The perfect 10-day itinerary you'll need for Uttar Pradesh

Photo of The perfect 10-day itinerary you'll need for Uttar Pradesh by Divas Bahuguna

In addition to the fascination Taj Mahal holds in the hearts of people from across the world, it comes as little surprise that its home-state, Uttar Pradesh, is a cradle of diverse blend of culture that attracts a lot of travelers towards its plains. Boasting of privilege of being the birth place of some of the most revered icons of Hindu faith and home to probably the most vibrant art traditions around the world, Uttar Pradesh is a state which guarantees a peek into the most colorful, rich and diverse examples of culture, traditions and culinary flavors that bind the society together. 10 days is never enough to truly live the overwhelming experience of this state, but it does give you a teaser of what it means to share this piece of land in the northern region of India.

So, let's embark on a journey into the heart of the phenomenon called Uttar Pradesh, making our first stop in the vibrant city of...

Day 1:

If you are starting from New Delhi then Mathura would be the logical first stop on your UP itinerary. Birthplace of the highly revered Lord Krishna, Mathura is one of the seven sacred cities for the followers of Hinduism. Situated along the banks of Yamuna river, the city was once a prominent Buddhist center and home to thousands of monks and monasteries, before Hinduism rose to prominence. The ruins and sculptures of those yesteryear remains a shining example of this city in its full glory.

(c) Treebo

Photo of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

Immerse yourself in the vibe of Hare Krishna at 19th century Dwarkadhish Temple, famous for its elaborate architecture and paintings. For more immersive spiritual experience head to the temples of Gita Mandir and Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi. Also, the river front is lined with 25 ghats, thronged by devotees from across the country.

Day 2:

A short drive from Mathura is Vrindavan, which has immense importance to the Hinduism faith. The town is dotted with dozens of temples, old and new, each holding their own peculiar stories and background. Vrindavan is usually heralded as the twin city of Mathura, sharing the same love, devotion and reverence to Lord Krishna.

Photo of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

From the famous temple of ISKCON to Govind Dev temple, Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple and Bankey Bihari temple, Vrindavan is dotted with them throughout the city. Each temple can be reached through narrow, winding streets lined with sweet and flower sellers. A word of caution, though - monkeys here can be particularly eager to check your belongings out, so you might want to keep your valuables close.

Day 3 and 4

(c) Varshesh Joshi

Photo of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Agra is probably the most popular and recognizable destination in UP - definitely more than the capital city of Lucknow!! Reflecting the architecture excellence of the Mughal Era, Agra stands on the bank of River Yamuna. Once close to the heart of Mughal emperors ruling the region, they endowed this city with some of the most breathtaking and grand specimens of Mughal architecture. From architectural grandeur comprising of mosques, gardens, forts, palaces and mausoleums, Agra is the perfect destination to see the best of Mughal art.

Photo of The perfect 10-day itinerary you'll need for Uttar Pradesh by Divas Bahuguna

While the famous member of the list of Seven Modern Wonders of the World, draped in its white marble attire - Taj Mahal, naturally features highest in the things not to be missed in Agra, equally breathtaking is the neighboring town of Fatehpur Sikri, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight for good reasons. You'll never run short of attractions in Agra though, with the majestic Agra Fort, Itmad Ud Daula, Soor Sarovar, Khas Mahal, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid and Mehtab Bagh standing as proud remnants of the spectacular Mughal architecture.

Day 5 and 6

No city comes close in terms of narrating the exciting chapters of Indian history as the old city of Jhansi. This historical city, made famous by the stories and folklore of Queen of Jhansi, a key player in the first war of Indian independence, is often dubbed as the gateway to the historical hub in its neighborhood comprising of Orchha and Khajuraho.

(c) Indiatravel

Photo of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

Visit the main landmark of Jhansi, the historical Jhansi Fort, which even today bears the sign of the tormented past. Occupying the center stage is the statue of Rani fleeing away with her adopted son on the horseback. The view of the fort during night is particularly impressive. Head over to Gangadhar Rao ki Chhatri to see the cannon that was used in the first war of Indian independence. If you are visiting the city during February-March, then you should definitely attend Jhansi Mahotsav, an open-air festival showcasing the rich culture and tradition of the region. It is held in the auditorium close to Archaeological museum.

Day 7 and 8

The recently christened city of Prayagraj, previously known as Allahabad, is an important pilgrim center as Lord Brahma, the creator of the world according to Hunduism, landed at this place on earth. The city is located at the confluence of three holy rivers - Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. The city brings you face to face with important chapters of Indian history and has been home to some of the most popular and loved personalities in Indian history.

Photo of Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

This ancient city witnesses the largest gatherings of devotees once every 12 years in what is known as the Kumbh Mela (Kumbh fair). The confluence turns into an epicenter of Hindu faith during this time, and although it is certainly interesting to visit the city during this time it is also a little overwhelming given the large number of people flowing into the city. Alternatively, you'll always find the grand buildings from the British Era dominating the cityscape here, along with the beautiful Mughal forts and tombs capturing your attention. Don't forget to leave this city without tasting the famous red guavas!!

Day 9 and 10

Bring your journey to a perfect end in yet another Hindu city popular with domestic and international travelers alike, Varanasi. Heralded as the oldest city in the world, Varanasi is more than 3000 years old and is the most important pilgrimage for followers of Hinduism. Staying true to its significance and age, this city is riddled with temples around every corner - 33 hundred million shrines to be precise, and has a particularly vibrant and spiritual vibe to it. Therefore two days are never enough to truly experience the phenomenal culture and traditions in this ancient city.

Photo of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India by Divas Bahuguna

The Ganga Ghats are the most popular pilgrimage spot of Varanasi and the spectacular evening prayers along the river bank is an experience not to be missed. There ghats also serve as centers of music and learning and are a sight to behold at all times of the day. Also, you may choose to embark on a 50 mile walk of Panchkoshi Parikrama touching around 108 shrines along its path, with Panchkoshi temple as the main shrine. With every street and corner oozing spirituality, philosophy and mysticism for thousands of years, you will find your heart in perfect peace and harmony at the end of your experiences across the heartland of ancient Hinduism.

How to travel

Most of the mentioned cities are very well connected with railways, which is the most affordable and comfortable of travel options in this region. You may check out the time table and fares of trains plying between the cities here. Alternatively, you may choose to cover these cities via road, with plenty of bus services running between these cities.

Where to stay

Given the popularity of Agra and Varanasi among Indian and foreign travelers, a lot of hostels have come up in these cities, which provide ample opportunities to meet like minded travelers and explore your experiences together. You may check out the options for hostels in these cities here. There are budget hotel accommodation and guest houses available in other cities. It is recommended to search for some home stay, which can help experience the authentic culture and lifestyle of people living in the region.


From doing my bit towards the environment by working in future mobility research domain, often finding myself wandering aimlessly through landscapes and continuously seeking thoughtful conversations with travelers from across the world, I am a travel experience narrator at heart. I am a firm believer in the philosophy that a human should experience everything in his/her lifetime (for specialization is for insects....). So feel free to say "hi" to my photographer alter-ego @througharobinseye on Instagram, understand my emotions as I narrate my personal travel experiences at or sing along with me @undrkn5trk5hn