In a press statement issued today, Manali District Administration and BRO have officially closed the Manali – Leh Highway.
Manali-Leh highway, which passes through some of the highest mountain passes of the world, has officially been closed for vehicular movement till next summer season. With a thick layer of frost beginning to cover the highway at many places, it is only a matter of time that it experiences heavy snowfall.
The administration has asked both locals and tourists not to drive on Manali-Leh road. However, despite risk of sudden snowfall on Rohtang, the highway up to Lahaul valley is kept open. Police have removed its posts from Sarchu and Darcha while Indian Army too has closed its transit camps between Baralacha Pass and Leh.
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner H R Chauhan said the Manali-Leh highway is closed officially for the safety of public. “People are advised not to drive towards Baralacha Pass. Snowfall may block the highway within minutes any time. The administration would not be responsible for any kind of mishap if travellers ignore the warning,” he said adding that police posts towards Leh have been shifted till next summer season.
While the highway itself would continue to be operational until heavy snowfall completely closes it, BRO would no longer engage in similar level of cleanup or rescue operations i.e. if you attempt Manali – Leh Highway now, you are responsible for your own wellbeing.
Majority of the hotels and restaurants in Leh have already closed for the season and dhabas at Sarchu and Pang are long gone as well. So if you want to attempt Manali – Leh Highway, you will need to wait till end of May 2015. Of course if you just wish to visit Ladakh, you can take Srinagar – Leh Highway or fly into Leh (safer option.)