India is infamous for its shabby roads, but at the same time there are many fantastic driving roads spread through the length and width of our beautiful country. OVERDRIVE has been fortunate enough to experience quite a few of these roads, and we want to share the joy with a weekly feature of a fantastic road that you should aspire to experience someday.
Himachal Pradesh is home to some of the finest roads that we've come across such as the roads on NH5 from Narkanda to Sarahan via Rampur Bushahr. Narkanda is a quaint little hill station, about 174km from Chandigarh. It's quite a popular getaway, especially in the winter for sports activities such as skiing which takes place along the Dhumri ski slopes.
Starting from Narkanda early in the morning is advisable as traffic towards the town of Rammpur Bushahr tends to increase as the day progresses. The quality of tarmac improves as you drive down the mountain road and, after about 10km from Narkanda, the road quality is impeccable. There are a series of varying corners ranging from fast-flowing ones to tight chicanes and hairpins. However, one must exercise caution as it's a two-lane road and there are a few blind corners. All said, if you love corner carving, this section will certainly delight you.
The road continues to snake down the mountain until you reach the plains at Luan. From then on, the road widens and we'd suggest you keep a gentle pace and soak in the spectacular view of the mountains on one side and the gushing Sutlej River that runs alongside the road.
There are a few eateries around the town of Rampur Bushahr. However, it's better to find a place to eat with safe parking for your car, since traffic in and around the town is quite heavy.
The road up to Sarahan is in pretty good shape too, and you should make it in time for lunch. Once in Sarahan, a visit to the Bhimakali Temple is a must. It has both Hindu and Vajray?na Buddhist statues that depict the trade between India and Tibetan regions through ancient Indo-Tibetan Road. The traces of the old Indo-Tibetan Road still pass through Shalabag near Sarahan.