India’s unique geography provides travelers with a great variety of scenic beauty. Here are some of the most fascinating highways that will provide you with some stunning visual treats. But before you start your journey on these roads, make sure you check your car battery, tire pressure and transmission fluids.
Rohtang Pass: Located at an altitude of 4000 meters on the Pir Panjal Range in Himachal Pradesh, this mountain pass links the beautiful Kullu valley with the Lahaul and Spiti valleys. It is also a strategic military pathway. At the peak of summer, the lush green of the Kullu valley presents a stark contrast against the harsh rocky background. It is considered one of the oldest routes in the region.
Kalimpong-Zuluk: Located along the Old Silk Route, this road is renowned for its “loops” or bends. There are more than 30 hairpin bends. Zuluk has a strong Nepali-Sikkimese culture. The rhododendrons blooming in summer and the festivals of Dashai and Tihar add to your delight. From the Kanchenjunga to the Kupup Lake, this road is a traveler’s paradise.
Mumbai-Pune Expressway: India’s first 6-lane expressway, its 98 km stretch is part of the NH4 connecting Mumbai with Bangalore and Chennai. It runs along the Western Ghats, offering rough terrains and stretches of greenery on both side and numerous tunnels through which one has to drive. The traffic is usually quite heavy so an early morning drive is always recommended.
East Coast road: Offering beautiful picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal, the East coast road runs from Chennai to Tuticorin, passing through Puducherry and Mahabalipuram. It offers a spectacular view of the sea on one side and low hills on the other. There are numerable sites of interest, of which Mahabalipularam is probably the most popular. The location is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Shore Temple complex, the Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots of the Pandavas), the Mandapas or rock cut caves and the largest open-air rock relief, the Descent of the Ganges, are stunning examples of Indian architectural beauty and the rich culture of the Deccan region. Puducherry or Pondicherry has exquisite French colonial quarters and architectural samples. The terrain also offers a rich variety of scenic views.
Puri-Konark: Puri is one of the most important religious sites in India. Konark is also famous for its magnificent Sun Temple, which is also called the Black Pagoda. The drive to and from Puri to Konark is one of the most beautiful highways in India. The Puri marine drive offers a spectacular view of the sea and the ancient city with its distinctive architecture. During the winter season, the early morning mist gives the highway with its canopy of trees and undulations an impression of idyllic beauty. The temple complexes are vast and beautiful. The people love sweets, so you can find occasional sweetshops that will delight your taste buds as well.