The world’s highest motorable road: Khardung La, Ladakh
Khardung La the world’s highest motor-able road is at a towering elevation of 18,379 feet above sea-level (5602 m) and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys in Ladakh. Khardung La is located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir and is a part of the Karakoram range north of the town of Leh.
Khardung La is situated at a distance of around 40 km from the town of Leh. The region offers an amazing views of the winding Himalayan roads and the valley down below. The pure air, snow capped mountains and the thrill of travelling to the highest road in the world makes Khardung La, a huge tourist attraction in Ladakh.
At the top, travellers and visitors are served free tea by the locals and it is a must to stop and have some noodles or omelette at the only cafe which is on the top of Khardung La. Since this is the only café, it takes time for one to get what they order.
The traffic on the road to Khardung La is regulated to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Vehicles from Leh towards Nubra valley are allowed only from 9 am to 1 pm while traffic from Nubra towards Leh is allowed to pass from 1 pm to 5 pm. It is advisable to check with the local taxi drivers about the timings since they know best.
The road leading from Leh to Khardung La is asphalted for about 24 km till the South Pullu check post but from there the road is made up of graved and muddy trail till the North Pullu check point.
Travellers require an inner line permit to cross the pass which can be obtained from the District Commissioner’s office in Leh. Make at least seven photocopy’s of this permit as every check point needs a copy of the permit, on failing to submit a copy travellers are sent back.
The weather is very unpredictable and highly unstable and can change surprisingly fast leaving traveller stranded for hours or even days so while travelling through this part of the Himalayas come well prepared for the worst.
Khardung La is a must visit for everyone who travels to Ladakh, because it is not often that one traveller to the highest motor road in the world.