India’s simply too vast and too complex to explore in a single trip. It makes more sense to focus on one, two or perhaps three regions, depending on your time frame. The following itineraries showcase both the classic attractions and less well known gems of six distinct areas, from the icy heights of the Himalayas to the sweltering tropical backwaters of Kerala.
If you are planning your travel to India yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.
No other region of India packs in as many awe-inspiring monuments as the so-called “Golden Triangle” connecting Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Allow at least a week to complete the circuit, with a diversion south to the tiger reserve at Ranthambore if you’ve time to spare.
You’ll need at least a month to really do justice to India’s dazzling desert state, Rajasthan, or three weeks at a pinch.
The Deep South offers dramatic landscapes and world-class monuments. You’ll need at least three weeks to cover this route comfortably, or two at a rushed pace with your own transport.
Experience the contrasting landscapes of the world’s greatest mountain range with this two- to three-week journey from the northern plains to the fringes of the Tibetan Plateau and idyllic Vale of Kashmir.
Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is the launch pad for this classic trip through the tea estates around Darjeeling to Sikkim, a beautiful, predominantly Buddhist region in the lap of the Himalayas. You could cover the route in a fortnight; with an additional week, consider a multistage trek into the high country further north.
Despite its extraordinary wealth of historic monuments, the Deccan region of central India sees comparatively few visitors. The rewards for those who do make it are considerable: a succession of astonishing temple sites, crumbling tombs, mosques and deserted capitals spanning sixteen centuries of civilization. Allow at least three weeks for this unforgettable trip.