09 May, 2017
Manali to Leh
A trip to Leh is on everyone's must-do list and we recommend the Manali-Leh route, chiefly for the unbeatable 'Rohtang Pass' experience. Covering a distance of approximately 480 kms, the highway is only open for five months in a year, once the snow has been cleared and the road has been declared safe by the Indian army. During this short window, you'll be treated to spectacular valleys, dizzyingly high mountain passes, mesmerizing monasteries, crystal clear water bodies and a plenitude of striking mountainous landscape. Word of advice - go slow and take your time to acclimatise.
Gangtok to Zuluk
Explore the raw beauty of the Eastern Himalayas as you cruise along the old Silk Route in East Sikkim. Years ago, this road served to carry out trade between India and China; today it is a picturesque drive which has only recently been opened for tourists. The quaint and secluded Zuluk hamlet offers amazing vistas of the snow capped Kanchenjunga peak in the winter (January-April) and stunning rhododendron covered valleys in the summer (August-September). The loopy road between Gangtok and Zuluk spans 100 kms and requires a special permit. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Chennai to Puducherry via the East Coast road
Stretching across 160 kms, the East Coast Road (ECR) connects Chennai to Puducherry in a much more convenient (and scenic) fashion than the Tindivanam route. The sparkling blues and pristine whites of this beach road make it one of the most gorgeous routes in India. Keep an eye out for the vibrant colours of the sky as the sun sinks into the Bay of Bengal. A must see, if we don't say so ourselves!
Bangalore to Ooty via Bandipur National Park
The 280 kms drive from Bangalore to Ooty takes you through the verdant Bandipur National Park. A well known tiger reserve, expect the unexpected as you drive through seemingly endless lush greenery. A herd of elephants crossing the path, a spotted deer frolicking in the thickets, a peacock waltzing down the road or if you're really lucky, maybe even a tiger! Just use those brakes judiciously! The road through Bandipur National Park is usually closed between sunset and sunrise so be sure to check the timings before you start off.
Jaipur to Jaisalmer via Jodhpur
For a complete change of scenery, try the 570 km desert drive from Jaipur to Jaisalmer on the beautiful roads of Rajasthan. Prepare for an ethnic escapade as you traverse the golden sands of Thar Desert. Drive through the streets of Jodhpur, fringed with powder blue houses and pay a visit to the magnificent havelis of Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Don't forget to stop by at the roadside dhabas to tuck into some delicious Rajasthani fare!
Have you been on some or all of these drives already? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!