I Traveled In India for 4 Months & Picked Top 6 Destinations For First Time Backpackers

Tripoto

"I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen or who I’m gonna meet, where I’m gonna wind up." – Jack Dawson

After I took my CA exam in November I just had one thing on my mind – travel. I didn't know what places to go to, for how long and what hotels to book. So, after a lot of contemplation I just packed a rucksack with no bookings and no return tickets. Basically, I backpacked through Rajasthan, Agra, Himachal, Goa, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, and as my trip came to an end I realized India has huge potential for backpacking, which the desi travelers fail to explore. So I picked my top 6 travel destinations in India for first-time backpackers!

For beginners who are under-confident or just risk-averse, Jaipur is the best place to start your backpacking adventure with. It is colorful, vibrant, culturally rich and decidedly safe. The people, the cops, everyone was super friendly to me. Jaipur is a small city, easy to explore and there's so much to see that you just can't get bored. The food here is a bonus!

Best time to visit: October to March

The hippie capital in the north is popular amongst foreigners but the Indian audience seems somewhat oblivious. I visited Pushkar some time ago on a solo adventure and quickly fell in love with the vibe, energy, and culture of the place. The serene ghats, colorful markets, and the hippie, laid back aura has had me hooked. It is safe, not secluded and just perfect for a newbie backpacker!

Best time to visit: October to March

Known as mini Israel, Kasol is a favorite amongst Israeli youth who visit here after finishing their mandatory defense training. It sees a great deal of travelers from all over the world now and has gradually earned a hippie reputation. Kasol is the base for many stunning places like Kheerganga, Malana, Grahan and Kalga. Visit here for the best hash, delectable Israeli food, and spectacular views.

Best time to visit: September to June

"Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love, never return.”

Well, I did all of that, except that I returned. I saw seagulls scuttling across the sea, dolphins leap in and out of water. I went diving, saw more fishes than I knew the names of, had the local fish thali every day. Traveled in buses, lived like a local, swam in the sea, met these amazing people who left me all overwhelmed with their love. I spent a month at the beach and realized how Goa was so much more than just drugs and parties. It is definitive on your bucket list!

Best time to visit: August to March

One of my most treasured journeys was traveling to/in Kinnaur. The eastern part of Himachal Pradesh proximal to the Indo-Tibetan border is most famous for its apple orchards and treacherous roads! I found it to be one of the safest places in India. I went here in the offseason and was quick to understand why Himachal is called "the coldest place with the warmest of people". The entire Kinnaur stretch is full of gorgeous places to explore. My favorite ones are Kalpa, Roghi, Chitkul, and Nako. Don't miss the thukpas and momos here.

Best time to visit: September to December & April to June

I had climbed the unrelenting hills in Hampi every day of the week I spent there, to truly apprehend the meaning of tough climbs and worthy views. The boulder-strewn landscape here is incredible, one of a kind and undeniably strange. Geologists claim it is one of the oldest exposed terrains on earth. And I (just like every traveler who stepped foot in this straight-outta-Ramayana land) was awestruck and baffled how those boulders managed to balance themselves at unbelievable angles and monstrous heights.

Hampi is a rich 'ruin' south Indian town, historic, green and simply evocative. Visit here for the food, for rock climbing, for the Goan Hippie vibe, for history, architecture, and culture. In a nutshell, it is every backpacker's dream come true.

Best time to visit: November to March

Special Mentions

This list would be never-ending if I had talked about every single destination I had in mind. Like Rishikesh, the yoga capital also famous for river rafting is a good idea for a first time backpacker. Agra, an architectural testimony of our rich Mughal history, Varkala, another coastal hippie stop, and Varanasi and Khajuraho, holding great significance culturally and religion-wise. All of these stunning places can be on your travel bucket list this summer.

So, when are you starting your Indian backpacking adventure?

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