Mountain Passes Of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh boasts a captivating landscape that enchants the eye with its variety. However, the true beauty and grandeur of this Indian state lies in its high mountain passes. These narrow passages play a crucial role when mountains act as barriers to travel and trade. The utility of a pass depends on factors such as its elevation above lower land, the duration of snow-free accessibility, and the type of area it connects. Locally known as Jots and La, these passes are significant physical features.

All these passes pose challenges with difficult terminal escalations and rapid changes in environmental fragility. Himachal Pradesh, a land gifted by the gods, invites adventure enthusiasts with a plethora of activities like mountaineering, trekking, rock-climbing, skiing, hang-gliding, heli-skiing, water sports, golfing, hunting, fishing, and crossing high passes from one range to another. The state accommodates everyone in every season. 

Mountain Pass

A mountain pass is a pathway that crosses through or over a mountain range. These passes can form during the construction of a mountain range or as a result of natural forces such as glaciers, rushing water, or precipitation in the form of rain or snow. When at lower heights, they are referred to as hill passes. Most pass tops are flat and shaped like a saddle. They can be small, high peaks or enormous valleys that span for miles. Passes are typically located near the headwaters of rivers that are supplied by rain and snowmelt. Although it doesn't have to be flat, it must be much lower in elevation than the other mountains.

Major Passes of Himachal Pradesh

Rohtang Pass


  • Rohtang Pass is situated across the Pir Panjal range on the National Highway to Leh.
  • It holds the distinction of being the world's second-highest road point, with an elevation of 3978 meters (13400 feet).


  • Forms the main gateway connecting the Kullu Valley and Lahaul-Spiti.


  • Despite its moderate height, Rohtang Pass is one of the most hazardous passes.
  • Sudden blizzards and snowstorms can overtake unwary travelers on or near the crest at any time.

Historical Significance:

  • First reached by the Englishman Moore Craft in A.D. 1820, who named it 'Ritanka Jot.'
  • In A.D. 1863, Dr. J.G. Gerard and Lord Elgin, the then Governor General, crossed it twice on the same day.

Landscape Features:

  • Marked by the twin peaks of Gyephang at 6400 meters (21000 feet).
  • The landscape has a brown and silver dreamy quality with a strange "lunar" ambiance.


  • Vital route for travel and trade in the region.
  • Connects the Kullu Valley to the rest of the Southern area of Kullu-Manali.

Shipki La

Location and Elevation:
  • Situated in Kinnaur-Tibet, this pass is perched at an elevation of 4500 meters.
  • The pass marks the entry point of the Sutlej River into India from Tibet.

  • It serves as a crucial link connecting Himachal Pradesh with Tibet.
  • Non-residents are restricted from using this pass, emphasizing its controlled access.
  • Primarily utilized for short-distance commerce activities between India and Tibet.
Historical Ties:
  • An offshoot of the ancient Silk Road, it holds historical significance.
  • Primarily utilized for short-distance commerce activities between India and Tibet.

Bara-Lacha La

  • Situated on the Manali-Leh road, approximately 75 km from Keylong towards Leh.
  • Stands at an elevation of 4890 meters and extends nearly 8 km.
Geographical Connection:
  • Crosses the Zanskar mountain, serving as a vital link between Lahaul and Leh.
  • Bhaga river, a tributary of the Chenab river, flows on the Manali side of the pass.
  • Known as the 'Pass with crossroads on the summit.'
  • Intersection point for roads from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti, and Lahaul.
  • Offers breathtaking views amid snow-capped peaks and diverse terrains.
  • Critical link in the network connecting various regions in the Himalayas.
  • Holds strategic importance for travelers navigating through the Manali-Leh route.

Kunjum Pass

  • It is a high mountain pass in the Eastern Kunzum range of the Himalayas, known for its famous Rohtang footprints.
  • Safer and easier in both ascent and descent compared to Rohtang Pass.
  • Provides the main approach to Spiti from Lahaul.
  • Situated at a distance of 60 km from Gramphoo towards Kaza, on the Gramphoo-Kaza-Sumdo road.
  • Rises to an altitude of 4520 meters.
Geographical Separation
  • Separates the Spiti area from Lahaul, with the Spiti River originating from the great Kunjum Range.
  • Critical pass for travel and trade between the Lahaul and Spiti regions.
  • Considered a more accessible route for trekking into the famous Pangi Valley in Chamba district.

Sach Pass

  • Located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Provides a convenient route for trekking into the famous Pangi Valley.
  • Stands at an altitude of 4395 meters.
Geographical Significance
  • Critical pass for accessing the renowned Pangi Valley in Chamba.
  • Connects Killar, which has a helipad facility, to Chamba and serves as a gateway to other destinations.
  • Routes from Sach Pass lead to Kishtwar (Jammu) and Manali, offering diverse travel options.
Terrain Characteristics
  • Presents challenging terminal escalations and changes in environmental fragility.

Bhaba Pass

  • Situated in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Route Description
  • To cross Bhaba Pass from Manali, one needs to traverse Rohtang Pass and Kunzum La first.
  • Proceed to Attargo (3250 meters) through a reasonable 18 km walk across the Spiti river.
  • Continue to Muth Jhullah (3811 meters), a 12 km distance, crossing the Parahio river at Sagnam.
  • Further gradual climbing of 14 km leads to Baldur (3963 meters).
  • Concluding the journey with a walk to Pulti (3354 meters), covering a 14 km distance with an easy gradient to Bhaba Pass.
Alternative Routes
  • The pass opens up routes to Kishtwar (Jammu) and Manali, providing diverse trekking options.

Pin Parbati Pass

Geographical Location
  • Located in the Kullu-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Positioned at an elevation of 5319 meters above sea level.
  • Renowned as the "Valley of Shadows."
  • Notable for its rocky terrains, adding to the challenging nature of the pass.
  • Serves as a crucial link connecting the Parbati valley in Kullu with the Pin valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district.
  • The pass offers a unique and rugged landscape, contributing to its distinction.

Chanderkhani Pass

  • Situated in the Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.
  • Chanderkhani Pass is at an elevation of approximately 3,660 meters (12,008 feet) above sea level.
  • It connects the villages of Malana and Naggar in the Kullu Valley.
Trekking Route 
  • The pass is a popular trekking destination, and the trek usually starts from Naggar or Rumsu. 
  • It offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Landscape Features
  • Alpine meadows
  • Dense forests
  • Snow-capped peaks
  • Scenic landscapes.

Hamta Pass

  • Himalayan corridor between Chandra Valley (Lahaul) and Kullu Valley (Himachal Pradesh), India.
  • Lower Himalayan shepherds use the pass in summer for access to high-altitude grasslands.
Landscape Features
  • Vertical rock walls
  • Waterfalls
  • Hanging glaciers
  • Pinewoods
  • Rhododendron forests
  • Open meadows
  • Small lakes
Prominent Peaks
  • Mt. Deo Tibba
  • Mount Indrasan
Flora and Fauna
  • Wildflowers and herbs thrive between 3000 to 3800 meters.

Ghasutri Pass

  • Situated in Chamba district, Himachal Pradesh.
  • The pass is characterized by its steep slopes and snowy surroundings.
Access Routes
  • Reached by walking up to Kalatop and then to Khajjiar, known as "the Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh" or "the mini Switzerland."
  • Travel continues via Chamba (996 meters) to Chhatrari (1900 meters) and then to Chanderkup Tal (3450 meters).
Unique Feature
  • Steep slopes and snow on both sides of the pass allow locals and Gaddis to slide down, known as "ghasutri" in the local dialect.
  • The sliding action, termed "ghasutri," is a traditional practice in the region.

Inderhar Pass

  • Located between Dharamshala and Chinota in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Situated at an elevation of about 320 meters.
Access Route
  • The route starts from Dharamshala, involving a steady climb with excellent views up to Triund (2975 meters).
  • Descending through villages and green fields, reaching Bharmaur (2195 meters).
Seasonal Variation
  • During winter, frozen snow near the top makes it steep, but during other times, the pass is not very difficult to cross.
Scenic Beauty
  • Encompasses picturesque views of the Manimahesh range.

Talang Pass

Geographical Location
  • Situated in the Kangra-Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Positioned at an elevation of about 4640 meters above sea level.
Access Route
  • The route follows the Talang nullaha through Supadhar (2500 meters), a place of Gujjar and Gaddis for summer.
Local Belief
  • The pass is said to be dedicated to the local God Talong.
  • Frequently utilized during the summer by the Gujjar and Gaddi communities.

Kugti Pass

Geographical Location
  • Positioned in the Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Located at an elevation of about 4961 meters in the Chamba region.
Scenic Landscape
  • Offers a green and panoramic valley from Kugti to Duggi caves (3354 meters).
  • Magnificent views of the Kailash Peak are visible from the pass.

Debsa Pass

  • This road connects Kullu and Spiti.
  •  A mountaineering party led by Joydeep Sircar discovered this pass in 1995.

Tempola Pass

Geographical Location
  • Located in the district of Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Situated at an elevation of about 4930 meters.
Access Route
  • The pass features challenging terrain, adding to its trekking difficulty.
  • Accessible by walking along Yoche nullaha to the base of the pass.

Chanshal Pass

  • Chanshal Pass connects Rohru with Dodra Kwar in the Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Chanshal Pass is situated at an elevation of 3750 meters.
  • There is a seasonable road that connects Rohru and Dodra Kwar via Chanshal Pass.

Jalori Pass

  • Jalori Pass is situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India.
  • The pass is at an elevation of approximately 3,120 meters (10,280 feet) above sea level.
  • Jalori Pass is a mountain pass that provides a vital link between the Shimla and Kullu valleys.
  • It connects the Inner Seraj region with the outer Seraj region.

Some other Passes and Jots of Himachal Pradesh

Pass NameAltitude (meters)Location
Basodan2,400Chamba - Bhatiyat
Dulchi2,788Mandi - Kullu
Bhabu2,895JoginderNagar - Kullu
Padri3,050Chamba - Jammu
Jalori3,135Inner & Outer Seraj in Kullu
Chauri3,150Chamba - Kangra
Rashol Jot3,230Kullu
Pajanund Galu3,280Mandi - Kullu
Khauli Galu3,440Kullu
Jalsu Ka Jot3,450Kangra - Chamba
Chanderkhani Galu3,600Kullu
Tainti Galu3,600Kullu
Baleni Jot3,730Kangra - Chamba
Gharhu Jot3,735Kullu
Sari Galu3,745Kullu - Kangra
Waru Pass3,870Kangra - Chamba
Shibaling Pass3,980Kinnaur
Rohtang Pass3,978Kullu - Lahaul
Bherianga Pass4,140Kullu - Lahaul
Hamtah Jot Pass4,270Kullu - Kangra
Singoor Pass4,310Pir Panjal - Kullu - Spiti
Indrahar Pass4,320Kangra - Bharmaur
Tori Jot4,360Kangra - Bharmaur
Sach Pass4,395Kangra - Chamba
Ranjcha Pass4,400Chamba - Pangi
Shipkila4,500Lahaul - Spiti
Kunzum Pass4,520Lahaul - Spiti
Shi Jot4,530Lahaul - Spiti
Rangchi Galu4,540Kullu
Tamsar Pass4,572Kullu
Shinka Pass4,575Kangra - Bara Banghal
Burua Pass4,578Kinnaur - Gharwal
Bhim Ghasutri Jot4590Kangra - Chamba
Rupin Ghati4,625Kinnaur - Gharwal
Talang Pass4,640Kinnaur - Gharwal
Kathikukri4,645Kullu - Kangra
Gairu Jot4,662Kangra
Drati Pass4,720Chamba - Pangi
Chobu Pass4725Bharmour - Lahaul - Spiti
Kalicho4,730Lahaul - Bharmour
Khidala Galu4,750Chamba
Nikora Pass4,755Kangra - Bharmour
Animal Pass4,880Kullu
Manali Pass4,880Manali - Kangra
Baralacha La4,890Pangi-Range, Lahaul, Bharmour
Tempo La4,930Lahaul - Spiti
Chabia Pass4,934Pangi-Range, Lahaul, Bharmour
Mulari Jot4,960Lahaul
Kugti Pass4,961Lahaul - Bharmaur
Shipting4,980Bharmour - Lahaul
Taintu Ka Jot5,050Kullu - Kangra
Sara Umga Pass5,010Kullu - Spiti
Shakarof5,025Lahaul - Spiti
Asha Gali5,030Kangra - Lahaul - Spiti
Nalgaon Pass5,035Kinnaur - Gharwal
Duggi Jot5,060Bharmour - Lahaul
Kamilaga Pass5,151Kinnaur - Gharwal
Makori Jot5,190Kangra
Lamkhaga Pass5,284Kinnaur - Gharwal
Charang Pass5,266Kinnaur - Gharwal
Pin Parbati5,320Kullu - Spiti
Borsa Pass5,360Kinnaur - Gharwal
Laluni Jot5,440Lahaul - Spiti


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