India can be best described as a collision of a young, growing nation and an ancient, culturally established country; overwhelming every visitor with its chaotic customs. Taking a road-trip across the vast geography of India is a certain way of getting the wholesome experience of India. Even many people have taken the Kashmir to Kanyakumari road trip. Isn’t it amazing?
From the lush vegetation of South India to the freezing mountains of the North, India offers a perfect range of enchanting road trips that will leave you wanting for more. So, we thought to curate a list of most exciting and adventurous road trips in India. These are the famous roads to explore the diversity of India.
Best Road Trips in India
Here is the list of popular road trips in India. If you are planning to go any of these places try to choose to travel via road. You will love these road trips.
1. Manali to Leh Highway
With beautiful snow clad mountains on both sides and blues skies that go on and on, this is an exquisitely beautiful road trip to take. Your view only continues to be heavenly. You will find on your way, stunning valleys, tiny streams or waterfalls even, landscapes and lots of monasteries that are worth a visit.
At above 4,000 meters of altitude, the distance between Manali and Leh is 478 kilometers. This trip shouldn’t take more than 2 days to cover.
It is important that you take regular stops as it is a tiring drive with lots of sharp turns. You will also need the breaks to adjust to the high altitude. You can either stop over at Keylong or further up at Sarchu to rest. You’ll find both food and accommodation here.
The best time to take Manali to Leh road trip would be between June and September.
2. Mumbai to Goa
Often hailed as a road trip of a lifetime, this is a favorite among Mumbaikars. This is a road trip especially popular among the youth, all thanks to ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. If you haven’t taken a ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ style road trip with your friends, are they even your friends?
NH17 is an extremely picturesque and smooth, a pleasure to drive on. Bikers love riding on this road. With a distance of a little over 590 kilometers, this road trip should take you 10 hours approximately. Most people take a break in Chiplun. There are several food joints throughout so food wouldn’t be an issue.
The best time to take this trip would be from September to March.
3. Chennai to Pondicherry
Nothing compares to a smooth drive by the beautiful sea as you jam to your favorite songs with your loved ones.
Only taking up a mere 4 hours, you can take this short little road trip with the most stunning views from Chennai to the white town of Pondicherry. Make a stop in the town of Mahabalipuram renowned for its historical monuments and beaches.
The distance is approximately 570 kilometers. The best time to make the trip is between October and February.
4. Darjeeling to Pelling
If you want to enjoy the captivating views of lush, green tea gardens and endless mountains you should take a road trip between Darjeeling to Pelling. Only 72 kilometers apart, this is a small trip that won’t take much time.
The best time to visit is March – June, and September – December. Replete with food joints, you can stop anywhere for a quick snack. With the best tea to offer, stop at any tea garden for a heavenly cup of piping hot tea.
5. Mumbai to Mount Abu
With delightful views and good roads, this trip will you offer you a little of everything – you’ll pass through urban cities to small villages. The most interesting aspect of your trip would be that you’ll pass through Mumbai, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. You will experience 3 different cultures in a single trip.
You can enjoy a grand variety of food on the way. With a distance of 765 kilometers, this journey can be made within 12 hours via NH48
Go between July – October and enjoy the greenery and mountains covered in mist that you shall see on your way.
6. Bangalore to Bandipur Forest
If you are a nature lover, this is the trip for you. Take a trip through the lush green forests of Bandipur National Park and enjoy the arresting views of dense woods on both sides. Don’t be surprised if you encounter animals such as langurs, mongoose, deer, even tigers on your drive. Deer are spotted in abundance.
The distance is around 235 kilometers long and will take up to 5 hours of travel time. Studded with food joints on the way, you can stop to break wherever you like. Please note that driving through the forest isn’t permitted after sunset so you must plan your trip accordingly.
October – May is reportedly the best time to visit.
7. Jaipur to Ranthambore
Take this scenic trip from the Pink City to Ranthambore for beautiful mustard fields, open blue skies and stunning landscapes that form your view.
Take the State Highway 24 which is a delight to drive on. You will pass through several tiny villages. Stop at Bassi for a quick lunch and visit the Bassi Wildlife Sanctuary. This road trip is at a stretch of 145 kilometers.
8. Guwahati to Tawang
This trip would be incomplete without the mention of a road trip to the northeast. Just as challenging the road trip from Guwahati to Tawang is, the jaw-dropping views you shall witness on the way make it worth it.
It is a tough terrain to drive on with ample twists and turns, but with every turn, you take the mesmerizing view of the snow-clad mountains and the deep valleys only keep getting better.
With a distance of 521 kilometers, it’ll take you 10-12 hours to complete the trip. Although a long and strenuous journey, you can take as many stops as you like. Make a stop in the pretty valley town of Dirang and visit the several monasteries there. On the way, you will find a lot of food options. Do gorge on the amazing momos!
March-October happens to be the best time to undertake this journey.
9. Puri to Konark
The distance between Puri to Konark is 35 kilometers via Marine drive. This whole route has beautiful views. Chilika Lake, Shree Jagannath Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Puri Beach and handicrafts of Pipli are some destinations in Puri and Konark that you can visit during your trip.
The best time to go on Puri to Konark road trip is from October to February. During this time the weather is very pleasant.
10. Gangtok to Nathula pass
Nathula pass is 56 kilometers away from Gangtok. Usually, this road trip takes 1 day and you can also visit Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir on this road trip.
Every year, an Indo-Chinese trade market runs from 1st June to 30th September at a place called Sherathang about 3kms below Nathula pass. This market only operates from Monday to Thursday every week.
Do keep in mind that Nathula Pass is only open for Indian visitors for 5 days a week that is Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. That means, it is closed on Monday & Tuesday for Indian visitors.
11. Shimla to Manali
Shimla to Manali is one of the most scenic road trips in India. You can go for a road trip from Shimla to Manali via NH205 and NH3 highways. The distance between Shimla to Manali is 247 km and it will take 7 to 8 hours to cover this distance.
You can see grand Himalayan mountains on one side of the road and deep green valley on the other side of the road during your road trip. Try to start your journey early in the morning to avoid driving in Nights. We will recommend you take a local driver or cab.
12. Chennai to Munnar
The best route that you can take from Chennai to Munnar is Chennai-Trichy-Dindigul-Udumalai-Munnar. This route is about 620 km long and has mesmerizing beauty.
The best time to travel via this route is monsoon and winter season. Munnar is famous for its green tea estates, beautiful waterfalls, pristine lakes, and exotic scenery.
13. Jaipur to Jaisalmer
You can witness the beautiful sand dunes, camel caravans, temples, forts, palaces, and many more things during your Jaipur to Jaisalmer road trip. You need at least 3 days off to enjoy this one of the popular road trips in India.
The best time to go for a Jaipur Jaisalmer road trip is from November to March. Try this route Jaipur> Ajmer>Pushkar>Jodhpur> Jaisalmer to enjoy your road trip fully.
14. Pamban bridge to Rameshwaram
This Pamban bridge to Rameshwaram road trip is about 12 km but trust me it is one of the memorable road trips in India. The Pamban bridge connects the Mandapam, India to Pamban Island and Rameswaram island.
This railway bridge is also there which is parallel to this road. You can enjoy beautiful sea-view, Railway bridge view and this excellent piece of civil work.
15. Shillong to Cherrapunji
Shillong to Cherrapunji is one of our personal favorite road trips in India. The total distance between Shillong to Cherrapunji is 54km but it will take a whole day on this route. This is because of the beauty of this route. The Shillong to Cherrapunji road has some mesmerizing places to visit which you can’t miss. There are many waterfalls on this route that are must-visit.
16. Bangalore to Ooty
The distance between Bangalore to Ooty is about 277km via NH275 then Mysore-Ooty Road. This is the best route to reach Ooty from Bangalore. The Mysore-Ooty Road has beautiful scenic views.
There are 3 seasons to visit Ooty- Summer season from March to June, the monsoon season from July to September, and the winter season from October to February. Many travelers love the road trip during monsoon. But we will not recommend this as it is risky to travel during heavy rains.
17. Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley
Araku is the beautiful hill station located at a distance of 120 km from Vizag which is as popular as the beaches of Vizag. The road trip from Vizag to Araku valley starts at the NAD junction of Vizag. It has beautiful scenic beauty.
Read More, Best Road Trips to Take From Delhi
Before taking a road trip, make sure to get your vehicle checked thoroughly. Make sure that it is in good condition and have a functional Stepney tucked away in the trunk in case of an emergency. Stocking up on snacks and water bottles is always a good idea.
If you have motion sickness, medicines for nausea will be a lifesaver. Carry a camera along, there will be several scenic spots where you might want to stop at and snap a picture of you with the sunset. Keeping a map, chewing gum, sunglasses, portable charger etc handy can be helpful.
But the most important of all is, the thing without which all road trips are impossible, is music! Make sure you pack up good music so that you can jam along to tunes your favorites as you drive along. What are your road trip essentials?