Best known as the gateway to the Nubra and Shyok valleys in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, the Khardung La Pass, commonly pronounced as Khardzong La, is a very important strategic pass into the Siachen glacier and claims to be the world's highest motor able pass at an elevation of 5,602 m.
The pristine air, the scenic beauty one sees all around and the feeling that you are on top of the world has made Khardung La a very popular tourist attraction in the past few years.
The best time to visit Khardung La is between May and October. This is the time when the pass is open.
Air: Leh is well connected with other important places in India. Regular flights link Leh with Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.
Rail: Ž_Kalka is the nearest railway station to Leh. Buses or taxis can be hired to reach Manali viaŽ_Shimla. There are regular taxis and bus services from Manali to Leh. Getting down at Jammu to reach Leh is also a good option
Road: Khardung La is situated at about 39 km from Leh. The first 24 km, as far as the South Pullu check point, are paved. From there to the North Pullu check point about 15 km beyond the pass the roadway is primarily loose rock, dirt, and occasional rivulets of snow melt. From Leh, a daily bus service to Nubra Valley passes over Khardung. The ideal method to get to Khardung-la is by taxi or bike.
There are no accommodation options in Khardung La unless you bring your own tent and set up camp by the roadside. Leh, which is the closest big town, offers many options
While your options at Khardung La pass will be limited, the city of Leh, has quite a food culture about it. Leh is a multicuisine city serving Indian, Tibetan, Chinese and even Korean. The cuisine here exhibits tints of these foreign influences. Visitors must try out the local dishes which almost define the cuisine here such as Thukpa, noodle soup;Tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngamphe (roasted barley floursted barley flour), and Skyu which is a heavy pasta dish with plenty of veggies as well as the very popular and delicious Momos which are steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables or meat. Drinks include Tea, coffee, beer and Chang which is an alcoholic beverage drunk especially on festive occasions.
Though options in Ladakh will be plenty, those about the pass will be almost scarce. There are no restaurants or food stalls at the pass. Hence you will be needed to carry your food while travelling in the area.
Start the travel to Nubra valley by passing through the Khardung La pass. Not only is this the safest way to reach the Nubra and Shyok valleys, it is the only way you can cover both places. Camping is only advised if travelling in a large group.
1. It is best advised to hire an experienced driver. 2 Prophylactic altitude-sickness medication like acetazolamide may be necessary for some travellers as there are no emergency medical facilities to treat altitude sickness along the route. 3. Required permits : For visiting the Nubra valley one requires a permit. This can be collected from travel agents in Leh on payment of a nominal fee of about two hundred rupees. But even without any permit one can enjoy the exhilarating trek above the pass.
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