Social distancing is the need of the hour right now! Staying home is not only helping reduce the burden of COVID-19 patients on India's medical and healthcare infrastructure but also helps the country flatten the curve. But it is not easy either! Staying cooped up in our houses for more than a month is difficult. But the one thing that is keeping us at carandbike sane is planning the perfect road trip. A driving holiday! That is something which could refresh us, help us clear our heads and fill our souls with vim and vigour. We list down five such road trips/driving holidays that you too could plan once the lockdown lifts and it is safe to do drive around in the country!
It may be a cliche but it is a pilgrimage. A must do for anyone who likes road trips and mountains. The best way to do it would be to start driving from Delhi, make a pit stop in Manali and then go on further north to Leh in Ladakh. At some places, the going could get tough but the majestic views of snow-capped peaks more than make up for the abundant bad roads. Once you reach Leh, you further open up a bucket-load of opportunities for more travel. You could head up to Nubra, Hanle, Pangong Tso or Khardung La. There is so much to do, so much to see and believe us, the mountains, the glacial lakes and the monasteries in and around Ladakh will nourish your soul. All the lockdown blues will magically vanish! So, Leh Ladakh road trip will definitely be a welcome break.
If you are one of those who have already done the Leh Ladakh road trip, then may we suggest taking a trip to distant, magical land of Spiti. It is a small district in Himachal Pradesh, close to the China border. There are two ways of going to Spiti. One is from Shimla and the other goes through Manali. Whichever route you choose, you can be rest assured of getting some of the best views of your life. The myriad hues of the mountains, the quaint village life and lots of friendly faces will brighten up your mood unlike anything. Unlike Ladakh, the road to Spiti from Shimla is open in winter too. Trust us, Spiti in winter is beyond magical. The area is also home to many monasteries, some more than 1,000 years old. Tabo, Kaza, Mudh, Komic, Langza and Hikkim are some of the places that should be in your bucket list. And if you get lucky, you could also catch a glimpse of the elusive snow leopard in this area as well.
If tall, majestic mountains aren't what you are looking for, then the beaches of southern Maharashtra will definitely catch your fancy. If you are lucky, you could probably find a virgin beach. The beaches here are clean, devoid of your regular touristy crowd and if you are foodie, the local seafood cuisine will leave you wanting for more! And if the monsoon season is still on, the roads snaking through Western Ghats will definitely take your breath away. If you are the kind of person who likes to laze around on a holiday, watch sunsets, take a dip in the ocean and eat good food then you should definitely give places like Dapoli, Tarkali, Malvan a try. In case, you want your holidays to be a little fancier, then Goa is not far away either.
A top five road trip list has to feature Rajasthan. Not only is Rajasthan beautiful but it also has some of the best roads in India. Be it any of the forts of the bygone eras or the breathtakingly gorgeous sand dunes, Rajasthan has something to offer to everybody. Plus, if you are an enthusiast and have a 4x4 SUV, then you could go dune bashing as well. With so many places to see and so much to do, you better keep at least a week for driving through Rajasthan. Apart from the usual fare of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, Rajasthan has a bunch of off-beat and less touristy places as well. So in case you are not up for mountains or beaches, then the hauntingly beautiful Rajasthan landscape might just do the trick for you.
Why Madhya Pradesh, you ask? Well, it is an underrated state and one of the most beautiful too. It may not have mountains, beaches or even deserts, but it has a beautiful landscape and a large number of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench and much more. It is a state with one of the highest Tiger populations along with a variety of flora and fauna. The state is also home to a large number of temples, mosques and in case you are interested in Palaeolithic history, then you could also visit the Bhimebetka rock shelters, outside of Bhopal, which still have pre-historic cave paintings and the earliest of those are 10,000 years old. Madhya Pradesh also has a repertoire of a variety of weekend destinations like Pachmarhi, Bhedaghat, Dhuandhar waterfalls and so on. Plus the roads in Madhya Pradesh are quite good too, for most part. Exploring Madhya Pradesh via a road trip will be a welcome change for all those who are looking to go someplace which is less touristy and have more fun.