Himachal Pradesh has a good number of mountain passes, which are center of attraction for various reasons. These are narrow passages and are of paramount importance when mountains are barriers against travel and trade. The utility of a Pass depends upon its elevation above lower land at either end, length of time in which it is free of snow, thus open to travel and the type of area it joins. Himachal Pradesh is a wonderful land where one can pursue any adventure such as mountaineering, trekking, rock-climbing, skiing, hand- gliding, heli-skiing, water sports, (including white water sports), golfing, hunting, fishing and crossing of high Passes over one range to another etc. some of the important Passes are
discussed below :-
The Baralacha Pass (Baralacha La) situated on Manali-Leh road, about 75 km from Keylong towards Leh, is at an elevation of 4890 mts. And nearly 8 km long. It is known the “pass with cross roads on summit” and the roads from Zanskar, Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul meet on the top of it.
It is located in Kinnaur district. To go across Bhaba Pass from Manali one is to go to Kaza over Rohtang Pass and Kunzum La first then to Attargo (3250 mts) by bus further to Mikkim (3658 mts), then and easy walk of 18 Km across Spiti river, then to Muth Jhulah (3811 mts) a 12 Km distance having easy gradient to Bhaba Pass.
In Chamba region it is situated at an elevation afterwards becomes easy.
Descent through Mindhal is easy. This village is known for a famous temple of Kali where a fair is held in August.
It is situated a an elevation of 4720 meters in the Chamba region. From Chamna one has to move to Alyas (4300 mts) via Bhango (2450 mts). Here starts the steep climb of the Pass. To descend over grassy and moraine slopes to Tandi (2650 mts) one has to come down further to Udaipur which is known for Triloknath temple.
It is situated at an elevation of about 4270 mts. One has to go beyond Manali through Indrasan, Deo Tibba and Inder Killa climbing to its top. During descending one meets the historic cave ‘Arjun Gufa’ at Bhanara (2300 mts).
Kunjum Pass provides the main approach to Spiti from Lahaul. The Spiti area is separated by the great kunjum Range from where the Spiti river originates. This pass is situated at 60 km from Gramphoo –Kaza-Sumdo road. Shigri peak in all its grandeur is seen right in front from kunjum pass. Local people have built a Goddess Durga temple on the Pass now. For crossing, it closes earlier and open later than Rohtang. Located at 4520 mts elevation.
To cross Manirang Pass the Manessar Pass (3949 mts.) located above the confluence of Ropa and Chuktayanjan rivulets, has to be crossed while walking 12 km distance from Ropa (2925 mts) to Panktil (4000 mts.), beyond Kalpa. One has to go further through Sumdo Thach (ground) till one reaches the difficult climbing to thee very base of manirang Pass from Pomachan (3933 mts) to Ramkali (4421 mts), a distance of 10 km. from Ramkali traverse through the steep gully, a difficult going to reach the very zenith of this Pass.
Rohtang Pass forms he main gateway between Lahaul Valley and the rest of the Southern area of Kullu-Manali. Rohtang is a famous Pass across he Pir Panjal range on the National Highway to Leh being the world’s second highest road point. Though not very high, only 3978 mts. It is one of the most hazardous Passes anywhere. Due to the heavy toll of lives, it is notorious for its sudden blizzards and snow for 7-8 months in a year. The first Englishman to reach the Rohtang Pass was Moorecraft who called it Ritanka Jot. In 1820 he took the mule path to reach it and quite accurately and scientifically had recorded the altitude (13300 ft.) of this mountain Pass. He was followed by a second expedition undertaken by Dr. J.G. Gerard, Lord Elgin the then Governor General crossed it twice on the same day in 1863. The former calculated its height 13000 ft., while the Survey of india recently has established its height 3955 mts (13050 ft.) above the msl.
The most convenient route for trekking into the famous Pangi Valley in Chamba district is through the Sach Pass (4395 mts.) Killar having a helipad facility is 137 km from Chamba and could be reached through this Pass.
This Pass too is approached from Alyas, lying beyond Dharamshala at an elevation of about 4310 mts. The route is very steep and waterless.
It is situated in the district of Lahaul and Spiti. One has to walk along Yoche nullaha to the base of this pass. To descend one has to pass by Khoksar village (3140 mts). From khoksar either return to keylong or to Spiti via kunzum Pass or may go to Manali via Rohtang Pass.
It is between Dharamshala and Chamba at an elevation of abort 3870 mts. It is very windy, rough and stiff Pass however many beautiful peaks are visible from its top.