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"Go Backpacking in India -
Get Helpful Tips on How to Set Up Itineraries for India"

"Backpacking Route Planner India" was last updated on April 08, 2012

Need help with your itineraries for India, or suggestions for travel routes?

-- No worries. You've come to the right place!

First, some basics you should know about when backpacking around India:

The common way to travel and go backpacking around India is by railway, where you can choose from 6800 stations spread around this vast country! The trains in India go almost everywhere, which means that there are train departures from every major town and city. I can tell you this right now, you won't have a hard time getting from place to place!

Do you need to book a seat?

Yes, you have to make a reservation on long-distance train journeys. You can do just that on this website:

Indian Railways (opens in a new window)

backpacking route planner india backpacking india travel map planner indian railways
Backpacking Route Planner India -
Photo Courtesy of Deadly Knitshade (Flickr)
You can book 90 days ahead your departure!

It might be hard to understand how to use their website... If you want to check out the schedule, availability, fare price or if there's actually a train for your destination, go to "Train between important stations."

When looking at a map...

Have in mind that many cities in India have a "double name." Here are the common ones:

Chennai = Madras

Madgaon = Margao

Mumbai = Bombay

Trivandrum = Thiruvananthapuram

The stopovers below mean that you have to switch transportation. Examples: switch from train to bus, or vice versa.

India Itineraries
From Central India, to south, to north

Map Your adventure itinerary guide eBook
Time: 3 weeks

Mumbai Palolem (Goa) Jaipur New Delhi

As far as I know, you can take a direct train from Goa (Madgaon) to Jaipur. But it only leaves once a week. If you can't catch that train, you have to go via Mumbai.

If you go via Mumbai, you take the train from Madgaon to Mumbai (several departures). Then a train from Mumbai to Jaipur. Another option is to take a flight from Goa (Dabolim) to Jaipur.

If you want to stop by the beaches of Colva and Benaulim, you can take the train from Vasco de Gama to Mumbai. Vasco de Gama is the nearest train station to these beaches.

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India Itineraries
Central and South India Itineraries

Time: 6-7 weeks

Mumbai Panaji (North Goa) Palolem (South Goa) Kochi
Varkala Trivandrum Pondicherry Chennai Hyderabad
Back to Mumbai

As far as I know, there's no direct train from Trivandrum to Pondicherry. Your option then is to take the bus from Trivandrum (17 hours), or make a stop-over in Madurao (Tamil Nadu) and then take a bus from there to Pondicherry.

From Chennai you can take a flight to Sri Lanka, to Colombo.

Backpacking Route Planner India:

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India Itineraries
North India

Time: 4 weeks, from west to east

New Delhi Agra Varanasi Patna Siliguri/New Jalpaiguri (NJP) - stopover Darjeeling Siliguri (stopover) Kolkata

The access point to Darjeeling is via Siligur, which is about 80 km away. By train, you can travel directly to Siligur from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi. From Siligur to Darjeeling, you can either take the famous "Toy train," the bus (which can be slow) or shared jeeps.

From Darjeeling you can enter Nepal via Kakarivitta (India-Nepal border).

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If your goal is the Himalayas for the entire trip:

Time: 2-3 weeks, Himalayas

New Delhi Haridwar Rishikesh

Rishikesh is the gateway to Himalaya Mountains. As far as I know, there's no direct train from Delhi to Rishikesh. You have to make a stopover in Haridwar, which is just 30 km from Rishikesh. So take the train from Delhi to Haridwar, then take a bus/taxi to Rishikesh.

You can of course stay longer or shorter than 2-3 weeks in the Himalaya region. Several tour companies offer one week to four weeks adventure travels to the mountains.

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India Itineraries
North west of India

Time: 3-4 weeks

Mumbai Ahmadabad Jodhpur Udaipur Jaipur Agra
New Delhi

The travel 'triangle' between Jaipur, Delhi and Agra is quite easy and several trains cover this route.

With this route you can continue to Rishikesh (for the Himalayas), Manali or Leh, or go eastwards to Calcutta and Bangladesh.

Backpacking Route Planner India:

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Don't know where to travel in India? How to set up an itinerary?

You won't have a problem creating an itinerary after you've read this ebook. Learn how to create a good and realistic itinerary for India.

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