Are you planning to travel overseas to India? Your trip will be well worth it as you can explore many parts of India and make it a trip all your own. Hike snow-capped mountains, bath in the warm sea, or lose yourself in the busy city streets – the options are endless. As the seventh largest country in the world, prepare yourself to be captivated by India’s diverse and historically rich country.
The First Step is to Plan your Journey to India
With such a large country – where should you begin? If you plan to travel to India for just a few weeks, there is no way to see the exhaustive beauty and variety this country exudes.
The Golden Triangle is a popular route for first-time visitors where you can visit New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. This route is one of the most famous and world-renowned routes taken by tourist all around the world.
If you decide to do the Golden Triangle, your first stop is New Delhi, an urban bustling city that is full of life and energy! Enjoy the youthful population, the fast-growing economy and the lights on the street. Because New Delhi is the site for seven ancient cities you can find many historical monuments to visit in this capital city. Visit Rajghat where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, Lotus Temple to take in the unique architecture, and Akshardham Temple which displays millennia of Indian and Hindu culture. Visit the beautiful Indian gate that now commemorates the plight of soldiers in both the Afgan War and WWI. If you don’t get too caught up in New Delhi and have more time to spare, it is worth venturing into Old Delhi. You can walk the enclosing wall and visit the many historic gates. Stop by the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid, and if there is still time you can also visit the Red Fort. If you get hungry, take some time to go to Chandni Chowk where you can walk through the market and pick up some spicy chaat to eat along the way. It is also worth spending some time exposing your senses to new and exotic smells and flavors as you walk the Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market.
Next on the destinations is Agra which can easily be visited by a 2-3 hour train ride from Delhi. At the New Delhi Railway Station, you can catch the Bhopal Shatabdi air-conditioned train that will introduce you to the outlining areas as you eat your breakfast of eggs, bread, coffee, and tea. This train runs every day except Fridays; however, there are other trains that run back and forth if you were planning to commute between cities on Friday.
Upon arrival, there are three musts in Agra. This city features three UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Siki. The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable places in the world which is a palace built by Shahjahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaj Mahal. This palace now can be admired as a beautiful structure representing eternal love. Right next to the Taj Mahal is the Agra Fort that encapsulates history dating back to the Mughal Empire who ruled from 1526 to 1658. If you still want to see more of this architectural style, you can also visit Sikandra which is the last resting place of the Mughal emperor Akbar adorned with red sandstone and laced with red marble. If your schedule allows, you may also want to visit Itmadis-ud-daulah’s tomb, referred to by some as the baby Taj, which hosts gardens and outbuildings in the Mughal architecture. Once you are ready to continue on to Jaipur, you can take a local bus or a more express train ride that is approximately 5 hours.
Upon arrival in Jaipur, you will soon learn why this city is referred to as the Pink City. In fact, this city is the first planned city of its time – full of beautiful palaces, forts, and histooric sites. Jaipur also features some of India’s best bazaars. As the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur was under British rule so while Hindi and Rajasthani are the most common language you will find that a large number speak English. Jaipur is home to over 3.5 million people along with forts, temples, and monuments including Albert Hall, Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Lakshmi-Narayan Temple, and Hal Mahal. Do you want to ride an elephant? Now’s your chance!
If you still have time, you must simply visit Amritsar. This holy city in Punjab India dates back to 1601 and is home to a spiritual and cultural center for the Sikh religion. Within over thousands of pilgrims from all over the country, the excitement and enthusiasm in this area is breathtaking. The high energy coupled with the beautiful and elaborate Golden Temple known as Harmandir Sahib makes this city special and unique. Harmandir Sahib, which translates into holy pool of nectar, is worth checking out twice – once during the day and once at night when the temple is lit up. Be sure to arrive modest, covering your head (for females) and removing your shoes.
Step Two: Planning Your Visit to India
Make sure that you pack your bags after doing thorough research on the climate in India. Since India is a large geographical area comprising of a wide range of climate zones, you will want to look at the weather forecast in your destination. Generally speaking, there are four seasons in India: winter (January to February), summer (March to May), Rainy Monsoon season (June to September) and Post-monsoon period (October until December). This being said, the summers can be quite hot so arrive in breathable and modest clothing as you may find yourself visiting multiple temples throughout the day. If you will be doing the Golden Triangle, expect humid subtropical climate with dry winters and hot weather that can reach 90 F (or 32 C). During the winter months, temperatures can be mild at about 54 F (12 C). If you are going in the winter, you will want to pack layered clothes.
Once you have planned your journey to India, it’s time to pack your bags!
As a general tip when packing for your trip to India, you should aim to dress conservatively by covering your shoulders and legs. Most men will find that they will be most comfortable in lightweight khaki pants or slacks. Women should wear either casual pants or skirts below the knee as shorts; revealing tank tops are not recommended. A raincoat or umbrella is a must, especially in the rainy season, so that you can continue with your itinerary regardless of the weather. It is also a good idea to pack a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
One of the most important items in your bags just might be your footwear. Since you will be doing extensive walking, you should get good, supportive shoes for your trip. A good idea is dark canvas and nylon to avoid the dirt that may change your white shoes to black.
Some visitors to India also find that antibacterial soap, travel tissue pack, a small bottle of liquid detergent, mosquito nets, insect repellent are important essentials as well. Make sure that you also bring your medicine in your carry-on bag as it may be difficult to match up the medicine while in India. Think about bringing back-up medication in case you develop a cold, stomach ache, etc. in addition to any daily medication. You may also want to bring your toiletries like any hair products and roll on antiperspirants that are generally limited in India.
Before departing, many people purchase India travel insurance.
Before leaving for India, it is important to check with your current insurance plan to see whether you will be covered in India. You may find that your plan has limited or no coverage in India. If this is the case, you can purchase an India travel insurance policy that will cover you outside your home country. The Atlas Travel plan is typically recommended for short-trips as it is a daily priced plan that will cover emergency and non-emergency care including doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, lost checked baggage, trip interruption, etc. You will immediately receive your documentation on the plan via email, including your ID card, which is important to carry with you in case of emergency. This India travel insurance also provides 24-hour travel assistance including translation services if you are in a non-English speaking area. Contact one of our licensed insurance agents to assist you in finding the best-suited plan.