Baralacha Pass

Baralacha Pass

Tucked next to the Leh Manali highway and connecting Lahaul to Ladakh is the striking and stupendous Baralacha Pass. It is also known as Baralacha La. A high mountain pass in the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir, Baralacha La means the pass where many roads meet. Crossroads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar, and Lahaul meet here and in ancient times, it was part of a trade route. The pass connects Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. The Baralacha La is better described as a plateau where three mountain ranges meet (Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Himalayas). The Baralacha La towers over three valleys that meet at a height of over 16,000 ft.

The Baralacha Pass forms a natural divide between the Bhaga and Yunam River. The Bhaga River is a tributary of the Chenab River which is also known as the Chandrabhaga River. Bhaga River originates from the Suraj Tal, a few kilometers from Baralacha Pass. The Chandra River which meets the Bhaga River at Tondi to form the Chandrabhaga originates from a glacier in the Baralacha La region.

This mountain pass, one of the highest passes in Ladakh is around 73 kilometers away from Keylong on Manali - Leh road. This pass is the point of commencement for several treks which include the famous Suraj Tal trek and Chandra Tal trek. The pass is of utmost importance for the motorbikers and mountain bikers as when they travel from Manali, Baralacha La Pass is an important gateway to reach Ladakh.

When the snow melts and the road is open for travel, the peculiarly shaped snow hiding between cliffs is a sight to watch. As you reach the Baralacha La, you come across the cool blue waters of the Suraj Tal that is usually marked by an outline of snow at its banks. There is a sharp contrast to the surrounding gray and off white colored rocks that are scattered around the road and the lake. The Baralacha Pass is thus, surrounded by numerous beautiful sights, which leave the onlooker spellbound and yearning for more. The famous Baralacha Pass also finds mention in Rudyard Kipling's celebrated novel 'Kim', wherein the source of the Suraj Tal is used by the novel's character Lama to enter into India.

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