20 Road Trips That You Must Take In India Once

20 Road Trips That You Must Take In India Once

May 06, 2016
1880

Tired of the city? Sick of the pollution? Troubled by the noise? Well, all we have to say is – GET OUTSIDE! Pack a duffle bag, load on some snacks, turn up the engine and embark on an adventurous road trip, leaving behind all your worries. Whether it’s with friends or family, a road trip anywhere in India will leave you in awe of the stunning landscapes the country has to offer. Meet new people, eat new food, learn new directions and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

 

1) Chennai – Pondicherry (East Coast Road)

Road Trips in India - Pondicherry

Winding along the glistening Bay of Bengal, the road trip from Chennai to Pondicherry will leave you entranced. Towering palm trees and light see breeze make the journey both picturesque and pleasurable. Escape the traffic of southern India’s cultural capital and head to the delightful, previously French colonized Union Territory for some relaxing fun! Adorable cafes and pretty promenades enhance the charm of Pondicherry. On the way, you can make a quick stopover at Mahabalipuram to visit the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or take a quick detour to Auroville for some much-needed meditation.

Approx Distance: 148 KMs
Road: ECR
Ideal Time: October – February
Road Quality: 9/10

 

2) Delhi – Jaisalmer

Road Trips in India - Jaisalmer

If you’re kinda road trip involves long hours, eating at dhabas and cruising down empty roads, the journey from Delhi to Jaisalmer is sure to keep you entertained. The best route to take is past Loharu, Fatehpur and Bikaner, occasionally stopping over to visit some beautiful landmarks. From the vibrant capital city, you can take a detour to Fathepur Sikri and drown into the magnificence of the Mughal Empire or go via Jaipur or Rajasthan's famed Shekhavati region. The historical forts and palaces at Bikaner will leave you enchanted all the way till Jaisalmer. Step into the warm sand, ride on a camel, stay in a tent and bring the unforgettable road trip to and end!

Approx Distance: 787 KMs
Road: SH 19
Ideal Time: October – February
Road Quality: 8

 

3) Delhi – Rishikesh

Road Trips in India - Rishikesh

From the bustling chowks and active nightlife of Delhi, get away from the excitement and let off some steam. Head out early from the city, and make a quick stop at beautiful Haridwar. Pray on the banks of river Ganga, attend an evening aarti and then continue your journey to Rishikesh. Apart from visiting the serene ashrams, you must indulge in some adrenaline pumping adventure activities like rafting and trekking. Walk through the thrilling suspension bridge, do some traditional shopping, take a yoga lesson and gorge on local delicacies. Sit back, stretch and take in the mystical aura of the town.

Approx Distance: 232 KMs
Road: NH58
Ideal Time: March – April or September - October
Road Quality: 7/10

 

4) Mumbai – Goa

Road Trips in India - Mumbai - Goa

While you can opt for the simple and straight NH4 route, the NH17 provides a much more exhilarating and scenic journey. Passing through nut plantations, ploughed fields, and pretty palm trees, the route will take you past parts of Karnataka. Though the roads may be a little rough and narrow at times, the outside view is well worth the effort. With a short detour, you can stopover at Ganpatiphule or Vengurla beach to stretch about and have a quick picnic. Wind through ghats, breathe in fresh air and await the sandy beaches and enticing ocean. Goa’s nightlife, amazing seafood, beautiful resorts, and carefree vibe will leave you in a relaxed and calm state of mind.

Approx Distance: 591 KMs
Road: NH17
Ideal Time: November – January
Road Quality: 6/10

 

5) Mumbai – Mt. Abu

Road Trips in India - Mount Abu

The city of dreams, overloaded with culture, innovation, and people, Mumbai may tend to get overwhelming. Worry not, Mt. Abu waits with open hands for travellers just hoping to relax and cool off. Embark on this long journey from the city at the crack of dawn to avoid traffic, and relish a South Indian breakfast along the way. The roads till Gujarat are fine, but does seem to get rough along the way. After a lengthy ride, step out at Mt. Abu to explore everything it has to offer. From the Dilwara Temples to Nakki Lake, the hill station provides opportunities for sightseeing, trekking, boating and various other activities that will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.

Approx Distance: 756 KMs
Road: NH8
Ideal Time: November – January
Road Quality: 7/10

 

6) Manali – Leh (Rohtang Pass)

Road Trips in India - Manali - Leh

If we were to say the journey from Manali to Leh is breathtaking, we mean it literally, high altitudes, thinning cold air and winding curves are sure to leave you both breathless and speechless. From the beautiful town of Manali, you can embark on a long trip to Leh, passing through serene villages, camping spots and the famed Rohtang Pass. The road slithers around mountains, alongside icy streams and green meadows, sometimes through rough and rocky patches. At Rohtang Pass, one can breathe in the beauty of the snow-capped mountains and glistening glaciers, moving ahead to the arid part of the journey. The remaining drive to Leh passes through many valleys and towns like Keylong, Jispa, Sarchu etc. which are ideal resting and picnic spots amidst untouched nature. On reaching Leh, you must leave time to acclimatise to the weather, then go monastery hopping and market exploring, while gorging on steaming hot dumplings!

Approx Distance: 479 KMs
Road: Manali – Leh Highway
Ideal Time: May - September
Road Quality: 5/10

 

7) Ahmedabad – Kutch

Road Trips in India - Ahmedabad - Kutch

Unleash the inner explorer in you to take up this exciting journey from the well developed Gujarat city to endless plains and glowing white sand. A well-defined highway makes the trip pleasurable, and easy to navigate through. A stopover should definitely be made at  the ancient town of Dholavira, the only relic of the Indus Valley Civilization in India, following which the fossil park will leave you mesmerized by the White Rann. Another break can be taken at Bhuj for some light seeing before finally making way to the endless, white desert. You ought to stay at the Rann for sunset and night to watch the moon dazzle the night sky and reflect across the empty plains. A quick and final visit can be made to Wild Ass Sanctuary to spot migratory flamingoes and Mandvi Beach to have some fun in the sun!

Approx Distance: 403 KMs
Road: NH947
Ideal Time: October- March
Road Quality: 9/10

 

8) Bangalore – Munnar

Road Trips in India - Bangalore - Munnar

Make your travel playlist ready, stock up on snacks and accelerate into the joyful journey from the advanced IT capital of India, to the scenic town of Munnar. Taking the route from Hosur, Salem,  and Chinar, this journey is sure to leave you captivated by the beauty of Kerala. The highways lead into stiff cliffs, palm tree lined roads, sharp hairpin bends and run along stunning tea plantations. The extravagance of the views is overwhelming, and every single passenger will be left in awe of the tinkling waterfalls, terraced slopes, and undulating forest landscapes. Along the way, you will pass open plains decorated by hundreds of windmills, following which a monkey dominated patch is sure to create some excitement. Plenty roadside restaurants serve authentic South Indian food, ensuring that each one is well stocked for the exhilirating journey! Munnar will leave you enchanted by its many viweing points, lush green tea plantations and homemade chocolates!

Approx Distance: 476 KMs
Road: Various (NH7 + State Highways)
Ideal Time: October- March
Road Quality: 7/10

 

9) Puri – Konark

Road Trips in India - Konark - Puri

Perfect for a quick getaway from Puri, a trip to Konark will leave you in a spiritual state of mind. A short hour’s drive will lead you to the sea-side town of Konark, home to the famous Sun Temple.  Sightseeing around the few temples will enhance your knowledge on the South Indian history and architecture. Chandrabhaga Beach is perfect to relax and enjoy picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal. You can also visit during the annual dance festival when the whole town comes alive and performs an array of  South Indian folk dances! You can also make a stopover at Bhubhaneshwar for visiting some its reputed temples and historical places. Moreover, this road trip is ideal for those who appreciate history and art.

Approx Distance: 35 KMs
Road: Puri – Konark Marine Drive
Ideal Time: October- March
Road Quality: 9/10

 

10) Guwahati – Tawang

Road Trips in India - Tawang

From the exciting city of Guwahati, a picturesque road trip to the dreamy town of Tawang will leave you completely spellbound! Though the roads entering Arunachal Pradesh are poorly maintained, the drive up rugged mountains towards Tawang is absolutely stunning! Snow mounted peaks, lush, green valleys and trickling streams accompany you along the way. At Sela Pass, you can sip on some authentic steaming hot tea, and play around in the snow. Tawang will leave you in a calming spiritual state of mind. One should definitely visit the country’s largest monastery at Tawang, after which a short drive up ahead the Nuranang waterfall is a must. During winter, the town has a vast ski slope that attracts people from all over the world.  Visit Tawang to enjoy the cold and relax amidst friendly people and unbounded culture.

Approx Distance: 509 KMs
Road: NH229
Ideal Time: March - October
Road Quality: 6/10

 

11) Kolkata - Digha

Road Trips in India - Kolkata - Digha

 

An ideal getaway destination , Digha attracts swarms of Kolkata residents during long weekends. However, on a non-peak day, the small sea-side town in a complete paradise. Embark on the journey from Kolkata at dawn to avoid traffic, soon stopping over for some delicious breakfast of aloo paratha and dahi. The highways are well maintained, often getting blocked by huge trucks and tourist buses. However, cruising down the road, with blasting music and windows rolled down, the short ride will make you forget your worries and live in the moment. You must stop at the famous Sher-e-Punjab restaurant for some finger-lickin’ lunch, following which you touchdown at Digha. Mainly known for its beach, the town is a lazy place with  not much to enjoy other than the sea side and tasty seafood. You can also drive over to Mandormoni Beach, a vast flat motorable beach for some more crazy car journeys!

Approx Distance: 184 KMs
Road: NH6 & NH116B
Ideal Time: November - March
Road Quality: 8/10

 

12) Bangalore – Ooty (via Bandipur Forest)

Road Trips in India - Bangalore - Bandipur - Ooty

A road trip in all its true sense, the journey from bustling Bangalore to the dreamy hill station of Ooty will keep you entertained all throughout. From straight highways, steep slopes to narrow jungle roads, the road trip is sure to be eventful and fun. The highlight of the journey will be passing through Bandipur Forest, on winding routes among tall trees, and vibrant wildlife that can often be seen. Animals like monkeys, deer, elephants and peacocks can be spotted along the road, however, forest guards do not allow people to get off the car to click pictures. Nevertheless, reaching Ooty will leave you mesmerized.  Blooming Botanical gardens, beautiful lakes, and scenic waterfalls help Ooty maintains its lovely old town charm.

Approx Distance: 318 KMs
Road: Various
Ideal Time: May - June and December – February
Road Quality: 7/10

 

13) Srinagar – Leh (via Zoji La)

Road Trips in India - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh

Prepare yourselves for the greatest chill in your life. A road trip from Srinagar to Leh is sure to leave you absolutely spellbound. The route passes through beautiful Sonmarg, adventurous Zoji La Pass, interesting Kargil and thrilling Dras. The roads often get blocked due to snowfall and avalanches, hence, the journey may be very uncertain, doubling the adventure! From glistening snow-capped mountains, to serene hamlets, open grassy fields and narrow roads, the journey to Leh is both exciting and picturesque. The road is usually open from June to mid-November for traffic, so do plan your trip accordingly. Leh is paradise of its own. Relish the town’s beautiful charm by exploring monastries, gorging on some delicacies at German bakeries and walking through bustling markets.

Approx. Distance: 434 KMs
Road: NH1D
Ideal Time: June – November
Road Quality: 5/10

 

14) Mumbai – Kutch

Road Trips in India - Mumbai - Kutch

Mumbai might be the city of dreams, but at a point time, it gets too much. The constant noise, pollution, and traffic should persuade you to get out and explore the fascinating Kutch area. Though the road trip majorly consists of large highways and straight roads, you can make the most of the journey by blasting loud music, singing along to the tunes and stopping over at roadside dhabas to enjoy scrumptious meals. Kutch is an enthralling destination, with its white salt plains, migratory bird habitats, and the Wild Ass Sanctuary, it will surely leave you fascinated.

Approx. Distance: 932.5 KMs
Road: NH8
Ideal Time: June – November
Road Quality: 5/10

 

15) Jaipur – Udaipur

Road Trips in India - Jaipur - Udaipur

The glorious Pink City has so much to offer, from the Hawa Mahal to the Jantar Mantar, it showcases the majesty of the forgone royals. After exploring this beautiful city, take a fun road trip to Udaipur and drown in its grandeur. The roads are not extremely smooth, but it is easy to find directions along the highway. You can also make a stopover at Ajmer and Pushkar for some sightseeing and lavish Rajasthani meals before heading off towards Ajmer. One can also visit the famed Kumbhalgarh Fort, home to second longest wall in world after Great Wall fo China. The Udaipur town is embellished with majestic palaces, huge artificial lakes and the splendid City Palace, that will leave you charmed by the architectural skills of the past.

Approx. Distance: 394 KMs
Road: NH8
Ideal Time: October – March
Road Quality: 6/10

 

16) Bangalore – Gokarna (Via Jog Falls)

Road Trips in India - Jog Falls - Gokarna

The coastal temple town of Gokarna is a popular retreat for the resident of Bangalore hoping to let off some steam and get away from the city. The road trip is quite pleasurable, varying from highways, sharp bends to moderately hilly terrains. The major attraction of this route is Jog Falls, a breathtaking series of waterfalls that descend  from the hills beautifully, enveloped in mystical mist! You can also enjoy a quick meal here before setting off for the rest of the journey. Gokarna has plenty of temples and beaches. After participating in an aarti, you can embark on an adventurous trek from one beach to another. The beaches are separated by hills and forests, through which tourists can enjoy a hike. Hence, Gokarna will offer you an opportunity to relax by the beach, or get the adrenaline pumping on the hills.

Approx. Distance: 500 KMs
Road: NH4
Ideal Time: October – March
Road Quality: 7/10

 

17) Ahmedabad – Diu

Road Trips in India - Ahmedabad - Diu

The dry heat of Ahmedabad can be best escaped by going on an exciting road trip to the coastal territory of Diu. A drive past towns and villages of Gujarat will leave you with many options for stopovers and refueling. Rajkot can also be visited on the way for a quick city tour. As the road gets closer to Diu, green fields and towering palm streets decorate the scene outside. Cooler ocean breeze is extremely refreshing, and will build the excitement for eventually reaching the destination. At Diu, it is best to make the most of the large resorts to bask in the sun and relax at the seaside. You can also give the famous Portuguese castle a visit for some more fascinating anecdotes on their historical colonisation. Perfect for a getaway, Diu will help you leave all problems behind and unwind among the sun, sea and sand.

Approx. Distance: 372 KMs
Road: NH8E
Ideal Time: October – March
Road Quality: 8/10

 

18) Shillong – Cherrapunji

Road Trips in India - Cherrapunji

Shillong is especially renowned for its bloooming gardens, picturesque view points and cool weather. However, nearby Cherrapunji also boasts of beautiful landscapes, dreamy waterfalls and lush green vegetation. The road journey is short and captivating. Amidst the sun, rain and mist, the routes climbs hills, passes waterfalls, misty valleys and thrilling bridges. It is a must to stop over at a tea stall on the road and sip on a freshly made, steaming hot cup of tea. Thereafter, Cherrapunji will also not cease to amaze you. Being the wettest place on earth, the town has an array of mystical waterfalls that attract everyone’s attention. Colourful orchards, mysterious caves and friendly locals will make your trip worthwhile. The petrichor around the town is sure to leave you enchanted  and rejuvenated.

Approx. Distance: 54 KMs
Road: NH840 & SH5
Ideal Time: November – February & March - May
Road Quality: 7/10

 

19) Gangtok - Nathula Pass (via Lake Tsomgo)

Road Trips in India - Gangtok

A beautiful Buddhist town, Gangtok attracts tourists, hikers and pilgrims from all over the world. One must definitely leave a day for a road trip up to Nathula Pass, a border area between India and China. Only Indian citizens are allowed to visit, and you will have to obtain a permit for the same. The road journey is rough and tough, along steep slopes, on narrow lanes in the mountains, surrounded by snow and rocks. You can make a stopover at the pretty Tsongmo Lake, which is decorated by blooming rhododendrons, yellow poppies and various species of birds. Another quick visit can be given to the Baba Mandir which was made to commemorate an Indian soldier who lost his life at Nathula. You can interact with the friendly guards or play around and enjoy the snow.

Approx. Distance: 56.4 KMs
Road: Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Ideal Time: May - October
Road Quality: 5/10

 

20) Mangalore – Goa (via Gokarna)

Road Trips in India - Mangalore

This road trip will ensure that you have more fun before even reaching the destination. The drive to Goa from Mangalore is truly entertaining, and there are plenty of places to stopover and explore or relax. The first one being Udupi, known for its temples and lip-smacking dosas. Further ahead, the winding road along the coast is simply stunning. With vegetation covered hills on one side, and the gleaming Arabian Sea on the other, this scenic drive lasts for hours. The town of Gokarna will greet you on the way, where you can stretch out on the beach or have a picnic. A short hike in the hills or aarti at the temples at Gokarna is a quick break from all the traveling. Goa soon appears - blazing sun, pristine beaches, and tall palm trees paint the backdrop of this exciting getaway destination, where you can party, sleep, relax or explore!

Approx. Distance: 354.4 KMs
Road: Kochi Panvel Highway
Ideal Time: October - March
Road Quality: 9/10

-

Aashna @ Trodly

Author

An armchair traveler, Aashna loves Hollywood, supports Chelsea F.C. and spends time memorizing world capitals, reading and eating junk food. She aims to pursue travel writing alongside a vibrant career in advertising. 

comments powered by Disqus