10 Highest Rugged and Dangerous Motorable Roads In India

By Rahul
7 Min Read

The mighty Himalayas, a rugged and dangerous region but stunning and captivating, are undoubtedly the most beautiful and mysterious in the world. 

Adventure enthusiasts and climbers from all walks of the globe aspire to measure these majestic mountains. It is amazing that roads have been built at high altitudes by the Government of India so tourists can take in the best of the mountain range.

India boasts some of the most motorable roads in the globe. Due to differences in the definition of “motorable road”, it is often debated which one is best. 

Most people define a motorable road as a road or pass that is accessible by either a vehicle with high ground clearance, or a motorized vehicle.

Today I will tell you about 10 such roads which are very high above sea level.

Here is the list of top motorable roads in India along with respective pics and some details, see below:

10. Lachung La – 16,598 ft

Lachung La is located 100 km from Tang La. It is at an altitude of 5059 meters. The hottest motorable road in India, remains open for about 4-5 months only during summers. It is very popular with trekkers and hikers for its breathtaking views of the Himalayas from the summit.

Lachung La, Leh Ladakh

9. Wari La, Jammu & Kashmir – 17,428 ft

Wari is a direct link between La Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. It is at 5312 meters and is the highest motorable road in India. It is quite remote and there are times when you may not see anyone.

Warila Pass

8. Tanglang La, Jammu & Kashmir – 17,481 ft

On the beautiful Manali-Leh highway, Tanglang La appears. Tanglang La, 5328 m high, is located 61 km from Upshi. It is one of the five motorable passes along the Leh-Manali highway. Although the roads are mostly well built, they are very dusty.

Tanglang La

7. Khardung La, Jammu & Kashmir – 17,583 ft

Khardung La is often cited as the highest motorable pass in India, but it is actually quite low on the list. It is situated at an altitude of 5359 meters above sea level. It is not the most motorable pass in India or the world, but it is certainly one of the toughest to drive.

Khardung La Shyok is the gateway to the Nubra Valley and offers spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Indians do not need a permit to travel here. Only ID proof is enough.

Khardung La Pass in Himalaya

6. Chang La, Jammu & Kashmir – 17,586 ft

Chang La, 5360 meters above sea level, is on its way to Pangong Lake. Chang La is one of the most difficult roads to drive due to its steep climbs and poor road conditions. This high-speed motorable road is only for adventure seekers.

Chang La Pass

5. Kaksang La, Jammu & Kashmir – 17,842 ft

Kaksang La, 5438 m above sea level, is found in the Changthang region of Ladakh. It is the only Indian road that can be driven on motor vehicles. Kaksang La is not as famous as other mountain passes, as it does not provide access to major tourist attractions in the area.

You can reach Kaksang La by driving from Spangmik to Chushul at Pangong Lake, and then turning south to Mirpal Tso or Yayi Tso. You can also reach Tso Moriri Lake by this alternate route from Pangong Tso.

4. Dongkha La, Sikkim – 18,045 ft

Dongkha La, located at a distance of 5500 meters in Sikkim, is a road connecting Sikkim and Tibet. It is located about 13 km from Gurudongmar Lake and 4 km from Cholamu Lake. Getting a permit to drive on Dongkha La is difficult as it is under the control of the Indian Army.

3. Photi La, Jammu & Kashmir – 18,124 ft

Photi La, a lesser-known road and one of the most motorable roads in India, is located in the Changthang region of Ladakh. It is not as popular among tourists and is the least visited place in India. It is situated at an altitude of 5524 meters and is about 16 km from Hanle. Continue driving Pangong Tso in the direction of Chushul, Hanle to reach Photi La.

2. Marsimik La, Jammu & Kashmir – 18,314 ft

Marsimik La is located in the Chang-Chemno Range of Ladakh. It is situated at an elevation of 5582m, making it one of the most motorable roads in India as well as the highest in the world. Driving permits for Marsimik La are relatively simple compared to Mana Pass. 

Only Indian nationals can get the permits. Marsimik La is located near Lukung, which serves as the starting point of the famous Pangong Lake.

Marsimik La

1. Dungri La or Mana Pass, Uttarakhand – 18,406 ft

Mana Pass, also known as Dungri La is a pass high up at the Indo-Tibet border in the state Uttarakhand. Mana Pass, at 5610m, is the highest motorable road in India and the highest accessible pass for vehicles in the world.

This is contrary to popular belief about Khardung La. Dungri La takes you to Badrinath. This is an important Hindu pilgrimage. Many motorcyclists have traveled the pass several times, as well as adventure seekers. Permits for Mana Pass are not easy to obtain.

Mana Pass or Dungri La

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