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Apart from Khardung La or Baralacha La, Ladakh has numerous other passes at great heights which stand as Ladakh’s pride for centuries now. The glitters of other passes may be diminished by Khardung La mainly but all the other passes are equally important. Lachulung La is a single example.
The elevation of this pass is 5059 meters above sea level which is considered to be a dangerously exciting height for any pass after Khardung La. Lachulung La is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also, it separates the valleys of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. If you take Leh-Manali highway, you will be able to cross this pass that has other names such as Lachalung La, Lungalacha La etc.
A fact that to be remembered before you head to visit this pass is, it is open only for four and a half months during summer. Any traveler should be prepared not to fall sick during the conquering of Lachulung La because its geographic status, the height, the rugged pathways and the remote villages it goes through may cause dramatic influence on your body. Being one of the most adventurous passes in Ladakh, Lachulung is a favorite stop avid adventure lovers.
Also, the surroundings are quite fictional as the towering Himalayan passes and the nature lying in correspondence to them are creating soothing visuals. Trekkers should be very careful while climbing the altitude up as altitude sickness is assured at the top and keep hydrated to maintain your body conditions with respect to the climate. But the descent is smooth and easy so that you will feel overjoyed till the end.
Height: 5059 meters
Best time to visit: May to October
How to reach: Take Leh-Manali highway, from Sarchu 54 KM and from Pang, 24 Km
As important as the other major passes in Jammu and Kashmir, Nakee La situated at an elevation of 4769 meters above the sea level is a potent competition to Khardung La and similar ones in terms of adventure. On the Leh-Manali Highway, from Manali to Taglang La is Nakee La and it is the third pass among the five passes that to be crossed during the travel from Manali to Leh.
The previous travelers shared the experience of driving down the pass was quite dramatic; the expert drivers also find it challenging to steer past the uneven, rugged and off-road paths. But the traversing time would be filled with excitement and thrill if you really love adventure at its level best.
The frequent sections of ice are another impediment during the journey as well as an avalanche, heavy snowfalls etc can be expected anytime making the process of crossing the pass difficult. The climate is very dry over here and the harsh cold conditions make the pass a challenge to overcome for many. 21 Gata loops is a repeatedly heard word during the tour of Leh and the ascent to Nakee La is known in the special name.
One have to overcome the 23 km ascent that starts from 4250 meters to 4980 meters conquering the 21 tricky hairpin bends. There is also a rumor you can hear about the pass is that the pass is haunted by a ghost of a tourist who was buried here.
Height: Nakee La is located at an elevation of 4769 meters above the sea level.
Location: Nakee La is located on the famous Leh-Manali National Highway. While you travel from Manali to Leh, you would come across Nakee La.
Best time to go: The summer is the best time to visit Nakee La since during winter there would be heavy snowfall and landslide.
On a tour of Leh, either starting from Manali or while returning to Manali, Sarchu is a major halt where properly arranged camping settlement can be seen. To relax, to just roam around or to sleep peacefully under the stars, Sarchu is a significant point in Ladakh region. It is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the Leh-Manali Highway.
The travelers from Manali to Leh will have to face some off-road conditions and two days will be required to reach Leh on the journey, hence people will choose Sarchu as a halt station. Near the Tsarap Chu River, one can see the camps arranged by the Indian Army as well. But during the winter season, the highway and Sarchu camps would be remaining closed as the altitude passes will not be accessible due to the presence of heavy snow.
Mainly, the trekking of Ladakh starts from Sarchu because the continuing journey from Manali to Leh would be tiring and the trekkers cannot start the experience all of a sudden. So an overnight stay in Sarchu will give energy and more enthusiasm to start the walk early morning. The tents are proper and safe with all the facilities an overnight resident would require.
Height: 4290 meters above the sea level
Location: Sarchu is between Baralacha La to the south and Lachulung La to the north and 220 kms away from Manali. You can reach Sarchu if you take a drive along Leh- Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The months from June to October are considered the best time to reach Sarchu.
A very mysterious attraction existing on the Leh-Manali Highway is Gata Loops as the stories related to it are creepy and at times scary. Gata Loops is a series of 21 hairpin bends that lead to the top of one of the highest motorable passes in Ladakh region that is Nakee La.
Gata Loops is located at an altitude of 17000 feet above the sea level and thus gifts so many wonderful sights of the snow-laid peaks in the background and excitement filled journey till the topmost portion. The myth related to Gata Loops says that a ghost is present in the road and it will disturb the passengers so that everyone is supposed to pay tribute to the ghost dwelling in a small hut atop the pass by giving mineral water and cigarettes.
In spite of the fact that the ghost is present or not, people have showered offerings to the mysterious ghost. Nonetheless, Gata Loops is a treacherous route to overcome and during winter, the roads will be blocked as the incessant ice sheets are all over the place. The hairpin bends are sharp and it is unimaginably challenging to enter the next loop from the other but descending the loops is more thrilling.
Height: The pass is located at an altitude of 17000 feet at the maximum above the sea level.
Location: The loops are located 25 kms away from Sarchu on Leh-Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The roads will be suitable to have ride during the months of June, July, August and September.
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