Top 10 Indian dangerous roads worth venturing

dangerous roads in india

Are you a crazy adventurer who seeks thrills in traveling? If so, you should read this post.India is renowned for its cuisine, spirituality, and amazing spots, while it also features the second-largest road network in the world, running over 63 lakh kilometers. When it comes to traveling, what makes the destination unique is the serene path you take. But what if the route you’re about to take is deemed to be risky? Yes, you did hear correctly! Since roads are the most affordable mode of transportation, certain routes tend to be more risky than others, which increases the chances of arriving at our graves. Keeping the wheels on the right path is challenging when driving through these hairpin bends, low-hanging boulders, and slippery, icy landscapes. Some routes have earned the title “Highway to Hell” because of the unpredictable weather and the terrible condition of the roads.

So, before we jump into the pool of unsafe roads, be sure to peek over the list of hazardous places on earth that are highly risky to travel. So, hurry, buckle up your seatbelt, and dive into India’s top 10 most dangerous roads with heart-pounding twists and turns.

Be careful:

Caution is advised at every sharp turn on these dangerous roads. Travelers must be prepared for challenging terrain, harsh weather, and poor visibility. Make sure you stay alert and hydrated, check the weather, hire an expert driver, and avoid using your phone. Explore at your peril!

10 dangerous roads in India where challenge awaits:

  1. Khardung La Pass
  2. Zoji La Pass
  3. Rohtang Pass
  4. Leh-Manali Highway
  5. Chang La Pass
  6. Kishtwar Kailash Road
  7. Nathu La
  8. Kolli Hill Road
  9. Neral-Matheran Road
  10. National Highway 22
  11. Bonus- Kinnaur road

1. Khardung La Pass:

Khardung La Pass

The initial stuff you ought to know about Khardung La is their height. At 5359 meters (17582 ft), Khardung La links the Indus and Shyok rivers in the Leh region of Ladakh. It’s the escape route to the captivating Nubra Valley. Accessible from Leh over the road, it is widely known as the “world’s tallest motorable road.” Khardung La is an unimproved, heavily slippery path because of the solid, icy snow covering it. The “Silk Route” earned the title from the fact that it joins India and China. Khardung La is a stressful and extremely accident-prone zone with hairpin curves, quick turns, a tiny one-lane, unplanned landslides, and temperature swings. Breathlessness, mountain sickness, and other health problems might arise from the high altitude and shortage of oxygen on this dangerous road.

Ensure you can adapt to your new-day lifestyle while sticking to your hydration level. You need an exclusive protected area permit to enjoy these striking challenges. Despite the risks, thrill-seekers and bikers from all over the world swarm to this iconic site to push their boundaries and reach new heights. Explore the journey of a lifetime and enjoy the adrenaline thrills!

Where: 40 km from the Leh city of Ladakh. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Khardung La is between May and October, and the worst time to avoid is July and August. From October through May, this road will be closed due to severe snow and rainfall. The vehicles are allowed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will not be allowed after 5 in the evening.

2. Zoji La Pass:

Zoji la pass

Zoji La is a high, erratic mountain pass in the Kargil district of Ladakh that peaks at a height of 3538 meters (11,608 ft). This is the roadway that links Srinagar and Leh, as well as the valleys of Kashmir and Ladakh. Due to Zoji La Pass’s incredible narrowness, there are often long truck queues and high traffic. Bad weather and dire road conditions lead to further challenges. Zoji La Pass is windy and rugged all year long, and because of the mud and slushy surfaces, it is extremely slippery, which invites deadly accidents. This route becomes sloppy after heavy rains, and it gets entirely blocked by unexpected landslides and tumbling rocks during storms.

Driving in the scorching heat is a horrible nightmare, and riding in the winter, with -45 degrees, is far worse. Even in pleasant weather, these roads offer major issues; therefore, the pass is only reachable for a short period each year. One miscalculation might send you plunging into the sea, rendering Zoji La Pass one of the most dangerous roads in India.

Where: 20 km from Sonamarg, a famous hill station, and 118 km from Jammu and Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Zoji La Pass is between May and October, and the worst time to avoid it is November. From December until the middle of April, this road will be closed due to severe snowfall.

3. Rohtang La:

Rohtang la

At a peak of 3978 meters (13,051 ft), Rohtang Pass resides in the Eastern Pir Panjal region of the Himalayas. They literally translate to “Pile of Corpses” due to the fact that many humans died while using this road. The Kullu, Lahaul, and Spiti valleys are linked by the Rohtang Pass. Even though they are among the most dangerous roads in India, this pass is an enchanting sight in Manali, Himachal Pradesh. The 479 km journey is very challenging to drive because of the risks entailed on this road. The roadways get slippy due to snowfall, dirt, and sudden landslides, which are more likely when mountains are on both sides. It is best to drive only if you have expertise in driving.

Even though it is still a popular tourist spot with jaw-dropping views, Rohtang Pass is frequently closed, even for minor signs of inclement weather. The Indian government undertook renovations like expanding the road, installing safety barriers, and limiting the number of vehicles that can pass simultaneously. This made the problem of heavy traffic on this road fully solved. This place is a never-ending source of excitement for adventure lovers, but stay away if you’re not up for the challenge.

Where: 51 km from the hill station of Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Rohtang Pass is between May and October, and the worst time to avoid is between July and August. From November through April, this road will be closed due to severe snowfall.

4. Leh-Manali Highway:

Leh-Manali Highway

The 427 km Leh-Manali Highway is where adventure meets serenity. The route that connects Manali, Himachal Pradesh, with Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is undoubtedly a picturesque romance, reaching a level of 5,328 meters (17,480 ft). Notorious for having slippery tracks owing to the existing snowmelt and the intense showers. What’s even scarier is that army vehicles with big loads are transported across the Leh-Manali highway. So you won’t find any humans on this two-lane road, so be ready with extra gasoline, energy bites, and water. There’s a higher risk of accidents here because of the recurring landslides, blind turns, and erratic, wrecked roads. Therefore, one rookie error will either send you falling into the Baspa River or trigger a collision with other vehicles.

A further issue is the airflow and high altitudes. Driving across this long highway requires skill because of the low-hanging rocks and small, dark holes without road guards. Many bailey bridges, meandering paths, and frigid streams greet you. Often dubbed the most dangerous road in India, road trip yourself for an unforgettable and adrenaline-pumping adventure on this challenging route.

Where: Situated in the northernmost part of India, this road has four passes within it. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit the Leh-Manali highway is between June and September, and the worst time to avoid it is October. From October through May, this road is closed due to the snow blockage and flooding waters.

5. Chang La Pass:

Chang La Pass

Situated at a peak of 5,360 meters (17,585 ft) amid the Leh and Shyok valleys in Ladakh, Chang La Pass is a traveler’s paradise. Layered with snow all year round, it serves as the entry gate to the Changthang plateau in the Himalayas area. This pass, which is always loaded with adventures, is regarded as the third-highest driveable and toughest road. This extremely blind, edgy turn and high slopes make it challenging for small vehicles and bikers to pass this sloppy road. Due to the low oxygen levels in this high pass, multiple cases of choking have been noted. In addition to the troubles experienced by tourists, this well-traveled road is frigid. Therefore, it is highly encouraged that you take precautions in advance if you have respiratory issues. Prepare for a thrill-packed trip that will surely unleash the explorer in you!

Where: Between Leh and Pangong Lake, and 81 km from Ladakh. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Chang La Pass is between May and September, and the worst time to avoid it is October. From November to April, this road is closed due to the snow blockage.

6. Kishtwar Kailash Road:

Kishtwar Kailash road

This perilous road, which is located in the Kishtwar area, runs from Jammu and Kashmir’s east to Himachal Pradesh’s Pangi Valley. Popular as “Killer Road” because of the huge number of tragic crashes and near-death incidents reported by tourists every year. To travel on this route, you should require a specific area permit and exceptionally talented drivers to keep you alive! This 160-kilometer road leads to the Kishtwar Kailash campsite, which is situated at an elevation of roughly 6451 meters (21,165 ft) and lacks guard rails. The low-hanging hills are so tiny that an ordinary truck could hardly fit, and Kishtwar Road is so small that multiple vehicles can’t pass at a time. This sandy, gravel-, and stone-filled route offers magnificent views of nature. 

Crossing this route is made more difficult by steep slopes, intricate twisting turns, heavy traffic, avalanches, and showers. If you make a wrong turn, you could end up 1,000 feet below the Chandrabhaga Valley and have no chance of surviving. With its terrifying curves and stunning views, this demon road is likely to make you question your heart. Remember that staying safe comes first, so don’t attempt to overtake.

Where: Located in the Kishtwar district of Jammu. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Killer Road is between June and September, and the worst time to avoid is from October to November. From December to March, this road is closed due to the snow blockage.

7. Nathu La:

Are you aware that this road holds the highest ATM in the world? In fact, Nathu La is one of those three commercial border points with the greatest automobile access to date, situated between both India and China. Because of the abundant snow in the winter and periodic landslides through the monsoon season, traveling on this pathway is arduous. Nathu La, which translates to “pass of listening ears,” is the tallest point reached by road at 4,310 meters (14,140 ft) above the ocean’s level. Hugged by ice on all sides, enduring a voyage on this road is nothing but a gossiping delight. So to beat the cold, it is urged to wear additional warm clothing and mittens.

There is no access to water or rest areas, and specific approvals are necessary to cross this route. The problem is made worse by poor oxygen, quakes, abrupt turns, and heavily loaded trucks that cause gridlock. Don’t pass up the chance to tour the jaw-dropping Tsomgo Lake, a peaceful glacial spot close by. Immerse yourself in the hidden gem of the Himalayas and feel the thrill of navigating through one of the most dangerous roads in India. 

Where: 54 km from the east of Gangtok, near Tsomgo. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Nathu La is between April and mid-June, October and November, and the worst time to avoid is June to September. From December through March, this road is closed due to the snow blockage and flooding waters. Tourists can visit the pass from Wednesday to Thursday, and it is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

8. Kolli Hill Road:

This South Indian route, which draws bikers and hikers from all over the world, fell onto our list of India’s most dangerous roads despite its reputation for producing medicinal plants. Also dubbed “Mountains of Death,” the title itself conveys that this road has the pinnacle of risk owing to its high rate of deadly mishaps. The Namakkal area of Tamil Nadu was home to this lovely hill station, featuring 70 hairpin curves, each spaced 200 meters apart. This route begins at Kalappanaickenpatti and spans 46 km, rising to a level of 1200 meters (3937 ft). Its holes, tight curves, and traffic jams will keep even the most proficient drivers on their seat’s edge, paying close attention. From the 31st bend, the ride gets even more thrilling as it gets steeper and narrower without guard rails, making it harder for two vehicles to cross at once. While exploring this must-see spot, take a look at the majestic Agaya Gangai Waterfall and Arapaleeswarar (Siva) Temple. Be warned; this winding journey could take a nasty turn in a minute, so proceed with caution. 

Where: 45 km from Namakkal. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Kolli Hill Road is between February and December, as the weather remains favorable, and the worst time to avoid is January due to a temperature drop. This road for adventure seekers is open throughout the year.

9. Neral-Matheran Road:

Neral-Matheran Road

In addition to being steep and narrow, the Neral-Matheran route is believed to be dangerous for vehicles due to its hairpin twists and swift turns. This 10-kilometer roadway, which originates in the Neral and Rajgad areas of Maharashtra, stops at the picturesque hill station of Matheran. At an average rise of 40 meters above sea level, this road is in very poor condition. The entire climb of Matheran is around 800 meters (2625 ft), with an 8.5% elevation increase in each section of the path. Although the road is short and smooth, frequent landslides obstruct it, adding to the misery of travelers. Additionally, excessive rainfall turns the roads greasy. Because the guard rail-free lane is so tiny, a single vehicle finds it difficult to get through, which increases the risk of accidents. Explore this perilous journey and let the beauty of nature enthrall you. Be patient and stay focused; don’t ever daydream on this road.

Where: This 10 km road starts from Neral in Maharashtra and stretches towards Matheran. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Neral-Matheran Road is between October and March, and the worst time to avoid is from July to September. It is open all year, and from June through October, the train services for this road will be closed due to monsoon rainfall.

10. National Highway 22:

National Highway 22

From the Ambala district in Haryana, the route travels 446 miles to Kaurik, a village in Himachal Pradesh close to the Indo-Tibetan border. The road is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and deadly curves. Numerous fatal crashes on National Highway 22 have occurred due to its steep decline, snow-capped trees, and storms that hinder visibility. There are no guardrails or safety fences, which triggers careless driving and overtaking, resulting in tragedies. Nicknamed the “Highway to Hell,” this route is deemed to be the scariest as it has the highest death toll. The risk is increased by tiny lanes, blind and abrupt bends, fissures, holes, inadequate sign boards, and landslides. Even seasoned drivers get the chills once they travel through the deep, gloomy tunnels and precarious low-hanging cliffs on this route.

The “IRT Deadliest Roads” documentary series by the History Channel spotlights this route because of its deadly conditions, lack of maintenance, and hidden threats. There is limited room for other vehicles on the road because of the constant flow of private automobiles, resulting in traffic congestion. Take on the challenge of riding through one of India’s most dangerous roads and witness nature’s beauty at every turn. 

Where: Spans across Haryana, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit NH 22 is between mid-May and October, and the worst time to avoid is winter. This road is closed due to snow blockage and flooding waters during the winter and the start of monsoon months.

11. Bonus – Kinnaur Road:

Kinnaur road

Kinnaur Road is famous for its striking low-hanging cliffs carved from mountain rocks and the eye-catching rivers that flow beside them. These scenic features are the main reason for making the Kinnaur road a dangerous one. Furthermore, there are blind curves where you can’t peek around, dark holes, no guard rails, and very tiny routes. The route that links the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with the rest of India is made feasible by cutting the edge of the boulders on top of the Baspa River. This route passes across several suspension bridges, verdant, slithering rivers, and natural spots. At 4000 meters (13123 ft) in elevation, this path is nothing more than an adrenaline-rushing journey that will make you fasten your seatbelt.

The Taranda Dhank, notorious for taking many lives, is another deadly part of this road. You could end up drifting along the Baspa River or crashing into other vehicles if you make a single mistake. Large, heavy vehicles find it hard to navigate the low-lying cliffs and frequent landslides in this area. If you are a daring traveler, then this heart-pounding trip is perfect for you. 

Where: Located at the beginning of the Kinnaur region. Please be aware that the exact path you choose to take may affect the distance.

When: The best time to visit Kinnaur Road is between April and October, and the worst time to avoid is from November to March. From November through February, this road will be closed due to heavy snowfall.

To wrap it up:

India is a nation with bad weather and tough road conditions owing to its diverse geographical history. Despite the risky road you are traveling on, the electrifying destination will make the trip worthwhile. It is best to have a skilled driver behind the wheel for an exciting ride, as they are difficult to navigate. From the treacherous Zoji La Pass to the infamous Rohtang La, these top 10 most dangerous roads in India will surely leave you breathless.

Which of these perilous roads scares you the most? Please share your favorite adventure road memories in the comments below this post.

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