When planning a trip to Manali, a day off to the vista point of Rohtang is the ultimate and almost essential attraction of the itinerary. Located at a distance of just 51 kilometres from the main town, Rohtang Pass can be reached only by road. The pass is located at a massive height of 3978 metres, the way up the hills is a treat to the eyes. As the vehicle climbs higher on the Manali- Keylong road, the beauty of the landscape around will leave you awestruck. A peculiar fact behind the name of the place is that it was named so because a number of people working in CBRE died whilst trying to cross this treacherous stretch. Owing to its splendid natural beauty, Rohtang Pass is a favourite among the community of film directors. Many blockbusters ranging from 'Jab We Met' to 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani' have been shot here.
In order to travel up to or beyond Rohtang, a mandatory Rohtang Pass permit is required by all visitors. You will need to show a confirmation voucher or a proof of hotel booking at one of your destinations. The pass costs INR 500 per head with an additional INR 50 which is charged as a congestion fee that is imposed by the National Green Tribunal on all the vehicles that travel here. The permits are also of two kinds, one is for up to Rohtang Pass only while the other is for travelling beyond this point. Online permit for travelling to Rohtang is available and can be booked here. In case you want to book your permits offline, you can do so on a first-come-first-serve basis from the Tourist and Information centre on all days from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. You can either take a four wheeler or bike your way to the pass as well.
To just curl up on your seat in the car as it begins to chill with every increasing metre on the altitude scale and gaze outside at the mesmerizing beauty of nature is absolute bliss. The pass is an experience of nature in one of its rawest forms possible, amongst mountain peaks covered with snow, breathtaking view and magnificent and sprawling landscapes and views. The magnificence of the white landscape and sonorous silence is a mesmerising thing worth experiencing.
Rohtang is near ideal for trekkers. The trails here are challenging and marked by glaciers, around water falls, pointed peaks, a breathtaking view of the surrounding and chilling cold. The 117 km long Manali- Lahaul pass is one of the most sought after treks, with sulphur springs, Bhrigu lake and a challenging path. The other famous treks are - from Gulaba to Bhrigu Lake, Batal to Rohtang and Jalori pass.
An experience of the snow can never be complete without a sledge ride, which involves sliding through the snow in a wooden toboggan. Another thrilling activity that can be pursued here would be mountain biking where you ride your mountain bikes off the regular course and into the lesser taken routes. It can get a bit rough, so you must take care in case you are planning on pursuing this activity. You can try your hand at skiing and tyre drop at the Rohtang Pass as well, where again you slide down a slope of snow whilst using the appropriate equipment. Gear for all of these activities is available for a reasonable rent, so do not miss out on this opportunity. Also, photography enthusiasts and nature lovers can never have enough of this place.
Due to heavy snowfall in winters, the pass remains closed from November to May. As it opens its doors to welcome tourists in June, Rohtang remains flocked with excited visitors from all over the country and abroad until October as it shuts again. It is said to be the only pass in the country to be covered by snow throughout the year.
HRTC and HPTDC run deluxe AC and Non-Ac buses connecting the valley with north India. NH21 connects the city to Chandigarh and Delhi. Despite being a long journey, tourists enjoy the trip as they drive through the beautiful landscape with river Beas flowing on one side of the road. Those travelling by car also make it a point to pass by Bhuntar and generally, stay over while going to or from Kullu- Manali. People also bike their way to the Pass but try this only if you are confident that you will be able to navigate the terrain.
Most tourists stay in Manali and take a day out for Rohtang. Apart from a couple of budget guest houses that you could spot while going up the pass there are no accommodation facilities in Rohtang. Manali, however has a wide ranges of hotels. Being a popular tourist destination and one of the most favourite of honeymoon couples, Kullu- Manali has hotels suiting all budget brackets. The options of river side cottages and studio apartments are also available for those keen on living by themselves.
Leave your hotel early for Rohtang, enjoy the journey up hill, gaze out of the window, don't forget to take your camera along. Hire the snow clothes and other equipment from a government authorized shop. Rohtang pass is not to be missed on a trip to Kullu-Manali and mostly includes or is followed by a visit to the Solang Valley and Bhuntar.
1. Take a day off for Rohtang. Leave for Rohtang early in the morning, as there are hundreds of others local tourist cabs visiting the pass and the narrow lanes gets jammed with traffic quickly.
2. Carry woollens and snacks, if possible pack a thermos of hot tea or coffee too. It would be the most useful up there.
3. When renting snow clothes, compare the prices with those fixed by the government.
4. Take care of your health, altitude sickness is common here.