Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of travelling by road. Add to it good weather and company and you have a perfect recipe for one of the most memorable holiday.
There is no better way to experience the diversity that India offers, to the passionate traveller, than by doing a road trip at least once. These road trips offer an excellent opportunity to explore and discover life across the country with plenty of options in terms of journeys and destinations. Here we list 5 most enjoyable road trips in India, some easily doable and others which offer a challenge to the more adventurous traveller.
1. THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
This route covers Delhi Agra and Jaipur each historically significant and with plenty to do while you’re there. Start your journey at Delhi, the capital of India. The city with a good mix of the old and new. A city famous for the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort and Chandani Chowk among other interesting monuments and sights.
Take the Expressway to Agra , a distance of about 200 km which you can easily cover in approximately 3 hours. The bustling city of Agra is famous for the Taj Mahal ,a testimony to the love of a king for his queen. While in Agra a must see is also the Agra fort and the Fatehpur Sikri with its palaces, fort and mosques in red sandstone. Proceed to Jaipur, the pink city, well connected to Agra by road. The distance of approximately 235 km takes about 5 hours. There are several good outlets for eating on the way . Once you get to Jaipur go see the Hawa Mahal, the Amer fort, the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar among other palaces, forts and temples. A shoppers delight do check out the markets at Jaipur, famous world over for clothes, linen, artefacts and jewellery typical of Jaipur in particular and Rajasthan in general.
The best time to do the GoldenTriangle road trip is in the winter months, that is from November through February.
Any list of road trips in India is incomplete without mentioning the road trip to Leh, Ladakh. Divided into two parts, the first being the Delhi to Manali stretch which is a cakewalk as compared to what is to follow. One of the most challenging road trips, guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping , it is a must do for all. Keep a day in hand for acclimatisation and you should be ready to go. T Ladakh by road offers a heady mix of barren mountains, sweeping valleys with lush greenery and most beautiful lakes. A contrast by any standard but that is the beauty of Ladakh which more than compensates for the rough terrain and highly unpredictable weather. Known for its many ancient monasteries Leh is a must visit for everyone. The drive to the highest motorable road amidst snow clad mountains with an absolutely picture perfect view of the surroundings is an experience that is going to stay with you forever. Not for the faint-hearted, it is a highly recommended road trip to the more adventurous traveller.
3. GUWAHATI TO TAWANG
Spread across an extremely beautiful stretch the road trip from Guwahati to Tawang , a distance of approximately 520 km, takes about 13 hours. Tawang is located in the north-western part of Arunachal Pradesh and is home to the largest Buddhist monastery in India and is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama.
The trip starting from the plains of Assam takes you to an altitude of 14000 ft above sea level. It’s a long journey so sit back and relax. Drive down to Tejpur ,which is about 4 hours from Guwahati , and proceed to Bhalukpong (Assam – Arunachal border). At Bhalukpong tourists are required to show a permit to enter Arunachal. Break your journey for the night at Dirang a charming little town en route. From here the climb begins to the Sela pass, the highest point of the journey and the only way to access Tawang. As you go higher it gets colder and the journey becomes more strenuous but what makes it worthwhile is the untouched serene beauty around you.
For shopaholics, there are enough souvenir shops and shops selling beautiful bags, shawls, and skirts. Interact with the locals , enjoy the local food and get a glimpse of the Buddhist culture. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tawang and keep aside all things stressful and enjoy the moment.
The best season to visit is during the summer months.
4 .CHENNAI TO PONDICHERRY
Chennai is hugely popular as a gateway to visit some of the most spectacular places by road. An ideal place to start your road journey and get away from the sweltering heat Chennai provides excellent escape routes. One such road trip is the one to Pondicherry among other places.
Popularly known as ‘Pondy’ this Union Territory and erstwhile French colony with its cobbled streets and quaint colonial houses is famous for the Aurobindo Ashram founded in 1926.
Also on the list of places to see are the Gingee Fort, the Promenade beach and many temples and Churches. An ideal place to destress with a multitude of ayurvedic spas or indulge in some exciting water sports.
Tranquillity and serenity being its USP you have a lot of options here from beautiful beaches to lush green hill ranges and quaint temple towns. Get a glimpse of colonial heritage and enjoy the cuisine with its unique European flavour.
5 . KOLKATA TO MANDARMANI AND DIGHA
Known famously as the gateway to the east, Kolkata is ideally located for excellent weekend getaways by road. It has some very interesting natural and historical places to visit around it. Among these, the journey to Mandarmani and Digha by road is one of the most popular ones.
180 km away from Kolkata , the seaside town of Digha is a great spot to unwind from the fast paced city life and get close to nature , relax by the beach and enjoy some months watering local food. Best reached by road the beach at Digha tops the popularity list because of its great connectivity. The ideal time to visit is July to March.
En route to Digha, you can stop at Mandarmani, relatively new on the tourist circuit, another beach famous for being the longest motorable beach in India. Lying on the Kolkata-Digha route the beach itself is the main attraction for tourists.Tranquil and serene it is less crowded than Digha and offers more privacy and quiet for those who prefer some “me time”.
Indulge the beach lover in you and enjoy some water sports at both Digha and Mandarmani. There really is no better way to spend a holiday than by sitting at the beach and sipping a chilled beer or fresh coconut water and enjoying the local delicacies, fresh seafood being the best choice.