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Rohtang Pass
About Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas which is about 51 kms from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India. Manali-Leh Highway, a part of NH 21, transverses Rohtang Pass.

Rohtang pass is an ancient trade route between the people on either side of Pir Panjal. The local name for this pass is a common name of pass. There are many other passes in Lahaul and Spiti which have specific names (Kunzam La, Baralacha La, etc.). This is reminiscent of the fact that this must have been the oldest and most frequented pass in the region, or the fact that it is the main pass leading from one cultural region to another, quite different one, to the north.

The pass is open from May to November. It is not particularly high or difficult to cross on foot by Himalayan standards, but it has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable blizzards and snowstorms.

National Highway 21 (NH 21), the road through the Kullu Valley, past Manali and over the Rohtang Pass to Keylong, and Lahul and on to Leh in Ladakh, has become very busy during the summer months as an alternate military route, following the Kargil Conflict in 1999 in addition to tensions in Kashmir. Traffic jams are common as military vehicles, trucks, and goods carriers try to navigate the tight roads and rough landscape which was compounded by snow and ice at certain points and the large number of tourists vehicles.

Several episodes of the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers series spin off IRT Deadliest Roads dealt with truckers crossing the Rohtang Pass to deliver supplies.
With increase in Traffic at Rohtang Valley, Environmentalists fear its impact on the delicate mountain ecology. Rise in Average Temperature and consequential melting of glaciers are also issues of severe concern.

Himachal pradesh government completely barred the vehicles from out of state from traveling to Rohtang Jot, an exception has been made in case the vehicle is heading to Ladakh, Lahaul or Spiti. In which case, they will need to get permit from the Sub-Divisional Magistrates Office in Manali during working hours (10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday (barring second Saturdays and Government Holidays).

 
Geography of Rohtang Pass

The pass offers a natural divide between the sub-humid/humid Kullu Valley mainly with Hindu culture in the south and the arid/semi-arid high-altitude Lahaul and Spiti valleys with a Buddhist culture in the north. The pass lies on the watershed between the Chenab and Beas basins. On the southern side of this pass, the Beas River emerges from underground and flows southward and on its northern side, the Chandra River, a source stream of the river Chenab, flows westward.

 
Climate of Rohtang pass

Summer temperature are mild and light woolens / cottons are recommended. In winter, the temperature can drop to below freezing point when heavy woolens are required.

If you are planning to visit Rohtang pass, then please keep more amount of food in reserve as there are huge chances of getting struck in the middle way. And please dont dare to drive on this route, if you are not aware of driving in snow/mountains.

Rohtang road tunnel

Due to the military significance of the highway and the need to keep it open the whole year, the Indian government began building the $320 million 8.5 km long Rohtang Tunnel in 2010 to bypass Rohtang pass for creating a much safer and faster year-around link to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh in Ladakh. The tunnel will also shorten the distance by about 50 km and reduce the travel time between the southern and northern faces of Rohtang pass by five hours. While it now takes 4 to 6 hours to climb, negotiate and descend the Rohtang pass, it will take only about 30 minutes to travel through the Rohtang tunnel.

How To Reach Rohtang Pass

By Rail
The nearest railway station is Joginder Nagar which is about 103 km from Rohtang Pass and 50 km from Manali.

By Road
It is well connected by Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses that start from Manali and go as far as Leh via Rohtang Pass and then through Keylong. HRTC, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and private operators runs both air conditioned and non air conditioned deluxe coaches. During June to October, there are regular buses between Manali to Keylong.

By Air
The nearest airport is in Bhuntar which is about 104 km from Rohtang Pass. Manali falls on the same road, National Highway 21, about 51 km from Bhuntar Airport in Himachal Pradesh.

 

 


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