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Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but the unpredictable avalanche and severe climatic conditions make it scary some times. Nonetheless, it had made adventure seekers’ tour of Ladakh mind-blowing. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the proud Pir Panjal Range of the mighty Himalayas.
It acts as the connecting link between Kullu Valley and Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Being an ancient trade route, it was well maintained by the natives. The generic name of the pass suggests that either the pass was the oldest and the most used pass. With the increase of visitors every year, the fragile mountain ecology will be in threat, environmentalists worry.
But the exciting beauty of the mountain terrains seen from the top of the pass is indescribable and flamboyant. The Indian Government started building a tunnel which is 8.5 km long to bypass Rohtang pass in order to reduce the travel time and distance to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh.
The tunnel promises to reduce the distance by 50 km and the time by five hours between the south and north faces of Rohtang pass. Currently, the time taken to ascend and descend the pass itself is 5-6 hours.
Height: Rohtang Pass is located at an altitude of 3978 meters above the sea level in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.
Location: The pass is located about 51 kms away from Manali and you can reach the pass if you take Leh- Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The pass will be open from the months of May to October as the snow starts melting and the paths will be cleared.
Apart from Khardung La or Baralacha La, Ladakh has numerous other passes at great heights which stand as Ladakh’s pride for centuries now. The glitters of other passes may be diminished by Khardung La mainly but all the other passes are equally important. Lachulung La is a single example.
The elevation of this pass is 5059 meters above sea level which is considered to be a dangerously exciting height for any pass after Khardung La. Lachulung La is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also, it separates the valleys of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. If you take Leh-Manali highway, you will be able to cross this pass that has other names such as Lachalung La, Lungalacha La etc.
A fact that to be remembered before you head to visit this pass is, it is open only for four and a half months during summer. Any traveler should be prepared not to fall sick during the conquering of Lachulung La because its geographic status, the height, the rugged pathways and the remote villages it goes through may cause dramatic influence on your body. Being one of the most adventurous passes in Ladakh, Lachulung is a favorite stop avid adventure lovers.
Also, the surroundings are quite fictional as the towering Himalayan passes and the nature lying in correspondence to them are creating soothing visuals. Trekkers should be very careful while climbing the altitude up as altitude sickness is assured at the top and keep hydrated to maintain your body conditions with respect to the climate. But the descent is smooth and easy so that you will feel overjoyed till the end.
Height: 5059 meters
Best time to visit: May to October
How to reach: Take Leh-Manali highway, from Sarchu 54 KM and from Pang, 24 Km
As important as the other major passes in Jammu and Kashmir, Nakee La situated at an elevation of 4769 meters above the sea level is a potent competition to Khardung La and similar ones in terms of adventure. On the Leh-Manali Highway, from Manali to Taglang La is Nakee La and it is the third pass among the five passes that to be crossed during the travel from Manali to Leh.
The previous travelers shared the experience of driving down the pass was quite dramatic; the expert drivers also find it challenging to steer past the uneven, rugged and off-road paths. But the traversing time would be filled with excitement and thrill if you really love adventure at its level best.
The frequent sections of ice are another impediment during the journey as well as an avalanche, heavy snowfalls etc can be expected anytime making the process of crossing the pass difficult. The climate is very dry over here and the harsh cold conditions make the pass a challenge to overcome for many. 21 Gata loops is a repeatedly heard word during the tour of Leh and the ascent to Nakee La is known in the special name.
One have to overcome the 23 km ascent that starts from 4250 meters to 4980 meters conquering the 21 tricky hairpin bends. There is also a rumor you can hear about the pass is that the pass is haunted by a ghost of a tourist who was buried here.
Height: Nakee La is located at an elevation of 4769 meters above the sea level.
Location: Nakee La is located on the famous Leh-Manali National Highway. While you travel from Manali to Leh, you would come across Nakee La.
Best time to go: The summer is the best time to visit Nakee La since during winter there would be heavy snowfall and landslide.
At a distance of 22 km south-west from Nahan on the banks of Markand River is one of the most visited tourist places in Nahan, the Shivalik Fossil Park, also known as Suketi Fossil Park. The park houses a collection of prehistoric vertebrate fossils and skeletons dug out from the Upper and Middle Shivaliks, which will engage history lovers and culture enthusiasts.
The highlight of you visit to the Fossil Park will the open-air display of six life-sized fibreglass models of extinct mammals in a recreation of the Shivalik Hills setting, which dates back to 2.5 million years.
Ticket Prices: Free entry.
Open Time: 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM (Closed on Tuesday)
A quintessential location and a high altitude roadside bar is Zingzing situated on the road from Manali to Leh. Travelers come here to refresh with a sip of coffee or to have food to energize the body and soul to resume their journey to Leh. The multi-purpose shacks can be availed to stay overnight as well.
A space where you will love to roll a joint and smoke it up to escape from the extreme cold. Located at an altitude of 4270 meters above the sea level, the place is recognized to be the most suitable one to take rest. Peaceful ambience and the silence prevailing would leave everyone addicted to it.
The fame of ZIngzing Bar was enhanced because of Baralacha La pass also; the starting point of Baralacha La, one of the most loved passes in Ladakh is Zingzing Bar. Thus it cannot be missed during one’s journey to Leh. The temperature level at the bar will be crazily as low as -2* Celsius and as you ascend from a different temperature from the base, chances to feel altitude sickness and fluctuations in the body are quite higher.
Height: The highest roadside bar in the world is located at an elevation of 4270 meters above the sea level before the steep Baralacha La roads starts.
Location: From Manali, Zingzing Bar is situated at a distance of 193 kms and a drive of about 3 hours will take you to the bar and from Leh it is about 337 kms away.
Best time to visit: Zingzing Bar is found the most scenic during the months of December, January and February when the winter hits at its peak. For those who are searching for peace over a joint, Zingzing bar during winter would be the best option.
Spanning across the area of 4 sq. km, the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places to visit in Nahan if you are a wildlife enthusiast. The legend has it that it is named after one of the prettiest ladies ever to walk over the face of the earth Renukaji and her son Parshuram. It protects a brilliant collection of the local flora and fauna, which will revive the nature lover in you.
Some of the species harboured in the Sanctuary are Samber, Leopard, Spotted Deer. It is a highly recommended place of visit for Nature enthusiasts and wilderness seekers.
Ticket Prices: Free entry.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.
A story says like this; there were two lovers in mythology, Chandra and Bhaga, one is the daughter of the Moon and the other one is the son of Sun God, respectively. To do their marriage, both of them climbed to the Baralacha La and from there, they started running in opposite directions.
Both of them found Tandi as their meeting point and thus their marriage became eternal. The factor made their love shine is Baralacha La pass, a high mountain pass in Zanskar Range that connects Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
In ancient times, Baralacha La was considered to be the main trade route. Near the pass, there is this emerald like the lake, the Suraj Tal which is the source of Bhaga River. The pass is situated at an altitude of 16040 feet and on this plateau, the famous mountain ranges such as Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Great Himalayas come together to meet.
One who wishes to go to Leh through Leh-Manali highway has to cross this pass which hides plenty of adventure and thrill in it.
Height: Baralacha La is the most important pass as Khardung La and it is situated at an altitude of 16040 feet above the sea level.
Location: Baralacha La is located 73 kms away from Keylong on Manali-Leh road.
Best time to visit: The months of April to October are the best months to visit Baralacha La pass as the roads will be open because the snow melts. If you are going from Manali to Leh, then it is advisable that cross the pass before noon due to the melting of snow and creation of streams on the road
On the similar lines of the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary we have the Renuka Temple, it is dedicated to Renukaji and her son Lord Parshuram. Continuing the legend, it is said that Parshuram wished to go through his time on earth at the feet of his mother and it is a result of this reason, the mother-son pair meet each year amid the beginning of yearly Renuka Fair.
It is additionally believed that Goddess Renuka is the reincarnation of Goddess Durga, which makes it a popular place to visit amongst devotees and followers of Hinduism. The calmness that it has to offer makes it one of the top tourist places in Nahan and is surely worth a visit.
Ticket Prices: Free entry.
Open Time: Sunrise to Sunset
On a tour of Leh, either starting from Manali or while returning to Manali, Sarchu is a major halt where properly arranged camping settlement can be seen. To relax, to just roam around or to sleep peacefully under the stars, Sarchu is a significant point in Ladakh region. It is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir on the Leh-Manali Highway.
The travelers from Manali to Leh will have to face some off-road conditions and two days will be required to reach Leh on the journey, hence people will choose Sarchu as a halt station. Near the Tsarap Chu River, one can see the camps arranged by the Indian Army as well. But during the winter season, the highway and Sarchu camps would be remaining closed as the altitude passes will not be accessible due to the presence of heavy snow.
Mainly, the trekking of Ladakh starts from Sarchu because the continuing journey from Manali to Leh would be tiring and the trekkers cannot start the experience all of a sudden. So an overnight stay in Sarchu will give energy and more enthusiasm to start the walk early morning. The tents are proper and safe with all the facilities an overnight resident would require.
Height: 4290 meters above the sea level
Location: Sarchu is between Baralacha La to the south and Lachulung La to the north and 220 kms away from Manali. You can reach Sarchu if you take a drive along Leh- Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The months from June to October are considered the best time to reach Sarchu.
Rani Tal was once a retreat for the Royalties residing in and around Nahan and in the surrounding Shivalik Hills. On one end of the Lake or Tal, there is an idol of Lord Shiva and a small temple dedicated to Goddess Lata Devi.
The Rani Tal has firmly established its place as a top picnic spot, attracting a multitude of solo travellers and families or couples alike be it local or tourists. You can spend time at this spot by having a stroll in the adjacent garden or by feeding the fishes and the turtles which are there in the pond.
The garden also houses a fountain which will rejuvenate you after your excursion. There is a small cave too which is believed to make its way to the King’s Palace.
Ticket Prices: Free entry.
Timings: Open 24 hours
A very mysterious attraction existing on the Leh-Manali Highway is Gata Loops as the stories related to it are creepy and at times scary. Gata Loops is a series of 21 hairpin bends that lead to the top of one of the highest motorable passes in Ladakh region that is Nakee La.
Gata Loops is located at an altitude of 17000 feet above the sea level and thus gifts so many wonderful sights of the snow-laid peaks in the background and excitement filled journey till the topmost portion. The myth related to Gata Loops says that a ghost is present in the road and it will disturb the passengers so that everyone is supposed to pay tribute to the ghost dwelling in a small hut atop the pass by giving mineral water and cigarettes.
In spite of the fact that the ghost is present or not, people have showered offerings to the mysterious ghost. Nonetheless, Gata Loops is a treacherous route to overcome and during winter, the roads will be blocked as the incessant ice sheets are all over the place. The hairpin bends are sharp and it is unimaginably challenging to enter the next loop from the other but descending the loops is more thrilling.
Height: The pass is located at an altitude of 17000 feet at the maximum above the sea level.
Location: The loops are located 25 kms away from Sarchu on Leh-Manali Highway.
Best time to visit: The roads will be suitable to have ride during the months of June, July, August and September.
While Himachal Pradesh is home to a dozen different monasteries, this spectacular place is not just the biggest, but also the oldest one around. A must visit tourist place in Spiti Valley, the Key Gompa is encircled by picturesque mountains and soothing valleys.
A wonderful example of monastic architecture and decorated with beautiful paintings, murals, manuscripts, and wind instruments – the Kye attracts history and cultural buffs round the year. If you are seeking spiritual enlightenment, the monastery is home to a large number of nuns, monks, and lamas who receive their religious education here.
If you plan to visit during June-July, you’ll also get to witness the beautiful festival involving Chaam dancers, lamas and a devil made out of butter!
Location: Spiti Valley, Lahul.
Best time to visit: May to October.
Landing Site in Bir is also known as Sunset Point as it offers soul-stirring views of the sunset. Every evening, the local mob and tourists flock to this place to enjoy the beautiful sunset. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants making the Landing Site, one of the most enthralling places to see in Bir Billing.
As the name suggests, Landing Site is used by the paraglider pilots as the official site for landing and hence, one can enjoy the views of paragliders gracefully descending here.
Location: Bir Colony Road, Himachal Pradesh
Timing: Always open
A perfect weekend getaway for you if you are in Solan, Shimla, or
Chandigarh, Kasauli is a hill town located in Solan District of Himachal
Pradesh. Kasauli boasts a pleasant temperature during the summer season, and it
does not get too cold during winters, making for a great and convenient hill
The major tourist attractions here are buildings dating back to the times of British India, showcasing brilliant architecture. The most prominent one being the Christ Church.
Location: 25 km from Solan City
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