I could use some high-level advice from folks who’ve been to India or at least researched a trip there.
I’m 95% sure I’m taking a tour to India in February 2021 with a a friend. The tour covers Delhi (3 nights—just 2 days), Jaipur (3 nights), Ranthambore National Park (2 nights), Kalakho (1 night), Agra (2 nights) and Varanasi (3 nights). I will add independent travel before and after the tour—maybe 2 weeks before (including some extra days in Delhi) and 1 week after. Post-tour options will be somewhat limited because the weather will be getting very hot by then except up in the mountains
I need to have a vague plan quickly, because I want to arrange flights as soon as possible (probably in March). I know zip about India and cannot simply focus all my energies on it for the next 6 weeks because I have a 2020 trip to Europe that needs attention (flights not even booked yet for probable May departure).
So: Does anyone have some destinations they’d suggest I investigate as a first step? I have resources (some tour brochures, magazine articles, NYTimes articles, TV shows) and will of course take a look at the TripAdvisor forum and buy at least one guidebook, but it would normally take me many months to do the preliminary research for a trip like this. I need to take shortcuts so I can figure out the flights soon. Details and final decisions can come much later.
I see that both Rough and Lonely Planet have full-county guidebooks published in late 2019. There are a bunch of regional guides as well.
Thanks for any input you can offer on potential add-on destinations, guidebooks or other matters.