Backpacking Travel is the distinct kind of travel where one looks for an encompassing cultural experience, map the length and breadth of a country and at the same time, do it at half or even one fourth the cost of ‘regular travel’. It’s more about the experience as opposed to just ‘sight-seeing’. India, as a destination, is an ideal place to backpack in.
Diverse topography, a vibrant culture, affordable exploration options and a history of backpacking that has several decades of rich legacy.
For all the gap year enthusiasts out there who are out with a quest to conquer the world, well, only metamorphically, it’s time for India.
1. Start At Square One - Delhi Has Many Secrets For Backpackers
The capital city of India has myriad experiences for distinct kind of travelers. From architectural marvels that include the Humanyun’s Tomb, Red Fort, Qutub Minar to shopping Meccas at Dilli Haat and Janpath, there are the touristy regular things to do and for people who are eyeing to head to quintessential Indian bylanes, the charms of ‘Old Delhi’ do the trick. From souvenir collecting sprees with other backpackers of the world in Paharganj to collecting vintage books at the Nai Sarak market, there’s a lot to do in Old Delhi. The food, in specific, is worth exploring. Be it Israeli Falafels to Indian Gol Gappas, the streets offer everything under the sun. And that’s just not it, the greenery of the Lutyens, the music scenes of Hauz Khas Village, the theatre plays at India Habitat Center are worth watching when in India.
2. Alternate Landing: You Can Start At The Indian Southern Tip As Well
Yes, Alternate Landing is a thing. Instead of New Delhi, you can choose to land at Chennai (formerly known as Madras), the bustling southern town of India. Blesses with tropical beaches, ethereal temple architecture and a tangy South Indian cuisine (distinct from its Northern counterpart), the best part about landing in Chennai, although, lies a couple of hundred kilometers away. Pondicherry, an erstwhile French coastal colony, is one of the most beautiful and quaint cities of India. Away from the crowds, with cozy and colorful homes alongside the beach and housing a unique blend of indigenous and colonial cultures, the drive on East Coast Road along the Bay of Bengal is one of the most beautiful rides one can experience in India.
3. Experience Royal Exuberance of Rajasthan
The “Royal’ state of Rajasthan is known for its magnificent palaces, its wide expanse of the Thar desert, its sundry and palatable cuisine and its vibrant culture. From the ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur to the capital “Pink City” Jaipur, from the Chefchaouen of India ‘Jodhpur’ to the spellbindingly beautiful Jaisalmer, Rajasthan is one of the most popular backpacking destinations of India. Head to experience the grandeur of Rajasthan as you backpack across India.
4. The Backpacker Mecca of India - Goa
Goa is one of those destinations that can never lose its charm. A wide expanse of coconut trees, refreshing tropical greenery, pristine blue beaches, undulated terrains tailor-made for hiking and backpackers from around the globe, Goa welcomes all kinds of people. The party-till-you-drop kind of people and the unwind quietly by the beach kind of people, the want to take long walks in the wilderness kind of people - it’s a magnet for all. Explore the beauty of Goa as you backpack across the length and breadth of the country.
5. From Beaches To The Mountains - Himalayas Are “It” of India
The word ‘Himalaya’ means ‘an abode of the mountains’ and this abode is no less than a heavenly abode. There are several treks in the Himalayas that all mountain lovers should take starting from the Triund Trek, Kedarkantha Trek, Roopkund Trek, Nag Tibba Trek amongst others. But the Himalayas aren’t just about trekking, there’s a lot more to it. Experiencing some soulful Yoga Practise in the wilderness is one of the absolute must things to do in the Himalayas.
6. Explore the lesser traveled roads of the Indian North East
A region replete with diversity where language changes every 10 miles and each village has its own distinct culture, the North East of India is where the best of India lies. Unadulterated greenery, some of the rainiest and cleanest cities in India and the world, diverse wildlife, healthy and sustainable food, a backpacking sojourn in North East is mandatory for everyone who wants the real deal. Places to Visit in North East India include Kaziranga National Park, Tsomgo Lake, Yumthang Valley, Cherrapunji, Tawang Monastery, Nathula Pass, Ziro Valley, Gurudongmar Lake, Teesta River, Loktak Lake, Majuli Islands, Gorichen Peak, Sela Pass amongst others.
7. The World’s Oldest City Calls Out For You
Varanasi is the iconic and the oldest living city of India. This city has the power to shake your spiritually and also overwhelm you with chaos. Varanasi is NOTHING like the developed world. A proper road for a seamless drive is a rarity, conventional ‘hygiene’ is absent and yes there are cows everywhere. But that’s not the essence of this holy city. Temples, ghats, narrow bylanes, human settlements that have stood the test of time, the ‘other-worldly’ people who have left their homes just to find peace on the ghats of this ancient city, ‘worldy’people who make their living out of burning the nonliving humans day in day out and everyone else in between, the spirit of the city is distinct from any other city in the world and it cannot be expressed in more words. The Rajasthan-Varanasi Backpacking Trip facilitated by Team GDA is the ideal bet to explore chaotic solitude of the city which is, at least spiritually, the birthplace of the entire Indian civilization.
8. The Iconic Temples Of India Are The ‘Hippie’ Paradise
The ancient ruins of ‘Hampi’ are where the actual backpacking scenes of India happen. Alternate music, live shows, breathtaking views of natural and manmade structures and a fervor that’s unique to this World Heritage Site of India. The entire place is dotted with ruins of temples and palaces of the Vijayanagar Empire, a 14th Century empire. A panoramic look of Hampi will force you to take a pause for a moment and take in its awesome beauty. Visiting Hampi is definitely one of the many absolute must-dos when on a gap year in India.
Backpacking across India has its fair share of charms and challenges and to prepare for’em all, Team GDA is at it. For a memorable journey across India, drop us a mail at [email protected] to get it all sorted in a jiffy.