The whole night I dreamed about Rohtang Pas, snow and snowfall. That eventually caused early rise. I woke up very early. It was the first day of 2012. Jan 1st, 2012. I can feel the cold temperature outside even from inside the room. I ordered tea for all and waited for others to wake up.
Mukul woke up followed with Vinay and then Swapan. Mukul crawled out of bed and opened the door. Icy wind passed through us and hit the corner of the wall. In few seconds, our hotel room was cold and all the warmth which we have gathered the whole night was gone. I quickly get out of bed and ran to close the door. Before I could close the door, something caught my attention and I stood still.
The giant mountain covered on white snow was in front of me. I could barely see the snow peaks due to dense fog. But the glimpse of snow filled me with excitement. Guys! Come here, I shouted. Mukul, Swapan and Vinay came out of the room. We all stood still for few minutes and lost in the beauty of mountain.
Mountains are like a wonderful landscape which God has painted on empty canvas. There are no defined dimensions when you see mountains/hills for the first time. Everything around seems to be defined on two axis only.
I started seeing around and a frozen water droplets hanging from the room window shade caught my view. We have never seen such charismatic and natural phenomenon before. It filled us with even more excitement and curiosity. Soon after, the house keeping staff was walking towards us with the tea.
By 6:00 AM, we were inside the cab which was assigned to take us to the snow peak- Rohtang Pas.
From Mall road, Manali to Rohtang Pas is 52 Km and is a 2 hours’ drive. Rohtang La is the first mountain peak on Manali Leh highway. I have been to Leh Ladakh driving through Manali-Leh highway which can you read in my other blog. For now, I will concentrate on Rohtang Pas only.
Along the route we saw beauty of Himachal. It was my first chance when I was seeing Snow Peak Mountains, the lord of hills, Himalayas. We rented some woollen clothes, rubber gloves and ice boots from new Manali. We left Solang Valley while crossing Gulaba and reached Marhi. From Palchan, if you take left turn, you will be in Solang valley. Right turn will lead to Marhi and then Rohtang La.
Marhi is a very small town in Himachal Pradesh and had many options to eat. Back then, and during December you could find nothing but few Maggie points and tea stalls.
The cab driver dropped us few 100 meters before Marhi and advised us to walk towards the valley. He suggested that the road towards Rohtang is closed due to heavy snowfall last night. We were little disappointed but the amount of snow in Marhi was way enough for us to play.
We saw frozen Baes river and people were skiing on the frozen river. You won’t believe the fact that is the same river which becomes almighty after a few kilometre run. At that particular moment, it was tiny and we human were playing on top of it.
We had breakfast at famous Baes Dhaba in Marhi and clicked some photographs. While we were relaxing on the once of the ice bergs, a man, must be around 35 years of age approached us. He said, he could take us to top of the Rohtang but he would take 6000 INR from Marhi to Rohtang. We can play on fresh snow and enjoy a lot for unlimited time, he added. We wanted to experience fresh snow and hence we agreed.
He took us in a 4 by 4 car. Mukul, Vinay and I grabbed the space at the back which was open. Swapan sat along with driver. Next 15-20 minutes’ drive was breath taking which I explored more during my Leh-Ladakh bike ride. We reached Rohtang Pas and that was all we needed at that moment.
Rohtang Pas also called as Rohtan La is at 13050 feet altitude. The Border road organization ensures to get the road up and running for tourist during season under Project Deepak. It is the first gateway which you cross when you drive on Manali Leh Highway towards Keylong and way forward.
The first day of Year 2012 was worth all the pain we had during our trip. We were alone up there and it seemed that the hills belong to us. No hesitation, no anger, no pain. That was all about experience which we were going to carry for the rest of our lives.
No matter how many times you visit the same place, the first visit has its own memory.
We stayed at Rohtang La for 2 hour or so and then driver warned us to get ready to go back. Weather is changing, he added. We argued and he said, please hurry, we need to leave. It is going to snow badly and then we all will be stuck. He said and as if we were waiting for someone to utter snowfall. We deliberately delayed and waited for snow to fall.
In mountain, weather can change in a jiffy. If you ever stuck in snowfall, it is advisable that you keep walking.
I felt few snowflakes flying and falling onto my shoulder. That was all I wanted on the first day of a Year. And then, it was heavy. We ran inside the Car and Driver took us back to Marhi. We spent couple of more hours at Marhi and then back to hotel.
The same very night we drove back to Delhi in order to join office the next day. It was a journey worth remembering. I hope you liked the trip and my first experience of seeing snowfall. Few of the Pics are added here in case you would like to see – Click here.
Please let me know about your views or any such experience in comment section. I would love to hear from you..