|The Zogi Pass (Zogi-La)|
I disagree. It should be atleast number 3. The 2 other roads mentioned as more dangerous are not really that dangerous. At no. 3 is "The Highway of Death" in Iraq. Well, that's not really a dangerous road. It was just something that got bombed during the Iraq war. And the road listed at no. 2 (The Road of Death, Bolivia) is no longer an active road as there is an alternative road available for travellers there.
The Zogi-la, on the other hand, is part of National Highway 1 linking Srinagar to Leh (Ladakh), and is the lifeline connecting these 2 places in north India.
During our recent trekking trip to Ladakh, we were forced to travel on this road as there was no other alternative. My first reaction when we hit the road was "WTF?". My brothers reaction was a bit more practical - but more on that later.
Once you cross Sonamarg (the starting point of the famous Amarnath Yatra), you immediately hit the Zogi Pass. The BRO (Border Roads Organization), which builds and maintains all the roads in Kashmir region has actually created 2 different routes on the Zogi. Our driver decided to take the top one.
|Beginning of Zogi Pass, overlooking Sonamarg.|
The road (and I use the word "road" very loosely here), is always under maintenance. I assume this is because of the mountain itself. The mountain appears to be made up of loose gravel, and landslides on this road are not un-common. In fact, during winter time, the road is closed disconnecting all access from Srinagar to Leh.
We happened to reach the pass at the exact time some maintenance work was going on. We were calmly told by the supervisor that we were stuck for 2 hours till they complete their work for the day. Since the work was being carried out on the top road, the bottom road was also closed by default, due to the rocks falling on the bottom road.
|Truck carrying construction workers and equipment.|
|A huge boulder is shoved down the mountain.|
|I was shivering as I watched the crane operator go right at the edge.|
|Work in progress on the Zogi-La.|
|Cars on the lower route.|
Eventually after 2 hours, the workers completed their work and cleared the path for us to pass. I closed my eyes as we navigated the pass. No pictures.
As we reached the end of the pass, we found my brother who had trekked for more than 2 hours and crossed the entire pass on foot. Perhaps its the safest way to cross the Zogi after all!.