Below are some of the cities my friends and I went to during our seven weeks in India. The most comprehensive list I have is Nashik because I personally volunteered and lived there for six weeks. The other cities, I or my friends had the opportunity of voyaging to for 1-2 days, but regardless, we were able to cover a lot and make the most out of each city.
Exchange rate during my stay in India was roughly 50 rupees = $1 AUD. Let me give you a breakdown:
- 50 rupees = $1
- 100 rupees = $2
- 500 rupees = $10
- 1000 rupees = $20
- 5000 rupees = $100
- 10000 rupees = $200
- 20000 rupees = $400
Following? Cool. India is pretty cheap, not gonna lie.
Culture shock and weather shock (super humid!!!) will be the biggest factors going against you the day you land. There are so many people packed into this city, with rickshaw journeys of up to 30 minutes for 2km depending on the time you travel. However, this is possibly the most open-minded and westernised city I’ve been to in India. A lot of things to do; food, karaoke, beaches, bars, and general activities. It’s a city where most people come to chase their dreams; you’ll certainly be amidst a fast-paced lifestyle.
- Gateway of India Mumbai - free + bag check
- Elephanta Caves - 120-180 (luxury boat/upper deck) rupees pp
- Marine Drive (free) - beach
- Lower Parel - Phoenix Mall - big mall with entertainment, food, high end shopping
- Colaba Market - bargain as much as you can, everything should be priced between 50-500 rupees
- Bandra West - restaurant/ cafe haven
- Versova Beach (free)
- Juhu Beach (free)
- Powai Lake - free
Transport: super cheap for long journeys.
- Bus - 20-30 rupees pp
- Hostels - 300-1000
- Train - 10 rupees pp - for a one hour journey depending on where your destination is.
- Rickshaw - by the metre, usually 18/20 rupees base rate.
This is certainly the city I spent the most time in. It’s small, slower paced, but surely holds onto its traditional values. It’s a 3.5 hour drive, or 5 hour bus ride from Mumbai. There are various events that happen throughout the year - definitely come during one of the many festivals in India (e.g. Holi Festival). The Chai here is amazing, and whilst public transport isn’t as common, there are rickshaws everywhere and you can use the Indian rideshare app - Ola, where you’re sure to come across a few interesting conversations. There is a lot of heritage, and not to mention it’s the wine capital of India!
- Sulafest (early February) - 3750 (two days)
- Nashik Run - pay for shirt and ticket (late Jan)
- Mamacha Mala - banana plantation and great for missal pav (traditional breakfast)
- Sadhana Restaurant - missal pave breakfast & jalebi
- Roadside pani puri, bhel puri, shev puri
- Pandavleni Caves - you can hike to the top to watch the sunrise
- Kalaram Mandir - take shoes off, no photos (Hindu temple)
- Gangapur Backwaters/ Dam
- Someshwar Waterfall (great in Jul-Sep, raining season)
- Bapu Pul - (great in non-raining season), can watch sunset and chill with friends
- Muktidham Temple - take shoes off
- Jain Temple
- Sula Wineyards
- Soma Wineyards
- City Centre Mall
- Big Bang (bowling/ bar)
Graced this ancient and historical city for a day. A day is probably enough as the main attractions are the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Coming out of the train station, you’ll be bombarded by people asking to service you - make sure you don’t get charged above 250 rupees. You’ll certainly have fun exploring the historical landmarks.
- Taj Mahal - 1000 for foreigners
- Agra Fort -
- **Protip: don’t get baited into the souvenir shops - i.e. marble, textiles, etc, can get these souvenirs cheaper at markets**
- Agra to Delhi (A/C bus) - 500 rupees
- Train from Delhi to Agra (express runs twice a day) - 700 rupees
Delhi is tiny, and packed with places to see. Waking up and having a whole day here wouldn’t be enough - so I’d suggest planning for at least 2-3 days to properly explore and appreciate each landmark (but I did most of this list within one day, whilst frantically hopping from rickshaw to rickshaw).
- Humayun’s Tomb - 500 rupees
- Safdarjung Tomb - 200 rupees
- Lotus Temple - free
- Gurudwara Bangla Sahib - free
- Laxmi Narayan Mandir - free
- Red fort - 500 rupees for foreigners
- Lodi Gardens - free
- Qutub Minar - 500 rupees for foreigners
- Delhi Haat - 100 rupees (market)
- India Gate - free
- Rickshaw - bargain (check uber/ ola prices first!!!)
SOLANG VALLEY/ MANALI
Beautiful mountains in the Himalayas, you can do a wide range of outdoor activities, and amazing for Winter filled with snow. In the other seasons, there won’t be snow, but regardless hiking will be much more easier.
- Paragliding; 8-10 minutes: 7000 rupees pp, 1-2 minutes - 2000 rupees pp
- Hiking - 800 rupees
- ATV - 1000 rupees
- Other activities in Manali: white water rafting, markets, water based activities on the rivers.
Living/ travel costs:
- Bus (Delhi - Manali): 1500 rupees pp
- Bus (Chandigarh - Manali) - 400 rupees pp
- Cab - private car (Chandigarh - Manali) - 6000-7000 rupees
- Meals - 100 rupees pp - eat momos!!!
- Hotel - 1000 rupees (no hot water), 2000 rupees (with hot water) per night
Kerala is beautiful to go to, and a must see if you’re in India. You’ll be immersed in the tropical jungles with an abundance of wildlife around you. I had the privilege of doing some birdwatching, canoeing and also stayed at the Tea Valley Resort.
- Food - 100 rupees pp
- Tea Valley - free
- Tea Museum - 500 rupees
- Elephant ride - 500 rupees (for herbal tour and elephant ride), for photos and feeding elephants, can be 1000rupees.
My friends lived in Delhi and took private cars to the following cities:
- Jaipur city palace - 500 rupees
- Hawa Mahal - 25 rupees with student card
- Jantar Manta - 100 rupees with student card
- Amber Fort 100 rupees with student card
- Nagarah Fort - 35 rupees with student card
- Jodhpur Fort - 400 rupees
- Camel Ride + Jeep Safari + Buffet in the dessert + more - 1200 rupees
- City Palace - 100 rupees
- Boat Ride around the lake - 250 rupees