With Sissu Lake on one side and Chandra River on the other, the cricket stadium which will be constructed on the north portal side of Atal Tunnel Rohtang in Sissu village in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, will be the world’s highest stadium at an altitude of 11,000 ft. Earlier, the cricket stadium in Chail in Solan district had the distinction of being the highest stadium in the world, located at an altitude of 7,500 feet and it was constructed by Maharaja Bhupendra Singh, the ruler of erstwhile princely state of Patiala in 1893.
The cricket stadium had recently passed its first hurdle after a wait of eight years as the state government had earmarked the area and the process for forest clearance and transferring the land to Lahaul Spiti Cricket Association had been started by the administration.
“The local Panchayat and Revenue Department recently earmarked 38 bighas of land for the proposed stadium in Sissu. The file has been sent to the Forest Department for clearance and the state government will soon complete all formalities in this regard,” Lahaul Spiti MLA and HP technical education minister Ram Lal Markanda told The Statesman.
Surinder Thakur, president of Lahaul Spiti Cricket Association said the proposal for construction of the stadium was submitted in 2013 but the issue kept hanging fire for the want of funds and connectivity issues.
But the opening of Atal Tunnel Rohtang had solved the problem. “This could be one of the scenic cricket stadiums in the world with Sissu Lake on one side and Chandra River on the other side amidst the snow clad mountains in Himalayas.
“We want to develop the stadium on the lines of stadiums in New Zealand with minimum concrete structures,” he added.
Thakur further stated that the cricket stadium will not only help the budding cricketers of the tribal district in honing their skills but it can also be an ideal location for holding matches in summer and monsoon season in the country.
“As Lahaul Spiti receives scanty rainfall in the months from May to September with temperatures hovering around 20 to 25 degrees, the stadium could be an ideal location for cricket matches. The high temperatures and ensuing Monsoon season in Himachal Pradesh and country make this period tough for holding matches as apart from battling opposition teams, the cricketers have to battle tough climatic conditions,” he said.
Thakur added the association was in the process of collecting funds for the construction of the cricket stadium and in addition, opening of Atal Tunnel Rohtang will make its construction easy which wasn’t the case in the past.
“The state government is likely to issue Letter of Intent (LoI) soon as the local MLA Ram Lal Markanda has assured us on expediting the entire process,” he added. It is worth mentioning here that the proposed site of cricket stadium is located near Sissu in Lahaul Spiti, around 8 km from north portal of Atal Tunnel Rohtang and around 270 km from state headquarters, Shimla.