SHIMLA: Tourists visiting Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts in Himachal Pradesh will now be allowed to go up to Patseu on the Manali-Leh National Highway.
The Lahaul-Spiti district administration, however, will allow only the vehicles of those residing in Zanskar valley on the highway from Manali to Kargil via Shikun La.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which maintains the strategic highway, restored the Manali-Leh link on March 24. A top official of the Lahaul-Spiti administration said the road up to Patseu had been found fit for travel, but tourists would not be allowed beyond this point.
The announcement comes even as the last weekend saw a record number of tourist vehicles on the Manali-Atal Tunnel, Rohtang-Keylong, and Manali-Leh routes in Himachal Pradesh.
In a statement, the Lahaul-Spiti district police said that around 12,849 vehicles had crossed these highways from 8 am on April 15 to 8 pm on April 16. As many as 2,641 vehicles had non-Himachal registration numbers, it said.
The district administration said the tourist footfall usually rises in Lahaul-Spiti district during peak summer, but the tourist season seemed to have arrived early this time as temperatures were already above 40 degrees in the plains. The most visited spots are Atal Tunnel, Chandra Ghati, Sissu Lake, Keylong district headquarters, Jispa, and Darcha.