Snowfall temporarily shuts Manali-Leh highway

Manali, Oct 26 (IANS) The strategic national highway that connects Manali in Himachal Pradesh to Leh in Jammu and Kashmir was temporarily shut due to snowfall early Monday, an official said.

“The traffic between Manali and Leh was closed for vehicles after the snowfall,” an official of the 38 Task Force of the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF), told IANS.

GREF is a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that maintains crucial highways in the country.

He said work to reopen the entire 475-km stretch was on and the highway would reopen in two to three days.

The Manali-Leh highway winds its way through the Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachlungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla (17,480 ft).

It is crucial to the movement of the armed forces and their supplies and wares to forward areas in Ladakh.

Likewise, the Kunzum Pass (15,060 ft), the link between the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys, is also out of bounds following overnight snow.

The idyllic and pastoral settings of the Himalayas have been drawing an increasing number of backpackers, especially foreigners, for adventure related activities like mountain biking, rock-climbing and cross-jungle trekking.

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