Kunzum La/Kunzum pass holds the rank of one of the highest motorable roads across the Kunzum range. Situated at a height of 4551 metres above the sea level, it seals you in a snow-white envelope.
You can reach the pass either via Manali or via Shimla. We had taken the Shimla route and started the journey to Kunzum pass from Losar village. The snow covered route is sure to pump up your adrenalin level. From all the conversation around, I figure, a 4 by 4 vehicle is your safest bet. Otherwise every day except for Sunday, men from the roads organization leave from Losar village at around 7 AM. You can enquire about the same from the Bataal route. If you have the bicycle as an option,make sure to be well covered and stocked up. The mountains are a moody lot!
The only thing alive on the pass is a temple by the name of Kunzum Devi, with multi colored flags swaying in the cold snowy wind. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. We were lucky enough to come across a large group of women who usually come to the temple to celebrate by singing local songs and drinking their local alcohol(Made of rice or food grains) with the Goddess. The local alcohol is not very good for the taste buds but will leave you feeling adequately warm and happy in these chilly areas. Make sure you do not disrespect any of the locals you come across and you will boast about having met the nicer lot of the human species!
Some things about the pass hidden in the oblivion:
The worship circle: The only thing visible on the pass is a white temple, complementing its snow-capped surroundings called the Kunzum Devi temple. The entire temple is covered in colourful soaring Buddhist flags. The tradition here is to take an entire circle of the temple in your vehicle. The belief is that you will not face any sort of mishaps and the mountains will protect you if the circle of worship is taken.
Om Mani Padme Hum all the way!
The resting room: Just a few steps away from the temple is a small room. The room is generally for the climbers to Chandertal lake, which is a 9 km trek from the pass. It is just a roof over your head in the stranded middle of the Kunzum ranges for when the mountains and your fate decide to change their moods. A cot and a steel container with wood and a lot many wood barks are stored here for keeping you warm. (Always carry ample amounts of food and water in these areas)
The character decider of the temple: There is a little decision maker sitting inside the temple awaiting your arrival. It will tell you whether you are a saint or a sinner. There is a tiny caged area with a standing stone of religious significance. Take a coin and stick it on the upright stone. If the coin sticks, you are a saint and if it falls off, you are a sinner. A believer or a non-believer, the result will surely make you feel something. All the best!
To feel nothing and everything at the same time, make sure you visit.
Best time to visit: June-September
Do enquire before taking a trip via any route. It opens according to varying snowfall every year, latest by the end of June.
Height: 15,060 ft