Major Mountain Passes in India – UPSC IAS

In this article, You will read the Important Mountain Passes in India and Indian Sub-continent for UPSC IAS.

Mountain Passes in India

Mountain pass is a connectivity route through the mountain run. It is a gateway to connect different parts of the country and also with neighboring countries for different purposes.

Mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge. Passes have played a key role in trade, war, and both human and animal migration throughout history.

At lower elevations it may be called a hill pass.

Mountain Passes are often found just above the source of a river, constituting a drainage divide. A pass may be very short, consisting of steep slopes to the top of the pass, or maybe a valley many kilometers long, whose highest point might only be identifiable by surveying.

Important Mountain Passes in India

Zoji La (Pass)-It is in the Zaskar range of Jammu & Kashmir. The road route from Srinagar to Leh goes through this pass. It has been created by the Indus River.

Banihal Pass-Banihal Pass is a mountain pass across the Pir Panjal Range at a maximum elevation of 2,832 m. It connects the Kashmir Valley in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to the outer Himalayas and the plains to the south. In the Kashmiri language, “Banihāl” means blizzard.

Shipki La (Pass)-Shipki La is a mountain pass and border post with a dozen buildings of significant size on the India-China border. The river Sutlej enters India near this pass. 

Bara-Lacha Pass- Bara-lacha la also known as Bara-lacha Pass,  is a high mountain pass in the Zanskar range, connecting Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Leh district in Ladakh, situated along the Leh–Manali Highway.

Rohtang Pass-It is a high mountain pass on the eastern end of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.

Mana Pass-The pass is one of the highest vehicle-accessible passes in the world, containing a road constructed in the 2005-2010 period for the Indian military by the Border Roads Organisation. Mana Pass is the last point between India and China’s Border.

Niti Pass-The Niti Pass located at 5800 meters connects India with Tibet. The pass is located in Uttarakhand. 

Nathu La (Pass)-Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in the East Sikkim district. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.  Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass” in Tibetan.

Jalep La (Pass)-Jelep La or Jelep Pass, elevation 4,267 m or 13,999 ft, is a high mountain pass between East Sikkim District, Sikkim, India, and Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is on a route that connects Lhasa to India.

Mountain Passes in India (state wise) – Location & Significance

Mountain Passes in Leh & Ladakh

Mountain Passes in Leh & Ladakh
Khardung LaIt is the highest motorable pass in the country. It connects Leh and Siachen glaciers. This pass remains closed during the winter.
Thang La / Taglang LaIt is located in Ladakh. It is the second-highest motorable mountain pass in India.
Aghil PassIt is situated to the North of Mount Godwin-Austen in the Karakoram. It connects Ladakh with the Xinjiang province of China. It remains closed during the winter season from November to May.
Chang-LaIt is a high mountain pass in the Greater Himalayas. It connects Ladakh with Tibet.
Lanak LaThis is located in the Aksai Chin in the Ladakh region. It connects Ladakh and Lhasa. The Chinese authority has built a road to join Xinjiang with Tibet.
Imis LaThe pass has a difficult geographical terrain and steep slopes. This pass remains closed during the winter season. It connects Ladakh and Tibet.
Bara-La/ Bara- Lacha LaIt is situated on the National Highway in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It connects Manali and Leh.

Mountain Passes in Uttarakhand

Traill’s PassIt is located in Uttarakhand. It is situated at the end of the Pindari glacier and connects the Pindari valley to Milam valley. This pass is very steep and rugged.
Lipu Lekh: Uttarakhand-TibetIt is located in Uttarakhand. It connects Uttarakhand with Tibet. This pass is an important border post for trade with China. The pilgrims for Manasarovar travel through this pass.
Mana Pass: Uttarakhand-TibetIt is located in the Greater Himalayas and connects Tibet with Uttarakhand. It remains under snow for six months during winter.
Mangsha Dhura Pass: Uttarakhand-TibetThe pass which connects Uttarakhand-Tibet is known for landslides. The pilgrims for Manasarovar cross this route. It’s located in the Kuthi Valley.
Muling La: Uttarakhand-TibetIt is situated in the north of Gangotri, at an elevation of 5669 m in the Great Himalayas. This seasonal pass that connects Uttarakhand with Tibet remains snow-covered during the winter season.
Niti PassThis pass joins Uttarakhand with Tibet. This also remains snow-covered during the winter season.
Debsa Pass: Spiti Valley and Parvati ValleyIt joins Spiti Valley and Parvati Valley. It is a high mountain pass in between the Kullu and Spiti of Himachal Pradesh. It is a bypass route of Pin-Parvati Pass.
Rohtang Pass: Kullu-Lahul-SpitiThis is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It has excellent road transportation. This pass connects Kullu, Spiti and Lahul.

Mountain Passes in the Northeastern States

Mountain Passes in India
Bomdi-La: Arunachal Pradesh-LhasaThe Bomdi-La pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. It is located in the east of Bhutan.
Dihang pass: Arunachal Pradesh- MandalayIt is located in the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh. This pass connects Arunachal Pradesh with Myanmar (Mandalay). At an elevation of more than 4000 m, it provides passage.
Diphu pass: Arunachal Pradesh- MandalayDiphu Pass is a mountain pass around the area of the disputed tripoint borders of India, China, and Myanmar. Diphu Pass is also a strategic approach to eastern Arunachal Pradesh. It lies on the McMahon Line. In October 1960 China and Burma demarcated their border to Diphu Pass, which is 5 miles south of the watershed of the mountain ranges. However, this caused a diplomatic row with India, which expected the tri-point to be at the watershed. The dispute has become part of the ongoing border disagreement between China and India regarding Arunachal Pradesh
Pangsau PassIt is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. This pass connects Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.Pangsau Pass or Pan Saung Pass, 3,727 feet (1,136 m) in altitude, lies on the crest of the Patkai Hills on the India-Burma (Myanmar) border. The pass offers one of the easiest routes into Burma from the Assam plains. It is named after the closest Burmese village, Pangsau, that lies 2 km beyond the pass to the east.

Mountain Passes in Kashmir

Mountain Passes in Kashmir
Banihal Pass (Jawahar Tunnel): Banihal with QazigundBanihal pass is a popular pass in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in the Pir- Panjal Range. It connects Banihal with Qazigund.
Zoji La: Srinagar- Kargil & LehIt connects Srinagar with Kargil and Leh. Beacon Force of Border Road Organization is responsible for clearing and maintaining the road, especially during the winter.
Burzail pass: Srinagar- Kishan Ganga ValleyThis pass joins the Astore Valley of Kashmir with the Deosai Plains of Ladakh.
Pensi LaThe Pensi La connects the Kashmir valley with Kargil. It is situated in the Greater Himalayas.
Pir-Panjal PassIt is a traditional pass from Jammu to Srinagar. This pass was closed after the partition. It provides the shortest roadway access to Kashmir valley from Jammu.

Mountain Passes in Southern India

Shencottah Gap: Madurai-KottayamIt is located in the Western Ghats. It joins the Madurai city in Tamil Nadu with the Kottayam district in Kerala.The second-largest gap in the Western Ghats which is situated five kilometers from town is known by its name that is Shencottah Gap road-rail lines pass through this gap which connects Shencottah with Punalur.
Bhor GhatBhor Ghat or Bor Ghat or Bhore Ghaut is a mountain passage located between Palasdari and Khandala for railway and between Khopoliand Khandala on the road route in Maharashtra, India situated on the crest of the Western Ghats. It is located at an elevation of four hundred and forty-one meters elevation above sea level. The ghat has a bit of historical evidence. The ghat was the ancient route developed by Satavahana to connect the ports of Choul, Revdanda Panvel, etc. on the Konkan coast and the surrounding areas on the Deccan plateau. Today the ghat plays a massive part of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway laid from Mumbai to Pune.
Thal GhatThal Ghat (also called Thul Ghat or Kasara Ghat) is a ghat section (mountain incline or slope) in the Western Ghats near the town of Kasara in Maharashtra. The Thal Ghat is located on the busy Mumbai–Nashik route, and is one of the four major routes, rail, and road routes, leading into Mumbai. The railway line, which passes through the ghat is the steepest in India with a gradient of 1 in 37
Pal GhatThe Palakkad Gap is located in the Western Ghats between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. India at an elevation of about 140 m. The mountain pass is located between Nilgiri Hills in the north and Anaimalai Hills towards the south and connects Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu with Palakkad in Kerala. The mountain pass was an important instrument for human migration across India’s southern tip throughout settled history.

Khyber Pass

  • The Khyber Pass is a mountain pass in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan (Nangarhar Province).
  • It connects the town of Landi Kotal to the Valley of Peshawar at Jamrud by traversing part of the Spin Ghar mountains. An integral part of the ancient Silk Road, it has long had substantial cultural, economic, and geopolitical significance for Eurasian trade.
  • Throughout history, it has been an important trade route between Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent and a vital strategic military choke point for various states that came to control it.
khyber pass upsc

Bolan Pass

  • The Bolān Pass is a mountain pass through the Toba Kakar Range of Balochistan province in western Pakistan, 120 km from the Afghanistan border.
  • The pass is an 89 km stretch of the Bolan river valley from Rindli in the south to Darwāza near Kolpur in the north. It is made up of a number of narrow gorges and stretches.
  • Bolan Pass is located in the south-east of Quetta. Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass. The Toba Kakar Mountains are a southern offshoot of the Himalayas in the Balochistan region of Pakistan.
Bolan Pass UPSC

List of Major Mountain Passes in India

NameStateHeight (ft)Between/ Separating
AsirgarhMadhya Pradesh  
Auden’s ColUttarakhand17,552 
Banihal PassJammu and Kashmir (Jammu, Kashmir)9,291Jammu & Kashmir
Bara-lacha-laHimachal Pradesh16,400 
BomdilaArunachal Pradesh  
Changla PassJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)17,585Leh & Changthang
Chanshal PassHimachal Pradesh14,830 
Dehra CompassJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)  
Debsa PassHimachal Pradesh17,520 
Diphu PassArunachal Pradesh4,587 
DongkhalaSikkim12,000 
Dhumdhar Kandi PassUttarakhand  
Fotu LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)13,451 
Goecha LaSikkim16,207 
Haldighati PassRajasthan  
Indrahar PassHimachal Pradesh14,473 
Jelep LaSikkim14,300 
Khardung LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)17,582Leh & Nubra
Kongka PassJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)16,965Ladakh & Aksai Chin
Lanak PassJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)17,933Ladakh & Tibet
Kunzum PassHimachal Pradesh (Lahaul and Spiti)14,931Lahaul & Spiti
Karakoram PassJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh) Ladakh & Xinjiang
Lipulekh PassUttarakhand17,500 
Lungalacha LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)16,600 
Lamkhaga PassHimachal Pradesh17,336 
Marsimik LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)18,314 
Mayali PassUttarakhand16,371 
Nama PassUttarakhand18,399 
Namika LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)12,139 
Nathu LaSikkim14,140Sikkim & Tibet
Palakkad GapKerala750Kerala & Tamil Nadu
Thamarassery PassWayanad Kerala1,700Malabar & Mysore
Shenkottai passKollam Kerala690Travancore & Tamil Nadu
Pensi LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)  
Rezang LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)  
Rohtang PassHimachal Pradesh13,051Manali & Lahaul
Sasser laJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)17,753Nubra & Siachen Glacier
Sela PassArunachal Pradesh14,000 
Shipki LaHimachal Pradesh  
Sia LaJammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier)18,337 
Shingo LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)  
Spangur GapJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)  
Gyong LaJammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier)18,655 
Bilafond LaJammu and Kashmir (Siachen Glacier)17,881 
Sin LaUttarakhand  
Tanglang LaJammu and Kashmir (Ladakh)17,583 
Traill’s PassUttarakhand17,100 
Zojila PassJammu and Kashmir  (Kashmir, Ladakh)12,400Kashmir & Ladakh

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