Me and my girlfriend are heading to India on 2nd November, flying into Delhi. We fly out of Calcutta on 1st December.
We hope to do, Agra, Rhajastan, Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, and Calcutta in that time.
Has anyone else done a similar trip? Will we manage it all by rail? And, apart from Goa, where's good for drinking?
I would say scrap the idea of trying to see all that in one month. What you are looking at is a 2-3 month itinerary. With only a month to travel pick one region and stick with it. Rajasthan is perfect for one month, as is a trip from Mumbai to Kerela via Goa. Going from Delhi to Calcutta via a couple stops in Rajasthan, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi etc.. is also good for a one month trip.
But trying to see the highlights of the North and South will mean more buses and trains than seeing anything, and you'll wind up tired and hating India. Relax and take take things slow.
I absolutely agree with Degolasse. It's always easy to take a map and match interesting points on it, but you must realize that India is huge. A fast going train from Jaipur to Siliguri takes more than 32 h, for ex. and travelling is not always so easy and comfortable as it is in Europe (it means that you'll be simply very tired after each longer trip). Slow down and enjoy. I'll will suggest you the same itinerary that Degolasse did, which is: Rajsasthan - Agra- Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi (it's a must) - Calcutta and if surprisingly you have still some time make a little trip to Bodgaya or Darjeeling (to see the Himalayas).
Best of luck in my beloved India:D
Wow, that is very similar to my itinerary (except I did Pondicherry & Karnataka rather than Calcutta) and I was there almost two months! And I stayed nowhere more than three nights (usually one or two)! Do remember that Indian transport, although surprising good and frequent, is slow and you have to allow for delays anything up to 12 hours. Getting from one place to the next almost always means an overnight bus or train - even between the main itinerary destinations in Rajasthan.
I would suggest the following - EITHER Mumbai - Rajasthan - Delhi - Agra - Varanassi (yes, it's a must!) - Calcutta OR Mumbai - Goa - Karnataka (incl Hampi and Gokarna which are both WELL worth a visit) - Kerala - Bangalore. You can pretty much forget all about alcohol in Rajasthan/Agra/Varanassi - it's very much frowned upon except in the luxury hotels. Mumbai and southern India (Gokarna & Bangalore for example) have a more relaxed attitude towards drinking.
The rail network is very good, so you should manage it all by rail. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to PM.