Image: 123RF The lockdown has us all craving to get out and hit the open road. While we might not be able to travel currently, now is the perfect time to plan your future adventures in the country! If travel has been on your mind for a while now, we […]
The lockdown has us all craving to get out and hit the open road. While we might not be able to travel currently, now is the perfect time to plan your future adventures in the country!
If travel has been on your mind for a while now, we don’t blame you, the lockdown has left us all with an intense case of wanderlust. In a post-COVID-19 world, where we can travel once again, it’ll definitely be a while before we can take on global destinations. Until then, it’s time to explore our own beautiful country0and what better way to do so than by taking it on via its roads! If you and your squad have been dreaming of the ultimate road trip, it’s time to make that dream a reality with this handy guide!
Road Trips Out Of Delhi
The journey: 475 km; 8.5 hours driving time; halt at Chandigarh
Get going: Start early and take the route via Chandigarh. The city makes a great spot to rest and grab lunch. While you’re here, visit the city’s famous Rock Garden, known for its interesting art and layout. Chandigarh to Amritsar is a four-hour drive, filled with beautiful views.
About Amritsar: The perfect mix of history, culture and food, Amritsar has something for everyone. Start your day by seeking blessings at the Golden Temple. Get a glimpse into history by visiting Jallianwala Bagh. Then, head over to the Wagah Border to witness the closing of the gate ceremony. A trip here would be incomplete without bingeing on all its delicious eats, so be sure to sink your teeth into kulchas, chhole and jalebis, all washed down with a glass of creamy, delicious lassi.
The journey: 310 km; 7 hours driving time; halt at Moradabad
Get going: Planning a road trip out of Delhi definitely has its perks—its close proximity to hill stations up north will leave you spoilt for choice. Make your first stop at Babugarh, in case you’re looking to grab a bite at a dhaba. Another stop worth making is at Moradabad, which is famous for its brass goods and handicrafts, making it the perfect place to pick up some road trip souvenirs.
About Nainital: If you’re looking to escape the city, Nainital is just the place to do so. Unwind at the many cafes located along Nainital Lake; grab a coffee or a cup of hot chocolate, and watch as the day turns into dusk. If you’d rather be out and about, you can also go trekking. The Naini Peak trek is particularly popular, thanks to the breathtaking views it offers. If you’re looking to add a bit of history to the mix, visit Governor’s House and St Joseph’s College, both of which are prime examples of Colonial architecture that add to Nainital’s ethereal beauty.
Out of Mumbai
MOUNT ABU, RAJASTHAN
The journey: 800 km; 15 hours driving time; night halt at Vadodara
Get going: A 15-hour journey from Mumbai, it’s best to stop for the night at Vadodara, which is the midpoint between the city and the hill station of Mount Abu. Dahanu and Navsari both make for good stop points, as there are restaurants in the area that will allow you to replenish your energy and stretch your legs. Once you find yourself in Vadodara, take some time to explore the city, even though you’ll probably reach only in the evening. To get a glimpse of local life without tiring yourself out, visit Khanderao Market for some shopping and street food.
About Mount Abu: Although a fairly popular destination, Mount Abu has plenty of spaces at which you can escape the crowds and have a peaceful getaway. For those who enjoy making the most of the outdoors, set off on one of the many hiking trails here. If you’d rather dig deep into Mount Abu’s history, visit the Dilwara Jain Temples and Achalgarh Fort. But, if relaxing is the only thing on your agenda, grab some chai at a cafe set against the backdrop of the Aravali mountain range.
The journey: 600 km; 11 hours driving time; night halt at Belgaum
Get going: If you love to drive, this road trip is made for you. Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway out of the city and you’ll soon be treated to amazing stretches of road and stunning landscapes all around. If hunger gets the better of you, make a stop at Lonavala to grab a bite and stock up on some chikki and fudge while you’re at it. Your next stop should ideally be at Kolhapur, where you can grab a delicious lunch and a pair of locally-made Kolhapuri chappals. Drive down to Belgaum to rest for the night, allowing you to recover your energy. Dandeli is just around 100 km away from Belgaum, so you can take the time out to explore the Belgaum Fort, Yellur Fort and Kittur Fort, before heading out to your final destination.
About Dandeli: Whether you’re big on bird-watching or new to the idea, Dandeli is sure to turn you into an enthusiast. Home to over 300 avian species, a bird-watching expedition here is a must. For a bit more variety when it comes to outdoor activities, hit the Kali River—you can indulge in a range of water-sports here, from rafting to kayaking.
Out Of Bengaluru
The journey: 300 km; 7 hours driving time; halts at Mysore and Nagarhole National Park or Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Get going: While this seems like a long drive, will yourself to stay on the road until you make your way to Mysore. Here, you can fuel up with food and take on some of Mysore’s wonders, such as Mysore Palace, St Philomena’s Cathedral, Jaganmohan Palace and Brindavan Gardens. Once you’re back on the road, you might need to plan your travel route a little in advance: you can drive to Wayanad either via the Bandipur Tiger Reserve or down the road passing through Nagarhole National Park. Either way, plan your stops well ahead, limit your driving speed and avoid playing loud music, making noise or stopping while driving through these reserves. They are also plastic-free areas, so be mindful while you’re here.
About Wayanad: An emerald paradise nestled in the Western Ghats, Wayanad is home to lush forests, grassy meadows, crystal lakes and more. What you choose to make of Wayanad is entirely up to you—pick from ultra-luxurious boutique resorts to simple but lovely homestays. Either way, you’re sure to be treated to a few days of relaxation; after all, there are very few things that crisp mountain air and chai can’t fix!
The journey: 650 km; 13 hours driving time; night halt at Chitradurga
Get going: If you’re determined to finally see that Goa plan through, round up the squad and get ready to hit National Highway 48 out of the city. Make your way to Tumkur, where you can stop for breakfast and replenish your snack stock if needed. Head on to Chitradurga, your rest stop for the night. If you manage to make it there before evening, explore Chitradurga Fort and the Chandravalli Caves. Start off nice and early the next morning in order to get a head start. On the way, make a stop at the Jog Falls near the Sharavati River for some fresh air. Drive down National Highway 69 as you steadily make your way to the coast. In case you manage to make good time, consider visiting the Warship Museum in Karwar, near the southern tip of Goa. The coolest part about it is that it’s inside an actual ship!
About Panjim: Goa is everyone’s preferred beach getaway and it’s not hard to see why. Home to beautiful architecture, casino riverboats and spectacular food, Panjim is the side of Goa that truly helps you unwind and enjoy. Just drive around and stop wherever you fancy—you don’t really need an agenda here, you’re sure to have a great time even without one, it’s Goa, after all!
Out of Kolkata
KALIMPONG, WEST BENGAL
The journey: 700 km; 17 hours driving time; night halt at Malda
Get going: Start early and schedule your first stop at Chandannagar, a former French colony, just the place to grab a bite. Drive down State Highway 6 to join up with National Highway 12. Avoid making too many stops if you want to reach Malda in time. Start Day 2 early in Malda, visit the Adina Mosque and Firoz Minar. Then, make your way to Siliguri, drive through the beautiful Baikanthapur Forest to Kalimpong.
About Kalimpong: Tucked away in the Shivalik Hills, this town might not see too many visitors, but it provides respite for those seeking peace. Get in touch with your spiritual side and visit the Tharpa Choeling, Tongsa and Zong Dog Palri Fo-Brang Gompas. Treat yourself to an array of Bhutanese, Nepali and Sikkimese dishes.
The journey: 500 km; 10 hours driving time; night halt at Bhubaneswar
The first leg of this road trip will have you drive past some of Kolkata’s most iconic sights, setting you off to a great start. Make your first stop at Kolaghat, where you can grab breakfast and visit the Kolaghat Flower Market for a little dose of colour. Once you get back on the road, we suggest you stay behind the wheel and make as few stops as possible, so as to make good time. Once you reach Odisha, take a break and explore Cuttack, if you need to stretch your legs for a bit. Hit the road once again and head over to Bhubaneswar, where you can grab lunch and indulge in some Eastern Indian cuisine. There’s a lot to explore in Bhubaneswar—temples such as Lingaraj and Mukteshwar, the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Hills, the Museum of Tribal Art and Artefacts, and more. Spend a day here, it’s definitely worth it. Once you’re back on the road, Konark is within sight. But, before you hit your final destination, stop at the lovely town of Raghurajpur and treat yourself to the wonderful handicrafts this little town has to offer.
About Konark: Odisha is home to some of the country’s most intricate and stunning temples, and the Sun Temple at Konark is in a league of its own. Known as the ‘Black Pagoda’, this temple, along with the Puri Temple served as a landmark for vessels out at sea in the Bay of Bengal. With a string of lovely temples, seafood and a stunning coastline, Konark is your quintessential temple town.
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