Two week travel routes for North India

Looking at visiting North India? Can’t get more than two weeks leave for it? Don’t you worry as this article outlines multiple two-week travel routes/itineraries that you can follow when visiting North India. We give you an overview of the routes you can follow, the highlights of each route and modes of travel that you would have to use.

In this article, we have also tried to give you the cons of each of the North India options. This is more to help you compare routes and show you what you would be missing out on should you pick another route. In general, the routes explained are moderate to quick paced trips, moving from destination to destination every other day.

We have explained an estimated budget for each route too, ranging from backpacker to luxury travellers. At India Someday, we work closely with our clients to plan and book their holiday according to their individual needs. Should you need our help or have any questions feel free to contact us.

Note: Something we tell all our guests right at the onset is that if your two-week trip can be extended to seventeen or eighteen days instead. The reason being, there is a lot to see and North India is a great value for money destination so adding in a few days will not break the bank.

Fancy a month long tour across India? Here are some travel routes.

Enjoying the views from Meherangarh Fort Jodhpur (Photo Credits) Enjoying the views from Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur (Photo Credit)

NORTH INDIA Route 1 – Varanasi, Agra and Rajasthan

If you want to visit the spiritual Varanasi, see the Taj Mahal, the deserts of Rajasthan (camp in the desert perhaps) and explore the other smaller towns in Rajasthan then this route is for you!

Photo Credits - Samantha in Saigon Photo Credit – Samantha in Saigon

Travel Route – Delhi – Varanasi – Agra – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Delhi (route on Google Maps)

Highlights of this tour

You would be visiting some amazing and very diverse places during this trip. Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It leaves you with sights and experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.

In Rajasthan, the desert town of Jaisalmer is almost like something out of a fairy tale and you can spend an exciting night in the desert. Udaipur is a charming city of palaces and lakes and Jodhpur is home to perhaps the most impressive fort in all of India.

While on one hand you follow a well trodden part on this North India tour. There are great guided experiences on offer at each of these stops, insightful walking tours, old city cycling tours, food and yoga classes to name a few. North India trips planned by India Someday would include activities that we have tried and enjoyed first hand.

Read a detailed tour explanation of this tour.

Jaisalmer Fort

What do you miss on this tour?

It is a quick paced trip to include all the cities, no stop will be more than two nights. You would not be visiting any National Parks (North India offers some great ones). For budget travellers including a stop at a National Park makes the trip expensive. Also, Rishikesh and Amritsar are fabulous towns and experiences; given a two-week time frame, you cannot include either of these two towns.

Cost of two weeks North India Tour with Varanasi

A tour like this would cost you anywhere between 500/600 (EUR/USD) per head for two weeks staying at budget places/hotels to 900/1000 (EUR/USD), if you prefer a private room and small, clean guest houses/heritage hotels. If you choose to indulge in some of the Palace hotels in Rajasthan you would spend upwards of 1800/2000 (EUR/USD) per head.

Photo Credit Rajiv Bajaj

NORTH INDIA Route 2 – Starting in Delhi, moving across Rajasthan including Ranthambore National Park

This tour is similar to the one above but does not include Varanasi. This makes the trip a little slower, fewer internal flights and includes a wildlife stop at Ranthambore National Park.  We recommend that you try to end this tour in Mumbai as you get to explore another city (entirely different from Delhi) and most international airlines offer flights into Delhi and out of Mumbai for a similar price.

Route Delhi – Agra – Ranthambore – Jaipur – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai (route on Google Maps)

Highlights of this tour

By limiting yourself to one region you would be exploring it extensively. Rajasthan is a wonderful state in terms of landscape, colour, architecture, food and hospitality. You’d visit a National Park and if you’re lucky maybe spot a tiger, have the chance to stay at some lovely heritage hotels, spend a night in the desert and visit the beautiful town of Udaipur.

What you will appreciate the most about this two week North India tour is that you do not have many internal flights. Rajasthan and all its contrasts will unfurl slowly. You can choose to book a car and a driver through the length of this tour or you can do this tour using a combination of trains and taxis.

Route variation – If you choose to not visit Ranthambore National Park, but still spend all the time in Rajasthan you could spend couple of nights between Jodhpur and Udaipur. The scenic region is home to a number of gorgeous erstwhile palace hotels. You can get to experience royalty, explore rural life and relax in a countryside setting. Let us surprise you!

Cons of this tour

Rajasthan, beautiful and interesting as it is, does receive a lot of tourists. Be prepared for that or travel in August and September, when it’s less likely to be crowded.

Note: The Ranthambore National Park is closed during monsoons, usually around mid-June to the end of September. 

Cost of a Rajasthan Tour

Despite being touristy, Rajasthan has plenty of inexpensive hotel accommodations and some lovely hostels. It would fit the pocket of a budget traveller (looking at spending as little as 350/450 EUR/USD) and at the upper end, Rajasthan has some of the most stunning and expensive hotels in all of India so you could spend above 1800/2000 EUR/USD per head if you’d rather live in luxury.

SONY DSC Amer Fort in Jaipur

NORTH INDIA Route 3 – Yoga, Trekking and the Golden temple, including Rishikesh, Amritsar and Dharamshala

If you’re a fan of trekking, yoga, a mix of nature, fitness and spirituality, you would love this route, our personal favourite. While Rajasthan explodes with architecture, it lacks good adventure options.

Rishikesh is a beautiful multi-faceted stop, it is a bit of Varanasi (the Ganges, funeral pyres, temples and Ganga Aarti), some amazing adventure sports (great white water rafting, pristine river beaches, trekking and bungee jumping) and a distinct hippie vibe that ages ago dragged the Beatles and Steve Jobs here.

Amritsar is home to the moving Golden Temple, people who visit it equal it to the experience of seeing Taj Mahal and some even place it above. Finally, you spend time in the Himalayas, in the beautiful Buddhist town of Dharamshala and beyond.

Route – Delhi – Rishikesh – Amritsar – Dharamshala – Delhi – Agra – Delhi (route on Google Maps)

Highlights of this tour

This tour is a wonderful mix of culture, adventure and spirituality. Rishikesh will immerse you in adventure, yoga and temples, Amritsar in its food, the Golden Temple and the change of guards ceremony at the Wagah Border. Your affair with nature would continue in the Himalayas, with opportunities for some great day hikes and mountain vistas.

Gallu Temple (Photo Credit – Karan Sharma)

Cons of this tour

Apart from the fact that you would be missing beautiful Rajasthan and that there is not much architecture besides the Taj Mahal and Golden Temple, we cannot think of any cons to this tour.

Note: Mid December onward the Himalayas can get pretty cold and parts of the trekking trails are closed.

Cost of a Rishikesh, Amritsar and Dharamshala Tour

This can be a very economical tour as you can take trains and buses to get between stops. As a luxury traveller, your options in terms of stay are limited. Rishikesh has the beautiful Ananda Spa and Amritsar has a few five-star hotels, but on the whole budget accommodation options are more popular. As a budget traveller, you could travel for two weeks for around 350/400 EUR/USD and at around 900/1000 EUR/USD you can stay at very comfortable hotels.

Gold water Golden Temple at it’s best (Photo Credit – Ravi Jha)

NORTH INDIA Route 4 – Delhi to Darjeeling

This tour is across the heart of India. You would visit places along the river Ganges (Ganga) and its tributaries and end your trip in the beautiful hills of Darjeeling. Gwalior, Orchha (and Khajuraho) are wonderful non-touristy stops on this tour that offer ancient architecture and a glimpse of the countryside. Also, included are the regular suspects Delhi, Agra and Varanasi.

Photo Credit Samuel Cleminca (https://flic.kr/p/hwaqp8) Photo Credit – Samuel Cleminca (https://flic.kr/p/hwaqp8)

Route – Delhi – Agra – Gwalior – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Darjeeling (route on Google Maps)

Highlights of this tour

You would be visiting a wonderful mix of touristy (but un-missable) towns and also some equally lovely non-touristy towns. A history and architecture buff will love the ancient ruins of Orchha, the Fort of Gwalior and the mesmerizing and rich temples of Khajuraho, all enmeshed in the gentle pace of rural life in India. Varanasi offers an intense spiritual experience and Darjeeling ends with nature, light treks and tea plantations.

Orchha and Khajuraho are destinations that are closed to our heart. Splendid architecture, surrounded by rural life. Both are great destinations to explore on a bicycle. You can choose to spend an extra day in Khajuraho and go on a wildlife safari to Panna National Park, which has seen a heartening increase in Tiger population in the recent years.

Orchha Palace (Photo Credit – Wikicommons)

Cons of this tour

You see none of the bigger cities in Rajasthan, the smaller towns of Orchha and Gwalior can mean virtually no other tourists, so if backpacking you may not meet many fellow travellers. You have to rely on multiple train rides for this route. Indian trains, while an incredible experience, are notorious for running late and do not have the cleanest restrooms. Not all the towns have high-quality accommodation on offer.

Note: The mountain state of Sikkim is gorgeous and it’s worth considering spending an extra week to explore the beautiful Buddhist state.

Cost of a Delhi to Darjeeling tour

As a budget traveller one can travel this route fairly inexpensively, the only trick is securing your train tickets. Expect the tour to cost you anywhere between 400/450 EUR/USD to 800/900 EUR/USD per head depending on your preferred level of comfort.

Lakshmi Temple, Orchha (Photo Credit – Wikicommons)

NORTH INDIA Route 5 – Little Tibet bound (Ladakh)

If the majestic cold mountains get your heart racing, this is probably your tour.

To quote from our blog “Ladakh is straight out of a fairy tale. A place of purple mountains where there’s something new to view with every turn the road takes. The landscape is dotted with typical white Chortens (small stupas built by locals) as you get near Leh and the views themselves are an overwhelming experience”.

Leh Ladakh, As Idyllic as they come (Photo Credits) Leh Ladakh, as idyllic as they come (Photo Credit)

A few points you should bear in mind
  • A favourable time to visit Ladakh is from June to early October. You need to wait until the snow on the high passes melts for the roads to be motorable.
  • Visiting Ladakh makes your India trip a little expensive. To save time guests usually fly one way or both ways (Leh to Delhi, or Delhi to Leh). Also, transport and accommodation are more expensive in Leh and Ladakh. Backpackers beware!

Route Delhi – Manali – Leh – Nubra Valley – Leh – Delhi (route on Google Maps)

Highlights of this tour

Incredibly beautiful landscape (like none other), charming and stunning Buddhist monasteries, warm locals and delightful villages, Tibetan food, clear mountain lakes, great hikes (but you need to be quite fit!), jaw-dropping drives and crisp mountain air. All of Leh and Ladakh is one endless highlight.

Worth the drive, Beautiful Nubra Valley (Photo Credits) Well worth the drive, the beautiful Nubra Valley (Photo Credit)

Cons of this tour

Leh and Ladakh are so remote that getting there takes time and is pretty expensive. The easiest way is to take a flight from Delhi to Leh, but that can cost a hefty sum and you may have to deal with altitude sickness as you travel from sea level to over 4000 meters.

The recommended mode of travel is by road so you gradually adjust to the altitude. However, this takes over three days. You need to take a bus to Shimla and then a two-day car ride to Leh (with an overnight halt in Keylong). Although the drive is gorgeous you also have the additional expense of the high cost of living in this area.

Cost of a Delhi – Leh & Ladakh tour

Even as a budget traveller you would spend more than what you would during a two-week tour elsewhere in India. Expect the tour to cost you anywhere between 700/800 EUR/USD to 800/900 EUR/USD per head. If you plan to fly into Leh and stay at the limited comfortable to upper-end hotels then you would spend 1500/1600 EUR/USD per head.

Nubra Valley with Double Humped Camels (Photo Credits) Nubra Valley with Double Humped Camels (Photo Credit)

Wow, you have reached the end of this article! Time to get talking about your trip to India, contact the experts and we promise you an incredible time in India.

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2 responses to “Two week travel routes for North India
  1. I would like to cover Agra, Delhi, Rajasthan, (Golden Triangle) Darjeeling, Simla, Maharashta, Kashmir, Manali