Over Rothang Pass


[Moni] Next day, we started late to Rothang Pass. There is an enormous traffic up there, mainly indian tourists in their TATAs and trucks with fuel, but the landscape is very nice and the road conditions really good.


But after a few kilometers, Hynek's bike had a flat tyre. Since Martin with the spare parts was in front of the group, the jeep had to follow him 40 km up to the top of the pass at 3980 m to send him back. After two hours, two spare tyres and traffic jam, the bike was fixed and they arrived.


[Hynek] You cannot understand Indian tourists if you have not seen the Rothang Pass tourist industry, or as the Manali inhabitants tend to say "our local circus". Every day hundreds and in high season maybe thousands of Indians make the pilgrimage to the pass. By bus, taxi, car, in trolleys pulled by tractors. First stop is at one of the 30 stands just outside Manali to rent a faked fur coat in all kinds of colours and sizes.Then the journey goes on, zig-zag up the pass for about one hour. During that hour each tourist has to demonstrate his/her commitment to celebrate! And so each bus, car, taxi, tractor blasts out prime Bollywood music and the vehicle that overpowers all the others is the happiest vehicle.

On the way up there are several places where to stop for a veggie burger, chowmien, Nescafe? But these are only secondary distractions to the trained Indian tourist that can be considered on his/her way back from the pass.


Then finally the eye catches the first picture-taking worthy monument: the rests of the little grey snow that managed to survive in a shady area next to the road. There every person takes the three steps from the car door to touch this grey something and have a picture taken. Not for too long 'cause the weather is turning and even though the sun was shining in Manali Rothang is covered in a dumb grey curtain.

Finally at the top! Most tourists had expected a more pleasant experience! More sun! Less wind! Slightly higher temperatures! - But since they made it to the top they will not falter to weather, NO, they are determined to celebrate! And so they engage in all the activities the Rothang circus has to offer: riding the ponies, having a picture taken next to a yak while holding an angora rabbit, buying cheap saffron cans, having a picture taken in ski boots and skis standing on the last square meter of snow on top of the mountain. Picture there picture here picture picture picture- we have been there, we have seen it, we have done it.


[Moni] And what absolute beauty all the indian tourists missed by turning back at the top of Rothang, we enjoyed in bright sunlight - Chandra Valley!

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