Friday, July 31, 2015

Namling - The road that takes you close to death

If you are traveling to the Eastern Bhutan, one thing that automatically strikes your mind is the Cliff called Namling Brak. Located shortly after Sengor on the way to Mongar from Bumthang, it is the deadliest and wildest cliff of Bhutan. In fact, without passing it you cannot reach the Sharchop region (unless you travel through India).  
At an altitude of 3,000 metres, Namling is usually foggy and is very steep stretch of rocky cliff. Quite wondrously, the East-West National Highway runs through it, perhaps making it one of the world’s wildest roads.

Moreover, the road is very narrow without much roadside protection walls. The moment I look at the cliff below every hair on me stands up shrieking with fear. And that particular moment, I always feel the chill of death. You miss a step and you are spot dead. Oh, that close to death!  
Every time I travel here in the bus, I see a strange behavior among the travelers. The moment we arrive at the cliff, a complete silence ensues in the bus. The travelers take out their rosary and pray reverently. Even the drunk people come into consciousness. Seriously. They start hailing God and conjuring local deities to protect them.

For Bhutanese, Namling is known as “Death Drop” after the national tragic accident where a passenger bus fell 300 metres down the cliff in June 1998 and 58 passengers killed. After that, it has been considered as haunted and ghost-infected place. People have stories to narrate, of ghost and eerie and frightening incidents; they were scared and stopped travelling from Namling after 4 pm.  

For me, it is the longest and most frightening 10 minutes drive of my life.
However, after the horrifying drive, we come to a marvelous waterfall which falls down the cliff. As soon as the travelers spot the waterfall, they sigh in a huge relief. The waterfall falls at a stunning height of about 50 metres.

Your fear and agitation forgotten, you would just run-round in a fury of extreme excitement. It simply is an awe-inspiring spectacle to sit and watch. For ever, and ever.  

6 comments:

  1. Riku, the Namlingbrak is further away from Sengor towards Yongkola, and not in between "Thrumsingla and Sengor". Just reminding.

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    1. Thank you, noted it down. I was kind of confused with the geographical location. Have a good day!

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  2. Yes, Riku, that's the most dangerous spot on the East-West highway particularly after that big tragedy which killed 58 passengers and injured several others. You have beautifully described the cliff. I can visualize it very well. I heard the waterfall is so beautiful and as it falls through the endless cliff, it creates a beautiful rainbow all the time. That's what I heard but you might have seen it if you were travelling on a sunny day.... A nice post it is...

    By the way, thank you so much for your comment on my blog.

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    1. Yes Amrith Sir, we get to see beautiful rainbow here. Thank you so much for the comment. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  3. A nice post! A small factual correction here. The spot that bus went off the cliff is next to the marvelous waterfall and not at that big cliff. It went off from that Chorten into the deep gorge which is again not 300 meters as you mentioned. Infact that area, around the waterfall, is said to be ghost/spirit infested area which people dare to travel at night. At any time of the year, travelling through Namling at night is dangerous with very bad visibility. Onetime it took me more than an hour to cover 7km along that Namling stretch. Lucky that I had three friends who were literally walking along the road infront of my car.

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    1. Thank you for the information. It really helped me grasp the correct picture of the accident and Namling.

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