Motorbiking in the Indian Himalayas is like none other. The landscapes are stunning, the altitudes are extreme and the ride itself is jaw dropping. An expedition into the serene locations of Himalayas that will leave you mesmerised. The rugged terrain is challenging to ride on but even the mighty Himalayas are no match to thrill seeking maniacs.
1. Khardung La
Listed in Guinness book of world records, Khardung La pass is believed to be the highest motor-able road in the world. Khardung La reaches at a height of around 5602 m and is located in Ladakh region of India. The road looks scary for the easily invincible height but the zealous souls often dare to take the challenge of a motor bike ride in this pass. Khardung La lies on the Caravan Route which was once the popular Silk treading route between India and China. The route is stretched from Leh, India to Kashgar in Central China.
2. Kinnaur Road
Kinnaur is one of the districts in Himachal Pradesh, India. The district is located in the southwestern part of the state and also borders Tibet on its eastern end. To make it accessible and link to rest of the country, Kinnaur road has been cut into hard rock’s to make a road. At some places the road is carved out of sheer precipice and roads suddenly become narrow and deadly at the start of Kinnaur. The roads take curvy and blind turns as it approaches Kinnaur.
3. Chang La
The Chang La is the main gateway to the Changthang Plateau located in Indian Himalaya. It has an elevation of around 5,360 m and claimed to be the third highest motorable pass in the world. Located in Ladakh region this route lies on the way to Pangong Lake from Leh. This 134 km long route remains snow-covered throughout the year and due to its extreme height one can feel scarcity of oxygen.
4. Leh Manali Highway
The Leh Manali road is a dirt gravel road that connects Leh in Jammu and Kashmir to Manali in Himachal Pradesh state and spans over a length of 479 kilometer. Glacier Melts, broken patches and water crossings make the road one of the riskiest ever highway. Perhaps the riskiest ever highway in the country. Uncertain weather, high altitude, no roads, extreme cold and no civilization for miles make this a very treacherous track. Carry extra fuel and feel close to heaven.
5. Zoji La Pass
At an altitude of 3,538 meters above sea level, Zoji La Pass is one the important and most dangerous mountain pass in the India. The road is very narrow and easily gets muddy during rains and becomes impassible during or after Storms. The heavy snowfall, violent winds and frequent landslides make it one of the riskiest passes in the Himalayas. The Zozila (also know as Zojila or Zoji La) is not the place for a Sunday drive. It’s 9km long, about 3,500m above sea level and provides an important link between Ladakh and Kashmir.
6. Rohtang Pass
The meaning of Rohtang, “Ground of Corpses”, itself suggests the dangers associated with it. The pass encounters huge inevitable traffic jams and is usually open from May to November. The path could be closed for infinite time due to heavy snow fall with constant sliding of hills and rain, the road gets covered with slush. Located at a height of around 3979m above the mean sea level on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of Himalaya, this route is located in Manali. This route is very significant for the people travelling to kullu as it connects Kullu Valley with the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti.
7. Nathu La Pass
Connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with China, Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It is one of the three trade link between India and China. The pass is at 4,310 Meter above sea level and is one of the highest pass accessible via road. Nathu means “Listening ears” whereas La means “Pass”. The pass is extremely dangerous as it faces heavy snowfall during winters and also there are heavy landslides during Monsoon.
8. Three Level Zigzag road
Three Level Zigzag road is probably the most dizzying road in the world. Located in the Sikkim Indian state, in the Himalayan mountains, the road includes more than 100 hairpins in just 30km. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the world. The road still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. This geometry of curves is matchless and during snowfall it takes a panoramic appearance that defies description. The zig-zag road is a definitely an eye catching landscape. Zuluk offers excellent view of sunrise on Himalayas.
9. Taglang La
Taglang La is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 5,328 m (17,480 ft) above the sea level, located in Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, India.
It’s one of the highest mountain roads of the country. On the top there’s a local sign that incorrectly claims 17,582 feet, which would be 5,359 metres. It’s traversed by the Leh-Manali Highway road. The road is impassable in winters. Great trail for experienced wheelers. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren’t your strong point. 4×4 required. Stay away if you’re scared of heights. Expect a trail pretty steep. Wet conditions may make for tough driving along the muddy road.
10. Jalori Pass
Jalori Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 10,800 ft (3.120m) above the sea level, situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. The pass is the nearest mountain pass from Delhi, approximately 600 km away, and features on every adventure tourist’s map.
Make sure you get your vehicle and yourself well-prepared before driving this road. At the top of the Jaluri pass there are restaurants available to take lunch, and a Mahakali temple known as Jalori Mata, visited by thousands of devotees from the nearby villages. Jalori Pass is the first Indian pass to open every year, and is driveable by all vehicles, but are advised to go down in first gear only, according to Indian signals. This pass remains closed in peak on winter only. So in months of December, January and February you need to check before using this road. Usually opens around second week of March every year and closes mid December, depending on the snow.