India is a huge country with a lot going on. With its UNESCO-listed historical sites, beautiful natural sceneries, delicious cuisines, India can take months or years for those who want to explore it properly. However, if you only have a short vacation, it is still possible to cover some of the best experiences in India. This post provides a 2 weeks India itinerary for first-time visitors. This was my itinerary during my India trip, where I traveled most of the time with G Adventures. I had an absolute blast on this journey and I hope the information will be helpful for your India travel planning.
My experience with G Adventures was partially sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own. This article may contain affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting!
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When to Visit India
For the most part, India has a tropical climate. Unless you enjoy being a melting human, it is best to avoid the summer months when the weather is extremely hot and humid. The general prime time to visit India is from October to March during Winter. Having said this though, India does have regions with cold climate as well. Up in the Himalayas can be absolutely freezing, so it is important to research your exact destination and pack accordingly.
Getting a Visa for India
No matter how long you plan to be in India, you need to get a visa. I recommend iVisa, the easiest way to get a visa to any country. The cost of an Indian visa varies depending on where you are from. For my readers from the United States, it costs $138 USD in total. For my Canadians, it is a bit cheaper at $117 USD.
Deciding where to visit in India
For first time visitors who only have 2 weeks, it is crucial to narrow down what are the must-dos in India for you. From north India to south India, or east to west, the cultures and offerings can be very different. Are you into the historical heritage sites? Wildlife spotting opportunities? Spiritual experiences? It is very difficult to do everything in such a short span of time so choose wisely. I opted to do the classic highlights of India during my first visit. With G Adventures, we spent just the right amount of time at each destination and I was very happy with the activities we got to cover. Keep reading for my exact two weeks India Itinerary, and you can adjust the suggestions according to your interests.
Getting around in India
The best ways to get around India are by plane or train. They each have their pros and cons. Catching a domestic flight is obviously faster, which is great for saving time when you are on a 2 weeks itinerary. However, the cost can add up to be a lot if you are flying everywhere. I recommend the MakeMyTrip app for finding cheap flights in India. I was able to get a really good deal between Goa and Mumbai. With trains, travel time takes longer. However, it is cheaper and you get to see beautiful villages and vast wilderness along the way. I really enjoyed traveling by rail through western India and Rajasthan. Our train journeys were arranged by G Adventures. However, if you would like to plan your travel independently, I suggest familiarizing yourself with the different train classes and booking in advance.
Staying connected in India
When you arrive at the airport in Delhi, you will notice that there is no wifi. You cannot get connected unless you have an Indian phone number already because you need to receive a pin code to log in to the network. *facepalm This caused a headache for me when I arrived because I could not find my pick up and needed to figure out what was going on. There is SIM card available at the airport for 800 rupees. It includes 2 months of data at 1 GB a day and unlimited calling. The caveat is that it doesn’t work right away. You have to wait at least a couple of hours for it to kick in.
I recently discovered Skyroam, a mini pocket WIFI that lets the user stay connected in 120+ countries around the world. There is no SIM, no roaming, just unlimited internet! The device also doubles as a power bank so you can charge your phone. How cool is that? I really wish I had gotten my Skyroam before I went to India. Check out how it works here.
Should you join a group tour or travel independently in India?
For me, I admit I was a little intimidated to travel solo in India. I was very glad to have joined a group tour, where I had the expertise of a local guide, the company of a fun group of travelers, and overall peace of mind knowing that I was safe and being taken care of. I 100% recommend the Western India and Rajasthan trip that I did with G Adventures. If you do want to DIY your trip, not to worry. I know several travelers (including girls) who had done India independently and enjoyed the experience. Whether you choose joining a tour or doing it solo is entirely up to your comfort level.
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My 2 Weeks India Itinerary
This 2 weeks India itinerary starts in Delhi and finishes in Goa. It is 14 days in total, including days of arrival and departure. From the quintessential Golden Triangle tour to the beaches, this journeys covers a lot at a good pace. Enjoy!
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 1 & 2: Delhi
Delhi is the hub where most travelers first land in India. Right away, you will find yourself in the center of chaos when you arrive in the city. The roads are intensely busy with vehicles and animals going in every direction. It can be dizzying and a bit of a cultural shock. Take the first day to rest and adjust to the surrounding. Depending on your energy level and mood, you can opt to take it easy or start your sight seeing.
Things to do in Delhi
New Delhi and Old Delhi are quite different. It is interesting to visit both to witness the contrast. Some of the popular attractions are:
New Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb, Connaught Place, Parliament, Lotus Temple, Jantar Manta, Humayun Tomb, and India Gate.
Old Delhi: Red Fort, Jama Masjid, and Chandani Chowk market.
I highly recommend hiring a guide, whether for a private tour or group tour. It can be nerve-racking trying to figure out where to go and how to get there in a place as overwhelming as Delhi. I hired Umesh to take me on a walking tour through the markets of Old Delhi. It was great to have a local initiate me since I was so anxious. Umesh took me to some hidden spots like the rooftop of a spice market where we saw a gorgeous sunset and tried some delicious Indian street food. I also loved browsing the colorful spices and beautiful sarees being sold by the street vendors. If you want to do some shopping, a guide will be immensely helpful in knowing the best places and getting the best prices. I didn’t buy any clothes since I had no room in my luggage, but I did get a pretty henna done for cheap, thanks to Umesh’s connections. Check out Get Your Guide for all sorts of tours you can do in Delhi, like this yummy food tour.
Don’t feel like being on the go so much and want to do something more laid back? How about a day cooking and dining with a local? During my second day in Delhi, I tried Authenticook, a platform that connects travelers with home chefs in India. I visited the home of Moushumi, who lives in South Delhi. She was a lovely host who prepared a whole feast for me. I mean, the meal was EXTRAVAGANT. Read about my experience here.
Where to stay in Delhi
Connaught Place, Pahargani and Karol Bagh are the most popular areas to stay for travelers since they are so central. I stayed in Hotel Perfect in Karol Bagh, which was the starting point for the G Adventures tour. The hotel was clean, comfortable, and very close to the metro. For budget travelers, I recommend the Himalayan Hostel in Pahargani. Although I only stayed there for one night, the owner was very nice and you can’t beat the price at 750 rupees.
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 3: Agra
Home to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, Agra is a can’t miss stop on any India itinerary, especially for first-timers. The city attracts as many as 8 millions of tourists every year, and it definitely lives up to the hype.
From Delhi, it takes between 2 to 3 hours to get to Agra by the Shatabdi Express train, which is what we did on the G tour. The ride was pretty smooth and we even got served breakfast on board.
Things to do in Agra
The Taj Mahal
Needless to say, the Taj Mahal is a must see. Poised elegantly on the south bank of the Yamuna River, this ivory-white marble mausoleum is world renowned for its beauty and cultural significance. The Taj Mahal was a project by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Started in 1632, the lavish palace took approximately 20 years and 20,000 workers to complete. The 17-hectare complex includes a grande garden, a mosque, and a guest house. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This architectural masterpiece is rich with intricate details that you can marvel at for hours.
The best time to visit the Taj Mahal is either in the early morning right when it opens at 6 AM, or in the evening before 6:30 PM. These are the times with the least people as well as the best lighting for that Insta worthy shot. Our G Adventures squad showed up in the evening and got a mesmerizing sunset backdrop. I could not have asked for a better way to check off this bucket list dream of mine.
*Note: The Taj Mahal is closed to the public on Fridays. Make sure to plan your day of visit to avoid disappointment.
Did you know that Agra has several other marvellous architectural sites besides the Taj Mahal? The Baby Taj is a mausoleum built by Queen Nur Jahan for her father, L’timād-ud-Daulah. Shaped like a jewel box, this tomb is often thought of as a draft of the Taj Mahal since it was built first. The Baby Taj started the second phase of Mughal design when white marble and pieta dura inlay were first used.
The Agra Fort is only fort where all the early Mughal emperors lived. It is also the site of one of the most critical battles during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which led to the end of the British East India Company’s rule in the country. The ground, enclosed within fortress walls made of red sandstones, include several palaces and mosques.
Where to stay in Agra
Hotel Crystal Inn | Just 2 km away from the Taj Mahal, the hotel is very convenient. Crystal Inn offers WIFI, air conditioning, and American style breakfast. The staff here are quite accommodating. They let us check in early and also let me check out a couple of different rooms for photography purposes (Yes I’m a needy blogger).
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 4 & 5: Jaipur
Delhi, Agra and Jaipur make up the classic Golden Triangle route. So, of course, we got to complete the trio and visit Jaipur. Nicknamed “the pink city”, Jaipur is the capital of the Rajasthan state. Its trade mark building color is, you guessed it, pink. There is a lot to do and see in Jaipur. I was glad we spent two nights here.
Things to do in Jaipur
Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)
This ornate pink palace was built in 1799 for the royal ladies. Its exterior facade resembles the honeycomb of a beehive. There are 953 small intricate windows that allows the women to observe the streets below while keeping themselves concealed. This was because of a rule that royal ladies was not allowed to be seen by the public without face coverings. Today, us peasants can enter into the Mahal and find one of the best views of Jaipur.
Jaipur City Palace
Ooh the opulence, the luxury! Right in the center of the old city, the City Palace was where the Maharaja of Jaipur reigned from. It was also where many religious and cultural events took place. You can get a glimpse of the lifestyle of the royal family when you walk through the courtyards, galleries, and living quarters. My favorite building was Sarvato Bhadra, an open hall that is entirely pink. The details here impeccable. Make sure to look up to see the crystal chandelier and beautiful molding.
There are a couple of forts in and around Jaipur. If you were to see just one, make it the Amber Fort. Perched on a hill right next to the Maota Lake, this striking fort is worth driving to. Built with red sandstone and marble, its design combines Hindu and Muslim elements. The four-level palace in the complex was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas for a long time. It is best to have a guide to learn all the treacherous and scandalous stories that took place at the fort.
Jantar Mantar is an observatory and museum. Here you can find a collection of astronomical instruments and learn how people observe the moon and stars in ancient India. The monument is also home to the world’s largest stone sundial. So if you are interested in space and astrology talk, this is a great place to nerd out. It’s recommended to hire a guide for gaining a proper understanding of Jantar Mantar since the knowledge is quite specific. You can find a guide for 200 rupees at the ticket counter.
Besides forts and palaces, Jaipur is also famous for its arts and crafts. This is a great city to do some shopping. Precious stones, jewelry, clothes, pottery, paintings, carpets, you can find a myriad of dazzling goodies at the markets. The famous bazaars are the Tripolia, Bapu and the Nehru Bazaars. We checked out a place that specializes in hand block printing, a traditional art from Jaipur. It was so interesting to see the way the workers produce these beautiful textiles by hand. We even got to try our hands at it as well.
Where to stay in Jaipur
Bissau Palace | This gorgeous old hotel has been around since the early 1920’s. Its elegant interior is filled with antique furnitures, royal portraits, and old silvers. The outside garden even has a swimming pool. I felt like a princess staying here. Thank you G Adventures for this amazing arrangement.
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 6 & 7: Udaipur
Udaipur is also known as the “City of Lakes” or “Venice of East”. This was probably my favorite city in India. The vibe in Udaipur feels much more laid back and intimate than the other big metropolis. I also loved it because there are so many serene lakes, seven to be exact. The British Administrator James Tod had once dubbed Udaipur “the most romantic spot on the continent of India”.
Related Read: 3 Days Udaipur Itinerary and Guide
Things to do in Udaipur
The Jagdish Temple is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. You can’t miss this huge temple as it is right in the center of Udaipur. To get up to the main shrine, you must climb 32 steps that are quite steep. But it’s all worth it when you reach the top. Spend time admiring the hand carved stone walls and take in the peaceful energy of the temple.
If you missed the City Palace in Jaipur, the City Palace in Udaipur is just as impressive, if not more. The Udaipur City Palace took nearly 400 years to build, with its construction spanning several rulers of the Mewl dynasty. So you can imagine how extra it is. What I found intriguing is that you can see varying styles in the palace since the different rulers had different tastes. The complex sits atop a hill, offering a spectacular view of Udaipur.
Lake Pichola is located in the heart of Udaipur. Like the other lakes in the city, it is man-made. However, that does not take away from that fact that it is sublime. You can see the famous Taj Lake Palace in the middle of the water. You may recognize this place as the home of Octopussy in the James Bond movie. Today, Taj Lake Palace is a luxury hotel where guests get the ultimate royal treatment. But for us who can’t afford it, we can gawk at it from afar. 😛 Take a sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola and bask in the glorious views of Taj Lake Palace and the surrounding.
Dharohar Cultural Dance Show @ Bagore Ki Haveli
Dharohar is a daily evening cultural show and it is lit! Audience is treated to traditional music and folk dancing from the state of Rajasthan. There are also puppet performances, and little interpretive acts telling stories. The highlight of the show is a woman who gradually stacks 11 pots on her head. It is absolutely crazy to see. The craziest part is, this woman is in her 70s!
Where to stay in Udaipur
Hotel Treebo Jhalamaan This family-run hotel is simple yet charming. You can tell that nature inspired the designs from the green tree motifs throughout the hotel. There is a cute little courtyard as well as a rooftop restaurant.
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 8: Bundi
Bundi is a tranquil town that is somewhat off the beaten path. One day here is plenty for exploring. Not many tourists know about Bundi, which is precisely why I liked it. Bundi’s nickname is the “City of Stepwells” (Don’t you love how every city has a nickname?), and we will soon see why.
Things to do in Bundi
Constructed in AD 1354, Taragarh Fort is a majestic structure in Bundi and one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan. Located on a steep hill, it offers a panoramic view of the city. The fort had witness many battles in history. You can see many colourful frescos on the walls, telling stories of Gods and wars. Unfortunately, time has left some parts of the fort in ruins, but it is still a beautiful place to visit. Plus, you have a chance of getting the whole palace to yourself without crowds, something you won’t experience in cities like Jaipur or Udaipur.
Step wells used to be the only way of obtaining and storing water in this part of India. There are 50 steps in Bundi, many of which have dried up. However, a couple of them are very much still worth seeing. We went to Dabhai Kund, the largest step well in Bundi. Can you say wow! There were nobody else around when we were there so I took the opportunity to get some cool photos on the staircases.
Blue roof tops
Many people know of Jodhpur, the “blue city” in India. But not many know that Bundi well deserves this title as well. Many buildings are painted blue in Bundi. Some say that it is to honour God Krishna, some say that it is to keep the houses cool and ward off mosquitos. Whatever the reason is, it is a captivating view.
Where to stay in Bundi
Hotel Ishwari Niwas This is a heritage hotel featuring vintage elements throughout. It’s lovely to sit outside in the garden. There is a terrace and you can see the mountains too.
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 9 & 10: Mumbai
Mumbai is the largest city in India, the country’s financial center, and the home of Bollywood. When you get here, you will likely notice how hot and humid it is. Since it’s near the end of the two week India tour, feel free to take it easy. Honestly, by this point in my trip, I just wanted to stay in the air-conditioned hotel room and rest. But if you still have the energy, there are lots of things to see and do in Mumbai.
Things to do in Mumbai
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Mumbai. This monument was built to welcome King George V and Queen Mary during their visit in 1911. Funnily though, the British royals only got to see a model of the Gateway since the construction did not truly begin until 1915. This Gateway on the waterfront later became a symbolic ceremonial entrance to India for ships. It can be very crowded around the monument area so make sure to watch out for your belongings.
Gandhi Museum – Mani Bhavan
Visit the home and headquarters of Gandhi, the man who led India to independence and inspired civil rights movements around the world. Mani Bhavan is where Gandhi was based from 1917 to 1934. In the building, you can see the places where Gandhi worked and lived. On the walls, there are many photos showing Gandhi’s life from his childhood to his passing. The museum has a room with amazing dioramas that depict Gandhi’s major life events in chronological order. I learned so much and was thoroughly impressed by how well done the museum is. There is also a huge library where book lovers can sit down and take a break with a good read.
The Ambani Residence – Antilla
Have you ever thought how would your house be like if you were super rich? Well if you ever get there one day, you can take some inspiration from Antilla, the home of the richest man in all of India. Visit the Mukesh Ambani residence located on Altamont Road, Cumballa Hill in Mumbai. No, you cannot go inside, even if you ask the guards nicely. But you can marvel at this insane structure from outside and hear about its outrageous amenities. Antilla is now valued at $2 billion dollars. This 27 floors building screams “We are rich!” in every way. You can watch the video I linked above to take a peek inside this ultra-expensive home.
We did a slum tour right after we were at the Ambani Residence and it was shocking to see the contrast between the lifestyle of the rich and the poor in Mumbai. While some people have 6 floors in their home just for their cars, others are crammed into tiny dilapidated living spaces. I must admit that I did not feel the most comfortable during our walk through the slums. While the residences were very friendly, I felt a little bit like we were intruding on people’s lives. A lot of heads turned to look at us, a group of foreigners, when we were there. However, this was an educational experience to see how many people live in Mumbai. If you want to see the slums, again having a guide is invaluable.
When our taxi driver/guide told us he’s taking us to see people do laundry, we were confused. What’s so interesting about that? But when we arrived at Dhobi Ghat, our jaws dropped to the floor. This is not your typical laundry room back home with a washer and a dryer, this is an outdoor laundromat and it is enormous. We learned that Dhobi Ghat is, in fact, the largest open-air laundromat in the world. There are rows upon rows of little concrete stalls where workers called “Dhobi” scrub clothes by hand. I cannot imagine how tiring it must be. Once the clothes get washed, they are hung on lines according to their colour. I had never seen anything like Dhobi Ghat before and it was very eye-opening.
Want to cool down from the heat with some scenic view? Take a ride down Marine Drive. The palm tree-lined promenade is in South Mumbai. It is a great place to watch the sunset. At its northern end is Chowpatty Beach. The water is not the most amazing but still nice to walk along.
Where to stay in Mumbai
We stayed in Hotel Fortune in Mumbai but didn’t like it too much so I can’t recommend it. However, you can find many great hotels in Mumbai here.
2 Weeks India Itinerary – Day 11 – 14: Goa
After an arduous journey, what can be better than relaxing by the ocean? Goa reminded me a bit of Bali with its beachy hippie vibes. While it’s the smallest state in the country, it’s ranked as number 1 for the best quality of life in India. You can easily spend multiple days here, whether you are into reading a book in a hammock or partying up in a hype club, Goa got you covered.
In my opinion, the best thing to do in Goa is to do nothing. I spent at least one full day lying under the palm trees on Colva Beach, totally blissed out with not a care in the world. The coastline along the Arabian Sea stretches 100 + kilometres long, so there are many different beaches to choose from. Read this post for a list of Best Beaches in Goa.
Feeling more adventurous? Check out Goa’s natural offerings other than beaches. The state is rich with rare flora and fauna, as well as wildlife. Go on a hike in the Western Ghat Mountains and discover Dudhsagar Falls. The smooth cascades of the falls will mesmerize you. You will be able to see why the name means “sea of milk”.
Explore Goa via bike or moped. Rental spots can easily be found. Zipping along the palm tree-lined roads through lush green fields is an amazing feeling I can only describe as freedom.
Nothing says rejuvenation like a great yoga sesh. Goa is a Mecca for yoga enthusiasts. No matter if you are in North Goa or South Goa, you can definitely find a yoga school for your budget and length of stay. Check out this article for best picks of Goa yoga schools.
If you can’t get enough of history and art in India, make sure to stop by Old Goa, the former colonial capital of the state. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring beautiful architectural marvels like the Basilica of Born Jesus, amongst over convents and churches.
Panaji, also known as Panjim, is the current state capital. Here you can find a mix of old and new, heritage buildings standing alongside modern businesses such as casinos and foreign restaurants. You can see a lot of Portuguese influence in the architecture due to Goa’s past. To dive deep into the stories, head to the Goa State Museum. Finally, Panaji is a great place to try Goan cuisine. Hope you like seafood and spicy!
Goa has some fantastic boutiques markets. Since this is the last stop on our itinerary, you can go nuts with souvenirs shopping here. Check out Anjuna Flea Market, where you can find everything from psychedelic t-shirts to Indian spices. Also, don’t miss the Arpora Saturday Night Bazaar if you are in Goa on a weekend. This place is more than a market. It’s a party. Hop in one of the funky bars and bop along to the soulful music.
Where to stay in Goa
Jasminn by Mango
We stayed at Jasminn by Mango, a hotel that is 2 km from Colva beach. The rooms are super spacious and I loved the big soft bed. This hotel is rated as “best value in Betalbatim area” and I can definitely agree.
2 Weeks India Itinerary for First Time Visitors Summary
I hope this 2 week India itinerary was useful. I owe most of my experience to my guide at G Adventures, who did an excellent job organizing the activities and sharing the knowledge. If you want more travel tips about India, feel free to peep my India article archive.
Going to India soon? Plan your trip in 4 easy steps
- Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine.
- Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.com. Receive $16 off your first booking with my link here.
- Buy insurance: You never know what may happen on the road. Protect your trip & gear with World Nomad, the best travel insurance company ever. Get a quote here.
- Read up on the best advice: Lonely Planet: India Travel Guide
For more India travel inspiration, make sure to check out my India Instagram Story Highlights.
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