12 months: 12 road-trips by India's 12 TOP bloggers!

If you love road-trips as much as I do, and plan to take one over ever small or big vacation in India, you've certainly come to the right place. So what are the best road-trips in India?

Well though I am frequent traveler, there is much I haven't seen in India, so I asked some of India's best travel bloggers to share a story of their favourite road-trips in the country.

best road trip photo india
Dreams road-trips in India (photo credit: Jitaditya)

Are these the all time best road-trips of India? Well, I wouldn't claim so, but these are some of the most riveting stories for sure. Each story is a personal account of a memorable road-trip and trust me, it will not only give you ideas for your next vacation, it will also inspire you to get out of the home more often and hit the road.

Best road-trips in India!

1. Roadtrip to Zanskar by Shubham

The road to Zanskar might be one of the only remaining wildernesses in our country. I had trekked to Zanskar from Lahaul and after spending a few days in the valley had found a way to exit.

There were a few shared taxis going from Padum to Kargil but I was keen on seeing Ramgdum Gompa as well. After seeing the pretty sights of Suru river basin from the monastery, I was trying to find a ride and all I could find is a truck. It was a young guy learning how to drive. That was a hair raising experience on this treacherous road.

best road trip photo india
Drung glacier

best road trip photo india
Reflections in Suru valley

It was 14th August and there were hardly any cabs on the road because of the next day and it being Kashmir. The landscapes of Suru valley were incredible and as I neared Parkachik the sights of Nun Kun stared at me from the JKTDC rest house.

With travellers the normal progression is Ladakh and Spiti and then a roadtrip to Zanskar. It is well worth it.

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2. Roaming in Ladakh in Winter by Mridula Dwivedi

I have had the privilege of traveling to Ladakh in winter last year. The passes freeze over, so we had to fly in to Leh. But after that it was all about roads. The city which is no stranger to traffic jams in the season, was practically empty in winter. 

It was pure bliss to explore Ladakh in winter, we almost had whole region to us! We did not venture very far but it was fun to sit inside a heated car and roam around! 

best road trip photo india

Our local stop was at Spituk for the Spituk Gustor Festival, where the locals outnumbered the tourists by a fair margin. Our first trip outside the town was to Lamayuru! The route is scenic throughout. Just before Lamayuru, you get to admire the moonscape. We stopped there for a while but with the temperatures being in the range -10 degree Celsius we would quickly get back to the comfort of the car. Our next stop was the Lamayuru Monastery where we were the only tourists around! On our way back, we stopped at the Alchi Monastery. Members of our team had to go looking for the caretaker so that he would open the monastery. It was that empty in winter!

The next day we went as far as Chemde Monastery but stopping on our way at Thiksey and Stakna too. The Indua River by the Stakna Monastery was starting to freeze! We would stop our vehicles whenever we pleased for photography. There was so little traffic that we often sat in the middle of the road to get a picture clicked!

best road trip photo india

We took another detour to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers. We crossed a water fall which was entirely frozen! It was slippery as hell, but it was so much fun! Ladakh in winter is desperately cold but it is an adventure of a different kind! It must be experienced at least once in life.

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3. A Road Trip To Punjab Ke Sarson Ke Khet by N Prasad

A wise man said “The Journey Is The Destination” and nothing proves it better than a Road Trip to the golden mustard fields of Punjab. Every desi couple has dreamed of a romantic rendezvous running around in “Sarson Ke Khet” at least once in a lifetime. Come December / January head towards Punjab on GT road and once you are in Punjab take any country road and you will be greeted by ever smiling billions of Mustard flowers in every direction. For me, this road trip to Punjab’s Sarson ke Khets is almost an annual ritual bordering pilgrimage without which my winters are incomplete. 2 years ago on a road trip to Punjab mesmerized by the radiating beauty of the mustard flowers we stopped our car to click some pictures.

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Walking around the fields I saw two Sikh farmers working in the fields & asked them,” Sardar jee these fields are yours? 

Pat came a reply that only a Punjabi farmer with a big smile & bigger heart can give “No prajee they are yours”

Or “No brother, the fields are yours!!”  Soon we were chatting like long lost friends who have never met before.

This year in winter take a road trip to Punjab, on a road that goes nowhere and stop where you Know nobody and I assure you will find some of your long lost friends in the  “Sarson Ke Khets of Punjab” finding your mojo back will be a bonus.

best road trip photo india

Where to stay: In Punjab, you are never far from a city that will have decent hotels, but if you want you can also stay and have Langar in village Gurudwaras.

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4. Road-trips in Spiti by VJ Sharma

Spiti has always been ranked high in my mind when I compare Leh and Spiti landscapes. And I love to share my perspective with some data points and facts. Exploring Spiti well needs good timw in hand and moneywise it can be pretty cheap with like minded group.

It was my second sabattical when I planned Spiti with Photographer friends. It was a wattsapp message which made the plan in 3 days. The craziest part was to plan pur trip in Santro and I dont recommend it to anyone, although we enjoyed it.

best road trip photo india

best road trip photo india


Spiti can only be explored through roads. Nearest airports are Shimla and Kullu in Himachal pradesh. Nearest Railway station is Shimla, which is connected through narrow-gauge line to Kalka. Spiti terrains are very adventerous with narrow roads with rocky hills on one side and deep river on the other side of road. Some stretches are pretty rough due to landslides, as some of these mountains are not very strong and there are various natural as well as human created reasons.

There are two sides to enter into Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh - Manali & Shimla. Folks who have good time and travelling in summers, plan to enter through one side and come back from other. In winters you can't think of doing so and during winters you can plan the road trip from Shimla and Manali to Kaza road is very unpredictable. Kaza is main town of Spiti valley.

Spiti takes you to a very different world when it comes to people, culture, food, terrains and the kind of challenging situations the locals face with broad smiles on their faces. Honestays are strongly recommended to stay in Spiti because thats one of the important aspect to go closer to their unique culture and lifestyle. If you are lucky to find good homestay, expect some inetrsting cuisines. If you like non-veg or experimenting with local liquors, these villages have a lot to offer to you.

Some of the popular places in Spiti include - Nako Lake, Tabo village and its oldest Monastery, huge statute of budha in Langza, Kibber village, Kaurik, Kaza, Dhankar, Key Monastery, Chandrataal lake and lot more. Some of these are connected well through the highway and some of the others need detours. And when I say highway, dont expect smooth and broad road.

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5. The Grand Chandrabhaga Road Trip by Jitaditya Narzary

This trip starts at Manali and ends at Chamba via Rohtang Pass, Keylong, Udaipur, Pangi Valley, and Sach Pass. This is one of those stretches of Himachal Pradesh that is yet to be touched by the tourism boom. In fact, there is no formal or popular name for this circuit. However, the bulk of it passes along the river Chandrabhaga (Chenab). So, I have decided to call it so.

These are also one of the most difficult roads to drive in and it generally attracts adventure bikers and drivers. However, beyond the difficult roads lie some of the most surreal landscapes that need to be seen to be believed. The stretch up to Keylong via Rohtang is better known because Ladakh bound travellers often halt at Keylong. But that is where you part with the mainstream and the real adventure begins.

best road trip photo india

Keylong itself is a beautifully underrated destination with many ancient monasteries that can be visited through short day treks. Beyond Keylong you get great views of the river and the fertile valleys along the road to Udaipur. If you have the time, you can take a detour to even more difficult roads of the Miyar Valley and then go for an epic trek towards Zanskar.  Otherwise, you can move on to reach Pangi, which is again divided into several smaller sub-valleys that deserve several days to explore. Eventually, you cross over the Sach Pass to rejoin the mainstream in Chamba. At 4400 metres, this pass is much higher than Rohtang and perennially buried in snow.  

In this route, Keylong is the last big town with a lot of hotels and other amenities. Beyond that, you can halt in places like Udaipur and Killar but the expect the facilities to be very basic. I have spent a lot of time in the region and travelled only on HRTC buses. If you do plan to drive yourself, make sure that you are already an expert in offroading. 

I have included all the regions mentioned along this route in my list of top offbeat places in Himachal Pradesh.

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6. Mumbai-Ahmedabad by Nisha Jha

It was not the longest or the farthest road trip we had done, but was one of our most memorable road trip. It was first week of January and the world was still slowly getting back to business after the New Year. That’s when we decided for a road trip from Mumbai to Ahmedabad during Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan  to attend the International Kite Festival.

Road trips are always exciting, planning the route, stopping at your will, packing a bit more than you would otherwise, those extra snacks and so on.

best road trip photo india

We started early in the morning to beat the traffic and to ensure that we reached Ahmedabad, which is at a distance of about 525 KM before it got dark. The early morning light wintry chill was quite invigorating and mix it with choicest of music…it was heaven on earth. The roads were in good repair and after a total of three breaks we entered Ahmedabad at around 6:00PM.  It was already getting dark. We were driving in circles trying to figure our way into the old city for our accommodation.

We were advised by the Haveli owner to park our car outside the old city walls. A couple of persons deployed by the haveli met us and took us to the bowels of the old Ahmedabad, on foot. The narrow roads were chock-o-block with people and two wheelers. It took us over 30 minutes to navigate through the sea of humanity to cover a distance of 1KM!  The festive mood was definitely on, with street shops wooing us to buy kites and manjas amongst other things.

After our dinner when the crowd had thinned we went back for our car and drove it to be parked on a wider part of street close to the haveli.

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The best part of the road trip was for the next two days we could not take out our car because of high density of people on the streets day and night! However we did not feel the need at all. There was so much to see and do within walking distance inside Old Ahmedabad. The high point of course was the International Kite Festival on the banks of Sabarmati River.

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7. Road Trip to Abhaneri during Bahurupiya Festival by Ajay Sood

It was mid-September 2017. One sunny morning, I got a call from my friend and a fellow travel blogger - Prasad NP (@desiTraveler). He asked me if I would be in town on 21st and/or 22nd and if I would like to go to Abhaneri. He further mentioned that the annual Bahurupiya (loosely, it means 'impersonator') Festival would be taking place on those dates.

best road trip photo india

best road trip photo india


Though I had been to Abhaneri on a few occasions, the temptation of being there for the Bahurupiya festival was too great to resist. So it was settled that we would be heading off to check this seemingly-interesting chapter from the folklore of Rajasthan. My cousin Alok also agreed to join us.

For those who are not aware, Abhaneri (Distt Dausa) is a small village just 3 km off the Agra-Jaipur Highway - as you take the turn towards Alwar from Sikandra town (not the same Sikandra on the outskirts of Agra that houses Akbar's tomb). It is on the tourist map due to its 1100-year old stepwell (Chand Baori) that is touted as the deepest in Rajasthan. It also has Harshat Mata Temple, from the same era.

On 22nd, we drove off early and veered off the Jaipur Highway at Bhiwadi and took the State Highway that goes past Alwar. While the 240-km drive was relaxed and uneventful, the destination offered more than it usually does.

As soon as we reached, we realised there was some 'pooja' going on in Harshat Mata temple. Slightly overcast sky provided added drama to the scene!

A few photographs later, we headed off to the main entrance of Chand Baori. Just outside, traditional Rajasthani folk musicians sprung into action as soon as they saw us. The inside entrance had a cute dwarf clad in Rajasthani attire welcoming us.

Near the floral rangoli in the portico, a bahurupiya made-up as Lord Shiva greeted the visitors. Stepping in, we were regaled by the folk dancers and musicians with their energetic dance!

We spent around three hours photographing the colourful festival before heading back. The experience was completely different from shooting just the Baori. Next time around, if you are around this part of the country when Bahuripya Festival is being held, do make it a point to experience the thrilling culture of this desert state at this 9th-century architectural marvel called Chand Baori!

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8. Road Trip to Kumaon, Uttarakhand by Medhavi

Driving in the Himalayan terrain adds a flavour to my road trips when I can get absorbed in  the beautiful weather, indulged in farm fresh food on the way and learn about the natural lifestyle of the people living in the mountains. Just when the spring started setting in, I’d taken a week long road trip to the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand from Delhi.

Nainital was my first pit-stop after 7 hours long drive from Delhi. A boat ride in the lake and a stroll by the lake in the evening lifted up my mood after a strenuous drive. 

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I spent next 2 days at The White Peaks - a boutique homestay in Gagar which is at an hours drive from Nainital. While I enjoyed the warm hospitality at the homestay, I explored Ramgarh and Mukteshwar, close to it. 

Ramgarh, known as the fruit bowl of Kumaon is 15 kms away from Gagar. Spring was the best season for me to walk around the blossoming fruit orchards. The pink and white blossoms of Peach, Apricot, Pears and Apple trees looked beautiful with the backdrop of snow-capped Himalayan range.

Mukteshwar is around 25kms from Gagar. I spent an evening here, enjoying my solitude amidst nature as I watched the sun set down the magnificent Himalayas.

The next 2 days I detoxed my body at Kaaphal Hill - a self-sustained farmstay in Chaukori, at a 6 hours drive from Mukteshwar. The owners of this farmstay fed me with homegrown fruits, vegetables, rice, jaggery, honey and rhododendron juice. I spent most of my time observing the beautiful birds paying regular visits to the farms.

The last leg of my road trip was along the Gauri river to Munsyari. I drove 100 kms further from Chaukori just to spend a morning up, close and personal with the panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas - Panchachuli peaks, Milam Glacier and Khaliya Top. 

I retraced my steps to Delhi after a soul enriching journey.

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9. Insane road trip from Port Blair to Ross and Smith Islands, Andaman by Amit Sengupta

Fathom a road trip passing through India's only and unique Jarawa Forest Reserve through a carefully protected convoy in the deep and thick forest plantations from Port Blair to Ross and Smith Islands. 

Port Blair, the capital and headquarter of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago of more than 556 islands in the Indian ocean is by far the most touristy hotspot in Andamans. With its top draws like the North Bay Islands, Ross Islands, Corbyn's Cove beach and the not so popular and offbeat Wandoor Beach and Chidiyatapu beachs, Port Blair gets its fare share of tourists every year especially in the autumn and winter months. However, not many of these dare to look beyond Port Blair. 

Look north of Port Blair and there lies a hidden gem. In the extreme North Andaman district is the twin gems of Ross and Smith Islands. I had stayed in Andamans for several years when i started my career as a journalist a decade back. The place has continued to cast its charm on me every time i visit Andamans.

best road trip photo india

The road trip from Port Blair to Ross and Smith Islands will pass through the convoy of Jarawa Forest Reserve and then two creeks. One of the most popular of them is the Rangat creek which is known to tourists for its famed Mud Volcano and Limestone Caves. There is also another attraction of Parrot Islands but not many venture into this place. However, it's a bird's paradise. 

Once you cross Rangat which is in Middle Andaman district you can take a lunch break or choose to stay there for a night. There are some really long and thick mangrove walks in Rangat. Another key attraction is the Aamkunj beach. If you choose not to stay, then head straight to Diglipur which is the headquarter of North Andamans. 

There are quite a few private guest houses and resorts besides a Andaman Administration's guest house on top of a small hillock that gives a lovely birds eye view of the islands. I stayed at this government guesthouse during my solo trip to Andamans here. 

It is suggested that you stay for 2 nights in Diglipur in order to explore its beauty fully and not rush into your trip. There is a lovely Kalipur beach which is great spot to see turtles. There is a hikking trail that gives an unbelievable view of the entire place. To reach Ross and Smith Islands, you have to hire a speed boat from Diglipur jetty. The uniqueness of this isles lies in the fact that both of them are connected by a white sandy beach that is visible during low tides while it gets submerged during high tide. Where else would you find such a place in India? 

There is also my you tube video on Top Three offbeat places to visit in Andamans. 

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10. Road-trip along the coast of Tamil Nadu by Deepti Asthana

Tamilnadu, the southernmost state of India is known for its grand temples, splendid architecture, Indian classical dance- Bharatanatyam and soulful Carnatic music. But I was in for a surprise, when I travelled through the coasts of Tamilnadu during my last visit and explored numerous fishing villages and miles of uninhabited coastal beauty.

Roads covered with coconut trees and banana saplings, elegant churches on the coast, flourishing fishing villages and adventure water sports; there is something for everyone on this pristine coastal stretch. This the route I suggest for two weeks long itinerary through the coasts of Tamilnadu :  Colachel- Kanyakumari- Manapad – Dhanushkodi- Rameshwaram.

best road trip photo india

best road trip photo india


The coasts are dotted with remnants of a Christian past and decorated with elaborated churches, from supposedly the world’s oldest church structure consecrated in Kanyakumari by St. Thomas the Apostle in circa 63 AD or the surreal sea cave overlooking Indian Ocean in Manapad where St. Xavier lived and proselytized for two years (1542-1544).

The array of boats at the harbour painted in the stripes of red, yellow and blue remind about its glorious past, the battle of Colachel. Vasco da Gama called it ‘Colachi’. The undefeated fort in Colachel has a strategic and commanding view of the Arabian Sea; on a clear day you can see as far south as land’s end.  Not too far from Colachel is Kanyakumari for the most stunning sunsets and sunrises. 

The last leg of the journey has best secret- Dhanushkodi and its neighbouring town Rameshwaram. Dhanushkodi is a ghost town bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other.  A 20 kilometre road has recently opened for the tourists and is one of the most spectacular stretches of Tamil Nadu, India. Moreover, interesting landscape and myths of ‘Ram setu’ bridge makes Dhanushkodi is a very interesting off beat destination, which is yet to be explored.

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11. Bangalore to Kochi by Lakshmi Sharath

Driving down from Bangalore to Kochi may not sound like an epic road but when you are traversing though dense forests and mountains, encountering wildlife and negotiating hairpin bends, it is an experience by itself. This route crosses through the three states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala as we drive through national parks and reserve forests,  stopping by at bio diversity  hotspots. We start from Bangalore, drive through Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary to BR Hills and then head towards Sathyamangalam Tiger Sanctuary and head towards Valparai. We continue to drive into Kerala crossing Athirapally Falls and then onwards to Kochi.

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For more details on the route here.

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12. Road-trip along Konkan Coast

Konkan Coast - especially the one between Mumbai and Goa gives you a reason to take a road trip every season. In winters it is the cool coastal winds that invite you. In summers, it is the Alphonso mangoes of Ratnagiri - do I need to say more. For the spiritually inclined there is Ganesha on the shore at Ganapatiphule and for heritage enthusiasts, there is a fort every few kilometers.

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Konkan coast in the monsoon

It is the monsoon season that takes the cake - when the area is full of greenery and waterfalls erupt from everywhere. Milky white waterfalls and lush green surroundings - it is a sight like nothing else. The rain-soaked roads are like snakes running around in the jungles.

No wonder, it is one of my favorite road trip in India.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this list Sid. All of them are awesome road trips and I am already thinking of taking a few of them. :)

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  2. Really a Nice description keep writing.

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  3. Really a Nice description keep writing.

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  4. Thanks a ton Sid for featuring me on this elite travel bloggers list. I aim to accomplish some of them for sure in the coming year. Cheers!

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  5. What a lovely post it turned out to be!

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  6. I tend not to do road trips when I'm traveling in other countries because the different driving makes me nervous. But these all look like amazing trips -- each one is so unique and gives you a different view of the country -- and you do get to see so much more when you go by car and can make the stops you want.

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  7. What a fabulous list of road trips. I really loved the pictures posted by Lakshmi. Makes me want to go on that road trip instantly. One place I would love to add to the list is North East. I have really enjoyed my road trips in Assam, Meghalaya and Sikkim. Those places are really offbeat and still not run down.

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  8. Waiting for you to add my road trip to this road trip collection :-)

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  9. Oh wow. It would be hard to choose between these as they all look stunning. It is easy to think of India as just being beaches and yoga when there is so much more to see.

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  10. I would love to visit India, and this past year I have read so much about how incredible of roadtrip destination the country is. Thanks for this round up – myself and my husband are very big on discovering natural areas of wilderness, so a roadtrip to Zanskar might be perfect for us!

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  11. There are so many great places to visit in India! I'd love to attend the Bahurupiya Festival if I get a chance!

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  12. India with its varied landscaped makes a great place for road trips. We have it all, from deserts to snow clad mountains, from plains to dense forests. This curated list of road trips is a great ready reckoner of some of the best road trips in India.

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  13. Indeed a wonderful list to be followed in the new year.

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  14. Went here for a great all-you-can-eat buffet and they held nothing back. The food, service and mostly the staff at Los Angeles event venues were truly amazing. I was starving and am one of those voracious "sampling" type eaters who has to try everything in a buffet, and I couldn't make it!

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  15. What a great collection of road trips in this post. :)

    Shubham

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