Bamboozling, chaotic, intoxicating, crazy, exasperating, wonderful, squalid, beautiful, daunting, overwhelming and fantastic, India is all these things and more. To take the travel plunge to India, first timers should follow these tips:-
1.Pick the perfect route-India packs a lot into a massive space and cannot possibly see all in just one trip. One has to think about what interests one more than the other, what will get priority over other plans. And then tailor the trip accordingly. One should plan the trip realistically and not make fake plans of going around the whole country in one go.
The classics-The most popular India tour is the all-time classic Golden Triangle. If you are short on time then you must be introduced to the top three Indian destinations namely Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. You may start from Delhi covering sights like Humayun’s tomb and the Red fort then hit Agra, touring the Taj Mahal, Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Then make most of the journey with Jaipur exploring the Pink City and the fort at Amber before returning to Delhi’s wonderful bazaars for a mad shopping spree before signing out.
Religious sites-If you are more of a God-person and into religion well you have landed on the right place. You can find temples and religious essence everywhere but you will get the bonanza more in the north and central parts. First there’s the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the beauty of Khajuraho, Konark’s rock-carved Sun temple along with Jain temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Then to have the taste of the second world wonders you may visit and not forget to visit the temples of Southern India. Here we find towering statue-covered Gopuram Towers, stunning temples at Hampi, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, the beautiful decorated caves at Ajanta and Ellora not to forget the Elephanta island near Mumbai.
Mughal Magic– If you love Islamic architecture then you must visit the spectacular monuments in Delhi, home to the red fort, the mosques and minarets of the Qutab Minar complex and Humayun’s tomb. Nearby you can revel in more graceful splendour at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra home of the Taj Mahal before exploring Rajasthan’s captivating collection of Mughal Forts including Jaisalmer the very vision of Arabian Nights Desert Fortress.
Beaches and Waterways–When you head south to the finest beaches first is Mumbai’s Chowpatty before drifting southwards towards the Sun and Sand in Goa. There are many beaches there, Arambol, Vagator and Palolem and there are the black sand beaches of Kovalam and Varkala in Kerala. Kerala is again famous for it’s meandering backwaters, where you can hire a houseboat or a canoe and let the world glide gently by. Another serene place is the beautiful Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir where you can watch the mountains rise of the mist.
Wildlife Encounters-You can spot tigers in the national parks of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan and there are these reserves allover India where exotic wildlife treasure lies like the lions(Sasan, Gir(Gujarat), one-horned Rhinos(Assam) and wild elephants(Wayanad, Kerala) and abundant bird life(Bharatpur, Rajasthan). Then there are the wild camel treks through the desert from Jaisalmer or Bikaner in Rajasthan.
Trekking and mountains–The north is a playground for adrenaline seekers with pretty much every outdoor activity imaginable on offer in Kullu Valley and the high reaches of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, from treks to skiing and white water rafting. Shimla, a classic hill station is a great place to start as is Manali still further north. Ideal trekking season is in September/October after the monsoon. To take adventure up a notch set off from Manali for the epic 2 day journey(possible from mid-June to mid-September)to Leh in Ladakh whose towering mountain peaks are crisscrossed by epic hiking trails. Rishikesh is another spot for rafting and trekking with a famous pilgrimage trail to four sacred mountain temples and more treks await in mountainous Sikkim.
Spiritual India-For religious fervor Varanasi reigns supreme, with it’s ancient funeral ghats where Hindus pay their last respects to the dead beside the sacred River Ganges. But spiritual color is splashed equally on the map of India specially at pilgrimage towns like Ajmer, Pushkar in Rajasthan or the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in Punjab.
2.Slow down-Many people try to cram too much into a visit to India. To get the best out of your trip concentrate on a few places rather than trying to kick off as many as possible.
3.Escape the crowds-India is certainly crowded with billions in it. The bustle and mayhem can be fun if there’s a festival in town but you can very easily reach the limit of saturation. But fortunately India has plenty of quiet retreats so you may plan some relaxing escapes in your journey. To keep batteries charged spend some days or weeks in a city, followed by some days in the countryside or in a small town. For inner and outer peace, head south to the backwaters and beaches of Kerala or north to India’s captivating hill stations or the valleys of Himalaya in Ladakh, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.
4.Stay healthy-You won’t want to get sick on your travel trip so you must take steps to avoid a dodgy turn. Don’t eat street food and a drink tap water and ice cream, fruits from a street vendor. You may switch over to vegan diet.
5.Keep your cool-India apart from beauty and wonders also has a reputation for touts, scams and other hassles. Keep your cool, don’t argue, have your wits by your side, be wary of taxi and rickshaw drivers. Don’t loose your head focus on enjoying your travel and you won’t regret the deal you bet.