Beginner's guide to India: 6 top routes for your first time

18 February 2019

If you’ve always wanted to travel to India but have no idea where to start – you’re not alone. India is a huge country with way too much to see and experience all in one go. Don’t stress though. We’ve got you covered. Follow this handy guide on the best routes to suit your travel vibe.

1. The Golden Triangle

This is for the peeps who want to cram as much awesome stuff as possible in just a week or two. Travel to the three major destinations: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Kick off in Delhi with a visit to Humayan’s Tomb and the Red Fort. Don’t forget to bargain (hard) for spices, clothes, crafts and more at Delhi’s many bustling bazaars. Then head to Agra for a tour of the famous Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Next up, check out the Pink City in Jaipur. Boom! You’ve seen India in a nutshell.

2. Temple Run

You won’t have to go far to find some or other beautiful historic temple in India. But if you’re strapped for time and want to tick off the top of the list, stick to the north or south of India. Be wowed by the towering Virupaksha Temple with its intricate carvings. Check out Meenakshi Temple (contender for one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”). Plus the fascinating temple caves at Ajanta and Ellora, and Elephanta Island near Mumbai. And there’s plenty more where that came from!

3. Let’s 'Goa' to the beach

Keen for some golden sand and gorgeous waves? Head to Goa where you’ll definitely find an option that floats your boat. Take some time out from the crazy crowds at secluded Agonda Beach. For a laid-back beach bum vibe, chill out at Anjuna (and pick up some hippy gear at the flea market) or try tai chi and yoga at Arambol. Spot dolphins and get active with water sports at Benaulim. Or hang out at vibey beach bars in Mandrem, Morjim and Ashwem. If it’s lakes and waterways you’re after, head out of Goa to Dal Lake in Sringagar or paddle a canoe across the placid backwaters of Kerala.

4. Get wild

As we said, India is huge. So huge in fact, that it has 80 National Parks and over 440 Wildlife Sanctuaries where you can see some of its most beautiful wildlife. Encounter endangered Bengal tigers, black bears, Indian elephants and way, way more. Check out Ranthambhore National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park, where you have a high chance of spotting tigers chilling in nature.

Top tip: Love India? Show its wildlife some love too! Choose an ethical wildlife experience, so you can see the animals in their natural environment (rather than doing tricks or shows).

5. Get an adrenaline fix

Into all things outdoors? Then this route is going to blow your hair back. Head north to where all the action is in Kullu Valley and the lofty tops of Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh. Whitewater raft in Rishikesh. Rappel down wild waterfalls at Thane in Maharashtra. Explore beneath the mountains in Meghalaya with a daring caving expedition. Paraglide in Arambol. Or go on a camel or yak safari through the desert dunes of Rajasthan.

6. Spiritual Journey

They say a journey to India can change you. If you’re looking for a holiday to feed your spiritual side – India is your best bet. In fact, many of the world’s major religions started in India, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. Practice yoga beside the Ganges River in Rishikesh. Visit Varanasi, the city of Lord Shiva. Known as the Gateway to God, Haridwar is a must see. And check out the holy Golden Temple of Amritsar. You’ll find a spiritual journey waiting for you around pretty much every corner on your travels through India.

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