First Trip to India: What to choose North or South?

Nov 5 2023
First Trip to India: What to choose North or South?

India is a vast and diverse country. You can compare it with the size of continental Europe. So, it’s always difficult to choose from North India or South India if you are visiting it for the first time.

In this article, you will get a clear overview of the key factors to be considered while deciding between these two parts or deciding to include both in your trip. Delve into the following passages to know these in detail.

A comprehensive guide to help you choose between North or South India for your first trip to India.

Choosing North or South India for your first visit is a never-ending debate. Both parts have carved a distinct reputation for their cultural sites, natural landscapes and lodging options, making them equally cherished among first-time travellers to India.

What to expect during a trip to North India & South India (Quick Summary):

What to expect from your North India TripDestinations to visit in North India


What to expect from your South India TripDestination to visit in South India

Rajasthan & Agra

What to see :

Desert, Palaces, forts, bustling cities, Taj Mahal, National Parks, colourful festivals and vibrant markets

Tamil Nadu

What to see :

Ancient temples, beaches, vibrant cities and natural landscapes.


What to see :

High mountains, beautiful landscapes, high altitude trekking, Buddhist monasteries


What to see :

Naturel landscapes, tea plantations, national parks, beaches and serene backwaters

Ganges Valley

What to see :

Palaces, Taj Mahal, Ganges, spirituality, sacred sites, Sadhus et profound India


What  to see :

Ancient temples, palaces, archelogical sites, and beautiful villages


Palaces, Forts, Salt Desert, National parks, Asiatic Lions, bustling cities and vibrant markets

Telangana & Andhra Pradesh

What to see :

Tribal life, natural landscapes, National parks, beaches and vibrant cities

What do we recommend between North or South according to your interest?

North India if you like:

  • If you are a history lover.
  • Loves monuments and architecture.
  • Likes long road trips.
  • Cultural festivals

South India if you like:

  • Natural sites
  • Ancient temples
  • Sunsoaked Beaches
  • Wildlife

What to expect during a trip to North India: Mainly Rajasthan-Delhi-Agra or Ganges Valley


  • Jaipur – The pink city, key sights include the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace, and Jantar Mantar Observatory. Shop for handicrafts and textiles in bazaars.
  • Jodhpur – The blue city, visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. See traditional paintings and tie-dye textiles.
  • Udaipur – The city of lakes, known for Lake Pichola, City Palace and Jag Mandir Palace. Boat rides offer scenic views.
  • Jaisalmer – Golden desert city, see the yellow sandstone architecture of Jaisalmer Fort and havelis. Camel rides in desert dunes.
  • Pushkar – Sacred town on banks of Pushkar Lake with rare Brahma Temple. Experience the colourful camel fair.
  • Taj Mahal – The magnificent 17th-century white marble monument of love. Appreciate the intricate marble inlays and carvings.
  • Agra Fort – Imposing 16th-century red sandstone fort on the banks of Yamuna River.
  • Fatehpur Sikri – Imposing sandstone buildings from the height of the Mughal empire.

Varanasi & Ganges Valley:

  • Varanasi – Ancient holy city on the banks of the Ganges River. Take a boat ride at dawn, and visit ghats and temples like Kashi Vishwanath.
  • Sarnath – Major Buddhist centre where Buddha gave his first sermon. See Dhamek Stupa and monastery ruins.
  • Bodhgaya – Where Buddha attained enlightenment, with the Mahabodhi Temple complex.
  • Khajuraho – Temples adorned with stunning erotic sculptures and carvings.
  • Key things to do – Camel rides in the desert, boating on lakes, walking tours of forts and palaces, observing rituals along the Ganges, and experiencing holidays like Holi. Shopping for local handicrafts.

Some recommended Rajasthan Tour Packages in North India

What People Often Do Not Like About Rajasthan And North India:

  • You should keep in mind that travelling between towns usually takes a lot of time and often entails different modes of transport. Expect at least five to seven-hour road journeys. However, there are now domestic flights available from Jaipur, Jodhpur & Udaipur to other parts of the country.
  • Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, and Rajasthan are very tourist. This means that a lot of touts will be trying to sell you commodities or services which can be annoying for the first timer in India. Contrarily, this is less likely to happen in South India.
  • To describe apparently, while Rajasthan is dry and arid contrarily, Kerala is forever-green.
  • A trip to Rajasthan may not be that smooth especially when you are travelling with kids who are very young. Distances will be long with not many activities for kids. However, forts and palaces will be great fun for older kids to explore.

What to expect during a trip to South India: Specially Tamil Nadu and Kerala

  • Ancient Temples – Massive temples like Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, and Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai with towering gopurams (gateway towers), ornate carvings and sculptures.
  • Pondicherry – A French colonial settlement with a European feel in the architecture, French Quarter by the sea, Auroville for meditation and spirituality.
  • Mahabalipuram – Historic 7th-8th century port city, famous for its rock-cut cave temples and stone-carved sculptures like Arjuna’s Penance and the Descent of the Ganges.
  • Hill Stations – Ooty with scenic vistas of Nilgiri hills, botanical gardens and tea estates. Kodaikanal with its breathtaking views and waterfalls.
  • Cuisine – Rice-based dishes like idli, dosa, and vadas served with sambar and chutney. Chettinad chicken, coconut chutney, filter coffee.
  • Music & Dance – Carnatic classical music and Bharatanatyam dance shows in temples.
  • Shopping – Kanchipuram silk sarees, Thanjavur paintings, stone sculptures, antiques.
  • Backwaters – Palm fringed canals and lagoons between Kochi and Kollam, cruise in the houseboat and enjoy scenic views.
  • Hill Stations – Tea plantations and colonial charm in Munnar, wilderness and wildlife of Thekkady and Periyar.
  • Beaches – Kovalam with rocky outcrops, Varkala with cliffs, Bekal with forts and lagoons.
  • Wildlife – Periyar National Park to see elephants and tigers up close from boats. Eravikulam for endangered Nilgiri Tahr.
  • Temples – Elaborate Padmanabhaswamy temple, Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple, pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
  • Kathakali Dance – Elaborate costumes, expressive hand gestures and make-up.
  • Cuisine – Seafood delicacies, chicken/lamb coconut curry, appam, puttu.
  • Ayurveda – Rejuvenating massages, spas and treatments using herbal oils.
  • Shopping – Aromatic spices, fragrant essential oils, wooden handicrafts.

Some recommended tour packages in South India

What You May Not Like About South India

Tamil Nadu and Kerala simply have nothing to complain about. It is true that if you are more into those forts, palaces and monuments, there won’t be much to explore in South India apart from the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Best time to visit Rajasthan and South India

Your Personal Preference: North or South?

In summary, if your ideal vacation involves lush landscapes, relaxation, and short travel times, pack your bags for South India. Conversely, if you’re interested in architecture, deep-rooted history, and a diverse range of experiences, North India should be on your bucket list.

The good news? If you can spare up to three weeks, you don’t have to choose—you can experience the best of both worlds!

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream Indian holidays today

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