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Chang La, Leh Ladakh Overview

Ladakh is already known for its high altitude mountain passes and highest motorable roads. Another feather in the cap of Ladakh is the Chang La Pass, which is the third highest motorable road in the mountains, in all the world. Perched at an altitude of 5360 m above the sea level, Chang La Pass is one of the hot spots of travel among all the adventure enthusiasts and bike riders. It is also home to the highest research station in the world that is run by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India.

Boasting of incredible scenic beauty, Chang La Pass is guarded and protected by the Indian Army for safety purposes. Reverberating with serenity and tranquility, the place receives heavy snowfall all throughout the year. While gurgling streams and brooks flow along in the distance during summers, the same ones freeze during the winters where people known skiing and sledging. However, it only remains open only between the months of April and October.

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Etymology of Chang La Pass

Chang La Pass
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Chang La Pass has been named after a famous sadhu called Sadhu Changla Baba. A small temple has also been built in the honour of the sadhu that stands here today. The name ‘Chang La’ literally translates to “Pass towards the South” or “Pass in the South”. The native tribes residing in the religion are also called Chang-pa.

Things to Do at Chang La Pass

  1. Chang La Pass is the highest motorable road and thus cross this path here on a bike is one of the most thrilling activities in the world that is sure to give you an adrenaline rush.
  2. You can stop here for 15 - 20 minutes and enjoy the breathtaking view and admire the majestic mountains in the backdrop.
  3. Have a look at the DRDO high-altitude workstation which is mentioned in the Limca Book of World Records for being the highest altitude research station.
  4. Visit the Chang La Baba Temple and tie a flag here to pay your respects to the local deity.
  5. Stop to have tea and maggi at the small refreshment stall cum eatery that is situated en route here.

Permissions Needed to Visit Chang La Pass

Chang La Pass is en route to the famous Pangong Lake. While the Indian have free access to Chang La, foreign nationals require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to access this Pass as it is located in the restricted area. You can apply for the permit in advance for which any of your IDs will suffice like the Aadhar Card, Driving Licence or Voter ID etc.

Tips

  1. The air is very thin at Chang La Pass that may cause breathlessness and other breathing issues. Make sure to take prior precautions and if necessary, oxygen cylinders, along with you.
  2. Carry a basic medical kit which has medicines for nausea, altitude sickness, headaches and more.
  3. Wear proper clothing with layers and do not forget to cover your ears and head with a cap.

Best Time to Visit

Chang La Pass receives excessive rainfall during the winters so it is shut down. It is only open for the bikers and travellers between the months of May and October. However, the most ideal time to visit is between May and June when the weather is comparatively more pleasant. 

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