Kinnaur Road is the name of a scenic cliff-hanging drive through the seemingly bottomless Baspa river gorge in Sangla Valley in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India.
Kinnaur is one of the twelve administrative districts in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located in the southeastern part of the state, and borders Tibet on its eastern end. Kinnaur Road has been cut into hard rock, to make a road linking Kinnaur and the rest of the country. Most of the villages of Kinnaur lie at quite a high altitude, some close to 4000m. It's a dry and very cold area, and in the right season (July-August) its quietness, great visibility, wonderful views and somewhat mysterious atmosphere all make it a great area to explore. The valley remains closed for six months during winter (from December till May) when the snowfalls are heavy. In places the road is carved out of shear precipice. The valley below is hundreds of feet below. The roads right after the start of Kinnaur suddenly became narrow and deadly and it’s frequently blocked by landslides. The road takes a dramatic turn for the wild once you enter Kinnaur. The mountain edges look a lot more jagged than before, and the population thins out. Along the way you’ll encounter sometimes landslides, streams, waterfalls, ice and/or boulders.
Part of the National Highway-5 (NH 5), the road is totally paved. In Kinnaur Valley the roads are built by cutting the hills in such a manner that at some places, these overhangs are left. Not only do they look stunning, they keep the road under them cooler than the outside temperature. The road is crisscrossing rivers on several occasions over wobbly suspension bridges. At many places, especially at the infamous Taranda ‘dhank’ (cliff) it is literally carved into the perpendicular cliffs with a vertical drop down to the turbulent Satluj.
Pic: Dashrath Kumar