Mountain Passes

Mountain passes are also known as notches, gaps, saddles, cols, hauses, bwlch (Welsh), bealach or brennig (Gaelic). It is a path through a mountain range or above a ridge. If you are going by the lowest possible itinerary, a mountain pass is locally the uppermost spot on that itinerary. As a number of the famous mountain ranges have offered alarming obstacles to tourists, mountain passes have been useful since earlier than documented history and have played an important role in business, warfare, and relocation.

Mountain passes: An overview

Mountain passes are similar to the geometric theory of a topological saddle plane where there is a saddle point indicating the tallest spot amid two basins and the lowest spot beside a ridge. On a topographical map, you will see that passes are typified by curve lines with the form of hourglasses, which signify a low point in the middle of two higher spots.

Passes are frequently noticed just over the origin of a river, forming a type of bridge onto the origin of another river. The length of passes may be small, comprising sharp inclines to the pinnacle of the pass, or basins of extensive length, whose tallest spot can only be recognized through investigation.

Roads have been constructed, and in recent times railways, through passes. A number of tall and rocky passes may have passageways dug below to ensure quicker traffic movement round the year.

In addition to providing comparatively effortless journey between basins, passes also offer a way connecting two mountain summits with a minimum of decline. Consequently, it is normal for trails to join at a pass; this frequently makes them suitable itineraries even while trekking between a pinnacle and the bottom of a basin.

Khbar Pass

The Khbar Pass or Khyber Pass connects Pakistan and Afghanistan. This pass was an important segment of the old Silk Road. From time immemorial, the Khbar Pass has functioned as a business route amid South Asia and Central Asia. The Khyber Pass is also an important site for armed forces. The peak of the Khbar Pass is located at 5 km (3.1 miles) within Pakistan and the name of the place is Landi Kotal. The pass subsequently travels across the northeast portion of the Safed Koh Mountains. These mountains are a stretch of the Hindu Kush Mountain Range to the southeast. The elevation is 1,070 m or 3,510 ft.

Karakoram Pass

The Karakoram Pass is the tallest pass on the prehistoric caravan itinerary amid Leh in Ladakh and Yarkand in the Tarim Valley. The pass ascends to an altitude of 5,540 m (18,171 ft). In Turkish language, the word Karakoram stands for “Black Gravel”.

The high elevation and absence of foodgrains were the main reasons for the casualties of innumerable pack animals. The itinerary through the pass was infamous for the trace of bones scattered beside the path. There is nearly no foliage on the access ways to the pass. The southern portion of the pass is more desolate than the north. Going over the lower Suget Pass or Suget Dawan is comparatively simple.

The Karakoram Pass is in a ridge amid two mountains and the breadth is around 45 meters (148 ft). There is no icecap or foliage and it is usually without snow because of the breezes. Temperatures are low, there are frequently strong breezes, snowstorms are regular, and the high elevation has an effect. Regardless of all these, the Karakoram Pass was regarded a comparatively unproblematic pass because of the steady climb on either sides and lack of summer snow and ice for the most part of the year. As a result, the pass was open for the most part of the year. There is no drivable way over the pass, and the pass presently stays sealed to all kinds of traffic movements.

Gomal Pass

The Gomal Pass is also known as the Gumal Pass. It is a mountain pass on the boundary of Afghanistan and southeast part of South Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan. The name has been derived from the Gomal River. It is situated in the middle of the Bolan Pass and Khyber Pass.

Bolan Pass

The Bolan Pass is a mountain pass across the Toba Kakar Mountain Range in Balochistan Province in West Pakistan. It is located at a distance of 120 km from the boundary of Afghanistan.

Due to its important location, aggressors, merchants and migratory ethnic groups have also made use of the Bolan Pass as an entrance to and from Southern Asia. The pass has a lot of significance on the border of Baluchistan, linking Sibi and Jacobabad with Quetta, which has always held a significant position in the history of British Army operations in Afghanistan.

Conventionally, the Brahul of the Kurd clan are in control of the law and order condition in the Bolan Pass Area. This clan is still surviving in the current Balochistan region in Pakistan.

In 1837, intimidated by a probable Russian attack of South Asia through the Bolan and Khyber Passes, a diplomat was sent to Kabul to get the assistance of Dost Mohammed, the Emir. The British Armed Forces under the leadership of Sir John Keane, guided 12,000 personnel via the Bolan Pass and moved into Kandahar in February 1839, which was deserted by the princes of Afghanistan. From this place, they would move on to invade and bring down Ghazni.

In 1883, Sir Robert Groves Sandeman parleyed with Khudadad Khan, the Khan of Kalat and assured British dominance on the Bolan Pass in return of a yearly charge.

Zojila Pass

The Zozila or Zojila Pass is a tall mountain pass in India. It is situated on the Indian National Highway 1D in the middle of Leh in the west Himalayan Mountain Ranges and Srinagar . Although it is frequently denoted as Zojila Pass in the international press, the exact English version is Zoji Pass or just Zojila as the suffix “La” stands for pass in various languages spoken in the Himalayas. In contemporary languages of North India, 'Darra' and 'La' are both utilized interchangeably to denote pass.

Zoji La is 5.6 mi (9 km) from Sonamarg and offers an essential connection between Kashmir and Ladakh. It is located at an altitude of around 3,528 meters (11,575 ft), and is the second tallest pass following Fotu La pass on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway. The Zojila Pass frequently remains closed throughout the winter season, although the Border Roads Organization (BRO) is functioning to increase traffic for the most part of the year. The Beacon Force division of the BRO is in charge of cleaning and upkeep of the way during winter.

During the India-Pakistani War of 1947, Zoji La pass was taken hold of by Pakistani invaders in 1948 in their operation to seize Ladakh. Indian military got hold of the pass on 1st November in a heroic infantry attack with the code name Operation Bison, which accomplished victory mainly because of the sudden use of protective covering, then the maximum height at which protective covering had worked in warfare in the world.

Shipki Pass

The Shipki pass or Shipki La Pass is a mountain pass and boundary check post on the border between India and China. The Sutlej River moves into India from Tibet via this pass.

The pass is situated in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh in India and Autonomous Region of Tibet in PRC (People's Republic of China). The Shipki Pass is the third boundary post of India for doing business with China following Nathula pass in Sikkim , and Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand. The pass is located nearby Khab town.

Important Mountain Passes in India

Given below are the names of the major mountain passes in India with their elevations:

Name State Height(ft)
Asirgarh Pass Madhya Pradesh
Bara-lacha-la Pass Jammu and Kashmir 16,400
Banihal Pass Jammu and Kashmir 9,291
Changla Pass Jammu and Kashmir 17,800
Dongkhala Pass Sikkim 12,000
Debsa Pass Himachal Pradesh 17,520
Dhumdhar Kandi Pass
Goecha La Pass Sikkim 16,207
Fotu La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 13,451
Haldighati Pass Rajasthan
Jelep La Pass Sikkim 14,300
Indrahar Pass Himachal Pradesh 14,473
Kunjum Pass Himachal Pradesh 14,931
Khardung La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 18,380
Lamkhaga Pass Himachal Pradesh 17,336
Lungalacha La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 16,600
Mayali Pass
Marsimik La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 18,314
Nathu La Pass Sikkim 14,140
Namika La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 12,139
Rohtang Pass Himachal Pradesh 13,051
Palakkad Gap Pass Kerala 1,000
Sela Pass Arunachal Pradesh 14,000
Sasser Pass Jammu and Kashmir 17,753
Tanglang La Pass Jammu and Kashmir 17,583
Sin La Pass Uttarakhand 18,028
Zojila Pass Jammu and Kashmir 12,400
Traill's Pass Uttarakhand 17,100

Last Updated on 02 February 2011