Ladakh Journey | Rohtang Pass Dreadful Drive

11

The Journey so far-

Day 3 | 2nd, August 2010 — Part I

It was 4.30 AM and we woke up. The first immediate thing was to check the weather through the balcony. 🙁 It had rained again all night, I said. Everyone, shocked 😯 by my words, got up immediately from the bed and ran to balcony to see it themselves, as if I was making an April fool of them… Huh. :D… But, the truth remained same and now the next thing was to call our driver, Ravi. We called him, someone else took the phone and he was sleeping, I believe :shock:. But, fortunately he called back and promised to be there in next 20 minutes. We are going but each one of us had the butterflies in our stomach, we all knew it won;t be easy. Two days of continuous rain will have made the roads much more worse but we all wanted to reach Ladakh :)… Hurray!! We are going to Ladakh…The second attempt to cross the piles of dead bodies called Rohtang Pass (yes., its the real meaning of Rohtang) was kicked-off.

Trucks finding difficult to climb to Rohtang Pass

Our bags were packed, the sound of horn came at 5.30 AM and off we went in a hurry. Within no time we packed the luggage inside the sumo and rearing to go. But, I wanted to see off my drive too. I and deepak went running to the other hotel to say good bye to our dZire and checked if gear lock was in place or not. Re checked the doors and windows and with final glimpse of it I ran towards the taxi 🙁 … First greetings to Ravi and he said don;t worry, I will take you right there without any problems, whatsoever. He did confirmed that he has completed 9 round trips this season only and it was his 10th.

We made quick progress as compared to yesterday through Palchan. But after reaching Gulaba, roads and slush were much worse today than yesterday. We reached the spot that took toll on us and is one of the major hurdles of the season this year. Here is what we are greeted with :shock:.. However, this time it was no surprise as we already had a taste of it last day and for sure climbing Rohtang Pass is difficult this season.

We crossed the stretch but this time we were not driving :)… We enjoyed it pass by and crossed those one, two and three more which we did previous day. All of them have been much more worse than yesterday. As we approached Marhi the road went on getting worse and worse and to nightmare. Watch yourself in this video…

The other side of Rain…

Trucks finding difficult to climb to Rohtang Pass
Trucks finding difficult to climb to Rohtang Pass
Trucks finding difficult to climb to Rohtang Pass
Trucks finding difficult to climb to Rohtang Pass
Slush en-route Rohtang Pass…

The decision of not taking our own dZire was proving to be one of the greatest for us. Otherwise, it would certainly had been foolishness to took it here and kill it to the core. I love my car very much and this would have certainly the death calling for it. The slush was getting deeper and deeper, we could see truck’s tyre half submerged into it, when they were crossing :shock:. The SUMO was getting rubbed all below it’s underbelly but our driver, Ravi was a real gem. He had no trouble at all even negotiating the deepest of the slush stretches. Hats off to his skills. :D…The drive doesn’t; mattered there, it was the skills that mattered most and he was one truly skilled to conquer such stretches with ease. Some views en-route…

How much fuel goes, I don’t know 😕 …

Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

Magic of Craters on the Road ;)…

Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

How about driving on this!!!

Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

WOW!!! Will you enjoy ride here 😯

Extremely Bad Road on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

Crossing Marhi made it to worst of the worst degree and it’s certainly not an easy job to sit and let someone else have your life in control of his steering. You have to be sure but it was the first time he was driving us :shock:…the butterflies in stomach, breathe stopping and heart coming in mouth was pretty much the usual phenomenon of the journey so far in the morning. :mrgreen: A dip down towards the chasm in the slush could take you by surprise any moment and you would shout F****… what a feeling it was when the wheel and rear body spins behind towards chasm again, one of us hums prayers in his mouth and Neeraj was trying to concentrate fully into his Novel which I feel will be completed only on the next few trips 😉 The video below shows one of the worst stretches we covered…

Rohtang Pass Driving Nightmare…

Driving through this really tough slush stretch was an experience altogether of a lifetime… The slush was so deep that the sumo was rubbing the under belly with it. The wheels were skidding and rear body was swaying around… The road was in horror state when we tried to climb it on the way towards our journey to Ladakh. This was something I never had seen in my life. Seeing it you can easily say you can never do it without the actual skills required…

The scary moments were all bolted on the path, scanned in our heads and we were feeling that it’s the journey beyond our strengths. The cause of course is the RAIN but no one can imagine that it could make the matters so worse. Many places we saw people standing with their vehicles, contemplating the slush and wondering what to do next!!! :???:  Now as we approached far ahead of Marhi, the moment of truth was getting near. “Sir, Rani Nalla is the only problem point on the way to Rohtang” were the words of our champ driver Ravi when we started in the morning. Rani Nalla was yet to be seen 😯 and deep inside us anxiety was getting much more meaner and meaner. Deep down we were wondering if we haven’t seen anything yet, what will be like Rani Nalla 😕 As we were thinking here it was. This was the exact point where 17 lives have been lost in last 10 days this season and 2 just previous night only 😯

Moment of Horror… Stretch took 17 lives in 10 days 😥

Landslide near Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Landslide near Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

Waiting for me… I am not coming 😉

Landslide near Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

A bulldozer has been stationed permanently to clear the frequent landslides here. As, I stepped out of the car to take the pictures I saw one truck having a dip towards the deep gorge in a ditch on the narrow passage :cry:… We also need to cross this buddies. Ravi asked me to get in the car and assured that he will manage it in one go. We took a deep breath and held it as he moved towards that ditch… Anything could be possible and this is where the landslips. If the landslips there is one deep chasm waiting aside to conquer and consume your soul :mrgreen:…

The road was very narrow and here came the DIP in that ditch towards the gorge. All we knew was right into that ditch the rear wheel spun 😯 as one was trying to read, one was praying, one closed the eyes and I saw aside. “Oh Sh**” were the two words that I threw out of my mouth, gripping the seat in front with all the power I owned. That very second of our life elapsed and we are through the ditch to a little bit wide section of the road. We all thanked god and marched ahead. :).

Few minutes passed and the actual Rani Nalla famous for its high snow walls passage was visible but surprisingly there were no snow walls this time 🙁 …

Rani Nalla… Famous for Snow Walls… But where are they now 😮 ???

Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali
Rani Nalla on the way towards Rohtang Pass from Manali

It didn’t took much time to reach Rohtang Pass as the road was in OK condition from this point onwards. Finally after almost 3.5 hours of drive of a lifetime we reached Rohtang Pass!!!! Yippee…. 😆

Nearing Rohtang Pass…

Views while going from Manali to Rohtang Pass
Views while going from Manali to Rohtang Pass
Views while going from Manali to Rohtang Pass

Reaching Rohtang pass was an amazing feeling after all the breathtaking and heart pounding moments. We have been to Rohtang many time before but only this time we realized the extreme power along with dangers of this tourist favored pass. We stopped for a minute with ease just to take some deep breaths and actually realize that we are not dreaming :mrgreen: The target ahead of the day was just Keylong.

Army Convoy waiting at Rohtang Pass…

Army Convoy waiting at Rohtang Pass

Hurray!! We reached Rohtang Pass… But Snow is all gone… 🙁

Rohtang Pass without snow
Rohtang Pass without snow

This drive would surely embed into the memories as whole lifetime experience which none of us would ever forget… 🙂

Day-3 Part II to be continued…

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

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11 Comments

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    • Thanks Geetika.. I am glad you are liking the whole story..yes next day we eventually starts the final hump towards ladakh… it would be exciting with beautiful vistas….

  7. Hi,

    Even i was in rohtang the day you were but we came back just coz we were informed that there was no snow over it as well … we stayed in solang , a better place to live than manali

    • Hey Sarthak… Yups this year road to Rohtang Pass is almost in tatters topped with no snow at all.. we saw many tourists disappointed from this very fact as they had to first go through a painful journey and then they see flat dirty grounds full of slush… 🙁 … sad story of Rohtang Pass this year courtesy freak weather and BROs road widening activities… it's never had been worse before… but nice to know that you like to travel and try to visit rohtang around May/early June next year or winters this year…to see some fresh piles of white snow, rohtang pass is famous for… if you make it later you will find it very dirty as toursits flood this place as soon as summers holidays starts…ofcourse we missed the stay at Solang and correctly it's much much better place than Manali to stay as well as to acclimatize… keep sharing your pictures and experiences with us as well…

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