Bum La

Driving the wild Bum La road in the Himalaya

Bum La Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,000m (16,500ft) above the sea level, on the Himalaya mountain range, in Arunachal Pradesh, at the Indo-China border. The road to the pass has disastrous conditions and only 4 wheel drives are allowed with competent driver.

The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Any barriers along the edge afford little more than token protection. Driver of the vehicle must be expert to drive on mountain terrain. Take water, eatables, biscuits, chocolates if possible thermos with tea as nothing is available on the way to the summit. A special permit is required to visit the pass. The permits can be requested at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner in Tawang District, and the same has to be stamped in the Indian army cantonment of Tawang. Note that without the army stamp, you will not be allowed through the numerous check posts on the way. During winter it gets covered by snow.If you travel by hire vehicle make sure the driver knows the place very well and is an expert in driving specially on snow covered roads.

It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. The weather can change dramatically and suddenly in high altitude areas. It is often covered with heavy snow throughout the year. Since the road to Bumla may not be in the best of conditions throughout the year, the ideal time to visit the place to enjoy its limitless beauty would be from May to October. Bumla Pass was the passage used by Dalai Lama to escape from Tibet and to enter India. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the Chinese army marched into India during the 1962 Sino-Indian war. In 2006, Bumla pass was re-opened to traders for the first time in 44 years. Traders from both sides of the pass were permitted to enter each other’s territories, in addition to postal workers from each country. As you go higher, you will be short of oxygen and your vehicle may not be your best companion to take you beyond a certain point. You might have come prepared for a trekking but may not be for the lack of oxygen and the chillness of the snow that penetrates deep inside. Best time to visit is october & february to april. Due to heavy snow fall most of the time this place remains closed. In winter it is extremely cold. Heavy woollen cloths ia a must. Other things required are sunglasses and few medicine because some people may face altitude sickness due of its height.
Pic: By Tabish q - Clicked on a trip to Bumla Pass in June 2013, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26966747


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NOTICE: Due to the spread of COVID-19, many points of interest and roads are closed and travel is not recommended. Please follow all local health authority directives before venturing off, and stay safe.