motorcycle trips in india

Beyond the Bend: Part 2 of Top Motorcycle Trips in India

Seeking Adventurous Terrains

From the majestic Himalayas to the sun-kissed beaches of the West Coast, India offers motorcyclists many exhilarating routes to traverse. The top motorcycle tour destinations must be on every rider’s bucket list.

Manali – Spiti Valley

Riding a motorcycle in Spiti Valley

Best Time to Travel: June to September (roads closed due to snow in other months)

This rugged route through the remote Spiti Valley is not for the faint-hearted, but for those seeking solitude amidst Himalayan grandeur, it’s a journey of a lifetime. From the vibrant town of Manali, riders can traverse high-altitude passes, barren landscapes, and ancient monasteries en route to the mystical Spiti Valley. Highlights include the iconic Key Monastery, the azure waters of Chandratal Lake, and the breathtaking vistas of Kunzum Pass.

Popular attractions en route:

  • Rohtang Pass: Located en route from Manali to Spiti Valley, Rohtang Pass is a must-visit attraction known for its panoramic views of the mountains and glaciers. The thrill of crossing this high-altitude pass, often draped in a blanket of snow, is an experience that will stay with you forever.
  • Key Monastery: As you ride towards Kaza, the main town of Spiti Valley, take advantage of the opportunity to visit Key Monastery, one of the oldest and most iconic monasteries in the region. Set atop a hill, this centuries-old monastery offers views and a glimpse into the area’s spiritual heritage.
  • Chandratal Lake: Located near the village of Batal, Chandratal Lake is a pristine, high-altitude lake with pure water offering stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains. Spend a night camping by the lake under the starlit sky for a truly magical experience.
  • Kunzum Pass (4551 m): The highest point on the route, with stunning vistas and prayer flags fluttering in the wind.
  • Spiti Valley: This famous valley is a cold desert landscape with quaint villages, gompas (monasteries), and snow-capped peaks.
  • Ki Gompa: This 11th-century monastery perched on a hilltop offers stunning views and a glimpse into Buddhist culture.
  • Kibber Village: This village is the highest motorable village in the world, with traditional houses and yak pastures.

Delhi – Jaipur – Ranthambore

Ranthambore National Park

Best Time to Travel: October to March (pleasant weather)

This route combines the cultural splendor of Delhi and Jaipur with the wilderness of Ranthambore National Park, making it a perfect blend of history, heritage, and wildlife. From the bustling streets of Delhi, riders can explore Jaipur’s majestic forts and palaces before heading to Ranthambore, where they can embark on thrilling safaris to look for the elusive Bengal tiger amidst the dense jungles.

Popular attractions en route:

  • Amer Fort, Jaipur: A ride to Amer Fort is a must for its grandeur and architectural marvels. This magnificent fort, situated atop a hill, offers a beautiful view of the landscapes and a glimpse into Rajasthan’s regal past.
  • Ranthambore National Park: As one of India’s largest national parks, Ranthambore is famous for its tiger population and diverse wildlife. Gear up for the thrill of a dense forest safari with grasslands, where you may encounter tigers, leopards, and other bird species.
  • Hawa Mahal, Jaipur: This Palace of Winds is an iconic landmark of Jaipur. Its unique architecture with intricately carved windows let the cool breezes flow through the palace, offering respite from the scorching desert heat.

Shillong – Cherrapunji – Dawki-Mawlynnong

Living Root Bridges, Dawki

Best Time to Travel: October to June

Tucked away in the pristine landscapes of Meghalaya, this route offers riders a glimpse into the verdant beauty and unique culture of northeast India. From the picturesque hill station of Shillong, riders can explore the rain-drenched landscapes of Cherrapunji, known for its living root bridges and cascading waterfalls. The crystal-clear waters of the Dawki River and the quaint village of Mawlynnong add to the charm of this enchanting journey.

Popular attractions en route:

  • Shillong: Lady Hydari Park, Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Shillong Peak, Ward’s Lake, Don Bosco Museum
  • Cherrapunji: Mawsynram Falls, Nohkalikai Falls, Eco Park, Thangkharang Park, Seven Sisters Waterfalls
  • Mawlynnong: Asia’s cleanest village, Living Root Bridges, Mawlynnong Presbyterian Church, Nophetkhnai Viewpoint

Bangalore – Mysore – Ooty

Best Time to Travel: September to March

This route through the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu offers riders a perfect blend of heritage, wildlife, and scenic beauty. From the vibrant city of Bangalore, riders can explore the grandeur of Mysore Palace before heading to the lush forests of Bandipur National Park. The journey culminates amidst the misty hills of Ooty, where riders can embark on a nostalgic ride aboard the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Popular attractions en route:

  • Bangalore: Start your journey in the vibrant city of Bangalore. Explore iconic landmarks like the Bangalore Palace, Lalbagh Botanical Garden, and Cubbon Park before heading towards Mysore.
  • Mysore: As you ride towards Mysore, visit the majestic Mysore Palace, a stunning example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Other attractions in Mysore include the Chamundi Hill, Brindavan Gardens, and the vibrant Devaraja Market.
  • Bandipur National Park: En route to Ooty, stop by Bandipur National Park, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Set out for a thrilling, dense forest safari, where you may encounter elephants, tigers, leopards, and various bird species.
  • Ooty: Your journey culminates in the charming hill station of Ooty, also known as Udhagamandalam. Explore attractions such as the Ooty Lake, Botanical Gardens, Doddabetta Peak, and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Chennai – Pondicherry

Aurobindo Ashram

Best Time to Travel: October to March

This coastal route along the Bay of Bengal offers riders a serene journey through ancient temples, quaint villages, and pristine beaches. From the bustling city of Chennai, riders can explore Mahabalipuram’s UNESCO World Heritage site before heading to Auroville’s spiritual haven. The journey concludes in the laid-back town of Pondicherry, where French colonial architecture blends seamlessly with Indian culture amidst the tranquil shores of Serenity Beach.

Popular attractions en route:

  • Mahabalipuram: En route to Pondicherry, stop by the historic town of Mahabalipuram, renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage Site monuments. Explore iconic landmarks such as the Shore Temple, Arjuna’s Penance, and the Five Rathas, showcasing exquisite rock-cut architecture and ancient sculptures.
  • Auroville: Just a short ride from Pondicherry lies Auroville, an international township known for its focus on sustainable living and spiritual exploration. Visit the Matrimandir, a golden-domed meditation centre, and explore this unique community’s lush greenery and serene ambience.
  • Pondicherry Beach Promenade: Upon reaching Pondicherry, spend some time strolling along the picturesque Beach Promenade, lined with colonial-era buildings, statues, and palm trees. Relish the breathtaking view of the Bay of Bengal and immerse yourself in the laid-back vibe of this coastal town.
  • Aurobindo Ashram: Delve into the spiritual heritage of Pondicherry by visiting the Aurobindo Ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, The Mother. Explore the serene ashram premises, attend meditation sessions, and browse through the ashram’s bookstore for spiritual literature and handicrafts.

Embrace Experiences Everyday

These top motorcycle trips in India give riders unforgettable experiences. Pack up your bag and ride to exciting destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best time to ride from Manali to Spiti Valley is mid-June to mid-October, when the roads are open, and the weather is favourable.
Yes, you need to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter the Spiti region, which can be obtained from the District Commissioner’s office in Manali or Kaza.
The highlights of the Delhi-Jaipur-Ranthambore motorcycle route include exploring the Pink City of Jaipur, visiting the Amber Fort, and going on a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park.
The challenges faced on the Shillong-Cherrapunji-Dawki-Mawlynnong route include navigating through narrow and winding roads, dealing with heavy rainfall in Cherrapunji, and possibly landslides during the monsoon season.
Riding from Bangalore to Mysore and Ooty is generally not advisable during the monsoon season (July-September) as the roads can become slippery and prone to landslides.
The must-visit places on the Chennai to Pondicherry motorcycle route include Mahabalipuram (for its ancient rock-cut temples), Auroville (the experimental township), and the French Quarter in Pondicherry.
The Manali to Spiti Valley motorcycle trip can be combined with the Leh Ladakh route by taking the Rohtang Pass and continuing towards Leh after exploring Spiti Valley.
For the Delhi-Jaipur-Ranthambore route, a touring or cruiser motorcycle with good suspension and a comfortable riding position, such as the Royal Enfield Classic or Interceptor, is recommended.
When riding in Cherrapunji, it is essential to be prepared for heavy rainfall and carry proper rain gear. Also, exercise caution on slippery roads and be aware of the possibility of landslides.
Some of the best places to stay during the Bangalore-Mysore-Ooty motorcycle trip include the Zostel in Mysore, the Monarch Cottages in Ooty, and the Giri Maharaja Hotel in Nandi Hills (a popular stop between Bangalore and Mysore).

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