Summer Road Trip in India
The dawn of a new season somehow finds a way to ignite a sense of adventure. It is that time of the year when people all across the globe decide to take a much delayed and needed vacation. It is also that time of the year when school and college students finally get the opportunity to leave their everyday life behind to go on an epic SUMMER ROAD TRIP! Nothing rejuvenates the mind and the soul like the open roads, the company of your close ones, the sight of the world passing you by and the beautiful natural wonders you get to witness along the way. If you are looking to embark on a summer road trip in India, you must definitely go up North. Here is a route you have to try!
Take a road trip this summer through the outstanding mountains of India (Photo Credit – Vikramdeep Sidhu)
The Road Trip Route
Start your road trip off in Delhi. What better place to start a trip than from the capital of India? Remember to stock up on supplies for the road, not that you wouldn’t find things on the way. From Delhi, head all the way up to the mountains in Dharamshala (McLeod Ganj). On a rendezvous with mountains, sun-kissed treetops, lush green forests and smooth highway roads, tall city towers and a few rocky roads thrown in for variety.
Start your trip in Delhi, the capital of India! (Photo Credit – Mohan Nannapaneni)
Delhi – Kasauli (5.15 hours)
Begin at the small cantonment town of Kasauli, situated at an average altitude of 1900m (6000 feet) above sea level. Take the NH-1 highway from Delhi and continue your journey onto the NH-22 highway after you’ve crossed Ambala. The highway from Delhi to Kasauli is one of the best roads in India you will get to experience. It is best if you start your trip early in the morning so you can get breakfast at one of the amazing highway dhabas. An experience within itself! When in Kasauli, let the beauty of the town sink in, as you enjoy wandering around a lush green valley, nestled in between mountains. Take a break in the town and go for a walk on the Gilbert trail, a well-maintained nature trail which is nothing short of a marvel. The Christ Church and the Baptist Church are also worth checking out.
The highway from Delhi to Kasauli is one of the best roads in India you will get to experience (Photo Credit – Jon Connell)
Kasauli – Shimla – Thanedar (3-3.30 hours)
You’ll be surrounded on all sides by astounding beauty as you start going upwards from Kasauli. You’ll be forced to stop along the way and let out your inner shutterbug, as you drive up the comfortable roads. Clear bright skies above and majestic mountains ahead will set the scene for the kilometres to come.
Enter Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the principal commercial, cultural and education centre of the hills. Of all the things you could do in Shimla, you can’t miss a pit stop at Minchy’s. This store sells various fruit-related products, all made from fresh produce, courtesy of the many fruit orchards in Thanedar, Kotgarh and other places in and around Shimla. They have everything from fruit syrups and wines to jams and candy.
As you get back on the road for your journey from Shimla to Thanedar, get ready to experience an exciting drive at the absolute crest of the mountain. That’s right! The roads are very close to the peak and the ascension in the roads, along with the twists and turns make for an exhilarating drive. Seeing a mountain from afar is one thing, but driving at its peak is a whole new experience.
By the time you reach Thanedar, the sun would be on its way down, to clear the path for the dark of the night. About the right time for you to take a pause for the cause. It is not advisable that you drive after sundown. It is not very safe and you’ll miss out on the view. Spend the night at the nearby Seetalvan Orchard, a veritable paradise that’ll make it hard for you to leave.
Get yourself packed up to drive down to your next location, Shoja, after enjoying a good night’s sleep and witnessing a beautiful sunrise.
Get ready to experience an exciting drive at the absolute crest of the mountain
Thanedar-Shoja-Manali (6-7 hours)
Upwards again, this is where the thrilling part of your Roadtrip comes into the picture. You follow the MDR15 road, which will eventually lead you to the NH22 highway route. The road to Shoja takes you through the scary yet adventurous, Jalori Pass. It’s a mountain pass situated at an elevation of 10,800 ft above sea level. You have to navigate a steep hill with mean curves along with muddy and rocky roads to get there. Make no mistake, the drive through this road is an exhilarating experience but also one where caution must be taken. The steep climb must be approached at a constant 1st gear. The surroundings are picturesque and often complemented by the view of snow-clad peaks.
The two primary highway routes from Shoja to Manali are the NH-305 and the NH-21. After crossing Shoja, you have to follow the NH-305 route towards Thalaut. Head down the Panjai road in Thalaut to get to the NH-21 highway, which will lead you to Manali.
Once you find a way to leave the beautiful hill station of Manali behind, head towards Dharamshala. You will realize that the road still has so much more to offer. This is the part of the trip that is best done in broad daylight. The drive from Manali to Dharamshala is as exciting as it is magical. You will get to witness the spectacular Kangra Valley. Driving on smooth and well-constructed roads are fun, sure, but the breath-taking sight of snowy mountains, placed artistically behind a landscape of lush green trees and clear blue skies, is what feeds the soul of a wanderer.
Beautiful view of the mountain (Photo Credit – David Bacon)
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