Mesmerising Keylong, Manali-Leh Highway

Weather :

Timings : 24 hrs

Time Required : 1 - 2 days

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

Keylong, Manali Overview

Nestled between the Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh, Keylong is a serene place perfect for a getaway away from the tourists towns of the state. Due to the dry cold weather, Keylong does not have a lot of greenery, but the snow-covered mountains covered with mist are picturesque. Situated at an altitude of 3080 meters, the tiny hamlet has a rich culture and a laid back, small-town lifestyle.

Keylong is generally a stop-over for the tourists travelling in the region., but those who stay longer are able to explore the hidden monasteries and undertake scenic walks enveloped by peaceful atmosphere. The mind-stirring small town is cut off from the outside world from November to mid-May due to the heavy snowfall at Rohtang Pass in the winters. To travel to Keylong, it is mandate to take a permit pass from the Tourist Development Council Manali.

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Keylong
Keylong

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Keylong Weather and Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Keylong is between May and October as it is cut off from the outside world during the rest of the months because of heavy snowfall at the Rohtang Pass. The peak tourist season is May and June which sees a lot of people travelling to the region.

How to Reach Keylong from Manali

Situated around 127 km north of the tourist hub Manali, Keylong is accessible by Manali-Leh Highway, through NH-21. The road is cut off during the winter season and opens around April end or May. You can travel to Keylong either by bus or by car in around 4 hours. If opting to drive down by a personal vehicle, make sure to opt for bigger cars having more ground clearance. The roads on the mountains are generally narrow, and you have to be very careful while driving.

There are daily buses on the Manali Keylong route running at 4:00 AM, 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM with the 12:00 PM bus being the last one. While travelling on this route, try to cross the Rohtang Pass before or around 8:00 AM to avoid the heavy traffic. After Rohtang, the first village is Gramphu from where you need to take the right turn to Spiti and continue towards the Khoksar village check post. From Khoksar, head towards Sissu and continue to Tandi (8 km) to finally reach Keylong.

Keylong Permit

To travel to Keylong, you will need a travelling permit from the Tourist Development Council Manali. The National Green Tribunal has restricted the entry of 800 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles to travel to Rohtang Pass so as to conserve the environment. Now each vehicle will have to pay INR 500 to pass Rohtang pass and extra INR 50 in the name of congestion charge. So, for travelling to Keylong you will have to take an undertaking certificate from SDM office in Manali. Furthermore, on Tuesdays, the BRO carried out maintenance work so avoid travelling to Keylong on this day as the vehicles are not permitted to go.

How to obtain the permit?
It does not matter if you travelling to Keylong in a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler you will need a permit. A permit is required for travelling beyond Rohtang pass (Travel purpose) which can be obtained in SDM office between 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (except Sunday and second Saturday). Since this permit is not available online and you will have to stand in a queue, make sure that you obtain it well in advance to avoid hassle.

Documents required-
1. Evidence for your hotel booking. Online hotel bookings are not taken into consideration and hence is invalid.
2. You must have the pollution certificate of the vehicle, vehicle registration certificate and the driving license of the driver.
3. The vehicle in which you are traveling should not be more than 10 years old.

Process-
Step 1: Submit all the above-mentioned documents in the office for verification between 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Step 2: The permit is issued between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM. So, collect the permit during this time frame from the office.

It is mandatory for you to apply for the permit at least a day prior to the date of travel. So, make sure you have the permit so that you can travel in peace. 

Places to Visit in Keylong

1. Kardhang Monastery: Located at a mere distance 8 km from Keylong, Kardhang Monastery is a pristine place situated amidst mountains visited by a large number of Buddhist devotees, monks and travellers that come to pray and purge their souls. The architecture of the monastery is spellbinding. The monastery also houses a library with ancient Buddhist texts and weapons dating back to the 12th and 13th century. 

2. Barachaa La Pass: Barachaa translates to 'pass with crossroads on summit' in English. This place offers spectacular views of the mountains and is also the place from where three rivers namely; Chandra, Bhaga and Yunam originate. Barachaa La is perfect for unwinding and spending some peaceful time with nature.

Barachaa La Pass
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3. Shashur Monastery: Located at an elevation of 600 meters, Shashur Monastery peacefully sits on top of a hill 3 km away from Keylong. The walls of this monastery are embellished with beautiful paintings of 84 Siddhas of Buddhism. The best time to visit this monastery is during the months of June and July because of the celebration of an annual festival that is celebrated with joy.

4. Tayul Monastery: Tayul translates in English to 'the chosen place' and is located at a distance of 6 km from Keylong. The monastery is home to a grand library that houses thousands of ancient texts. The huge and splendid statue of Guru Padmasambhava makes this monastery a must visit.

5. Suraj Tal: Believed to be the lake of the Sun God, Suraj Tal is situated amidst snow-covered mountains at an elevation of 4960 meters. The lake is considered to be pristine and a dip in this lake will not only make your body feel rejuvenated but will also purge it from impurities. 

Suraj Tal
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6. Darcha: At a mere distance of 24 km from Keylong, Darcha is just the place to stay in if you are planning to camp. Located at an elevation of 3360 meters, Darcha is a huge camping site where trekkers camp and enjoy the beauty of nature. 

7. Ancient Fort at Gondla: As the name suggests this fort was built in the 18th century and is situated 18 km away from Keylong. The fort is eight stories long with intricate architecture. The best part about this fort is that it is situated near the Chandra River. 

8. Lahaul and Spiti Tribal Museum: Lahaul and Spiti Museum is rich in artefacts relating to the rich culture of this area. Many beautifully woven clothes, old masks, utensils, handmade carpets, treasures and archaeological artefacts are on display. This is a must visit as you will be able to explore and learn about the history and culture of local people.

9. Pin Valley National Park: This is a haven for many endangered flora and fauna in Himachal Pradesh. A trip into the dense forest is a must to see the wildlife including the snow leopard, blue sheep and ibex. Safari rides are also available, and you can even hire a tour guide to explore the national park. The best part about this park is that you can even indulge in a camping tour.

10. Deepak Tal: This is a tranquil lake in Keylong that provides splendid scenic beauty. The water of the lake is fresh, cold and clear. Sit by this lake and dip your feet in Crystal clear water to enjoy it at its best.

Deepak Tal
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Things to Do in Keylong

Trekking: The hilly terrain and abundance of snow covered mountains make Keylong a perfect place for trekking. The treks are difficult but the thrilling and exciting paths will pump up the adrenaline level and the picturesque beauty will make the treks worthwhile.

Bird Watching: Keylong has a copious variety of colourful birds. These also include migratory birds that can be seen flying around. Take a walk to see and be enchanted by the beauty of these birds.

Camping: Keylong provides an opportunity to camp around the picturesque valley. A lot of travel companies offer camping packages and it will surely be a memorable experience

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