Important passes in the Himalayas

The Himalayas with its 2,400 km length and 400 km width stretching from the Karakoram in the West to the Namche Barwa in the East, is the highest mountain range in the world. It spans over several countries namely India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  

A mountain pass can be termed as a narrow gap between two mountain peaks that provide a passageway across the mountain range. Its exact location is denoted by the most elevated location in terms of altitude within that route. 

The mountain passes in the Himalayas are the gateways that connect India with Central Asia and also acts as a formidable barrier protecting the country from foreign invasion. It also plays a significant role in trade and migration.

Major Passes of the Eastern Himalayas

Some of the major passes of eastern himalayas are in the state of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. They are as follows:


Nathula pass Sikkim & Tibet
Jelep LaSikkim & Bhutan

Arunachal Pradesh

Bom Di LaArunachal Pradesh & Bhutan
Dipher PassIndia, China & Myanmar
Chankan PassArunachal Pradesh & Myanmar
Hpungan PassArunachal Pradesh & Myanmar
Kumjawng PassArunachal Pradesh & Myanmar
Yonggyap PassArunachal Pradesh & Tibet

Major Passes of the Western Himalayas

Some of the major passes of eastern himalayas are in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir.. They are as follows:

Himachal Pradesh

Shipki LaSimla & Tibet
Rohtang PassManali & Lahul
Bara Lacha La Himachal Pradesh & Jammu and Kashmir
Debsa PassKullu & Spiti districts


Lipu LekhIndia, Nepal & Tibet
Mana PassUttarakhand & Tibet
Mangsha Dhura Uttarakhand & Tibet
Muling LaUttarakhand & Tibet
Niti PassUttarakhand & Tibet

Jammu & Kashmir

Mintaka PassIndia, China & Afghanistan
Aghil PassLadakh & China
Lanak LaIndia & China
Imis LaLadakh & Tibet
Chang-LaLadakh & Tibet
Khunjerab PassKashmir & China
Parpik PassKashmir & China
Banihal PassJammu & Srinagar
Qara Tag LaIndia & China 
across Karakoram Range
Pensi LaKashmir & Kargil
Khardung Lanear Leh, Ladakh
Pir-Panjal passacross the Pir Panjal range, 
 Jammu & Kashmir
Zoji La PassKashmir a& Leh, Kargil

Famous Personalities associated with Himalayan Passes

  • Alexander, the Great – The Macedonia conqueror came for his India quest through the Khyber Pass.
  • Megasthenes – First Foreign Envoy to India.
  • Fa Hein & Hiuen Tsang  Chinese pilgrims and travelers. Fa Hein was the first Chinese pilgrim who came to India
  • Adi Sankaracharya  For strengthening Hinduism and for establishing the doctrines of Sanathana Dharma.

Recently in News:

 Five agreed on Border Personnel Meeting points between India & China
  • Nathu La Pass (Sikkim)
  • Chushul Pass (Leh, Ladakh)
  • Bom Di La Pass (Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh)
  • Kibithu (Anjaw District, Arunachal Pradesh)
  • Daulat Beg Oldi (Ladakh)
  • Lipu Lekh Pass (Uttarakhand, proposed)
From June 15, 2020, onwards, there is an ongoing standoff between India and China about the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the de facto border between the two nations. It inevitably resulted in violent clashes between the soldiers of the two countries in the sensitive regions of Ladakh (Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Hot Springs) & Sikkim.

📝 SideNotes - :

  • The Khyber pass in Himalaya connects which of the following countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan (Previous Year PSC Question: Confidential Assistant Grade-II/Various, 2013)

Thanks for reading!!!