As far as exploratory potential goes, India is right up there with the best of them. To its inhabitants, India may be a gigantic land of industrious people always on the move, going about their daily jobs nonchalantly, but to the outside world, it is chock full of surprises at literally every turn. The vast variation in landscape, diversity, culture and languages makes this country a fascinating world to explore. From the world’s biggest and longest chain of mountains, the Himalayas, to the vast stretches of the Indian Ocean, the length and breadth of this nation has every kind of adventure that an explorer can look for. Whats more, all of it is intricately knitted together by road, railway and air. But any explorer worth their salt would know that the best trip is the one on the road, and the more beautiful the road, the better the experience. This article sums up the best road journeys you can undertake if you ever plan to visit India.
- Mumbai-Pune Expressway
If you’ve landed in Mumbai and have come during the rainy season, which is typically between June-August, it’ll be a crime not to go through this 60-mile expressway. You’d be forgiven to mistake the stretch to be straight out of the Lord of the Rings films. Its that good.
- Chennai to Pondicherry
The Indian Ocean on one side, and lush greenery on the other, and a beautiful expressway snaking along the way. Along the 100-mile road, you will encounter world heritage sites, salt flats and historical monuments to name a few attractions.
- Chennai to Munnar
The crown jewel of South India’s hill destinations, Munnar needs little introduction. But if the pangs of wanderlust are too great, its best that you reach there by road. 350 miles from Chennai, this is one epic road trip you wont forget for a long time.
- Jaipur to Jaisalmer
India has its fare share of desert landscapes, and if the Lawrence of Arabia in you is too much of a handful, this is the road trip to take. The Thar desert is as beautiful as deserts get. What’s more, the roads are smooth, the local cuisine is delectable, and the 300mile stretch will satiate most of your driving hunger.
- Shillong to Cherrapunjee
Cherrapunjee is well known to be one of the wettest places on Earth, with rainfall occurring all year long. If driving in rain, alongside waterfalls, picturesque visuals and the good country life, this short drive is well worth it.
- Ahmedabad to Kutch
India’s very own answer to the Bonneville Salt flats, the Rann of Kutch is an arid, lifeless salt pan in the state of Gujarat and a road trip from one of its eminent cities is sure to touch your soul. The road itself is not that great, but the thrill of driving there, and the scenic beauty you get along the way, are hard to come by.
- Manali-Leh Highway
The undisputed Godfather of all road trips you can ever have in India. This is one stretch of road that you absolutely must cover on a motorcycle. The 300 mile stretch passes through some of the highest mountain passes on the planet. What’s more, there are no fuel pumps for hundreds of miles, and makeshift tents are all you are going to get in terms of accommodation. Undertake this one if you have a serious want for adventure, because this trip offers nothing else.
- Shimla to Spiti Valley
Nestled deep in the Himalayas, Spiti Valley is another cold and barren desert in the Himalayas with elevations well over 14,000ft above sea level. The road from Shimla to the valley takes time, as it is untamed, dangerous and shut for a major chunk of the winter months. But if you make a trip around June-August, you will be rewarded with unparalleled mountain views, small, beautiful towns, a buddhist monastery where you’ll find eternal peace, and possibly the best views of the night sky if you are into astrophotography.
- Gangtok to Nathu La
The North Eastern region of India goes largely unnoticed, but in all fairness it really holds its own when it comes to jaw dropping visuals. Chief among which is the Nathu La, a high mountain pass in the state of Sikkim. Its easy to ride from the state’s capital to the Nathu La. Whats definitely not easy is to come back from the memorable experience.