There is something uniquely liberating about road-trips. Be it with friends, as a couple or with family, road trips have a flavour that flights, trains and even busses can never provide. These are often trips where the purpose of the trip is primarily the journey itself. India has some breath-taking routes that promise road trips that will remain etched in your memories forever.
Manali to Leh
Mountain roads are thrilling routes to drive on. Add to that the stunning beauty of the snow capped Himalayas and the route becomes mesmerizing. As you proceed from Manali, you see the green mountains making way for snow capped peaks. Soon enough you reach Rohtang Pass and later, you come to a point where the roads diverge. While one road takes you to Leh, the other leads to Spiti Valley which is also a highly recommended road trip. This 478 kilometres long journey between Manali and Leh is usually covered over the span of two days with a stopover at Keylong where you can relax and acclimatize.
Best time to visit: June–September
Chennai to Pondicherry
Roads that run along the coast are especially relaxing. Not only is the drive relatively easier than driving in the hills, but the view is also particularly rejuvenating. The drive between Chennai and Pondicherry is along the East Coast Road in Tamil Nadu. The 155 kilometres journey can be covered in under 4 hours. However, you can take your own time driving along the coast, stopping by and at a number of places on the way. Mahabalipuram, Alambara Fort, Marakkam and Mudaliarkuppam are some of the places where one can stop by to experience some lovely architecture.
Best time to visit: October–February
Over the span of a few days, a road trip in Odisha can help you cover Bhuwaneshwar, Konark, Puri and Chilka. A road trip in Odisha along this route is ideal for a number of reasons. The roads are covered with lush canopies of trees all along. The destinations are quite close to each other so the time spent on the drive is not very long. The drives can, therefore, be more relaxed. You can stop at the smaller villages and towns along the way and purchase handicrafts straight from the workshops of the weavers and craftsmen. Odisha has a number of unique vibrant handcrafts reflecting the innocence of its roots. Enjoy relaxed strolls at the beach, feel rejuvenated at the revered temples and soak in brilliant architecture on this road trip that promises to be relaxing and enriching.
Ahmedabad to Kutch
A trip to Gujarat is incomplete without visiting the white salt marshes at the Rann of Kutch. The seven hour journey covers a distance of 400 kilometres. The most stunning part of the road trip begins when the road is flanked by the salt on either side. Make sure to stop by along the way to devour some lip-smacking Gujarati cuisine, visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary and sight some birds at Chari-Dhand. The fossil park close to the Rann of Kutch is also a must visit. The fossils have stood the test of time for over thousands of years and reveal much about the life forms that thrived back then.
Best time to visit: October–March
Guwahati to Tawang
A highly recommended road trip in northeast India is the Guwahati – Tawang route which covers 509 kilometres in 14 hours. One can only imagine what it must be like to drive through the beauty of the north-east. With both lush green hills and snow capped peaks along the way, it is an extensive road trip that is often completed over two days. Travelers usually make a stopover at Dirang in West Kameng and experience the Buddhist culture at Kalchakra and the Ngingmapa Monastery. Another option is to stay at Tezpur in Assam and explore its many tourist attractions.
Best time to visit: March–October