Khardung La being one of the most popular destinations in Leh and the gateway to Nubra and Siachen glacier, one might encounter a lot of traffic and army convoys on the way and it is best to start off the journey early in the day to avoid as much traffic as you possibly can.
The drive to Khardung La can get very bumpy as the weather and landslides that frequently happen here doesnt augor too well for well maintained roads! Having said that the drive to the summit of Khardung La is relatively easy compared to a few other rides in Leh. Road beyond South Pallu is in bad condition & gain in altitude is substantial and the elation of reaching the K top is mind numbing!
Khardung La - Worlds Highest Motorable Pass?
Dizzying heights, rarefied air and brutally cold temperatures - Khardung la is all this and more. Celebrated as the highest motorable pass in the world Khardung la is the gateway to the Nubra valley, one of the most picturesque locales in Leh.
A photograph by the board which says Worlds Highest Motorable road Alt 18380 ft is one amongst the cherished souvenirs for many travelers after a trip to Leh Ladakh!
Highest Motorable Pass?
The 5,602 m (18,380 feet) height claimed by the summit signs is inflated for the purpose of record breaking as modern GPS survey by a team of researchers ascertained the height of Khardungla to be 5,359 m (17,582 ft)
Khardung La mountain pass via Phyang is approximately 40 Kms from Leh town. Khardung La is known as the gate way to Nubra and Shyok valleys.
Diskit is about 15 km off the Khalsar - Panamik route a little ahead of Khalsar. The main attraction of Diskit is the Diskit Gompa built in 1420 AD. Set atop a small hill The Diskit Gompa offers beatiful view of the landscape. Founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo of Gelugpa sect of Buddhism, Diskit Gompa is the oldest and the second largest Buddhist monastery in Leh Ladakh after Thiksey monastery.
Turtuk - Shyok Valley
Opened for tourists in 2009 Turtuk offers beautiful view of the Shyok Valley. Turtuk was under control of Pakistan however India took over control during Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. There are few memorials built in memory of soldiers on Main Road going towards the zero point of India Pakistan Line of Control. Turtuk is 80km beyond Hunder and the way to Turtuk from Hunder is very scenic.
Panamik is the last village accessible to tourists. Panamik is known for two things - centuries old Ensa Gompa and hot water springs! Hot water springs is not much but a stone shack on the hillside. A bath in the sulphur rich hot spring however is believed to be curative in nature.
Roughly 30 kms from the Khardung La pass is Khardung Village nestled in lovely mountainous backdrop. Khardung is a small settlement and there are only a few restaurants here however it is the only place you can find any after the checkposts at Pallu.