A mountain pass is basically a passage in between a mountain range. The mountain pass is actually lower altitude in comparison to the nearby mountains. It actually provides a convenient route that connects one point to other in the mountain range without the need to climb the mountain. The highest mountain pass of the world is West Col Mountain pass of Nepal which has an altitude of 6135 meter. The highest pass of India is Gyong La which is at height of 5686 meter. The highest motorable road pass of the world is Mana Pass, Uttarakhand, India which is at the altitude of 5610 meter. Names of the passes ends with La which means pass in local Tibetan language.
List and Details of Highest Mountain Passes of India
Highest Mountain Pass of India : Gyong La
- Height – 5686 meter
- Connects – Ladakh region of India with POK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir)
Gyong La is considered as the highest mountain pass of India. It is located in southwest of Siachen glacier, which is a part of Eastern Karakoram Mountain Range. It is situated in Laddakh region of Jammu and Kashmir at a height of 5689 meter. This area is disputed and the Gyong La pass is claimed by both the countries of India and Pakistan. However, presently Gyong La pass is under the control of India. There are two more important passes close to Gyong La, these passes from south to north are – Bilafond La and Sia La. Indira Col form the top most saddle of the Saltoro ridge which is a part of Siachen glacier. All these four passes together forms the route that connects India with Pak occupied Kashmir.
Second Highest Mountain Pass of India : Mana Pass (Dungri La Pass)
- Height – 5610 meter
- Connects – India and Tibet
This pass is located in the Mana village of Badrinath, Uttarakhand. It is the highest motorable mountain pass of the world at more higher than Khardung La. This pass connects India with the Tibet (China). The height of the road at Indian side is 5610 meter while the height at Tibet side is 5545. This pass lies just 24 Km north of famous Hindu pilgrimage Badrinath.
Third Highest Mountain Pass of India : Sia La
- Height – 5589 meter
- Connects – India with Pakistan occupied Kashmir
As Gyong La this pass also lies on Saltoro ridge. This pass is located at the point where it meets China border in northeast, POK in west and India in southeast. This pass forms the uppermost part of Siachen glacier and also forms the boundary of Kondus glacier which is controlled by Pakistan. This glacier is a part of Karakoram Mountain range.
Fourth Highest Mountain Pass of India : Marsimik La
- Height – 5582 meter
- Connects – India and China
This is the fourth highest mountain pass of India which is located 96 Km east of Leh, Jammu and Kashmir. This pass connects India and China and forms a part of line of control between these two neighbouring countries. It is also of the highest motorable mountain passes of world.
5th Highest Mountain Pass of India : Lanak Pass
- Height – 5466 meter
- Connects –
This pass is located in the Aksai Chin region that is controlled by China. This pass is claimed by India as the control of this pass went to Chinese hands after 1962 war with China. This pass is one of the territorial conflict points between India and China. There is one more pass called Kongka pass further south to Lanak Pass which China claims as the boundary.
Other Famous Himalayan Mountain Passes of India
- Height – 5540 meter
- Connects – Leh, Laddakh of J & K, India to Xingjiang, China
Karakoram pass is historically significant mountain pass that connects the Leh portion of India to Xingjiang region of China. In turkish language Karakoram means black stones. This pass was used from ancient times for travel from India to China and vice versa. This pass is known for its extremely rough conditions of climate and difficult for survival. Although there is no snow throughout the year still, lack of vegetation, extremely high winds, freezing temperatures, rough terrains makes the survival through this pass very difficult. Karakoram pass is 45 meter wide between the high slopes of Karakoram range of mountains. There is no motorable road in this pass and it remains virtually closed to any form of traffic.
- Height – 5450 meter
- Connects – Ladakh region with POK
It is second (out of three) mountain pass counting from either north or south of Saltoro ridge. This pass is also called as Saltoro Pass because maximum of this pass covers the Saltoro ridge. The remaining two other passes of this Saltoro ridge are Gyong La and Sia La. Indian Army captured all these three passes in year 1987 and made its strong military base at Bilafond La.
Khardung La Pass
- Height – 5359 meter
This pass is located in Ladakh region, just 39 Km from Leh of Jammu and Kashmir. This pass is considered strategically very important from Indian Army perspectives. The importance of this pass is considered from the fact that this serves as gateway for army supplies to Siachen glacier. Although the pass existed from long, the motorable road through this pass was built in year 1976 by Border Roads Organisation of Indian Army. This pass is also known for organising various biking and motoring rallies and expeditions. This pass serves as the connecting link between Laddakh region of India to river valleys of Shyok & Nubra lying in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan Occupies Kashmir. Khardund La is historically important pass which was used as trade of camels and horses between Leh and Kashgar of Central Asia.
- Height – 5360 meter
- Connects – Ladakh with Changthang plateau of Tibet
Chang La is yet another moutanin pass of Ladakh region which is located en route while travelling from Leh city to Pangong Lake. This pass connects the Ladakh region with the Changthang plateau extending to Tibet. In local Tibetan language Chang means south, so the meaning of this is Pass to south. This pass is considered as the second highest motorable pass in world just after Mana pass (Mana pass is highest motorable pass).
- Height – 5340 meter
- Connects – Kullu and Spiti sistricts of Himachal Pradesh
This is an important mountain pass of Himachal Pradesh, which connects the Kullu and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh. This pass provides an easier road option rather than conventional Pin Parbati pass. This pass is located in the Parbati river valley near Kullu.
- Height – 5334 meter
- Connects –
This is an old mountain pass traversing India, Nepal and China. The pass connects Uttarakhand state of India with the Byash valley of Nepal with the ancient trading point Taklakot in Tibet (China). This pass is historically very significant as this pass was used from ancient times for trading. This is the primary path of Indian pilgrims visiting to Kailash Mansarovar which lies in Tibet apart from the secondary route through Sikkim (Nathu La). This pass is also known as the first border trading post with China which was opened in year 1992. The other two border trading posts with China are Shipli La of Himachal Pradesh (opened in 1994) and Nathu La of Sikkim (Opened in 2006).
Zoji La Pass
- Height – 3528 meter
- Connects – Sri Nagar, Kashmir Valley with Leh, Ladakh region
Zoji La is very important mountain pass which serves as a connecting link between Kashmir valley to Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. This pass is located just 9 Km from Sonmarg town. This pass remains closed mostly during the winter season due to heavy snowfalls. Zoji La pass was captured and took under control of Pakistani army under disguise of tribesmen during Indo-Pakistan war of 1948. This pass was recaptured by Indian Forces back on 1 Nov 1948.
- Height – 3978 meter
- Connects – Kullu Valley with Lahaul – Spiti Vallies of Himachal Pradesh
Rohtang pass comes en-route while travelling from Manali to Leh. This pass is located about 51 Km from Manali, the famous hill station of Himachal Pradesh. This pass is situated in the Pir Panjal mountain range of Himalayas. This pass remains closed from December to April months because of heavy snow.
Nathu La Pass
- Height – 4310 meter
- Connects – Sikkim with Tibet (China)
This is a famous historically important pass which is a part of ancient Silk Route. It is located just 54 Kms from Gangtok, capital of Sikkim. Nathu La also serves as trading post between India and China. After 1962 war with China it was closed due to security reasons. This pass was reopened in year 2006 after several trade agreements between India and China. Very recently in June 2015 China opens the travel to Kailash Mansarovar yatra from Sikkim via Nathu La pass. Earlier there was only one route through Lipulekh pass of Uttarakhand which was damaged during Uttarakhand floods.