Our Guide to Travel in India
India is such an enormous continent so where do you start if you want to plan a trip there? What are the best places to visit in India? Of course, that’s a difficult question to answer because it really depends a lot on what you like to do when you travel. Are you looking for historical monuments, great food, cultural interactions, spiritual discover or simply beautiful beaches and a place to relax? Whatever you desire, India can probably offer it. It’s a country as diverse and varied as it is huge which, of course, makes it even harder to pick an itinerary for 2 or 3 weeks!
When I planned our trip I started by reading as much about India as possible. I looked at lots of organised tours and trips online and shortlisted the ones which appealed to me. Then I used those to draw up an outline schedule of where we might go. Basically, I ended up with 3 months worth of travel ideas so then I needed to shorten it somehow. Eventually, I decided to restrict our trip to Northern India apart from Mumbai. Why Mumbai? Well, I watched a tv documentary on Mumbai recently and just really wanted to visit. It looked so fascinating. Also, Mumbai is a great place to fly out of so that settled that.
We started our trip in Kolkata. For two reasons. Firstly, the connections to the British Raj and its colonial history really fascinated me. I love history and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see this city which was at the centre of British Indian history for so long. You can read a detailed account of our time in Kolkata by clicking on the image below.
Then we travelled by train to Varanasi. Again, I had good reasons for wanting to see this city. I studied Geoff Dyer’s amazing postmodern novel, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi when I did my Master’s degree. His portrayal of Varanasi was both enticing and rather scary but he painted a picture of the city as somewhere I needed to see for myself. So Varanasi was on the final list. Find out more about our sightseeing experience in Varanasi via the following image link.
From Varanasi, we took the train to Delhi, the capital of India. Delhi is another city with close ties to British history but it also has monuments from a much earlier era. This was a city at the heart of the Mughal Empire and its legacy remains in many historical sites throughout the city. Take a look at what Delhi has to offer.
Next, we headed to Agra, famous for the Taj Mahal. Our morning train was full of excited tourists as we all headed to this iconic monument. Before we went I read a lot of negatives about Agra and I wondered what we’d encounter but I found it an amazing place. There is so much more to Agra than simply the gateway to the Taj Mahal.
Next, we took the train to Jaipur, India’s Pink City. This is another city brimming with history. Outside the city, you can visit some stunning forts, perched high up on the hills. The red and pink sandstone buildings within the historic centre are a big draw for tourists and we were no exception.
We really loved Jaipur. It’s a fascinating city with so man beautiful and historical places to discover. Amber Fort, perched high on the hill just outside the city is an amazing sight. You can read all the details and see our photos in my Jaipur post, just click below.
Finally, we finished our tour of India with a stay in Mumbai. So different from the other cities we visited in India, Mumbai is a more modern metropolis. Public transport is busy, chaotic and a tourist attraction in its own right here. Technology companies abound, new tall buildings create a modern skyline and there’s a buzz about Mumbai. Here the future of India seems so positive. It’s definitely an up and coming place.
We had a great time exploring Mumbai. To find out my recommendations for top sights to see in Mumbai click here or on the image above.
The best places to visit in India
So, did we manage to visit the best places in India? We certainly had a fabulous trip and made some amazing memories. I think we enjoyed a great first-time tour of India although I appreciate that there is a lot more to see. Everywhere we went to in India we met people who were on their second, third or even more trips to this incredible country. That’s the thing about India. It’s so large and so diverse it’s hard to say what the best places are. What I can say, is that it’s definitely worth visiting. I think we made some good choices for a first trip but next time I plan to get out of the cities more and discover rural India. So watch this space!
Lastly, one of my favourite travel quotes from one of my favourite literary critics, Susan Sontag. It’s a great philosophy to have in life if you ask me!