HomeTravelHow to visit India as a first-timer

How to visit India as a first-timer

How many of you have thought about seeing India but then dismissed it as too difficult or too confronting? 

I think the main concern seems to be about the level of poverty as viewed by the rest of the world and the sheer numbers of people. 

However, it is a vast and diverse country that shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly. 

The colour and life and sheer joy of being alive is everywhere in India. 

First of all, you will not know where to look, where to focus your attention. Colour is very important to Indians. Their houses are painted vivid colours, their saris are beautiful, often woven with gold thread and shimmering in the light. Everywhere there is movement, pulsing life and energy.

And there seems to be a great appreciation of actually being alive in this country. Despite the fact that many do live in poverty by our Western standards, people smile, they chat, they embrace living with a vigour and attitude that seems to be missing here. 

Start small

Where to go and how to get there? If this is a first venture to India, I would recommend a small group tour, where the hassles of travel are taken care of. 

Driving around India is not to be taken on by the faint-hearted, and the train system, though remarkable, is also very crowded and old. Millions of Indians travel by train daily as it is heavily subsidised.

As a first trip, a journey around Rajasthan in the north-east of India would be a great place to start. This area is often referred to as the Golden Triangle, incorporating the cities of New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Udaipur. 

New Delhi is famous for its wide boulevards, courtesy of the days of the British Raj. It is home to the famous Red Fort, Qutb Minar and Humayun’s Tomb

Then on to the city of Agra, home of the romantic and not to be missed Taj Mahal, a work of wonder and romance, shimmering across the lake. Then to the city of Jaipur, with all the buildings painted pink, the colour of hospitality.

Across the state there are ancient Mughal forts, grand maharajah’s palaces, markets, Hindu temples and vistas to keep any tourist totally mesmerised.

Keeping your cool

The best time to visit this northern area is in the winter months from December through to March, when the climate is hospitable and perfect for sightseeing. Other times can be unbearably hot, with temperatures in the 40s.

Another focus for a trip could be the state of Goa in the south-west of the country. 

Once a Portuguese colony, it has a mixture of Hindu, Christian and Muslim followers. 

With its small population by Indian standards, it is a way to see India without feeling too overwhelmed. It was once on the hippy trail in the late ’60s and still has a very laid-back vibe with stunning sand beaches and a tropical climate where for months on end never rains. 

But do not visit during the monsoon, the place is awash with torrential rain, the majority of eating places are shut and the level of humidity would make most people want to shower three times a day. 

River runs through it

For those who are not faint-hearted, there is always a trip to Varanasi on the Ganges to add to your bucket list. 

The city is at the junction of three rivers, and is considered holy to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is a place where many bodies are placed on funeral pyres at the ghats (the steps leading to the river) and then sent down the river to start their journey to a new spiritual life. 

The film The Exotic Marigold Hotel featured this in one of its moving scenes.

India is vibrant, all encompassing, a place you love or hate – there is no in-between. I adore it. 

Go see it!

Have you ever visited India? Why not share your travel tips in the comments section below?

Also read: Tales from a childhood in India

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -


- Advertisment -

Log In

Forgot password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.