This picturesque gateway that leads to the Lahaul and Spiti valleys is well-known among motorcycle enthusiasts. The Kunzum Pass, also known as Kunzum La, is one of India’s highest motorable mountain passes, standing at 14,931 feet (Kunzum pass altitude) above sea level in Himachal Pradesh. A huge number of bikers come to this location to enjoy the most thrilling ride across Kunzum Pass’s beautiful entryway. The Goddess Kunzum (Durga/Devi/Parvati) mandir, which is located on the top of Kunzum and guards the pass and wards off the bad force, is also well-known.
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How to get to Kunzum Pass?
Kunzum pass is located halfway between the famous tourist destinations of Manali and Kaza, and it takes nearly half a day to get there. Take the new Atal tunnel from Manali. A left turn after exiting the Atal tunnel will lead you to Leh, which is a picturesque journey. When compared to the Rothang pass, the Atal tunnel will save you at least 3-4 hours of travel time, but you will miss out on the gorgeous route. The Rothang pass path, by the way, is now restricted.
At the Atal tunnel’s exit, turn right and follow the Chenab river till you reach ‘Chacha Chachi’ Chandra Dabha. A humorous signboard reads “WiFi Available” in bold letters, followed by a line printed in small letters that reads “27 kilometers ahead.” Before visiting Chandra Tal Lake or Kunzum Pass, this is a great area to stop for lunch. Cross the bridge and continue on the gravel road to Kunzum pass, taking no detours unless you intend to see Chandratal Lake, which I feel you should. On the way, you get to visit the place by the name Chhatru which is the last day of the Hampta Pass trek, a beautiful crossover trek from Kullu valley to Chandra Valley.
The alternative route to the Kunzum pass is from Kaza. You may either take a shared cab for roughly ₹ 500 or board the popular Himachal public bus, which is always jammed. This uneven dirt road drive might be stressful. Only SUVs with high ground clearance and four-wheel drive are suggested for this terrain. Also, as of this writing, there is no fuel station on the road from Manali to Kaza or anywhere near Kunzum pass.
Places around Kunzum Pass
Visitors frequently visit this temple to seek Goddess Durga’s blessings and to visit Chandratal Lake, which is only 7 kilometers from Kunzum Pass. However, this brief trip on a dirt road is filled with hairpin twists and is quite risky. People stop here for photography and to see the stunning Bara-Sigri Glacier because the road is so picturesque.
Views of the spectacular Chandra Bhaga mountains, which are covered with snow-capped peaks and large glaciers, as well as the Spiti valley, which features desert-like scenery, can be enjoyed while driving. There are no tourist amenities here; however, travelers can seek lodging or dining options in the nearby community of ‘Losar,’ which is about 16 kilometers from Kunzum Pass. Also, you might find campsites on the way to Chandratal.
Chandratal Lake – The Alpine Lake
The lake of Chandratal is a detour off the main route that connects Batal and Kunzum pass. It should be noted that camping is no longer permitted at Chandratal. The water and the landscape around are stunning. You may drive all the way to Chandratal’s parking lot and then take a short trek from there. Hiking around Chandratal can take a long time, and because it is an alpine lake (14,000+ feet), there is a considerable risk of altitude sickness.
The Kunzum Pass, which connects Spiti and Lahaul Valleys, is higher in elevation than Rohtang Pass. Tourists visiting Lahaul, Spiti, and Manali use it as one of the most popular and widely used passes. Prayer flags are easily seen in and around Kunzum Pass, indicating Buddhist influence. Apart from motorcycles, hikers and adventure seekers go to this location to complete the 12 km walk to Chandratal, another renowned destination in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Because the pass is at a high height, with strong sunlight/UV rays and severe cold winds, it is recommended that you get acclimatized to high altitude.
From Kumzum Pass, you can go further towards Kaza and visit the historic Key Monastry, beautiful Kibber village, go on a summit climb to Kanamo Peak, explore Kibber wildlife sanctuary to see the Himalayan snow leopards, visit the high altitude post office, Chicham suspension bridge and explore the Spiti valley.
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