Manali, May 25: Rohtang Pass, the crucial road link between this tourist resort town in Kullu district and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, re-opened for traffic Wednesday after remaining closed for five months due to heavy snowfall, an official said here.
‘The snow-clearing operation is over and road connectivity with the Lahaul Valley has been restored,’ A.K. Dikshit, commander of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), told IANS.
GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country.
More than a dozen villages in the Lahaul Valley were cut off from the rest of the country since late December last year after the closure of the pass.
‘We are regulating the movement of traffic as the road is still slippery. Till May 31, only a few public transport buses will be allowed to ply between Manali and Keylong,’ Dikshit said.
The majestic 13,051-feet-high Rohtang Pass, located 52 km from Manali, lies on the Manali-Leh National Highway-21.
Another GREF official said the entire stretch of the 475 km Manali-Leh highway would be re-opened for traffic by the first week of June.
The idyllic and pastoral settings of the Himalayas beyond the pass have been drawing an increasing number of backpackers, especially foreigners, for adventure-related activities like mountain biking, rock-climbing and cross-jungle trekking.