We skim through the annals of our massive country and bring to you the best road trips in India that you should take at least once in your lifetime.Is Ready, Set, Go your mantra for most weekends? Have you found a motorbike and the countryside to be your calling? Then this is your poison’d chalice!
1. Manali to Leh Highway:
The beauty of road trip from Manali to Leh cannot be captured in words. Remember Kareena Kapoor dancing to “Yeh Ishq Hai” from Jab We Met? Wouldn’t it be fun to cruise along that road in all its snowy glory on an open jeep or a Bullet? Ah! So Pretty!
Road Trip Condition: It spans a length of 479 km with a mean altitude in between 3 to 4 km above sea level. The road is open for about 5 months a year mostly during summers and mid-October. The journey takes about 2 days with one stopover for rest and acclimatization.
An easy weekend getaway from Pune/Mumbai, a road trip to Lonavala is something that almost all local residents will swear by. Dont forget to savor ‘chikki’ in Lonavala The picturesque surroundings and lush green foliage are great at calming those jittery nerves. So if you are in the region and planning to take a road trip look no further. Put the medal on the pedal, and get cracking!
Road Trip Condition: The expressway is 93 km long and considered one of the best road trips in India. Two-wheelers are allowed on old Mumbai-Pune Highway (which is in really good shape) while cabs and buses ply on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Sunny Da Dhaba and The Kinara Village Dhaba are good eating options on the Pune-Lonavala stretch.
3. Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley:
The graceful marriage of the Bay of Bengal and the Eastern Ghats in Visakhapatnam are a sight to behold. Any first time visitor to the city is taken away by the pristine beauty of this union in the city. When the same traveller takes atrip to Araku, he’s completely mystified by the beauty of the road. The curly roads, the gentle elevation and the sweet serenity of the hills makes it an amazing road trip in south India and will etch a permanent place in your heart for an eternity.
Road Trip Condition: The road spans about 116 km. There are interesting places like Borra caves and Tatipudi Reservoir on the way. The best time to visit the region is between October and March.
4. Shimla to Manali via Mandi:
Clichés, when it comes to choosing a travel destination, should never be steered clear of! The Shimla-Manali road trip, with the River Beas trudging alongside, is a beautiful road trip to relax and unwind in India. Take a break from and play in the ice-cold water of the river. Nothing says Himachal vacation like playing in the water during the ride between Shimla and Manali
Road Trip Condition: This 250 km stretch requires a little longer than usual due to hilly terrain. All the more reason to be one of the best road trips in India.
5. Guwahati to Tawang
Two absolute essentials from Northeast and a trip just like its two ends- challenging, yet spread across an extremely beautiful terrain. A few stops in between, and you should be able to pull it off more conveniently.
Road Trip Information : The distance is about 520 km and should take you about 10 hours plus your stops.
6. Gangtok to Lake Tsomgo and Nathu-La Pass:
The North-East, largely unexplored is home to some of the best destinations for road travel in India. This is one of those road trips of North-East that you should undertake at once without thinking much. The hilly terrain might make it a challenging ride, but the beauty of the road lies in the uncertainty of the terrain. The awesome sight along the roads on mountain ranges will totally make up for everything else! Take a road trip in winters to Lake Tsomgo (also known as Changu Lake) from Gangtok and know happiness like never before!
Road Trip Guide: This stretch is about 55 km long, with the Lake Tsomgo falling on the route at around 39 km from Gangtok. It leaves you with an unmatched road trip experience.
7. Bangalore to Bandipur Forest:
One cannot put forward a list of awesome road trips without accounting for one that is taken along a forest. The Bandipur Forest route to Bangalore is one of the most beautiful trips through forests in India, that you’ll ever take. One can take the same road to Ooty from Mysore passing though Bandipur National Park. Have a road trip with friends in a car with a sunroof, singing all the way. You might spot deer nonchalantly crossing the road. There’s no better manner of paying your respects to this charming highway!
Road Trip Guide: Taking around 5 hours, this stretch is 235 km long. There are various places for stopover and eating options along the route including McDonalds and Cafe Coffee Day.
8. Chennai to Munnar
If you’ve got a weekend and Chennai’s weather just doesn’t cut it, Munnar is your escape. Even better, is that it can come with a though longish but refreshing road trip that might just be what you need to kick start your stay at Munnar.
Road Trip Information : The 600 km between you and your holiday would take about 10 hours plus the stops you make.
9. Delhi to Agra via Mathura on Yamuna Expressway
The Yamuna expressway is probably the best road in the country at present, and an absolute must-do for all road trip enthusiasts in Delhi. If you have enough driving stamina, you can visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort and come back to Delhi by late night.
Road Trip Guide and driving directions : You can cover the 165 kms stretch of Yamuna Expressway in less than 2 hours – the road is just amazing. However, getting to Yamuna Expressway from Delhi itself is around 60km, so add another hour to the total journey. Take care of the air pressure in your tires – too much heat driving at a fast speed have caused tires of some vehicles to burst, so remember to maintain a lower than normal air pressure.
Dhabas : Unfortunately, the expressway has no dhabas at the side, so if you want to stop and eat on the drive, you might prefer the old highway (via Palwal), although the driving wouldn’t be as much fun or fast. There are a few eateries on the side of expressway right after each toll. These eateries are good enough to quench your hunger and thirst, but don’t expect delicious dhabas here.
10. Jaipur to Jaisalmer:
Knock knock. Who’s there? The Desert. The Desert who? The dessert of Jaisalmer! Drive to Jaisalmer from the Pink City via Jodhpur and enjoy as the colours of Rajasthan flash by.
Road Trip Guide: The roads are in top notch condition and a pleasure to drive on! Go along the RJ SH 19 which is the best option as far as routes are concerned. Make a refuel stop at Jodhpur, both for your car and your tummy. However, if you’re looking for authentic Rajasthani cuisine, you may find it anywhere along this route in India.
11. Mumbai to Goa:
This can probably be called the Father of Indian road trips. Drive towards the sun, the sea and the sand on a gorgeous road that will inspire and gear you up for the upcoming fun.
Road Trip Guide: The road from Mumbai to Goa along the NH 17 is as smooth as creamed butter and utilizes about 10 hours of travel time. Leave Mumbai early in the morning and reach Goa before the parties begin! There are several food joints along the drive to keep your heart and stomach full.
12. Mumbai to Mount Abu:
Is the metropolitan life sucking the life force out of you? Do you want some peace and quiet, if even for a day? Perhaps, my dear Mumbaikars, its time to seek that solace in Mount Abu. Unwind!
Road Trip Information: Take the NH 8 from Mumbai to Mount Abu via Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Its stretches on for 745 kilometers and requires 12 hours to cover. If you’re in for a longer holiday, explore the two towns for their authentic culture and Gandhian history respectively. The road is kissed all over with plenty of dhabas, so eat away!
13. Delhi to Shimla:
Somewhere in my heart, behind all the vertigo and nausea, there is a train of thoughts that feel that nothing beats the beauty of a road trip on the hills. The great expanse of the Himalayas and the soft cottony clouds blend in the most endearing route and the chilly winds in your hair make for the most sublime of experiences. A bike ride may be even better, sometimes.
Road Trip Information: Take the Grand Trunk Road from Delhi and trudge along 358 kilometers for a long weekend away from the cacophony of the city. The journey takes about 6 hours and 40 minutes. Eating on the drive is not a problem on this route. Give your stomach a treat at Sukhdev ka Dhaba at Murthal for their sumptuous paranthas!