One of the major highlights of any Trip to Leh – Ladakhis crossing the Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable pass built by the brave men of 201 Engineer Regiment, Indian Army. The road was opened to vehicular traffic on 27 August 1973. At an altitude of 18,380 feet, Khardung La Pass is the gateway to Shyok and Nubra Valleys .
Khardungla is 39 km by road from Leh. The first 24 km, as far as the South Pullu check point, are paved. From there to the North Pullu checkpoint about 15 km beyond the pass the roadway is primarily loose rock, dirt, and occasional rivulets of snow melt. From North Pullu into the Nubra Valley, the road is very well maintained (except in a few places where washouts or falling rock occur).
While at Khardung La, don’t forget to have a cup of hot tea and a plate of hot Maggi at the Highest Cafeteria in the World. It is recommended that the maximum stopping time at the top should not be more than 30 minutes, so once you are done with clicking pictures and having some food, head out to the souvenir shop. The shop also maintained by the Indian Army sells all kinds of souvenirs like, coffee mugs, beer mugs, decorative plates, tee shirts, and caps etc. I personally have all of them with me.
Cross Khardung La Pass and make your way towards Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery and Panamik. The road from Khardung La pass crosses Nubra Valley goes all the way up to Siachen Base Camp. But Panamik is the last place up to which civilians are allowed on this road towards Siachen. Panamik is also famous for its hot water sulphur springs. Everyone has seen a camel at some point of time, but you should be privileged if you get to see a double humped camel. Head out to the sand dunes in Hunder and catch a sight of the Double Humped Camels, which are an endangered species and the only place in India to see them is here at Hunder . This will remain a highlight of your trip to Leh – Ladakh.