Looming scenery: Tanggula Mountains in the border between Qinghai and Tibet.
In 2005, train tracks for the Qingzang railway were laid through the Tanggula Pass at an altitude of 5072 m, and when it opened in 2006, the Tanggula railway station also became highest in the world, breaking the century-old record held by Peru’s La Galera station by 255 m. Passengers through this scenic if wind-bitten mountain pass enjoy rail carriages with built in oxygen supply to avoid altitude sickness.
6. Tanglang La – 5,359 m (17,577 ft)
With an elevation of 5,359 m (17,577 ft), Tanglang La is said to be the second highest of India’s mountain passes generally accessible by vehicle, surpassed only by Khardung La. Reports do suggest that there may be higher motorable passes in Tibet, but these remain unverified due to their positions in areas affected by lack of information and restricted access.
Image: Pilgrim On Wheels
Road to perdition: The road to Tanglang La.
Located along the Leh-Manali Highway – open between June and mid-September when the Indian Army’s Border Roads Organisation clears snow from the roads – Tanglang La is reached via over 20 hairpins bends. Suffice to say the high altitude and the oxygen-scarce air can lead many travellers to experience some degree of mountain sickness. Thank heavens for the views at least.