Younghusband’s Track


After crossing Kupup Lake, you would find a place marked “Younghusband’s Track”. A beaten track starts from here which was used by the British Army to conquer Tibet. Led by Lt. Col. Francis Younghusband in 1903 – 1904, this was the first expedition to conquer Tibet by any European Army. The British troops began its journey from Siliguri, moved up to Rangpo, Nathang and crossed through Jelep La Pass into Chumbi Valley in Tibet and finally reached Lhasa traversing a distance of 520 kms.

Lord Francis Younghusband reached Jelep La Pass on 13 December 1903 and stepped on Chumbi Valley. It took 25 days for the troops to cross Chumbi Valley and on 07 January 1914 they reached a small outpost in Tibet called Tuna crossing the infamous Tang La, where temperatures dipped below – 30 deg C at an altitude of nearly 3 miles above sea-level. Far above the tree line, the troops had to survive in Tuna inflicted with frostbite for 3 months.

Fierce battles were fought in these high mountains and the British were ruthless in killing the monk armies of Tibet. In the first major battle at Chumi Shengo, 628 Tibetan monk soldiers were killed with no casualties on the British side. Soon more skirmishes took place at Gyantse and Changlo and at the end nearly 3000 Tibetan monk soldiers were killed. Finally, on 7 Sep 1904, Lhasa surrendered and the Lhasa Convention was signed. Lord Francis Younghusband became the first European to conquer Tibet.


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