Khardung La

About Khardung La

Khardung La pass is a gateway to some of the most enchanting and unexplored landscapes. This famed mountain pass is very popular amongst adventure seekers and regular tourists alike. Located in the Leh district of the Indian Union Territory, Khardung La is situated at an elevation of 5,359 meters.  It is hailed to be the highest motorable pass all across the globe. Historically speaking, Khardung La is quite significant as it lies on the major caravan route that links Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia.

During the second world war, an attempt to transfer war well to China was made through this route. Khardung La was constructed in the year 1976 and was made accessible to public motor vehicles in the year 1988. The pass is maintained by the Border Roads Organization and is of great strategic importance as it is used to carry goods to the Siachen Glacier.

How to Reach Khardung La

Khardung La is located 39.7 Kms from Leh by road. It does not have an airport so you’ll have to take a flight to leh and from there you can board a taxi to reach Khardung La Pass. Here are few other options to reach Khardung La Pass From Leh.

  • It is highly advisable to take a taxi or bike in order to reach Khardung La from Leh. By car, Travellers will reach the destination within 1 hour and 23 minutes. If you take a bike, you will reach the pass within 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Bus service is available daily from Leh to Nubra Valley which passes through Khardung La Pass.

Best Time to Visit Khardung La

Mainly the months between March-May and September -October are the best to visit the Mountain Pass. Here is the breakdown of a few other seasons when you can visit Khardung La Pass.

     – March-May(summer)

The region witnesses an abundance of sunshine, with the temperature lingering around 21°C during summer. Nights are relatively colder than the day time as the temperature experiences a significant drop down to 7°C or below

    – June-August(Spring)

Khardung La is inaccessible during the months of June and August because of the incessant rainfall.

    – January-February

Wintertime is equally challenging as the region witnesses heavy snowfall, making it impossible for tourists to access the road. The temperature drops to -30 degrees Celsius during winters.

Other Essential Information About Khardung La

Road Conditions To Khardung La

– The distance between Leh and Khardung La is 39 kilometres.

– The first 25 kilometres until the South Pullu Checkpoints are very smooth. There might be some bad patches here and there, but the road is in good condition overall.

-The road starts to deteriorate past the South Pullu Checkpoint until the very top. It consists of melted snow, broken rocks, landslides, etc.

-Moving towards the Nubra Valley, the road is again in a very bad condition until the North Pullu Post. After crossing the post, it starts to get better.

Permit For Khardung La

– Inner Line Permit grants the permission for travelling to a protected area for a certain amount of time.

– The issuance of the document is mandatory for all the citizens who do not belong to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

– Foreigners are required to obtain a Ladakh Protected Area Permit before visiting the region.

– The ILP is valid for a period of one year for foreigners and a total of three weeks for Indians.

– The entry fee for the Inner Line Permit is 20 INR per day. The total cost of the permit will cost you 500 INR.

Things To Keep In Mind

Here are some of the important tips that you must keep in mind before visiting Khardung La Pass:

– Oxygen and air pressure Levels are extremely low at Khardung La Pass. Running around or indulging in strenuous activities can lead to sickness or nausea.

-Do not spend more than 15-20 minutes at the top as it can cause altitude sickness and breathing problems.

– In order to get accustomed to high altitude, make sure to spend 3-4 days in Leh or any other similar region before heading out to Khardung La.

-Proper Acclimatization is mandatory before visiting Khardung La Pass.

– If you are experiencing altitude sickness while ascending towards the pass and the sickness doesn’t seem to subside, it’s highly advisable to descend back.

– It is advised to perform a thorough check of the vehicle before heading to the pass to be on the safer side.

Things To Carry To Khardung La Pass

Here is the list of the most important items that you should carry to Khardung La Pass:

– A waterproof backpack

– Lots of water

– Pain killers

– Medical Kit

– Sturdy Shoes

– Fully Charged Batteries

– Large Containers of Fuel

– Sunglasses and sunscreen lotion

– Carry Diamox in order to treat high altitude sickness.

– Food packages. It is advisable to eat light food at regular intervals.

– Chewing gum, energy bars, chocolate bars.

– Portable oxygen cylinders

– Extra woolen clothing and raincoats

Do’s and Don’ts

Keep in mind the list of these do’s and don’ts for a cherishable visit to Khardung La Pass.


– Always carry dry food items and lots of water

– It is advisable to carry Diamox in order to treat any signs of high altitude sickness.

– Carry woollen clothing. Wear layers of clothing instead of donning one thick jacket.

– Carry spare fully charged batteries for your equipment as the region faces a major electricity cut.

– Wear sunglasses and apply lots of sunscreen in order to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

– Carry ID proofs.

– Carry a proper medical kit.


– Do not litter. Ladakh is a plastic-free zone so make sure to avoid throwing plastic.

– Avoid any sort of indulgence, be it smoking or alcohol. Doing so will lead to serious respiratory problems.

– Do not overexert yourself.

Essential Information

-Mobile Connectivity

Only postpaid connections are functional in the region. BSNL and MTNL are the only network providers that work the best here. They have the widest coverage range, which is followed by Airtel.

– Medical Facilities

The region itself doesn’t feature any health care centres or dispensaries. Travellers seeking medical attention will have to head to the town closest to the Pass. Travellers can visit the SNM hospital, which is located in Leh in case of a medical emergency.

You’re also advised to carry a medical kit with essential medication such as Diamox, Disprin Dexamethasone or Aspirin to combat the sickness.


The region itself doesn’t have any ATMs. However, Leh houses a lot of ATMs which travellers can make use of. The last ATM that tourists will encounter on the Manali Leh highway is in Manali. Past that, no ATMs are available until you reach Leh. There’s one SBI ATM that has been installed recently on the way to Nubra Valley which is being regarded as “World’s Highest ATM”.

Petrol Pumps

Leh features a functional petrol pump. Apart from this, you can spot a hand-operated petrol pump in the beautiful region of Diskit. This is the only functional petrol pump in Nubra valley.

Travellers Tip For Khardung La Pass

Here are the most important tips that every traveller should follow before visiting Khardung La Pass.

– If you are choosing not to drive the vehicle by yourself, then hire a professional and experienced driver.

– Carry necessary medication along with you in order to treat high altitude sickness.

– If sickness doesn’t subside after taking proper medication, immediately descend the climb.

– No accommodation or dwelling options are available near Khardung La Pass. Travellers are advised to either bring their own tents or stay in the nearby towns.

– The travel permit is extremely mandatory. Without the permit you can’t enter Khardung La Pass. Tourists can avail the permit from tourist agencies or the travel department.

– Get your mode of vehicle serviced before heading to the pass. Since the path only deteriorates with further advancement, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is in good condition in order to have a smooth journey.

– If you intend to travel here by bike, then it is advisable to buy a mask to cover your mouth as the roads here are constantly filled with trucks that emit a lot of smoke and tar.