Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of travelling by road. Add to it good weather and good company and you have the perfect recipe for one of the most memorable holidays.
For the passionate traveller, there is no better way to experience the diversity that India offers than by heading off on a road trip. Here we list 5 of the most enjoyable road trips in India, some easily doable and others which offer a slight challenge for the benefit of those inclined towards adventure.
1. THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Delhi-Agra-Jaipur
This route covers Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur each historically significant and with plenty to do. Start your journey in Delhi, the capital of India and make your way towards Agra via the expressway to Agra.
Agra lies at a distance of about 200 km which one can easily cover in approximately 3 hours. This bustling city 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.
Next, proceed to Jaipur, the pink city, which is well connected to Agra by road. The distance of approximately 235 km takes about 5 hours. Part of the Indian road trip experience is stopping en-route at dhaabas (local restaurants off the expressway) to eat – you’ll be spoilt for choice on this particular route. Take your pick, you can’t go wrong.
Once you get to Jaipur make your way to the Hawa Mahal, the Amer Fort, the City Palace, and the Jantar Mantar. Jaipur is also a shoppers delight, famous world over for clothes, linen, artefacts, and jewellery.
The best time to do the Golden Triangle road trip is in the winter months, that is from November through February.
2. Delhi – Manali – Leh
Any list of road trips in India is incomplete without mentioning a road trip to Ladakh. Divided into two parts, the first being the Delhi to Manali stretch which is a cakewalk as compared to what follows. One of the most challenging road trips, this trip guarantees to get the adrenaline pumping.
Since you’ll be gaining altitude steadily – be mindful of giving yourself plenty of time to acclimatize. Ladakh by road offers a heady mix of barren mountains, sweeping valleys with lush greenery and mirror-like lakes.
The beauty of Ladakh more than compensates for the rough terrain and highly unpredictable weather. Known for its many ancient monasteries Leh, the main town in the region is a must visit as is the Nubra Valley, Pangong Lake and Tso Moriri Lake. The drive on the highest motorable road via Khardung-La Pass amidst snow clad mountains is an experience that is going to stay with you forever. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a highly recommended road trip suited to the more adventurous traveller.
3. Guwahati to Tawang
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. Prepare yourself for a long albeit a stunning journey.
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 selling handmade bags, shawls, and skirts. Interact with the locals, enjoy the food and get a glimpse of the Buddhist culture. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Tawang and you’ll soon find yourself getting rid of any stress you might’ve left with.
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 in the state of Tamil Nadu. Start your journey here and make your way to Pondicherry, 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, the French cafes, and the many temples and churches. Pondy is an ideal place to de-stress with a multitude of ayurvedic spas dotting the town. If you’re keen for something more active, indulge in some exciting water sports. Spend your days soaking in the colonial heritage and enjoying the cuisine with its unique European flavour.
Pondy has something for everyone so rest assured, you won’t leave disappointed.
5 . Kolkata – Mandarmani – Digha
Kolkata, known as the gateway to the east, has some rather 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. Get close to nature, relax by the beach and enjoy some mouth-watering local food. Best reached by road the beach at Digha tops the popularity list because of its great accessibility.
En route to Digha, you can stop at Mandarmani, relatively new on the tourist circuit, it is famous for being the longest motorable beach in India. 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 absolute highlight.
The ideal time to visit is July to March.
So, there you have it our favourite road trips all listed out for you. Got a favourite that didn’t make it to the list? Tell us in the comments!
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