Not sure where to go? Try one of these common itineraries to take on your own, or mix and match destinations to plan your own independent trip.
1. Rajasthan Itinerary
Approximate Time: 3 Weeks
Delhi - Jaipur - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Bikaner - Fatehpur - Delhi
Traveling through the cultural north in India is a truly unique and enchanting experience. Most trips to the area begin in the chaotic city of Delhi. Allow yourself a couple of days to explore the city. If you've never traveled to India before then these first few days may be filled with some apprehension and intimidation, but you'll quickly realize what a friendly and welcoming country India really is. From Delhi, head west into Jaipur, which is known as "the pink city." Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan and is part of the famous "Golden Triangle" in India, which also includes Agra and Delhi. It is popular with both Indian and international tourists. From Jaipur you can travel to the beautiful city of Udaipur, which sits elegantly on the edge of a lake. The city is a popular stop off with international travelers and offers every type of accommodation from extremely affordable to high end, upmarket. The city has also been the setting for a variety of movies including the James Bond movie "Octopussy". From Udaipur, continue on to the city of Jodhpur. This beautiful city sits at the edge of the Thar desert. It is striking in its appearance as many of the buildings have been painted in a distinct blue color. From Jodhpur, travel on to Jaisalmer. This city is in the westernmost frontier of Rajasthan and is close to Pakistan. A popular activity here is to visit the dramatic sand dunes. They are most striking during sunrise or sunset. After a few days in Jaisalmer, head back east spending a few days in both Bikaner and Fatehpur before returning to Delhi. You'll be amazed at how the environment and culture changes as you make your way back to the capital city.
2. Northern India into Nepal Travel Route
Approximate Time: 2 to 3 Weeks
Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Jhansi - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi
Whether you're traveling from Nepal into India or heading from Delhi toward Nepal, this itinerary offers a convenient and interesting travel route. Many people visit India and Nepal together, given their close proximity and affordability as travel destinations. Although the countries share a lot of similarities, there are also many differing characteristics that are interesting to observe. The itinerary below begins in Delhi and ends in Varanasi. From Varanasi, it is relatively easy to make your way into Nepal, although the trip can be somewhat long and strenuous.
Start by flying into the capital city of Delhi. Give yourself a few days to explore the city and get acclimated to the environment. From there, head to the "pink city" of Jaipur and then to Agra to visit the famed Taj Mahal. From there move on to Jhansi and then Orchha, which has a rich history that is still evident today. After Orchha, make your way to Khajuraho, with its many Hindu and Jain temples. Your last stop in India is the religious city of Varanasi. It sits on the banks of the Ganges River and is a spectacular sight worth visiting. Many Hindu pilgrims make the trip to this city to worship at the banks of the river.
3. Southern India
Approximate Time: 2 Weeks
Cochin - Wayanad - Mudumalai - Mysore - Mamallapuram - Madurai - Thekkady - Cochin
A trip through Southern India is culturally rich, stunningly beautiful, and a culinary delight. Many visitors to the area choose to begin their trip in the city of Kochi. This city has a long and rich history. This itinerary follows a loop so visitors can plan to explore Kochi for several days at either the beginning or the end of the trip. From Kochi you can travel by train to the Wayanad region. This is one of the most scenic parts of Kerala as it has many rolling hills that are covered in rain forests as well as tea and coffee plantations. You can visit the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and enjoy nature trails, as well as the Edakkal Caves. From there continue on to the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of the most important refuges for both elephants and bison in India. It covers 320 square kilometers and is an impressive place to visit. Your next stop will be Mysore, which offers a variety of markets as well as the Mysore Palace. This is also a popular destination for tourists who are interested in doing a yoga retreat. Continue on to Chennai and then visit the small town of Mamallapuram where you can see the 7th century Shore Temple. This temple is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. From there visit the town of Madurai which is filled with temples. The most impressive is the Meenakshi Temple. Then head to the spice capital of India, Thekkady. A quintessential part of of a trip to Kerala is a backwaters homestay. This allows you a unique cultural experience in a beautiful setting. Make sure you plan and budget enough time to enjoy this unique experience during your trip. Finally, head back to Kochi before catching a flight home.