India is one of the largest countries in the world and a motley of diverse cultures, religions, languages, and people. Inarguably the most diverse nations, it provides you with a collage of nature’s best: mountains, valleys, rivers, beaches, and desserts—a palette full of colors at every point. Although reading about the country will give you a glimpse into how picturesque it is, nothing beats the experience of actually enjoying the nation’s true-blue pastoral feel, and what better way to experience the good-old rustic joys than a road trip?
India has been the hub of road trip lovers owing to the long stretches of roads in the middle of some breath-taking panoramic sights. Ideal for all adventure lovers, the subcontinent boasts of a few stellar road stretches that will bring the thrill level up a notch while they are being greeted with exquisite geographical layouts. Although the country’s weather is largely unpredictable, these expeditions can be taken at any time of the year. Rest assured, you will experience an adrenaline rush like never before.
Mumbai to Goa
By far, the two most popular places in the country, Mumbai and Goa both share the western coast (Konkan) of India; one being the business capital and the other being the epicenter of unrestrained hilarity. Leave from Mumbai by car or bike and get ready for the journey of a lifetime by seeing a transition from an urban city full of buildings to a large spread with beaches. As you approach the Yashwantrao Chavan Expressway (Mumbai Pune), you will feel your heart thump as you are reminded of the nostalgic Akash, Sameer, and Sid’s in the movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’; playing the title track is a must while passing through the Kamshet Tunnel. After the Expressway ends, continue onto National Highway (NH) 4 to Kolhapur, where you can stop by to have some of the most tender, juicy, and spicy mutton. Cut across to stunning Sawantwadi where you will see spectacular mountains while entering the liquid state of Goa. Enjoy driving through the coastline as you will never see so many beaches all at once.
Alappuzha from Bengaluru
Also known as ‘Pub City’, Bengaluru is the capital of the state of Karnataka. The ever-exuberant youth, like the city, are always up for thrilling adventurous activities. Road trips definitely count as exciting, which is why they head off to places like Alapuzha.
With smooth roads and beauty all around, there’s nothing more that anyone could ask for. Head out towards Salem by catching the NH 7 followed by NH 47 on the way to Coimbatore. Get ready to experience an explosion of different shades of green as you drive through the verdant hill station of Munnar. Watch how the highest tea gardens in the country beautifully merge with the blue sky and waterfalls. If you are ever able emerge out of the intoxication created by the overwhelming beauty all around, descend to the coast of Alapuzha to experience a new kind of serenity.
Manali to Leh
Manali and Leh are two of the most gorgeous places in the country. Located in Himachal Pradesh, Manali lies at an altitude of 2,050 m in the Beas River Valley. With many bike enthusiasts, road trips are a must; the Leh–Manali Highway is the ultimate rider’s paradise. Although deserted and one of the toughest roads to ride on, this is the kind of experience to die for (well, figuratively of course). Witness yourself getting engulfed by the overwhelming beauty all around as you cruise along the road. Enter the enchanting Rohtang pass, the connector between Kullu and Lahaul Spiti Valley in Himachal. Head straight and pray that you reach there one piece, as this route is known to throw nasty surprises that will definitely make your trip a memorable one. However, make sure you are fully prepared for the ride and have comprehensive itinerary in your bag as this is a ‘less travelled’ road.
Delhi to Jaipur
The capital city of India, Delhi has a large network of smooth and wide roads; often humorously referred to as the city of ‘ostentation’, some of the swankiest cars and bikes can be spotted here. Each person would definitely like to test their vehicle, and what better way to do this than by going on a road trip? One of the most popular routes is the one that leads you to the city draped in Pink: Jaipur. Pass via some of the most popular historic monuments in the country such as Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Delhi Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri. Also, places such as the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Albert Hall Museum, and Jantar Mantar are a must visit to give you an in-depth experience of the city. All in all, this will be a fun ride!
Nainital from Dehradun
Few places are as breath-taking as Nainital, while fewer rides are more exclusive than the route from Dehradun. Treat yourself by planning a road trip as nature offers its best on this route. Drive through the twists and turns of Kumaon Hills as if it’s a go-kart track while you’re just a mere onlooker to the various religious shrines and wildlife sanctuaries. Experience the rich heritage of Rishikesh and try to catch a glimpse of the royal Tiger at Jim Corbett National Park. Also, try going for a boat ride to rejuvenate yourself; if not, Nainital will definitely do the job.
Darjeeling to Tashiding
Many drives are exhilarating; few are as exciting as this one. For those who love living on the roads, this drive’s for you. Drive down to Gangtok in Sikkim and visit some of the exquisite sights that this place has to offer. The literal meaning of Gangtok means ‘hill top’. This place gives you a birds-eye view of the valley below; with plenty of lush greenery and waterfalls, this is one view to die for. Also get an exclusive view of Mount Kanchenjunga and visit the Ban Jhakri Falls. After taking a halt at Gangtok, drive down to Pelling in West Sikkim. Popular amongst trek lovers, this town lies 2,200 meters above the sea level; the top of this town is known as Tashiding.
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