India is a country with a variety of geographical conditions ranging from mountains to cliffs to deserts and swamps. Most of these places are certainly not equipped with airports, making road travel the only possible option. Here is a list of the top 10 scariest roads in India that would scare any driver away.
1. Kolli Hill Road
Running across the Kolli hills, these roads are a nightmare for not only the driver but also the passengers. The road to the top of the hill is filled with 70 hairpin bends that would make even astronauts nauseous. The journey to the top of the hill is not an easy one and many drivers turn back after the 20th hairpin bend. The hill is also called the mountain of death as many amateur drivers perish under the great pressure of driving in such extreme conditions. At the top of the hill is a temple dedicated to lord Shiva so that the survivors of the drive can thank the God for keeping them alive.
2. National Highway 22
Probably the scariest road, in India, the National Highway 22 is truly a death-defying experience. Stretching over a distance of 459 kilometers, the road is the only path connecting India to Tibet. To make matters worse, the road is so thin that you cannot turn back once the journey has begun and have to keep on going the 460 kilometers. The trucks travelling through the road carry essential goods for the refugees at the Indian- Tibetan border.
3. Zoji La Pass
One of the highest roads in the world at an altitude of 11000 feet, the Zoji La pass brings the phrase ‘do or die’ to life. The pass falls on the Srinagar – Leh road and is truly gravity defying. Extremely narrow, the road is not even properly cemented making it uneven and muddy. If your truck is stuck in this hell road, you could be there for weeks before backup arrives and helps you move your vehicle. While highly dangerous, the road provides a stupendous view to anyone brave enough to ride on it.
4. Kishtawar Kailash Highway
The Kishtawar Kailash Highway is so badly maintained, that the only sort of passage present there is due to the extremely slow vehicles moving there for a long time. Located at the eastern end of Jammu and Kashmir, the highway is crucial to deliver goods to the Indian soldiers situated at the border. To make matters worse, there is a hanging cliff on the top of the road, making it impossible for larger vehicles to pass under it. The only possible solution being smaller vehicles making multiple trips.
5. Khardungla Pass
The Khardungla Pass is the one that haunts most drivers in their sleep. Located at an altitude of a staggering 18000 feet, one mis turn on this road and you are done for. The road has not been paved in decades since it was last used as the silk route between India and China. The ice from the cliffs make the road very slippery forcing drivers to go slower than a snail. The multiple number of hairpin bends on this extremely narrow road makes many drivers want to give up, but once on the road there is absolutely no provision to turn back.
6. Rohtang Pass
A popularly used road among people going for long drives, the Rohtang pass connects you to Manali from Leh. Often known as the ground of corpses, the Rohtang pass has a bad reputation for being the last road for many travelers. The pass has muddy roads and sandy cliffs on the side making a landslide possible at any point in time. Located 4000 meters above sea level, a landslide in such a condition could have devastating consequences. The 500km long road is one of the scariest in the world.
7. Spiti Valley
Nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh is the beautiful and scenic village of Spiti. The experience of the village has driven many people to its borders. But is the visit to this small village worth your life. The route to the village makes you pass through the Spiti Valley, because it would not be okay to call that pathway a road. With rocky bumps at every small interval, the road to Spiti cannot be cruised even at a slow pace. The drive is extremely hectic and scattered rocks on the way do not help the driver. If you are a billionaire, take a helicopter ride to Spiti.
8. Munnar Road
Unlike all the other roads on the list, the Munnar road is situated in the southern part of the country in Kerala. A very popular road connecting Kochi and the popular hill station Munnar, it is full of travelers throughout the year. The multiple number of hairpins in this road have made it extremely dangerous leading to a lot of people losing their lives. The high humidity of Kerala means slippery roads. Located at an altitude of 1300 meters, a fall from this cliff will make your life flash before your eyes.
9. Sela Pass
Tawang is one of the most tourist friendly villages in eastern India. The village is home to a large number of Buddhist monks and monasteries. Situated at a height of 4000 meters, the pass is one of the highest in the world, with scenic and panoramic views all around. But not all glitter is gold, the road has one of the highest death tolls in the country with drivers making a mis-turn and falling a staggering 13000 feet. As a driver, one should not get distracted by the mesmerizing views on their right and drive at a slow and steady pace, through this hectic road.
10. Pune – Mumbai expressway
Last but not least on the list is the Pune- Mumbai expressway. This road is not situated at a high altitude nor does it have slippery paths or hairpin bends but it still has the highest death toll of the roads in India. Connecting two major metropolitan cities in India, the road is never free of traffic and impatient drivers often make the wrong call. It is astonishing to imagine that the number of deaths in this 6-lane highway over the past year, exceeds the number of deaths in some of the most difficult roads in India.
The Indian government has time and again spent a lot of money to repair the roads in India, some of it making significant impacts. But there are some roads like the Rohtak pass that are caused due to natural deeds and no amount of financial support can fix it. In India, every road is extremely dangerous with potholes and broken roads at regular intervals and rather than fixing impossible roads, the government must focus on fixing these small yet damaged roads to ensure safety for a larger number of people.