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Rohtang Pass in India

A dangerous Himalayan road which name translates like "a corpse field"

Best time: May–October

Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is situated on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, 53 km from Manali. This high mountain pass that has served as an ancient trade route between the residents on both sides of Pir Panjal has an elevation of 3.979 m (13,054 ft). The road got its name due to deadly landslides and avalanches that bury the road for about five months every year. Every spring, road workers have to dig out the pass from several layers of snow and ice. Rohtang Pass that connects Kullu valley with Lahaul and Spiti is open only from May to November. In 2016, the Himachal Pradesh government began issuing permits to limit the number of vehicles on the road.

The Rohtang Pass has become a natural divide between the lush Kullu Valley, which is dominated by Hindu culture and the more dry Spiti and Lahaul Valleys which have strong Buddhists influence. Rohtang Pass has stunning landscapes with panoramic glaciers views, rigged peaks of Geypan, picturesque Lahaul Valley, the Chandra, Chenab River, and the Beas rivers.

Due to a deadly reputation, the Himachal Pradesh government is going to build an alternative tunnel to replace the Rohtang Pass. Even though the road is asphalted, it is in poor condition. Still, every summer farmers transport their crops from Lahul valley to the markets to Kullu to make some money before they get cut off from civilization during the winter period. This results in frequent traffic jams that sometimes last for 10 hours. Rohtang Pass is also frequently taken by tourists buses that head to Manali, Kullu or Leh.

Practical info

When is Rohtang Pass available for tourism?

Rohtang Pass is available for tourism between May and November. Tourists can enjoy pleasant weather and explore the area during these months. Temperature ranges from 10 - 25°C. However, the pass remains closed during winter months due to heavy snowfall and avalanche risk. Therefore, tourists should plan their trip according to the availability of the pass. Show more

What makes Rohtang Pass a dangerous place?

Rohtang Pass is known for its dangerous conditions caused by high altitude, unpredictable weather, rugged terrain, and heavy snowfall during winter. It can lead to precarious driving conditions, fatal landslides, and avalanches, making it a hazardous place. The Himachal Pradesh government has limited traffic by introducing permits to prevent mishaps and ensure tourists' safety. Show more

Why is Rohtang Pass culturally significant?

Rohtang Pass is a significant cultural landmark as it divides two valleys, Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti, which boast different cultures and languages. On one side, Kullu is primarily Hindu-dominated, lush with dense forests. On the other hand, Lahaul-Spiti is mainly Buddhist, a cold desert. The Pass provided an ancient trade route for these regions, and even today, farmers transport their crops from Lahul valley to Kullu markets only during summer months before getting cut off from the outside during the winter period. Show more

How does Rohtang Pass impact tourists?

Tourists visiting Rohtang Pass face many challenges, such as adapting to high-altitude conditions, unpredictable weather, and complex road conditions, leading to possible mishaps. Traffic jams are also common due to the increase in the number of tourist buses, sometimes lasting for ten hours. The pass is only accessible for six months between May and November, and closed for the rest of the year due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Tourists should keep these factors in mind while planning their trip. Show more

What problems can occur during a trip to Rohtang Pass?

Traveling to Rohtang Pass is not without challenges. Unpredictable weather and road conditions can lead to accidents, and the pass is only open for tourism between May and November due to heavy snowfall during winters. Visitors may acclimatize to high-altitude conditions, and traffic jams are common due to increased tourism. The Himachal Pradesh government has introduced permits to ensure visitor’s safety and limit road traffic. Show more

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