Hate to break this sad news to all the motorcyclists heading to Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti and Pangi Valley; but in order to cross Rohtang Jot from the Manali side, one now requires permit from the SDM Office in Manali.
This is in continuation to the crackdown Himachal Pradesh Government has indulged in, in order to lessen the number of vehicles visiting Rohtang Pass, which had been in force since last year.
While till last year this was only being implemented for four wheelers, from this year onward, it has been extended to two wheelers as well, as reported by several BCMTians heading to Ladakh and confirmed by the SDM Manali.
This means all those planning to take the Manali route, will either have to get the permit issued in advance by contacting hotels in Manali and paying them for the same or ensure that they arrive in Manali on working days, before 5pm and apply for the permit at the SDM Office or risk wasting half a day, next day.
I know it isn’t appropriate to ask for special treatment for bikers, when those traveling in four wheelers have had to go through this since last year, but at the end of the day, I am a motorcycle traveler and cannot help but feel saddened and dejected by this order and seriously wish that such orders were limited to four wheelers, since let’s face it, majority of the jams were only created by four wheelers and heavy vehicles.
Oh well, I guess it is time to start recommending people to go via the Srinagar route and maybe avoid Manali completely now, since if one is coming back from Leh, one can easily move on and stay at Kullu or lower to reduce the distance one has to cover on the last day.
So in a way, traveler’s loss might just end up becoming a loss for the travel industry in Manali, which in no doubt had lobbied to get this rule implemented in the first place!