Did Karikala Chola discover the ‘Cho La Pass’ in the Himalayas? No!


How many of you Indians are aware that our Karikalar was the one who found Cho La Pass in the Himalayas? The most popular trekking routes in the Himalayas are still the Chola Pass, which Karikalar created, and the Chola Mountain range. However, North Indian school textbooks don’t even mention it. Why? Is the Karikalar community being disregarded solely due to their Tamil heritage?

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A 58-second video is going viral on social media claiming that the “Cho La” Pass in the Himalayas was created by Karikala Chola, hence the name “Cho La”.

And in that video, a woman says, “How many Indians know that the “Cho La Pass” in the Himalayas was established by our Karikala Chola’s victorious expedition? After defeating the Cheras and the Pandyas in the Battle of Venni, Karikalan set out with a large force towards the Himalayas. He started his journey through the Coromandel coast and advanced through North India defeating Kalinga and Vajjradesa countries.

Then he discovered a new way to reach the Himalayas in that cold weather. That is the “Cho La Pass” that connects Sikkim and Tibet today. Through the Cho La Pass Karikala reached the peak of the Himalayas and engraved the emblems of Cheras, Cholas, and Pandyas in the Himalayan rock. The truth was written in the Sangam epics Silapathikaaram and Periyapuranam. The “Cho La Pass” established by Karikalar and the Chola mountain range that he passed through now is an important path for people trekking in the Himalayas. But there is no mention of it even in school textbooks in North India. Why? Did The Great Karikala Chola, who conquered the Himalayas, was ignored just because he belonged to the Tamil community?” It can be seen that she speaks very passionately.

And we found out that this video was first published on the YouTube page “Jenni’s vodcast” recently.

This story has been published as an article on the website ‘E-pao’ in 2019.

What’s the truth?

As we began our investigation into the viral claims, we looked up the “Cho La Pass” on Google Maps and discovered that it is a trekking mountain pass in Nepal.

While searching for the reason for naming a mountain pass in Nepal “Cho La Pass”, we found out that most of the mountain passes in Nepal are called “La”.

Thorong La Pass, Kang La Pass, Mesokanto La Pass, Cho La Pass, Renjo La Pass, Kongma La Pass, Larkya La Pass, Sele La Pass, Lauribinayak La Pass, and Salpa La Pass are the top ten mountain passes in Nepal. In the end, all of these passes are collectively referred to as “La Pass.”

Thus, we can confirm that the ‘Cho’ is the area known as “Cho La Pass” by adding “La Pass” at the end through the Nepalese trekking website.

The Cho La Pass is the closest one to Everest Base Camp. As it is located between two popular destinations of the Khumbu region i.e., Gokyo Lakes and Everest Basecamp, trekkers frequently cross it.  Also, there is a mountain range called Cho Oyu.

However, the entire body of information spreading on social media asserting that “Cho La Pass” is actually “Chola Pass” and that it’s a mountain pass connected to the Cholas is untrue.


We have ascertained that the widely circulated rumor that Karikala Chola found the ‘Cho La Pass’ in the Himalayas is false and that ‘La’ in Cho La Pass, Nepal, actually refers to a mountain pass.

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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