Ladakh, the land of high passes


The Gata Loops, 21 consecutive hairpins, Ladakh, India


Ladakh, the land of high passes
Ladakh is home to some of the world's highest motorable passes. Because the Indo-Tibetan road was closed due to a mudslide and because of the political violence in Kashmir, just a few hundred km to the West of Ladakh, we drove over all of the following twice : Rohtang Pass (3978 m), Kunzum Pass (4551 m), Baralacha Pass (4883 m), Lachlung Pass (5060 m), Taglang Pass (5328 m) and Khardung Pass (5602 m). Going up all these passes made Troopie feel as though she was going to pass out. We would be coughing out thick black smoke going up and white smoke going down (Vatican City ?). As soon as we reached high altitudes and before even having braked once, the brake pedal would become all soft and would remain so for the following days. Our second loud horn would become completely mute because of the thin air passing through the trumpets ! It seems our computer also developed signs of AMS Altitude Mountain Sickness as from Manali in Himachal Pradesh at some 2000 m, it stopped functioning correctly.


At 5328 m or 17582 ft, the Taglang La pass is meant to be the second highest motorable pass in the world.


The road winding down from Taglang La Pass and the less romantic sight of hundred of barrels that contained road surface oil.


Waiting to go up the Khardung Pass, the world's highest motorable pass, in convoy (left), stunning mountain scenery from the top of the pass (centre), curious Indian soldiers (right) 


Nubra Valley
The Nubra Valley or green valley that is reached via the Khardung Pass used to be on the trading route that connected Tibet and Chinese Turkestan. "Also known as the valley of flowers, Nubra has always been well cultivated and fertile, with the best climate in Ladakh, so fruits, such as apples and apricots, and grains, have always been plentiful." The valley, as you can see from the pictures, was not as green as we expected it to be. The Nubra Valley is also know for its sand dunes, weird because these are surrounded by snow capped mountains.




On the top of the world : at 5600 m with Troopie, looking down to Leh, Ladakh.


We are doing well !

Ladakh, abode of the gods Back to Trip page Km 130,417