India is a non-stop backdrop for romance, adventure, and incredible hospitality. From loud, dirty but enriching cities to the colourful coast, it takes a certain wanderlust to want to travel round in a pair – rather than a tour (and another level to brave the overnight trains – something I can’t say I did!).
I started my travels in New Delhi, which surprised me in more ways than one. You can read more about my Delhi experience on my other blog, but as a summary it features far more culture and history than I’d expected – and some of the best food! Delhi tends to bring visitors for two reasons: a hub for those that fly into India and a stop on route to Agra and the Taj Mahal, but it offers far more than that.
We were due to visit Udaipur, but in the end stayed a bit longer in Delhi to squeeze in the Taj Mahal. We then flew down to Mumbai, and lucky for us were staying in the renowned Taj Mahal Palace hotel (for many reasons, but more recently for being one of the locations in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack). Mumbai felt a lot more cosmopolitan than Delhi, and consequently we felt a lot more comfortable walking around. The Elephanta Caves are a must, as is taking in the city’s spectacular architecture and history.
We left Mumbai and headed to Goa for some respite, which was a nice contrast to the busy cities we’d been in. Goa has certainly seen a shift towards mainstream tourism (with some hotels being holiday package destinations), but the busy beaches (locals too) and Goan curry beach shacks still feels like India – just a different one to that in the cities! If you fancy something similar but slightly more off the beaten track, try going further south to Kerala area.
We ended the trip in Hyderabad, the tech capital of India, as flights were cheaper and shorter to get back to the UK.
- The Prime Balaji Deluxe, Delhi – cheap, simple but perfectly acceptable and great food in the rooftop restaurant
- The Claridges, Delhi – we added a bit longer onto our Delhi stay and this hotel was fairly low-cost luxury and in a quieter area
- Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Mumbai – one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in and a real experience if you can afford to splash out
- Vivanta Panaji, Goa – a great spot for relaxation
We flew from London with British Airways, who offer several locations to fly in and out of. For internal flights, we used IndiGo, Go Air and JetAirways, both of which were cheap in cost and acceptable in quality!