Saach La

The Wild Road to Saach La

Saach Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.420m (1,4500ft) above the sea level, located in Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh, India on the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.

The road over the pass is extreme. It’s narrow and unmetalled and connects the Chamba valley with the Pangi valleys of Himachal Pradesh. It’s a treacherous and slippery road where even the most experiencied drivers do not dare to drive faster than 10 kmph at any point of time. The roads here are in bad condition, no mettaled or tarred road, and only 4×4 vehicles are suggested for traveling. Basic accomodation can be found at Killar for the night stay.
The pass is open only from June or early July to mid October. Avalanches and heavy snowfalls can sometimes block some sections of the road and can be extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. The pass is the shortest road link between Chamba town, some 450 km from the state capital, and the Pangi Valley. The Pangi valley remains cut off from the rest of country for about seven months in a year.

The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. It is the gateway to the Pangi Valley. It is the shortest route from Chamba to the Killar (170 km). The pass is a relatively new road built just over 10 years ago which has shortened the distance from Killar to Chamba (the main town in the area) by about 500km!
Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. The pass offers a spectacular view of the show clad peaks, high mountains, and untouched and unspoiled surroundings. The traffic on the road is virtually non existent, just some buses, a handful of jeeps and trucks. Likewise the valley is relatively sparsely populated not surprising due to the steep valley, with perhaps one village every 30km.
Pic: Uday Barla