Rohtang Pass closed for tourists as frozen stretches make driving risky
Rohtang Pass at 13,050 feet in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh has been closed for tourists and day-trippers in view of the slippery roads due to freezing conditions at the high altitude.
Kullu deputy commissioner Ashutosh Garg said that from Monday, tourist vehicles headed for Rohtang will not be allowed beyond Kothi village, 13km ahead of Manali town, till April-end when the weather improves.
Only army, police and emergency service vehicles are permitted through Atal Tunnel during this period.
The administration has shut the portal for online permits.
The tourist influx to Rohtang Pass increased after the region received snowfall around Diwali on November 4.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) cautioned that due to the dipping temperature and adverse weather conditions, water was freezing at many places on the road leading to Rohtang Pass and it should be closed for civilian vehicles.
Once the only gateway to the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti, Rohtang Pass is strategically important today as it is a vital link to the forward areas of Ladakh.
Atal Tunnel was opened in October 2020 and provides all-weather connectivity to Lahaul and Spiti besides cutting down the distance to Leh by 46km and drive time by around seven hours.
The 9-km tunnel is also the world’s longest tunnel above 10,000-feet.