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Himank, also styled Project HIMANK, is a project of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the Ladakh region of northernmost India that started in August 1985.[1] It is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads and related infrastructure, including the world's highest motorable roads across the Khardung La, Tanglang La and Chang La passes. Its work ensures access to sensitive military areas including the world's highest battleground at the Siachen Glacier and Pangong Tso Lake (at 14500 ft), whose waters span the de facto India-China border. Nicknamed "The Mountain Tamers", much of Himank's work is constrained to four months per year, as heavy snow and extreme cold make some roads inaccessible at other times. Between 1987 and 2002, at least 124 Himank personnel were killed while on duty in Ladakh, including five officers.[2] Most of its manual labourers are from Bihar, not Ladakh. They are nicknamed Dumkas, after a village where many of the original Himank workers were recruited.[3]

Drive Slow sign by Himank in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh, India.

Historical landmarks[edit]

  • Himank constructed the world's highest 86 km motorable road in Ladakh region, between Chisumle and Demchok villages,[4] passing through Umlingla Top at a height of over 19,300 feet.[5][6]
  • Himank constructed the world's highest Bailey bridge at Khardung La, though this has been subsequently replaced by a causeway.
  • Himank's opening of the Srinagar-to -Leh highway in May 1999 was a crucial factor in Operation Vijay allowing India to make a timely military response in the Kargil war.
  • The Sasoma–Saser La Road will be the "world's first glaciated motorable road" once completed.[7]

Road signs[edit]

Project HIMANK is known to post humorous road signs,[8] photos of which are the subject of the book Peep Peep Don't Sleep.[9] Examples include:

I'm curvacious, but please take me slowly.
Better Mr. Late than Late Mr.
Let your insurance policy mature before you.
On the bend go slow friend
Feel the curves / Do not test them
Darling I like you / but not so fast
Safety on road / is “safe tea” / at home
After whisky / driving risky
Don't Gossip Let Him Drive
If you are married, divorce speed
Don't be a Gama in the land of Lama.
Way of worship may be different but GOD is One.[10]

Other Himank signboards, notably those in the Nubra Valley, offer philosophical statements from those as disparate as singer Patti LaBelle, French author Jules Renard, author Jimmy Buffett and early Zionist Jessie Sampter.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BRO site". Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  2. ^ 2002 The Tribune article
  3. ^ Tribune article 2002
  4. ^ "BRO builds world's highest motorable road in Ladakh at 19,300 feet".
  5. ^ "BRO builds world's highest motorable road in Ladakh".
  6. ^ "Achievements of West Dte during the F/Y 2016-17" (PDF).
  7. ^ "World's First Galciated Motorable Road Being Laid in Ladakh by BRO Amid Extreme Weather Conditions". CNN-News18. PTI. 18 November 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  8. ^ This biker collects the amazing and funny road signs of Ladakh http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/1884960/report-this-biker-collects-the-amazing-road-safety-signs-of-ladakh
  9. ^ Amazon review of Peep Peep Don't Sleep
  10. ^ "Picture gallery HIMANK". Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  11. ^ see photos

External links[edit]