Photi La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5.532m (18,149ft) above the sea level, located in in south-eastern Ladakh in the eastern Jammu and Kashmir state of India. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.
The road to the summit is totally unpaved and very dusty. It’s called Photi La road. Starting at Hanle, a large historic village, the road is 16km (9.94 miles) long. The road offers amazing scenery and the Hanle valley can be seen from. The approach is very steep and almost no road and no soul around with very less oxygen. The road is impassable in winters If you cross the pass and continue further, you will reach Umling La.
Tucked away in the Changthang region, the drive features countless turns. The road is very steep, hitting a 15% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Hanle, the elevation gain is 1.274 meters. The average gradient is 7.96%. Part of the ancient Ladakh–Tibet trade route, a 4x4 vehicle is required. Before you get anywhere near the pass, you will see signposts which say that the ILP permit zone ends and you are not allowed to keep going. If you keep going, you may be arrested and prosecuted by the Indian army.