R for Rohtang Pass

Photo of R for Rohtang Pass 1/1 by Aditya Sinha

Rohtang Pass , is a high mountain pass on the eastern side of Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali.

It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh and provides a link between two distinct culture i.e. the humid Kullu Valley with a Hindu culture and the high-altitude cold desert - Lahaul and Spiti valleys with a predominantly Buddhist culture.

The passes used to be the route for trade in the olden days between the two valleys and off to Tibet and China. This pass remains 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 snowstorms and blizzards, There are other passes further north moving towards Leh like Kunzam La, Baralacha La etc.

The Pass falls on the main NH 21 which passes from Kullu to Manali and further to Rohtang and then through Keylong to Leh and Ladakh. It becomes a very busy route during the summers once the snow melts and the pass opens.

If one is visiting Kullu and Manali - a visit to Rohtang is an experience in itself. Manali to Rohtang is just 51 kms but takes around 3 hrs depending upon traffic. The vegetation shifts from dense Deodar forest to stunted high altitude shrubs. Further north, towards Leh it turns to cold desert.

One must try to reach Rohtang early in the morning as around noon time the weather starts changing and there are heavy cloud and slow making it chilli and foggy, difficult to view the terrain from the pass. However, you would always enjoy the hot maggi, coffee, tea and bread - omelette being sold there by the villagers from downhill.

On the way to Rohtang one can stop at the Rahala Nala and enjoy the water falling down. The Rahalla falls are the result of melting glaciers. It is a natural spot where one can view the natural beauty. It is also become one of the famous tourist spot.and provides marvelous and clear view of the surroundings which include silver birch trees and forest of deodar. The fresh and aromatic air provides relaxation and peace of mind . It remains frozen in the beginning when the route opens and has a different view altogether.

However, the stretch of around two to three kms around this nala is always very silty and difficult to drive. Rest of the route is pretty enjoying.

There are Paragliding available at Marhi which can also be enjoyed. At the top, near the pass there is an Igloo shaped temple devoted to Vyas Muni.

It is believed that Vyas Muni spent 12 years here and wrote 4 chand and 18 pran of Mahabharata.

During the start of the season when the snow has just given way to Rohtang, the mountains and glaciers around are still snow laden.

The area is then full of Snow scooters and horses available to take you to these areas to have a closer look. At times Yaks are also made available and you can enjoy the Yak ride.

Thats all for Rohtang. 

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