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How Long to Spend in India (for First Timers): Itineraries from 5 Days to 1 Month

How Long to Spend in India (for First Timers): Itineraries from 5 Days to 1 Month

By Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 30, 2022

India is an expansive destination with colorful culture, splendid palaces and temples, mountains and deserts, Bollywood, and beaches… 

But, how to arrange an itinerary to suit your needs and make the most of your holiday in India? How many days do you need in India? Here are some suggestions for shaping your India itinerary based on our extensive trip planning experience.

How Long to Spend in India

Most people spend 7 to 14 days in India.

For first timers, this almost invariably includes the classic route visiting Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur (India’s “golden triangle”), which usually takes about 7 days.

Many couple’s or family trips spend 10–14 days in India for a more relaxed pace and time for unique, fun experiences like a tiger safari. They often visit Rajasthan (5–7 days), which is known for its tiger safaris, deserts, and culture; Mumbai (2–3 days), which is famous for Bollywood; and Goa (3–5 days), a wonderful beach destination.

If you are interested in the tropical views of south India, Kerala (5–10 days) is a good choice.

For people who want to try some off-the-beaten-path routes, or for second-time travelers, regions further north (3–7 days) like Shimla, Leh, and Amritsar are good choices, which feature religion, culture, and the northwest Himalayan foothills (5–7 days).

How Long to Spend in India

India Itinerary: 5–7 Days

Taj Mahal Taj Mahal, Agra

A week is ideal for a basic India trip that covers the three most popular cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur — the golden triangle route.

Delhi, being the capital city, is usually the starting point for an India trip. There you can easily have a summative first impression of India by visiting its historical and religious landmarks and local markets.

Agra is where the Taj Mahal is — a must-see for anyone who comes to India for the first time.

Jaipur, the famous “pink city”, is best-known for its elegant architecture like the famous “Palace of Wind” (Hawa Mahal). If you don’t have enough time for Jaipur, then visit Delhi and Agra — capital city and Taj Mahal — the absolute highlights, which takes about 5 days.

A Sample 7-Day Golden Triangle Itinerary

India tour map
  • Days 1–2: Delhi
  • Days 3–4: Agra
  • Days 5–6: Jaipur
  • Day 7: Back to Delhi
Recommended Itinerary

India Itinerary: 8–10 Days

8–10 days is a good amount of time to allow you to add one more place onto the golden triangle route to discover a more distinctive side of India. 

If you are interested in India’s religious atmosphere, you could consider adding Varanasi.

If you are interested in nature or exciting experiences, then Ranthambore, which is best for tiger safaris, is recommended.

Golden Triangle + Varanasi

Some say Varanasi is the place that best represents India.

There you can observe the evening Arti (light offering) rituals, enjoy a morning boat ride on the Ganges, and explore the significance of the Ganges River to Indian people.

India tour map

A suggested itinerary:

  • Days 1–2: Delhi sightseeing
  • Days 3–4: Fly to Varanasi; Varanasi sightseeing; fly to Jaipur
  • Days 5–6: Jaipur sightseeing; drive to Agra
  • Days 7–8: Agra sightseeing; drive back to Delhi
  • Day 9: Delhi departure

If you are interested in the itinerary, check our more details on our tour page: 9-Day India Golden Triangle with Varanasi.

Golden Triangle + Tiger Safari

Tiger Safari Jeep Safari in Ranthambore National Park

India’s tiger safaris are unique experiences, and Ranthambore National Park is one of the best places to traverse mesmerizing jungles in search of the elusive Bengal tiger, as well as bears, leopards, etc.

The best times for a tiger safari are from October to June (outside the wet season). Here is a suggested itinerary:

  • Days 1–2: Delhi sightseeing
  • Days 3–4: Drive from Delhi to Agra; Agra sightseeing
  • Days 5–6: Drive from Agra to Ranthambore; Ranthambore jeep safari
  • Days 7–8: Drive to Jaipur, Jaipur sightseeing
  • Day 9: Drive back to Delhi
Recommended Itinerary

India Itinerary: 2 Weeks

Jaipur The Palace of Wind, Jaipur, Rajasthan

With a 2-week allocation for travel, you could explore deep into the western deserts of Rajasthan (or do more than one of the ideas above).

Rajasthan is one of the most visited states in India due to its incredible arid landscape, multitude of royal palaces and forts, and unique desert culture.

Many famous cities are found in Rajasthan, like “the pink city” — Jaipur, “the blue city” — Jodhpur, and “the desert city” — Jaisalmer.

A Sample 2-Week Itinerary

Firstly, start from Delhi and go to Agra for the Taj Mahal. Then set out into the desert-world of Rajasthan.

You are recommended to experience a heritage hotel in Jaipur, enjoy a camel safari in Jaisalmer, explore the blue buildings of Jodhpur, and enjoy a boat ride on romantic Lake Pichola in Udaipur.

India Map
  • Days 1–2: Delhi sightseeing
  • Days 3–4: Agra highlights
  • Day 5: Jaipur sightseeing and cooking class experience
  • Days 6–7: Bikaner sightseeing with a heritage hotel experience
  • Days 8–9: Jaisalmer exploration with a camel safari
  • Days 10–11: Jodhpur sightseeing
  • Days 12–13: Udaipur tour with a boat ride experience
  • Day 14: Back to Delhi

Rajasthan also offers some unique experiences for couples, like having a romantic dinner in a royal palace and experiencing Indian dating. If you are planning an anniversary/honeymoon trip, check out our 14-Day Romantic Honeymoon Trip in India to learn more.

If you have slightly less than 2 weeks, but still want to explore another side of India, see our 12-Day Family Holiday in India and 11-Day India Highlights and Goa Honeymoon Trip for inspiration.

You can also contact us to create your own personalized trip based on your interests, budget, group size, etc.

Check out more ideas on our 2 Weeks in India: The Best 4 India Itineraries for You (2022/2023)

India Itinerary: 3 Weeks

Tea plantation in Kerala Tea Plantation in Kerala

If you have 3 weeks in India, you could experience seemingly different “worlds” between the different regions of India.

You could spend a week to explore the golden triangle (Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur) for the most iconic experiences, such as watching a sunset over the Taj Mahal.

Spend a second week exploring the west in Rajasthan, where you could experience a heritage hotel, a camel ride, a tiger safari, and splendid forts. See our 10-Day Royal Rajasthan and Camel Festival Tour.

A further week could be used for another startling contrast, exploring south India, as you relax amid tropical views and beaches in Kerala or Goa.

For more details, you could check out our 9-Day Classic South India Tour. All our tours can be adjusted based on your needs. Just contact us if you have any questions or requirements.

India Itinerary: 1 Month or More

Group of Monuments at Hampi Group of Monuments at Hampi, South India

If you have 1 month, 2 months, or more, you are recommended to explore further north, which is full of more remote areas where you can discover India’s religions and culture as well as awesome Himalayan scenery, such as in Leh, Shimla, and Amritsar

Or you could go further south to visit some less-well-known World Heritage sites and discover the mysterious side of ancient India.

Here are some inspirational ideas:

How to Get Around India

Flying is the fastest way to travel between the major cities, like from Delhi to Mumbai, or Mumbai to Goa.

For traveling between nearby cities, like Delhi to Agra, or Agra to Jaipur, a private vehicle is the best option.

Though there are many options using trains and buses, considering the inflexibility and discomfort of the trip, as well as the time-consuming business of getting between the stations and attractions or hotels, a private car/taxi is much more efficient and relaxing.  

If you want to experience India’s train travel, you should check out our 8-Day Royal Rajasthan on Wheels Tour, which features a more comfortable train environment.

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Touring India with Us

All our sample tours can be adjusted for how long you want to spend in India, as well as your interests, group size, budget, and other requirements. To begin your India tour’s professional and friendly design, just contact us.

Here are some of our top sample itineraries again, which also make great starting points for a personalized trip:

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