Himalayan Roads: Most Dangerous Driving Roads

Located in India and Tibet, these roads are deemed as some of the most dangerous and deadliest of the world, mainly because they are built right into the face of the highest peaks in the world.

The Himalayan Roads
Soure: flickr/India Untravelled

Because these roads straddle the fine line between adventure and total disregard for safety, thousands and thousands of adrenaline junkies attempt to drive or bike their way through these treacherous roads.

One of the famous adventure trails in the Himalayas is the road that connects Leh (or Ladakh) to Manali (or Himachal Pradesh) in the Indian part of the mountain range. This road is known among hardcore adventure bikers as “one of the world’s highest motorable roads.” A 475-kilometer stretch of road is open for bikers in the spring or summer, as high amounts of snow in the winter renders it impassable. The conditions in this road are not always in the favor of the bikers, so make sure that you are not a beginner when you attempt to bike through this road. There are plenty of bikers who have met accidents while biking on this road, thanks to the frequent landslides and flooding from the melting glaciers. Even minor accidents can be dangerous as there are not a lot of places in the area to go for first aid and medical care.

The roads between India and Tibet that pass through the Himalayas are the highest roads in the world, and can also be traversed with a reliable 4x4 vehicle. On these roads, make sure to watch out for the infamous Zoji Pass. A mountain pass found in the Indian Kashmir and right on the path of the Indian national Highway 1D, the Zoji La (many English media outfits mistake the name of the pass as Zojila Pass, but this is redundant as “La” in many Himalayan languages means “pass”) connects Kashmir and Ladakh in a nine-kilometer stretch of road. The Zoji Pass is the second highest mountain pass in the world (right after Fotu La, located in the Srinagar-Leh National Highway). Like many Himalayan thoroughfares, the Zoji Pass is closed during the winter.

Soure: flickr/Partha S. Sahana

While the road is extremely difficult to navigate, adventurers who have braved the trip through the Himalayan roads will be rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime experience of literally being on top of the world. The snow-capped mountains are truly a wonder to behold, and the air is so fresh that your lungs would probably be reluctant to breathe in city air once you descend (of, if only you could bottle the air from the Himalayas!). Unique birds can also be observed soaring through the vividly blue sky; Himalayan griffons and golden eagles are quite common in this area. There are also plenty of smaller towns that you can explore, where you can observe the colorful culture of the locals.

When attempting the drive through the Himalayan roads in India and Tibet, make sure that you prepare yourself; both mentally and physically. The treacherous mountain roads need your focus, and your body needs to be acclimatized to the thin air in a region this high up in the sky.