Fotu La or Fotula Pass or Fatula Top is a high-altitude pass in the Zaskar Range of Ladakh. It is located on the Srinagar-Leh highway at an altitude of 4,108 meters or 13,478 ft.
Fotu La is one of three high passes between Srinagar and Leh, the other two being Zoji La and Namika La. There is a Prasar Bharati television relay station serving Lamayuru located on the pass.
The incline to the top of Fotu La is not that steep except for the last few kilometers. The condition of the road is excellent which makes the drive to the top of the pass much easier than any other pass.
But while it may not find a place in the list of the toughest passes of Ladakh, it is definitely among the most beautiful ones. The views from the top are very scenic and with the excellent road conditions that the pass has to offer, even the drive itself becomes very enjoyable.
How to reach Fotu La
Fotu La is located on the Srinagar to Leh route. It is at a distance of 290 kilometers from Srinagar and 129 kilometers from Leh.
If you started from Srinagar, Fotu La will be the third and the last pass that you will cross on your way to Leh. If you were coming from the Leh side, it will be the first pass that you will cross on your way to Kargil and Srinagar.
Best Time to Visit Fotu La
The road between Kargil and Leh remains open for all 12 months. Hence, you can actually cross Fotu La during the peak winter season as well but that will entirely depend on the weather conditions.
There is a high chance of the pass remaining closed between November to March if the weather conditions were not favorable or if there was a lot of snow on the road.
Hence a safer and the best time to visit Fotu La is between May to September. This is when all the routes remain open and you will be able to enjoy your journey to Ladakh to the fullest.
The condition of the road near Fotu La is excellent. It is a tarred, broad, and well-maintained road all the way to the top of the pass.
The only bad section of this highway is around the Zoji La Pass where the condition of the road is a mix of bad and very bad for about 40-odd kilometers.
But other than that, it is an enjoyable drive from both Srinagar and the Leh side.
Mobile Connectivity at Fotu La
Jio and Airtel have excellent coverage on the entire Srinagar Leh highway. Both these networks work well at Fotu La with 4G data connectivity.
BSNL phones will work as well but their service is not that good. The data speed will be way too slow and even the voice clarity on BSNL can be sometimes bad.
The nearest hotels to Fotu La are located either in Mulbekh on the Srinagar side or in Lamayuru on the Leh side. Both these towns have comfortable guest houses and also offer the option of homestays.
The hotels in Lamayuru are much better than the ones in Mulbekh though. They are larger in size and much more comfortable.
There are no hotels or guest houses at the top of the pass. You cannot even plan to camp there because the weather conditions will turn extreme during the night making it very unsafe.
Fotu La itself is considered one of the tourist attractions of the Srinagar Leh route as well as Ladakh. The views from the top of the pass are very very beautiful and even the drive to the top is very pleasant.
Some other places to visit are as listed below.
- Mulbekh Monastery
- Maitreya Buddha Statue in Mulbekh
- Fotu La
- Hangro Loops
- Lamayuru Monastery
- Lamayuru Moonland
For more details on these places, please take a look at Places to Visit on Srinagar Leh Highway & Things to Do.
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