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 High Road

 

 

In the northern region of India, in the states of Jammu Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh lies the highest drivable road on earth. The National Highway 21 starts in Manali, a small town surrounded by snowy mountain tops and a climate similar to the European alps. Just behind Manali after the first pass named Rhotang La, which means pass of corpses, the vegetation changes dramatically to a high desert. Here, in the rain shadow of the Himalayans, the precipitation is the same as in the Sahara. The only sources of water for the inhabitants of this area, who live at an altitude of 3400 to 5200 Meters, are the melting snow and glaciers in summer. The road is used by truck drivers to deliver the citizens of Leh with food and building materials. To do so the drivers are on the road for four to five days and face accidents and hight sickness on a regular basis. Leh is one of the highest permanently inhabited cities in the world with harsh winters and dry summers. In summer all the recourses, the inhabitants need are delivered by road but in winter the only way to get food and goods is by air. In winter the road gets damaged by ice and snow and has to be repaired every summer. This harsh work is done by peons from south India most of the time.