Eager to escape the daily grind of the 9 to 6 lifestyle and remind your soul that there is more to life than this hustle culture? Hit the road with the windows down and your jukebox playing your playlist! In such a culturally diverse country like India, road trips remain an underrated jewel to blow off steam. From the hilly terrains of North India with its expansive view of the lofty Himalayas to the rocky roads of South India with roaring waterfalls and lush green forests, get in gear for a detox like no other.
Start this new year with a new resolution: Get, Set, Go! Take your bike or car for a cross-country solo trip or join your friends for a fun ride. However, zeroing in on the best route, or perhaps looking for an unexplored route, is always the most difficult task. Cruise along the Konkan coast with the sea breeze hitting your face or drive through the Nathu La Pass to reach the north-eastern frontiers of the country. This list rounds up the most scenic routes from all corners of India.
1. Manali to Leh – A Bucket List Champion!
Along the way: Let’s be honest, you hoped to see this sitting atop the list. A road trip between Manali and Leh is one with ethereal beauty. While not exactly offbeat, the route is breathtaking beyond words and will always feature in the list of best road trip routes in India. Don’t believe us? Experience it for yourself! But be prepared for a route that demands some mastery behind the steering. Snow-capped mountains, stunning monasteries, spectacular landscapes, and picturesque valleys make up for the sharp turns and hairpin bends along the route. Although this makes the route emotionally fulfilling, it also makes it difficult to manoeuvre.
With a length of around 478 km between Manali and Leh, the best advice is to spread the trip across two days. At its highest point, the road boasts an average height of almost 4,000 metres. Hence it would be wise to make at least two stopovers along the way to adjust yourself to the thinning air and the dropping Celsius. You will have to take the Leh-Manali Highway, crossing Solang Valley, Lahaul, and Zanskar Valley en route, with stopover points at Keylong and Sarchu.
Gotta go: June to September
Trip-o-meter: 2 days
2. Bengaluru to Coorg – The Scotland of India!
What Munnar is to Kerala and Ooty is to Tamil Nadu; similarly, Kodagu, popularly known as Coorg, is Karnataka’s very own summer getaway. Nestled amidst the Western Ghats, this road trip is the perfect escape from the IT hub of Bangalore. Take a break from the stressful urban life and take a serene drive to the lush green countryside. You are guaranteed to feel mentally and physically lighter as soon as you start seeing the serene peaks. The air clears, the temperature falls, and soon you are in the lap of nature.
Situated around 245 km from Bangalore, this quaint hill station is a traveller’s paradise with forests, waterfalls, and world-famous coffee plantations. Whether to take a photo or simply absorb the natural delights, there are many scenic spots to halt on your journey. Your travel time depends on the route chosen, your average travelling speed, and the traffic. Start from Bangalore, crossing Ramanagara, Madya, and Kushalnagar along the way and you will reach Coorg in 6 hours. Alternatively, the Channarayapatna route will take you to Coorg from Bangalore in around 7 hours.
Gotta go: October to May
Trip-o-meter: 6 – 7 hours
3. Gangtok to Lake Tsomo and Nathu La Pass – A Getaway to a Gateway!
Sikkim, the land of monasteries, is the perfect north-eastern retreat to escape the sultry summers of the Indian plains. As tourists throng to the hills during summer, crowding the state capital of Gangtok, many choose a more isolated route. If you are among them, take a trip through the remote north-east mountain roads to Lake Tsomo. The hilly terrain makes for a challenging ride and keeps you on high alert, but the beauty of the journey compensates for the risks. Also called Changu Lake, this glacial lake is situated 40 km from Gangtok at the height of 3780 metres.
The lake is sacred to Buddhists and Hindus and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, thus making for an unparalleled drive. The summers are the best time to visit Tsomgo Lake, just when the snow is melting and the wildflowers are beginning to bloom. A drive of around 17 km more will take you to the Nathu La Pass on the Indo-Tibetan border, around 4404 metres above sea level. Take in the mesmerizing view of Tibet’s Chumbi valley as you stand surrounded by snowy mountains and glacial waterfalls.
Gotta go: May to October
Trip-o-meter: 2 hours
4. Pune to Goa – The Pearl of the Orient!
A timeless classic for enthusiastic car and bike lovers from Peninsular India, a road trip from Pune to Goa is as mesmerizing as it is scenic. Start your journey with the Western Ghats giving you company as you look forward to a fun and frolicky weekend. With a distance of 594 km between Pune to Goa, you can choose the AH 47 route that will take you from Pune to Satara, Kasegaon and cross through Akheti, Codli, and Bandoli. Soon you’ll feel the salty breeze on your face and spot the sandy beaches on the horizon, as you reach Goa.
Another faster route that you can take is along NH48 and Asian Highway-47. This journey spans around 449 km and will keep you behind the steering for around 10 hours, with stops. Drive towards the sand, sea, and sun on a gorgeous road that will not only detox the week’s toils out of your mind but also energise you for a fun time ahead. Stop at various scenic spots and tourist attractions along the way, like the Chalkewadi Windmill Farm, Kopeshwar Temple, Mollem National Park, etc.
Gotta go: December and January
Trip-o-meter: 10 – 13 hours
Take the wheel
If you feel that’s where you need to be, to start feeling more than a machine simply hustling to make a living. Get your vehicle out, fill the tank, choose your route, swing a bag over your shoulders and off you go! Whether the mountains are your calling, or the seas, a properly planned road trip will help you revive your old self! If you plan your trip, calculate the time and distance of the journey, and make sure to take measured stops, then the drive will be one to remember. Don’t forget to take all the essential supplies, from medicines to extra batteries, warm clothes to dry food.
What’s the one thing that will absolutely decide the success of your road trip? That’s right, the condition of your car or bike! If you are a cautious driver and want to secure your car as well as yourself against any unforeseen problems or accidents, remember to make sure that your vehicle’s insurance hasn’t expired. Go over the details of your Car Insurance or Bike Insurance and make sure that you are covered for any sudden encounters. Depending on the route you decide on and what your vehicle is, you can further choose from numerous exclusive Road Trip Covers available on Bajaj Markets to further guarantee your and your vehicle’s safety.