I am going to India for 4 weeks in December/Jan. We fly into Delhi and out of Mumbai and would like to see some of Rajasthan, as well as somewhere mountainous and a week down in Goa. Do you have any recommendations on itineraries and highlights?
I’ve only been to Goa (and Mumbai), and these are my favourite things there:
1. Old Goa – the old capital, surrounded by jungle, that’s full of fascinating, crumbling Portuguese churches and cathedrals. It can get pretty busy, so go early in the day and not at weekends.
2. Anjuna flea market – jewellery, clothes, music, food stalls, people, people, people. We didn’t buy much…it’s more of an “experience”!
3. Beaches – Goa’s beaches are huge, and the sea can be quite rough and tumble, perfect for body boarding. Think we spent far too many hours doing this. But the water can also be nice and gentle; we went dolphin-watching on a peaceful morning – was amazing.
4. Relax – after the rest of your trip you might want to just relax (maybe practice a bit of yoga?!). Goa, with its chilled out beach huts, is a good place for that. Or party in Anjuna, whatever takes your fancy.
We also took a train inland to Hampi, in Karnataka, which is a nice little village. Surrounded by huge, film-set-esque boulders covered with monkeys, it’s near the atmospheric ruins of Vijayanagara (once the largest city in the world). The journey there on the train is part of the fun; I’d definitely recommend a hop over there if you can squeeze it in.
I’m sure you’ll get some tips on the rest of your trip from others on the forum. Our next India book, the 9th edition, is coming out in October (just in time for you!), and our authors are v experienced and full of great advice. Hopefully that’ll be helpful, too.
Have a wonderful time.
The best thing I did in India was to take the train up through the Himalayas from Kalka to Shimla. You get amazing views, and they stop at local stations to get food and chai on the way. It’s fun watching the monkeys in the trees too. The train itself is an experience, it has old armchairs and framed pictures on the wall. Shimla itself is an interesting place to visit. But the best thing by far, is the views of the mountains on the way up/down.
We met a lot of travellers on our trip and almost every one said that Udaipur was the best place they visited – I hope to go back there one day!
Okay, bear in mind that 4 weeks is a short time to visit a vast country, so don’t spread yourself too thin.
If your priority is Rajasthan, I would leave Goa to be honest.
When you fly into Delhi, do yourself a favour and give yourself a couple of days just to settle and acclimatise. The heat, culture shock and food can hit you like a ton of bricks. Then after exploring Delhi for a few days, head down to Agra for the famous Taj Mahal. An absolute must see.
An interesting side trip from Agra can be Kajuharo. A fair distance away and a bit of a pain to get to, but worth a couple of days to see the UNESCO heritage site of ancient temples filled with sculptures of the Kama Sutra!
After a few days there head to Jaipur for at least 3 – 4 days. (Delhi – Agra – Jaipur is known as the golden triangle).
That is two weeks already with travel days. (Don’t underestimate the distances in India, or the flexibility of timetables!)
That leaves you two weeks to see Rajasthan and get down to Mumbai. So I would split most of those two weeks between Jodphur or Jaisalmer and definately Udaipur.Leave yourself time to maybe do a desert trek, a horse trek, a cooking class or other activity.
Then spend the last day or two in Mumbai. You don’t nee much more than that there, but you will need a full day to get to it on the train!
There’s your four weeks, all wrapped up, a little rushed, but you get some good highlights in there!