India is one of those countries that everyone has heard of and that arouses great curiosity to all who love to travel. Who does not know the famous phrase of ” India, you hate it or love it “. We, during our 6-month long trip through Asia, had clear from the beginning that we wanted to take advantage of the adventure to get to know this great country that everyone talks about wonders. We knew that it was the perfect time to meet him and we did not want to go home without stepping on it and without living it. And there, we decided to make our last stop before returning home. We are going to tell you all the details of our adventure through this great country, in this Travel Guide to India .
We made a route of only 20 days, a trip for free, with a very tight budget for being the end of the great trip, to more than 40 degrees daily and in low season. With hard moments, but also with really special and precious moments. It is one of those countries that teaches you, teaches you so much about life and the world, that a trip there is a learning experience. We have a great memory of our days in India, when we remember them we even get excited, and for all this it is a country that we recommend going to all over the world, it is one of those places that you have to step on once in life.
Travel guide to India
If you are preparing a trip to India, this post will serve you to know what sites you can see, how to move around the country, what to eat, where to sleep, how to get a visa … And all the advice that we would have liked to know before to go. As I always say, pay attention and take note of our particular Travel Guide to India.
What to see in India
By all it is well known that India boasts of being one of the largest countries in the world , has an area of more than 3.2 million square meters, and being the second country in the world with the largest population, more than 1,240 million population. So it is not easy to trace a route through a country as big as this one and where transportation is a bit complicated.
We only have a total of 20 days to travel this country and decided to design a route according to the travel days we had and the transportation we were going to take. Most of the trips were going to be done by train, that meant a loss of a whole day of travel between cities. We mention the subject of transport, because we know that counting on these same days and making the trip with a driver/ private driver can take more time and see more cities along the way. In addition, we also want to emphasize that when we arrived in India we had been traveling for almost 6 months in Asia, the tiredness was already acute, the budget scarce and the heat in India at the end of June almost unbearable. So from the beginning we decided not to design a route too tight for days, because we preferred to go calmly and enjoy more time in each city. And the truth is that we are not wrong.
This is how our route of 20 days of free travel through India was, we detailed the cities in which we were:
It is the great capital of the country and in it we began to discover it. New Delhi is really fascinating, a city so full of contrasts, that impacts from the first moment. Many people decide not to give importance to their routes and pass by it, but we thought it was perfect to acclimatize to this new country. We loved it and believe it is a city that deserves to be explored for a few days. We traveled it for 2 whole days at the beginning of our route and with another extra day at the end of the trip.
After the big capital, we landed in Varanasi , the most different and special place of our entire 20-day route through India. We can assure you that there is no other place in the world like Varanasi. The Ganges River , the cremations, the devotion of this country and its inhabitants, the cows in every corner of the streets, the ghats , the streets full of people, families bathing at all hours, the conjunction of life and death in the same space … What one sees and lives in Varanasi can not be explained by words or images … That is why we think it is an essential point when one decides to discover the country. We dedicate a total of 2 full days.
There comes one of the most magical moments of any trip to India, it is time to tread Agra and know the Taj Mahal . Who does not dream of seeing this Great Wonder of the World one day of his life? It is one of those wonders that deserves to be observed from any corner of the city and from any perspective. Do not forget to visit Agra and observe the Taj Mahal from every possible point, because it is something you will never forget. Besides seeing the Taj Mahal, the truth is that Agra has little more to offer its visitors. We also visit the Agra Fort and both visits can be done perfectly on the same day.
After our passage through Agra we arrived at what is known as the pink city, Jaipur. The capital of Rajasthan has much to offer travelers, so it is well worth touring it for 2 whole days, as we did, so as not to miss any of its corners. Palaces, forts with spectacular views, temples in which its inhabitants are monkeys, lakes and even cinemas with history. Jaipur is a city full of color and life!
And after the pink city, it’s time to get to know another city full of color, but this time it’s blue. Our passage through Jodhpur comes . Another beautiful place in the Rajasthan region. There we got lost for 2 whole days through its streets full of houses and doors painted all kinds of shades of blue, we toured its central market and discovered its great fort, one of the most beautiful of our route through India! And in India every place you step on surprises you more than the previous one.
In Jaisalmer , in the Thar desertand making the border with Pakistan, we decided to finish our itinerary through the country. A small town that has a walled city, unlike any we had seen before, which even seems at times a movie set, is what makes Jaisalmer special. There is no waste of getting lost in its streets, seeing its palaces, observing the life of the city from the top of those walls and observing how the sun sets on the horizon of the desert. And, one of the activities that you can not miss if you visit Jaisalmer, is to hike for a day to the desert of Thar and live the experience of sleeping on the sand and watching the starry sky. We can assure you that it is the best plan to end a trip through India.
When to travel to India?
Like any trip, you always have to pay attention to the time that is ideal for visiting India. As it is such a large country, we will tell you about the meteorology of the Rajasthan area and of New Delhi , which is where our 20-day free route traveled through India, and which are usually the areas that most travelers visit. when they have a few days of travel and it is their first time in this country.
Here we leave you what would become the four seasons of the year:
- Summer: goes from April to June. They are the hottest months, in which the thermometers exceed 40ºC daily and where the humidity is very intense. It coincides with the low season, when prices are cheaper and there is less tourism.
- Monsoon: the European summer is the rainy season in this area of India. The months of July to September are the months of most rain. In fact 90% of the rains occur at this time of year. The temperature drops a few degrees (average of 35ºC of day).
- Post Monsoon: this period goes from October to November. Two months in which the daytime temperature is usually between 35 and 38ºC, and at night it can drop to 18 and 20ºC. It is a time with really nice temperatures.
- Winter: what we might call the cool season goes from December to March. In this season, we find temperate and pleasant temperatures during the day, but at night there are areas where it can descend to 0ºC. It is the high season of this area of India, so it is the time when prices are more expensive and there is more tourism.
If perhaps there are two periods of the year in which it is less advisable to travel to India is its full summer and its rainy season. We, for example, had no choice, and since India was going to be the last country of the great trip of our lives, we visited it in its full summer and we can assure you that it was an even harder trip because of the weather. The temperature was more than 40ºC daily and there were really overwhelming moments, in which it was even difficult to breathe. For what we recommend, whenever you can, avoid traveling to this area of the country in the months of April, May and June. Although the good thing that had to travel at this time of year is that in some cities we were practically alone, in Jaisalmer, for example, we were one of the few foreigners who walked through the city; and the prices are more economical.
Visa to travel to India
India is one of those countries where it is essential to have a visa to enter the country. The advisable thing is to process the visa of India online , that is to say, to obtain what is colloquially known as eVisa and to do it in advance since it is a procedure that takes time.
For those who want to go to India and stay there for 60 days maximum , we will explain in detail and step by step how to process the visa to travel to India. But as it is a quite cumbersome procedure, we thought that the best thing is to dedicate a special post to this topic. An exclusive article about the visa, in which we will tell you where to process it, what documentation you need, the price …
Health – Travel insurance
In all travel, especially if it is a trip to Asia, there are two essential premises that we can not ignore: vaccines and travel insurance.
About the first, the vaccines, we always give the same message: do not pay attention to what you can read on the Internet, you always have to consult a professional. That’s what the Official Vaccination Centers of the State are for, and to which you can go for free, making an appointment over the Internet in a very comfortable and fast way. This is the direct link of the Ministry of Health where you will find the nearest vaccination center. When you come, do not forget to take your updated immunization record, you will have a talk with a doctor, who according to your destination will recommend a list of vaccines necessary for your trip.
The other essential of any trip is travel insurance . Never travel without insurance, because one can never foresee what will happen! We in India did not have to use it, fortunately, but during the great trip of our lives we did have to use it a couple of times. And we can assure you that in those countries of the world, when something happens to you, it is important to have a good insurance, professional and fast, that covers any problem that may arise along the way.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). If you want to consult the currency equivalence, we always recommend doing it on the XE website . We never travel without the XE APP in any of our phones, which also works offline and lets us know at any time what we are spending.
Continuing with the issue of money, you should bear in mind that only in large cities you will find ATMs that will allow you to withdraw money in cash, paying a small commission for it. Paying with a card in this country is also complicated, there are very few establishments where you can use your credit cards. So for a trip to India we recommend taking cash and change once there to the local currency (INR). But before changing, pay attention to the change of currency and study well where it is cheaper to do it.
Transport. How to move around India?
How to get around during a trip through India is one of the most important points when you set out to organize your trip through this great country. To move around India we are going to recommend doing it in 3 different media:
- Train: the train is the most used transport by the local populationand we think that it is the best means of transport speed / economy ratio. That is, it is the fastest and cheapest way to move around the country. But being also the most used transport by locals, it is important to have some foresight and buy tickets well in advance. It was the medium that we most used to move between the cities of our route, but there was also some route like the one in Varanasi-Agra that we could not do because there were no tickets left. The world of train in India is very extensive and somewhat complicated, so we decided to dedicate a special post in which we will explain how to buy train tickets and the different classes / categories that exist in trains. Very soon you will have this special post. Although we can already tell you thatA trip to India without making a trip on one of its trains, is a trip in which you will lose a great essence of the country , its culture and its people.
- Airplane: in a country as extensive as this, internal flights as a method of transportation is basic. We chose it to make the largest journeys between large cities, those in which a train journey involved almost 24 hours of travel. Flights are not too expensive and we recommend you to look for them as always in our favorite flight search engine: Skyscanner.com
- Driver / private car: this is the preferred transport for the vast majority of travelers who decide to make a route through Rajasthan. And it is not surprising, because it is very comfortable for a driver with his own car to take you from one place to another, and the price you end up paying is not that high. We had a great experience with a driver inSri Lanka and we always recommend it if the days that you have to see the country are scarce to do it for free. In our particular case, for our 20 days of travel through India, we had to dispense with this means of transport because the budget was not enough.
And after this brief and comprehensive introduction on how to move around India, we will share with you a detailed list of our transports so you can see how we moved between cities , the duration of the trips and the price of two people:
- Drive New Delhi – Varanasi : Plane / 1: 25H / 89 €
- Varanasi – Agra route : Airplane / 1: 10H / 109 €
- Route Agra – Jaipur: Train Sleeper Class / 5: 35H / 509 INR (€ 6.13)
- Route Jaipur – Jodhpur: Train Sleeper Class / 6: 25H / 498 INR (€ 5.99)
- Journey Jodhpur – Jaisalmer: Train Sleeper Class / 5: 25H / 417 INR (5.02 €)
- Jaisalmer – New Delhi : Airplane with stopover in Jaipur / 4: 10H / 117 €
On how to get around in each city, it is clear that the transport king in India is the tuk tuk . We, for example, in Jaipur, hired a tuk tuk for two days to take us to see all the points of interest in the city, and the truth is that it was a great decision since the city is very big and it takes a lot of time to go from one place to another. However, in Varanasi we were walking around and in New Delhi, in the big city, we used the subway that works wonders. But how to move within each city, we will tell you in detail in the post dedicated to each of the places.
Gastronomy. What to eat in India?
It is time to put a good flavor to this post , what to eat in India? Let’s talk roughly about the cuisine of India. Being such a large country, the variety of food is huge and varied depending on the area we visit. But we are going to talk about the most typical dishes of the area that we visited. A premise that we find in all the food of the country is the spicy, the spicy is king in all dishes. Keep in mind that even when ordering a dish without spicy, the flavor will always have that picantón touch so characteristic of the country. So prepare to enjoy a gastronomy of strong, spicy and especially spicy flavors.
These are some of the classics of Indian cuisine and you can not stop trying during your trip:
- Naan and Chapati : they would become the Hindu “loaves”. It is a perfect companion for any curry and freshly made are very good. Naan flavors are also well known (cheese, garlic …). It is one of our favorite dishes of India.
- Samosa and Pakora : they are perfect for snacks between meals . The samosas are those empanadillas with a triangular shape and the pakoras are another vegetable appetizer fried in chickpea oil.
- Dhal : it is a typical dish made with lentils that usually goes well spiced with turmeric and that almost always accompanies all meals. It would be like a lentil curry and is a classic of the country’s vegetarian cuisine.
- Paneer : this is a dish made with fresh cheese that is cooked exclusively in India and Pakistan. It has a very smooth and very rich taste.
- Currys : there are many types of curries, based on chicken or vegetables, really tasty and always accompanied by rice.
- Chicken tandoori : a delicious baked chicken marinated with yogurt, lime, ginger, coriander, cumin and many more spices.
- Chicken tikka masala : is another version of delicious and tasty baked chicken with its masala sauce, which is nothing more than a curry.
We could not finish this list of classics of Indian cuisine without mentioning the Thali , which would be like a menu composed of several small containers with a variety of dishes: chicken tikka masala, dhal, paneer and in which almost never the traditional basmati rice and chapati are missing . It’s a classic and you can not leave the country without tasting one! And we finish this section, talking about the best known drink in the country: the Lassi , a traditional liquid drink based on yogurt and that can be taken in many flavors (mango, banana, strawberry …). It is another gastronomic must of India!
Accommodation. Where to sleep in India?
The accommodation is another key point for any trip and a trip to India was not going to be less, where to sleep in India? Overall, it should be noted that the accommodations in this country are economic as in Asia in general, although the quality of these in this case is somewhat lower compared to other countries in the same continent, especially for its cleanliness. During our 20 days touring India we sleep in all types of accommodation, guesthouses, hostels in the purest backpacker style/ backpacker, hotels that were old palaces and even camps in the desert. If you travel to India in the middle of summer, as we did, we recommend you to take all the accommodations with air conditioning. It is essential for you to rest well, because the heat is really unbearable.
- Accommodation in New Delhi
- Varanasi Accommodation
- Agra Accommodation
- Accommodation in Jaipur
- Lodging in Jodhpur
- Accommodation in Jaisalmer
- Get € 25 discount on AirBnb here
As we always do, we will share with you a special post, with a detailed list of all our accommodations during our Indian adventure, with images and our experience in each of them. And while that article of accommodation in India arrives, we have left you above the direct links of all the accommodations by cities in Booking.com , our favorite hotel search engine.
And here’s our Travel Guide to India . We hope we have clarified some of your doubts prior to your trip to this beautiful country. We can assure you that a trip to India will not leave you indifferent. We would love for you to leave us your impressions or your doubts below, we will respond happily as soon as possible. Enjoy the magic of India!