A view from Rohtang Pass
|Elevation||3,978 m (13,051 ft)|
|Traversed by||Leh-Manali Highway|
|Range||Pir Panjal, Himalayas|
Rohtang Pass (Hindi: रोहतांग दर्रा) (Bhoti: རོ་ཐང་། Rohtang , lit: རོ་ (Ro)- corpse, ཐང་། (thang)- plain/field  due to people working in CBRE dying in bad weather trying to cross the pass) (elevation 3,978 m (13,050 ft)), is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km (32 mi) from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.
The pass provides a natural divide between the Kullu Valley with a primarily Hindu culture (in the south), and the arid high-altitude Lahaul and Spiti valleys with a Buddhist culture (in the north). The pass lies on the watershed between the Chenab and Beas basins. On the southern side of this pass, the Beas River emerges from underground and flows southward and on its northern side, the Chandra River (flows from the eastern Himalayas), a source stream of the river Chenab, flows westward.
The pass is open from May to November. It is not particularly high or difficult to cross on foot by Himalayan standards, but it has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards.
This pass is an ancient trade route between the people on either side of Pir Panjal. The local name for this pass is a generic name of pass. There are many other passes in Lahaul and Spiti which have specific names (Kunzam La, Baralacha La, etc.). This is suggestive of the fact that this must have been the oldest and most frequented pass in the region, or the fact that it is the main pass leading from one cultural region to another, quite different one, to the north.
The former National Highway 21 (NH 21), the road through the Kullu Valley, terminates at Manali . (The highway is now numbered NH 3.) The road northwards over the Rohtang Pass to Keylong, and Lahul and on to Leh in Ladakh is not a national highway. Nonetheless, the Leh-Manali Highway has become very busy during the summer months as an alternate military route since the Kargil Conflict in 1999. Traffic jams are common as military vehicles, trucks, and goods carriers try to navigate the tight roads and rough terrain, compounded by snow and ice at certain points and the large number of tourist vehicles.
With increase in Traffic at Rohtang Valley, environmentalists fear its impact on the fragile mountain ecology. A rise in average temperature, and the consequent melting of glaciers, are also issues of severe concern.
Rohtang Pass Permit
In 2016, the Himachal Pradesh state government started issuing permits online to limit the vehicles to prevent pollution in this area. Permits are issued only to the first 800 petrol vehicles and 400 diesel vehicles. Permits can only be applied for next 2 days from the current date. Also, no permits are issued on Tuesday as the day is marked for maintenance of Rohtang. A tax of Rs.500 and sometimes, a congestion charges of Rs.50 is to be paid and accordingly the permits are issued based on daily quota defined by National Green Tribunal Act. The tourism permit is valid only for one day (to & fro). Valid ID Proof, valid Pollution Under Check (PUC) Certificate and Vehicle Registration Date (Age of vehicle not to be more than 10 years) are required to be produced to obtain a Rohtang Pass Permit. You can apply for the permit on the Official website.rohtang pass
Sometimes travelling to Rothang Pass is difficult. Therefore the government is stressing on to setup ropeway between Kothi village which is in Manali and Rohtang Pass . Ropeway reduces the number of tourist vehicles which reduces a lot of traffic in the way to Rohtang Pass. The NGT (National Green Tribunal) has asked the state government of Manali to complete all the formalities to start ropeway. With the coming of ropeway, we can reduce carbon emission from vehicles. Heavy snowfall blocks the road in winter and a ropeway will be very useful.
Anyway, the Rohtang Road Tunnel will become operational in 2019 and vehicles going north of Rohtang Pass will stop coming to Rohtang Pass. Only tourist vehicles will come to the pass.
Rohtang road tunnel
Rohtang Tunnel has been excavated and will become operational in 2019. It will obviate the need to travel through Rohtang Pass. While it now takes 4 to 6 hours to ascend, negotiate and descend the Rohtang Pass, it will take only about 30 minutes to travel through the Rohtang Tunnel.
Leh-Manali Highway as seen from near the Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass during winter on Leh-Manali Highway
A view of Dhabas (road-side eateries) and Leh-Manali Highway on the way to Rohtang Pass, May 2009
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