The Real Adventure.
Khardung La or Khardung Pass ('La' means 'Pass' in Tibet) boasts of being the world's highest motorable road at 5,602 m or 18,380 ft. Khardung is a well known point on the way to Nubra Valley from Leh (39 km). This pass works as a gateway to Karakoram or the land of black gravel.
Built in 1976, the pass was opened to motor vehicles in 1988. Earlier, this pass was one of the most important trade routes to central Asia. Today, it is used by the Indian Army to shuttle forth supplies to its border. Armymen travel to the Siachen Glacier through the Khardung Pass. Siachen (6000 m) is the world's highest battlefield that witnessed the war between India and Pakistan. One needs a permit to cross the Khardung pass, which is not difficult to procure. One has to hand his/her passport over to a travel agent by 10 am and he/she would have the permit at 4 pm the same day.
The Khardung Pass, is no doubt, believed to be the highest motorable road in the world, but there are several passes that are higher than Khardung. But their verification is not possible because of lack of information and restricted accessibility. Because of its height, the pass offers wonderful views of the rock mountains in the south and the majestic Karakoram range in the north. Jagdish Chandrakant Chaudhari, an NCC Cadet from Ahmedabad, India is said to be the youngest person to scale the Khardung Pass on the smallest capacity vehicle. He did it in 1994 on a TVS Scooty 59.6 cc.
The pass is easily accessible from Leh by bus. Travelling by a taxi or bike is another adventure at the Khardung Pass. There are two bases on either side of the pass (North Pullu and South Pullu). Vehicles are allowed only in one direction at a time. For example, from 9 am- 1 pm in the Leh ? Khardung La ? Nubra Valley direction, and from 1 pm-5 pm in the Nubra Valley ? Khardung La - Leh Direction or vice versa.