The journey to the most popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh is often Manali and the Rohtang Pass. I was no exception and immediately on arrival to my workplace, my first interest was to take a trip to see Rohtang Pass and the Atal tunnel. Its a late writing, but better late than never. The broad plan was to ride right upto Manali, cross the Atal Tunnel, reach Sissu and thgen turn right, climb Rohtang from the Lahaul side, then climb down along the Solang valley, Kothi and Gulaba back to base.
Mandi to Aut. The road Mandi to Aut is not in the best possible shape. Multiple yearlong four-laning projects have turned this road stretch into a nightmare for tourists. The frequent landslides, traffic blockages that accompany the deep cutting into the hills make the adjoining Beas and her beauties pale comparing to the agony of the road itself.
Pandoh Dam. Pandoh Dam is an embankment dam on the Beas River situated near Pandoh Town. It is one of the popular dams in Himachal and among the famous Mandi Tourist Places. The dam is set amidst the picturesque hills, dotted with dense woods and the place offers a wonderful opportunity to capture some breath-taking scenes. The place has also gained popularity as a spot for a fun-filled water sports activities. Rafting has become a popular adventure activity to try near the Pandoh Dam. The site is one of the best places for camping and picnic in the region.
Aut Tunnel. Aut tunnel is on the NH 21, which would take me through a 15-minute journey under the dusky light of the tunnel. Located near the Larji Dam Reservoir, the tunnel has a total length of 3 km and is the only getaway to Kullu – Manali.
Kullu to Manali. The four laning having been more or less completed, the road beyond Aut, through Bhuntar, Kullu upto Manali is a pleasure for moto enthusiasts. Speed beyond 100 is achievable, and that often leads to some avoidable incidents on the road by careless motorcyclists and car drivers. Overall, this part is picturesque, beautiful and a treat to the eye and mind.
Atal Tunnel. Also referred to as the Rohtang Tunnel, Atal Tunnel is a horseshoe-shaped highway tunnel that connects Manali and the Lahaul-Spiti valley, reducing the time taken by around 4-5 hours. Named after the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the tunnel is the world’s longest one above 10,000 feet and is constructed in the Pir Panjal ranges, under the Rohtang Pass. It is an all-weather tunnel that has made possible the entry into the valley, which is usually landlocked during the winter months. The tunnel’s North End brings visitors into Sissu, which is surrounded by high peaks.
Sissu Valley. Bang on the right side of the Chandra (Chenab) river, Sissu provides the entry into the Lahaul Valley from the Atal Tunnel. The nature starts becoming sparse, the desolation increases as one turns right to move towards the Rohtang Pass from the Lahaul side.
Gramphu. The most famous fork junction, the North-south axis connecting Rohtang and Leh and the east-west connecter is from Batal to Gramphu, connecting the Kaza -Rohtang axes. Took a short breather there enjoying the snow-capped peaks and the beauty of the Chenab amidst wild desolation. The climb to Rohtang starts from there.
Rohtang Pass. The gateway to Lahaul and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, remains one of the most spectacular destinations in the entire Kullu Manali region. This picturesque pass is located at a height of 3980 meters, on Manali Keylong highway. This mountain slope is so beautiful that people from every corner of the country visit this place to take part in adventure sports such as skiing, ice-skating, paragliding, etc. Just beyond the stunning Rohatng pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan, which is known for its panoramic view and peaceful atmosphere.
The name Rohtang means ‘ground of corpses’ due to the number of people who lost their lives while crossing this difficult mountain range. It is located on the Pir Panjal Mountain Range of the Himalayas and serves as the gateway to Pangi and the valley of Leh. The Rohtang Pass is a natural divide between the humid Kullu Valley, which has a predominant Hindu culture and high altitude Lahaul and Spiti Calleys, which are predominantly Buddhist.
Solang Valley. Solang Valley is nestled away between the Beas Kund and Solang Village. The valley is famous among tourists for its stunning views of snow-capped mountains and magnificent glaciers that attract ski fanatics from all over the world. The beauty of Solang Valley is unparalleled and many people visit the valley every year just to enjoy its pristine, snow-white magnificence. Especially in winter, when the entire place is covered by fluffy, milky white snow, the whole place appears as if it is straight out of a movie. groves of emerald green trees dotting the pure white landscape, clear blue skies, and magnificent mountains as far as the eye can see – Solang is truly at its most splendorous in winters. The village Kothi and Gulaba are jewels in the crown of Himachal are also part of the Solang Valley.
Back to Base. Though pics clicked was less, due to the intense riding all throughout the day, this one-day trip was involving and marks the start of the Himachal moto journey of the unresting wheels of Dada.