Much to the delight of all those planning to head to Ladakh this year, Manali – Leh Highway has finally reopened. In the next couple of days, district administration would inspect the road and give a nod for vehicles (initially only light vehicles) to start plying between Manali and Leh.
However road conditions will remain extremely bad for the next couple of weeks with plenty of snow and ice at Rohtang Pass and Baralacha La. In fact at times like this, it is best to avoid the highway for the next couple of weeks, until it stabilizes fully and BRO is able to remove most of snow from the road and it starts looking something like this.
Apart from the obvious dangers of riding/driving on snow and ice, road around Baralacha La is also quite narrow during the initial days which can easily lead to jams due to stuck vehicles. A glimpse of what one can expect can be seen in this travelogue on BCMTouring.
Avalanches can also occur during initial days, causing the road to close down for a couple of days or more, which can be headache if you are short on time.
Of course if it is adventure and snow you are after, then there is no better time to tackle Manali – Leh Highway than now. But make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and are prepared (especially mentally) to attempt the highway at this time.
Those who are planning to take Manali route to Leh must keep in mind that they need permit to cross Rohtang Pass, which can be obtained from SDM Office in Manali or from Green Toll Tax Barriers before Manali (you will need a photocopy of your RC and ID). You will also need to pay Rs. 20 per person as green tax (over and above Manali green tax and permit fee) and vehicles older than 10 years are no longer allowed to travel towards Rohtang Pass.