesh. Back to the pages of history(Mughal era), this pass was famous for acting as a secret key trade route between North India and The Deccan.
Apart from the forts and mountains beside the pass, there are a few historical remains as a witness to the “once” British dominion.
2. Auden's Col (Uttarakhand)
Pro in trekking? Then this mountain pass is for you. Connecting Gangotri peaks and Jogin I, Auden’s Col is full of ice-covered mountain peaks, notable Khatling glacier, and Bhilangana valley to make you feel heavenly.
3. Banihal Pass (Jammu, Kashmir)
In the Kashmiri language, the word ‘Banihal’ means blizzard. This mountain pass connects the Kashmir valley of the ‘Jammu & Kashmir' union territory to the outer Himalayas. Although the pass is no longer used for road transport, one can see the change in surrounding nature.
You will be in all ‘awe’ with the pass holding the serene beauty of Kashmir in front of your sight. The Zaban glacier located nearby is the main point of attraction.
4. Bara-lacha-la (Himachal Pradesh)
A favourite spot for both bike-lovers and trekkers, the 8 km long Bara-lacha-la mountain pass connects Leh district of Ladakh and Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh. A lot of shops and hotels beautify this place to make a lovely scenario.
Crossroads like Lahaul, Zanskar, and Spiti are connected by Baralacha acting as a conclave.
5. Bomdila (Arunachal Pradesh)
Claimed as one of the best passes of the world, Bomdila mountain pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. This 15,200 ft. border pass was the battle site of China and India when the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
The weather remains mostly heavy with snow and you have to take permission from the Indian Army to visit this place.
6. Changla Pass (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
One of the highest mountain passes of the country, Changla Pass remains critical because of its altitude. It’s not advised to stay more than 20 minutes. This pass is located between the Pangong lake and Leh. The China border lies nearby and so the spot is guarded by the Indian army.
Mostly covered with snow throughout the year, this pass is ideal for a summer visit. Situated in Ladakh, Changla is a very high and steep mountain pass that requires good attention while driving. Chang means north and La means Pass, the term ‘Changla’ stands for the literal meaning “Northern Pass”.
Changla Pass connects Pangong lake and Leh.
7. Chanshal Pass (Himachal Pradesh)
8. Dehra Compass (Jammu and Kashmir)
Dehra Compass means ‘camp’ and ‘compass’ is derived from the survey officer’s name Kompas Walla. This mountain pass holds a critical position because of its history and conflicting location. It falls under Chinese Control and yet claimed by India at the same time.
9. Debsa Pass (Himachal Pradesh)
Debsa mountain pass joins the Kullu and Spiti Districts of Himachal Pradesh. Ideal for a short trek while absorbing the beauty of the adjoining scenarios.
10. Diphu Pass (Arunachal Pradesh)
Located at the tri-point in the disputed borders of India, China, and Myanmar, Diphu Pass acts as a matter of conflict for India and China concerning Arunachal Pradesh.
11. Dongkhala (Sikkim)
The high mountain pass Dongkhala connects Sikkim of India with Tibet. This mountain pass acts as a source of the Teesta river and offers a beautiful view of the Tibetian plateau. A lake named Tso Lhamo of 6.5 km in length and 2.5 km in width can be found nearby.
12. Dhumdhar Kandi Pass (Uttarakhand)
Linking river Bhagirathi and Tons valley, Dhumdhar Kandi mountain Pass is quite a popular fall over India for its magnificent beauty. You will come across a lot of mountain villages, greeneries, and vast snow-covered fields in your journey if you are trekking through this pass.
The glaciers on either side of the pass melt in summer and act as a source of two big rivers namely Bhagirathi and Yamuna.
13. Fotu La (Jammu and Kashmir -Ladakh)
Located in the Zaskar Range of the Himalayas, Fotu La is the highest point in the Srinagar Leh highway, joining Leh and Kargil. The barren scenario offers the tourists to stop by and click pictures. Calm your eyes with the view of snowclad mountains that you’ll during your journey.
Although there’s no resting place available for tourists in this pass, Prasar Bharti television relay station is located on the pass.
14. Goecha La (Sikkim)
High and serene, the Goecha La mountain pass of Sikkim provides a view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Wake up early to witness the heavenly view of sun rays falling on Kanchenjunga. It’s a lifetime experience! The pass is so high and still, you get to view a lot of forests here.
The Samiti lake in this Goecha La pass adds more beauty. A few km ahead you’ll find a monastery too.
15. Haldighati Pass (Rajasthan)
Most of you can connect the great “Battle of Haldighati” from history with this name. Situated in the Aravalli range of Rajasthan, this pass holds immense significance for the fight between the Kingdom of Mewar and the Mughal Army led by Mansingh.
The name ‘Haldighati’ is derived from the turmeric coloured or yellow coloured soil of that place.
16. Indrahar Pass (Himachal Pradesh)
Indrahar pass serves as a border between Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. Located in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, this mountain pass gains much of its popularity because it's a part of the trekking route from Dharamsala. A lot of tourists gather here during the trekking season.
17. Jelep La (Sikkim)
The Tibetan meaning of ‘Jelep-la’ is “The lovely level pass”. Jelep-la acts as a conclave between East Sikkim district, Sikkim, India, and Autonomous Tibet region. It connects Lhasa to India. In spring, the road turns gorgeous with the forests.
18. Khardung La (Jammu and Kashmir Ladakh)
Many of the mountain passes in Ladakh carries a local pronunciation, just like the name of this given mountain pass. Khardung La serves as a gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys in North Leh. This pass holds great economic importance for serving the way to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier.
19. Kongka Pass (Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh)
Kongka pass lies on the actual borderline of actual control between China and India. With a lot of historical conflicts, this mountain pass involves critical opinion.
20. Lanak Pass (Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh)
Administered by China, this mountain pass is also considered as a border pass of India. Not many have accessed this place, but the beauty of snow-clad mountains speaks largely about the scenario.
21. Kunzum Pass (Himachal Pradesh -Lahaul and Spiti)
This mountain pass is full of adventurous hairpin turns. Apart from these exciting turns, a lot of smooth and beautiful roads act as testing grounds where tourists check their driving skills. Lovely glaciers, snow-clad peaks, and valleys make a magnificent landscape for photography.
Show your photography skills here. Also, there’s a famous temple devoted to Goddess Kunzum Devi, where all the tourists stop to shower their prayers and take blessings back.
22. Karakoram Pass (Jammu and Kashmir -Ladakh)
Karakoram Pass, the highest peak of the Karakoram range is located between India and China. The literal meaning of ‘Karakoram’ in Mongolic is ‘black gravel’.
23. Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand)
Situated on the border between India’s Uttarkhand state and the Tibet’s region of China, forming a trijunction with Nepal. Lipulekh is a controversial mountain pass for Nepal’s constant dispute over this region.
24. Lungalacha La (Jammu and Kashmir -Ladakh)
Along the Leh-Manali highway, Lungalacha La connects Sarchu and Pang. Due to the high altitude of this mountain pass, bikers often suffer from breathing problems or altitude sickness.
25. Lamkhaga Pass (Himachal Pradesh)
One of the toughest passes, the Lamkhaga pass links the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with Harshil in Uttarakhand. The Indo-Tibetian border lies nearby and to cross the pass you need permission.
26. Marsimik La (Jammu and Kashmir -Ladakh)
Marsimik La pass covers the northeast of Lukung, in the Chang Chenmo Range of the Indian union territory of Ladakh. This pass is ideal for summer and early autumn visits as it remains free from any glacier or snow.
27. Mayali Pass (Uttarakhand)
Starting from Reeh, Mayali pass is a favourite juncture for travelling from Gangotri To Kedarnath. Mayali pass glorifies the natural beauty of the lofty hills and fills one’s mind with enthusiasm.
28. Nama Pass (Uttarakhand)
A few decades ago, this pass was used to be a busy trade route for Tibet. In recent times, the pass mostly remains empty. Located in the eastern Kumaun region of the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, this pass connects Kuthi and Darma valley.
29. Namika La (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)
Also known as the “Pillar of the sky Pass”, Namika La mountain pass links Kargil and Leh. No food stalls or resting places are available here, it’s an open pass ideal for photo-session.
30. Nathu La (Sikkim)
Located in the East Sikkim district of the Himalayas, Nathu La mountain pass is economically significant for strengthening the economy of India as well as improving India-China border relations. Due to this pass, the Sino-Indian trade has flourished and shortcut navigation has formed between the Buddhist-Hindu pilgrimage.
31. Palakkad Gap (Kerala)
Palakkad gap is referred to the place where the Indian plate broke from Madagascar. It brings us close to the huge historical incident that occurred 160 million years ago. This pass is situated on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Palakkad station is not far from this place, just 14 km away from the Palghat gap.
32. Thamarassery Pass (Wayanad Kerala)
Located at Wayanad district of Kerela, Thamarassery Churam covers the western ghats. In Malayalam, Churam means’ mountain’.The beautiful view of lofty hills present in this mountain pass attracts tourists all over the year and there’s sufficient place for one to stop and take rest.
33. Shengottai Pass (Tamil Nadu)
The Shengottai mountain pass connects southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It serves as the entrance gate for both the states and majestic waterfalls to enhance the beauty of this pass. Travel on a train on this route, enjoy your journey and explore the natural scenario through the window.
34. Pensi La (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
Known as the Gateway to Zanskar, Pensi La links the Suru Valley region to the Zanskar valley region. Most of the time, before proper road construction this mountain pass remained covered with snow The glacial lake and the Drang Drang glacier can be seen from this pass. There are many lakes in this pass that attracts visitors.
35. Rezang La (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
Like other passes too, this mountain pass lies on the Line of Actual control dividing the Indian administered Ladakh and the Spanggur Lake basin. The road is narrow, rough and during winters, tourists face serious problems of oxygen depletion.
36. Rohtang Pass (Himachal Pradesh)
Even though the pass is famous for its snow-covered beauty, many of us don’t know the real meaning of the name. Rohtang pass is named for the people who died due to bad weather while they were working in CBRE. It joins the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
Most of the visitors have a lovely photo session with the background of glaciers, peaks in Lahaul Valley. Such is the beauty, even after knowing that this mountain pass is dangerous, visitors make a huge crowd.
37. Sasser la (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
Starting from the Nubra valley of Ladakh to the upper Shylok valley of Yarkand in the Tarim Basin, Sasser la is a high and dangerous mountain pass. One can surely visit this place in summer, due to its better weather than the rest of the year. No resting place or eateries are available here.
38. Sela Pass (Arunachal Pradesh)
With a popular site for Buddhists, Sela pass seems more like a cream frosted cake as it remains covered with snow throughout the year. Undoubtedly, this is the most famous mountain pass in Arunachal Pradesh accompanied by the view of some beautiful mountains. The frozen Sela lake creates much hype for the tourists.
39. Shipki La (Himachal Pradesh)
Located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, Shipki La pass ends in Tibet and China. The beautiful Sutjej river is located nearby. This pass is not used for any local purpose, apart from the small-scale trade across the border. Generally, non-residents don’t cross this pass.
40. Sia La (Jammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier))
Sia La pass is situated on the very end of the Line of actual control between India and Pakistan, signed as a part of the Shimla agreement. Due to the presence of military forces in this place, current visits are not so frequent. Despite this fact, many notable glaciers and peaks enhance the beauty of this mountain pass.
41. Shingo La (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
Shingo La pass lies on the border between Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. It links Zanskar with Lahaul, the route that is known for frequent use by trekkers and locals. This pass involves no glacier trekking neither comprises of any steep step.
You can see snow around the year, in summer it’s a bit less. The natural scenario is magnificent enough for a long photo-session.
42. Spangur Gap (Jammu and Kashmir (Ladakh))
Located in India (Jammu & Kashmir) and CHina border, the Spanggur gap is an international high mountain pass. The rocky rough road makes it impossible for the tourists to crossover. There is a beautiful lake Pangong Tso near the pass that adds beauty to this pass.
43. Gyong La (Jammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier)
44. Bilafond La (Jammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier)
45. Sin La (Uttarakhand)
Located in the eastern Kumaon of Uttarakhand state, this mountain pass connects Bidang in Dara valley to Jolinkong Lake of the Kuthi Yankti valley. Both sides are rough, rocky, and steep. As it is situated on the border, permission is required to visit this place.
This mountain pass comprises valleys like Dharma valley, Bidang valley, Kutti Yanki valley.
46. Tanglang La (Jammu and Kashmir -Ladakh)
Tanglang La pass covers all of the Leh-Manali highways. Sadly you cannot stay here for long due to high altitude issues. No matter how long you stay, you can never grasp the silence and beauty of this place. The constant view of mountains brings abundant joy and excitement in the minds of a true mountaineer.
Enjoy the barren beauty of rocky mountains and plain valleys throughout your journey.
47. Traill's Pass (Uttarakhand)
Located between Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot peaks, you’ll find Trail’s pass at the end of the Pindari glacier. The name of the mountain pass owes to Mr.trail who couldn’t reach this peak and yet tried a lot to reach it. Only 18 teams are known to have succeeded till now. This pass remains to be one of the hardest.
That was all about the various mountain passes in India. Away from the hustle of busy life, Mountains provide us with true peace. People who prefer beaches probably have never been into a mountain pass. Once you feel the calm sereneness of mountains, the rest of the world will fade away.
Don’t delay your travel plans, as we have provided you so many mountain passes in India, of so many varieties, that you can’t help falling in love with mountains. Make sure you capture a lot of pictures of mountains and background scenarios. Happy exploring!
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