The general awareness of road safety among the masses, exceptional upkeep of the roads and the stupendous traffic conditions make every trip to the neighbouring grocery store a death defying feat. The recklessness of the fellow drivers on the streets of India make every small trip an adventure, but our list of the five most dangerous roads will put these local Schumachers in their right place.
#1 Sasser la
Sasser Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,411 m (17,753 ft) above the sea level, located in the Karakoram Range, in India.
The pass starts at the infamous Saser Brangsca, the road which leads to the pass is the narrow Murgo road, which is nothing more than a mud tract. A major distributary of the Shyok River flows on the side of the road. Any misstep, and one would fall down into the chilling water of the distributary. If the impact of the fall wouldn’t kill a person then the frigid waters will. The road is never dry and is prone to landslides.
If all this isn’t enough to send one for a long visit to the lord’s kingdom the extremely low level of oxygen makes driving a lot more difficult to be modest.
But all this put aside, the beauty of the solitude offered by the tract makes it all worth it. And if you return from this ride, you will have one hell of a story to tell, and a close view of what afterlife looks like.
#2 Marsimik la pass
Marsimik La is a staggering high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,777 m (18,953 ft) above the sea level, located in the Chang-Chemno Range in northern India. It’s the highest motorable pass in the world, a mistake on this road WILL make an easy passage to paradise, even a small damage to the vehicle or the smallest injury would result in immobility.
Deadly would be an understatement to describe the road, with a notorious lack of oxygen and a high degree of steepness, it tests the nerve of both the ride and the rider. If either are under prepared it would lead to a certain death. Even seasoned riders and crazy adventure fanatics do not go to this road in the off season due to the avalanches and heavy snow falls. The steep loose-gravel dirt track offers no traction and is wide enough to let two cars pass abreast where it is the widest, the low levels of oxygen makes breathing a herculean task to accomplish. And if all that wasn’t enough, you would have to get off your ride and push it up the steep tract if it gets stuck, people have reported fainting on the road, and if all hell breaks loose, surviving solo on the pass will make one hell of an episode for man vs wild, as the cold desert has barely any civilisation.
After reaching the top be sure to leave in good time, because you will have to descend while the day light is still there.
#3 Zoji la pass
There is little room for error on this road. It’s normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos. It’s incredibly disorienting to look over the edge, or even just to see the valleys a couple thousand feet below you. It’s a mind numbing vertical drop of hundreds of meters so you might want to give it a miss on a windy day. At certain places it is barely enough for a truck to pass. This results in infuriatingly long jams and one has to move according to the speed of the vehicles in front of it, which is not anywhere near to present.
The Zozila (also know as Zojila or Zoji La) is one of the important mountain passes in India. At an elevation of 11,575 ft (3,528 meters) above the sea level, the pass lies Amid Leh in the Western Himalayan Mountain Ranges and Srinagar.
Falling down the sludge covered road is EXTREMELY easy, and the narrow roads test the gall of whoever challenges them thoroughly, and in many cases the road wins.
#4 Rohtang Pass
Rohtang pass (or Rohtam Pass) is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,979 m (13,054 ft) above the sea level, located on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The pass is traversed by the Leh-Manali Highway. It is closed half of the year due to the terrible weather conditions and the lack of maintenance in such inhumane terrain, during season the road is found using GPS and is dug out, the pass wakes up from its slumber to claim the lives it did not take while sleeping, hence the name Rohtang which translates to ground of corpses.
The pass has become infamous for long traffic snarls with jams at times ending up after 12 long hours. The road remains jam-packed and delays are inevitable. Traffic jams are common as military vehicles, trucks, and goods carriers try to navigate the tight roads and rough terrain, compounded by snow and ice at certain points and the large number of tourists’ vehicles. Long que of tourist vehicles has become a daily scene on this stretch. The road is cut into a mountain, and screws up to the pass, at places it is marginally narrower than a truck, a misstep and a certain death falling into the valley. While crossing the road you can also see all the trucks which were not so lucky and fell down into the valley. Plus the road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it.
The road also featured on IRT deadliest roads.
#5 Grand trunk road
The Grand Trunk Road is India’s oldest road, and one of the longest and oldest roads in asia, spanning across India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The road covers a distance of over 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi). It was built by Sher Shah Suri. During the British rulers of colonial India, the road was renamed as the Grand Trunk Road. The historic relevance of the road might put the historic route 66 to shame.
The peculiar thing about GT is that is considered dangerous not because of its elevation or bad road conditions, but because of the most uncertain traffic. You mustn’t be surprised when your car gets into a traffic jam, created by dromedaries using one of the lanes. Trucks, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, and animals have turned parts of this heavily-used road into a major headache. If you’re planning to drive here, you’ll want to be as alert as possible, accidents as crazy as peacocks flying into the windscreens have been reported. GT road accounts for seventeen percent of read accidents in Delhi (and Delhi does not even have that many peacocks), and in listed in the killer roads list by CSE India Org.
One might negotiate with narrow and the sludgy roads of the high mountain passes, but accidents caused due to animals or humans can be as inevitable as fate.