Related: More recent Chandrayaan updates are available.
US manned launches took 4 days to reach moon; some Soviet launches took two. Why are we taking a fortnight?
While I haven't seen any official explanation from ISRO nor an analysis of Chandrayaan-1 trajectory elsewhere, my speculation is: answer might be a trade between cost & travel time. They are probably trying to get a gravity boost from earth rather than burning fuel - hence lower weight, hence lower cost. Someone better qualified at making sense of trajectory might offer a saner comment.
More (& wild) speculation - safety. By always staying in earth orbit or moon orbit - even a highly elliptical one - could you increase chances of recapturing the ship even if something went wrong during the moon-capture maneuver?
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