“The freedom of an open road is seductive, serendipitous & absolutely liberating”, said Aaron Lauritsen. If you are the one who is nodding in affirmative after reading this with a glint in your eye, we know what you have been looking forward to in 2019. Since being different from others is in your DNA, we asked experts H V Kumar & Bunny Punia who shortlisted some underrated road trips that should be on your bucket list:
1. MSH4: Mahasagari Marg; Maharashtra State’s Coastal Highway
Mumbai – Alibaug – Harihareshwar – Guhagar – Ratnagiri – Malvan – Tarkarli – Terekhol
The length and breadth of the MSH4 is a sensory cocktail that overwhelms not just your senses but your innermost soul as well. While traveling alongside the roaring sealine, you get to recce virgin beaches, meet the deities of your belief in their temples, visit the silent custodians of our country’s history in their forts, pass through the majestic Ghats, and gorge on some of the most sumptuous vegetarian and non-vegetarian food that our country has to offer.
The more than 500-Km journey gives you a chance to whip out the inner Christopher Columbus in you and explore the as-yet unchartered waters of Harihareshwar, Jaigad, Vijayadurg, Achara, and more, along the way.
2. India’s most beautiful road
Kochi – Chalakudy – Athirapally Falls – Sholayar – Malakkapara – Valparai
The rambunctious Athirapally fall is a national celebrity. But what lies beyond, is nature’s splendor in all its unexplored glory. The almost 150 Km westwards drive from Kochi along the Chalakudy river to Valparai on mostly one track roads, is filled with green lushness, boisterous towns, deafening waterfall, sleepy villages, aromatic tea, teak and cashew nut plantations and interconnected dams and powerhouses.
The looming bamboo trees of the secretive rainforest, accompanied by the talkative Giant Cicadas caution you to be careful towards the inhabitants of the jungle.
3. Easternmost Part of India
Tezu – Hayuliang – Hawai – Walong – Kibuthu
With your ILP (Inner-Line Permit) in place, you can now catch the first rays of sun fall on India in Dong, a tiny hamlet in Walong district of Arunachal Pradesh, nestled sleepily between China and Myanmar, at an elevation of 1,240m. On this 200 Km long journey through the clouds, winding serpentine Lohit and Chayu rivers will accompany you as you make your way through mesmerizing mountain passes, checkpoints, hair-raising hanging bridges, and healing natural hot water springs.
You can salute the Walong war martyrs along your way to the top, where our Tiranga proudly declares our border from China.
4. Towards Mythology and History
Madurai – Ramanathapuram – Rameshwaram – Dhanushkodi
A ghost town since the 1964 cyclone, Dhanushkodi hosts Palk Strait, the Setu that Hanuman Ji built to free Sita Ji from Raavan. While covering the almost 180 Km of the shallowest coastline of the world nestled between the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, you can enjoy the calm serenity of the holy coastline, historic Pamban bridge, and the mystical temples.
5. The Far Away Desert
Ahmedabad – Barmer – Jaisalmer – Ramgarh – Tanot
Travelling with you on this 657-Km stretch from Gujarat to Rajasthan will be the effervescent sand dunes of Thar. Enroute to Pakistan border post-BOP 609 in Tanot, you will encounter legendary temples, informative museums, and camels. The silence of the desert and the roar of your ride will make for a most unlikely combination, which will serenade your senses!
6. Mughal Road; Akbar’s Road to Victory
Jammu – Sunderbani – Naushera – Rajouri – Azmat Bad – Bafliaz – Chandimarh – Peer ki Gali – Shopian – Pampore – Srinagar
The historically significant 84 Km Mughal Road is a part of the 330-Km picturesque stretch that drives you through the breathtaking as-yet-untouched Kashmir valley taking along snow-capped mountains, gurgling rivers, steep curves, Peer Ki Gali pass, mesmerizing apple orchards, and thunderous Aharbal waterfalls, as traveling companions.
And, if you are feeling more adventurous, you can try the 900 Km Himalayan Highway from Srinagar to Ladakh and feel your worries dissipate among the serene white surroundings.
So, ready for the ride of a lifetime? Let’s go!