India’s mega-metropolis boasts residents from all corners of the country, and has a palette to match.
Before all those on-the-road dhaba meals, treat yourself with a sit-down dinner at Potbelly, a Bihari fusion joint in hipster Shahpur Jat.
Wander the medieval ruins in nearby Hauz Khas Village, and indulge in a bit of Delhi’s pub culture.
But don’t overdo it! You’ll still have to tick off a list of Mughal sites, from the world-famous Humayun’s Tomb to the lesser-known (but arguably more appealing) Safdarjung Tomb.
Make your way by train or flight to Varanasi, the ghostly, unrelentingly chaotic Hindu holy city clinging to the banks of the Ganges.
Join prayers at the heavily-guarded Kasha Vishwanath, or Golden Temple, then hop a wooden dinghy for a sunset river ride. Spectacular aarti performances take place nightly. Better yet, wander the ghats on foot.
Love or hate the City of Shiva, you won’t soon forget it.
From Shiva’s abode, head to Krishna’s birthplace: Mathura, a picturesque pilgrim town, and nearby Vrindhavan, smaller and brimming with temples.
Time your visit with Holi, India’s festival with colors, and get clobbered with pink gulal powder!
Mathura is a short hop by bus or train from Agra, home to none other than the Taj Mahal.
A short bus ride takes you to Ajmer, with its magnificent, 16th century Sufi shrine, and nearby Pushkar, a laid-back, hippie-trail town famous for its annual camel festival.
Further south is glorious, lakeside Udaipur, Rajasthan’s picture-perfect White City.
From Rajasthan, catch a train to Chandigarh, a Le Corbusier-built Punjabi city.
From there, an overnight bus will take you high up the Himalayan mountains to Manali, a foggy, pine-covered resort popular with both stoners and honeymooners.
Trek to the mysterious hash hub of Malana, or to beautiful, serene Kheerganga, which has its own holy hot springs.
Indulge in momos and meditation in Dharamsala and Mcleodgang, home of the Dalai Lama and India’s exiled Tibetan community.
A death-defying, two-day bus ride climbs a No Man’s Land of rocky peaks to the former Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh.
From Leh, either a short flight or another bouncy, beautiful bus ride down the mountains will take you to Srinagar – capital of the troubled, yet unforgettably alluring, region of Kashmir (check security advisories first).
Drift in a vintage houseboat on glasslike Dal Lake, or wander the tulip-filled Shalmir Bagh.
*Areas such as Jammu and Kashmir may not be covered due to government warnings. Be sure to check your government advice before you buy a policy, so you're aware of how the policy can cover you.
For those ready to brave the crowds and the smog, Delhi local Ariel shares her top 7 unbeatable experiences.
Ladakh, an ancient, high-altitude desert region sandwiched between the world’s highest mountains, has outdoor adventures and cultural surprises waiting for you.