Rohtang Pass, Manali

Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but unpredictable avalanches and severe climatic conditions make it scary at times. However, this made a trip to Ladakh for adventure seekers a delight. A high mountain pass at an altitude of 3978 meters above sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the glorious Pir Panjal range of the mighty Himalayas and is one of the most famous places in Kullu.

Rohtang Pass Overview

If you are planning a trip to the picturesque valleys near Kullu and Manali, the Rohtang Pass is a must-have in your itinerary. The popular Vista Point is known for its unparalleled natural beauty and is one of the most essential attraction points of the region. The pass is located just 50 km away from the main city and is easily accessible by road. One of the major attractions of Rohtang La is that it is one of the highest passes in the Himalayas. Situated at an altitude of 3978 meters above sea level, the pass offers some of the most pristine views of the Himalayas you will ever find in the ocean.

As your car climbs on the Manali-Keylong road en route to Rohtang La, you will notice a dramatic change in the scenery around you, and the stunning landscape will leave you breathless. In fact, the mesmerizing beauty of Marg Aur Pass is so spectacular that it has been featured in several Bollywood blockbusters from Jab We Met to Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and curl up with a cup of tea in the midst of unparalleled natural splendor, Rohtang La offers one of the best options. As your car climbs on the road, the weather will get cooler and you will not be able to admire the chilling and dramatic beauty of this place. Clear blue skies, snow-capped mountain peaks, and vast landscapes – who can resist such natural wonders? One needs to believe in the supernatural and spectacular Rohtang La Pass.

Rohtang Pass Highlights

Rohtang Pass, a major winter resort in India, is a mecca for adrenaline-pumping activities. Skiing, paragliding, zorbing, sledding, and other snow activities are the most popular.
At an altitude of 3979 meters above sea level, it offers immense charm. Majestic mountains, glaciers, Lahaul valley, and Chandra river are visible from this pass.
The gleaming white sheets of snow make it the ideal place for a romantic rendezvous, making it an extraordinary destination for honeymooners. Couples prefer this pass to spend quality time together.

It is one of the highest motorable highways in the world, with a breathtaking perspective of the towering mountains surrounding it. It also serves as the gateway to Ladakh.
On October 3, 2020, our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Rohtang Pass Tunnel, also known as Atal Tunnel. At 3,000 meters, it is the tallest motorable tunnel in the world and links the country’s border infrastructure.

Points Of Interest for Rohtang Pass

  1. Trekking

Rohtang Pass is a trekker’s paradise. Surrounded by challenging trails, beautiful glaciers, pristine waterfalls, and snow-capped mountain peaks – this pass offers some of the most picturesque routes for trekking. Manali-Lahaul Pass is one of the most popular treks in the region with its sulfur springs and views of Bhrigu Lake. You can also try other treks like Gulaba to Bhrigu Lake, Batal to Rohtang and Jalori Pass.

  1. Mountain biking

If you love biking through spectacular views and don’t mind traversing rough roads, you should try mountain biking through the lesser-known routes in the region. The adventurous activity will give you an intense adrenaline rush.

  1. Photography

The picturesque scenery of Rohtang attracts photography lovers from across the country every year. Clear blue skies, pristine snow, and the splendid Himalayas – who wouldn’t want to capture it all in their camera?

  1. Skiing and Tyre Drop

Again, these are the most common activities followed in this area. You can find equipment for these fun games in nearby shops.

  1. Sled Rides

Your visit to Rohtang La will not be complete if you do not take a snow sled ride in a wooden toboggan. Not only will you get to enjoy the panoramic views of the area, but you will also get to enjoy playing in the snow like a child.

How To Reach Rohtang Pass

The nearest airport is located at Bhuntar 101.4 km from Rohtang La pass. It will take you at least three and a half to four hours to reach the pass from here. The good news is that both Kullu and Manali are very close to the airport. Manali is 50 km from Bhuntar, and Kullu is even closer – just 10 km away. Hence, it should be easy for you to find a state transport bus from Kullu or Manali to Rohtang La Pass. You can hire a taxi or cab to reach Manali or Kullu from the airport.

Government and private buses ply the Leh Manali Highway. If you are willing to pay some extra cash, you can also book a semi sleeper bus. Or, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing buses, you can simply hire a taxi from the airport to Rohtang La Pass, though this may be one of the most expensive options.

Best Time To Visit Rohtang Pass

The best time to visit Rohtang La Pass is from the second week of September to the second week of October. During this time, the pass opens just after the monsoons and before closing for winter. It is recommended to plan your trip during this time, as the summer months, i.e. May to June, see a lot of tourists visiting the region. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to obtain a permit to cross the pass. Apart from this, there is a long traffic jam in Manali, Rohtang, and Gulaba.

Due to increased tourist activity, the prices of hotels, restaurants, and taxis also increase during these months. If you plan your trip between September and October, you can get cheap deals. For the rest of the year, Rohtang Pass remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall. During the monsoon months, July to August, the weather is too unpleasant to enjoy any sightseeing or exploration. Hence, we recommend planning your itinerary in September or October so that you can make the most of your trip.

Essential Information

Location: Leh Manali Highway, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India

Altitude: 3978 meters above sea level.

Rohtang Pass Snow Time: The area around Rohtang La Pass receives heavy snowfall in the winter months i.e. from November to March. Hence, it is not recommended to visit the area during this time, as the pass will remain closed during these months. If you are planning a trip, you should wait till the summer months, that is, between May and June and September and October.

Rohtang Pass Opening Date: Even though the pass is open till the beginning of December, there is a very good chance that it will be closed by the second week of the month. This is because as the winter season approaches, the area is more prone to heavy snowfall. This will block the highway and passengers will not be able to cross the pass without risking their lives.

If you are planning to visit the region, it is recommended to wait until the summer months when the weather clears up and the snow melts. It is generally recommended to plan your trip between May and June and September and October. In 2019, the pass opened to visitors on June 1. It is expected to open around the same time next year.

Distance from Nearest Airport: The nearest airport to Rohtang La Pass is located near Bhuntar, which is about 100 km away. However, the airport is only 10 km from Kullu and 50 km from Manali. Once you get off your plane at the airport, you can take a taxi or cab to reach Rohtang La Pass. You can also take a state transport bus, or drive yourself if you are confident enough.

Rohtang Pass Permit

To cross the Grand Pass, you need a special permit. Luckily, you can apply for it online. Himachal tourism website allows you to apply for the pass and it is valid for 24 hours. You only need 1 permit to travel to and from Rohtang La. However, it should be noted that the government does not offer an unlimited number of passes, and only a limited number of passes are available each day. Hence, it is recommended that you plan your travel well in advance and get your pass at the earliest.

You will need the following documents to apply for a permit:

  • valid proof of identity
  • A pollution test certificate for your vehicle that is up to date
  • Vehicle registration documents showing the date of registration

Attractions in and near Rohtang Pass

  1. Nehru Kund – Named after the first Prime Minister of India, Nehru Kund is a natural spring that some believe has healing properties. The water of the spring bubbles out of the rocks and it is believed that the source of the waterfall is Bhrigu Lake. Pleasant bubbling noises, coupled with beautiful mountain views make this place a must-visit.
  2. Vashistha Hot Water Springs – It is believed that there is a village near these springs where Rishi Vashistha used to meditate. The hot springs are actually sulfur springs, and people around believe that they are a great treatment option for skin problems and other infections. Many people take baths here, and separate bathrooms for men and women have been built for this purpose.
  3. Hadimba Temple – The four-story pagoda is believed to be the home of the footprints of Goddess Hadimba. The architecture of the temple and the work behind the stone sculptures are a sight to behold, and the lush greenery surrounding the area is simply mesmerizing.
  4. Marhi – This is a lesser-known tourist destination, about 35 km from Manali. It is famous for its water sports and pristine natural beauty. Most of the people move towards Marhi when Rohtang La pass is closed due to heavy snowfall. You can indulge in water sports activities here, and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayas.

History of Rohtang Pass

There are many myths and stories related to how this pass got its name. Some say that this pass is named after the majestic mountains of the Himalayan ranges that act as a link between the Kullu and Lahaul valleys. On the other hand, there are still others who suggest that since it is the only entrance between the valleys, it must have been carved by the gods themselves.

The local people of Kullu believe that Lord Shiva built the pass, while the people of Lahaul believe that the western Tibetan king Gyapo Gyasar built the pass. But the most common story of how it came to pass can be guessed from its name itself. In Ladakhi, the name means ‘heap of corpses’. The pass got its name because a large number of people were killed trying to cross it.

Rohtang Pass Tunnel

Rohtang Pass tunnel is being built under Rohtang Pass on Leh-Manali Highway. The tunnel is planned under the eastern parts of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The length of the tunnel is 8.8 km and is considered to be one of the longest tunnels in the country. The tunnel will reduce the distance between the cities of Manali and Keylong by about 50 km.

Since the pass has to be closed for about 8 months throughout the year, the tunnel is planned to be kept open during the winter months. The Leh Manali Highway will be routed through the tunnel after the construction is completed. The excavation work of the tunnel was finished in October 2017, and the construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2019. Situated at an altitude of 3100 meters above sea level, the tunnel will reduce the crossing time for the pass. Right now it takes about 4 to 6 hours to reach and come back from Rohtang La Pass, but once the tunnel is ready, it will take only 30 minutes.

Places to Stay in and near Rohtang Pass

  1. Orchid Inn – Situated just 9 km away from Rohtang Pass, the cozy and comfortable inn is renowned for its affordable room rates. Additionally, the friendly staff is ready round the clock to make your life easier. The hotel offers the best amenities you could ask for and some of the most stunning views of the area. All this – on a budget. What more could you ask for?
  2. One Ski Resorts by One Hotel – Located 8.5 km from the nearby, this hotel is a bit more expensive but the mesmerizing views of the Himalayas around it make up for every penny. It is one of the most well-equipped places when it comes to modern amenities and facilities.
  3. Burua Valley Retreat – This resort is located 9.5 km from the pass and offers affordable rooms for tourists who are traveling on a budget. Additionally, the hotel is completely smoke-free and has a warm and cozy décor that will take away your travel fatigue.
  • Rohtang pass temperature (Link)
  • Rohtang pass weather (Link)
  • Rohtang pass height (Link)
  • Manali to rohtang pass distance (Link)
  • Rohtang pass permit online (Link)

Places to Eat in and near Rohtang Pass

  1. Manali Sweets – This is one of the most popular dhabas in the area and for good reason. Manali Mithai offers some of the most affordable dishes that are exceptionally delicious too. Enjoy an endless stream of masala chai, snacks, and sweets here without burning a hole in your pocket.
  2. Lazy Dog Lounge – The restaurant is as unique as its name. Enjoy fine continental cuisine, large olive and cheese pizza, and veg penne pasta. The lounge is perfect for getting some comfort food and warming up in cold weather.
  3. People – This little joint is almost hidden from the world, in its little corner. But it is also the place to find some of the tastiest and cheapest food in the region. Therefore, People is an ideal place to eat for backpackers and budget travelers.

Road Trip to Ladakh Via Rohtang

  1. Traveling from Manali to Ladakh via Rohtang is quite famous. The Manali-Leh Highway offers some of the most stunning and picturesque views of the Himalayas. Here are some highlights from the trip:
  2. Start your day in Manali. This hill station offers some of the most stunning views of the Himalayan peaks, and you can try skiing and paragliding here.
  3. Visit Rohtang Pass. This scenic route is the gateway to Lahaul, Spiti, and Leh. Take pictures of the snow-capped mountains, and enjoy the singing of the Chandra River flowing beside you.
  4. Reach Keylong – a relaxing area where natural beauty in its most pristine form abounds. Explore the lush green Bhaga Valley, and then proceed to Jispa. Situated right next to the Chandra River, Jispa is indeed rich in fascinating trails and lush green forests.
  5. The next stop is Dracha. Explore this picturesque Himalayan village, before heading to Zongjing Bar – the world’s highest roadside bar.
  6. Your next stop is Baralacha La. Standing at an altitude of 16000 feet, the confluence of 3 valleys is visible at this place. You can also start the Suraj Tal trek here.
  7. The next stop is Sarchu and Gata Loops. Check out the pristine beauty of Lachulung La, and then visit Pang. Soak in the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, and then head to Upshi. Explore goat farming and experience the joy like never before.
  8. Your next destination is the Karoo, after which you will enter the mesmerizing and paradisiacal valley of Leh Ladakh. Dream Destination is a paradise for adventure lovers, adventure seekers, and adrenaline junkies. Experience natural beauty like never before and soak in the dramatic landscape.

Tips for Visiting Rohtang Pass

  1. Set aside some extra time to go to the pass to account to make up for the delay. Since this pass attracts a lot of tourists, it is common for traffic to remain jammed for hours. In such cases, you may have to walk to the main location, and this will take some extra time.
  2. Make sure you plan your trip so that you can reach the pass in broad daylight. The road is steep, the roads are winding, the heights are high, and it gets colder as the day progresses. So it is better to start early in the day so that you can be back on time.
  3. Make sure you wear warm clothes as it gets quite cold in the mountains. Additionally, it is advisable to carry a thermos of tea or coffee and pack some snacks as well.
  4. If you are planning to rent snow clothes, make sure you compare the prices with the prices fixed by the government.
  5. Since the oxygen level is low in the mountains, you may get altitude sickness. Pack some essential medicines for such cases.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rohtang Pass

Q. Why is Rohtang Pass famous?

A – Known for its natural beauty, Rohtang Pass holds strategic importance for India. The pass offers beautiful views of glaciers, peaks, Lahaul valley, and Chandra river. The twin peaks of Geppan are also visible from Rohtang. The pass is on the watershed between the water basins of the Chenab River and the Beas River.

Q. Is Rohtang Pass closed now?

A – Rohtang Pass is now closed for tourists. The Himachal Pradesh State Government issued an order in this regard and said that the famous Rohtang Pass will remain closed for tourists and day-trippers till April-end 2022.

Q. Why is Rohtang Pass called the Valley of Death?

A – The pass passes through the Leh-Manali highway. With each new season, road crews have to contend with their GPS to dig out the road buried under layers of snow. However, massive and deadly landslides continue, which gives the pass its name, which turns into a land of corpses.

Q. Which month is best for Rohtang Pass?

A – Rohtang Pass is open for 6 to 7 months of the year from April, May to October and hence, it becomes the only and best time to visit Rohtang Pass. Travelers can opt for many adventure sports like mountain biking, skiing, snow scooter riding, and so on.

Q. Does it snow in Manali?

A – October to February is the winter season and if you like cold then it is considered the best time to visit Manali and January is the best to enjoy fresh snowfall. The temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius.

Q. Can I go to Rohtang Pass in my car?

A – There is no restriction on the number of vehicles coming beyond Rohtang Pass. However, for travel beyond Rohtang Pass, an undertaking certificate has to be obtained from the SDM office at Manali.

Q. Is Rohtang Pass worth seeing?

A – Rohtang Pass is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the Himalayas, but one must visit there during the off-season, and the other must be prepared for two to three hours of traffic jams and toxic exhaust fumes. Lovely experience once you get there. But getting there is very tiring and scary. There is a long traffic jam on the way.

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