Aditya Loomba hand picks a few destinations for a self-drive expedition for the looming monsoons
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.
Furthermore it also allows travellers to break out of the dullness of set schedules and itinerary.
Self-drive expeditions are becoming niche holiday products, tailor made for people who don’t mind a bit of adventure. Catering to this trend of self-drive there are many travel and tour companies selling self-drive packages, customizing the expedition as per the needs of the customers. Further aiding the segment are the surging car rental companies, inspiring and giving all the more reasons to people to indulge in a full-fledged travel experience.
So here is a list of few destinations, cherry picked by Aditya Loomba, joint managing director of ECO Rent A Car, specially for the looming monsoons.
# Mumbai-Pune Highway
Lonavala synonymous to beautiful-monsoons in India, the 93 Kilometer long Mumbai-Pune Expressway makes for a perfect self-drive road trip in India. The lush green haven is counted amongst the most romantic destinations and taking your own time to explore this beauty and doing it at your own pace is the best way experience the place. Do not forget to savour what Lonavala is best known for- Chikki!
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, 15 Kilometers away Nainitaland 293 Kilometers from Delhi, 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.
Shimla and Manali have always been India’s favourite hill stations and continue to be our summer cliche. 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 259 Kilometers 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.
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. While 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 in the UNESCO world heritage site Mahabalipuram and more in the 150 Kilometers 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 travelers 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.
Bangalore also boasts of an exciting fine dining and nightlife scene and calls for a must experience on your visit here.
The good news is you need not necessarily own a car for self-drive trips. Pick a destination, rent a car, get set and go!