Summer is here, and with its arrival, maps have been unfurled in homes around the country. Plans are eagerly being hatched to come up with the best possible road-trips this season. For most city dwellers, summer brings with it a desire to simply get away from it all. To leave the sweltering heat of the concrete jungle and make way to cooler climes is always on the back of the mind.
India has no dearth of places to explore for the footloose and summer-weary travellers. Be it mountains, forests, seas or deserts, there are options galore for wanderers of every variety. Here are some road trip options for the big city dwellers of India:
Mumbai to Goa
Now, before you start humming cliché, let’s just agree that it is a brilliant drive! A little less than 600 kilometres of drool-worthy tarmac will take you from the grime of Mumbai to the pristine beaches of Goa. And while you are at it, you will be driving through the Western Ghats in all their green glory. The Pune-Kolhapur route, through the NH4, is often the most preferred route. This 590 kilometre four-lane road, while safe, has a number of toll booths, so keep some cash handy. The Chiplun-Ratnagiri route, however, is considered more picturesque. With winding roads, fewer toll stations and ample plantations and fields through the drive, this route is a sight to behold.
Bangalore to Ooty
A nature lovers’ delight, this road trip is absolutely perfect to get away from the city heat. You will be passing some beautiful, lush green forests, so make sure your cameras are handy. The rolling hills and colourful landscape will make sure you stop every so often to just soak in the beauty around you. You will travel through the forests of Bandipur and the grand history of Mysore city before you reach the cool climes of Ooty. It is roughly a 280 kilometre route stretching along NH275. There are a number of great eateries along the way, so don’t fret if you haven’t packed enough food. In fact, the months of April, May, and June are perfect for this particular road trip.
Kolkata to Digha
Ask any Kolkata native about their staple road trip, and this is the answer you will receive 9 out of 10 times. Flat, straight roads invite you to open up the engines of your beasts and the scenery flitting by outside the windows just makes it that much prettier. It is a 180 kilometre road and has a number of eateries along it. The town of Digha is perfect for a little weekend getaway. Stroll along the beaches, take a dip in the sea or just enjoy the delicious local fare, your weekend will definitely not be wasted.
The Golden Triangle
This is an incredible trip. It is a journey that links three of the most historically significant cities of India – Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. You will need to get on the Yamuna Expressway or NH8 for this trip. The total distance you will cover is about 449 kilometres. The key, however, is to take your time on this trip. While the expressway may tempt you to zoom your way through the cities, make sure you have seen the array of sights the cities have to offer you. The Taj Mahal, Hawa Mahal, and the Amer Fort are just a few locations you need to check out. Also, save some space in the trunk for some shopping, because you will definitely be picking up a few things.
Planning a road trip is a staple for this season. The key, however, is to find the right places to go to in the time that you have. Make sure you are not just visiting for the sake of visiting these places. Being a tourist and a traveller are vastly different activities. Given a choice, be the latter.