A logistical nightmare or a scenic highlight depending on your experience, the Rohtang La (3978m) is, at least physically, the high point of a journey from Manali to Lahaul. From Manali, the road strikes north along the Beas River and climbs slowly through pine forests and endless switchbacks to the bare rocky slopes below the pass. The name literally translates as ‘pile of dead bodies’ – hundreds of travellers have frozen to death here over the centuries.
In the domestic tourist season, the pass is chock-a-block with day-trippers from Manali riding horses and enjoying the novelty of a snowball fight. Near the top, spot the small, dome-shaped temple that marks the source of the Beas River.