Gateway To The Korakoram
The Khardong La pass is situated at an incredible elevation of over 5,800 m (18,680 ft). It lies on the route between Leh and the Shyok and Nubra valleys. In fact the Khardung La can be termed the gateway to the Karakoram or "the land of black gravel as the name itself translates". There is a large glacier on the Nubra side of this pass. The route over this pass is difficult and treacherous.
The Khardung La played an important role in the past. It was one of the most important passes in the trade route to Central Asia. It was in fact the last major obstacle before the caravans could reach the valley of the Indus.
Here, cold winds blow at a tremendous velocity. A signpost and a small post indicate the Khardung La pass and the highest road of the world, where the freezing winds blast piercingly through to the bones of the visitor.
On the top and for some distance down off the north side lies a large snowfield where the motor road has been carved out. But it requires regular clearing of hard ice in order to keep it open for army convoys. To the south, beyond Leh , some fine rock mountains are visible, while to the north the beautiful peaks of the Karakoram Range loom high.
In recent times, Khardung La rose to prominence as the highest motorable point on earth. It held this record till the building of the Karakoram Highway by China. However, it still remains a fantastic feat, as the road is cleared and heavily used by the Indian Army to shuttle forth supplies to its border troops.
DIGAR LA PASS
This pass also connects Leh to the Shyok in Nubra valley. It is situated at an elevation of about 6,000 m. The Digar La pass remains open for a longer time than the Khardong La pass. It is relatively easier to cross, though the route across the pass is longer.