Manali is the gateway to Rohtang pass beyond which lie the twin valley of Lahaul and Spiti. The Rohtang pass is 51 KM north of Manali and it is located on Manali Keylong Highway at an altitude of 4111 meters ( 13,400 ft ). This pass opens for tourist from April end to October end of the year. The permission to travel on this highway is given by Indian army after they clear the snow and inspect the road for its fitness and safety for movement of person and the vehicles. The same road connects to Leh Ladakh ( State of Jammu & Kashmir ) from Manali ( state of Himachal Pradesh). Sonepani Glacier and a small lake (Dashahr) are located opposite and left to Rohtang respectively.
Beside the natural passes in the mountains at Rohtang, there are many other beautiful place enroute to Rohtang.
Being a favorite place of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, this place is named as Nehru Kund. One can see pure water rushing out of rocks. As per the local belief, the water has some medicinal effect. This place is just 6-7 Kms from Manali.
This is supposed to be the first village on the banks of Beas river. The area is scenic and many hotels are available to have refreshments and enjoy the nature. Kothi is located at 15Kms from Manali on hill top with curved roads.
This place is considered as a picnic spot and starting point to Brighu lake trekking. The area is filled with beautiful flowers and very calm and pleasant. Gulaba is 20Kms from Manali.
This water fall is from one of the branches of River Beas. The height of the water fall is nearly 50Mts. This fall is 27Kms from Manali.
This place is as famous as Rohtang pass. Fully covered with snow, all kind of water sports are available. Whenever Rohtang pass is closed due to bad weather conditions, people will be allowed to visit upto this place. The place is surrounded by lush green meadows. All kind of restaurants (both indoor and outdoor) are available for people. Marhi is 35Kms from Manali.
This is the glacier where snow is available for the entire year. Rani Nala is 40Kms from Manali.
The main attraction for tourist at Rohtang pass is snow and the scenic beauty of the area. The road is very narrow near the Rohtang pass and the parking of vehicles is very difficult and one has to be very alert while parking the vehicles because slight distraction may be hazardous. Hence it is advisable to come here very early in the morning and stay upto afternoon and starts returning once the traffic gets clear.
The safest and the easiest way to reach the snow point is by horse ride but it is a bit costly ride, but elderly and the small children can comfortably use this service. The horse man charges around Indian Rupees 400 per trip ( both ways ) per horse. Tourists plan their trip in early hours to reach Rohtang very early to avoid traffic and reach at the snow point.
All types of food stuff, coffee and drinks are available at Rohtang pass and these are sold by local people. Shopkeepers keep cold drinks in running water to maintain the temperature as there is no need of a refrigerator here. One can relish the food by sitting inside the low running water of the river Beas. The weather here is highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall.
Nandini Mittal, AIR correspondent, Shimla