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SHARES
A group of trucks and a flock of sheep try to pass the narrow road near Zoji La Pass

4 March 2016

Roads and highways to get INR 97,000 crore boost, announced honorable Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as he presented the Budget 2016. With current roads in dilapidated state and numerous cases of death tolls on narrow roads with hairpin curves, we sure need better roads and highways.

Talking of the scariest roads in India, some routes are so bad that they can give chills to even the most seasoned drivers. The narrow roads, sharp turns, low hanging cliffs, and harsh climatic conditions can lead them to death bed, instead of the planned destination.

Besides bad maintenance, sometimes the very location of a road makes it a scary drive. Out of the many, we bring you a handpicked list of the scariest roads in India that have claimed many lives in the past. But still, some daring men might see an element of thrill in such drives. Have a look and decide which side are you on!

1. Khardungla Pass: World’s Highest Motorable Road

The narrow road amidst the snowclad mountains near Khardungla Pass that is the highest motorable road in the world

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Where: Ladakh, on the Caravan Route that was once the Silk Route between India & China
What makes it scary: The road is scary for the sheer invincible height of 5,602 m above the sea level. Additionally, the road is not paved and is slippery due to the frozen ice & dirt mix. And then there are the hairpin turns that are nightmares of even the most experienced drivers of the region.


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2. Kishtwar Kailash Highway: Sharp Turns, Overhanging Cliffs, and No Guard Rails

The narrow Kishtwar Kailash Highway with low overhanging cliff and no guardrails that make it one of the scariest roads in India

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Where: Eastern extremity of the Kishtwar district of Jammu
What makes it scary: The road is windy, narrow, and without guard rail for about 150 m. The overhanging cliff is so low that a Tata Sumo or similar car would barely fit. The sharp turns with cliff obstruct the view, making it all the more difficult to make those turns. One mistake and the drop is of about 600 m.

3. Killar – Kishtwar Route: A replica of the Kishtwar Kailash Highway

The narrow road with low overhanging cliff and no guardrails on the Killar - Kishtwar route

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Where: Pangi Valley, Himachal Pradesh
What makes it scary: Much like its twin road – the Kishtwar Kailash Highway – the road runs without guard rails, has overhanging hills & sharp turns, and is narrow. The road is not an easy drive even in broad daylight, let alone at night.

4. Zoji La Pass: Prone to landslides

The multilevel zig-zag road near Zoji La Pass that is narrow and has many sharp curves

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Where: 9 km from Sonamarg, between Ladakh and Kashmir
What makes it scary: The road, at an altitude of 3,538 m above sea level, is frightfully narrow and extremely slippery due to the year-round snow and dirt mix. It gets muddy during the rains and gets blocked during the storms. Besides, frequent landslides have made it one of the scariest roads in India.

5. Chang La Pass: Third Highest Motorable Route in the World

The slippery road amidst the snowclad mountains near Chang La Pass

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Where: Between Pangong lake and Leh in Ladakh region
What makes it scary: At a whooping elevation of 5,360 m above sea level, the road remains snow-covered throughout the year. This makes the road slippery. Also, one can feel the scarcity of oxygen while on this road. The low temperatures in this region add to the travel woes of those commuting through this third highest motorable road in the world.


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6. NH 22 Kinnaur Road: Cut into hard rocks to make Kinnaur accessible

One of the many narrow dark holes and blind turns on the Kinnaur Road

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Where: NH 22, at the start of Kinnaur region
What makes it scary: Taranda Dhank is infamous for claiming several lives. The low overhanging rocks, narrow dark holes, and blind turns make this road highly deadly. One mistake, and the vehicle will fall down into the Baspa River. If not the fall, the collision of vehicles around the blind turns are truly fatal.

7. Rohtang Pass: The Ground of Corpses

One of the narrow stretches with hairpin curves near Rohtang Pass on the Leh-Manali Road

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Where: Leh – Manali Road, 53 km from Manali
What makes it scary: At an elevation of 3,979 m above sea level, Rohtang Pass is the gateway connecting Manali to Leh and Lahaul – Spiti. However, it is the entire route of 479 km that is dangerous. The snow covered roads are prone to landslides, especially in regions that are enclosed with mountains on both sides.

8. Nathula Pass: The Pass of the Listening Ears

An aerial view of the rock-cut narrow stretches of road near Nathula Pass

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Where: Indo-Chinese border, 54 km east of Gangtok, near Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim
What makes it scary: The route is prone to landslides during monsoons and snow sludge in winters. Besides, the curved roads are slippery.

The multilevel zig-zag stretches of road near Nathula Pass connecting Zuluk to Thambi View

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9. Neral – Matheran Road: Slippery Roads and Sharp Turns

The final stretch of road to Matheran that allows automobiles

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Where: Raigad District, Maharashtra – The road begins at Neral at an elevation of 40 m above sea level. The 8.9 km road takes you to Matheran, located at an elevation of 800 m above sea level.
What makes it scary: The average elevation gain is 8.5% per stretch, with a total gain of 760 m. The steep and narrow sections are followed by hairpin turns. Some of these sections are even without guard rails. To add to the woes of the drivers, rains make the roads slippery and may even cause landslides. However, the occurrence of landslides is very rare.

10. Sela Pass: Curvy Leisurely Road to Hell

A snap of the dangerous Se La Pass in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh

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Where: Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh – The road connects the Buddhist city of Tawang Town to Tezpur and Guwahati.
What makes it scary: The high mountain pass is located at an elevation of 4,170 m above the sea level. But its winding design, sharp turns, and slippery curves can be fatal. Moreover, the road is covered in snow for most of the year. This adds to the driving difficulty of the travelers. So it is suggested to drive really slow and not get lost in the panoramic views.

So which of these roads and highways to hell really scare you? Share with us your experiences on these most dangerous roads in India.


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