Those of you who are passionate about road trips and have this uncanny ability to grab every opportunity to the hit the roads no matter what, this is for you, the road lover and explorer. India is blessed with such a terrain and destinations that call for exploration. There is something that attracts the traveller in us to these places. Right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Jaisalmer to Shillong there are roads that can take your breath away both metaphorically and literally.
Here are 10 most popular road trips in India that should be on the radar of every biker and driver worth its salt. Get set go:
Mumbai to Goa (580 km)
This is among the most popular road trips for travel enthusiasts staying in Mumbai. Every year thousands of stressed workaholics from the financial capital of the country hit the Mumbai-Goa highway and head to the lovely beaches of Goa to relax and de-stress. The NH-17 connects Maharashtra to Goa. The highway is in good condition in parts and it is very scenic. You pass through Panvel, Chiplun and Sindudurg depending on the route you take.
Chennai – Pondicherry (160 km)
Commonly known as ECR or the East Coast Road, this highway from Chennai to Pondicherry (now Puducherry) is scenic and beautiful. Though it takes close to three hours to cover the 160 km distance from Chennai to Pondicherry but travellers however cannot resist the urge to take frequent stops as the road touches the seashore. The East Coast Road passes through Mahabalipuram, Kalpakkam, Pudupattinam, Idaikkazhinadu (Alambara Fort), Mudaliarkuppam (has a cool boat house), Marakkanam (known for its salt pans), Kalapet etc. before touching Pondicherry.
Manali-Leh Highway (475 km)
Manali-Leh is perhaps the most popular road trip in North India. Every year thousands of travel enthusiasts dream about the Manali-Leh road trip and thousands of others actually hit the road to Leh from Manali and realise their dream road trip. The Manali-Leh route is a muse to bikers and road junkies. It is as scenic as it is rugged and perilous. The Manali-Leh Highway is open for only six months in a year.
Delhi-Jaipur-Pushkar (410 km)
A road trip from Delhi to Pushkar makes for a lovely drive especially in winter season. The scorching summer heat gives way to pleasant and cool weather by October-November. You can also plan your trip during Pushkar Fair that takes place in November (generally from 1st to 15 Nov.) every year. On the way you can spend a day in Jaipur exploring its bustling bazaars, forts and palaces. Ajmer is another important landmark on the Delhi-Jaipur- Pushkar route and you could pay your respects at the dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishty before heading to Pushkar.
Bangalore-Coorg (260 km)
This is a quick weekend escape from Bangalore. The road to Coorg (Madikeri) from Bangalore is in good condition and the distance is easily manageable. There are a good number of places to eat on Bangalore-Madikeri route especially between Bangalore and Mysore. Coorg is known for its stunning sunrise and the Golden Temple at Bylakuppe.
Shimla-Narkanda (65 km)
This could be termed as a laid back road trip if you want to keep it that way. The distance is not much but it takes close to two hours or more to reach Narkanda, for beautiful scenery keeps you stopping and you end up taking too many photography breaks. In fact, if you don’t plan to stay in Narkanda, it could be a day trip from Shimla. Hatu Peak is a popular place of tourist attraction in Narkanda. The road (NH-22) is a mix of good and bad.
Siliguri-Kalimpong (60 km)
The distance between Siliguri and Kalimpong is not much but the drive is beautiful. You can take a lazy leisure drive in one of the most beautiful stretches in the North East of India. The drive approximately takes an hour or so depending on the roads and your speed.
Delhi – Lansdowne (230 km)
Delhi to Lansdowne is a popular and easy road trip that many Delhiites love to take. It is a quiet hill station in Uttarakhand, approximately 50 km from Kotdwara, the nearest railway station to this idyllic hill station. The drive especially, the last 50 odd km is scenic and winding where pine trees make way for you as you negotiate those hairpin bends. Monsoon is the great time to make a road trip to Lansdowne but be aware of landslides. Do call your hotel to check about road condition before you hit the road.
Shillong – Cherrapunji (55 km)
This is yet another exciting road trip in the North East of India that you must experience. It is the cultural heritage and natural beauty of the region that makes the trip spectacular. When in Cherrapunji do check out the living root bridges, one of a kind in the world.
Bangalore – Calicut (360 km)
This is quite a drive in the South of India that takes you from the busy Bangalore to majestic Mysore and beautiful Wayanad. Calicut is also known by the name of Kozikode.