One of the things that tops the bucket lists of youngsters today is an epic roadtrip. There’s something about a vast open road in front of you, the wind in your hair and the lure of new places to be discovered that makes you indulge in intrepid travel. Some even see every kilometre traversed as a way of moving ahead and leaving old thoughts and things behind.
Movies and other forms of pop culture have also increased the popularity of roadtrips. India is such a vast country with varying terrain. Mountainous, rocky, twisty, curvy, steep, lush, barren and even bordering on unreal—the country boasts roads that have it all. Here is a list of 10 Indian roadtrip routes that will inspire adventurous millennials to hit the road.
1. Manali – Leh
This route is what legends are made of. If a book on Indian roadtrips were to be written, the Leh – Manali Highway would be featured in its first chapter. A favorite among bikers and spanning over 470km, it connects Ladakh’s Leh with the Himachali hill station of Manali. The road passes through famous high-altitude passes like Rohtang La, Tanglang La and Baralacha La.
Care must be taken as it is a high-altitude pass and breathing can become difficult as you ascend its slopes. That’s not the only thing to be concerned about here – the road passes through plateaus as well as dangerous curves and bends, making it a difficult highway to traverse. As you move higher up, the scenery changes.
Lush valleys and gurgling streams give way to snow-decked mountains and sometimes even barren terrain. It is as picky as it is beautiful: the highway lets adventurous travelers enjoy its sights only during summer months. During the winters, it is shut due to abundant grace sent by the Snow Gods. Read genuine review and book a Hotel in Manali at discounted rates.
2. Guwahati – Bomdila – Tawang
The Guwahati – Bomdila – Tawang route leads you from the plains of Assam to the Buddhist haven of Arunachal Pradesh. You begin your journey by manoeuvring your way through the traffic of Guwahati only to get out of its boundaries into idyllic Assamese countryside. Soon, rice fields give way to endless tea gardens as you approach Nagaon and Tezpur.
Not to mention, you will witness the fabulousness of the mighty Brahmaputra as you go along. As if the road wasn’t enough, Bhalukpong, the border town between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh offers one more activity to feed your adventurous spirit: rafting in the Kameng River. In a short while, you will begin your ascent to Bomdila, a quiet town which also serves as the headquarters of West Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh. This is a good stopover right before entry to Tawang.
Sela Pass, situated at a height of 13,700 feet, is considered the gateway to Tawang and offers breathtaking, almost-surreal views of surrounding landscape. In its compound is the pristine Sela Lake. Once you pass through this pine tree-laden area, you are officially in Tawang where more pines, flora, fauna, Buddhist monks and monasteries await you. Get amazing discounts on Guwahati hotel booking only at Cleartrip.
3. Chennai – Puducherry
They say good things come in small packages. This phrase is especially true for the Chennai-Puducherry route which, although only 155 km long, doesn’t lack gorgeous vistas. The East Coast Road runs parallel to the shorelines of the Bay of Bengal and is the perfect combination of shady green trees, the sounds of waves and the taste of light, salty winds.
The speed limit is restricted to 80 km/hr but honestly, you wouldn’t have it any other way because you need to slow down to quickly imbibe the ambience of this scenic route. On the way to Puducherry, there are several places of offering enjoyment like Dakshina Chitra, which gives visitors a peek into the art, folklore and traditions of South India, Covelong bay, which is the site of a colonial Dutch Fort and the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Mahabalipuram, which is home to Pallava architecture and shore temples.
Get the most of Puducherry by booking a stay online.
4. Mumbai – Goa
Thanks to Bollywood movies, the Mumbai–Goa highway has become the quintessential roadtrip for millennials. Everyone wants to drive down this road at least once in their lives. Stretched across 609 km, this route passes through the curvy bends of the Western Ghats, the plains of Ratnagiri and the seaside roads of the Goan countryside. If you’d like to stop over for a power nap, Chiplun is a good place to do so.
However, this is on the old Mumbai–Goa highway, so do keep that in mind. The route also passes through places like Sawantwadi where one can enjoy Malvan culture. The most important thing to remember is that the Mumbai–Goa highway has two versions – the old and new. However, we would say that to experience the coastal charm of this route in the best possible way, the older route would be the better option. Compare and book a budget Hotel in Goa at Cleartrip.
5. Ahmedabad – Kutch
Spread across 400 kms, the route between Ahmedabad and Kutch offers not only rich scenery, but also spectacular history. On the way, you can stop over at the Dholavira Archaeological site, which is the only city representing the Harrapan Civilization in India. Close by is the Kutch Fossil Park.
All this history will require some effort from your side: there is almost no tar road and it may take longer than anticipated to reach a place. But what Kutch lacks in terms of modernity, it more than makes up with intriguing secrets that are revealed at every turn. Apart from enjoying the mystic whiteness of the Rann, you can also head to Bhuj for a slice of history by visiting its 19th-century Prag Mahal and even older Aina Mahal.
Experience the best of Kutch by booking a Hotel in Kutch. Book online!
6. Shillong – Cherrapunjee
From the Scotland of the East to one of the wettest places in India – this route’s description sounds like a five-star report card. Just a 54-km ride or drive from Shillong are the moist forests of Cherrapunjee. Although this route is short, it promises to soak travelers not only in rain, but also with exceptional experiences.
On this roadtrip, there will be many times that you will feel as if the road beneath you has vanished and you’re gliding through clouds. This is not uncommon as Meghalaya literally translates to, ‘the abode of clouds’. On the way, you can enjoy a trip to Mawlynnong which is touted as Asia’s cleanest village, the Nohkalikai Falls and the view-point at Mawkdok Bridge. Enjoy adventure vacation at Cherrapunjee, compare and book your hotel online.
7. Jaipur to Jaisalmer
559-km long, the road between Jaipur and Jaisalmer is dotted with spectacular desert terrain. Once you start from Rajasthan’s capital city, the first stop is Mahela-famed for its blue pottery. Satiate your appetite for arts and head on to Deogarh where you can stop over for the night.
From here, you can head to Jodhpur via the town of Pali. Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort is an absolute must-visit. Off the main highways, the roads become narrow but that just means you will be closer to the locals and their day-today functioning. From Jodhpur, it takes about 4 hours to reach Jaisalmer. It is a straight road that slowly begins to pass through desert land and when you’re in the thick of it, you’ll know you’ve arrived in Jaisalmer.
Don’t forget to head to the dunes at Sam and Khuri to take in the wonders of the Thar Desert. Enjoy Rajasthani food and hospitality, book you stay at Hotel in Jaisalmer.
8. New Delhi – Rishikesh
It takes about five hours to get from the metropolis of New Delhi to the peaceful hill town of Rishikesh. This holy town is nestled in the Himalayas with the glorious Ganges flowing through it. Some of the roads on this journey, like the ones through Muzzafarnagar up till Haridwar, have only single lanes and this can be quite tricky. But when adventure’s on your mind, who is complaining?
Once you’re in Haridwar, the many Ganga bridges will offer chances for photo ops. Additionally, it is also has its own ropeway with one of the most spectacular cable car rides. From here, Rishikesh is just half-an-hour away. Which means that peace, tranquillity and long hours spent in the company of the holy river are not far away either. Enjoy a relaxing vacation by booking a suite at Rishikesh Hotel. Get best deals and discounts online.
9. Darjeeling – Pelling
Even though it spans two states, this route is only 73 kms long. Darjeeling is famous for its tea plantations that stretch as far as the eyes can see. Although it is a hill station, the drive to Sikkim’s Pelling is one that is steep and slightly precarious. This is because Pelling is situated at a height of 2,150 m at the base of Mt. Kanchendzonga, the third-highest peak in the world.
Soon there is a change in landscape – toy trains and tea bagans give way to high-altitude trees and snow-capped peaks. The drive to Pelling can get chilly so don’t forget to carry flasks of piping hot Darjeeling tea on your way up. Compare prices across 30+ Pelling Hotels. Book online!
10. Bengaluru – Coorg
Approximately 240 kms in distance, the drive from Bengaluru to Coorg offers blissful sights of verdant scenery. Travelers have two options – one is to do the roadtrip via the historic city of Mysore or to bypass it altogether after Srirangapatana. and instead head to Kushal Nagar. The latter would be a good option if you don’t have much time and would also like to visit the Tibetan monastery at Bylakuppe and Dubare Elephant Camp. Soon you will be in Coorg where the coffee plantation-adorned roads will usher you into a world of their own. For a comfortable stay, book your Stay at Coorg in advance.
Whichever road you choose to zig zag on, one thing is for sure – you are going to have the time of your life. There are many conventional holiday options sold by thousands of tourist companies but its good fun – and important too – to embark on the road less travelled, once in a while. Apart from travel secrets, you may uncover some about yourself too. So keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel and just go!