Fancy a Road Trip? Then You Must Bookmark 12 Amazing High-Passes in Arunachal Pradesh

Photo of Fancy a Road Trip? Then You Must Bookmark 12 Amazing High-Passes in Arunachal Pradesh by Namrata Das Adhikary

Mountain passes, with their spellbinding beauty, beckon travellers into a world of grandeur and adventure that is unlike any other. India's Arunachal Pradesh is home to some of the most spectacular mountain passes in the world, providing travellers with breathtaking views, ancient stories, and a sense of awe and enchantment.

Whether it's a hair-raising, cliff-traversing drive up a mountain ridge or a misty journey through lush greenery, each pass in Arunachal Pradesh offers a unique, heroic experience that can only be found in this far-flung corner of India.

1) Bum La Pass

Standing tall at 16,500ft above sea level, Bum La Pass sits between India and China, connecting Tawang to Tibet’s Tsona Dzong and granting access only with a special permit from the Indian army. It's not only a beautiful route adorned with views of the Eastern Himalayas and its stunning valleys, but also a point of contention between the two countries, being the site of a major conflict in 1962. Take in the breathtaking views or enjoy visiting nearby Pangateng Tso Lake - Bum La Pass is a must-see for all travellers.

2) Sela Pass

Sela Pass, nestled within the Tawang District of Arunachal Pradesh, is a must-visit mountain pass for those who are looking for an Instagram-worthy vacation. Perched atop 4,170 metres (13,700 ft) in the sky, this pass offers spectacular views of snow-capped mountains and sprawling valleys. Best visited between the months April to October, Sela Pass is also the entry point to nearby Sela Lake - perfect for trekking or a casual picnic.

3) Diphu La Pass

The Diphu La Pass is an invaluable and historic trade route, standing tall at an altitude of 5,900 feet between India, China, and Myanmar. It provides easy access between Arunachal Pradesh and Mandalay, and is strategically important to India as it provides access to many areas along its borders. For centuries, traders have used the Diphu La Pass as a route to transport goods such as salt, spices, and textiles. The pass stands as a testament to its centuries-old importance and relevance.

4) Bom Di La

Tucked away in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh lies a little-known mountain pass - Bomdila Pass. Perched at an altitude of 2,217 metres (7,274 ft), the pass provides breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and hills. It serves as a passage to the remote town of Bomdila, and is a much sought-after destination among the adventurous and those seeking spiritual renewal. For those wishing to do more than just admire the views, the nearby Bomdila Monastery is a must-see. It is one of the most visited spots in the area, and gives visitors an insight into the vibrant local culture and traditions.

5) Dihang Pass

Dihang Pass, or the Siang Pass, provides a breathtaking spectacle of the Dihang River, its lush mountains and valleys. Located 15,049 feet above sea level, it is a popular trekking and camping destination in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. This majestic pass provides an adrenaline-filled experience for any traveller who is brave enough to ascend and explore its rugged terrain. The view from the top is one that should not be missed.

6) Gorichen Pass

A gateway to the secrets of the soul, Gorichen Pass is a mountain pass that stands at an incredible 5,260 metres above sea level. Gazing over the majestic Gorichen Peak, which towers as the tallest peak of Arunachal Pradesh, this motorable pass serves as a remarkable pathway to the beloved Tawang. With its stunning views and abundance of mountain activities, such as trekking and mountaineering, Gorichen Pass offers an unforgettable journey perfect for exploring the beauty of the Himalayan region.

7) Kumjawng Pass

Kumjawng Pass is an iconic mountain pass situated high in the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, offering stunning views of snow-capped mountains and lush forests. Located at an altitude of 2,929 metres (9,609 ft) above sea level, the pass is an ideal destination for trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts, granting them access to the majestic beauty of East India. With Myanmar located east of Krosam, Kumjawng Pass is a gateway to a unique getaway.

8) Mayodia Pass

The majestic Mayodia Pass, situated in the Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, is a stunning site, boasting snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and lush forests. Derived from the Deori-Chutia language, the name "Mayodia" meaning “shrine of mother goddess”, speaks volumes to the cultural and religious significance of the area. Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy spotting rare species, while getting to know the cultural heritage of the region at the annual Dibang Valley Festival. All in all, Mayodia Pass is a mesmerising and celestial destination.

9) Yonggyap Pass

Standing majestically at 12,500 feet above sea level, the Yonggyap Pass is a vital link between India and China through Myanmar. Formerly part of the Stilwell Road, it was built during World War II and still serves as a key trade route between both countries. The pass is also a secure location, with Indian and Chinese troops stationed there to ensure safety. Although the pass is often closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall, it remains a popular destination for tourists and trekkers, drawn to the area for its breathtaking beauty and exhilarating adventure.

10) Pangsau Pass

Tucked away in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India, the 'Hell's Pass' or Pangsau Pass is an incredible destination famed for its breathtaking views and unique cultural heritage. Standing tall at a height of 1,137 metres (3,730 feet) above sea level, visitors from all around the world come to explore the unparalleled beauty of its majestic landscape. Every year, the local tribes of the region organise the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival at nearby Nampong, a town near the pass, to celebrate and showcase their customs, music, and artforms. From sightseeing to trekking and shopping, Pangsau Pass offers a plethora of experiences to its visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist spots in the entire state.

11) Tulung La pass

Tulung La pass is a strategically important mountain pass, located at an elevation of 4,780 metres (15,682 feet) in Arunachal Pradesh, connecting India to Tibet and China. In 1975, it was the site of the infamous Tulung La ambush, and today represents the complex and delicate geopolitical relations between the two countries. The road to Tulung La is only open during the summer months, and is a significant access route for both countries.

12) Chankan Pass

Chankan Pass is an impressive mountain pass situated in the Lower Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. With its stunning views and lush green forests, it is a popular destination for adventure seekers and locals alike. Historically, it has been an important transportation route that was used by Ahom kings to make their way through to neighbouring tribes. Today, it is known for its historical and cultural importance, as well as its challenging terrain that make it perfect for trekking and camping.

Best way to reach Arunachal’s high mountain passes:

Visitors looking to experience the mountain passes of Arunachal Pradesh should first fly to the nearest airports in Guwahati or Dibrugarh in Assam, before making their way up the roads via a hired taxi or bus. The roads, while not too difficult, can still be steep and require appropriate clothing and shoes. Making the trip during the day is advised due to high elevations and possible changes in weather.

A journey through Arunachal Pradesh offers travellers unparalleled opportunities to explore the remote and untrodden paths of the Indian Himalayas. So take the plunge and make your foray into the many unique and captivating high mountain passes of India’s easternmost state!

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