The Golden Quadrilateral – India for road trips

You may have heard people talking about their dream foreign vacation and eagerly saving for it. Well, our experience has taught us India has an infinite repository of fulfilling travelling experiences and that it is impossible to be done with all of these places or even make an exhaustive list of these places. But then, how does one get to soak in the culture, food, traditions, and places of the various different communities and regions in India? The answer comes in the form of a cross-country road trip through The Golden Quadrilateral. The Golden Quadrilateral Highway is a gigantic roadway network that covers a total distance of approximately 5,800 Kilometers and connects 4 major cities of the country – Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai and passes through 13 states.

The Golden Quarilateral

It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks. If you’re driving a car, assuming you’re driving 8-10 hours every day. However, it’s better to take frequent breaks. This way you can explore the local attractions to make the most out of your journey. So most travellers end up taking more time than that. The road trip is an adventure that takes you throughout the country, from the bustling streets of Delhi through the tiny colourful towns to the serene beaches of Chennai and is an experience of a lifetime. Create memories on the road trip of your life and leave all the exhaustive driving to the experienced Savaari chauffeurs who will be happy to help you learn more about the place’s culture. With Savaari, you also get access to ready-made itineraries and suggested trips like this one. 

Table of Contents

  1. Golden quadrilateral Highway- Important information
    1. Delhi to Kolkata
    2. Kolkata to Chennai
    3. Chennai to Mumbai
    4. Mumbai to Delhi
  2. Why take the Golden Quadrilateral road trip

Golden Quadrilateral Highway – Important information

GQ route

Delhi – Agra – Kanpur – Varanasi – Kolkata – Bhubaneswar – Visakhapatnam – Rajahmundry –  Chennai –Bangalore – Hubli – Pune– Mumbai – Ahmedabad – Udaipur – Jaipur

Golden Quadrilateral Highway – Important information 

Highway nameGolden Quadrilateral
Highway total distance 5,800 kilometers
Time taken2-3 weeks
Quality of highwayExcellent

1. Delhi to Kolkata

The first leg of the Golden Quadrilateral road trip is the journey from Delhi to the city of joy, Kolkata. Kolkata’s a vibrant city known for its rich history, cultural diversity, and artistic heritage. It was once the centre of British colonial power and played a crucial role in India’s struggle for independence. Today, it’s a bustling metropolis home to some of the country’s best museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions.  If you’re planning a trip to Kolkata, be sure to check out all the things to do in Kolkata in our travel guide. Visitors can explore the city’s colonial architecture, sample the local cuisine, and experience the warmth and hospitality of its people. Travelling from Delhi to Kolkata can be exhausting. 

Distance- 1472 KM

Time taken – 26 hrs
States crossed – Delhi NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal

Route – Delhi NCR – Mathura – Agra – Kanpur – Fatehpur –Prayagraj – Varanasi – Kolkata

Highway number – NH2

Things to do on the way

  • Stop in Agra to enjoy the popular barfi and gaze at the architectural marvel of the Taj Mahal. 
  • Visit the famous Krishna Janmabhoomi temple, take a boat ride in the Yamuna river, and taste delicious street food in Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. 
  • Kanpur offers a mix of cultural and recreational activities. One can go exploring the Shri Radhakrishna Temple, visiting the Allen Forest Zoo, and shopping for leather goods in the city’s bustling markets.
  • Visit the magnificent Fatehpur Sikri complex, explore the Buland Darwaza, and discover the rich history of the Mughal era in Fatehpur.
  • Take a dip in the holy Sangam, visit the iconic Allahabad Fort, and attend the Kumbh Mela festival in Prayagraj.

Things to do in Kolkata

  • Explore the iconic Victoria Memorial, a stunning colonial-era museum.
  • Walk through the narrow lanes of Kumartuli and witness the making of beautiful clay idols.
  • Sample the delicious street food at Park Street and immerse yourself in the bustling nightlife.
  • Visit the famous Dakshineswar Kali Temple and marvel at the intricate architecture.
  • Discover the rich history of Kolkata’s colonial past at the Indian Museum, the oldest museum in the country.
  • Attend a cultural event at the Rabindra Sadan, a premier venue for theatre, music, and dance performances.

Suggested Halfway Halt – Varanasi

The journey is a long one, you can opt to take a break in Varanasi. Varanasi is considered the spiritual capital of India. The city is situated on the banks of the holy River Ganges and is home to numerous temples and ghats, where people come to take a dip in the sacred waters. Varanasi is known for its rich cultural heritage, music, literature, and silk fabrics. Visitors can explore the narrow lanes of the old city, take a boat ride along the Ganges, and witness the evening Aarti ceremony, a Hindu ritual of worship and offering. Book a rental cab in Varanasi to enjoy the various activities without any hassle. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in spirituality, culture, or history, Varanasi has something to offer everyone.

Distance from Kolkata- 685 KM

Time taken- 14 hrs 45 mins

Things to do in Varanasi

  • Take a boat ride on the Ganges River at sunrise to witness the spectacular views of the Ghats and witness the morning rituals performed by locals.
  • Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most famous Hindu temples in India, to seek blessings and experience the ancient architecture.
  • Explore the bustling streets of the old city to indulge in the vibrant culture, taste the delicious street food, and shop for traditional handicrafts.
  • Attend the mesmerising Ganga Aarti ceremony, daily ritual priests perform at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, to witness the spiritual and musical extravaganza.
  • Take a day trip to Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism, to visit the ancient stupas and museums and learn about the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Delhi to Kolkata on GQ

2. Kolkata to Chennai

The second phase of the journey starts from Kolkata to Chennai, the city of Temples. 

Chennai is the capital city of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a bustling metropolis known for its rich cultural heritage, ancient temples, and delicious cuisine. The city is located on the Bay of Bengal and is home to numerous beaches, including the popular Marina Beach, one of the longest urban beaches in the world. Visitors can explore the historic Fort St. George, the beautiful Kapaleeswarar Temple, and the vibrant neighbourhood of Mylapore. With so many places to visit, booking an hourly rental in Chennai is the most comfortable way to travel. Not only this, Chennai is also a hub for classical dance and music. There are even with numerous cultural festivals held throughout the year. With its unique blend of tradition and modernity, Chennai is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to South India.

Distance – 1664 KM

Time taken – 32 hrs
States crossed – West Bengal, Odisha, Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu

Route – Kolkata – Baleswar – Bhubaneswar – Srikakulam – Visakhapatnam – Tine – Rajahmundry – Nellore – Chennai

Highway numbers – NH60 and NH5

 Things to do on the way

  1. Stop in Baleswar, and explore Chandipur Beach, Panchalingeswar Temple, and the Remuna Gopinath Temple, among other attractions.
  2. Visit ancient temples, explore tribal villages, indulge in local cuisine, and experience cultural festivals in Bhubaneswar, the temple city of India.
  3. Enjoy the pristine beaches, visit historical sites, and witness traditional art forms in Srikakulam, a coastal district in Andhra Pradesh, India.
  4. Experience the scenic beauty of the Godavari River, visit the historic Kotilingeshwara Temple, and enjoy the famous Andhra cuisine in Rajahmundry, a city in Andhra Pradesh, India.
  5. Explore the picturesque Annavaram Temple, trek to the scenic Kothapally Waterfalls, and indulge in the extraordinary produce of Mangoes in Tuni, a town in Andhra Pradesh, India. Click here to learn more about the Mango trail in India. 
  6. Relax on the pristine beaches, witness exotic wildlife at Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, and savour the authentic Andhra cuisine in Nellore, a city in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Things to do in Chennai

  • Visit the iconic Marina Beach, the second-longest urban beach in the world, and enjoy the scenic views of the Bay of Bengal. You can read more about the beaches of Chennai in our travel guide. 
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, famous for its ancient temples and rock-cut sculptures.
  • Experience the vibrant culture of Tamil Nadu by attending a classical dance performance or music concert.
  • Visitors must indulge in the famous South Indian cuisine. Do not miss the crispy dosas and spicy chutneys.
  • Visit the historic Fort St. George, built by the British East India Company in the 17th century, to explore the museum and learn about the colonial history of Chennai.

Suggested Halfway Halt – Visakhapatnam

With its picturesque beaches, scenic hills, and rich cultural heritage, Visakhapatnam, or Vizag, is a popular tourist destination. The city is known for its natural harbour, which is the second-largest on the east coast of India. Some must-visit places in Vizag include the Kailasagiri Hill Park, the Borra Caves, the Ramakrishna Beach, and the INS Kursura Submarine Museum. The city is also famous for its delicious Andhra cuisine, especially the spicy seafood delicacies.
Distance from Chennai – 796 KM

Time taken – 14 hrs 30 mins

Things to do in Visakhapatnam

  • Visit the iconic RK Beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sunset views.
  • Explore the historical and picturesque Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex, known for its ancient ruins and scenic views.
  • Indulge in the mouth-watering seafood at the popular beachside restaurants.
  • Take a cable car ride to Kailasagiri Hill Park and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
  • Visit the INS Kursura Submarine Museum and explore the life of naval officers on a submarine.
  • Take a day trip to the Araku Valley, known for its coffee plantations and scenic beauty.
  • Visit the Borra Caves, famous for their stalactite and stalagmite formations.
  • Explore the city’s rich cultural heritage by visiting the Simhachalam Temple, a famous Hindu temple.
Kolkata to Chennai GQ

3. Chennai to Mumbai

The next leg of the journey is from Chennai to Mumbai, the city of dreams. Formerly known as Bombay Mumbai, is a bustling metropolis located on the west coast of India. The city is a melting pot of diverse cultures and is home to people from all over the country. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous museums, art galleries, and historical sites. Mumbai is famous for its street food, including the popular vada pav, pav bhaji, and bhel puri.

Distance – 1290 KM

Time taken – 23 hrs
States crossed – Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. 

Route – Chennai – Kanchipuram – Bangalore – Chitradugra – Hubli – Satara– Pune – Mumbai

Highway numbers – NH46, NH7 and NH4

Things to do on the way

  • Visit the famous Kanchipuram temples, known for their stunning architecture and intricate carvings, and shop for the traditional Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Explore the vibrant nightlife, visit the historic Bangalore Palace, and indulge in the delicious street food in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka, India.
  • Visit the majestic Chitradurga Fort, a historical monument known for its unique architecture and learn about its rich history.
  • Explore the scenic Kaas Plateau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and witness the breathtaking view of the colourful flowers blooming.
  • Visit the Aga Khan Palace, the former prison of Mahatma Gandhi, and explore the beautiful architecture, lush gardens, and learn about the Indian freedom struggle.

Things to do in Mumbai

  • Visit the iconic Gateway of India and take a walk along the famous Marine Drive for stunning views of the Arabian Sea.
  • Explore the ancient rock-cut temples and sculptures at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves.
  • Experience the rich history of Mumbai by visiting the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, colonial-era buildings in South Mumbai, and the Haji Ali Dargah.
  • Indulge in the famous street food of Mumbai at Crawford Market and take a ferry ride to Elephanta Island to witness its scenic beauty.
  • Watch a movie at the iconic Regal Cinema, one of the oldest and most famous cinemas in Mumbai.

Suggested Halfway Halt – Hubli

Hubli is the second-largest city in the state and a major commercial hub, with thriving industries in agriculture, textiles, and engineering. It is also known for its rich cultural heritage, with numerous ancient temples and historical monuments. Including the famous Siddharoodha Math and the Chandramouleshwara Temple. The city’s strategic location, situated at the crossroads of major highways and railways, makes it an important transportation hub, connecting several major cities in the region. With its vibrant mix of history, culture, and commerce, Hubli offers visitors a unique and dynamic experience.

Distance from Mumba i- 591 KM

Time taken – 11 hrs 30 mins

Things to do in Hubli

  • Visit the historic Chandramouleshwara Temple, a beautiful example of Chalukyan architecture.
  • Explore the ancient Siddharoodha Math, a religious centre dedicated to the revered saint Siddharoodha Swami.
  • Take a stroll through the sprawling Unkal Lake Park, which features a scenic lake, gardens, and recreational activities.
  • Visit Nrupatunga Hill, a popular trekking spot offering breathtaking views of the city and surrounding hills.
  • Shop for traditional textiles and handicrafts at the bustling Hubli Bazaar, one of the oldest and busiest markets in the city.
Chennai to Mumbai GQ

4. Mumbai to Delhi

The final stretch of the Golden Quadrilateral road trip is from Mumbai to the Capital of the country, Delhi. It is a vibrant metropolis with a rich history and cultural heritage that dates back several centuries. The city has numerous historical monuments and landmarks, including the iconic Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Qutub Minar, all recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Paired with the iconic city, the street food culture here is to die for. Popular dishes include chaat, chole bhature, and parathas. You can follow the chole bhature trail in Delhi here. The city is a centre of political power and commerce, with the Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and several government buildings located here. Delhi is a hub of cultures and traditions, with people from all parts of India and around the world calling it home. Like the name suggests, “Dilli” has a way of making space for itself in your heart. 

Distance – 1419 KM

Time taken – 25 hrs
States crossed – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi NCR. 

Route – Mumbai – Valsad – Surat – Vadodara – Ahmedabad – Udaipur – Chittorgarh– Udaipur – Ajmer – Jaipur – Delhi NCR.

Highway numbers –  NH8, NH79A, NH79, and NH76.

Things to do on the way

  • Explore the scenic Tithal Beach, known for its black sand and stunning views of the Arabian Sea, and indulge in local seafood delicacies.
  • Shop for beautiful textiles and jewellery at the bustling Surat Textile Market, one of the largest textile markets in the world.
  • Visit the beautiful Laxmi Vilas Palace, the residence of the Gaekwad royal family in Vadodara and one of the largest private residences in the world, and explore its stunning architecture and artefacts.
  • Explore the historic Sabarmati Ashram, the former home of Mahatma Gandhi and a museum dedicated to his life and teachings.
  • Visit the majestic Chittorgarh Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest forts in India, and learn about its rich history and architecture.
  • Visit the famous Ajmer Sharif Dargah, a Sufi shrine dedicated to the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, and experience the spiritual and cultural significance of the place.
  • Explore the beautiful and historic Amer Fort on a hill overlooking Jaipur and admire its stunning architecture and intricate details.

Things to do in Delhi

  • Visit the historic Red Fort and explore its beautiful architecture and history.
  • Take a walk around India Gate, a war memorial and picnic spot at night.
  • Explore the vibrant and colorful streets of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi.
  • Visit the Lotus Temple, a unique and beautiful Bahá’í House of Worship that resembles a lotus flower.
  • Take a tour of the impressive Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the final resting place of the Mughal emperor Humayun.
  • Spend a day at Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world and a symbol of Delhi’s rich cultural history.

Suggested Halfway Halt – Udaipur

Udaipur is a city in Rajasthan known as the “City of Lakes” for its picturesque lakes, historic palaces, and vibrant culture. The Pichola Lake offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and palaces. One of the most iconic landmarks in the city is the City Palace, a complex of palaces and museums that showcases the rich history and culture of Rajasthan. Other popular attractions include the Saheliyon-ki-Bari and the Jagdish Temple. Udaipur has a lot of things to do, and you can read all about it in this article. Udaipur is known for its traditional Rajasthani cuisine, including dal baati churma and gatte ki sabzi, and its vibrant handicrafts, including textiles, pottery, and jewelry.

Distance from Delhi – 676 KM

Time taken – 11 hrs 

Things to do in Udaipur

  • Visit the City Palace, a stunning complex of palaces, courtyards, and gardens showcasing Rajasthani architecture and culture.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Pichola, one of the most picturesque lakes in Rajasthan, and enjoy the stunning views of the city’s skyline.
  • Explore the Jagdish Temple, a stunning Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and featuring intricate carvings and sculptures.
  • Enjoy a traditional Rajasthani cultural performance, including folk music and dance, at the Bagore Ki Haveli cultural museum.
  • Take a stroll through the Saheliyon Ki Bari, a beautiful garden with fountains, kiosks, and marble elephants.
  • Explore the vintage car museum, showcasing a collection of classic cars from the Maharajas of Udaipur.
  • Learn about the art of miniature painting, a famous traditional Rajasthani art form, at the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal museum.
Mumbai to Delhi GQ

Why take the Golden Quadrilateral Road Trip?

 We can all agree that India is a vast country with an expanse of definite borders. Yet feels like its never- ending. Certainly, there are multitudes of experiences and all in one country. There is no way that it is possible to plan a vacation where you can experience all of this. The Golden Quadrilateral road trip comes as close as one can covering a maximum of India. The road trip passes through 13 states, which means 13 completely different languages, landscapes, cuisines, and sets of traditions.

The Golden Quadrilateral road trip really holds a mirror of the diversity of India. Moreover, when you book a Savaari, you get to sit back and make the most of the road trip, customize your itinerary to suit your personal needs and whims, take as many detours as you want, and even get access to so much travel content! There is truly no better way to know India. 

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

A quick summary
The Golden Quadrilateral - India for road trips
Article Name
The Golden Quadrilateral - India for road trips
The Golden Quadrilateral road trip comes as close as possible to covering a maximum of India. It passes through 13 states of the country.
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About the author

Being a passionate wanderer and storyteller, Aarushi's love for exploration began during her childhood adventures across India. With a background in teaching, she crafts narratives that intertwine cultural insights she learned and observed with travel experiences. Her articles reflect a deep connection to heritage and an insatiable curiosity about India's diverse landscapes.

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