The Ultimate Backpacking India Itinerary & Travel Route

The ultimate backpacking India itinerary and route

The Ultimate Backpacking India Itinerary and Travel Route

As India is such a vast and diverse country deciding on your itinerary for backpacking India is no easy task!  Unlike South East Asia there’s not really a defined India backpacking route.

I’ve travelled all over India many times during the 10 years I’ve lived here, so in this post I’ll give you all my tips for the best places to visit in India, the best India travel routes and the ultimate backpacking India itinerary.

Why I Love Backpacking India

One of the best things about backpacking India is the amazing diversity of this sub continent – from snow capped Himalayan mountains to tropical beaches, from lanquid backwaters to chaotic cites and desert forts. India really does have it all – there is so much to see, amazing food, welcoming people and it’s still one of the cheapest places to travel in the world.

It’s difficult to decide on your India itinerary or backpacking route because there’s just so many amazing places to visit and this huge country sometimes feels like many different countries, especially as the languages, food and culture differs in each state. You could travel around India for a lifetime and see something new and fascinating every day.

backpacking India jumping outside the elaborate Mysore Palace
The flamboyant Mysore Palace

As the birthplace of yoga, India is also one of the best places in the world to learn authentic yoga and one of the cheapest places to get your yoga teacher certification. Many backpackers choose to combine yoga training with traveling around India. Rishikesh is the ‘yoga capital of the world’ but there are also many other places to do yoga teacher training in India.

Let’s be honest though, backpacking India is not a walk in the park, especially for first time visitors or solo female travellers. The distances are huge, the chaos, culture shock and hassle can sometimes be overwhelming and traveling here can be challenging and frustrating sometimes.

But it’s worth it! India is the ultimate travel destination! That’s why many people return again and again to spend many months at a time backpacking India.

How to Plan your India Itinerary

I know that one of the joys of backpacking is having no plans and just going with the flow. But when backpacking in India it’s really worth doing planning your travel route or itinerary in advance. This is because the best way to travel in India is by train but the trains get fully booked well in advance.

So if you plan your India itinerary you can get your trains booked in and have a smoother trip – pre booking accommodation and tours will also help you to avoid scams.

In this post I’ll give you my complete India backpacking route, as well as some suggestions for alternatives if you only have a couple of weeks. But first some essential tips you’ll need to plan your trip to India.

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Essential Tips for Backpacking in India

Best time to backpack India

India has alot of different climates but generally the best time to visit India is the cooler winter months between Oct/November – March/April. However, the mountains can be pretty cold then but offer a welcome respite from the summer heat. In April and May the country gets very hot until the monsoon season arrives from June – September.

India backpacking budget

India is quickly modernising but budget minded backpackers can still get by on about 2,000 INR ($25) per day (more here on costs of backpacking India)

Visas for India

Nearly all visitors need to apply for a visa before entering India. Many nationalities can now get an e-tourist visa online or evisa so it’s never been easier to visit India! Indian tourist visas can be valid for up to 1 year (but normally only allow 90 – 180 days continuous stay depending on your nationality.) Make sure you go to the official indianvisaonline.gov.in website to get your visa.

Read this post for all the info you need and a complete guide on how to apply. 

Getting to India

Most international flights arrive in Delhi (DEL) or Mumbai (BOM) but there are many airports in India. As the capital of India, Delhi is a popular place to start a backpacking trip and gives you easy access to Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle travel route which contains some of India’s most famous sites like Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, and Jaipur.

If you’re nervous about backpacking in India then I advise taking a connecting domestic flight and starting your trip in South India, somewhere like Kerala or Goa for a calmer introduction to India. I’ll explain this more later on.

Getting around India

India is huge and getting around takes time. My top tip for first time backpackers in India is to take it slow and plan a rough itinerary beforehand! India is not a place to rush around; trying to see too much will end up in a stressful instead of enjoyable trip.

Flights, trains, buses and rickshaws reach every corner of the country. The huge Indian Railways network is the best and most comfortable way to travel around India and can be a really interesting experience in itself. Trains get fully booked way in advance which is why I advise planning your India itinerary before. Luckily nowadays you can easily book transport in India online with 12GoAsia.com.

Tourists can sometimes get ‘taktal’ or train tickets at late notice at the office upstairs in the New Delhi Railway Station.

See here for my ultimate guide to train travel in India (including how to book train tickets from abroad.)

riding a rickshaw or tuk tuk while backpacking in india

Backpacker accommodation in India

There are cheap, basic, guesthouses in most tourist destinations in India, but make sure you read the reviews thoroughly or inspect the rooms first to check for cleanliness and quality. Expect to pay around 500 INR per night for a basic room but don’t expect luxuries like soft beds, hot water or wifi.

There’s also plenty of upmarket accommodation in India. If you fancy staying in a real Rajasthani palace or fort there are some spectacular experiences to be had that won’t break the bank. Booking.com has the best range of accommodation for all budgets with reviews and easy booking options.

Over the last couple of years fun, sociable, new Indian backpacker hostels have opened up in the main cities and tourist destinations. The best backpacker hostel chains in India are Zostel, Moustache, The Hosteller, Madpackers and GoStops. You can find hostels, check the reviews and book online on Hostelworld.

Most backpacker hostels in India offer comfy common areas or rooftop terraces where you can meet other backpackers, and often have wifi, a cafe and will help you with travel and sightseeing arrangements. Most hostels offer private rooms as well as dorms – normally female only, male only and mixed dorms.

Check out my Ultimate List of the Best Backpacker Hostels in India.

Volunteering in India

India is an amazing country for backpackers and budget travellers but there are still many poor communities who could really do with your help. Instead of paying 1000’s to volunteer sign up with Worldpackers and you can exchange your skills and time for free accommodation, food and many other benefits.

One of the best things about volunteering in India is that you can get immersed into the local culture, make friends with the locals, learn new skills all while helping those in need and saving yourself money so you can travel for longer.

I prefer Worldpackers over other platforms as they offer great support and customer service, all hosts are verified to ensure they offer a safe and rewarding experience and you can also take advantage of the Worldpacker’s insurance should anything go wrong with your host.

Click on this link and use my discount code GLOBALGALLIVANTING to save $20 on the membership fee.

Read more about volunteering for free with Worldpackers here. 

India backpacker tours

If you don’t want to go it alone, or just prefer to take a tour and have someone else to do all the planning and organizing (and I don’t blame you, India can be a challenging country to backpack or travel independently in) Especially if your a solo female travellers then it’s a good idea to join a tour.

But, as with everything in India, you’ve got to be careful to thoroughly vet the tour provider to make sure you have a good and safe experience. One of the best places to find tours and check the reviews is Tour Radar.  

The most encompassing India backpacking tour is this 37 day Iconic India tour with Intrepid which takes in most of the places I recommend. The G Adventures North to South India 21 day backpacker tour is also good.

If you have less time the most popular short India travel route is the Golden Triangle which is perfect for a 1 week India itinerary. It’s also the most chaotic part of India so I recommend taking a tour like this Golden Triangle tour with YOLO Travels if it’s your first time. For more of my recommendations here are my favourite India tours

Sightseeing trips and day tours

You can also now book day tours online in advance on Viator and Get Your Guide. I recommend doing this as you can read the reviews to ensure you have a good experience and you can avoid having to haggle for a fair price or getting scammed.

Backpacker hostels also often have a travel desk and can help you make travel and tour arrangements with reputable companies they trust.

Never trust anyone in Delhi who says they will take you to a tourist office – there are loads of fake ones and scammers. The only official one is at 88 Janpath.

If you don’t want to take tour but want some help to plan your India itinerary, book trains, accommodation or even private drivers (which are quite affordable in India) then I recommend using the excellent trip planning services of India Someday.

I’ve known the team for years and they are great. I used then to make me a bespoke itinerary across North India (check out my review here) and they offer Global Gallivanting readers 5% off if you use the code GLOBALGALLIVANTING5 when enquiring.

Read More: I travel with the Lonely Planet India Guidebook – its really useful for practical info, maps, things to do, how to get around etc. Buy it before you go on Amazon to save money.

Anna with Stone Chariot in Hampi
Exploring the ruins of Hampi

How long do you need for backpacking India

As it’s such a huge and diverse country backpacking around India takes time. If you want to see as much as you can and follow this India itinerary and backpacking route then I would recommend to come for 2 or 3 months.

If you only have a couple of weeks to backpack India then I would concentrate on one area. Think about what you are interested in – if it’s history, temples, forts and palaces backpack Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle in North India. Or if you prefer beaches, nature and wildlife head to Kerala and Goa and backpack South India.

My Perfect Backpacking India Itinerary and Route

Now that you have all the info you need to plan your India trip I’ll describe the ultimate backpacking India itinerary for those who want to see all the highlights of this unique country.

I’ll also provide some suggestions for a 1 month India itinerary, a 2 week India itinerary and a 1 week India itinerary afterwards.

Here’s a route map of the best places to go in India to help you get your bearings and plan your perfect backpacking India itinerary:

India backpacking route map

The Perfect Route for Backpacking India

Why I recommend this India itinerary

While most India itineraries will suggest starting your trip in Delhi and seeing the famous sights of the Golden Triangle, for your first time in India I recommend starting in more chilled out South India and working your way to North India.

This way you’ll get a good variety of destinations including all the famous sights while avoiding extra distance or going back on yourself (it always takes longer than you think to get anywhere in India!)

Most international flights land in Delhi or Mumbai but you can easily get a domestic flight down to Kochi or Trivandrum in Kerala or to Goa airport.

While Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle are home to some amazing and iconic sights including opulent forts and of course the Taj Mahal, its also the most chaotic, dirty and challenging places to visit in India.

The laid back beaches and backwaters of Kerala and Goa are perfect places to get a good introduction to India to allow you to get acclimatized before tackling the big sights and chaotic cities in the North.

Or, if you visit India in the summer from April – September head to the Himalayan mountains in North India to places like Rishikesh and Dharamshala that also offer a much more chilled out Indian experience.

Read on for my complete India itinerary and I’ll explain each destination, why go, what to see and do, where to stay and how to get there.

Houseboats on the Kerala Backwaters
Cruising the Kerala Backwaters in a houseboat

Kerala – 1 week

Fly into Kerala and start your India itinerary gently in laid back Kerala – a tropical and luscious state known as ‘God’s own country.’ 

Kerala is one of the most beautiful states in India with so much to explore that you could easily spend a week traveling around Kochi, Alleppey, Varkala and Munnar.

But if you’re short on time or want to make life easier for yourself you could base yourself in Fort Cochin and take day trips to visit the surrounding areas.

Best places to visit and things to do when backpacking Kerala

Stunning views over the tea plantations of Munnar

Best backpacker hostel in Kerala: GoStops Kochi

The best backpacker hostel in Fort Cochin is GoStops Kochi – a colourful hostel in a heritage building in the best location in Fort Cochin complete with views across the water. There are both private rooms and shared dormitories available as well as plenty of cosy common areas where you can meet other backpackers.

How to get to Kerala

Kochi (Cochin) and Trivandrum (Thiruananthapuram) both have train stations and airports that have some international flights and are also well connected to the rest of India with domestic flights.

The train station for Kochi is called Ernakulam from where you can catch trains up the coast to Goa. But for the complete India itinerary continue into the neighbouring and relatively underrated state of Karnataka. It’s a large and diverse state with everything from modern mega cities to ancient ruins and palaces as well as rolling hills, jungles, tiger reserves, quintessential countryside life and beaches to explore.

How to get around Kerala

The coastal side of Kerala is well connected by trains but to reach places in the hills like Munnar or Periyar you can take local or delux buses. Even hiring a car and driver in India isn’t too expensive.

More blog posts on backpacking Kerala:

 

Mysore Palace
Explore the extravagant Mysore Palace

Mysore – 2 or 3 days

Mysore (Mysuru) is one of South India’s most popular and flamboyant destinations, famous for it’s glittering royal heritage, magnificent monuments, colourful bazaars, the elaborate Mysore Palace and Ashtanga yoga.

Best backpacker hostel in Mysore: RoamBay Hostel

A colourful, eco friendly, heritage house in a peaceful and safe neighbourhood that was recently turned into an amazing hostel with stylish, comfortable dorm rooms and a coworking space.

How to get to Mysore

You can take an overnight delux bus from Kochi to Mysore, or you could break up the journey roughly halfway and cool off in the hill station of Ooty (Udhagamandalam) before heading to Mysore.

More blog posts on backpacking Mysore:

 

The palace in Bangalore
The Palace in Bangalore

Bangalore – 1 or 2 days

Bangalore (Bengaluru) is India’s silicon city and IT hub where you can indulge in the delights of modern India, get your fix of Western food, malls and nightlife. There’s a few nice parks and a palace here too and it’s also a good transport hub but if your short on time you could probably leave it off your Indian itinerary.

Best backpacker hostel in Bangalore: Locul Midtown Indiranagar

Accommodation in Bangalore can be quite expensive but the Locul hostels are new, clean, smart and well located hostels. My favourite is Locul midtown Indiranagar because of it’s location in this trendy district close to all the eateries and nightlife. There are dorms, private rooms, good wifi and work spaces and a great breakfast.

How to get to Bangalore

Bangalore is an easy 3 hour train or bus ride from Mysore. Bangalore also has an airport with frequent and reasonably priced connections to other parts of India.

More blog posts on Bangalore:

Temples at Hampi - a popular backpacker destination in India
Temples at Hampi – a popular backpacker destination in India

Hampi – 4 days

Hampi is one of the most magical backpacker destinations in India. A surreal and beautiful boulder strewn scenery surrounds the captivating ancient temples and ruins of the once great Vijayanagara Empire.

There’s a big backpacker scene here with cute, rustic huts on ‘hippie island’ with views over the river and the chance to see some out of this world landscapes and idyllic Indian countryside life.

Hampi is one of my all time favourite places and a highlight of backpacking India – don’t miss it from your India itinerary!

Best backpacker hostel in Hampi: Gopi Guesthouse

There aren’t any backpacker hostels in Hampi but there’s huts on hippie island and some cheap guesthouses in Hampi bazaar – one of the best is Gopi Guest House near to the temple (be aware that no meat or alcohol are served on this side of the river.)

How to get to Hampi

The easiest and quickest way to get to Hampi from Bangalore or Goa is by overnight bus.

More Hampi blog posts: Why I fell in love with magical Hampi

Palolem Beach in Goa
Gorgeous Palolem Beach in Goa

Goa – 1 week

Another place you might find hard to leave and won’t want to leave off your India itinerary are the lively beaches of Goa. With an infectious, easy going way of life, unique Portuguese influenced culture and wild nightlife Goa in unlike anywhere else in India.

Goa is the most relaxed and most westernised state in India with the best nightlife, a vibrant and cosmopolitan food scene and is a great place to meet other travellers. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches and parties you’ll find there’s plenty of churches, forts, waterfalls, spice plantations and colourful hippie markets to explore in Goa.

Goa’s beaches all have a different vibe. North Goa is where all the parties and markets are whereas South Goa is the place to head for peaceful beaches and yoga retreats. The most popular with backpackers are the lively, hippy beaches of Anjuna and Arambol in North Goa and Palolem, a beautiful beach with colourful rustic beach huts in the far south.

Best backpacker hostel in Goa: Woke Morjim

A beautiful, new, backpacker hostel with a swimming pool, gardens close to trendy Morjim beaches and all the nightlife spots in North Goa. Dorm beds and private rooms are available, some rooms have balconies with sea views and there’s a trendy cafe bar downstairs.

How to get to Goa

There are flights to Goa from all over India. If you’re coming from Hampi you can take an overnight bus to Goa or take an 8 hour train in the daytime.

If you want a quieter alternative to Goa, check out the beaches of the temple town of Gokarna, a few hours South of Goa in neighbouring Karnataka.

More Goa blog posts:

mumbai-cst
CST (formerly Victoria Terminus) Mumbai’s grandest colonial building –

Mumbai (Bombay) – 3 or 4 days

Mumbai was previously called Bombay but many people still call it by the old name. Bombay is India’s biggest, most buzzing and aspirational city – home of Bollywood and some atmospheric, crumbling colonial architecture.

Mumbai is my favourite city in India. It’s an exciting, dynamic city of dreams and contrasts with so much to do and see and shouldn’t be left off any India itinerary.

Best backpacker hostel in Mumbai: Backpacker Cowies

Mumbai has some of the most expensive accommodation in India. The best option location wise is Backpacker Cowies as it’s the only one so close to the Gateway of India and Colaba Causeway. Air conditioned dormitories and private rooms are available.

How to get to Mumbai

Goa to Mumbai is a 12 hour overnight train or bus. The flight from Goa to Mumbai takes only a hour and you can find prices from only 1,000 rupees so it’s worth checking the flight price before you get on the long bus ride.

More blog posts on Mumbai:

 

Ellora Caves
Ellora Caves

Ellora and Ajantha Caves – 3 days

Break up the journey between Mumbai and Rajasthan by checking out the awe inspiring Unesco listed Ellora and Ajanta Caves near Aurangabad.

These caves are one of the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes in the world with amazing ancient Buddhist carvings and sculptures.

There are not many hotels near the caves so Aurangabad, the closest town to the caves makes a convenient base.

Best backpacker hostel in Aurangabad: Zostel Aurangabad

Lively, modern chain backpacker hostel with colourful lounges, cafe and rooftop. It’s located near to the bus station so is convenient for visiting the caves. Choose between private rooms or dorm beds.

How to get to Aurangabad

Aurangabad is about 6 hours on the train from Mumbai, 5 hours in a taxi or about 11 hours on a public bus. From Aurangabad you can get a bus to the caves but it’s more convenient to hire a taxi to between the two cave sites. It’s about 2 hours drive from Ellora to Ajanta.

Lake Pichola in romantic Udaipur, Rajasthan
Lake Pichola in romantic Udaipur, Rajasthan

Rajasthan

Rajasthan is possibly India’s most flamboyant state and a highlight of most India backpacker trips. With so many ancient forts, extravagant palaces, colourful bazaars and interesting history there is a lot to explore here so don’t even think about leaving Rajasthan off your India itinerary!

Udaipur – 3 or 4 days

If you’re coming from the south of India and working your way north then the first stop when backpacking Rajasthan should be the relaxing and charming city of Udaipur, a romantic city of shimmering lakes and glittering palaces, your first stop in Rajasthan.

Best backpacker hostel in Udaipur: Dreamyard Hostel

Dorms and private rooms located inside a heritage building by the lakeside. The highlight of this hostel is the stunning views over the lake from the rooftop – they even offer free chai at sunset and host yoga classes and parties on the rooftop.

How to get to Udaipur

You can get an overnight train over bus from either Mumbai or Aurangabad to Udaipur. You might even be able to find a good deal on a flight between Mumbai and Udaipur.

Views over Jodhpur - the blue city
Views over Jodhpur – the blue city

Jodhpur – 2 or 3 days

After chilled out Udaipur head to the Blue City of Jodphur and see the mighty Mehrangarh Fort and explore the old city – a tangle of medieval winding streets, blue coloured buildings and bazaars.

Best backpacker hostel in Jodhpur: Moustache Jodhpur

The Jodhpur branch of the popular Moustache chain of Indian backpacker hostels won the HOSCARs in 2020 and is regarded as one of the very best hostels in India.

Moustache is located close to the Mehrangarh Fort and the blue city and spacious common areas, homely vibes, an inhouse theatre and restaurant and comfortable dorms and private rooms.

How to get there to Jodhpur

Buses from Udaipur to Jodphur take about 7 hours or a taxi takes only 4 hours.

Jaisalmer-Fort
Jaisalmer Fort

Jaisalmer – 3 or 4 days

Jaisalmer is a little out of the way but this historic golden fort rising out of the desert is quite a sight. Spend a few days exploring the fort and a day or 2 taking a safari across the Thar desert.

Jaisalmer is really popular for camel safaris but Bikaner is another good choice, if you don’t have time to get to Jaisalmer or are looking for something a little less touristy.

Best backpacker hostel in Jaisalmer : Moustache Hostel 

Situated in a beautiful heritage haveli this hostel feels more like a palace! Located right next to Jaisalmer Fort with beautiful private rooms, dormitories and even tents to choose from. A highlight is the stunning rooftop cafeThey also arrange a great desert safari trip.

How to get to Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is 6 hours on the train from Jodhpur.

The ghats at Pushkar
The ghats at Pushkar

Pushkar – 3 days

The small but charming holy lakeside town of Pushkar is quite a bewitching and magical place with good shopping that is a popular place for backpackers to relax.

If you come in October/November try to time your visit the the amazing spectacle of the Pushkar camel fair.

Best backpacker hostel in Pushkar: Madpackers Pushkar

This beautiful property full of traditional art, 3 terraces and plenty of social areas and activities was voted India’s best backpacker hostel in 2019. Choose from dormitories or private rooms and then enjoy the rooftop cafe, friendly vibes and super helpful staff.

How to get to Pushkar

From Jaislamer take an overnight train to Ajmer Junction, from there its a 15 min bus or taxi ride to Pushkar.

Amer fort in Rajasthan
Amber fort near Jaipur

The Golden Triangle – 9 days

The Golden Triangle consists of the capital Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and is one of India’s most visited routes as it contains some of the most famous sights in India.

You could rush round the Golden Triangle in 4 or 5 days but it’s always better to take your time as there’s alot to see here but also alot of hassle.

Jaipur – 3 days

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and known as ‘the Pink City’ home to the extravagant Jaipur City Palace, the honeycombed Hawa Mahal and the impressive Amber Fort.

Ranthambore National Park is not too far from Jaipur and is the best place in India to spot a tiger in the wild!

Best backpacker hostel in Jaipur: Moustache Jaipur

With a refreshing plunge pool and cafe on the rooftop, plenty of sociable hang out areas, stylish private rooms and dormitories complete with privacy curtains, its easy to see why this hostel is one of the most popular in Jaipur.

How to get to Jaipur

Jaipur is only a 2 hour train journey from Ajmer Junction (the closest train station to Pushkar) and has good connections to Agra and Delhi too.

The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal

Agra – 2 or 3 days

Agra is home to the most beautiful building the world – the Taj Mahal, a sight you simply can’t leave off your India itinerary.

You can visit the Taj on a rushed day trip from Delhi but Agra is also home to Agra Fort and the nearby ruined city of Fatephur Sikri which are both also UNESCO world heritage sites and well worth exploring.

Best backpacker hostel in Agra: Joey’s Hostel Agra

Located so close to the Taj Mahal that you can enjoy great views of the famous monument from the rooftop cafe bar. Private rooms and dorms are simple but clean with all modern amenities including air conditioning and the staff are friendly and helpful.

How to get to Agra

Agra is only about 4 hours on the train from Jaipur.

More blog posts about backpacking Agra:

India Gate in New Delhi
India Gate in New Delhi

New Delhi – 3 or 4 days

Many backpackers travel through New Delhi as quickly as possible as it can an overwhelming city which is a shame because there is so much to see and do in India’s capital.

New Delhi has a lot of history as well as being a city hurtling into the 21st century. Don’t miss visiting the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutb Minar, Chandni Chowk, India Gate and the Akshardam Temple.

Best backpacker hostel in New Delhi

I have to give you two choices here. Traditionally most backpacker and budget accommodation in Delhi is situated in the Paharganj area near New Delhi railway station. Zostel Delhi is a good option here as it’s super close to the train station.

Paharganj and Old Delhi are fascinating places and close to many of Delhi’s attractions, but, especially if it’s your first time in India or your a solo female traveller, I wouldn’t advise staying here. It’s pretty dirty and chaotic and there are alot of scammers around.

Staying in the suburbs of South Delhi will show you a whole other side to the city and is where I prefer to stay. Several cool, new backpacker hostels have opened giving budget travellers a chance to rest in a more peaceful and safer environment. The Hosteller is a delux new hostel with a resturant and close to the metro station so you can still get around the city easily to see the sights.

How to get to Delhi

There is a new fast train that gets you from Agra to Delhi in 3 hours. Once in Delhi make use of the new, modern and efficient Delhi metro – it can get to most attractions without having to haggle with a rickshaw driver.

From Delhi you could either travel east to visit the holy city of Varanasi, or west and visit Amritsar or head up to the Himalayas and Rishikesh.

More blog posts on backpacking Delhi

Himanchal Pradesh, North India
Himanchal Pradesh, North India

The Himalayas – 2 to 3 weeks

If time allows, and if it’s warm enough, add the Himalaya mountains to your India itinerary!

From Delhi go west to visit the amazing Golden Temple in Amritsar and watch the spectacle of the Pakistan border ceremony.

If it’s warm enough then from Amritsar you could continue up into the Himalayan mountains in Himachal Pradesh – one of the best places to backpack in India.

Visit Dharamsala (home of the Dalai Lama and Tibet government in exile, Manali, Parvati Valley and Shimla – the queen of the hill stations and the Summer capital of India during the times of the British Raj.

In July and August the weather is warm enough to head up to lovely Leh and Ladakh.

Read my Mountains itinerary here and my Leh and Ladakh itinerary here.

rishikesh
Rishikesh

On your way looping back to Delhi don’t miss Rishikesh the yoga capital of the world situated on a gorgeous stretch of the holy river Ganges.

When you get back to Delhi take an overnight train east bound to visit the holy city of Varanasi, one of the world’s most spiritual cites on the holy river Ganges.

varanasi-2
The river Ganges in Varanasi at dawn

Watching all the rituals of life and death played out by the river at sunrise is an unforgettable and essential Indian experience. Stops Hostel  near Assi Ghat is the best Varanasi hostel.

There is a reason why I put Delhi and Varanasi at the end of this India itinerary – visiting these big, busy cities could be too overwhelming to enjoy at the start of your trip, plus there are a lot of touts and scammers but, once acclimatized to backpacking India, they are some of the most fascinating places to visit in India.

Other places to visit

If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten track try Tamil Nadu in South India.

Fly into Chennai (Madras) and after exploring the city head south. Just a few hours from Chennai is the seaside temple town of Mahabalipuram that is popular with backpackers, the French city of Pondicherry and nearby alternative ‘utopian’ community of Auroville.

Tamil Nadu is all about temples and the best is the Mennakashi temple in Madurai which you could swing by on the way over to Kerala. Check out more on the places to visit in Tamil Nadu.

Meenakashi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Meenakashi Temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu

 

India has plenty of cheap, direct flights to neighbouring countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives that you could easily add to a backpacking trip around South Asia!

Most people think the Maldives is only for expensive honeymoons but it’s possible to backpack the Maldives too! See all my tips for traveling the Maldives on a budget here!

I hope this post has given you plenty of inspiration and tips for planning your India backpacking trip.

Starting in somewhere like Kerala will gently ease a first time visitor into this incredible country and following this itinerary will give you a good range of sights and activities without doubling back on yourself too much.

Of course there are still many, many more places to see in India, it would take a lifetime to see them all, but I think this would be the perfect India itinerary for a 2 to 3 month backpacking trip. 

Shorter India itineraries

India is a huge country and I know that not everyone has a couple of months to spend backpacking India. So, as promised, here are some suggestions if you only have a month or a couple of weeks to spend traveling India.

Ideas for 1 month India itinerary

If you have 1 month to backpack India you can still see alot. One idea if for a 1 month India itinerary is to split this route up and concentrate on either North India or South India.

For example, travel from Kerala up to Mumbai, or from Mumbai through Rajasthan to Delhi. If you’re visiting in the summer then fly into Delhi and travel around the Himalayas and avoid the heat.

My ideal itinerary to see the best of both north and south in only 1 month would be:

Get acclimatised to India by backpacking in laidback and luscious Kerala and Goa. Spend a few days in buzzing Mumbai before heading to Rajasthan.

Soak up the romantic lakeside vibes of Udaipur, explore the blue city of Jodhpur, chill out in charming Pushkar and then do the Golden Triangle route to see the sights of Jaipur, Agra and the Taj Mahal and New Delhi.

Then head over to Amritsar to marvel at the amazing Golden Temple, travel along the foothills of the Himalayan mountains to practice yoga in Rishikesh and then witness the rituals of life and death on the Ganges in scared Varanasi!

Palolem Beach in Goa
Palolem Beach in Goa

Ideas for a 2 week India itinerary

To make the most of 2 weeks in India you should either focus on exploring one region. Or, as both regions offer very different experiences making it hard to choose, take some domestic flights to get a taste for both north and south.

Use the first part of this India itinerary and visit Kerala, Mysore, Hampi and Goa. If forts and palaces are more your things then explore Rajasthan cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Pushkar and take a quick trip to Agra to see the Taj!

For example, when my Mum came to India she wanted a combination of relaxing beach time, history, culture, rural life and big city buzz so I devised a diverse, hassle free 2 week trip to Goa, Hampi and Mumbai. 

This is how to see the highlights in 2 weeks:

Start in by relaxing on the tropical beaches and backwaters in either Kerala or Goa, then fly up to Jaipur and tour the Golden Triangle visiting Agra for the Taj Mahal and New Delhi.

Ideas for a 1 week India itinerary

1 week really isn’t much time for somewhere like India, but hey it’s better than nothing! My top tip would be don’t try to do too much. With only 1 week to spend in India just concentrate on visiting 1 state.

The Golden Triangle is the most popular short India travel route. It’s great because you’ll get to see alot of incredible things in a short period of time but it can be a bit hectic and overwhelming.

If it’s your first time in India and you only have 1 week then I recommend exploring either Kerala or Goa or taking a tour of the Golden Triangle like this YOLO Travels Golden Triangle Tour  to ensure that you have a memorable experience (for all the right reasons!) and are left wanting to come back again to see more!

How to see India without the hassles

Unfortunately backpackers need to be aware that when traveling in India you’re likely to encounter alot of scams. Whether you have a short time and want to see as much as you can with minimum hassle, or perhaps if you’re a solo traveller or nervous about traveling India for the first time, taking a tour or hiring a private driver could be a good idea.

Self drive car rental isn’t common and I don’t recommend it as India’s roads can be pretty crazy, but hiring a private driver isn’t that expensive in India and ensures you get to your destination in comfort without any hassle. For a reputable driver get in touch with trip planners India Someday.

A small group tour can also be quite affordable. If you pick the right tour then you will share the experience with like minded people so you won’t feel alone. You can find all sorts of India tours, and read reviews from previous guests, at Tour Radar. Taking a tour will also maximize your time available so you can see as much as possible. You’ll also be able to avoid wasting precious time getting lost, scammed or planning your next move.

For more of my recommendations here are my favourite India tours

I hope this post helps you plan an amazing itinerary for backpacking India! 

More blog posts for your first time backpacking India:

My Top 10 Tips for your First Time Traveling in India

How to Prepare for a Trip to India 

11 Tips for Women Traveling in India

How to get an Indian Visa 

Backpacking in India: How much does it cost? 

Pin Me! 🙂

The Perfect Route for Backpacking India

 

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100 comments

Eliza September 25, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Hi Anna, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. We fly to Kerala at the end of October to begin 6 months travelling in India. Planning a route, even in the vaguest sense has proved really challenging though I’m pleased that what we have mapped out is near identical to your suggested itinerary. Can’t wait!

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Anna September 27, 2015 at 10:49 am

It’s not easy deciding where to go is it! I really glad this helped you!! I hope you have a great time in India. 🙂

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Lianne Bronzo September 27, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Wow, nearly exactly what I did! Only have a month here. Started out in Kerala and worked my way up to Karnataka, Goa, Aurangabad/Ellora Caves, and Mumbai. We CouchSurfed a lot on the trip and met some incredible people. If I were to do it again, I would have skipped Gokarna and went straight to Goa after Hampi. It depends on each person, but three nights in Goa was more than enough for me. I can go somewhere else for nice beaches but India has so much more to offer that is unique to this country.

Definitely, definitely coming back to tackle the north next time. The south really is a perfect introduction to India. Totally safe and easy to travel. I’m not ready to leave!

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Anna September 28, 2015 at 6:58 am

That’s great! So glad you enjoyed your trip 🙂

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thatsofarah November 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

Definitely one of my favourite countries. And Hampi is magical. I would not leave out Hyderabad for world’s best biryani though. If I could afford to visit India again, I’d love to go to Assam and Rajashtan.

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Petr January 3, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Definitely I have to visit India in the future!

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Anna January 7, 2016 at 7:13 am

So glad you liked the post! Yes, India is an incredible place to travel and I think everyone should visit at least once – it can be life changing! 🙂

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hemanth March 16, 2016 at 6:16 am

Nice photos , which camera you use please ?

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Anna March 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Thanks! India is a photographer’s paradise 🙂 I actually left the DSLR at home this time and now I travel with a Panasonic Lumix TZ70 compact camera as it’s so much lighter to carry around but still has all the options and manual shooting settings of a professional camera. I wrote more about the best compact cameras for travel photography here – http://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-best-compact-cameras-for-travel-photography/

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Rebecca March 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Hi. Thanks for this great article. This is pretty much the route myself and my daughter (who is 17) are taking for our 6 month trip in India. Except we are heading up to Rishikesh and Manali after Agra.
The question is, do you think it may be a good idea to budget for a flight from Goa straight to udaipur? I feel it would save a lot of time and it really is quite a gruelling journey by land (done it many times) Flights are pretty reasonable too. I know its cheating a little bit but there are many wonderful overland journeys to do once your up north. Your thoughts?

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Anna April 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Hey thanks so much! Yes, including Rishikesh and Himachal is a great idea and yes, I actually fly quite a lot in India these days as it can take a long time to get around and flights can be quite reasonable. It’s a shame to miss Mumbai though, I really like it there but Udaipur is nicer and flying is a good idea when time is tight. Hope you enjoy your trip and glad my post helped! 🙂

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onelove August 30, 2016 at 10:16 am

thank you so much for the article love and gratitude to you 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Anna September 15, 2016 at 12:04 am

Thanks so much! Glad you liked it and hope it helps! Happy Travels 🙂

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Felix September 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

I think I like the way this route is I’m currently traveling Southeast Asia for three months and I plan to spend the rest of my time in India. I’m planning to head over there by the end of September have to go back home in November so roughly i have 2 months to spend. Deserts and Safari is something I really want to do and I love the wild life the camel tour is a must for me. And the Taj Mahal is a must see when you go to Indian

I would probably be flying from Vietnam. I will be in Cambodia tomorrow for like a week then spend some time in Vietnam before heading to India

How can I get a cheap fligh ticket

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Anna September 14, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Hey Felix, glad you liked the post – sounds like your going to have a great trip. When I fly between India and Southeast Asia I usually take Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur as its usually the cheapest option if your flying to South India there are quite a few cheap flight options and flights to KL from the rest of Southeast Asia are usually cheap. Hope this helps 🙂

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Carl L. September 15, 2016 at 4:07 am

Great article, definitely will be my main guide to my planed trip to India. What’s the best months to visit India if I plan to visit 3 or even 6 months? Thanks!

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Anna September 20, 2016 at 12:10 am

Hey Carl, Thanks, glad you liked the post. The best time to travel in most of India is the winter – Oct – March when its cooler so better for sightseeing.

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Felix September 16, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Ok great thanks and yes I think I will fly from Kuala Lumpur. I was planning to go to Vietnam but with visa changes for us I will go from Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur now spend a few days there then off to India by the 27 of September

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Anna September 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Sounds great, KL is a good cheap flight hub – easy to get anywhere from there

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Felix September 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm

One more thing how do I go on applying for a visa

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Anna September 20, 2016 at 12:01 am

I wrote a long post about applying for an Indian visa here http://www.global-gallivanting.com/how-to-apply-for-an-indian-visa-for-uk-citizens/ but bear in mind it is from the view point of UK citizens, maybe the requirements are different for citizens of other countries. Hope it helps

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Freddie Lee October 12, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Hi Anna,
brilliant article found it very helpful in planning my own itinerary. I was just wondering on any advice about travelling by train as i heard tickets on sleeper trains sell out very quickly?

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Anna October 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Hi Freddie! Glad you liked it and glad it was useful for you. Yes, I think traveling by train is the best way to see India but the trains do get booked up so its a good idea to book tickets in advance although this can be a bit complicated – I have a big 3 part series of posts on booking trains in India. Hopefully that helps you 🙂 Happy Travels 🙂 http://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-train-travel-in-india-part-1-how-to-book-train-tickets-in-india/

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Julie January 26, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hi Anna,

I came across your website accidentally, and boy, I’m glad I did. You are a WEALTH of information. In your Indian Itinerary, which is brilliant by the way, you left out the North East completely. The richness of the Northeast of India cannot be found anywhere else in India. Check out Kaziranga, tea gardens of Assam, camping in the wild in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tawang etc etc. You will be mesmerised. Hope you can make it to that part of India someday. Good luck 🙂

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Anna February 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Hi Julie

Thanks for stopping by – it’s so nice to hear that my tips are useful!

I’ve actually visited the North East twice and love it! I went to monasteries in Tawang, saw rhinos at Kaziranga, celebrated tribal festivals and met headhunters! You can read more about my time in the North East here – http://www.global-gallivanting.com/category/india-2/north-east-india/

However, as it can be difficult to arrange permits and transportation for some places I didn’t put it in this post – this is kind of a starter for the must see places for a first time trip to India – of course there is loads more to see, it would take a lifetime to see it all. There’s still alot I want to see in North East!

Thanks so much for your tips 🙂

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Wendy February 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

Hey,
Did you travel India alone? I was wondering if you have any tips for a girl traveling alone.

Also, would you recommend any spiritual places?

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Anna February 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Yes I travel alone – I’ve written a big post about it here http://www.global-gallivanting.com/safety-tips-for-women-traveling-in-india/ Hope this helps 🙂 What sort of spiritual practice are you looking for? There are lots of spiritual places in India – all very different…

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David February 19, 2017 at 9:53 am

Hi interesting and informative articles,I am thinking of travelling more or less the route you suggest but starting Delhi and heading south, apart from the culture shock of Delhi first, any other reasons for going south to north? Many thanks for all the tips and advice.

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Anna February 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

Hi David, glad you liked the articles – the reason I suggest to start in Kerala is mainly to minimize the culture shock and challenges of traveling in India for first timers but of course there’s no reason why you couldn’t start in Delhi and work your way down South. In fact, some people who start their trip in Kerala or Goa like it so much that they get stuck there for the whole trip! Hope you have a good trip whichever way you decide to go 🙂

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Thomas April 10, 2017 at 9:56 pm

In the middle of planning a RTW trip and love this itinerary. Plan to be in India for 60 day e-visa though so have to shuffle some things around. Is the below route too ambitious?

Mid November fly to Kochi

Alleppey-Kochi-Ooty one week
Mysore-Hampi one week
South Goa-North Goa one week
Mumbai-Aurangabad one week

Fly to Varanasi

Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur one week
Udaipur-Jodhpur one week
Jaisalmer-Bikaner one week
Amritsar-Delhi one week

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Anna May 9, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Hi Thomas, your route and timing seems ok but it’s always better to take it slower if in doubt – it’s not enjoyable to rush India. Hope you have a good trip 🙂

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Amrita April 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Certainly, you have rendered very good information for the keen visitors who want to experience this wonderland.

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Anna April 22, 2017 at 10:54 am

Thanks Amrita 🙂

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Richard April 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

I am currently in Munnar, looking to get to Mysore but stuck at a bit of a loss of how to get there.

Would the best option be an AC bus; that would take about 8 and a half hours from Kochi. (Maybe stay for one night in Kochi again to break up the journey from Munnar)?

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Anna April 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

Hey Richard, hope you’re enjoying Kerala. Yes, it’s best to go back to Kochi it will be easy for you to get a decent bus there to Mysore. I think it’s always best to take it slow and try to not to cram too much in so spending a night in Kochi is a good idea while you sort out the bus. There are lots of cheap and fun hostels there too http://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-best-backpacker-hostels-in-kerala/ Happy travels 🙂

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Liam Parkin April 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Hello Anna,

This information is very helpful! I am planning a 4 month trip with my brother, we have not traveled like this before so thank you for all the info. One thing which may be hard to answer, I realise its a sliding scale but how much would you budget in broad terms for the 3 month trip above?

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Anna May 3, 2017 at 9:21 am

Hi Liam, glad you found it useful 🙂 You can backpack India for 1000 Rupees a day but expect to spend more if you like nicer hotel rooms, ac transport and eat Western food. I would budget for at least 40,000 Rupees. I wrote some more posts about the cost of traveling India that you might find useful – http://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-average-daily-budget-for-backpacking-in-india/ and http://www.global-gallivanting.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-backpack-in-india/ Hope you have a great trip! 🙂

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Jake May 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Hi Anna,

I have roughly 10 weeks in India but I am restricted to flying in and out of Delhi. Do you think it could be a good idea to do the golden triangle and then fly down to Kochi from Delhi or somewhere up there and then follow the itinerary you have (which I love btw) back up. Based on your estimated days I might even be able to fit a little time up further north doing a Himalayan loop. What do you think?

I will be travelling by myself as an experienced male traveller, but never to India.

Cheers
Jake

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Anna July 16, 2017 at 10:13 pm

Hi Jake. Glad you liked it – the reasons why I saw do Kerala first is because its less hassle than the golden triangle but you could do it whatever way you feel and it depends on how fast you like to travel and what time of year if you want to do the Himalayas too but with 10 weeks you should have enough time for most of it if you travel quite quickly and don’t get stuck in somewhere like Goa for a couple of weeks which is what seems to happen to many backpackers. Hope you have a great trip 🙂

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Allanah May 31, 2017 at 5:42 am

Hi Anna
I have been following your blog for a long time, and we have finally decided to come out to India . We were about aprehensive as we slightly older single ladies so we were going to take a tour but who knew you could be to old for one backpacking tour and to young for another 😀 , so coming across your suggested route has inspired us with a bit more confidence coupled with the fact we met two very sassy ladies from Bombay yesterday we are going to go it alone
My questions arewe will be starting beginning of August in Kerala ( as we are in Srilanka till end of July ) so traveling in the monsoon is it going to be possible to get around easy , as low season etc ? And do you have any idea if you have to have an outward flight to get in as we wanted to cross into Nepal in October by land.

Ps how much is a chai latte fee for your very helpful blog 😉

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Anna July 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Hi Allanah. So sorry for my delay in replying, I only just saw your comment! 🙁

I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling inspired to visit India and Sri Lanka. That’s kind of funny about the tour but good that you are feeling confident enough to go it alone and its easy to get local tours or hire a car and driver along the way if you don’t want to take the bus all the time and want a bit more comfort.

In August monsoon may make it a little more difficult to travel so allow a bit more time but everything will be green and lush.

Regarding the outbound flight, it depends what visa you have – if you have an e visa I think you are required to have an outbound ticket when you arrive but many people cross into Nepal overland so you can just explain thats what you are doing and it might be OK not to have one.

And feel free to donate whatever you feel my advice has been worth 🙂 sorry for taking so long to respond – I hope you have a great trip!

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Oliver June 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Hey Anna! Thank you so much for this guide, it is very helpful for someone who is planning his first trip ever to India like me.
I am still unsure about when exactly I will find time to travel to India. From what I’ve read so far, the best time to go is November until February but I might not find time then. Are the summer months not at all a good time to travel India in your opinion? I was thinking to do the first part of your itinerary (Kerala to Bombay) in the summer months next year, probably July/august. Do you think it would still be a good time to go?
Best wishes

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Anna June 23, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Hey Oliver glad you liked the article – to be honest June- August are the monsoon months and I wouldn’t really recommend traveling India at that time – heck out these posts about traveling India in monsoon for more – http://www.global-gallivanting.com/where-to-travel-in-july-and-august-to-avoid-monsoon-in-india/ http://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-visiting-goa-in-monsoon-season/

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Maria July 5, 2017 at 2:07 am

The article is perfect. I love it

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Anna July 16, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Thank you 🙂

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Aaron July 26, 2017 at 6:56 am

Hi Anna,

Your article has planted a seed in my find that continues to grow!!! a one month trip very quickly has become three now!

just a quick question on climate. the best time of me to travel next year is end of feb to end of may. travelling from south to north do i miss most of the extreme heat/monsoon over that period? i am australian so heats is ok for me although i imagine northwestern australia is a much dryer heat than i would experience over there. thankyou again for your article, now i just have the dubious task of saving and counting down the days haha

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Anna July 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Hi Aaron

So glad to hear that your feeling inspired to visit India and yeah, you def need more than 1 month theres so much to see and its such a diverse and fascinating country!

Feb and March are great times to travel in India. April and May are getting a bit hot and humid and by June the monsoon rains start. However, Feb can even be a bit chilly in North India. To make the most of the weather I would start in South India in Feb, March will be good for Rajasthan and in April and May head up to the mountains – places like Dharamshala, Manali etc thats the ideal time to go there.

Hope you have a great trip!

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Stephanie August 22, 2017 at 5:55 am

Hi Anna, I am just in awe of you posts. You have quite the flair for writing! Question for you about traveling in December. I’m thinking about a one-month trip, so either the southern route or the northern route. 1. Is an AC train really necessary this time of year? 2. Do overnight sleepers need to be booked as soon as the tickets open – so 120 days prior? 3. Do you think other logistics like train and accommodations need to be booked very early? I prefer to just take it a day at a time so I am not constrained if something more interesting comes up, but I’ve heard the high season is just too busy to not book early. Thank you in advance for your help.

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Rajat Sharma October 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Hi Aaron
I am also fascinated after watching that how passionate you are about your dream traveling…..so, i am inspired from you. Such a beautiful itinerary you posted above. thanks to you keep up the good one. I also created something curious about India checkout it plzz……thanku
http://worldswonderfulplaces.com/best-places-to-visit-in-india/

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Anna October 31, 2017 at 8:03 am

Thanks Rajat 🙂

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Rajat Sharma November 17, 2017 at 3:53 am

Welcome Anna….are you Indian

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Matt Pitt November 8, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Hi Anna, thanks so much for this inspiration of a route. We’ll be doing roughly the same but in reverse in March Here’s our blog about why: https://pitttraveling.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/1-year-on/

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Anna November 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Awesome! Glad you found it useful 🙂 Hope you have a great time

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Maggie November 15, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Hi Anna!!
Thank you SOOO much for all of this information and for linking everything throughout the article–it was super helpful.
I’m going to India for a 200 hour yoga teacher training for the month of May. My plan as of current is to get there a week early and fly into Delhi. Check out some stuff around there, then take the fast train to Agra for the Taj and some other sites, and then train to Rishikesh for my training.
I will only have about a month, maybe 6 weeks after my training to do traveling. I’m wondering what you think would be best? After reading about Hampi, I know its a place I MUST go as well as Goa! I’m curious what you think the best travel ways would be?

Thank you so much in advance!

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Paresh January 10, 2018 at 5:33 am

Thank you Anna for writing so well about my country. Hope you visit again n again 🙂

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Anna August 27, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Thank you! I love India – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited now! 🙂

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Andrew January 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

This is very nicely done recommendation. The Jaipur-Agra-Delhi-Varanasi route are especially essential. I’d really love to check out the Northern India though, so with limited time, I’d probably aim for something along this line Amritsar-Srinagar-Leh-Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Udaipur-Jodhpur-Jaipur since there are direct flights between Amritsar/Jaipur and Singapore where I’m based at.

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Manjit Singh February 25, 2018 at 4:23 am

You are not just a good writer but a wonderful photographer too. Hope someday you will like to write for us too.

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Anna August 16, 2018 at 9:49 pm

Thanks so much!

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Sierra Sonene Donnelly May 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm

wow I think this blog just saved my life, I would have had to research for hours otherwise to find all this information. BLESS YOU

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Anna May 13, 2018 at 7:33 pm

Thanks so much! Happy to hear that its helped you. Enjoy your India trip! 🙂

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Himakshi June 20, 2018 at 8:27 am

Where is north east? India isn’t complete without northeast..

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Anna June 26, 2018 at 8:42 am

Hi, I didn’t put North East on this post because you need permits and its off the typical tourist trail for most first time India visitors but I have been twice and written many posts about this amazing place https://www.global-gallivanting.com/category/india-2/north-east-india/

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Niclas July 19, 2018 at 4:37 pm

Absolutely amazing guide on traveling India! So much useful information to use on a trip visiting this marvellous country! I will definately be using some of your advice 🙂

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Anna July 20, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Thanks Niclas! Glad its been useful for you 🙂

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Alexandra August 19, 2018 at 9:03 am

Hello, I am planning a RTW trip and this itinerary is AMAZING. I’ve looked through several and this one is the most helpful and I believe is best for someone who has limited time to visit India but still capture the highlights. I have a few questions haha so please bear with me for this long comment. I am a solo female traveler, but don’t have too much experience YET. Do you think this route would be safe for me? About how quick would someone be able to go through this itinerary but still enjoy it? Also, about how much would this trip cost for a backpacker on a budget? Again thank you for this itinerary.. its awesome!

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Anna August 23, 2018 at 11:13 pm

Hi Alexandra

Glad you liked my itinerary. You could probably do it in 2 months but it would be a rush and India is stressful when you rush. 3 months would be better.

India is a challenging place to travel – especially for solo females – its best if you have travelled some other places first like Southeast Asia although nothing can ever really prepare you for India but I’ve been traveling and living here for years now and don’t feel unsafe as long as I’m sensible. Read my tips for women traveling in India – https://www.global-gallivanting.com/safety-tips-for-women-traveling-in-india/ https://www.global-gallivanting.com/my-experience-and-tips-for-backpacking-india-alone-as-a-solo-female-traveler/

My budget and costs posts might help you too https://www.global-gallivanting.com/the-average-daily-budget-for-backpacking-in-india/ https://www.global-gallivanting.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-backpack-in-india/ A good backpacker budget for a month in India is £400 – £500 so for 3 months £1500 should be plenty.

Hope you have a great trip!

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Alex August 19, 2018 at 9:08 am

Would you happen to know if there is a spot in this route or along the way where I would be able to find a spot for Vipassana meditation, or the 10 days of silence and meditation? Thank you

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Anna August 23, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Hi, there are lots of places for meditation in India (check this post for yoga and meditation https://www.global-gallivanting.com/best-yoga-meditation-retreats-india/ ) There is also a popular Vipassana center in Jaipur http://www.dhamma.org/en/schedules/schthali Hope you have a good trip! 🙂

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Richa August 25, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Hey Anna, looks like you really explored India. Very detailed guide you have out there 🙂 I am glad you went beyond the touristy ‘Golden Triangle’. Next time plan to visit the North East of India. The Seven sister states are absolutely mesmerizing. For the spiritual side of India, consider visiting Varanasi and for architectural marvels the Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh.

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Anna August 27, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Thanks Richa 🙂 Yes I’ve been to North East India twice now its such an amazing, unexplored and unique region. You can check out my NE India posts here – https://www.global-gallivanting.com/category/india-2/north-east-india/. Varanasi is one of the most fascinating places too and I’ve spent alot of time there – https://www.global-gallivanting.com/essential-varanasi-travel-guide-best-places-visit-eat-stay/. I’ve also been to MP a few times as well and Khajuraho twice https://www.global-gallivanting.com/khajuraho-travel-guide-best-places-visit-eat-stay/ and loved it but I didn’t include it on this itinerary as its a bit out of the way – its so hard to decide on the perfect itinerary as there are so many places to see in India that it would really take a lifetime to see it all.

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Lauren September 7, 2018 at 9:21 am

Thank you so so much Anna for sharing this. I am planning to get to India solo the end of this year but I was feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning as there is just so much to see and do! This looks like such a great route, your saved me so much time! Thank you again x

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Anna September 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Lauren – awesome to hear this! Yes, its hard to decide where to go in India! I’ve got lots of India travel tips on my blog – I hope they are helpful and hope you have a good trip. 🙂

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Sneha November 16, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Great article, it’s important to show both sides of India one where locals are more than safe and you have to have your guard just as up as anywhere and at the same time it can be intimidating. I think in terms of getting value for your money India is right up there 🙂

https://indiasomeday.com/en/article/backpacking-in-india/

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Sumit Sharma February 15, 2019 at 10:14 am

That’s a perfect post for someone new in India. Bookmarking it right now. So it be helpful later.

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Anna March 4, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Thanks so much 🙂 glad it’s helpful

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Swatantra Chauhan March 11, 2019 at 7:53 am

Even helpful for Indians too.

Thanks Anna

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Anna April 21, 2019 at 2:09 pm

Thanks! glad its helping Indian’s discover their own country – its one of the most amazing places on earth after all! Happy Travels 🙂

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Sumita Anand March 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

This is an amazing piece of information. It is best to call it as a online travel guide meant for India. I loved the travel options !!

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Anna April 21, 2019 at 1:42 pm

Thanks Sumita! Glad you liked it! 🙂

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Chitra Pandey April 21, 2019 at 5:14 am

Nice blog. You share a grateful information about travel in India. Thanks!

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Sandhya May 29, 2019 at 12:18 pm

You are never ready for India. But the good thing is, India is always ready for you, Amazing.

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Anna June 1, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Excellent quote! Love it – totally agree 🙂

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Riya June 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm

Thank you so much for this great post

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Nidhi June 20, 2019 at 8:38 am

I regularly read your blog and you put useful information.

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Riya June 25, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.

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Nidhi June 25, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Really very nice post, Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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Nirav December 23, 2019 at 9:17 am

Thank you so much for sharing an amazing blog with us.

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Canis March 12, 2020 at 4:59 am

Thanks for a wonderful review, Anna! I shall definitely consider going to some of these places (though I might draw a limit on the backpacking!)
Oh, as of today (12 March 2020) India has suspended all visas until 15 April (amy be extended) due to the Covid-19. FYI
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/coronavirus-impact-visas-to-india-suspended-till-april-15-2193382?pfrom=home-topscroll

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Rezmin January 19, 2021 at 12:52 pm

Thanks for sharing the info helps me a lot in curating the places to visit, will surely visit the following places listed in the blog. The itinerary is very elaborative which gives a very detailed picture of how to plan a perfect trip. Thanks

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Himachal April 3, 2021 at 6:47 am

Really very nice post, Thanks for sharing this information with us. I really Impressed to read this article it’s really helpful for all Indian travellers

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Khasab March 15, 2022 at 2:39 pm

This a significant fascinating site page I should say. Some stunning article with incredible data.

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