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Rohtang – Through the trail of corpses

Rohtang literally means pile of corpses due to people dying in bad weather while trying to cross the pass. Manali is the doorway to Rohtang Pass, one of the deadliest and dangerous highways elevated at 13,050 ft. We took a cab from the hotel to reach there. The driver kept on warning us that the weather is unpredictable here. As we climbed higher and higher taking turns on the narrow serpentine terrains, I was mesmerized by the dramatic landscapes and panoramic views of the mountain pass.  Rohtang also serves as a gateway to Ladakh.  The driver asked us to take packets of popcorn with us in case we suffer from altitude sickness.  I looked out of the window as the driver carefully drove across the muddy road.  Small amount of negligence could lead to a disaster.  The higher we went, I could no longer see the end of the cliff.  It was literally a death stare to watch when the tires screech and turn at the edge of the road. After 3-4 hours of scary drive, we reached the snow point. We put on our rented insulated jackets, mufflers and boots to walk on the snow point. With all those four layers of clothing, I was still freezing. Pulling down my monkey caps to cover my ears, I walked with great difficulty with my heavy boots on the snow.  I could see several stalls selling coffee, tea even Maggi 🙂 . Lots of honeymoon couples walked hand in hand and posed for romantic pictures under the snow clad mountains. Locals made beautiful small huts with snow with names of all the popular romantic Bollywood movies.  Children played with snow balls. The most popular activity was skiing and ice skating. Locals say that it doesn’t take time for the bright sun to change into heavy snowfall. Weather is quite unpredictable here.  There are a couple of tents and temporary sheds for the tourists to take shelter during sudden change of weather.  I walked towards the lake in the middle of the glaciers.  Chill wind blew over my cheeks and my hands were getting numb.  I grabbed a cup of steaming hot tea and sat on a rock enjoying the white snowy magical dream turning to reality.

Copyright ©2009, Lakshmi Nair . This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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