The Highest Road A National Geographic Young Explorer Expedition

Deep in the Indian Himalayas lies the highest road in the world reaching over 18,000 feet above sea level. Every winter this road is destroyed by avalanches, rockslides and flooding; every spring it is rebuilt. Below, is a proof of concept media experience of our time in this region documenting how this road is reconstructed and exploring the role it plays in the development of Ladakh.- The Highest Road Expedition Team

The Expedition BeginsSrinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

Be sure to pan around the videos below to explore the world around you.

An introduction to our expedition.


Reconstructing these roads requires a lot of rock. Much of the construction work is done by immigrants, like Manu above, who come from low lying areas in India.

Thoughts on the changing times from Tsering WangmoLeh, Ladakh

We lived with Tsering between our stints out on the road.

Everyone pitches in to clear the Snow and IceTaglang La 17,480 ft.

Local women clearing snow and ice from a high mountain pass.

An interesting aspect of the rebuilding process was the diversity in the workers we met. There were men and women from all over India and Nepal of all religions and backgrounds. Although they were in a region known for intolerance, the worker communties were welcoming and extremely tolerant of each other.

"You have to do, what you have to do, to feed yourself and your family. For us, that is road building." — Sayed

When we prodded workers about why they came, or how they got along so well, we consistently heard the sentiment, "majboori." Translated to english this means, "you have to do, what you have to do, to feed yourself and your family."

Section 7Title 7

A trip up one of the highest mountain passes in the worldKhardung La 17,582 ft.

Be sure to pan around to get a look at the surrounding mountains

Maps designed with MapboxTitle 8

Section 9Title 9

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