The best itineraries for India first-timers (part 1)

India has such a massive space, so you will find it difficult to see it all on one trip. These following Indian itineraries can be a great help for those who are planning to visit this country for the first time.

The classics: The all-time classic Golden Triangle is the most popular India tour. For those who have a short time, this is a perfect introduction to three of India’s top destinations including Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. If you don’t mind moving every couple of days, you can squeeze it into a week. Start in Delhi, with sights like the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, and then hit Agra and tour the Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, and Fatehpur Sikri. After that, head to Jaipur to explore the fort at Amber and the Pink City. Finally, return to Delhi’s wonderful bazaars for a shopping spree before coming back home.

Religious sites: You can find temples everywhere in India, but particularly in the north and center of the country, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice. There’s the Konark’s rock-carved Sun Temple, Golden Temple in Amritsar, the erotically carved edifices of Khajuraho, and cohorts of Jain temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Temples in the south are something different, with towering and statue-covered gopuram towers such as Madurai, Hampi, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and exquisitely decorated temple caves at Ellora, Ajanta, and Elephanta Island near Mumbai.

Beaches & waterways: Head south to enjoy the best beaches of India. Munch bhelpuri made with puffed rice, noodles, green mango and a tangy sauce on the Girgaum Chowpatty beach of Mumbai before drifting south to the sun and sand in Goa. Take your pick of the Goan beaches with top spots including Arambol, Palolem, and Vagator, or try the black sand beaches of Varkala and Kovalam in Kerala, as well as golden sand in the north of the state. Kerala is also well-known for its meandering backwaters, where you can hire a canoe or a houseboat and let the world glide gently by. Another option is beautiful Dal lake in Srinagar in Kashmir with the beauty of the mountains rising out of the mist from the walnut windowframe.