is it really possible to experience the true beauty of India in only 8 weeks? if not, what are your top 3 destinations that are off the beaten trail? away from the tourist ‘lonely planet’ must sees?
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Beauty being in the eye of the beholder notwithstanding, we`d have to start with what you are interested in seeing, experiencing, and when you`re planning to be there. And my top 3 might not agree with your interests – and I have been living in one of the least touristed larger cities in India for 4 1/2 years now.
And remembering that there are some 1.3 billion people, makes most paths have at least a few other footprints.
after a month on Nepal and returning from EBC we will be taking a 19 day paid for tour with intrepid from Katmandu through all the major stops, golden temple, taj mahal, Varanasi, Jaipur and ending near Rajasthan … we do know we would like to head down to Kerala for a small rice barge river tour but we do not have any itinerary in-between. we will be there from mid January til march…before heading to sri lanka.
it must be nice to have been living there fro the time you have…
we do appreciate people and culture of course, but we also like adventure and the lesser known parts of countries…so we are going to let india take us where it wants too but I am merely curious if there are some secret hidden gems others know about that perhaps are a “must see”
The obvious stop between Kerala and north would be Goa – I spend 2-3 wks a year there. Slightly less obvious, and well worth a visit is Hampi – I`ve been there several times,
Expect 3 days to see the bulk of Hampi, including the Hanuman temple that takes a buncha hours to walk up and down.
Jan-Mar is a perfect time to see either or both places.
Hampi I’d happily go back to, but Goa? Meh. Kerala is amazing though! Personally I’d maximise my time down south.
Pirate! “And remembering that there are some 1.3 billion people, makes most paths have at least a few other footprints.” AMAZING quote! I may have to pilfer it for my own writing further down the line if that is okay?
As for answering the OP’s question (sorry) no it isn’t possible. Of course it isn’t, India is so vast and wonderful it can take many visits to even see it all. However, in 8 weeks you can see a good amount of amazing sites, so what if you don’t see them all? Enjoy the ones you do see and there is always another trip!
My personal favourite site outside of the main draws such as the Taj (although it is becoming less and less ‘off the beaten track’ every year) is Khajuraho, a UNESCO world heritage site and a beautiful, serene place filled with the absolutely unique ‘kama sutra temples’.
Whilst I think it is very much on the tourist trail I think Jaisalmer and the surrounding Thar Desert are un-missable in my opinion. Camel trekking in the desert really gives you the feeling of isolation and the scenery is just breath-taking.
Next I would recommend Udaipur. Again, it is on a lot of travellers itinerary but it is also a less congested city than most in India. The palace and grounds of Udaipur are the best I saw in India. The lakeviews around the city are really quite something and its definitely worth a trip to the island of Jagmandir. I also took a cable car ride to a mountain top that gives you amazing views of Udaipur particularly at sunset.
Finally, I recommend Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Really beautiful natural countryside surroundings of this park, in which you experience through a safari. The main attraction is the tiger, where there is a few inhabiting the area.
I know they are quite touristy recommendations, but I don’t think you would be disappointed if you did them.
Have a good one!!