Do you feel like the open roads are beckoning you with stretched arms, enticing you to take the trip with your trusted, four-wheeled partner? What are you waiting for, then? Hop into your car with your family and friends, and head out on a road trip because some trips are just worth a lifetime.
Here are the road trips in India that you must take in the new year, and you will realise that Indian roads have much more to offer than just potholes.
Delhi to Agra via Mathura on Yamuna Expressway
The Yamuna Expressway boasts of being one of the most well-maintained roads of the country. The Expressway connects Delhi to Agra, which is situated 240 kms southeast of the Capital. One can even get back to Delhi by late night on the same day after visiting the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. But the prudent thing will be to book the weekend for this trip, as Agra offers more historical sight-seeing opportunities than just those two famous monuments. The repertoire of Mughal history, Fatehpur Sikri is an additional 37 kms from Agra, so that can be added to the list too.
The route to take on the expressway is from Delhi to Vrindavan to Mathura to Agra to Fatehpur Sikri. This route will allow you to visit as many places as you can within the span of your weekend. It will take almost 5-6 hours to drive to Mathura, and you will revel in your ride via the two cities of Lord Krishna. From Mathura, Agra is a mere two and a half hours drive away. You can explore the Taj mahal, spend the night at a hotel, and the next day, spend more time exploring Agra and Sikri.
Car Care Tip: It is advisable to maintain a low air pressure than normal as too much heat driving at a fast speed can result in the bursting of the tires of your vehicle.
Delhi to Shimla
The beauty and serenity which accompanies you on a road trip to the hills are unrivalled. The cottony clouds which drift down directly from the heavens, and the free winds, albeit chilly, make you feel sublime and you commune with nature. That being said, how can a trip to Shimla be left out of the must drive road trip list? Get rolling for an escape from the cacophony of the city life.
Shimla is almost 360 kms away from Delhi, taking almost 7 hours to complete the trip. The Heart of Himachal, covered with pine and oak forests, is at an average altitude of almost 7500 feet. First, you will have to trudge on the Panipat Expressway, which has excellent roads. From there, you will have to move to Karnal – Ambala – Chandigarh – Kalka – Parwanoo – Solan – Shimla. Since there are a lot of eateries and dhabas along the way, you can also indulge in the sumptuous pahari meals.
Shimla to Manali via Mandi
Although this stretch is only 250 kms, it will take a bit longer due to the fact that you will have to traverse rocky terrain. For foodies and nature-lovers, this trip is a must. The river Beas will trudge along with you from Mandi to Manali, and literally guide your path. It is advisable to start for Manali early, so that you reach before dark and do not have to battle the uneven roads in the dark. The road remains open throughout the year and is not affected by snowfall in winters.
The river Beas is at its utmost beauty en route to Manali from Mandi, and many tourists have lost their lives while trying to capture the river in their cameras. So take care of slippage and sudden rise of water level.
Car Care Tip: Before setting off, have your car properly serviced at a garage to ensure it is in the best condition possible to tackle the rough terrain.
Manali to Leh Highway
You will cherish this trip forever as it offers all that a road trip can offer: escape, adventure, and blissful serenity. The two-day journey, spanning across a road of almost 480 kms, has one of the most breathtaking panoramas on earth.
The route is as follows: Manali – Rohtang – Gramphu – Kokshar – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha –Zingzingbar – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang – Tanglang La – Gya – Upshi – Karu – Leh.
Car Care Tip: As paradisiacal as it may be, the roads are fraught with bad terrain, potholes, and water puddles. So be ready for a rough ride in your sedans or hatchbacks. Get your vehicle serviced 2-3 weeks before setting out, and carry a basic tool kit with screwdriver sets, hammer, repair kit, rods, spare tyre tubes, and other essentials on the journey.
Jaipur to Ranthambore
This is a very short trip, which will take only three to four hours one way. You will have the chance to pass through numerous villages and roadside dhabas to douse your hunger pangs. So what are you waiting for, set out to a date with the Ranthambore tigers, and along the way, soak yourself into as much exquisite history of Rajasthan as possible.
Another cookie: You can make a stop at the Bassi wildlife sanctuary along the way.
Pamban Bridge (Rameshwaram)
Connecting Pamban on Rameshwaram island to Tamil Nadu, it is a must-travel path if you want to be surrounded by blue in all directions. The 13.5 kms long stretch can be covered easily in 20 minutes, taking you over the Bay of Bengal on a narrow bridge. but it won’t count unless you stop and get down to enjoy the scenery with the view from the cantilever bridge sure to take your breath away.
Mumbai to Mount Abu
As the roads are good, you will have an enjoyable drive. But be ready for a tiring drive of 750 kms in a day, which will take almost 12 hours. Still, no worries, as the roads are studded with good eateries to take your weariness away. You will have to take NH-8 from Mumbai to Mount Abu via Vadodara and Ahmedabad. If you have time on your hands, you can also explore the history and culture of the two cities on the way.
Bangalore to Ooty via Mysore
Located in the heart of the Nilgiris, the roads to Ooty will leave you mesmerised. The interstate road along SH 17 stretches to almost 270 kms, and the 5-hour journey will leave you craving for more.
The route is: Bangalore – Mandya – Mysore – Gundlupet – Bandipur – Theppakadu – Ooty
Revel in the calm and serene blue mountains (the Nilgiris), enjoy the peaceful ride with the foliage; you may even stop to drink in the rich history of Mysore.
Old Silk Route
An ancient hilly road which used to connect Lhasa (in Tibet) to India via the Jelep La Pass, the old silk route, passes through East Sikkim. If you want to indulge in the rare confluence of natural beauty and history of human civilisation, gear up for ambling on this international passage. There are many places of historical relics on this route, so you will relive history while on this traditional road.
Puri to Konark on NH-203
This journey is of a very short stretch, 36 kms which can be covered in an hour. It has made to this list because the NH-203, or the Puri-Konark highway, is a gift from the heaven itself for photography enthusiasts. This will be a memorable, and the ideal short and sweet road trip.
Gangtok to Lake Tsomgo and Nathu-La Pass
Lined with monasteries, and residing in the lap of Nature, this is one of the best road trips of the North East. The stretch of almost 55 kms will take more than two hours due to the hilly terrain, which may even pose some challenges for your vehicle. Nevertheless, the small bumps will be nothing compared to the awesome experience that you will garner along the way.
Taking any of these road trips will greatly feed your lust for travelling and if there is any resolution you make this year, it should definitely include taking one of these trips either on your own or with your travel friends. And if you want to head out on the road but don’t have the wheels then Spinny has the right cars for the job.