India

Boy is India a wonderful and crazy place! If you’re up for a fast pace trip, full of culture and scenery, then this is the country for you. India is a big place so you need time to explore it. I spent a month in the northern area of India, flying in and out of New Delhi. If you want to explore the south properly as well, you’ll need more time. Some cities you visit will be pretty full on but some will also be very chilled out. I have included a good mix into my itinerary over the month.

The most important thing I have to advise about India is on the trains. You must book your trains well in advanced before entering India, I’m talking a month or more. Otherwise you’ll have to pay a fortune at a tourist office. Use ClearTrip.com to do this, you’ll need to purchase an IRCTC account. 2nd or 3rd A/C is very comfortable. Or if you don't want the A/C and want to spend less, choose sleeper class.

Accommodation in India is very cheap. If you're going for budget options, make sure to check the reviews, the pictures online aren’t always correct and some might not be a great stay. Make sure you research the location online as well, some areas in certain cities aren't safe for tourists.

Food is also very cheap… and delicious! Nothing to worry about here, just make sure the restaurant is clean. Many cities have a great selection of rooftop restaurants, so do some research online before visiting. Local restaurants will charge around £1 per course. Or if you fancy treating yourself, you can spend up to £6 per meal in some fancy restaurant some of the cities have to offer.

One thing to watch out for in India are the scams that some people try on the tourists. When first arriving in Delhi, you can have taxi drivers tell you there are riots in the city and you must be taken to a tourist office or another hotel. Don't believe them, get another taxi. Watch out for the tourist offices. They'll tell you that they are being paid by the government so won't be making a profit on you when purchasing train tickets or accommodation. This is most often a lie and is why you should book things on your own before hand.

Some of my favourite places were:

  • Varanasi, go to Ganpati Guest House for an amazing view of the Ganges and an incredible veg curry. Also take a boat tour
  • Khajuraho, message Baba on whatsapp (+91 9179782650) if you go. He and his brother looked after me and took me to all the local places. They want more people to visit!
  • Pushkar, rent a motorbike and drive to Aloo Baba’s house/temple, he’s a religious man who has only eaten potatoes his entire life.
  • Jaisalmer, go on a camel safari and camp in the desert
  • Udaipur, stay at the Bunkhouse hostel and get some clothes made in one of the many amazing tailors
  • Rishikesh, I highly advise staying here at the end of your trip before returning to New Delhi! Stay in the Bonfire Hostel, they arrange free activities and look after you well.

Check out my simple 1 month Itinerary:

Day 1

Arrive in New Delhi

Head to your hotel, explore if you want to around the city. I've put more time to roam around Delhi at the end of the trip. As Delhi can be pretty full on. I think it's best to properly visit the city at the end of the trip, when you are more acclimatised to India.

Day 2

Get a 6pm train to Varanasi (Manduadih Station), arriving at 7am the next day

Day 3

Arrive in Varanasi, where you'll spend 2 nights

Spend the day looking around the temples in the north of the city

Take a sunset riverboat tour on the Ganges, where you'll watch the daily ceremony on the water after the sun has set.

Day 4

Spend another day in Varanasi, roam around the markets in the centre of town and have lunch on the rooftop of Ganpati Guest House looking over the Ganges.

Day 5

Get an early train to Khajuraho (Satna Station)

Message Baba (See Above Favourite Places), who will look after you during your stay in his hometown

Day 6

Spend the day in Khajuraho looking at the local temples and climbing some of the small surrounding mountains

If you're lucky there will be some local ceremonies that Baba can take you to

Day 7

Explore some of the local waterfalls that this town has to offer

Get an early afternoon train to Agra (Cantt Station), arriving in the evening

You'll only spend 1 night in Agra, to see the Taj and Fort

Day 8

Visit the famous Taj Mahal and also the Agra Fort

Get a 6pm train to Jaipur, arriving at 11pm the same day

Day 9

Spend the day in the hustle and bustle of Jaipur

Look around the local shops and restaurants

Day 10

Get a morning train to Pushkar (Ajmer Station), taking only a few hours. You'll have to get a taxi or Tuk Tuk to the town up on the mountain though

Look around the main market road in Pushkar, where there are plenty of local shops to look around

Visit the Ghats and be blessed by one of the locals, they'll find you!!

Hike up to the top of Pap Mochani Temple (15 minutes) for sunset and get an incredible view of Pushkar

Day 11

Wake up early and get a cable car to the top of the southern mountain for sunrise

Rent a motorbike and ride to Aloo Baba's temple/house

Day 12

Get a morning train to Jaisalmer, arriving in the evening

Day 13

Go on a camel safari (book before) where you'll ride through the desert and camp in the luxury tents or sleep under the stars

Day 14

Get a midnight train to Jodhpur, arriving in the morning the next day

Day 15

Arrive in Jodhpur at around 6am

Explore the local markets and shops near the clock tower

Spend the evening on one of the rooftop restaurants, that will probably offer you a shish pipe

Day 16

Spend another day in Jodhpur. Explore the temples and palaces, in the early evening, that tower above the city

Day 17

Get a midday bus from Jodhpur to Udaipur (there aren't any trains, you could fly) arriving at 4pm

There are many nice hotels in Udaipur, so if you want to stay somewhere nice, then here is the place.

Walk around the local shops selling art

Get some clothes made in many of the local tailors, for a great price too

Day 18

Spend another day in Udaipur

You can get a sunset river boat tour along the lakes

Udaipur is a great place to walk around arg night along the waterside. The local buildings are lit up beautifully

Day 19

You can spend another day in Udaipur if you want, it's a beautiful place to stay

If not then skip to the next day

Day 20

Get a midday 20hr train all the way to Rishikesh (Haridwar Jn Station), in the northern part of India, at the start of the Himalayas

Day 21

Arrive in Rishikesh around midday. You want to stay in the town of Lakshman Jhula and not in the main town of Rishikesh

Spend as long as you need here for the rest of your trip. I was here for 4 days. It's a very chilled out city and a great place to just relax.

I recommend staying in the Bonfire Hostel as they arrange many amazing activities.

Day 22-26

Spend the rest of your time exploring this amazing city! Go rafting down the Ganges, rent a moped and ride through the start of the Himalayas, explore the nearby waterfalls and take a dip, eat/drink in many of the amazing cafes, go to Yoga sessions, go to the house where Beatles lived in the late 60s....there's so much to do!!!!

Day 27

When ready, get a quick train back to Delhi to finish your trip. This is your time to explore the countries capital properly.

Day 28-31

Spend the rest of your trip exploring India's capital, New Delhi.


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