10 Most Popular Road Trips to Experience the True Indian Culture in 2024

10 Most Popular Road Trips to Experience the True Indian Culture in 2024

India is a relentless kaleidoscope of stunning sceneries, natural wonders, varying landscapes, and breathtaking beauty. For off-roading adventure, the mighty Himalayas stretching for hundreds of miles in the north of the Indian subcontinent offer endless opportunities.

In the south, the hill stations of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and the serene backwaters of Kerala are ideal for a slow-paced laidback road trip.

The north-east of India, a realm of indigenous tribal mystique and mountainous beauty, offers a great blend of natural wonder and cultural immersion. The northern plains of India are home to some of India’s greatest holiday destinations like Delhi, Agra, and Rajasthan.

Here is a list of the “10 Best Road Trips in India” that covers all geographic regions of the country. We have tried to put together a list that caters to a broad range and tastes of travel—from adrenaline-filled adventures to laidback relaxation.`

1. The Golden Triangle Road Trip

Comprising the iconic trio of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, the Golden Triangle region is North India’s biggest tourist circuit. On offer in the Golden Triangle is the Mughal Splendor of Delhi, the majestic old-world charm of Taj Mahal’s Agra, and the vibrant Rajasthani flair of Jaipur.

According to luxuryindiatours.com , If North India is on your bucket list, there is no better place to start than a road trip in the Golden Triangle Region. All 3 of these cities are located in one contiguous geographical zone in the northern plains of India.

With breathtaking scenery and urban sprawls dotted with legendary historical monuments, a road trip to this part of the country is a memorable experience.

• Estimated Time: We think 7-10 days is a good enough time to soak in all the great attractions of this region without rushing yourself.

Must-See Attractions

Delhi

Red Fort (fort residence of the Mughal Emperor), India Gate (British era historical monument), Lotus Baha’i Temple, Akshardham Temple, Humayun’s Tomb (Mughal-era Mouselum), and Jama Masjid.

Agra

Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daula Mouseleum, and Mehtab Bagh.

Jaipur

City Palace (residence of the Emperor of Jaipur), Nahargarh Fort, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, and Amber Fort.

2. The Rajasthan Circuit

The Rajasthan Circuit

The Land of Rajas, Rajasthan is a magical realm of royal grandeur, cultural attractions, sumptuous cuisine, exciting festivals, and warm hospitality. The terrain of the state varies from the plains of Jaipur and the lush green Aravalli Hills to the lakes of Udaipur, and the mighty desert of Thar in Jaisalmer.

• Must-visit cities: Jaipur (seat of the former Kingdom of Jaipur and the current capital of the state of Rajasthan). Jodhpur (known as the Blue City, famous for its ancient heritage). The “City of Lakes” Udaipur is India’s answer to Venice (known for its aura of romance and interconnected web of lakes).

The “Golden City” Jaisalmer (known for its gold-colored UNESCO World Heritage Site Golden Fort, camel safaris, and the sand dunes of Sam).

• Estimated Time: 7-10 days

3. Mumbai to Goa

Mumbai and Goa are two of India’s greatest travel destinations.

With a population of a whopping 22 million, Mumbai is the financial and commercial hub of India and the driving spirit behind the rise of modern India. The home of Bollywood, the “City of Dreams” Mumbai is the place where millions of Indians from all parts of the country chase the Indian dream.

Goa is the perfect tropical beach destination and India’s party capital. Located on the western shores of India, Goa is blessed with stunningly beautiful golden sand beaches, lined with gorgeous palm trees and perfect all-year-round weather.

The 590 km road trip between these two awesome destinations traverses through the heartland of Maharashtra and is a pleasure to be on.

• Estimated Time: 4-6 days. You’ll need at least a couple of days to wrap your head around the cultural and sensory shock that is Mumbai. Then give yourself a couple of days to enjoy the perfect beach holiday in Goa.

4. Manali to Ladakh

Manali to Ladakh

Up for an adventure in the Himalayas? The Manali to Ladakh road trip is not for the faint-hearted. It takes you on an old-fashioned thrilling journey along with ancient Silk Roads. This 500-mile (800 km) epic 4-wheel-drive road adventure begins in Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh and culminates in the “Little Tibet” Ladakh. The landscape varies from snow-capped mountains to cold desert.

Manali is known for its hip hippie culture, which is a great hit with international travelers. From Manali, you arrive in Leh via the Rohtang La Pass (13,051 ft/ 3978m). The terrain is rugged and occasionally dotted with Buddhist Gompas (monasteries).

• Estimated Time: It takes you two days to get to Ladakh from Manal, but you are going to need a couple of more days to unwind and recuperate from the challenging journey.

5. The Backwaters of Kerala

The Backwaters of Kerala

God’s Own Country Kerala is the jewel of South India. The most visited state in the region, Kerala is famous for its hospitality, mouth-watering food, splendid beaches, Ayurveda-inspired retreats, cultural festivities—and, well, you guessed it, its serene and idyllic backwaters.

We propose that you begin your Keralan odyssey in the historical port city of Kochi (Cochin)—famous for its history as the hub of the maritime medieval spice trade. Explore its formidable Kochi Fort and the Chinese fishing nets. Enjoy the seafood, and visit the Mattancherry Palace and Santa Cruz Basilica.

Another fascinating marvel worth witnessing in this region is the Vembanad Rail Bridge, an engineering masterpiece connecting the islands of Kochi and its neighboring regions, offering a unique glimpse of the breathtaking landscapes as you traverse the serene backwaters.

The backwaters of Alleppey (53 km) await you. It is an otherworld of perfect serenity, peace, and tranquility. Picture floating backwaters with swaying palm trees, shiny blue skies, exciting birdlife, lakes, and breathtaking greenery. The best way to explore the region is aboard a traditional houseboat.

• Estimated Time: 4-5 Days.

6. Mysore to Hampi

The City of Royalty Mysore is one of Karnataka’s most visited parts. It is famous for its Mysore Palace, St. Philomena Cathedral, Karanji Lake, and many other cultural attractions.

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the great forgotten capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire that thrived in the 12th and 13th centuries AD. The site is home to some 2,000 surviving monuments comprising temples, palaces, stone art, sculptures, cave paintings, and public buildings.

If you are into ancient mystery, history, and archeology, we highly recommend the Mysore to Hampi trip (265 miles)

• Estimated Time: 2-3 days.

7. Kolkata to Darjeeling

Kolkata to Darjeeling

Darjeeling is West Bengal’s primary hill station. It is the ideal getaway from the noise and hustle of frenetic Kolkata (502 miles). Known for its ideal all-year-round weather, tea plantations, and misty mountains, Darjeeling is an ideal place for a laidback hill station holiday.

Snuggled in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas at a height of 8586 meters (28,169 ft), Darjeeling gives you unhindered views of the mighty Kanchenjunga—India’s tallest and the third tallest mountain in the world. Darjeeling is the perfect ying to Kolkata’s yang.

• Estimated Time: 4 days. Two days to enjoy the sights of Kolkata. Two days to unwind and relax in Darjeeling.

8. Chennai to Munnar

Chennai to Munnar

The little Keralan hill station Munnar is known as the “Kashmir of South India.” It is perched at a height of 5,200 feet in the Western Ghats (Kenna Devan Hills). It is famous for its cascading green tea gardens, beautiful mountains, forests, and nature trails.

The Chennai to Munnar road trip (396 miles) takes you through picturesque rolling tea hills, wildlife sanctuaries, and serene backwaters.

• Estimated Time: 3-4 days is a reasonable time to enjoy the region and tick off the must-see experiences. We highly recommend a one-day tea plantation tour in Munnar.

9. Shillong to Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya)

Officers of the East India Company, who arrived in Shillong to establish tea plantations called it the “Scotland of the East.” The lush green landscape reminded them of the Scottish Highlands.

The capital of the northeastern state of Meghalaya, Shillong is famous for its scenic Umiam Lake, Elephant Falls, and the Ka Phan Nonglait Park.

Located only 54 km north of the capital, the little town of Cherrapunjee is one of the wettest places in the world.

• Estimated Time To Enjoy the Region: 2-3 days.

10. Bengaluru to Coorg

Bengaluru to Coorg

Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) is the IT hub of India. It is a massive metropolitan city (the biggest in South India). It is also a very hot and humid city. Coorg, tucked away in the West Ghat stretch of Karnataka, is the perfect mountainous getaway for the Kannada people.

Coorg (Kodagu) is Karnataka’s favorite hill station. It is to Karnataka, what Munnar is to Kerala. The region is famous for its misty mountains, rolling tea gardens, and ideal weather. The road trip from Bengaluru to Coorg (250km) via Ramanagara, Mysore, and Madikeri is one of South India’s most picturesque routes.

• Estimated Time To Enjoy the Region: 2-3 days.

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