Travelling across central India from Mumbai on the Arabian Sea to Puri on the Bay of Bengal gives you the chance to see some of the country’s most compelling attractions, relax by the beach, and then fly out from Kolkata. Realistically, you’ll need a month for this route, though it could be done in three weeks at a canter.
Dynamic and exhilarating, this vast megalopolis bombards the senses with the extremes of urban India, and is an excellent place to sample some of the country’s finest dining.
A superb base from which to visit the breathtaking cave sculptures and carvings at Ellora and Ajanta. Check out, too, the city’s own “false Taj”, the Bibi-ka-Maqbara.
Hidden away in India’s very centre, this medieval temple complex is decorated with the most eye-popping array of erotica you’ll find on any religious building anywhere.
Visit the now-ruined Residency in the capital of Uttar Pradesh, where a besieged British contingent famously held out for five months during the 1857 uprising. Don’t leave without sampling the city’s succulent dum pukht cuisine.
The spiritual capital of India, and one of the oldest cities on earth, where you can see bathing and cremations by the sacred River Ganges, and watch the kids fly their kites from your terrace while monkeys scurry around the rooftops.
The Buddha achieved enlightenment while sitting under a bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, one of a trio of sacred Buddhist sites within easy striking distance of Varanasi.
Home of the famous annual Jagannath “Car Festival” (Rath Yatra), Puri is also a low-key beach resort, popular with Indian families and Western backpackers, and an excellent place to recharge your batteries.