Calcutta, Agra, Rajastan, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai in 21 Days?
(Shenzhen, Gaungdong, China)
My friend and I just bought Air Asia tickets that arrive in Calcutta and depart from Chennai. We have about 21 days to travel.
Both of us hate to spend only 24 hours in a city or tourist spot and then move on, but due to our holiday schedule and limited tickets we could find (we live in China so Air Asia is the best option) we are stuck with this rather ridiculous itinerary.
Also, we are both super into food and spices (hence the trip), so we'd prefer to sacrifice landmarks in favor of local delicacies.
A few questions, and we appreciate your help with any and all of them!
1. Is it possible to spend any worthwhile time in Calcutta, Agra, Rajastan, Mumbai, and Goa, then get to Chennai without resorting to flying? If we should fly, which legs of the journey are worth the plane ticket vs the train?
2. Is a culinary tour of eastern India (Calcutta to Madras and skipping the entire western coast) worth it when factoring time spent on a train vs time spent getting to know a few places?
3. What are your favorite places to linger?
4. Are there any decent swimmable beaches in eastern India? I've read that strong ocean currents near Chennai make swimming impossible. Any thoughts or recommendations?
Thanks for your help!