1. Little Rann of Kutch:
The Rann of Kutch which spreads over 16000 sq km is divided into two-the Little Rann and the Great Rann. Little Rann of Kutch is a large salt marsh situated in Gujarat. The terrain in the Little Rann is dusty, dry and arid for the most part and might not even look challenging at first. But it does throw up surprises in the form of marshy ruts, which under the dry surface hide clay mud that can make driving through these parts a challenge.
2. Manali to Chandra Tal & Kaza
As you plan to drive in Himalayas, this is an offload trail which is a must do. This a multi-day trip which start from Manali, & once you cross Rohtang Pass, you have to take a right towards Kaza. The route is literally a river-bed with huge rocks & boulders on the way which shall test your vehicle and you to the fullest. After driving 50 odd km, you approach beautiful Kunzum pass, from where you can make a decision to go to Chandra Tal or Kaza. On way, you shall experience one of the most serene beauty of Himalayas in world renowned Lahual- Spiti region.
3. Gir Forest National Park, Route 2 – 6:
Among the list, this one could be your favourite off-roading trail. The route isn’t that challenging but will be an adventure when you confront an Asiatic lion. This is the last place where you could see this lion. But don’t let your excitement kill you. Stay in your vehicle during the whole trip. Gir also supports a large population of the leopards and is famed for having the largest concentration of carnivores. So now you’re in a 4×4 surrounded by all these animals. This is more of a relaxed off- roading trail, the one which is suitable for those who are not ardent fans of extreme off-roading.
If you love to drive on the rocks then Devarabetta is the best place for it. The place is 3 hours from Bengaluru. If you’re coming from Bengaluru, then you need to take the Pearl valley route and keep continuing straight. Remember only 4×4 is advised for this trip. The roads are narrower, but once you cross the Tamil Nadu border they become wider. You’ll reach the temple after travelling around 5-6Kms inside the village. The way to the top is very challenging and a normal vehicle is not going to scale it easily. Some off-roading customisations will be helpful for climbing the rocks.
5. Bisle Ghats:
Some 34 Kms from Sakleshpur, you’ll discover an amazing place for off-roading, Bisle Ghats. The road to Bisle Ghats is surprisingly very good. The roads get narrower as you approach Bisle Ghats. At first, they look good like an exit ramp from a freeway, but after a while, it gets worse and you’ll pray to god that nothing happens to your 4×4. There are more than 15 waterfalls along the route. In fact, at one point the road gets converted into a passage for the waterfall. Your visibility will drop to 20-30 meters by evening, so preferably start the trip in the morning. It’s going to be very difficult as the daylight starts to fade. Fog lamps will help you very much.
6. Palar River Trails
The Palar River is a subterranean river that runs across South India. With its source in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka, the river traverses three different states over a distance of 350 km to meet the Bay of Bengal near Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. The terrain is a mix of water, sand, slush, boulders, rocks and rubble that offers excellent opportunities to set up challenging Off-Road Special Sections. Please beware that these sections can very tricky at time, and its advisable to have a capable vehicle, lots of experience & good company for attempting the same.
7. Thar Desert in Rajasthan:
Thar desert in Rajasthan (in districts of Churu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer & Barmer) provides excellent opportunity to explore sand off-roading. Beauty is that one can find numerous trails of every difficulty level as needed. Similarly distances may also vary from few kms to few hundred kms depending on your wish. Its an off-roading paradise for every experience level & vehicle capability. Just ensure that you are carrying good recovery equipments in case you are stuck. Also a local route guide is a must as desert at times can be very deceptive & you may get lost.
8. Sach Pass- Pangi Valley:
Sach Pass is situated at an altitude of 4,420 meters or 14500 feet lying on the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas and connects Chamba Valley with Pangi Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
Every year the pass gets open from late June or early July to mid-October and then the road closes for winters after heavy snowfall. At the beginning of the trip the roads are good, but then it is mostly non-existent roads, rocks, boulders on road, multiple gushing water crossings, landslide points, slush near the pass and some very tricky sections. This could arguably be the best off-roading trip you could ever do.