Rohtang Pass at an altitude of 3979 metres is an extremely scenic location in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. It is located 51 kilometers from Manali and it takes about an hour and a half to reach there. It is snow covered throughout the year and connects the Kullu-Manali valley with Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The Pass is usually opened to traffic from June to November. During the winter months, due to heavy snowfall in this region, the Pass is closed.
The Drive up there: Rohtang Pass is a popular destination with tourists and tends to get extremely crowded during the summer months. You can book a cab through your hotel or hire one directly from the taxi-stand at the Manali market. A trip to Rohtang and back costs between 1500-2500 Rupees depending on the type of vehicle hired ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs.
Permit for Rohtang Pass
Since May 2015, as per the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a permit is required for travelling to Rohtang Pass. A Green Tax barrier manned by the tourism department and home guards has been setup 3 kms from Manali on the Manali-Rohtang Road to regulate entry of vehicles to the restricted area. The purpose was mainly to conserve the fragile ecology, green cover, reduce pollution levels & restrict carbon emissions arising from the increased number of tourist vehicles.
Permits can be applied via the following 2 ways:
- Online Application for Permit
The permit is issued on a daily basis as per the daily quota for diesel and petrol vehicles.
- Application for permit from the District Magistrates Office (located at Manali Mall). C
Computerized permits to 1,000 vehicles per day out of which only 300 permits are issued to outside vehicles per day. Once issued, each permit is valid only for the date issued. Permit applications can be submitted on working days between 10 am – 12.30pm.
Permit Application Form – Duly Filled
PUC (Pollution Certificate)
Drivers Identity Proof
If the documents are submitted by noon, the permit is issued immediately, else it can be collected the next day.
Useful Tips to Rohtang visitors:
- Go Early Morning: Since traffic is regulated and drivers have to show the permit and enter details at the Green Tax Barrier allowed to pass each way in batches, it was advisable to start early in the morning around 5am, to avoid the queues at the toll.
- Parking: Vehicles can be parked at the allocated parking area and is also commonly parked on the road sides at the Pass. During June-July visitors can find snow right on the roadsides. But later in the year, one has to walk up the slightly steep slope to reach the snow.
- Glacier: It is advisable to drive a little further from Rohtang Top, about a kilometer ahead and park the vehicle on the roadside here. It is a short walk along a gradual slope to a huge glacier which remains snow covered. This area is less crowded and the snow is more accessible.
- Adventure Activities: To conserve the ecology of the region, all adventure activities like Snow scooters, Skiing, Tobogganing and Tube rides have been suspended at Rohtang Pass. For the adventure enthusiast, All Terrain Bikes maybe available at Kothi enroute to Rohtang. These ATBs go over rocks, snow and almost anything. The ride is thrilling and costs anywhere from 100-400/- (based on your negotiation skills) for a 5 minute ride.
- What To Expect: Rohtang Pass offers the most jaw dropping views of the Himalayas. One can spend some time at the slopes – enjoying the snow, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the snow ranges all around and clicking pictures. The young as expected have a whale of a time in the snow here but I have often witnessed the not so young or physically fit get energized as well and go climbing up the snow covered slopes.
- Clothing: Wear heavy woollens, woollen caps, socks and gloves to stay protected from the cold and winds. It is advisable to hire a snow suit if you are venturing into the snow as regular clothes are bound to get wet. Remember you are going to the snow region!
- Snow costumes, boots and skiing equipment can be rented from the scores of shops setup all along the way till Kothi. Rent for a set of snow wear with boots is around Rs. 300 for adults and Rs. 200 for kids. One can negotiate and get the good rates if in a group.
- Carry Food: You may find a few hawkers selling tea and dry snacks but there are no eating joints or restaurants at Rohtang Pass. The nearest eating joints are the dhabas at Marhi, 5 kms before Rohtang else further down at Gulaba.
- Washroom Facility: Basic mobile washrooms have been provided at Rohtang. Basic washroom facilities are also available at the dhabas at Marhi or Gulaba.
Please Do Not Litter: Of late garbage strewn around the pristine slopes of Rohtang has become extremely concerning. Tourists are requested not to litter but carry their waste back and dispose it in the right manner. Every visitor to the Himalayas has a social responsibility towards conserving our environment and the beautiful Himalayas for other travellers and future generations.
Rohtang Pass is a gateway to heaven which one must not miss experiencing. For most visitors, their trip to Rohtang Pass remains as the most memorable highlight of their holiday in Manali.
Other Places to Visit near Rohtang Pass: