An army crossing at these heights, especially in winter month of November, is one of it’s kind in the annals of world military history.Inclusion of Ladakh in Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s territory is of significant geo-political importance for the present day India.With him, many soldiers crossed the Tibetan plateau but only 242 of them reached Askot in Kumaon, which was in the British India territory.From here they continued the journey to Ludhiana and entered the Sikh kingdom to the east of river Sutlej.On 12th December, 1841 General Zorawar Singh was hit by a bullet on his left shoulder and died at Taklakot.
British were alarmed and decided to send Captain JD Cunningham to the Sikh Darbar in Lahore to discuss the matter as this was seen as a threat to British India.
During the night the weather turned against them with a heavy snow storm.
Many soldiers were frost bitten and were dying due to insufficient clothing.
Nubra valley is a high altitude cold desert at 10,000 feet. At Purang Valley, which lies separated from Mansarovar by the Gurla Mandhata range, his forces climbed the Gurla pass and reached Dogpacha.
Here they were caught totally off-guard by the Tibetan forces.He did not take into account that forces from Lhasa could also reach via the Matsang pass, which was South of Mayum pass and was negotiable even in the winter months. In the peak winter months, as General Zorawar Singh’s forces became complacent, the Tibetan forces attacked through Matsang pass and caught them off-guard.