The opening up of the majestic 13,050 ft high Rohtang Pass may have excited tourists last week but the journey is turning out to be a torture now.
The 58 km long and winding uphill journey to the pass from Manali usually takes about a couple of hours,but since the opening of the pass about a week ago the journey is taking four to five hours due to long traffic jams on the road.
â€œThe traffic jams are caused by heaps of snow on both sides of the road due to which there is very little space for vehicles on both sides to cross each other,â€ explained a travel agent at Manali.
This is frustrating tourists and drivers as the trip to the pass and the uphill and downhill journey is taking an entire day.
Even though the pass remains open for six months in a year,it remains one of the most important destinations in the scenic Kullu valley.
The number of tourists is constantly on the rise to the valley.In 2004 1.7 million visitors came to valley.Last year the number rose to over 2.5 million.
The state government is considering cutting down taxis on the Manali-Rohtang pass road and encourging visitors to take buses instead so that the number of vehicles is reduced on this congested road,particularly when the pass opens up in the summer season with mountains of snow on the both sides of the road.
In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.