Kinnaur Road

Kinnaur Road, a narrow and dangerous cliff drive

Kinnaur Road is a scenic cliff-hanging drive through the seemingly bottomless Baspa river gorge in Sangla Valley in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India. 

Kinnaur is one of twelve administrative districts in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, India. 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 snowfall are heavy. It can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. 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 roads 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 or boulders on the road.

To drive this trail, you must have supreme confidence in your vehicle and your driving skills. 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. So, use caution and enjoy the magnificent scenery. The road is swirling through the tunnels, the condition of the road is good throughout the journey. 
Pic: Dashrath Kumar


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