Ever since the whole concept of obtaining a permit to either visit or cross over Rohtang was started by NGT, it has more or less become a hassle for everyone travelling in that direction, either for the purpose of visiting Rohtang or to cross it over towards Ladakh or Spiti. Now we know that these permits are definitely required for a four wheeler but a big question is do you need Rohtang permits for motorcycles as well? It is probably one of the most frequent questions I have been asked so far in this year so here is a little information on the topic for anyone planning to go towards Ladakh via Manali.
Do you need Rohtang Permits for Motorcycles?
First of all, the answer to the question is yes you do need to obtain a permit to cross over Rohtang even if you are on a motorcycle. It does not really matter if you are on a rented or self-owned motorcycle, you will need to obtain the permit nonetheless.
How do you obtain Rohtang Permits?
Second question is how do you obtain the permit? Currently, there are two kinds of permits being issued. First one is a permit for travelling till Rohtang Pass and the second one is to travel beyond Rohtang pass towards Ladakh or Spiti. These permits are issued at SDM office at Manali which is open from 10 am to 5 pm except Sunday and second Saturday of the month. On these days, the office is open only until noon.
How long you will take to get the permits depends on how many people are there in the queue. If there is no one else except you, the entire process should not take more than 15 minutes however it is safe to assume that you will find a long queue in peak season so better to keep a day just for this purpose. Obtain the permits, stay in Manali for the day if it took you long enough and be on your way towards Rohtang the next day. If you were able to obtain the permits say by 11 AM, then yes, you can think about crossing Rohtang on the same day but be prepared for a possible traffic jam towards the top of the pass.
There is also an online portal for the permits but it is currently only available for four wheeler going only until Rohtang. There is no online facility for motorcycles or four wheeler going beyond Rohtang.
In order to obtain the permit, you will need to produce your driver’s license, your vehicle’s RC and pollution certificate. Keep in mind though that vehicle over 10 years old will not be allowed to travel towards Rohtang. For motorcycles, the bar is set at 15 years or older. The rule book says that you will also need to prove that you are planning to cross Rohtang and not just travelling until the top but this is not always the case. Several of my friends visited Ladakh this year and none of them had to submit this. I am not sure if this is actually an exception for motorcycles but just to be on the safer side, keep some kind of proof like a hotel booking confirmation handy.
Rule book also says that documents will have to be submitted between 10 am to 1 pm at least a day in advance and permits will be issued between 3 to 5 pm but this also may not be applied. I haven’t come across anyone so far who travelled to Leh on a motorcycle and had to wait a day to get the permits. Usually you will get the permit the same day and actually at the same time after you submitted your documents, depending on how long the queue is. There is no fee for motorcycle riders to obtain these permits.
Do you need Rohtang Permits if you are coming to Manali from other side of Rohtang?
One last thing to add here is that you only need these permits if you are going from Manali towards Rohtang. If you are coming from the other side though and crossing Rohtang to reach Manali, then there is no permit applicable.
I hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and ask and I would be glad to answer. Also, please feel free to add more on the topic in the comments section in case I missed adding some information here or if any of the information above is no longer valid.