After remaining closed for over six months, the Himachal administration has allowed the movement of light vehicles on the Manali-Leh highway beyond Darcha. The picturesque stretch is very popular with tourists visiting Lahaul and Spiti districts of the state.
However, the movement of two-wheelers and trucks has not been allowed for safety reasons.
The Border Roads Organisation had restored the Manali-Leh highway for traffic on March 26 via Baralacha Pass but the district administration had not allowed civil traffic on this route so far.
The hotel industry in the district have been consistently demanding opening up of the highway with vacation season starting soon. Himachal and J&K have been witnessing a surge in tourist traffic as tourist have started rushing to hills to escape heatwave conditions in plains.
In a notification, Neeraj Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner said that the traffic would be allowed on the Manali-Leh highway beyond Darcha via Baralacha Pass till 1 pm. “Only light vehicles would be allowed to ply on this road. The two-wheelers and trucks would be allowed after some days," the notification reads.
Similarly, the district administration has also allowed traffic movement towards Shinkula beyond Darcha till 1 pm. Only light vehicles would be allowed to ply beyond Darcha towards the Zanskar valley in Ladakh via Shinkula.
Earlier, the administration was allowing the movement of only the residents of Zanskar valley via Shinkula from the Lahaul side.
With the opening of the Manali-Leh highway and Shinkula for the public, the tourists will be able to travel to Leh and Shinkula from the Manali side.
Baralacha Pass and Shinkula are major tourist destinations in Lahaul and Spiti. These high-mountain passes attract a large number of tourists during summer.