12 Jan THE TOP 10 RIDING CIRCUITS IN INDIA
India, the name itself rings in visions of the Ganges, Mystics, Sadhu Babs, Yoga and spirituality, and a country as diverse as you can imagine.
With the high mountains in the North, and coastal lands with plenty to offer to people craving almost all that you can imagine.
High Mountains – Check
Golden Sandy beaches – Check
Historical Monuments – Check
Beautiful Landscape – Check
Awesome Food – Check
Warm friendly people – Check
Home of One of the most Iconic Motorcycle Brands – Royal Enfield – CHECK!
And anything in-between – Check! But
you would be wondering what is the point of all this? Well, we are Indians, we ride Motorcycles for a Living and most of all; we know this land like the back of our hands. This is the reason why we have taken the liberty of putting together what we consider to be the 10 best Motorcycle Touring circuits in India.
We feel that there is no better feeling in the world than the wind in your face and the freedom that you feel while riding a motorcycle. Pretty clichéd you may say, and we will agree with you. But whatever is said and done, a Motorcycle ride does give you these and that is the best part about it.
So without further Ado, we present the top 10 Motorcycle Tours in India that we at Himalayan Vacations operate. Listed in an ascending order of difficulty, based on riding conditions and the experience levels required.
10) The Sands of Time – Glorious Rajasthan –
This is at No.10 on our list because of the easy nature of the entire experience. Rajasthan is filled with good straight roads, short riding distances and with tons of things to do and see. This easy Motorcycle Tour is a smorgasbord of Culture, Forts, Palaces, and Royalty, one of the most rewarding experiences ever!
For more details, please visit the tour listed.
9) The Heart of India Experience –
Slightly challenging than riding in Rajasthan, this tour sees you riding in the state of Madhya Pradesh, MP for short, and literally meaning Central State. With its ongoing development stage and with the roads being paved and made, this Motorcycle Tour will keep you engaged when riding.
On the “Things to see & Do” front, there are tons of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries to keep the Wildlife buffs fascinated. Other than riding, if Tigers, Crocs, Alligators and wildlife are what grab your attention, the Heart of India Experience is the tour for you and needless to say, this circuit will be a completely different experience.
8) West Coast Tour – New Delhi to Goa – The Party Express!
From a cold and shivering Delhi ride South through Rajasthan and on to milder climes of Gujarat and Maharashtra into a sunny Goa, where the beaches and the parties await! This is one of those tours which start off on a difficult note with cold riding conditions and ends in Paradise, with a warm sun, golden sandy beaches and the Arabian Sea for company!
With fabulous riding conditions, we have categorized this as an Easy Motorcycle tour. We are still working out the final details of this route and it should be up and running in about a week’s time.
7) Unexplored Himalayas – the hidden gems in the Himalayas Covering the lower altitudes of the Himalayas, this tour takes you to the winding roads of the Lower Himalayas. Through quaint villages, narrow roads and some breathtaking scenery. Explore the unexplored parts of the Himalayan belt, off the touristy circuit and away from the maddening crowds of the popular touristy destinations. If you do not mind roughing it out a bit in terms of accommodations, this is the tour for you to be on. We would rate this at a Moderate Level Motorcycle Tour, because of the narrow roads, steep sections and sharp-ish turns which dot this circuit. Moreover, the road conditions on this tour vary so much that it becomes hard to predict what sort of roads we would be encountering.
6) Tour de Arunanchal – Unexplored, Unmapped and Off the Charts!
One of the fabulous tours on offer in the North Eastern part of India. It has lofty altitudes, mind blowing landscape, beautiful people and exotic locations. Getting into Arunanchal isn’t that easy with Permit requirements and perhaps the reason why not many people are promoting this region of India. Newly opened areas for tourism, unseen lands, two 12000-feet mountain passes, snow, cold and rain. Add to this the nascent stage of tourism infrastructure development, and we have a tour which may not rate up there on creature comforts, but will be a fun filled adventure which also exposes you to the lifestyle of the local populace and the cultural bounty of the North Eastern part of our country.. Although the route is pretty much straight forward, it’s the ascent and descent of the mountain passes which requires a bit of riding skill along with the cold riding conditions, making this a Moderate Motorcycle tour in India
5) The Naga Experience
Another tour of the North Eastern part of the country, the tour starts on a relaxed note as we ride into Kaziranga National Park on smooth tarmac and as we progress towards the state of Nagaland, the road conditions start deteriorating and at places completely disappear.
The tourism industry in Nagaland is still in its nascent phase, and due to the road conditions and the lack of any luxuries, we would rate this tour at a Moderate Level of difficulty.
For the hardships you endure during the tour, you get to come face to face with the Head hunters from the tribes which call Nagaland their home. You may come across an elephant or two on the road, and if you are lucky, drink some tea with the Chief of a village. If cultural interaction, raw In-Your-Face experience and warm hospitality is what you are looking for, this tour will be one ride fest that you will not forget for the rest of your life.
With the Lower reaches of the Country covered, it is time to move on up… higher into the Himalayas, the land of snow capped peaks and lofty altitudes, 4000 Mtr high Mountain Passes and
4) Straight to the Top: The Manali – Leh Highway This is one tour which does not need any introduction as the name says it all. Ride from the foothills into the Higher Himalayas and its high altitude lakes, and lofty mountain passes, the lowest being a whopping 13000+ Ft high. And mind you, we have just gotten started with the High altitude stuff with this baby of a mountain pass. Ahead are 4 more passes, the Baralacha La @ 16500 Ft, the lowest, Lachulung La @ 15000 Ft, Nakeela @ 16616 Ft and then the 2nd highest road at Tanglang La @ 17582 Ft. All this climbing and descending just gets you into Ladakh, the Land of High Passes. The piece de resistance is the Khardung La. Although its claim to fame is contested, the ride in itself is no easy feat. The last 24 kilometers are like a boulder field, add to this mix, freezing temperatures, heavy traffic and army convoys, and you can see what I mean… Once across the Khardung La, you have the jewel of the Ladakh region, Nubra; a wide open valley, which is the point of confluence for the Shyok and Nubra rivers. Lofty peaks, temperate climate and fertile soil make this place an oasis in a terrain, which is best described as a cold desert. Not to be discounted, the Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri (Tso in Ladakhi means Lake), also are home to many a migratory species of birds. If you are a photography buff, into Landscape, Wildlife and Bird Watching, this tour is the one which ticks all the boxes. If you want to see remote places and nomadic tribes and are a vagabond by nature, just like we are, this is a Must-Do tour for you. Truly, a “Once-In-A-Lifetime” affair this one. Given the fact that there are usually good roads throughout the route, we would rate the tour a Moderate one. With proper acclimatization halts and monitoring, this tour can be done by anybody.
3) Spiti Magic – The Land of Buddhism and Tranquility The tour starts with an easy train ride into Shimla, and then the fun begins! With nice tight twisties along the way, we wind our way up to Narkanda, the apple bowl of Himachal, and then a downhill run into the valley and then an 18 km uphill run to reach Sarahan, followed by the picturesque locales of Sangla, Kalpa and Nako, before we end up in Tabo, home of the 1000 Year plus old Tabo Monastery, which is home to 800 Year old Thangka Paintings and Murals. This is followed by a ride into Kaza, with a detour to Dhankar Monastery and the Sherkhang Monastery in Lahlung and the Ki Monastery. We then wind our way down from the lofty heights of Kibber Village at 4205 Meters above sea level into the town of Kaza, the administrative seat of power for the Spiti region. We also attain the highest altitude on this tour in the form of Kunzum La, a mountain pass @ 4551 Mtrs ASL. As you exit on to the Manali – Leh highway at Gramphu, we begin our ascent of the infamous Rohtang Jot, a mountain pass @ 3950 Mtrs ASL, definitely not the highest, but the most dangerous as the road conditions are dependent on the moods of Mother Nature. Once at the summit, it’s an easy twisty ride down into the hill town of Manali, followed by a quick dash into Chandigarh. If scenic landscape, warm friendly people, tons of adventure, a peek into the life of Buddhist monks, and simple living is what rocks your boat, this is one tour which I would recommend wholeheartedly. Not because it is our favorite trip to be on, but because this is one of those places which is not too big on the tourist map and still retains the local cultural aspect in a big way. We rate this tour at a Difficult level. This due to the fact that the one day of riding from Kaza to Manali is definitely an experience which you will remember your whole life as it throws up challenges which will test your grit, determination and riding skills to the fullest.
2. The Trans Himalayan Experience – Lofty Mountains, Beautiful Locations, 8 Mountain Passes, 3 Lakes… and a 21-day Crazy Ride! Imagine a tour where you get an All-In-One combination. Kinnaur – Spiti – Lahaul – and all of Ladakh, a bit off the beaten path. We start off with a train ride into the foothills of the Himalayas and then change over onto the Narrow Gauge Kalka – Shimla Railway, popularly known as the Toy Train, going through 108 tunnels and over 90 bridges on the 100 km run to Shimla. The real fun begins soon as we head out towards the Kinnaur region, where we are greeted with soaring mountains and deep gorges, followed by the pristine locales of the Baspa Valley and as we progress further on towards the Spiti Valley, the landscape changes from green vegetation to sparse vegetation and then barren mountains. The changing landscape will be dotted with Monasteries on top of mountain spurs and the exit route from Spiti into Lahaul is the stuff of dreams, if you like a challenge! A trail just about good enough to be called a wide Goat Track, tons of water crossings, steep uphill & downhill sections, in the middle of nowhere and high altitude… but just about when you have had enough, the track smoothens out into a perfectly paved Tarmac and breathtaking views of the Himalayas! Then is a straight run into Leh, with an overnight halt in Sarchu, the tented city on the border of two Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Once in Leh, after a brief rest, we ride to some of the world’s most beautiful spots like the Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri, before ending the tour. We rate this tour Difficult as it requires technical riding, physical endurance, and physical fitness.
1. The Sach Pass Experience – off the map and away from civilization! Trecherous narrow dirt tracks for roads, a bit of Trials riding, tons of water crossings… make that river crossings, basic accommodations, and high altitudes. All of these come together to give you the Sach Pass Experience. Sach is a 14500 Ft high mountain pass, which connects the Chamba Valley with the remote Pangi Valley in Himachal Pradesh. We are still charting out the route and accommodations on this route to ensure a fulfilling tour without having to compromise too much in terms of comfort and safety. Now that we have listed out why we do the tours we do, we look forward to riding with you on one of the routes!
P.S: All of these routes can also be done on a 4×4. Please get in touch with us for arranging the same.
Disclaimer: Given the fact that India has chaotic and unpredictable traffic and clogged roads, riding here is not for the Novices or the faint hearted. We expect that you have a minimum of 1-2 years of riding experience before you embark on any of these journeys, even the easy ones..