Baralacha Pass

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Baralacha Pass

History

In the panoramic state of Himachal Pradesh, up above in the lofty Himalayas, lies an awe inspiring route, Baralacha Pass, that ruptures the mountain ranges, connecting the ravishing Lahaul in Himachal to the equally breathtaking though relatively disengaged Ladakh in Kashmir. Baralacha Pass, also known sometimes as the Baralacha La, is one of immense significance; an 8 km vagabondage at a height of 16400 feet, it has served as a route of commerce since times ancient.

The existence and subsequent naming of the pass too is the subject of folklore. Legend has it that two unabashed lovers, Bhaga and Chandra, the son and daughter of the sun and the moon, decided to ascend the pass to realise their union. On reaching the top, each of the two fled in opposite directions. While Chandra arrived at Tandi with relative ease, Bhaga had to overcome countless obstacles while passing through the constricted gorges towards Tandi, although their marriage was completed on their union. Baralachala or the summit is the focal point for the cross roads coming from Zanskar Spiti, Lahaul and Ladakh, with the Bhaga River flowing towards the North West while the Chandra takes to the South East.

Lying on the perennially teeming Leh-Manali Road, the path takes its visitors on a trek through the snow blanketed peaks of the Baralacha Mountains, littered with excursionist delights such as the Suraj Tal Lake, the fountain head of the river Bhaga; and admeasured along the way by the rivers Bhaga and Chenab. The path also serves the purpose of a water divide between the rivers Yunam and Bhaga.

Best time to visit

The Baralacha Pass is open to the public for a limited period of time, remaining closed for a better part of the winters. The best time to visit is during the pleasant months of April to October.

Trivia

There is a fleeting reference to Baralacha La in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Kim’, as the source of the Suraj Tal is used by Kim's Lama to enter India from Tibet. Also thrown in is a dash of adventure, with an 18 days trek covering the areas of Tokping Yongma, Manali, Baralacha, Batal and Chandra Tal, before unwinding back in Manali.

Timing

The pass remains open throughout the day, although traversing it by night is not advised, in part due to the health risks at high altitude, and also the lack of sufficient facilities along the way.


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