The dream to cover India by road is one that has been lingering on in our hearts for several years, and we are finally we did it. That’s right; a road trip across the mystic and majestic subcontinent of India. This is the route that we planned to take originally for our all India drive. It was never set in stone, as changes are inevitable during a trip this long.
Because we are from the beautiful coastal district of Kollam, we chose to start our journey from this historic port. From Kollam, moved to Kozhikode, which is in Northern Kerala. Northern Kerala, and Kozhikode in particular, is steeped in history. Once a rich and vibrant port (everyone from Ibn Battuta to Vasco Da Gama passed through here) and a powerful kingdom, Kozhikode still retains its charm to this day. Kozhikodan cuisine combines elements of Portuguese, Dutch, and Arab cooking with traditional Indian cuisine and is one of the most preferred culinary experiences of Kerala. After eating our way through Kozhikode, we climbed the ghats to reach the Bandipur forest and then Mysore. From Mysore, it was off to Jog Falls, which, at 250 meters, is one of the highest waterfalls in the country. In addition, the road to Jog runs through Shivamogga district, which contains some of the most beautiful stretches of the Western Ghats.
It was at this stage that we realised we had to slow down. We were tired every night, and left every place feeling like we were just passing through. Thankfully, our stop in Goa with a friend provided sufficient time to recuperate. Churches, beaches, beautiful winding roads awaited us there. We stayed there for nearly a week and explore a few not so touristy places before moving to Mumbai.
En route to Mumbai is a town named Satara. Satara is right in the middle of Western Ghats, and is covered in green and yellow after the rains. Some of the most dramatic scenery we managed to capture came from this region. Our next stop was Mumbai, which, having spent a good many years in IIT Bombay, is our home. However, nobody, I say nobody, can have enough of Mumbai. The city still has nooks and corners filled with surprises, and we hope to find a few of them. From Mumbai we hoped to move to Ujjain. However, rain had other plans. We were told to stay off that region given the heavy rains. So, we diverted and moved towards Ahmedabad.
From Ahmedabad it was off to Udaipur, and then Jaipur. Yes! More history and more architecture. The Pink City has enough architectural wonders to keep anyone occupied for a days, not to mention authentic Rajasthani food and crafts.
From Jaipur we drove north to the legendary battle field of Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra is steeped in history, housing sites like the Peepal tree that is believed to have witnessed the “Gitopadesh”. After this, we moved to the home of Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetan refugees, Dharamshala. We spent couple of days in the Himalayas, exploring Tibetan politics, food, and culture before moving on to Chandigarh to explore this planned city and Neik Chand’s legendary park.
No India trip is complete without visiting the Taj Mahal and so naturally, Agra was our next stop. From there, we set out to Varanasi through Kanpur. One of the holiest cities in India, this is where Buddha gave his first sermon. It was the home of Meera, Tulsidas, and Kabir and houses some of Hinduisms most important temples. In addition to its historic importance, Varanasi is famous for silk, arts and crafts, and authentic Uttarpradeshi cuisine. From Varanasi, off we went to Gaya to visit the famous Bodhi tree. An extra day in Gaya provided some much needed rest before headed to the hills of Sikkim.
Our base station for Sikkim was Yuksom, literally the last motorable road in the region. The drive through this region involved negotiating muddy roads, land slides and streams. Then, we drove back south to Kolkata through Siliguri. Museums, art, and of course the famous Bengali cuisine greeted us at Kolkata. From Kolkata moved to the beaches of Puri, Odisha. We also spent a day staying at the village of Raghurajpur, exploring traditional “patachitra” painting. We then followed the sea down to the shore temples of Mahabalipuram, and the beautiful streets of Puducherry before reaching Karaikkudi. A couple of days were spent learning about Karaikkudi saris, Athangudi tiles, Chettinadu cuisine, and just staring at the palatial structures that are called houses in this region. Then it was off to Dhanushkodi where we were we experienced the most beautiful beaches in India before heading to Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of continental India. Kanyakumari was the last place explored before heading home to Kollam.
Kerala – Karnataka – Goa – Maharashtra – Madhya Pradesh – Rajasthan – Haryana – Himachal Pradesh – Chandigarh – Uttar Pradesh – Bihar – Sikkim – West Bengal – Odisha – Andhra Pradesh – Tamil Nadu – Puducherry – Kerala
17 States, 2 Union Territories.
11,000+ kilometers, 65 days.
A trusted Swift Dzire.
This journey was a test run of sorts, to verify if we were indeed crazy about travelling and whether we could balance our work and long term travel. It turns out that we can. So naturally, our next adventure is in the pipeline. Do follow and support us on our latest drives and travels.
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