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4 Road Trips in India you should do this winter!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Road trips in India are always fun. Go on one of these four this winter.

With Indian roads getting better by the day and the availability of self drive options increasing, it is the best time to enjoy road trips in India. Yes, some time roads gets crowded especially on long weekends and holidays. But it is a good option to unwind if you love driving like we do!

Winter is the best month to do road trips in India. It is chilly in the north and pleasant in south. We thought of sharing four lovely road trips in India which you can do this winter. These are from different cities and we have chosen them keeping in mind the availability of Self drive option. Of course, one can always drive from your home in your own car and do these these trips as well.

1 Deccan Heritage Trails from Hyderabad

Road trips in India

From clockwise from top left – Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur, Bhoothanatha temple, Badami, Vittala temple, Hampi, Entrance to Bidar fort

This road trip will give you an opportunity to explore the grand heritage of Deccan. Starting from Hyderabad, this road trip will help you explore magnificent fort at Bidar, the cradle of temple architecture in Pattadakal to the grandeur of Hampi to the influence of Islamic architecture in Bijapur and Gulbarga, this is a lesson in History.

Circuit – Hyderabad – Bidar – Gulbarga – Bijapur – Badami – Lakkundi – Hampi – Ballari – Alampur (Kurnool) – Hyderabad

Total Distance – 1161 KMs

Google Map of Circuit – Deccan Heritage Trails

Itinerary

Day 1 – Hyderabad – Bidar – Gulbarga (night stay)

Distance – 258 KMs

Tips – Check out the massive Bidar fort and other monuments. Don’t miss visiting Nanak Jhira Gurudwara, one of the holiest places for Sikhs. Make sure to visit Bahamani Monuments in Gulbarga and also the Buddha Vihar, the beautiful Buddhist centre.

Day 2 – Gulbarga – Bijapur (night stay)

Distance – 166 KMs

Tips – On reaching Bijapur, drive straight to Gol Gumbaz. Take a guide and check out Adil Shahi monuments in Bijapur.

Day 3 – Bijapur – Badami (night stay)

Distance – 122 KMs

Tips – Check out the fascinating rock cut temples at Badami.

Day 4 – Badami – Pattadakal – Aihole – Mahakuta – Badami (night stay)

Tips – After breakfast go for a temple hopping tour of cradle of temple architecture in UNESCO World heritage sites of Pattadakal and Aihole and Mahakuta.

Day 5 – Badami – Lakkundi – Itagi – Hampi (night stay)

Distance – 176 KMs

Tips – The temples at Lakkundi and Itagi are one of the finest examples of Chalukyan heritage.

Day 6 – Hampi (night stay)

Tips – Hampi needs days to explore and you can see main attractions of this largest city of medieval India in one day. Take a good guide which is provided by hotel where you are staying.

Day 7 – Hampi – Ballari – Alampur – Kurnool (night stay)

Distance – 236 KMs

Tips – Check out Ballari fort on the way and in the afternoon, explore Alampur.

Day 8 – Kurnool – Gadwal – Hyderabad

Distance – 245 KMs

Tips – Check out the Kondareddy Burj and Kurnool fort and on the way back to Hyderabad take a deviation to Gadwal to visit the famous fort in the town.

2 Rajasthan Rhapsody from Jaipur

Road trips in India

Clockwise from top left – Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur, Skyline @ Udaipur, Ranakpur temple, Rani Padmini mahal @ Chittorgarh

Winter is the best time to visit the desert state. Famed for its marvellous forts and palaces, this circuit will cover all the major attractions of Rajasthan. Explore the massive forts at Chittorgarh and Kumbhalgarh. Visit magnificent palaces at Jodhpur, Uadaipur and Bikaner, get mesmerised by temples at Ranakpur and Osian. And marvel at desert fort of Jaisalmer and play on sand dunes.

Circuit – Jaipur – Ajmer (Pushkar) – Chittorgarh – Udaipur – Ranakpur – Kumbhalgarh – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Bikaner – Fatehgarh (Shekhavati) – Jaipur

Total distance – 1800 KMs

Google map of the circuitRajasthan Rhapsody

Itinerary

Day 1 – Jaipur – Ajmer – Pushkar (night stay)

Distance – 155 KMs

Tips – Check out the famous dargha at Ajmer. Visit Brahma temple at Pushkar. Wander around the lake and surroundings.

Day 2 – Ajmer – Chittorgarh – Udaipur (night stay)

Distance – 310 KMs

Tips – Check out the famous fort at Chittorgarh which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 3 – Udaipur (night stay)

Tips – Explore Udaipur. Go for boating in Pichola lake, visit palaces. Enjoy sunset at Sajjangarh

Day 4 – Udaipur (night stay)

Tips – One may visit Nathdwara and Eklingji temples which are on the outskirts of Udaipur. Or visit the remaining attractions – Fatesagar lake, Saheliyon ki Boli, walk around in the small lanes near the city palace to experience the cultural ethos of the place. In the evening visit Bagore ki Haveli followed by the cultural show.

Day 5 – Udaipur – Ranakpur – Kumbhalgarh (night stay)

Distance – 127 KMs

Tips – Enjoy the drive though the rural Rajasthan and pristine forest of Aravali ranges. Visit the largest and beautiful Jain temple at Ranakpur. Explore the Kumbhalgarh fort –  a UNESCO World Heritage site – and don’t miss to see the evening lighting of the fort.

Day 6 – Kumbhalgarh – Jodhpur (night stay)

Distance – 187 KMs

Tips – Visit the excellent fort palace complex at Jodhpur and the Jaswant thada

Day 7 – Jodhpur – Osian – Jaisalmer (Night stay)

Distance – 286 KMs

Tips – On the way, stop over at Osian for exquisite temple complex. Just before Jaislamer, don’t miss to visit lovely Army Museum on the highway.

Day 8 – Jaisalmer (night stay)

Tips – Explore Jaisalmer. Visit the fort and Sam Sand dunes.

Day 9 – Jaisalmer – Bikaner (night stay)

Distance – 329 KMs

Tips – Visit the places at Bikaner

Day 10 – Bikaner – Fatehpur – Jaipur (night stay)

Distance – 338 KMs

Tips – Stopover at Fatehpur to visit the beautifully restored Haveli by French woman Nadine le Prince

3 Coromandel Charms from Chennai

Road trips in India

Clockwise from top left – Mangroves @ Pitchavaram, Chettinad palace @ Kanadukathan, Kushi beach, Corridor @ Rameshwaram, 

Coromandel Coast in Tamil Nadu is a fascinating stretch of beaches and heritage. From early shore temple at Mahabalipuram to the grandest of temples at Thanjavur, Madurai, Chidambaram and Rameshwaram and holy cathedral at Velankanni you get an opportunity to see a kaleidoscope of cultures which flourished in this state. Add to that some lovely beaches at Taragambadi, Rameshwaram and French city of Pondicherry and Portuguese town of Manapad.

Circuit – Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Taragambadi – Velankanni – Rameshwaram – Tiruchendur – Manapad – Kanyakumari – Madurai – Karaikkudi – Thanjavur – Chennai

Distance – 1677 KMs

Google mapCoromandel Charms

Itinerary

Day 1 – Chennai – Dakshina Chitra – Mahabalipuram (night Stay)

Distance – 57 KMs

Tips – Spend an hour or two exploring the south indian vernacular architectural heritage at Dakshina Chitra. Check out the monuments at Mahabalipuram – Arjuna’s penance, Pancha Rathas and in the evening enjoy the beach.

Day 2 – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (night Stay)

Tips – Visit Shore temple at Sunrise. After breakfast drive to Pondicherry. Visit Auroville centre in the afternoon.

Day 3 – Pondicherry (night Stay)

Tips – Explore Pondicherry.

Day 4 – Pondicherry – Pitchavaram – Chidambaram – Taragambadi(Night Stay)

Distance – 139 KMs

Tips – After early breakfast drive straight to Pitchavaram and enjoy the boat ride on last remaining mangroves. After that visit the massive Nataraja temple at Chidambaram. Visit the Danish fort at Tharagambadi and enjoy the lovely beach.

Day 5 – Taragambadi – Velankanni – Rameshwaram (night Stay)

Distance – 290 KMs

Tips – Drive along the east coast. Visit the famous Cathedral in Velankanni on the way. Don’t miss visiting Kushi beach before the Pamban bridge.

Day 6 – Rameshwaram (night Stay)

Tips – Explore the famous temple at Rameshwaram and drive to Dhanushkodi. Go to the land’s end.

Day 7 – Rameshwaram – Tiruchendur – Manapad – Kanyakumari (night Stay)

Distance – 316 KMs

Tips – A lovely drive along the east coast. Visit the famous Murugan temple at Tiruchendur and Gothic style Portuguese churches in Manapad which was the landing place of St Francis Xavier.

Day 8 – Kanyakumari (night Stay)

Tips – Get up early to see spectacular sunrise in Kanyakumari. Visit the temple and go to jetty for a boat ride to Vivekananda memorial rock. Also visit a nice museum on Swami Vivekananda. In the evening don’t miss watching sunset from Gandhi Mantap.

Day 9 – Kanyakumari – Madurai (night Stay)

Distance – 246 KMs

Tips – Explore the massive Meenakshi temple complex of Madurai in the late afternoon on arrival.

Day 11 – Madurai – Karaikkudi (night Stay)

Distance – 87 KMs

Tips – After lunch, explore the the Chettinad mansions in Karaikkudi town and walk around the antique shops

Day 12 – Karaikkudi – Thanjavur (night Stay)

Distance – 112 KMs

Tips – Stop over at Kanadukathan on the way to see magnificent mansions including Chettinad palace. After lunch, visit the magnificent Brihadeeswara temple

Day 15 – Thanjavur – Chennai

Distance – 333 KMs

Tips – If you can get up early, be there at Brihadeeswara temple when it opens. It is a lovely experience to see the temple at sunrise. On the way to Chennai, go via Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram to see the magnificent Chola temples which are now UNESCO World Heritage site along with Brihadeeswra temple

4 Kaptivating Kumaon from New Delhi

Kushi beach

Clockwise from top Left – Naukuchiatal, Kasauni, herd of elephants at Corbett, Panchkuli peaks @ Munsiyari

Kumaon captivates. No dubt about it. Whether it is the magnificent tiger reserve of Jim Corbett or the best views of Himalayas in Munsiyari and Kausani or beautiful lakes at Nainital and Naukuchiatal, it has everything a curious traveller can look forward to.

Circuit – Delhi – Jim Corbett National Park – Nainital – Naukuchiatal – Binsar – Munsiyari – Kausani – Delhi

Distance – 1429 KMs

Itinerary

Day 1 – Delhi – Jim Corbett National Park (night stay)

Distance – 233 KMs

Tips – Leave after breakfast and reach the park comfortably by afternoon.

Day 2 – Jim Corbett national park (night stay)

Tips – Go for safari and enjoy the wilderness of the park . You may be lucky to spot a tiger.

Day 3 – Jim Corbett – Nainital (Night stay)

Distance – 150 KMs

Tips – Go for a boat ride in the lake which is the highlight of Nainital. Wander in the Mall road. Go for a ride in the ropeway.

Day 4 – Nainital – Bhimtal – Naukuchia Tal – Nainital (night stay)

Distance – 60 Kms (round trip)

Tips – A drive in the lake district of Uttarakhand is exhilarating. Enjoy the beautiful landscape of the lake district with two lovely lakes of Bhimtal and Naukuchiatal

Day 5 – Nainital – Almora – Binsar (night stay)

Distance – 86 KMs

Tips – Stop over for few hours at Almora to explore the town.

Day 6 – Binsar (night stay)

Tips – Explore Binsar 

Day 7 – Binsar – Munsiyari (night stay)

Distance – 185 KMs

Tips – A long drive in the hills. Enjoy the Himalayan landscape on the way.

Day 8 – Munsiyari

Tips – Explore Munsiyari. Go for small treks. Enjoy the vistas of Himalayas all along.

Day 8 – Munsiyari – Kausani

Tips – A long drive in the hills. Enjoy the Himalayan landscape on the way.

Distance – 135 KMs

Tips – Explore Kausani Go for small treks. Enjoy the vistas of Himalayas all along.

Day 9 – Kausani – Delhi

Distance – 400 KMs

Travel Tips

a) Make sure you get familiar with the map and plan it well. We have given an itinerary which is for a very comfortable drive.

b) We have provided links to all the important places. Click on them to know more about them and explore it.

c) If you want to stay over at a place for more than what is mentioned in the itinerary, please do so and replan it accordingly.

d) There are opportunities for deviation from itinerary provided you have more time at your disposal. For example, you can also go to Trichy from Thanjavur and then to Chennai or travel to Lansdowne from Kasauni and then to Delhi.

e) Make sure you follow the five thumb rules of safe driving like we do. Road trips in India is safe and fun if you follow these.

  • Wear safety belts always. Both front and rear passengers
  • Do not overspeed. No drowsy driving.
  • Make sure your car is good condition.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Do not use mobile phone while driving

f) Always plan to book accommodation well in advance. Portals like Tripadvisor are helpful.

g) We always believe in the adage of “Early start and early arrival” when we go on road trips in india. Start early and have breakfat on the way. That will give you enough time to spend time on the places on the way.

h) The mornings and evenings in North India and Rajasthan will be enveloped in fog. Make sure you have a good fog lamps.

i) Though the road conditions are very good on most of the routes, we strongly recommend you to become a member of a driving community like H V Kumar Forum on FB where you can get real time updates on road conditions and any information which will help you plan for road trips in India.

j) We happened to stumble upon this nice website on Uttarakand Tourism. All details about the places and pictures  in Kumaon mentioned above is from this website. Please click the link here – Uttarakand Tourism

We wish you a safe drive. Come back refreshed. Come back with fond memories!

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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