Thrill-seekers are always on a quest for adventure; the wilder the adventure, the more exhilaration a daredevil feels. Road trips can rejuvenate the mind and the soul and embrace life by offering you a chance to surrender to nature and unravel the hidden secrets of Mother Earth. Whether you are a budding traveller or a seasoned globe trotter who loves to tour on wheels and is keen on exploring challenging road trips in the country, this list of adventurous road trips in India will help you explore your options.
Whether it is the sloppy roads of hill stations or the labyrinth of wilderness, India is one of the countries with a lot of gut-wrenching thrills to offer. A trip to the routes mentioned in this list is a daring escapade; brace yourself for a virtual road trip to the most dangerous roads in India. The following road routes are risky, consider your safety before attempting to scale them.
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Shimla-Spiti Valley – Notorious Roads
A road trip to the cold desert mountain of Spiti Valley through Kinnaur from Shimla is filled with thrills; the dirt tracks and unpaved roads make this road trip quite challenging. The road after Jeori is narrow, which will test your riding skills as you will have to maintain your balance throughout the dirt-filled rocky roads and treacherous uneven terrains.
The 432-km ride from Shimla to Spiti Valley is packed with emotions; the slush-fenced roads will make you forget about the rough ride, and the air of shrines and monasteries is calming. Drive along the scenic routes, apple orchards and breathtaking valleys.
Leh-Manali – Fickling Weather
The 474-km Leh-Manali highway is one of the most popular road trips in India. The Rohtang Pass, which is en route to Leh-Manali is ambushed by snowstorms and blizzards. Even in the summer, the Leh-Manali stretch is teeming with snow, making the road trip daunting.
The narrow roads and sharp turns via Khardung are dramatic and prone to landslides, and the snow cover makes the roads slippery. You have to be on guard at all times again the unpredictable weather. Amid all the chaos, the beautiful snow-laden peaks will melt your heart, and the grasslands and rocky mountains will make your Leh-Manali road trip enchanting.
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Kishtwar-Kailash – Nerve Racking
If you have a thirst for adventures, then you should visit Kishtwar (a district in J&K) and head to Kailash. The stretch is only 114 km, but it is the scariest routes in India. Riding along the overhanging cliffs and the narrow valley can be a nerve-racking experience. The road has no guard rails, and the unsecured edges of the roads make it more difficult to navigate.
The roads through Kishtwar-Kailash are not safe. Tourists have named it a “killer” road as it is layered with gravel, sand and stone. Moreover, cars do not fit properly in these almost impassable roads. If you are not good at driving on such roads, better hire a designated driver. Note that the Kishtwar to Kailash road trip is not for the faint of heart.
Guwahati-Khasi Hills – Slippery & Skiddy Roads
Ride through the lush forest between Guwahati and Khasi Hills. The roads in this region are generally wet due to the damp weather; be attentive while driving as roads tend to be slippery. Also, pay attention while turning as your vehicle’s tyres may lose grip.
That being said, the beautiful waterfalls and living root bridges stretching through the route will ease your journey. The 119-km trip to the hills is a trial, albeit elating. If your vehicle tyres manage to whiz past the moist roads, then this road route will be beautiful and refreshing.
Kolli Hills Road – ‘Mountain of Death’
Also known as Kolli Malai, Kolli Hills is a mountain range in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu. The Kolli Malai Ghat road is said to be one of the most dangerous roads as it has 70 continuous hairpin bends. You need to make your way through the numerous curves to reach the majestic hilltop. Kolli Hills Road starts at Kalappanaickenpatti. The first 25 bends are easy. Later, the route goes bad. Potholes and patches will make your trip strenuous. Hairpins are too narrow, leaving no room for two vehicles to take a turn at the same time. The route is teeming with picturesque and rich flora and tropical forests. Venture on the spine-chilling twists and turns at the Kolli Hills Road passage. If you are skilled at driving, then a road trip to Kolli Hills Road will be a truly magical experience.
Gata Loops – Spooky
At a height of 17,000 feet above sea level, Gata Loops is a 21-hairpin road to one of the highest motorable passes in Ladakh, Nakee La. Gata Loops has a reputation for evoking creepy narratives, making a road trip to this mysterious attraction a daring experience. Some people believe that the roads of Gata Loops are haunted. For this, people shower food and water, even cigarettes to please the “spirits.”
A road trail to Gata Loops is bone-crunching – the sharp hairpin bends are quite challenging. During winters, the road becomes harder to parse as it is covered in incessant ice sheets. The view of the snowy mountains are the Gata Loops offers for those who dared to travel through it.
Plan a trip during the months of June, July, August and September.
Sam Dunes – Wind Swept
In general, sand dunes are tough to drive on because of the loose and soft sand and the dusty wind. To overcome this, you will need a bike with good tyres and great driving skills. If you have a thing for bike riding in sand dunes, you should go for the Jaipur to Sam Dunes trial.
The 705-km stretch from Jaipur to Sam Dunes is well-maintained. However, withstanding the wind-swept sand dunes is a challenge in itself, and maintaining the balance of the vehicle also becomes hard. The unparalleled views of golden sands is worth all the struggle.
Zigzag Roads – Shot of Adrenaline
The three-level Zig Zag Roads in Sikkim are dizzying, with more than 100 hairpin roads in a 30-km stretch, these Zigzag Roads are famous worldwide. You will experience an adrenaline rush on these curvy roads. Driving along these roads may make you nauseous. The panoramic views of this place are breathtaking. Especially during the snow, the landscapes of the Zigzag roads look magical.
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Definitely, driving on the Zigzag roads is not for the fainthearted. If you can endure the dizziness and whirling, only then should you go for this test of will. Catch amazing views during the golden hours. The breezy winds and the majestic views will make an ideal adventure seeker’s dream.
Zoji La – Worth The Ride
Zoji La is a mountain pass nestled between Srinagar and Leh. The pass is located on NH1 and is a major link between Ladakh and Kashmir. Also known as the lifeline of Ladakh, Zoji La is worth exploring because of the stunning sight of the Himalayas it offers. Before taking a road trip to Zoji La, check the weather conditions. Also, the link will be closed for six months during winter, for obvious reasons.
The high winds and snowfalls make a dent in the travel experience. Narrow roads and steep drops make the road trial more risky and thrilling. There is no railing between you and the abyss. The snowcapped mountains and dense jungles are “spiritual” to say the least.
Quench your thirst for adrenaline-charged road trips, explore the might of nature in India on wheels, escape the chaos of everyday life, and challenge yourself. These road trips are filled with the kind of thrill and risk that you will seldom experience at any other place in the world.