The arrival of June lifts the curtain of snow over the mountain passes between Himachal Pradesh and the Ladakh region of J&K. A trip to Ladakh is now an Indian tourist’s rite of passage. Those who haven’t yet made it to our piece of the Tibetan Plateau will get to envy many a selfie—taken in front of ‘the highest pass’ or ‘the highest motorable road’—decorating social media pages.
While the Manali to Leh route isn’t entirely open yet, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) opened the Rohtang pass in the third week of May. Buses have already begun to ply up to Keylong, the tourist town beyond Manali. BRO is working on clearing Baralacha La and Tanglang La as well. These high passes saw snowfall even in the early summer this year, and the snow over Rohtang was up to 30 feet high in some places. Which is why the opening of the Leh-Manali road is a little behind schedule this season.
Among other things that Ladakh has plenty of— like mountains and yaks and frozen rivers—is the overwhelming presence of the sky. There is so much sky in tourist photos of Ladakh that the local government could levy a sky tax. Eat your heart out, GST.