The Best Routes for Road Trips in India
Would you like to fly? Surprised and baffled by our question? Well, did you know that travel freaks often say that “Road trips are the equivalent of human wings!” And indeed they are. Nothing can be more refreshing than the wide-open road and exploring places that you have never seen before.
With the new normal taking over lives and travelling on public transport such as planes and buses becoming risky, it is an ideal time to experience a road trip. And who knows, you may love this experience so much that you may want to set out on a road trip again and again.
So, without much ado, take a look at some of the best road trips in India and pick out your favourite destination.
Mumbai To Goa:
You may have heard a lot about Goa and its dreamy beaches. But have you heard about the road from Mumbai to Goa yet? Covering a distance of approximately 600 km, the drive from Mumbai to Goa is restricted to two national highways, NH 17 and NH 66. Each of these highways passes through some other landmark locations such as Chilun, Belgaum and Panaji which are in themselves famous as tourist destinations. Simply passing by these places will gift you with many unforgettable views and sceneries. You can easily cover this distance in 10 days with stopovers and exploration of the sites that you like. The best time to take this trip is between December and January when Goa is steeped in the festive mood and has the best weather to enjoy on its beaches.
Activities: Explore the various tourist places at each of the stopovers, taste the Goan cuisine, take a cruise ride.
Distance: 600 km
Timespan: 10 days
Manali to Leh-Ladakh:
There can be no second doubt to the fact that Leh-Ladakh is one of the sought-after destinations for bike and car trips on the road. Passing through picturesque valleys such as the Zaskar and the Numbra and innumerable tiny hamlets by cobalt-blue lakes, the road to Leh- Ladakh from Manali is sure to offer you a new surprise at every turn. What is more, as you reach your destination, you will be standing at the highest motorable road in the world. The best time to take this trip is during the summer months of May and September when the temperature is considerably higher, and there are fewer chances of heavy snow. However, a word of caution that has to be kept in mind concerning this road is that the topography is rather rough, which demands an SUV or 200cc bike for smooth travel. Also, if you have recently learnt to ride or drive, taking this road may not be a very good idea. Keeping a basic tool kit with you will also come handy as there are barely any mechanics in this span of the road.
Activities: Camp under the stars, visit the Leh palace, explore a unique mountain culture.
Distance: 480 km
Timespan: 2 day
Chennai To Puducherry:
This road has already been romanticised in novels and true enough it is one of the best road trips in India for couples. With the smooth road in front of you and the sea on both sides, having your beloved by your side will indeed complete the picture. Keep your cameras charged and ready as this road is the best for those who enjoy nature photography or even those who love an aesthetic feed. If you can time it right, watching the sunsets from this road is indeed going to be a treat to your eyes. You will also pass through several other sites of tourist interest such as Mahabalipuram, Alamparai Fort and the like. Do make sure you stop by at these places as they offer equally exciting views and sightseeing locations.
Activities: Explore ancient temples at Mahabalipuram, try out water sports, and meditate in the Aurobindo Ashram.
Timespan: 1 day
Guwahati to Cherrapunjee:
With twisting and turning roads that snake through hills, the road from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee is perfect for all those who are looking for an escapade among the hills. The road passes through the famous hill station Shillong, which is also known as the Scotland of the East owing to the striking resemblance between the two places. Things to do here include visiting the Wards lake and the iconic churches of the city. Cherrapunjee is equally exciting as a destination with its secret caves and gorgeous waterfalls. Though the road is open throughout the year, it is best to avoid the monsoon months as the road condition may not be too good. Carrying warm clothes is also advisable for the winter months.
Activities: Enjoy your time amidst nature, bath in the natural lakes and sample the local meat dishes.
Distance: 150 km
Timespan: 3 days
Delhi to Agra:
First, build during the era of the great kings and queens, the Delhi to Agra road is now a modern superhighway. However, somewhere beyond the modern infrastructure, the royal splendour of the olden days remain, making it an ideal choice for road trips in Northern India. Some of the most interesting places you can stop by on this road include Mathura and Vrindaban, which are the setting for many of the famous mythological stories in India. There is also an old fort at some distance from Agra that gives you a superb view of the Yamuna River. Though taking the expressway can cut the distance shorter, the alternative road is always recommended for road trips owing to the numerous interesting destinations that fall on the way. January to April and September to November are taken as the best seasons for this span.
Activities: Stopover at Vrindaban and Mathura to explore the innumerable temples, taste the Mathura special Rabri and immerse in the annals of history in Fatehpur Sikri
Distance: 230 km
Timespan: 1 day
Bangalore to Mysore:
Another of the royal road trips in India that one cannot miss out is the journey from Bangalore to Mysore. From the iconic shooting location of the Sholey movie to local rivers and streams with options of coracle boating, there is a new excitement at every stop. It is also the best road for food lovers as you can get a diverse range of tastes starting with the tangy south Indian to the spicy Hydrabadi and the royal Mysore tastes. Do not miss out tasting the famous Mysore Pak that is sure to delight your taste buds. The best time to take this trip is between the cooler months of November to March.
Activities: Stop by at the Tannirbhavi beach, enjoy the sunset from the Sultan Battery and try out your hand at golf at the Pilikula golf course.
Distance: 144 km
Timespan: 2 days
Jaipur to Mount Abu:
Are you tired with the sweltering heat of the plains? Then set out on the road and head for this destination to spend a relaxing weekend amidst the hills. Situated in the Aravalli hills, the road to Mount Abu is set with picturesque stony plateaus and dense forest which is indeed a relief after the sparse features of the desert road. You can take this road trip at any time round the year as per your convenience.
Activities: Boat at the Nakki Lake, hike to the peaks of the Aravalli Hills and enjoy serene sunsets from the sunset point.
Distance: 494 km
Timespan: 3 days
Bangalore to Ooty:
When it comes to the hill stations of India, another trail that cannot be missed out at any cost is that between Bangalore and Ooty. With coffee plantations and towering hills on all sides, the road offers the travellers a unique opportunity to feel the pulse of Mother Nature like never before. On reaching Ooty, you must not miss on places such as the Emerald Lake, the Dodabetta Peak and the Rose Garden. Being a hilly road with steep elevation, bikers are advised to ensure that they have put on all the safety gears. A stopover at Masingudi is also advisable to avoid travelling through the road at night. Monsoon months must be avoided as the roads develop crack and puddles, making them difficult to be navigated.
Activities: Ride the Nilgiri mountain toy train, enjoy picturesque views from Dolphin Nose and find out all about tea from the Tea Museum.
Distance: 280 km
Timespan: 3 days
Ahmedabad to Kutch:
The desert beauty Kutch doubles up as an amazing destination for road trips as well. Known as the white desert, Kutch is indeed a sight to behold, especially at night. But, instead of staying in hotels, take the unique opportunity to pitch a tent in the desert and sleep under a thousand stars. Some of the attractions on the way include the Mandvi Beach in Bhuh and a wildlife sanctuary. The best time to plan this trip is between the cooler months of October to February. You can also plan your trip at the time of the Rann Festival to make the most out of it.
Activities: Visit ancient palaces such as the Aaina Mahal and Prag Mahal, enjoy local music and dance around bonfires at night.
Distance: 400 km
Timespan: 2 days
Puri to Konark:
Looking for the best road trip destinations in Eastern India? Then take the Puri to Konark highway without a second thought. Contrary to the popular notions about Orrisa, this road is extremely well maintained and will force you to stop by and by for some amazing opportunity at photography. Though the distance may not be very large, travelling through it is in no way less thrilling than a road trip that spans several days. The innumerable tiny villages and the ever-friendly attitude of the locals, further add to the attraction of this road. Also, stop by the dhabas by the road for a cup of tea and some authentic local sweets. Best time to visit is between November to March.
Activities: Visit the Sun Temple, stop by at the relatively quieter beaches and enjoy local food.
Distance: 36 km
Timespan: Few hours
Gangtok to Nathula:
Another short yet memorable trip is the one between Gangtok to Nathula pass. With the challenging hilly terrain and the uncertainty of the mountains, manoeuvring your vehicle through this road will get your adrenaline rushing. The Lake Tsamgo which completely freezes during the winter months is no less in beauty than the lakes that are considered typical of the Ladakh Valley. This span of the road is also very popular with enthusiastic cyclists who are looking for new challenges. However, if you or any of your mates accompanying on the trip are uncomfortable with heights, storing an ample number of chewing gums is recommended. There is no need to carry food items as there are innumerable local shops on the way that serve piping hot bowls of Maggie apart from other necessary items. The local shop also offers interesting handmade souvenirs and attractive woollen clothes.
Activities: Enjoy the cross-cultural influence at the Nathula pass, visit the unique Baba Harbhajan Singh temple and keep your cameras ready for endless pictures.
Distance: 57 km
Timespan: 1 day
Shimla to Manali via Spiti:
If you love journeying through the road and exploring the unconventional places, then this trip is just what you are looking for. In place of the usual Shimla- Manali road, this time take a few extra kilometres and get amazed by the beauty that the Himalayas have to offer, beyond the popular tourist spots. Some of the places where you can stop over include Rampur, Nako, Kaza and Kunzum La. Make sure you have packed an ample number of warm clothes as the temperature can dip down much lower than the Shimla town owing to a higher altitude and lower carbon emission in these places. The best time to visit is between February to March and September to mid- December.
Activities: Visit the ancient monasteries, trek to the peaks; take yak rides and sample sweets made with yak milk.
Distance: 647 km
Timespan: 6-7 days, depending on the time spent at each of the stop-overs.
Chennai to Munnar:
A great weekend escapade among the best road trips in India include the Chennai-Munnar road. It is also a great way to escape the sweltering Chennai heat and heave a sigh of relief amidst the sweet hilly atmosphere. If you are looking for a laid back weekend, checking into one of the many spa resorts may be a great idea. Also do not forget to sample the local coffees here. The road is good for travel throughout the year.
Activities: Explore the rich flora and fauna of the Ghats, visit the waterfalls and streams hidden behind the mountains and sample tea right from the tea estates.
Timespan: 2 days
Delhi to Jaipur:
Tired with the monotony of city life? Well Delhites, there is good news for you as Jaipur is only 6 hours’ drive away from you. Enjoy the view of the Aravallis and steep yourself in the desert culture. The best time to visit is between October to February.
Activities: Stop by at the local dhabas to enjoy the spicy tastes of the desert, visit the grand palaces and get a bird’s eye view of the forts.
Distance: 281 km
Timespan: 3 days
Kolkata to Digha:
Another popular Eastern Indian road trip journey is the one between Kolkata to Digha. Connecting the metropolis to this laid back fishing town, the road is bounded by greenery on all sides. Do not forget to pack your swimming trunks as you will not be able to resist taking a dip here. The best time to travel is between October to April.
Activities: Taste the cashew nuts and the innumerable variety of seafood, shop from the local market, visit the marine aquarium, and spend time in the beach.
Distance: 183 km
Timespan: 2 days.