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5 Deadliest Roads in India

5 Deadliest Roads in India

For ages, roads have remained the best and sometimes only means to access those remote parts nestled high in the mountains or existing in deep forests. In India developing, efficient roads have been a high priority and have resulted in road communication to most parts of the country. And among them are those treacherous roads so narrow that riding on the road feels like tightrope walking. They are so deadly that most of them are termed ‘killer roads’ that would not only tests the patience and character but succeeds in baffling the most seasoned drivers.

These frightfully narrow roads are true highways to hell that could still the hearts of the most courageous. Here are the five deadliest roads in India that claim lives every year and continue to test and challenge the skills and pluck of the boldest and most daring drivers.

  1. Zoji La Pass 

Photo by VinayakPhadatare, CC BY-SA 4.0

Often rated among the most dangerous roads in the world, this pass winding across stunning sceneries is as deceptive and dangerous as the mountain weather. The second highest pass in India, Zoji La Pass falls on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Muddy roads and regular landslides caused by heavy snow storms and strong winds pose a serious threat to those driving on the road. Located at a height of more than 3, 500 m one could easily suffer from mountain sickness. Thousands of trucks and other vehicles through this important route risking the peril of going down the deep ravine and amazing us with their nerve.

  1. Kinnaur Road Kinnaur Road India, 5 Deadliest RoadsPhoto by Manojkhurana, CC BY-SA 3.0

Carved out of mountain rocks to connect the remote Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh to the mainstream, this road is notorious for the frequency of accidents that are reported every year. Driving through sharp blind turns of the deadly narrow road which at some point is cut from the sheer precipice and does not have enough space for two vehicles to pass is a hair-raising experience. Dangerous cliffs, unpredictable weather often causing blizzards and landslides, poorly maintained roads with no protecting rails for meters ahead and heavy traffic add to the challenges of navigating the road.

Featured in History channel’s ‘IRT Deadliest Roads’ series, this highway passing through some of the most beautiful places of Himachal often results in vehicles going down into the river if the driver loses concentration for a blink of an eye. The Taranda cliff that is literally carved into the perpendicular rocks with a vertical drop right down to the Sutlej river has claimed the lives of many crossing it and requires extreme caution to drive safely. However, it is a lifeline to the people of Kinnaur Valley who brave these hazards for existence.

  1. Leh-Manali Highway 5 Deadliest Roads in India, Leh-Manali Highway, Roadtrips R Us, Rohtang Pass, Photo by John E. Hil, CC BY-SA 3.0

Spanning a distance of about 480km, the Leh-Manali road extends over the Himalayan ranges and covers some of the world’s highest mountain passes in its wake. One of the most complicated and challenging routes not only in India but in the world, the degree of danger caused by the road is accelerated not only by weather conditions but also by the never-ending traffic jams, rugged terrain, scary drops and dizzying heights. The Rohtang Pass, literally meaning ‘the graveyard‘ is very famous in that regard.

Winding slowly through the mountain road behind a long train of trucks with hairpin bends and occasional glimpses of the wreckage of tragedies is mind numbing and excruciating. A very strategic road, it is a trade route with a constant flow of large vehicles and remains closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfalls. The matchless beauty of the mountains that could be experienced from its heights attracts tourists to Manali from all over.  Often covered in snow even during summer it is one of the trickiest roads in India.

  1. Keylong- Kishtwar Road

Termed as National Highway 26, this terrifying mountain trail is the gateway to Kishtwar Kailas. The extremely narrow windy road with no guardrails, low overhanging cliffs where vehicles barely fit and hanging rocks obstructing the view is no journey to be undertaken by the chicken-hearted. The drops are so deep that looking down is incredibly disorienting and the way is so deplorable and terrible that one would instantly prefer walking to sitting in a vehicle. At some places, waterfalls simply course through the road drenching the vehicle. Sometimes the road is so narrow that vehicles would have to go back over one kilometer to get enough space to cross. The terrible climb through the heights is one of the scariest travel ones could undertake and the fear and mind-numbing feelings that grips the heart can only be experienced as words are inadequate to describe them.

  1. Khardung La 

Photo by Apthomas1, CC BY-SA 4.0

Khardung La, one of the world’s highest motorable roads is a place in Ladakh and pauses challenges and risks of its own to those trying to conquer its heights on vehicles. Often slippery due to snow, minor avalanches and landslides pause a threat to the otherwise picturesque and spectacular road. There are several hairpins and drops that could make you giddy and the altitude can cause serious mountain sickness to those not accustomed to such heights. Traffic jams, washouts, low visibility, blizzards, and snowstorms are dangers that make it one of the deadliest roads in India.

Being mountain roads, these roads are treacherous and deadly and are sights of frequent accidents. Though the expressways in the plains are notorious for the danger of rash driving, the presence of mind and skill required to drive through the narrow mountain trails and the challenges both natural and human caused by them make these roads the deadliest in India.

 Guest Blogger: Author’s Bio:

Rohit is a freelance writer who often goes on motorbike trips to different parts of India. His experiences give him an insight into the life of the people as well as the dangers on the road which he loves to share through his writings. You can read more of his travel stories at Trans India Travels.

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