Assemble your gear, sling your backpack, and set off on a journey. Backpacking is a great way of venturing into the unknown, diving into unexpected situations and always preparing for come what may. Anyone with a passion for travelling will tell you that India is an inexpensive travel destination.

Blessed by nature’s bounty and an age-old civilization, it offers abundant opportunities for exploring, discovering and stumbling upon one experience after the other. What’s more, every time you venture out into the world with only your rug sack to keep you company, you come back with a new story to tell, and all the more wiser.

Here are Top 10 budget travel destinations for backpacking in India:

Goa

Discover the true meaning of backpacking by visiting Goa. The numerous beaches dotted along its 130km coastline are its greatest attractions. Azure seas caressing the golden beaches, with the palm trees swaying happily overhead – it’s a beach lover’s paradise. Apart from the beaches, one can also visit the colonial architecture.

Some of the other places to visit are Dudhsagar Falls, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Bom Jesus Basilica and Fort Aguada.

Best time to visit: Mid-November to Mid-February

Leh Ladakh

With its jagged mountains, lush meadows, pristine lakes and an arid climate, Ladakh is a backpacker’s paradise. You could go on a trail through the villages of Alchi, Diskit, Hunder, Lingshed, and others. Visit the Pangong Lake, follows the trails on the Nubra Valley and camp at Kargil before resuming your journey.

When in Leh Ladakh, sip “Qahwa,” taste “Tigmo,” and take a ride on the famed Bactrian camels of Hunder. Find other important details on Ladakh travel guide along with  best time to visit and how to reach.

Best time to visit: March to October

Jaisalmer

This “Golden City,” with its rolling sand dunes and forts, provides ample opportunities for backpacking. Once here, visit the Jaisalmer Fort, standing over 250ft tall, and the second oldest in Rajasthan. Explore the narrow lanes dotted with some vast havelis, temples and palaces. Visit the Gadisar Lake – a man-made reservoir, and discover why Kuldhara is referred to as the “haunted village.”

To experience the best of Jaisalmer, camp on its famed sand dunes.

Best time to visit: November to March

Spiti

Spiti, also called “Little Tibet,” is a valley that lies trapped in time. Its scenic beauty is both addictive and challenging, making it an ideal destination for backpackers and trekkers. From Ki Monastery to the highest village of Kibber to Kunzum Pass – each place is as fascinating as the last.

Be a part of Losar celebrations, come across the nature made mummy at Giu village and go for homestays to experience the most of the local culture and lifestyle.

Best time to visit: May to October

Rishikesh

Rishikesh combines spirituality and adventure like no other. Lovingly called the “Yoga capital of the world,” its home to a number of Himalayan pilgrimage destinations. Backpacking here means going white water rafting at Kaudilya, rafting and trekking at Shivpuri, being mesmerized by Neer Garh Waterfall and visiting the incredible amazing temples.

To add a unique dimension to your experience, visit the various meditation and Yoga centers like Osho and Vivekananda.

Best time to visit: September to October, early March to April

Shillong   

Shillong, in quintessence, is the perfect embodiment of Meghalaya’s beauty, also known as the “Scotland of the East.” Blessed by nature’s bounty and home to a rich and thriving culture, Shillong charms you at first sight. Head to the Shillong View Point, witness the amazing Elephant, Crinoline and Sweet Falls, or spend time lost in tranquility at Umiam Lake and Wards Lake in Shillong.

Spend an evening in leisure by visiting one of its many happening cafes.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Hampi

Hampi – a World Heritage Site, displays grandeur and elegance even through its “ruins.”  Visit the Virupaksha temple with its regal 9 story tall gopuram (ornate). Discover the Vijayanagar style of architecture in the Lotus Mahal, Hazara Rama temple and Lakshmi Narasimha temple. Stand still, and watch the golden rays of the sun turn the entire Vijaya Vittala Temple to gold.

Chase myths, scale boulders and wander through leisurely roads at the ancient capital of Anegundi.

Best time to visit: July to March

Dharamshala

Dharamshala, located about 17km northeast of Kangra town, is marked by oak and conifer trees and snowcapped mountains which encircle it from three sides. Your backpacking itinerary here would include trekking at Kareri, revisiting history at Kotla Fort, seeking blessings at Baijnath Shiv Temple and going on a shopping spree at Kotwali Bazar.

In and around Dharamshala, visit the Kangra Art museum, War memorial etc.

Best time to visit: March to June

Munnar

Munnar’s beauty borders on the introspective. As a backpacker, this is where you would come to contemplate, rejuvenate and leave the worries of the world behind you. Come closer to nature at Eravikulam National Park, enjoy boat rides at Mattupetty, and know what lends its tea gardens a legendary status.

If you are lucky, you might see the blooming of “Neelakurinji” – a rare flower which blooms once in every 2 years.

Best time to visit:  June to September

Gokarna

Gokarna can be defined in a thousand ways by a thousand people! It’s conservative and hip, at the same time. Secluded beaches, quaint temples and evasive culture makes it an ultimate backpacker’s destination. Beach trek across all its five shapes, take a banana boat ride, feel the joys of snorkeling, touch the clouds with parasailing, or go rock climbing at Yana.

Don’t forget to spend a night at one of the many accommodations in the several huts lining the beaches.

Best time to visit: October- March

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7 Comments
  1. Amy 4 months ago

    India is such a dreamy country, we hope to visit someday. It is a country that is so diverse, and I Love that you included the best times to visit!

    • Author
      Nikhilchandra 4 months ago

      Hey.
      It’s great to hear from you. Thanks for your kind words. Keep following my posts for more information for planning your trip to India. Hope to hear more from you.

  2. chloe lin 4 months ago

    I’ve been to India once. I’m intrigued by the cultural difference. With your advice, I will head back in the future.

    • Author
      Nikhilchandra 4 months ago

      Hi Chloe Lin,
      Glad to hear you have visited India. The cultural diversity is definitely amazing. Hope you visit again! Do try the places I have mentioned in my post. Would love to hear about your experiences in India.

  3. knycx.journeying 4 months ago

    Thanks for the list and great post. It’s nice to know there are so many places to see in India and it’s great to know a little bit about each city. I should start planning my next trip to India soon 🙂 @ knycx.journeying

  4. Priya 4 months ago

    So many places to visit in India, I have only been to the tea estates in Munnar. We loved it!

    • Author
      Nikhilchandra 4 months ago

      Hi Priya,
      Munnar is certainly one of my favorite places in India. There are many more places to visit. Include the destinations I have mentioned, in your bucket list and have a great vacation.

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