They are safety warnings with an amazing sense of humour and you'll find them on some of the highest, most dangerous roads in the world, courtesy the Indian BRO (Border Roads Organisation). Visit Ladakh and it will be difficult for you to ignore the yellow stone signs with bold black font, each of them bearing a message. The signs have captured the fancy of 41-year-old biker, Sherap Sherpa who loved them so much that he has photographed 121 of them and even published a book about the signs.
“Since 2008 I have been going regularly to Ladakh taking small adventurous groups. During these rides I saw these signs and instantly fell in love with them,” says Sherpa who then started collecting them.
“These signs have all kinds of messages – from safety warnings to inspirational quotes,” he says.
1. IF YOU LOVE HER, PLEASE DIVORCE SPEED.
This is a very strong message to every driver out on the road. A good reminder that you have somebody waiting for you and your safe arrival is a must.
2. WE CUT MOUNTAINS BUT CONNECT HEARTS
This tells more about the road, how the mountains are cut by roads so that it connect each other, or make new friends or turn a strange land into your loving neighbour.
LIFE WITHOUT VISION, COURAGE AND DEPTH IS SIMPLY A BLIND EXPERIENCE.
This is my favorite. I don't think I need to explain this.
Other popular safety messages by Project Himank of BRO include:
Better Mr. Late than Late Mr.
Safety on road is 'safe tea' at home
I'm curvaceous, but please take me slowly.
After whisky, driving risky
Let your insurance policy mature before you.
Darling I like you but not so fast
If married, divorce speed
Sherpa tells dna that about his adventures in Ladakh. “The roads are quite dangerous, rocky and often slippery on the high passes. You must maintain your speed limits and be aware of other vehicles. If you can do these, you are pretty safe.”
He says the top three scariest roads in Ladakh are: Rohtang pass section, road to Changla top, and Zojilla Pass.
On his website, where Sherpa has archived photographs of Ladakh's funny road signs, one section is dedicated to images of road accidents. The image gallery's description reads: This gallery contains photographs of abandoned vehicles, road accidents, and dangerous roads between Manali, Leh to Sri Nagar in Kashmir. The purpose of this gallery is not to laugh at someone's mistake that caused his life but to learn that traffic rules if not followed could lead to dangerous consequences.”
And while Sherpa is a big fan of the signs, he doesn't think they are effective because “I have a feeling people take them very lightly.”
Born in North Sikkim, and having grown up watching Indian army soldiers riding on Royal Enfields, Sherpa became a passionate Enfield biker. He is an entrepreneur in the graphic design field and lives in Kathmandu.
Photographs by Sherap Sherpa. Visit his website: http://ladakhroadsigns.com