In two weeks through northern India as a backpacker
Admittedly, two weeks for India isn’t really much and you won’t see everything of northern India in the two weeks. But let’s be honest: even I (and I’ve been living in India for over six years by now) haven’t visited all corners of India yet.
But two weeks is enough to experience the diversity of northern India and to visit the most important places and get to know the country and its people.
The following itinerary is a good combination of cultural sightseeing, scenic diversity, spiritual experience, culinary delights, physical activity and the must-see of the Indian north. There is not much time to catch your breath, but a trip to India is not a relaxing holiday anyway.
You will probably land in Delhi in the middle of the night. Delhi is admittedly not the ideal starting point for a trip to India, so if you want to invest a few extra euros, fly straight to Chandigarh and take the train to Haridwar from here. Because noisy, dirty and crowded Delhi can be overwhelming, especially right at the beginning of your trip.Oganise a pick up by your hotel and take the train to Haridwar in the next morning, from where you will travel either by bus or taxi to Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a small spiritual place at the Ganges. Here the holy river leaves the mountains and around Rishikesh it is hilly and green and the Ganges still nicely clean.
There is not much to visit here, but you can experience it all the more! Whether it’s participating in the evening fire ceremony at the Ganges, watching the sadhus taking a holy bath or attending a yoga class in one of the many yoga ashrams or schools. You can also go on small hikes, swim in the Ganges, visit the former Beatles ashram and go for rafting tours.
The night bus takes you to the Dalai Lama’s residence in Mcleod Ganj in the Himalayas. Admittedly, the bus ride is not the most comfortable, but you save a valuable day of travel.
Mcleod Ganj is a relaxing place at 1800 meters with nice cafes run by exiled Tibetans, surrounding villages and a relaxing mountain atmosphere. The visit to the Dalai Lama Temple and the Tibetan Museum is worthwhile. Otherwise I recommend a day hike up to Triund at 2800 meters. If you have more time, you can also extend the hike to a multi-day trek.
A comfortable Volvo bus takes you from Mcleod Ganj to Amritsar to the Golden Temple of the Sikhs in just 5 hours in the early hours of the morning.
The remaining afternoon is enough time to visit the temple complex with the large kitchen and dining room. Every day, thousands of pilgrims are served here free of charge around the clock, and travellers are also cordially invited to dine here. Depending on the schedule and trains, you can either continue to Agra on the same night or you sleep in the temple complex or a hotel and take the train in the early morning.
In Agra, you should only visit to the Taj Mahal and then quicly move on by night bus or train to Jodhpur. Please plan one night in Agra at the most.
Jodhpur is a small town in Rajasthan with an impressive fort and blue painted houses. It’s fun to stroll through the city, visit the markets and get an impression of the Maharajas’ time while visiting the fort.
From here you will continue by overnight train or bus deep into the Tharr desert to the fortress town of Jaisalmer. The yellow sandstone fort is actually still inhabited by people and you can get accommodation in the fort itself. In addition to a walk through the old alleys of the castle and a visit to the old Jain temples, a overnight trip deeper into the desert to the sand dunes on the back of a camel is worthwhile. Here you sleep in the open air and the camel guide cooks simple Rajasthan dishes on an open fire while you enjoy the sun set.
The next day return to Jaisalamer and take the train back to Delhi (overnight). Either you visit the capital of India in a day or fly straight back home.
After these two intense weeks in India, you really experienced something. If you have more time, you can also do the same trip within three weeks and spend a day or more in one place.
The only difficulty: Due to the many train journeys, this journey must be planned (far) in advance, so that the trains can be booked, otherwise they will be booked out weeks in advance.
Chalo! Travels is happy to help you planning and organizing this trip and also can organize a tour guide.