India encompasses different geographies that offer a variety of road trips. Each region in the country offers outstanding opportunities for travels on the roads. Set out on a journey to make your next road trip adventurous and memorable, in the company of a sturdy SUV with smart wheels.
One of the greatest Indian road trip experiences, the whole Spiti–Kinnaur loop is scenically spectacular. The trans-Himalayan region of Spiti is like a ‘mini-Ladakh’ with fewer tourists. It involves visits to remote valleys, villages and the crossing of two high passes – the Kunzum La (14931 feet) and Rohtang Pass (13051 feet) that provide remarkable views of the picturesque snow-capped peaks, rugged terrain and old monasteries. The turquoise-grey ribbon of the Spiti River is a near-constant companion on your drives up to precipitous gorges and down deep valleys.
Top Tip: The Apollo Apterra range of SUV tyres has all-terrain traction features which make it a good bet to conquer this rugged landscape.
North of Leh is a far-flung territory cradled by rugged mountains. The region actually comprises of two valleys: Nubra and Shyok. Climbing steadily out of Leh and the Indus Valley, the journey to Nubra is through the world’s highest motorable road at 18,379 feet above sea level. A couple of ancient Buddhist monasteries, opportunities for walking and hiking and one long Shyok Valley drive can easily fill several days’ of exploration. Road trips offer more immersive experiences as you can halt by villages, sample local food and avail great photo opportunities of the vales and mountains.
Top Tip: Given the edgy terrain, tyres with polymer blend compounds like Apollo Apterra offer durability and puncture resistance features that are suitable for a drive on this landscape.
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The Rann of Kutch
Gujarat’s roadways are superb and the barren, salt-tinted land of the Little Rann is nature at its most compelling for road trips. The big attraction here is the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Covering a large part of the Rann, the sanctuary is a place of heat-haze mirages and barren vistas where the last remaining population of the cappuccino-coloured Indian wild ass (khur) plods through the dust.
Top Tip: Check your tyre’s health to withstand the sand and heat before you set off. With tyres like Apollo Apterra’s patented design with “multi-directional tread” your drive can withstand high levels of traction on mud and sand.
The Wayanad Region
Filled with a craggy landscape perfect for off-roading, the northern elevated Wayanad region is one of the most beautiful parts of Kerala. Encompassing part of the Western Ghats’ Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which spills into Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Wayanad’s landscape combines mountain scenery, rice paddies of ludicrous green, skinny betel nut trees, bamboo, red earth, slender eucalyptuses, and rubber, cardamom and coffee plantations. It’s also an excellent place to spot wild elephants as it remains fantastically unspoilt and satisfyingly secluded.
Top Tip: Wheels that offer good grips are a must if you want an adventure on roads in the rains.
Best known for the amount of rain it gets, Cherrapunjee in the undulating uplands of Meghalaya is a little known and underappreciated driving experience in India. Cherrapunjee (also called Sohra), is the obvious base for exploring this spectacular landscape. Thanks to the prodigious rainfall produced by this geography, Cherrapunjee was once feted as the wettest place on earth, though nearby Mawsynram is nowadays reckoned to be a few drops damper. Domestic tourists flock here during monsoon for the cool air, the celebrated rain and the waterfalls, meaning that Cherrapunjee’s peak season runs from about May to August.
Top Tip: It’s wet and there can be plenty of water on the roads. Spruce your ride with tyres that are suitable for mud and slush with centre to shoulder cross grooves opening and wider shoulder grooves for steep and wet rides up the slopes. Features like dry and wet grip for faster braking are a must and with smart tyres like the Apollo Apterra you’re on to a safe bet.
The video content has been supplied courtesy of Apollo Tyres and has not been verified by Lonely Planet.