The Himalayan mountain system is the highest in the world and is home to the world’s highest peaks. There are 14 Himalayan peaks with elevation over 8,000 metres. Important mountain passes/himalayan passses makes few routes through the mountains possible.
List of important Mountain Passes in India:
1. Dungri La Pass – The Dungri la pass or Mana Pass is the high altitude mountain pass and is located in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve of the Zanskar mountain range in the Uttarakhand. It connects India and Tibet.
2. Chang La Pass – Chang La Pass is situated at an elevation of over 5300 m and is one of the highest motorable road in the world which connects Indus Valley to Pangong Lake region. Changtang plateau is known for its high altitude giant lakes and vast highlands of great Himalayas.
3. Debsa Pass – Debsa Pass is situated at an elevation of over 5360 m in the Himalayas. It is a high mountain pass in Greater Himalayas and connects the Kullu and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti Valley is a desert mountain land between Tibet and India.
4. Karakoram Pass – The Karakoram Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,693 m between India and China in the Karakoram Range. The Karakoram Pass is the oldest route between Leh and Yarkant and is the tallest pass of the Karakoram Mountain Range. The Siachen Glacier is situated in the eastern Karakoram range.
5. Sela Pass – The frozen Sela Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,170 m in Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh. Sela Pass connects Tawang to rest of India through Tezpur and Guwahati. It receives heavy snowfall in winter but remain opens throughout the year. It is the only Gateway to the Tawang and Buddhist Tawang Monastery.
6. Khardung La Pass – Khardung La Pass Bomdi La 5,800 m. Khardung La Pass is the highest motorable pass and one of the highest motorable road in the country. Khardung La pass is located near Leh in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
7. Banihal Pass (Jawahar Tunnel) – Banihal Pass is situated at an elevation of 2,850 m in the Pir-Panjal Range. Banihal Pass connects Jammu with Srinagar. The pass remains covered with snow during the winter season. The Jawahar Tunnel was inaugurated in 1956.
8. Bomdi La Pass – Bomdi La is situated at an elevation of 2600 m to the east of Bhutan in the Greater Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh. It connects Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa, Tibet.
9. Diphu Pass – Diphu Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,587 m. Diphu Pass is a mountain pass at the tri-point of the borders of India, China, and Burma. It is a traditional pass between India and Myanmar which remains open throughout the year for transportation and trade. Diphu Pass is also a strategic approach to eastern Assam.
10. Khunjerab Pass – Khunjerab Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,693 m. is a high mountain pass in the Karakoram Mountains in a strategic position on the northern border of Pakistan’s Gilgit–Baltistan Hunza – Nagar District on the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China.
11. Jelep La Pass – Jelep La Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,267 m. This pass connects Sikkim with Lhasa, Tibet.
12. Lipu-Lekh Pass – Lipu-Lekh Pass is situated at an elevation of 5,340 m. It connects the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand in the Pithoragarh district in India with Tibet.
13. Nathu La Pass – Nathu La Pass is a mountain pass in the Himalayas and is situated at an elevation of 4,310 m. It connects Sikkim (India) with China. It is one of the three open trading border posts between India and China, the other two are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh in Uttarakhand.
14. Pir-Panjal Pass – Pir-Panjal Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India. Manali-Leh Highway, a part of NH 21, transverses Rohtang Pass.
15. Shipki La Pass – Shipki La is a mountain pass and border post on the India-Tibet border. It is located in Kinnaur district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India, and Tibet Autonomous Region in People’s Republic of China. Sutlej river enters India (from Tibet) through this pass. It is an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. It is a border post for trade with China.
16. Zoji La – Zoji La is situated at an elevation of 3,950 m. It connects Srinagar with Kargil and Leh. Zoji La is 9 km from Sonamarg and provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir.