This past trip has me wondering if my life calling isn’t in media, but in travel tours. You looking to travel to India? Let me know! I’m about to start my own boutique agency from my couch. Seriously… firstname.lastname@example.org
India is a massive country the spans diverse terrains, cultures, religions, languages… I could go on and on. So it’s daunting when you first try to plan a trip. Where do you begin?
Most start with the Golden Triangle – the relatively close cities of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. You get to see a major city, the Taj Mahal and a range of forts/palaces. To expand on that there are a few extra cities/locations you can tack on that are in driving distance: Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ranthambore National Park, or Pushkar. I’ve done this route three times… starting to feel really comfortable with it.
Part 2 for us, and a second trip for most, is South India – Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kerala, etc. This climate is much more tropical and the food distinct from the North (I love a good dosa!) You’ll need a flight or very long train ride to connect a trip North with a trip around the South.
side note: don’t worry about being a “tourist”. You are one; accept it. You will experience India even if you visit the major sites. India will get in your face no matter what… just throw in a few restaurants outside the hotel and get outside the tour van every once in a while to make sure. If I get my act together and really start planning for people, I would include a few trips to “normal” locations – someone’s house, the mall, a hospital – just to be able to compare and get the full picture of Indian life.
Our India itinerary
Day 1: Delhi
- Red Fort
- Old Fort
- Humayan Tomb
- The Imperial
200kms drive from Delhi to Agra; approx. 3 1/2 hrs
- Agra Fort
- Taj Mahal
250kms drive from Agra to Ranthambore; approx. 5 1/2 hrs
- Fateh Pur Sikri (A fort and shrine on the outskirts of Agra)
Day 4: Ranthambore
- Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
180kms drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur; approx. 4 1/2 hrs
- City Palace
- Amber Fort
- Hawa Mahal
- Jantar Mantar
- Shree Laxmi Narayan Birla Temple
335kms from from Jaipur to Jodhpur; approx. 6 hr
You could stop at Pushkar along the way, but an annual festival made it too crowded for us to stop.
- Osian Village Tour
Day 8: Jodphur
- Mehrangarh Fort
- Umaid Bhawan Palace
- Jaswhat Thada
Day 9: Mumbai
1 hr flight from Jodhpur to Mumbai
- There are many great things to see in this city, but we had to focus on our wedding reception that evening.
Flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru
Start drive to Mysore stopping at a few malls to wait out traffic
180 kms; approx. 5/6 hr drive due to speed bumps along route
Day 11: Mysore
- Chamundeshwari Temple
- Sri Nandi Temple
- Mysore Winter Palace (A reasonably priced hotel!)
- City Palace
Day 12: Hassan
120kms Mysore to Hassan; approx. 3 hours
- Chennakesava Temple
- Halebeedu Temple
Day 13: Chikmagalur
65mks Hassan to Chikmagalur (Serai Resort); approx 2 hrs
- Coffee Resort & Spa
- Coffee Plantation
- Tea Plantation about 60 kms away
Day 14: Bangalore
248kms Chikmagalure to Bangalore; approx 6 hours
- St. Thomas Cathedral (very intriguing for a Christian to see South Indian interpretation of religion)
- Vidhana Soudha (Government Building)
- There is much more, but we spent the time with family
The drives may seem rough, but if you’re traveling with people you like and the kind of travelers who need a break every once in a while, the tour vans give you that break while keeping you on the move. You won’t even find yourself napping that much… there’s just too much to see out the window. (That’s why I recommend a van over a tourist bus… closer to the ground, less tinted windows, etc.) Indian traffic/driving is the 8th wonder of the world 😉
One post for each city with hotel, restaurant, site information and pictures are on the way!