To be on top of the world, one need not be scaling the top of Mt. Everest. In fact, that is a feat that only a miniscule of us can achieve. For us mere mortals, the equivalent ‘top of the world’ place is Khardung La in India’s Himalayas where you stand at 18,380 feet above sea level.
But, do keep in mind that this is no simple feat either as you have to bear bitter cold weather, extremely low oxygen levels and steep and curvy Himalayan roads. Khardung La is located at about 40 kms from Leh, the headquarters of the Ladakh district in the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. A lot of India airlines fly to Leh, one of the world’s highest airports.
In this short distance of 40 kms from Leh, one will ascend more than 7,500 feet to make it one of the more exhilarating rapid climbs in the world. This rapid climb and the severe decrease in oxygen can have a severe impact on your body and hence it is recommended that you acclimatize for at least 24-48 hours in Leh after you land at its airport. For the lowest air fare, I would recommend booking at least a month or two in advance especially if you are visiting in the months of May to October. During the lean winter months, you should be able to land yourself a competitive rate always unless something exceptional happens.
And once you take care of this acclimatization, there is nothing that will stop you from enjoying this heavenly sight to the fullest. And if you have time to spare, you can drive down to the other side of Khardung La and explore the beautiful Nubra Valley, its sand dunes and the views provided by Nubra and Shyok, 2 Himalayan rivers.
If you go now and hopefully if Khardung La roads remain open, you will have the rare opportunity of being on top of the world in winter. I can definitely vouch for that.
Go on and enjoy Khardung La!