The Karnali Highway in the North West of Nepal is a treacherous journey, but it is the only connecting link between Jumla, 3,000 metres above sea level, and Surkhet in the valley. The 250-kilometre route opened barely two years ago has transformed the lives of people in this remote and impoverished region of Nepal. It provides access to basic supplies, facilitates public transport and enables locals to travel safely despite hazardous conditions, including rock falls, landslides and blocked roads due to snowfall on higher ground.
Travelling the Highway is no easy task; it can take up to five days from start to finish. The road is carved into the side of the mountain and passes through stunning landscapes, but its hazards make it a formidable challenge for those who traverse it. Drivers of trucks, jeeps and even tractors bravely negotiate its narrow curves with sheer drops on either side as they take passengers and goods to their destination. Meanwhile pedestrians make their way along its length; sometimes taking several days on foot until they reach their village.
For those living in this part of Nepal, the Karnali Highway is an essential lifeline that has opened up new possibilities for them and their families—but also brings much risk and uncertainty. To understand what it’s like to travel this precarious road we urge you to watch “Highway: Life on Nepal’s Most Dangerous Road”—a documentary which captures the stories of those who rely upon this complex network every day as they seek an escape from poverty in a land where progress comes slowly.