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2 months or 60 days is how long you used to be able to travel and backpack India for whilst on the India Tourist E-Visa which you applied for online. As of 2019 most tourists wanting to visit India can now get a 1 year visa online straight away (there’s not even an option for 60 days anymore) instead of sending off passports to a visa office which is what I had to do to get a one year visa for India in 2018.
However, the 60-day visa did work well as 2 months is a good amount of time to spend in India to get a taste of what India has to offer. During these 2 months, it makes sense to spend one month in North India and one month in South India as both sides of the country are so so different and it would be a shame to miss one side.
When it comes to deciding which end of India to visit first out of the North and South, I’d personally say to visit North India first!
You may be tempted to fly into the South first as you’ve heard it’s more chilled and chilled seems like a great way to ease yourself into India, and the South is a bit more chilled yes, especially the beaches, but the way I see it after travelling to India is- why not give yourself a rest at the end of your trip?
It is up to you though, if you’re coming from Sri Lanka to India, working South to North would be a good idea due to flight prices. For example flights from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Madurai and Chennai in the South are usually the cheapest flights to India.
Either way, in order to get the most out of your two months in India you’ll have to have a think about where you want to go and the best route to backpack around India, 2 months may seem like a long time but India really is huge!
Here is a 2-month itinerary for India, perfect for backpackers because it will take you to 21 different places in India and to over 9 states. This 60-day India itinerary will show you the best places to backpack in India and you can adapt it to whether to you travel South to North or North to South.
The Ultimate 2 Month India Itinerary!
The itinerary is quite full on I’ll be honest, but it does give you some chill days in places where it’ll be needed so you don’t burn out or get ‘over’ India because it can be an intense country to travel.
Helpful Tip: Scroll to the bottom to see a map to help you work out where all of these places are!
Day 1, 2, 3, 4
Delhi– Fly into Delhi. It is a busy city and a bit of a culture shock for most people, especially if you haven’t spent much time in Asia however it’s in the perfect location to fly into in the North and well connected so you can explore the rest of North India from Delhi.
Give yourself a day or two to recover from the flight and get used to the weather, traffic and noise without putting much pressure on yourself, remember you have the next sixty days in India!
The best way to see Delhi is on a day tour. Arrange a day tour with a guide to show you the iconic places in Delhi like Old Delhi, the Red Fort, India Gate, the Tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, and the Lotus Temple.
For the rest of your time in Delhi head to Connaught Square for a walk around and make use of the Delhi Metro to see places you may have not on the day tour, the Metro is really easy to use and very cheap so make full use of it!
Day Train from Delhi to Haridwar. Auto Rickshaw to Rishikesh.
A NOTE ON THE TRAINS: I would recommend pre-booking trains in India in advance, especially in high season because not only do more tourists visit India and book trains but Indian people will travel a lot too and they do book out. To book trains in India you have 2 options: You can register on the official Indian Rail Website which can be a bit tricky but I’ve written a step by step guide here to help, or you can use a third party booking site like 12GO Asia which are a lot simpler to use.
Day 5, 6, 7, 8
Rishikesh– Rishikesh is only a 6-7 hour journey from Delhi and after the madness of Delhi you will love arriving in the spiritual town of Rishikesh.
Rishikesh doesn’t have it’s own train station so you take the train from Delhi to Haridwar Station and get a rickshaw or taxi to Rishikesh.
I urge you to spend a good few days in Rishikesh taking in the beautiful Mother Ganga (River Ganges), watching Holy ceremonies take place, doing some yoga to stretch off that flight, visiting The Beatles Ashram, hiking to waterfalls and eating some nice healthy food.
It sounds heavenly, and it is which is why it has to be on your India backpacking route.
Overnight Train from Haridwar to Varanasi.
Day 9, 10, 11
Varanasi– The trains in India are great and an overnight train to Varanasi- another incredible holy city but very different to Rishikesh, is the best way to get there and to save time in your India Itinerary.
2 days in Varanasi is enough, it may be overwhelming compared to the chilled out vibe of Rishikesh but be sure to head out on a sunrise boat tour, explore the ghats- especially the burning ghat, and visit the quieter ghats like Assi Ghat.
After a few days in Varanasi you will feel like you’re in India but don’t worry, people find Varanasi as extreme as it gets so it can only get less extreme from here.. maybe!
Overnight Train from Varanasi to Agra.
Day 12, 13
Agra– An overnight train is the best way to get from Varanasi to Agra but this train is known for it’s delays so don’t expect to arrive on time!
Sunrise is the best time to see the Taj Mahal so do not go to the Taj Mahal on your first day in Agra (although note that the Taj Mahal is closed on Friday so change plans accordingly). Instead just chill in some of the cafes in Taj Ganj with the view of the Taj Mahal, visit the Taj Nature Park which is so quiet and relaxed, and find a sunset spot to see the Taj Mahal from.
The next day head to the Taj Mahal for sunrise and afterwards you can visit Agra Fort and the Baby Taj on a tour or with a rickshaw driver taking you.
Day Bus or Day Train from Agra to Jaipur
Day 14, 15, 16
Jaipur– Jaipur is surprisingly close to Agra and makes up the the famous Golden Triangle of India along with Delhi and Agra.
Jaipur is the Pink City of India and it’s a busy city with lots to do and see including Forts, Temples, Iconic Buildings, Instagram Doorways and Palace’s. My suggestion would be to take a day trip around Jaipur with a guide to see as much as you can over your 3 days in Jaipur. For a tour with a difference, check out this Jaipur Instagram spot tour!
Another great way to experience Jaipur is through the food and Nomadic India Tours offer a great Street Food Tour in Jaipur which is delicious! Another popular thing to do in Jaipur day or night is to go to the Raj Mandir Cinema which is truly impressive architecturally and the Indian Crowds is so funny to watch a film with!
Day Train from Jaipur to Ajmer and Taxi or Bus to Pushkar OR Overnight Train from Jaipur to Jaisalmer.
Related Post: The Best Way to see Jaipur aka The Pink City of India!
Day 17, 18, 19, 20
Pushkar/Jaisalmer– This stop could be Pushkar or Jaisalmer, or to be honest you could swap Jodhpur (below) out so you can visit both! Recommending just one India itinerary is hard which is why I’ve also written a post with 4 different one month North India Itineraries so be sure to check that out incase you want to swap and change locations (however this itinerary works really well for a first trip to India as it ticks all the main places, especially the best places in Rajasthan!).
Jaisalmer offers a chilled town with jeep or camel rides into the desert for a night, whereas Pushkar offers a chilled town with more spirituality and a hippy twist.
Both places are good places to relax in and get away from busy Indian City life which you would have had a lot of up until now. Enjoy the cafes, enjoy the quietness and if you need to do some shopping, both places are some of the best places to shop in India due to price and what’s on offer.
Day Train from Ajmer to Jodhpur or Day Train from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur.
Day 21, 22, 23
Jodhpur– Jodhpur is the Blue City of India however don’t expect it to be all blue.
Jodhpur is a busy city and I found it to be a bit dirty, but it has a Fort and the best way to see the Fort is to go Zip Lining! It’s a totally different activity compared to what else is on offer in India which is why it’s so great!
I’d recommend going on a tour into the Old Blue City of Jodhpur so you can see it properly because the streets are tricky to navigate alone. Be sure to watch sunset from the rock by the fort and enjoy the many rooftop restaurants which offer panoramic views across the city and fort as well as providing some respite from the noise and traffic below. Sunset is a great time to sit on a rooftop in Jodhpur and watch the city fall into night time.
Day Train from Jodhpur to Udaipur.
Related Post: 6 of the Best Ways to see Jodhpur!
Day 24, 25, 26
Udaipur– Udaipur is known as the White City of India! Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur are often linked together which makes sense as they are all 3 very popular cities in Rajasthan and out of all 3, Udaipur is the most quiet, the smallest, and the prettiest.
The central tourist area of Udaipur is nice and compact and it flows onto an island across the river which is the quieter side for accommodation. Udaipur’s Palace is incredible, if you only see one Palace in Northern India- make it this one. There’s yoga on offer, art classes and cooking classes, plus plenty of rooftop restaurants with amazing views over the lake and of the sunset. This place is a real gem, perhaps the best place in Rajasthan, and a great way to end your time in Rajasthan.
Overnight Train from Udaipur to Mumbai.
Related Post: 12 Unique Things To Do in Udaipur.
Day 27, 28, 29, 30
Mumbai– Mumbai will be a warm welcome because it’s very cosmopolitan compared to the rest of Northern India that you’ve seen and after so much time in Rajasthan you’ll probably appreciate this.
If you’ve read the book Shantaram you can follow in Lin’s footsteps around Colaba which is definitely the best place to stay in Mumbai as a backpacker. If you haven’t read the book, I’d suggest you read it before going to India or whilst you’re there!
Mumbai is full of things to do but unlike many other Indian cities it’s not full of Forts and Palaces. There are a few good museums in Mumbai and really impressive buildings like the VT Station but the best way to see Mumbai is to explore the neighbourhoods of Colaba and Bandra, head to the beaches of Juhu and Cowpatty especially in the evening, and be sure to eat as much street food as possible as Mumbai offers some of the best street food in India!
I went out with Bombay Walks who gave me a great half day tour around Mumbai to places I couldn’t have visited alone so I’d really recommend checking them out.
Overnight Train Mumbai to Goa.
Northern India Recap
Places Visited: 9
States Visited: 5
Things to note: There are a lot of overnight trains in this one month India itinerary. Generally the trains in India are really good and if you book 2AC which is a good class you’re likely to get a good sleep. However it’s a good idea to ask for an early check in at the places you’re arriving to and don’t plan to do too much on that day if you are tired. You have enough time in each place to have at least one chill day!
Travel Insurance for India
I’m popping in here to remind you that you need travel insurance for India. I use World Nomads who are a great company because they’re a provider made by travellers so they know what we want! Whilst you remember you can get a quote from them here now.
Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Goa– Goa is a state and pretty big but because the best places to visit in Goa are the beaches, it get’s lumped together as just ‘Goa’. Goa is split into 2 in terms of a tourism- North Goa Beaches and South Goa Beaches.
It’s hard to pick the best beach in Goa and just recommend one because it depends what you want and where you’re from. For example Arambol seems most popular with Russians and Israeli’s, whereas Palolem is more popular with Brits. However, of course, everyone can go everywhere.
If you’ve ever been told by someone else that you must go to X beach in Goa because you’ll really like it, be sure to check that beach out. If not, I can fully recommend Palolem Beach to you!
One Week in Goa is your beach and holiday time In India. There are so many beaches in Goa that in some ways I’d recommend you see a few different beaches in one week but also keep in mind that it’s hard to get between the beaches of Goa as there are limited direct trains and public buses. Taxi’s are a popular way to get between the beaches of Goa but they are a bit expensive when travelling alone and on a budget so for the sake of your money and your rest, I’d recommend staying in one place or two at the most.
Day Train from Goa Vasco da Gama to Hopset. Tuk tuk from Hospet to Hampi.
Related Post: A Guide to Palolem Beach in Goa for Backpackers!
Day 8, 9
Hampi– Hampi is an adults playground and such a unique place. Hampi is a small town purely for tourism and the famous Hampi rocks create a day trip like no other. The inland terrain of Southern India here is like no where in the North and a nice welcome to the more chilled side of Southern India.
Overnight Train from Hospet to Bengaluru.
Day 10, 11
Bangalore – Bangalore is a very modern city, even compared to Mumbai and Delhi. This stop in Bangalore is mostly going to be a stopover before going down to Kerala and to be honest, you don’t need that much time to see Bangalore.
For me Bangalore was a nice surprise and change of pace in India, it has lots of western food chains and some big shopping malls so make the most of this whilst you can.
In terms of things to do in Bangalore, Bangalore Palace is nice but it is fairly expensive to enter, however Bangalore has some nice parks like Cubbon Park and the Botanical Gardens so it’s easy to spend one day in Bangalore.
Stay in the area of Indiranagar to see the best area of Bangalore and make full use of Bangalore’s easy and cheap metro system. Also use Uber for your auto rickshaws.
Flight from Bangalore to Trivandrum.
I recommend flying from Bangalore down to Kerala to save doing extra journeys going back on yourself in Kerala. Internal flights in India can be really cheap, have a look at Skyscanner and book a flight in advance to get the best price!
Trivandrum – Only spend one day or even just half a day in Trivandrum, it’s not much of a tourist city. I recommend the company Story Trails who offer Walking Tours and Food Tours in South Indian Cities and they have a tour in Trivandrum so if you want to see the city in an easy way and learn about it, I suggest going on one of their tours!
Day Train from Trivandrum to Varkala.
Day 13, 14, 15
Varkala Beach– It’s back to the beach and after a few cities since Goa these beach days will probably be needed.
Varkala Beach feels like a beach in Goa in the sense that it’s chilled and very holiday like, but it feels much more wild and raw than Goa, maybe that’s the incredible Coastline and Cliff face that it sits on!
Varkala beach offers surfing, sunbathing, yoga, meditation, nice cafes, healthy food and generally a chilled out vibe.
Day Train from Varkala to Alleppey.
Related Post: A Guide to Varkala Beach in Kerala for Backpackers!
Alleppey– This is the best place to see the famous Backwaters of Kerala from! There are many ways to see the backwaters from kayaks, canoes and huge houseboats, there’s an option for every adventure and budget.
There isn’t much to do in Alleppey though and the beach is not a sunbathing kind of beach. With that being said the best place to stay in Alleppey is in accommodation by the beach as this is the more touristic area. One full day in Alleppey is enough, from my experience Alleppey is a get in and get out kind of place.
Day Train from Alleppey to Ernakulam Station (the name of Kochi’s train station).
Related Post: Cruising the Backwaters of Kerala from Alleppey!
Day 17, 18
Kochi– Kochi is a Portuguese influenced city and this shows. Fort Kochi is where you need to stay in the city of Kochi and all of the popular places to visit like Jew Town and around Kochi Beach are in walking distance from here.
Fort Kochi has some really nice cafes, museums, a good art scene and a small city vibe so it’s an enjoyable place to visit and if you can, be sure to get out on the water for a sunset boat trip!
Local Day Bus from Ernakulam Bus Station (Kochi) to Munnar.
Day 19, 20, 21
Munnar– The hills of Munnar in Kerala will enable you to see a totally different side of Kerala and this is where the saying that Kerala is ‘Gods own country’ really hit me.
Tea Plantations with lush green forestry and jungle is what you’ll find in Munnar as well as being able to spend a day hiking the hills. The hikes in Munnar can be tough but the views are worth it. If you ride a mopedsthis is a great way to see Munnar yourself and be sure to look out for Wild Elephants as people seem to see them a lot!
Munnar Town isn’t a great place to stay and instead travellers stay in hotels and guesthouses nearby in more rural areas and the owners will arrange your day trips and pick up’s from the bus station as local buses are the only way to get to Munnar and leave.
Local Day Bus from Munnar to Kumily.
Day 22, 23
Thekkady– Thekkady National Park or Periyar National Park as it’s also called is a good place to visit if you want to hike and if you want to see Wild Elephants in India! It’s also a Tiger Reserve but the chances of seeing Tigers are not common. A day hike or a half day walk and bamboo raft trip is a good activity to do in Thekkady, and aside from seeing the Spice Gardens there is not much else to do here so not much time is needed.
Kumily is the main tourist town to stay in and you book all trips from here. If hiking isn’t your thing you should probably miss this out.
Local Day Bus from Thekkady to Madurai.
Day 24, 25
Madurai– Welcome to Tamil Nadu! Madurai is not a city that is as visited by foreign tourists but it is a nice city to see because of that.
It’s only small and you only need one full day to see the city really. It’s main attraction being the Meenakshi Temple. Story Trails offer a really good City and Food Tour in Madurai which is the best way to understand the history of the city and once you know it, it’s pretty fascinating I thought.
Day Train from Madurai to Villupuram and Bus to Pondicherry.
Related Post: What to do in One Day in Madurai.
Day 26, 27, 28
Pondicherry– Another completely different place in India and this is because Pondicherry was once a French colony.
The architecture in White Town which is the area closest to the beach and the main tourist area, is so impressive and such a unique thing to see in India!
There isn’t much to do in Pondicherry but the food and cafes here are really good, especially if you have been craving some Western Food! A Walking tour with Story Trails is a good idea to really understand the history of Pondicherry between India, Britain and France.
A popular day trip from Pondicherry is to Auroville which is an experimental township which I’d recommend going to.
Local Day Bus from Pondicherry to Chennai.
Day 29, 30
Chennai– Last Stop! Chennai has a main airport making it a good place to leave India from and your 30 days in South India have been jam packed so you can’t fit anywhere else in anyway!
Chennai’s history of being under British rule is interesting and there are a number of good temples and buildings to see as well as lots of good street food! It’s not the easiest city to get around in but Uber is good here and if you stay near the metro line you can use that too.
Note that you may get asked for proof of a flight departing India when you leave for India so make sure you do have a flight booked out before you get to India.Search for the best flights out of Chennai on Skyscanner here!
Places Visited: 12
States Visited: 4
Things to note: This is a full and busy itinerary I know! The days spent in each place are slightly less than the North as I have suggested spending more time in Goa to chill, however this could be changed so you can spend longer in a few other places or you can take out some places in Kerala for example.
If you want some other ideas for how you could travel South India in one month, have a look at these 3 different routes.
This itinerary is do-able as the journeys in the South are slightly quicker by bus, but mainly because there are not as many things to do in these places in South India so you only need one or two days max to explore.
The public buses in South India can sometimes take longer than planned and a lot of travel days by bus in South India do turn into fairly full days so keep this in mind.
A lot of the towns and cities in South India have 2 names which is not common in the North, for example Mysore is Mysuru, Bangalore is Bengaluru, and Alleppey is Alappuzha, just remember this when booking trains as the Indian names are used as the station names when you book.
Here is a map of this 60 day India Itinerary with all the places pinned. Click on the pin to see the City or Town name.
For your 2 months in India budget, have a read of this post to see how much it costs to travel and backpack North India: How Much it Really Costs to Backpack Around Northern India!
If you need any extra help, I offer a travel planning service, we can speak over the phone, email or WhatsApp for 30 minutes initially where I can help you plan your trip to India and give you my best tips and advice! Read more about my travel planning and advice service here!
To book your trains in India I recommend you use 12GO Asia as they search all the trains on the local Indian train system. Joining the local system is a bit of a pain so for 2 weeks it’s easier to use a 3rd party site like this.
Booking.com is my go-to to book accommodation in India including hostels, mid-range and heritage hotels in India because it really has it all and offers flexible options!
It can be quite hard to get the official visa page for countries, THIS IS THE OFFICIAL website to apply for your e-visa to India. What’s great is that as of 2019 most nationalities can apply for a one year e visa for India as standard, not 60 days like it used to be, and it’s a multiple entry visa so after this 2-week taste of India you can go back on the same visa within the next year!
Now you’ll be set for your trip to India! Enjoy!
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.