These 8 Epic Road Trips Around India Will Inspire You To Travel

These 8 Epic Road Trips Around India Will Inspire You To Travel
Image Source: Akshatha Shetty

As a child growing up in Western Uttar Pradesh; our proximity to the Himalayas always encouraged my family to take road trips. I remember we would all pile into our Honda City and drive up to a different hill station every summer break. I loved them all. From the bumpy roads that merged into busy highways to the winding roads of Himalayas, but of course I could only start enjoying the journey after a few initial bouts of motion sickness. While my brother would use this opportunity to nap, my mother would become a keen observer noticing how landscapes and cultures changed and would comment on it. My dad would proudly be in control of the wheel, whereas I would only gaze out of the window, insisting everyone else stop and get down anywhere I saw something beautiful, intriguing or interesting. Road trips made me believe in the notion that the ‘journey’ is the destination, however through years of travelling, I have realized that road trips may mean different things to everyone. Watching the movie, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ that chronicles the epic road trip of Che Guevara only reinforced my belief into the same.

Back in 1952, before he became a revolutionary; Che Guevara embarked on an epic road trip. He travelled 1,40,000 kilometres across South America, with a friend on a Norton 500 motorcycle christened La Poderosa. (The Mighty One). The trip that initially was planned to be leisurely soon sowed the seeds of revolution in Che’s mind; when he saw the poverty of the indigenous peasants, the disparity between the ‘haves’ and ‘the haves not’; as he travelled across the Andes, along the coast of Chile, through the Atacama Desert and into the Peruvian Amazon. While road trips may not necessarily inspire revolution; they do inspire greatness. The purpose, the journey, the experiences may be different for different people but what is common is the trip to the ‘outside of the comfort zone’. Being on the road for days at length does not only teach one a lot but provides life altering experiences and gives one a myriad of stories to tell. So, we put together a few epic road trip stories of people who went on to the open roads with an open heart and a purpose and came back to life, with lots of wisdom and new-found inspiration.

Image Source : Hello Travel

I. Anil Sirur, Michael Gandhi, Arnab Bannerjee, Nataraj Iyer and Partha Chaudhuri

A thrilling 90-day cross-country ride on mopeds back in 1982.

Travel Trail: From Pune to Kathmandu
Distance Covered: 18,000 km in 3 months
Inspiration: Just Do It.
The random plan to travel across India on just a moped came to Iyer and Chaudhuri when they were on a Pune-Mumbai train, proving that all great things come from a single crazy idea. Soon enough, they approached Kinetic Engineering, the manufacturer of LUNA mopeds, and asked them to sponsor this all-India trip on mopeds, and in return the group offered to publicise the bikes as they went alone. They got the green light, along with five bikes and an itinerary, and the fivesome was off.

In a trip lasting 90 days, they rode nearly 18,000 km starting from Pune. They travelled across Rajasthan, where they got caught in a massive sandstorm; through Madhya Pradesh’s dacoit infested ravines; and through the dense forests of Assam, amongst others, and even touched Kathmandu. Stories of brakes failing as they barreled down tricky mountain slopes in Nepal and more are etched into their memory even now, 34 years after the trip of a lifetime.

Lessons Learned: Rope in your closest friends, and chase that sunset.

Abhishek Kumar Sharma Image Source:

II. Abhishek Sharma

Rode across 19 Indian states on a bicycle, spreading messages of cleanliness & sanitation.

Travel Trail: He aptly named his travel story the ‘Uncertain Journey: Cycling across India for Change’ because he did not have a plan or a roadmap to guide him. Yet, he covered nineteen states, taking his message of clean India with him.
Distance Covered: 20,000 km in 13 months
Inspiration: Inspired by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s cause, 28-year-old Abhishek Sharma quit his job, and in November 2014, set on a cycling tour across India to spread the message of hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation, along with their impact on society, the environment and the economy.“If I can sensitise even one person in each city or village, I will think my initiative has been successful,” he said while talking to the Tribune soon after he set out on this expedition. He was equipped with a PG degree in environmental science, nearly three years of experience working as a researcher in solid waste management, and the will to create a more environmentally aware society.

From MLAs and MPs to chaiwalas that he would meet on the road, he made it a point to convey the message of his crusade to all. He organised ‘chaupals’ in every village that he visited so that he could convey his message to both, the elderly and the youth. He also held talks at nearly 3,000 schools, colleges, and universities.

Lessons Learned : “Unless the mindsets are changed, we will not be able to make our country healthy. That is exactly what I am trying to do.”

Image Source : DT News Bahrain

III. Akshatha Shetty and Piyush Goswami

Where several people across rural India form the ‘Rest of Their Family.’

Travel Trail: The hinterlands of India; through the rural and tribal belts
Inspiration: Writer and journalist Akshatha Shetty and filmmaker Piyush Goswami are two engineering graduates who soon grew jaded with their jobs as they realised that there are very real problems plaguing India, with little being done about them. Driven by that realisation, the duo set out to explore the country and showcase aspects that aren’t often talked about: the battles facing underdeveloped India. They spent nearly five years travelling through the rural hinterlands and experienced the problems first hand, later using their skills and experience to shed light upon them. They created their own community called Rest of My Family, along with a campaign called #Driveforchange which will see them travel across India non-stop for a year, highlighting problems, challenges and social and human issues.

Lessons Learned: If you find something you’re passionate about, the journey is definitely possible.

Image Source: MensXP

IV. Bharadwaj Dayala

Around the world in 18 months

Travel Trail: 5 Continents, 16 countries
Distance Covered:
47,000 km in 18 months.
Inspiration: Bharadwaj Dayala is the first Indian to complete a solo tour around around the world on a motorbike, and he did it in style, completing the entire journey in just 18 months. Hailing from Vishakhapatnam, 46-year-old rode across five continents and 16 countries on his Hero MotoCorp Karizma R. Starting in April of 2006, Bharadwaj took off from his hometown to see the world. After reaching Mumbai, he flew to Tehran, Iran, with his bike. From there, he started riding on international roads through Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Canada, the US, Australia, Indonesia and Bangladesh, before returning full circle, back to his home turf. Dayala now leads a biker group called the Vande Maataram Team. The group of riders often travels to different states in India and educate the youth about road safety and motivate them to vote in Elections.

Lessons Learned: If you have a burning desire to hit the open road and the time to do it, there’s really nothing stopping you.

Badri Baldawa, his wife and granddaughter at Indian Borders

V. Badri Baldawa

Age does not limit travel

Travel Trail : Drove from Mumbai to London
Distance Covered: 22,000 kms in 72 days
Inspiration: Having visited 65+ countries so far, 73 year old Badri Baldiwala’s experiences range far from conventional. When asked why he often chose destinations not frequented by travellers, he explains it to me with this example. “I studied about the midnight sun in school. I did not believe how the sun could only rise and set once a year. I could not afford to travel back then. When I could, I used it as an opportunity to satiate my curiousness and travelled to the Arctic.”
The thought of driving all the way from Mumbai to London came to Mr. Badri when he was on a flight back from the UK. Through the window seat, he saw the snow-capped peaks of the Alps glistening in the night sky. He yearned to drive through them, rather than fly over them. Soon after he returned he planned the drive from Mumbai to London with his wife and his 9 year old granddaughter. After months of planning, booking and remaking itineraries, their expedition began on March 23 and cut across India, West to East, crossing about 10 states and 19 countries. The longest they drove in a day by distance was 930 kms in Europe. They had breakfast at Czech, lunch in Germany and dinner in Belgium. His longest driving time was 19 hours in China where he traversed through the other side of Himalayas. You can read more about him and his epic journey here.

Lessons Learned: “Age is no bar if your mind is determined and your body taken care of” That, if one keeps themselves fit, age cannot hold you from extra-ordinary feats – be a grandmother at 63 a grandfather at 72, or a child at 9.”

VI. Anand & Anica Mann Kapur

A journey to discover India’s freshest oysters. Yes, you read that right.

Travel Trail: The East and The West Coast of India
Inspiration: Anika Man Kapur and her husband, Anand, recently completed a truly unique journey that’s sure to get gourmands to sit up and take notice. The duo travelled down the east and west coasts of India in search of the freshest oysters they could find. During their trip, they came across monasteries, temples and Buddhist caves, adding a heady dose of culture to their gastronomic quest. In the end, they found what they had been looking for in Kerala—the freshest oyster came from a tiny village. What’s more, they filmed their entire trip on a GoPro, giving the world a sneak-peek into this curious journey.

Lessons Learned: Travelling down the coasts of India isn’t too hard a journey, and if you’re dedicated enough, the world is your oyster. Bad pun intended.

Ben Reid Howells and Prashant Kumar

VII. Ben Reid-Howells and Prashant Kumar

For people, music and well-being

Travel Trail: Two continents – Twenty countries –– Two motorcycles
Distance to be covered: 20,000km
Inspiration: To contribute to the global efforts of communities working for peace, sustainability and well-being, and thus to the belief of Vasudhev Kutambakam; “one world, one family”. On Jan 15th 2017 Ben Reid-Howells and Prashant Kumar kickstarted their Enfields and rode into Bombay to help promote accessible education for two weeks. Then they hit up the Bangalore Book Crawl and added a little sax and percussion to the event. Their next top was a village in Bihar were they outfitted with sustainable community centre made of waste. If you have any doubts about their commitment Prashant and Ben already sold all their possessions and planned collaboration projects along their one hell of a long route. Their global journey focuses on extolling the virtues of peace, promoting a variety of methods of sustainable living as well as taking part in projects that foster community well-being. You can read more about them here.

Lessons Learned: The world is one family, the ride is a celebration of the variety of connections between human beings and our shared world.

The Baid Family. Image Source: CN Traveller

VIII. The Baid Family

A legendary family road trip from Asia to Europe

Travel Trail: Bengaluru to Paris
Distance Covered: 17,902 km in 111 days
Inspiration: Anand, his wife Punita, and their two kids Yash and Driti set off on what is perhaps one of the most epic road trips we’ve ever heard of: they drove from Bengaluru to Paris in a Fiat Linea, a 17,902-km journey that spanned 11 countries. Plotting the trip based on what each family member wanted to do and see—Punita wanted to visit Paris and Yash wanted to visit the home of FC Barcelona, his favourite football club—the family set off on their amazing journey. Their first stop was Nepal, followed by China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, and finally, France.

Lessons Learned: “Some times you have to journey far from home to find out who you really are.The greatest thing about travel is that while your physical boundaries have stretched, it’s the horizons inside of you that expand, to encompass the world you witnessed.”

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