India is intoxicating. Once you set foot in the country you’ll either fall in love with it or hate it. Allow for more than several days in Delhi and the country will slowly grow on you, taking over your senses. The food, the colors, the smells, the sights are unique. For Westerners, India is a cultural shock. And a pleasant surprise.
The present itinerary focuses on Golden Triangle : Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Additionally, two days in Shimla, in north-west Himalayas, are added to the itinerary. Of course, there are plenty other options for 10 days in India, depending on which area you want to focus on. It’s certainly impossible to cover too many cities during a short stay (even if you plan to fly between them).
- You’ll fly into Delhi, because it’s typically easier to find cheap flights into the capital, regardless of which continent you fly out of. You can fly out of Jaipur or get back to Delhi for your return flight
- The choice of accommodation is budget hotels with Air Conditioning.
- Traveling by public transportation between cities is preferred.
Day 1-2 Delhi
Get to know the area you are staying in and adjust to the local time. Then, find a place to eat and try the local food . Plan to visit the Red Fort , the largest monument in Old Delhi and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
During the second day, plan to check out the bazaars of Old Delhi and bargain for interesting things and take a tour of the spice market. Visit the Lotus Temple and do some people watching at the India Gate.
>>read about the Things to do in Delhi
Day 3-4 Agra: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort
Agra is famous for being the home of Taj Mahal , one of the most photographed buildings in the world. The Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri are also UNESCO World Heritage sites. Two great Mughal monarchs transformed Agra into the second capital of the Mughal Empire and modern Agra still shows its old roots.
You can visit Taj Mahal as part of a day trip from Delhi but it’s a good idea to allow for 2 days in Agra and get to know the area better. The best way to get from Delhi to Agra is by train. The travel time is between 3 h and 4 h (Rs 83/US$1.53 one way on the express train during the day).
Day 5-7 Shimla
Get back to Delhi and board a train to Kalka and then continue to Shimla, is a popular tourist destination and the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The city is often referred to as the “Queen of Hills”, but also has superb architecture. It is is located in north-west Himalayas and is draped in trees. The summers are pleasant but the winters are cold and snowy.
The travel time by train is almost 10 h and if you choose the express train the fare is Rs 465 / US$8.60 one way. You can find the cheap(er) hotels in the Lower Bazaar area.
The Mall is an excellent area to see Victorian Architecture. Plan to take a walk, soak up the atmosphere and stop for a coffee.
Go on top of Jakhoo Hill for some excellent panoramic views of the area. Another good option for seeing the area is Jakhu Temple, located above the town.
Just 7 km from the city, you can visit Chadwick Falls, which is a magnificent sight to see especially during the monsoon. If you have enough time on your hands, you can trek in the mountains located close by.
>>read more about getting from Delhi to Shimla
Day 8-10 Jaipur
You can get back to Delhi and then catch a train to Jaipur. It takes between 5h and 6 h (Rs 74 / US$1.40 one way).
Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan , a unique part of the country. It is known as the “Pink City” due to the distinctive color of the buildings. The City Palace takes up a lot of space in the Walled City and houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. The façade of the “Palace of Winds” is a famous landmark in the city. The Amber For Palace is an impressive structure, too.
Visit the bazaar , spend some time in a garden and check out as many temples , forts and palaces you feel like.
>>read more about Getting from Delhi to Jaipur