Located at an altitude of 3979 meters above the sea level on the Pir Panjal Mountain range of the Himalayas, Rohtang is popular for its scenic beauty and snowfall for the whole year. It is just 51 kms away from Manali and lies on Manali Keylong highway. It acts as a gateway which connects Manali, Lahaul and Spiti Valley.
It is an ancient trade route between the people on either side of Pir Panjal and hence the traffic jams are common here. The route is open and accessible only for a time period of 3 months to general public and hence the natives, Indian army carry out all the import and export of goods through this route for the rest of the months. Looking at the fear of increasing number of tourists every year and the pollution created by their vehicles which endanger the environment of Rohtang, the government has limited the number of vehicles visiting up to and beyond Rohtang by issuing permits. The permits are issued on every day basis for 2 time slots – 10 am & 4 pm and the army does a strict check of ID proof, PUC and vehicle registration. The permit is available online at https://rohtangpermits.nic.in/ for Rs 500 with extra Rs. 50 as congestion charges. Also, the permit for the same vehicle is available after 6th day of the first issue permit date.
Rohtang Pass is a natural divide between Kullu and Lahaul valley. Both have a varied belief on the origin of Rohtang pass. The kullu natives believe that Lord Shiva created this pass while the Lahaul people believe that it was created by the King of Western Tibet Gyapo Gyasar. The word “Ro” means “ground of corpses” because of numerous deaths of people trying to cross the pass in ancient times. The world “La” in Tibetan language means a mountain pass. Hence the name Rohtang la or Rohtang pass.
Every year the pass is visited by more than 25 lakh tourists irrespective of the snow-covered routes. Rohtang is open for visitors only in the month of May/June and September/October. It remains closed rest of the year due to winters and landslides during rains. Out of the many passes in Lahaul and Spiti, Rohtang is the ancient and main pass as it leads from one culture that is Hindu in the south and Buddhist culture in the north.
From Manali you can take your private vehicle or hire a taxi or take the frequently available state buses to Rohtang Pass. It is more advisable to hire an expert driver for a safe journey as the drive becomes quite tough with slippery and narrow curved road with rough weather. Without traffic jams, you can reach Rohtang in around 2 hours.
Tourists visit Rohtang to enjoy the natural beauty with beautiful views of glaciers, peaks, rivers etc. The exciting and thrilling adventurous activities are the hot attraction for the tourists. The different fun activities adventure seekers can opt for are as follows:
Apart from trekking and biking there is lots of fun rushing down steep mountain slopes with twists and turns. The ups and down route on the snow-covered mountain slopes give the best skiing experience. Those who wants to enjoy and experience it, skiing equipment and clothes are available on rent.
To fly like bird in the blue sky with mesmerizing beauty all over, the mountains wearing the blankets of thick snow, glaciers, rivers flowing by, paragliding gives a best experience. It is available at different height with different time span based on the interest of the tourists.
Snow scooter driving:
Another thrilling but full of fun activity is driving over the snow. Special scooters are available on rent at these places where the adventure seeker hire these scooters and drive to enjoy the snow-covered routes.
If you are planning to visit Rohtang Pass, make sure it is not a Tuesday as the pass is closed on Tuesdays for maintenance. Also, there is no provision of staying at Rohtang pass. You will have to return the same day. You can book your stay at Princess Villa to spend the night after your return from Rohtang Pass.