At this point in your planning process, you’ve likely booked your flight, but you’re not completely sure what you want to see. India is a dense, highly-populated country; as a result, there is a lot packed into the space, and you won’t have the time to see it all in a single trip. While planning your vacation, think about what interests you most about the country. Is it the wildlife? Is it the religious sights? Maybe it’s the standard landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is essential to plan your trip around what you absolutely need to see, concentrating on either the North or the South. Be realistic about your time—you’ll have a more relaxing trip.
While working as a tour guide, I came to recognize four popular routes. I have the important sites listed below.
The Classics—This is the most popular route for travelers in India. It includes the Golden Triangle—Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. If you don’t mind a fast-paced trip, you can squeeze it all into a week. Your can’t-miss sites include: Humayun’s Tomb, the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and the Pink City.
Religious Tour—Whether you are personally religious or merely interested in religious architecture, India offers countless temples, mosques, and places of worship—especially in north and central India. Your can’t miss sites include: the Golden Temple, Khajuraho, the Sun Temple, the Jain temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and the temple caves at Ajanta and Ellora.
Beach Relaxation—The southern end of India is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. From Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty beach to the Goan beaches, you can’t go wrong in choosing a destination. I personally enjoy Kerala’s black sand beaches (Kovalam and Varkala) in the north.
Adventure Trekking—Northern India is mountainous and beautiful—perfect for those seeking a bit of an adrenaline rush. Start in Shimla and work your way up to Manali to experience some of the best hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting available.