Heading to India for the first time can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. A place unlike anywhere I have ever before, I am still wrapping my head around everything I experienced. So I thought I’d gather some thoughts on where to visit on your first time to India.
And with 1.2 billion people living across the country, planning a trip to such a big place can be intimidating.
Not your average ‘European getaway’, India is uniquely beautiful with some magnificent culture, but it is also crowded, polluted and a whole different way of society.
I highly recommend seeing through all the ‘warnings and concerns’ people think they know and seeing India for yourself because many of those warnings are unwarranted. There are also many affordable ways to experience India ranging from luxury to backpacking.
So where do I go?
Start with the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle describes three popular cities, Dehli, Jaipur and Agra all easily accessible in a short amount of time and give a great introduction into Indian culture.
Delhi, the largest of the three cities with 9.8 million people and second most popular city in the country, is also the capital of India. With large business hubs, embassies and consulates based in Delhi, the city feels more established in comparison to the other two.
Jaipur is the gateway to Rajasthan, ‘the land of colours’. The hues flow through the cities chaotic street traffic from the historic palaces and forts, to the old markets and into the hand-crafted fabrics.
Not as popular as other cities in India, Agra is famous for what stands here rather than the city itself. The Taj Mahal is the star attraction and rightly so. Relativity a much ‘smaller’ town than Jaipur and Delhi, Agra has 1.2 million people. Given the outstanding grandeur of the Taj, much of the rest of the town is overlooked and it isn’t common to spend more than 1-2 nights there.
A few days traveling between the three cities will give a solid introduction to India and a feast for the senses. So for your first time in India I recommend doing a lot of research and then committing to an itinerary like the one above which will give you an overview of this unfathomably diverse country.
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.