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Up and Close Bharat Tour 4

Best Road journeys -

1] Pithoragarh to Munsyari

2] Rameshwaram to Dhanushyakodi

3] Kaza to Losar and ahead

4] Chinyalisour to Gangotri

5] Leh to Pangong

6] Drass to Sonamarg

7] Leh to Pang

8] Kolhapur to Goa

9] Yamuna Expressway

10] Internal roads of Goa

11] Gopeshwar - Chopta - Ukhimath

1] Pithoragarh to Munsyari

On Google maps we see green lines as the Expressways, then thick yellow lines as highways, then upon zooming in appear thin yellow lines and so on. When you zoom in a lot, finally you see white lines. Although google thinks those are roads, in many cases they are proposed roads or in some cases they are imaginary roads or it's just wishful thinking.

Interior Bharat is connected by these white lines. One such road is Pithoragarh to Munsyari in Uttarakhand. Just before Jauljibi and after Ramu's Grocery Shop, you leave the Dharchula highway and the road starts becoming smaller and smaller. You start climbing very slowly. On your left is the deep Gori Ganga river and on your right are tall mountains.

Undoubtedly this is the most beautiful road I have travelled. Driving on this road was exciting and scary at the same time. The road, at places, is so narrow, that even if a bicycle comes in opposite direction, you both have to stop and adjust your vehicle to let other pass. Road surface isn't great, but isn't all that bad either. You can go by 20 - 30 kmph. Slow, also because within 100 metre, there is a turning. It's around 65 -70 km till Munsyari, but I took 4 hours to complete the journey as I was stopping after ever few kilometre to enjoy the scenery. I think it will be in it's best looks after the rains, around September. I wouldn’t travel there in monsoon.

2] Rameshwaram to Dhanushyakodi

Driving on this road was therapeutic for me. It was meditation for me. 19 Km of straight patch - you just sit, put the car on Cruise and enjoy the drive! Not many places you can find sea on both the sides of the road and you too are on the level of the sea. Bridges don’t have some land and trees etc on both sides. There is some charm in this drive. I went there twice and both the times there were minimal people or cars there.

3] Kaza to Losar and ahead

In Spiti Valley is the village of Kaza. When you go towards Kunzum Pass - Manali from Kaza, you travel through one of the most beautiful roads. The surface quality of the road is immaculate. The road traverses on the flat lands between the mountains, while the mountains are quite far away from the road on both sides.

4] Chinyalisour to Gangotri

Actually this is Rishikesh to Gangotri route , But till Chinyalisour, the highway is like any other Himalayan highways; Beautiful, but not exotic to say. After Uttar Kashi the road becomes heavenly. Going through mountains and gaining height and then again going down to Harshil valley, it's just a fantastic experience to drive on that road.

5] Gopeshwar - Chopta - Ukhimath

Most of this road goes through dense forest. You climb to Chopta. The mountain top road has bad surfacing, but you are too busy in looking at exotic birds flying around, troops of monkeys [ some like to call it Congress of Monkeys too], various types of deer and foxes and many such truly wild animals around you!! And of course you can go to Tunganaath - The World's Highest Shiv Temple. It's quite lovely going there.

As I was driving one deer suddenly jumped in front of me and got startled due to my car. It looked quite different. Like a tall dog. I stopped and rolled down the window to take pictures. and it jumped and disappeared in the jungle. What aroused my curiosity that someone had put incense sticks somewhere nearby. There ought to be some temple I though. When I went ahead I read a Govt sign post. It said Welcome to the land of 'Musk Deer'

6] Leh to Pangong

One of the most beautiful drives in Ladakh, is also one of the worst. Changla Pass is just horrible. Worse for me - I got stuck in the snowfall. But also that made it quite enjoyable. Car skidding to the left and right and breaking only making it worse!

The surfacing of Changla pass is perennially horrible. Apart from that the eithre road is immaculate. On this road you will find Mountains, Rivers, flat land roads, grassland, marshland, sand dunes, rivers, snow, ice, Horses, Mules, Goats and what not!! It’s a spectacular journey. And then there is the unimaginable 50 Shades of Blue - Pangong too!

7] Drass to Sonamarg

You leave Ladakh and after crossing Zojhila pass enter Kashmir. Zojhila pass is mesmerising. It's not so bad that it will break your vehicle, yet it will give you some experience of driving through moon craters. But once you start climbing down the mountain towards Sonamarg, the sights of Kashmir you see are unforgettable. I would stop every now and then to click pics. As lucky as I would get, it started raining, and it was another experience for me! Another half an hour and the rain stopped. And we all know how exquisite everything looks after the rain!

8] Leh to Pang

Road from Leh towards Manali is absolutely brilliant - Only till the settlement of Pang. After that apparently the road becomes so horrible that everyone coming from Manali either were cursing the road or were in the car repair shop. Mostly this road takes you through the valley, except for a lovely pass Tanglang La. It’s a majestic pass. On this road you could see the nomads with their hundreds of Pashmina Goat. It’s a sight to see.

9] Kolhapur to Goa

In the lovely hills of Sahyadri's or Western Ghats There are several roads from Kolhapur to Goa. All of them of through thick green jungles. But you need to find out which ghat is good in current season. I liked Chola Ghat a lot.

10] Yamuna Expressway

This is the expressway that is not too busy - Yet. Nothing spectacular there, but if you haven't driven on an expressway, it will be a fabulous experience for you. Also till it gets busy, this is one of the most relaxed drives.

11] Internal roads of Goa

Lots of internal roads of goa are absolutely scenic. They are narrow, but enough to pass two vehicles normally. Wherever you see, all you see is green. But then every now and then you get a peek of the sea, and that is quite exciting! The road quality is supreme!


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