Rohtang Pass – Driving Up Dangerous Roads in India

by Rosemarie John on November 24, 2014

Rohtang Pass

As soon as I saw the snow-capped mountains from my hotel room balcony in Manali, we knew we had to be there. At 13,051 feet above sea level, Rohtang Pass is one of 13 high altitude mountain passes in India and we were excited to head up there! It connects Kullu valley to Spiti and Lahaul while the NH-21 highway to Leh also passes through this.

The highest motorable road in the world is also in India. It is called Marsimik La at 18,953 feet along the Indian-Tibetan border and is basically a military road which isn’t visitor friendly. So with that being researched, I was happy to experience riding in a car with no special snow tires up a pass termed a ‘pile of corpses’ for that was the only reason we were in North India!

People die all time from bad weather while trying to cross the Pass. The roads are uneven. There are no barricades. No road rules. Just your adrenaline to keep you sane while you place your life in the hands of your “trained” Himachal Pradesh driver as he accelerates up the precarious road to Rohtang!

Instead of writing a post, we have decided to show you how our journey looked like on those winding and rocky roads. Please excuse the camera shake as it wasn’t a smooth ride. We made a surprising friend at the end, keep an eye out for who we meet up in the mountains!

The Pass is open from May to November but can close without notice if there is heavy snowfall.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Dennis Kopp November 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Rosemarie, I have actually been on that road as well! Unfortunately I never made it into Spiti Valley, but instead I went from Manali to Ladakh. It was truly an adventure… 🙂
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Rosemarie John November 24, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Oh wow! I would love to read about that Dennis! We didn’t have time to head to Ladakh on that trip.


Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages November 25, 2014 at 2:41 am

Wow! You tend to never forget drives like that, but the destination at the end is always marvellous! I wonder how many meals he managed to get that day 🙂
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Rosemarie John November 25, 2014 at 5:37 am

I wonder too… but I was upset with how some of the people were treating him. Some even kicked him a few times! It was just horrible!


Muza-chan November 26, 2014 at 6:08 am

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Madeleine | The Daily Mark November 28, 2014 at 12:40 am

Wow I would FREAK out! But so so beautiful! x
Madeleine, The Daily Mark
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Rosemarie John November 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

I did freak out a few times especially when trucks and cars would horn at us and make us move to the edge of the mountain so that they could overtake us in ferocious speeds!!


Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins November 28, 2014 at 1:19 am

Wow, this looked amazing and I really loved the style of the video!


Rosemarie John November 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

Thank you so much Gemma! I hope to post more videos henceforth. 🙂


Marie @ Marie Away November 28, 2014 at 1:23 am

Beautiful and dramatic, but terrifying! I’m impressed by your video! I would be cowering and covering my eyes, I have to admit. What a beautiful spot, thanks for sharing! 🙂
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Rosemarie John November 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

I wish I had the courage to drive further to LEh where the landscape is said to change drastically. But I just couldn’t see myself attempting to use roadside toilets anymore… 😉


Carolyn - Holidays to Europe November 28, 2014 at 6:36 am

What an adventure – and your video is great. I, too, would be wondering about that cooking pot. Glad to hear the omelette was nice.
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Rosemarie John November 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

Thank you Carolyn… Joseph didn’t want me to eat food from that truck but I insisted. LOL


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