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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tsunami of tourists in Lahaul-Spiti valley

Sissu, near Chandra river, is center of attraction

Sourabh Sood |

Lahul Spiti, Sissu

The famous tourism venue, Lahaul-Spiti valley, is witnessing a tsunami of tourists no sooner lockdown was lifted in Himachal Pradesh from June 14.

Access to the valley has become easy with the commissioning of the 9.9 km Atal tunnel situated at a height of 13058 feet above sea level on October 3, 2020.

The second wave of corona infections had proved to be a damper for all those engaged in tourism activities in the valley. However, currently, over 5000 tourists are milling about in the valley on a daily basis. The Rohtang Atal tunnel is recording the passage of 5000 vehicles daily.


Cool climes attracting all

The 14-15 degrees C temperature during July is a natural attraction for tourists from the plains who wish to escape the torrid heat in their respective towns and cities.

This TNR correspondent visited Sissu, the entry point to the Lahaul-Spiti valley, to take stock of the tourists’ influx.

Sissu helipad area in focus

The visit revealed that the helipad area in Sissu, near the Chandra river, was turning out to be the favorite spot for tourists. Fast food joints near the helipad are doing a roaring business after having done zero business during the lockdown days for the past few months.

Business is booming

Sissu residents Ravi Baudh and Ajay Thakur, who run kiosks near the helipad, told TNR that these days over 2000 tourists could be seen in their area. Business is booming now, they said. Initially hesitant to disclose how much they are earning the duo ultimately revealed that they are expecting to rake in nothing less than Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.

Rahul Jat, Dilip and Sushil from Karnal in Haryana said that they had planned to visit the valley for a week but now the plan has been revised and they plan to stay on for at least three weeks. Quite a few tourists are moving on towards Leh via Keylong, Udaipur and Trilokinath. Enjoying a roll in the snow in Rohtang, 32 km from here, is also part of the itinerary of tourists.


Cleanliness is being maintained

A good thing at Sissu is the lack of littering and steps taken by local youths to keep the place clean. An adequate number of dustbins have been placed around and e-toilets have been provided for all visitors.

One hour boating in Sissu lake for Rs 100

Another attraction for tourists is boating in the Sissu lake. Spread over 700 square metres area near the helipad, the lake is attracting almost all. A boat owner, Doleram, said that nearly 250 to 300 tourists are enjoying boating.

Tickling the palates of tourists

The famous Lahaul rajma-rice combo is a hot seller among tourists who do not fail to gorge on it for Rs 100 per plate. Besides this, there are other things on the menu. Tourists usually do not mind shelling out a little more considering the logistics of the place.

Atal tunnel traffic

Ever since vehicular traffic commenced last year over 2 lakh vehicles have passed through the tunnel. Police informed that the passage of 5674 vehicles was recorded on April 1, 2021, and 7276 vehicles passed through the tunnel on June 28. There are often traffic jams on the highway near the entry of the tunnel due to the excessive movement of vehicles but once they are through the tunnel then it is a joy driving through the valley and hills.

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