Driving the desolate and fearsome road to Margan Top

Margan Top is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.696m (12,125ft) above the sea level, located south of Anantnag district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Margan Top

Can you drive to Margan Top?

Set high in the Margan mountain range, the snaky and uphill road to the summit, also known as Choharnag or four lakes, is totally unpaved. It is called Margan Top Road. It’s one of the most demanding roads in the world. The road is all unpaved and potholed. The ascent is very steep needing a first or second gear drive. 4x4 vehicle required. Drivers often get caught in bad weather on the Margan Top – also notoriously called the Valley of Death. Construction of the road started in the year 1982 and in 1987 opened to traffic. Work on this road remain halted till 2007.

How long is the road to Margan Top?

The road to the summit is 51.9 km (32.24 miles) long, running south-north from Rein Aathar to Mungli. The road passes through alpine forest and lush green meadows. There is an army police check post just before the final ascent to Margan top. ID cards and papers of vehicles are checked and entered in a register.

How long does it take to drive to Margan Top?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 3.5 and 5 hours. The best time to reach here is from May-September. Near the Margan top there are many beautiful mountain lakes. Owing to its strategic position and remoteness, the picturesque valley of Warwan has been very important to militants as well as the Indian Army, and even till very recently was totally out of bounds for even people from Kashmir.

Is Margan Top remote?

Located in south Kashmir's Himalayan area, the area is desolate and fearsome. This adventurous road connects the remote and inaccessible Valley of Warwan and Marwah to Vailoo Anantnag. Due to inaccessibility and militancy Warwan Valley used to be referred to as the Valley of Death. With military presence the area has become comparatively safe now.
Road suggested by: Hugh Wilson
Pic: Aadil Hussain Wani