Driving the Hell Road to Kaksang La

Kaksang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5.436m (17,834ft) above the sea level located in the Leh district of Ladakh, in India. It’s one of the highest roads of the country.

Kaksang La

Can you drive to Kaksang La?

The road to the summit, also known as Kakasang La, is pretty defiant. Locals claim the road as ‘hell’. It’s probably the highest mountain pass foreign drivers can reach in the country. You can access with just the regular Protected Area Pass/ILP. No other permits are required.

Is Kaksang La open?

Set high in the northern part of the country, near the Line of Actual Control with China, the road is usually impassable in winters. The weather can be extreme and the cold wind hits like a knife. Located to the south of Satatho La, expect tiny landslides, with rocks lying here and there. This completely isolated road is rarely used and hacked into the mountain ranges. The pass is not as famous as the other mountainous passes because it does not serve as a passage to any major tourist attraction in the area.

How long is the road to Kaksang La?

Situated in the Changthang región, the road is 67.2 km (41.75 miles) long, running north-south from Chushul to Mahe. Another road links both villages. The other route is via Chushul, Tsaga, Loma, and Nyoma. It starts paved on good conditions but then becomes a mule track near its highest elevation, at 5.436m (17,834ft) above the sea level. The climb is very steep and you really need a 4×4 vehicle for it. The drive is very scenic, with picturesque views of beautiful lakes, mountains and valleys.
Pic: Sankaranarayanan Venkatesan