Posted: August 29, 2012 by randommuzings in India
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Manali to Keylong is just 115 km- a journey that can ideally be covered in 5-6 hours but of course enroute one has to pass the deadly Rohtang Pass. We took a shared cab (Tata Sumo) that charged Rs 250 per seat and was carrying 10 passengers and a driver. So well stuffed we began our journey at noon. In 1.5 hours we were at Rohtang but had to stop here for the next 3 hours.

Rohtang in the local language literally means “A pile of corpses” and is considered to be the deadliest pass of all and we soon learnt why.  Rohtang is under continuous rain or snow. Between May to September, it is mostly continuous rains that cause land slides, hence blocking traffic.

From October to April, there is continuous snow and hence the road remains closed, cutting off Keylong from the rest of the world. The people dwelling beyond Rohtang in Lahaul and Spiti are thus classified as tribals by the government and hence enjoy rebated food and free medical facilities. The tribal status, however, will be lost once the 14 km long Rohtang Tunnel gets constructed that will bypass the Rohtang Pass and make Lahaul-Spiti accessible all the year around. I hope it doesn’t happen for a few more years as then Keylong as I saw it will be lost.

When we reached Rohtang, the road was blocked due to land slides. All vehicles that had left since morning were qued up before us. For the street vendors, it was good business as people munched the food as there was little else that could be done.

The locals alleged that to increase their business, the horse keepers had released some water that had increased landslides in the area. They then volunteered to taken people for a ride on the horses to a popular point closeby with a small permanent glacier from where they claim that the China border is visible, which of course is not true.

The journey after crossing Rohtang was smooth. On the other side of Rohtang, Beas ditched us but Chenab took its place.  In total it took us 9 hours to reach Keylong from Manali.


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