Located just a few kilometers from Leh on the Leh-Manali Highway, Tanglang La mountain pass is located in the Union Territory of Ladakh. It is a high altitude pass with an elevation of about 5,328 meters. With gorgeous backdrops and marvelous landscapes, this place entices tourists from all over to visit it. It provides a scenic view from every angle where one passes through 21 Gala loops to have a rubbernecking session throughout the journey.
The Tanglang-La has in the past served as a trade route and a religious centre. Known for its amazing and dramatic landscape, the Tanglang La pass provides a blissful experience in the Himalayan trails with greenery.
The pass provides for an extremely thrilling adventure, but it can be nerve-wracking for first-time riders, because of its unpredictable turns and the extreme cold, which can often dip to -35 degrees Celsius. At these temperatures, the supply of oxygen can get dangerously low, and riders and tourists also often fall sick while driving to this pass.
Geographical Location and Information
Tanglang La is the second highest mountain pass in Ladakh after Khardung La Pass. Two of the nearest settlements to the pass include Sarchu towards Manali and Upshi towards Leh. It is also one of the highest mountain roads in the country and can be traversed by the Leh-Manali Highway. It is home to the nomadic Changspa herdsmen who are mainly goat and cattle herders. It is located in the Zanskar range, at the northernmost tip of India.
Backdrop and Beauty
As one drives through this scenic highway, beautiful views on both sides make the journey exciting. Apart from its pristine beauty, the pass also provides an adrenaline rush to those having adventure streak with its numerous rough and sharp terrains.
The pass also has a temple and a stone marker which is a great indicator of its altitude. This is pretty useful for travelers and provides them with a sense of direction.
One can relish the soft icy breeze that caresses your being and takes you away from all the din and bustle of city life. The landscape varies from ashen mountains to scenic plains. The vegetation is sparse here.
In this primarily colorless vista, you will see a speck of color being added by the Buddhist prayer flags adorning the roadside. Again, a pastoral scene with goats running alongside the road is enough to cheer you up.
You can also get a glimpse of the life and culture of the Changspa people or Champa people who reside here. They are semi-nomadic in nature and speak a kind of Tibetan language. They earn their livelihood by rearing animals and by selling the fur of their livestock.
As much as the journey to Tanglang La is enjoyable, it is surely not an easy one. Hence people with respiratory problems are generally advised to keep away from this journey. One can also make a halt at Sarchu and Upshi for tea and snacks.
The pass is wrapped in a consistent show of the Rocky Mountains that bury themselves gradually into the white, gleaming layers of snow. At some spots, you will observe the sparkling streams and rivers flowing smoothly through the alleys and crevices. However, it does have rough and sharp terrains at certain spots that require present-mindedness. This journey is sure to evoke an adrenaline rush in you if you are an adventure junkie.
During winters, the pass gets extremely cold and after the beginning of November, the temperature starts dropping and the snowfall might lead to road blockage. Hence it’s advisable to refrain from visiting this pass in winters.
Again, the crossing of the 21 Gata Loops, which are risky hairpin bends is pretty challenging. Bumpy roads can be spotted in certain areas that need extra care. Hence an experienced driver would be preferable for the journey.
Again, due to its high altitude, the pass can raise some concerns for people with health issues.
Tips for visiting Tanglang La
Do keep in mind that if you suffer from respiratory or cardiac problems, this trip should be avoided.
The drive is very beautiful, but also extremely dangerous, so it is advised to have with you someone who knows the place or has been before, and can drive on mountain roads, as the Highway is used every day by locals who want to reach Leh, and hence, the driving can be stressful and dangerous.
Best Time to Visit Tanglang La
April and May are the best months to visit this pass as the days are warm and the roads are in perfect condition. While during the winter season the region is inaccessible due to the heavy snowfall. The roads get blocked and they cannot reach here.
How to Reach Tanglang La
You can reach here via Leh-Manali Highway. Thus, National Highway 21 is what connects you to the pass. People can hire a taxi or rent a bike from Manali and drive to Leh. They can even catch a bus from Manali to Leh. The government buses run for Leh and people can glare at the enchanting beauty of the region.
Nearby Destinations of Tanglang La
Along with a spectacular view, Tanglang La has a lot of nearby destinations that are worth the visit. Some of these include Thiksey Monastery, Hall of Fame, Shanti Stupa, Upshi, Hemis National Park, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, etc.
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