The couple behind a blog called Worldly Nomads reached out to me sharing a video they made of their time in India. I watched the video and got goosebumps! I knew I had to show it to you guys! I asked them to tell the itinerary that accompanied the video to help you plan your backpacking trip to India.

Video | “Why I Love India”

We’re Barry & Laura, two Worldly Nomads who fell in love with the energy and passion of India! We run the travel blog Worldly Nomads and despite all our travels across the world, India captured our hearts in a way that is hard to explain. So we created this video of our time in India, and we hope this captures the essence of its unending spirit, energy and vibrancy!

Plan your trip to India- Getting started

We like to plan our trips around experiences rather than places or landmarks, so when it came to deciding what to do in India, we researched the best experiences and things to do and simply planned our route/itinerary around those! We of course make small exceptions to this when it comes to sights or landmarks such as the Taj Mahal however!

taj mahal backpacking india itinerary

9 Key Experiences Not to Miss in India 

There is so much to do in India it can be tricky to choose however for us these were the top experiences we didn’t want to miss:

  1. Witnessing life on the peaceful backwaters of Kerala on our own private houseboat
  2. Getting up close and personal with how the locals deal with life and death on the famous Ganges River in the holy city of Varanasi
  3. Celebrating the colourful and crazy festival of Holi in Rajasthan
  4. Riding camels out into the Jaisalmer desert and sleeping under the stars
  5. Exploring the amazing forts, palaces and old cities of Rajasthan, the land of Kings!
  6. Watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal
  7. Tasting (hopefully!) the best cups of tea of our life in the home of tea plantations in Darjeeling with a view of the Himalayas!
  8. Chilling out on a beautiful beach on the south west coast
  9. Oh and of course trying as many different dishes as possible! 

It sounds like a lot to fit in doesn’t it? Well with some good planning and organization we managed it all and more, and here’s the details!

sunset cropped plan your trip to india

Route Chosen for India:

After much deliberation on the best route to take in order to capture all of these experiences (some of which were timing dependent such as the Holi festival!), we came up with a plan to start in the South state of Kerala for the backwaters and beach time, then travel North all the way to Rajasthan then East to Agra for the Taj Mahal before continuing on to Varanasi and finally Darjeeling.

Quite a lot of travel you might think, which it was, but when broken up by taking a variety of transport (trains, planes & private cars) and spending a minimum of 3-4 days in most places, longer in some, it was very doable.

Detailed India Itinerary, city by city with highlights

South / Kerala Plans

  1. Fort Cochin (closest town to Kochi International Airport, our arrival spot) – 2 nights/1 day – here we loved witnessing the amazing Chinese fishing net technique – so unique and made for great pics! Other highlights were acclimatising with some full body Ayervedic massages and delicious food.
  2. Alleypey (by private taxi from Fort Kochin) – this is where we rented our houseboat for 2 nights and had a wonderful relaxing 2 days on the Keralan backwaters.
  3. Varkala beach (by taxi from Alleypey) – we spent a week relaxing here by the coast eating as much seafood as possible and absolutely loved it.

North / Rajasthan Plans

  1. Udaipur (by plane from Varkala via Mumbai) – we spent 3 nights here in the stunning ‘milk white city’ set by the lake. We would recommend this as a good starting place to acclimatise to the general intensity of Rajasthan compared to life in the South! Our highlight here was taking a boat trip on Lake Pichola at sunset.
  2. Jodhpur (by taxi from Udaipur in order to stop off at Kumbarglah Fort & Ranukpur Jain Temple on the way) – we spent 4 nights in the ‘blue city’ in order to take in the Holi Festival!
  3. Jaisalmer (by train from Jodhpur) – we spent 2 nights staying inside the Fort and 1 overnight camel trek in the desert.
  4. Pushkar (by train from Jaisalmer) – we spent 2 nights here mainly to break up our journey to Jaipur.
  5. Jaipur (by train from Pushkar) – we spent 3 nights here. Our highlight was hiring a tuk tuk for the day to tour the best forts and palaces in the city.

Central & North East India Plans

  1. Agra (by train from Jaipur) – 2 nights – highlight was watching the sunrise over the stunning Taj Mahal!
  2. Varanasi (by train to Delhi then flight to Varanasi but train is possible for full route if booked in advance) – 4 days – we gave ourselves plenty of time to soak up life on the Ganges. Read more about this here.
  3. Darjeeling (by overnight train from Varanasi then taxi) – as this was our final stop before flying home via Delhi, we slowed down and spent 5 full days relaxing here enjoying the best tea in the world and taking in views of the Himalayas which felt like the perfect end to our Indian adventure!

We’re not suggesting that this is a perfect itinerary or one you should simply follow but hopefully it provides a helpful guide as to the possible options and the places where we found our favourite experiences! You can read more about all of our highlights here.

jaisalmer plan your trip to india

India for us is a mystical, magical place full of energy and ambition. It is a place that gets up in your face and then gets under your skin. It’s brash, abrasive, intrusive, energetic, exciting and heartbreaking all in one.

Our time there was full of highs, excitement and challenges and we hope to return some time in order to try new experiences and share more of these to inspire others.