Make the most of the rains this year. You can head to misty mountains in India, go trekking in the Sahyadris, or set off on a road trip. Self-drive trip, as a travel trend, is slowly catching up in India. It is an immersive way to travel, exploring places with freedom and flexibility, which not only gives a sense of independence, but allows one to do things at their own pace. Here is a list of few destinations, picked by Aditya Loomba, joint managing director of ECO Rent A Car, specially for the monsoons.
* Mumbai-Pune Highway
Lonavala is synonymous to beautiful-monsoons in India. The 93km long Mumbai-Pune Expressway makes for a perfect self-drive road trip in India. The lush green haven is counted among the most romantic destinations and taking your own time to explore this beauty is the best way experience the place. Do not forget to savour what Lonavala is best known for – chikki!
Shimla and Manali have always been India’s favourite hill stations and continue to be our summer cliché. Therefore, we suggest doing it a little differently by indulging in a self-drive, road trip from Shimla to Manali via Mandi. This could be a perfect plan for people who love to drive and have been behind the wheels in the hills. It is a 259km stretch of hilly terrain with river Beas trudging alongside. Play in the ice-cold water in the river or unwind in the winding roads in the hills. You will certainly want to keep going back.
On the other hand, with its soring temperature, Delhi doesn’t seem to be done with its summer yet. People in Delhi and NCR can beat the heat with a self-drive trip to Pangot. A renowned hill-station, 15km away Nainitaland, 293km from Delhi, it is perfect for people driving in the hills for the first time. It is a scenic drive through Cheena peak range, with Kilbury birding spot.
India is known for its cultural diversity, but its geographical diversity compels us to consider the vastness of the country and varied landscapes it has to offer to its tourism. There are many who love the mountains, but for those in awe of the majestic sea, a self-drive expedition along the east coast road in the south is breathtaking. The drive from Chennai to Pondicherry is meant for all sea lovers. The vast water-body, reflecting sunlight from sunup to sundown is a view worth all your time and effort. Enjoy at the UNESCO world heritage site Mahabalipuram and more in the 150km stretch or park yourself somewhere by the sea and enjoy the view as the sun goes down.
With the fast catching trend of self-drive, off-roading is no more limited to rally experts. People have come out in a big way, hitting treacherous roads for that adrenaline rush. If you are one of them, we suggest you get Coorg. Renowned as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is frequented by a number of business travellers every year. Take your self-drive car and visit Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha, SeshadariIyer Memorial, Bengaluru Palace and Tipu Sultan’s Palace besides paying a visit to the Bul Temple, Maha Bodhi Society Temple, Maruthi Mandir, Banaswadi Hanuman Temple, ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, Dakshina Mukhy Nandeeshwara Temple and Gavi Gangadeshwara Cave Temple.