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Where to travel after lockdown: Road trips in India that top all wanderlust lists

With the country’s unlock in motion and #VocalForLocal being the voice of the day, domestic travel is going to be the way to go. Here are the best road trips in India to bookmark for when you resume leisure travel.

Vishakhapatnam to Araku Valley

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy www.vizagtourism.org.in

This road trip takes you across the lesser-explored Eastern Ghats. Unending views of green fields, roads curling through low hills, bay of Bengal and waterfalls bringing in the serenity only water can, it’s a peaceful drive. For a quiet and soulful road trip, this one should be your pick. Once in Araku, you can also visit the Borra Caves and Tatipudi Reservoir.

Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 116 km
Best time to go: October to March

Guwahati to Tawang

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy www.wikiifeed.com

Roads snaking in the midst of snow-laden mountains, Buddhist culture, and the universal favourite—authentic Northeastern momos. This one has it all that you want from a road trip in the hills. While the twists and turns along the narrow roads aren’t for the fainthearted, the scenery and the culture you see is worth a few jerks along the way. From rocky mountains to lush ones, you’ll cross through it all here.

Duration: 14 hours
Distance: 520 km
Best time to go: March to October

Ahmedabad to Kutch

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy https://blog.via.com/

From a city with amazing food to one with a rare landscape, you need to take this trip at least once in your lifetime. As you traverse through Gujarat’s rich art and culture on the way, you also have a Wild Ass Sanctuary and Chhari Dhand bird sanctuary close to Kutch, as well as handicrafts by locals at the nearby Hodoko village. This stretch has plenty to experience and beautiful views accompanying you along the way.

Duration: 9 hours
Distance: 400 km
Best time to go: October to March

Puri to Konark

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy Trip Advisor

In recent years the value of Puri as a destination has been realised. While its pristine beaches are an attraction unto themselves, the Puri-Konark road trip is a delight as well. Imagine a fairly empty stretch of highway with a canopy formed by trees on either side leading you to your destination. The marine drive has vistas of the Bay of Bengal and is a short and sweet one—you can complete it in about an hour. That makes it ideal for an impromptu drive as well as a planned trip, which includes seeing the renowned temples in the cities.

Duration: 1 hour
Distance: 36 km
Best time to go: All year round

Manali to Leh

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy Pexels

This one isn’t for novices unless your road trip involves being driven around by a driver experienced with the terrain. One of the most coveted yet tough road trips, the Manali to Leh route opens up to surroundings that make you go silent in awe. From lush hills to dry mountains, many twists and turns as the roads get narrower, and amazing food of the hills, prepare to be spellbound. You’ll also experience different cultures along the way, and that only adds to the beauty of this trip.

Duration: 2 days
Distance: 479 km
Best time to go: May to September

Chennai to Puducherry

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy www.newsbytesapp.com

Another one with the sea on the side, the East Coast Road will have you whipping out your camera every few minutes. While a short drive, it has stops along the way where you’d want to halt. There’s Mahabalipuram, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alambara Fort, the salt pans of Marakkanam, and water sports at Mudaliarkuppam—making it possibly the most wholesome road trip. Right next to the sea, the views of the sunlight reflecting off of water are something to write home about.

Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 151 km
Best time to go: October to February

Mumbai to Goa

road trips in India
Image: Courtesy Travel Triangle

How can this one not be on the list? The OG of road trips, especially since ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ made it famous. There’s a reason why the Mumbai-Goa road trip has never dipped in popularity. The beautiful Western Ghats lining this drive make it an eternal favourite. You can take a smooth ride through the Pune-Kohlapur route or if you’re more adventurous, take the Chiplun-Ratnagiri route. The latter has views of coconut plantations and rice fields, and you can also make a stop for the Karnal Bird Sanctuary. If you make a stop at Chiplun, you can also see the famous Parshuram temple boasting of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. Both routes offer ample local dining options.

Duration: 10 to 12 hours
Distance: 580 km
Best time to go: All year-round. If you want to avoid monsoon, skip May to July