Are you an India enthusiast? Love Indian food and garments? Want to visit the Taj Mahal? If yes, then take an unforgettable trip to the Golden Triangle, a tourist circuit of the three most visited cities in India – Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. These are all connected to each other by good road and rail links. On the map, these approximate an equilateral triangle, some 200km on each side. The extraordinary wealth of cultural and historical splendor is on offer in each of the three cities and provides a truly ‘golden’ experience‘.
India is a huge country and if you are looking for a taste of India on your first holiday, then this Golden Triangle circuit is the best option to explore the charm, glory and contrasting experiences that are unique to India.
Delhi is a surprisingly amiable entry point with its visa on arrival facility for Indonesia. A typical week long trip starting and ending in Delhi and is well worth your time and money. It is packed with so much energy, inspiration and fun that you are left overwhelmed at the end. Although the area covered may seem limited, it exceeds expectations. It is possible to do the trip by train, coach or private transport. Keep aside time to savor the food and shopping too.
For a luxurious holiday, opt for the ‘Palace on Wheels’ a private luxury train that plies a week-long route from Delhi to Jaipur, on into Rajasthan and back via Agra. Its plush, carpeted interiors include two dining cars and roomy bedrooms decorated in Rajasthani style. It’s an authentic royal experience.
New Delhi, capital of India is built on the ruins of seven previous cities. A city of spectacular contradictions, ancient and medieval monuments that jostle shoulder to shoulder in the midst of contemporary infrastructure and modern malls. Old Delhi attractions are the Red Fort, with its fabulous light and sound show. Jama Masjid, the biggest mosque and Chandini Chowk for shopping. Then on to visit Qutub Minar- the worlds tallest brick minaret, Chhattarpur Mandir and many more historical forts and mausoleums to explore. Other contemporary tourist attractions are the lotus Baha’i temple, recently constructed Akshardham Temple, and Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
Jaipur, the royal capital of the largely desert state of Rajasthan, is home to some of Asia’s best bazaars and a spectacular vision in dazzling pink, a brilliant example of medieval Indian architecture. The City Palace complex is a labyrinth of carved stone palaces, towers and stunning courtyards ornate with water fountains and sculptural grandeur. The Hawa Mahal is an ornate five-storey façade, designed to allow the women of the royal household to observe the street in anonymity, is another world heritage site. Explore intimidating fortresses, royal cenotaphs and havelis (mansions).
Shop for crafts at the bustling bazaars and watch artisans making jewelry, tie-and-dye textiles and earthenware. Enjoy folk dance and music performances and see puppet shows as you listen to legendary tales of valor and love.Completing the triangle, Agra – takes you back in time to an era dominated by great Mughal kings who were die-hard patrons of art. The white marble mausoleum, Taj Mahal is an ode to love, built in the memory of his wife by grief stricken Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. With its intricate carvings and inlay work of semi-precious stones, Taj Mahal is a huge complex housing several magnificent structures, and a World Heritage Site. Opening hours are 6am-7pm daily except Fridays. February is the month for Taj Mahotsav festival in Agra with an array folk traditional dances, music and traditional Mughlai cuisines.Then back to Delhi to return to your home country. The golden triangle is the most popular tourist trail in India and showcases India’s history as well as its accelerating economy and ever-evolving culture.
Where to stay: Accommodation is available in all ranges. Plush hotels can burn a really big hole in your pocket. Try the mid range hotels for best value.
What to eat: It is most important to drink bottled water, which is available everywhere cheaply. Eat at trustworthy mid-range eateries where the food is good and surprisingly affordable. Pure vegetarian food is a tasty option and easy to find.
When to go: October to March is the best time to visit when the temperatures are a pleasant 25-10 degrees Celsius and the country celebrates many colorful festivals during these months.
Getting around: In addition to domestic airlines, the three cities are well connected by rail and road. You can book rail tickets up to two months in advance at Indian Railways website online. Tour operators provide many customized options and private car hire is easy. Although taxis are cheap, the classic way to get around Indian cities is by auto-rickshaw (bajai in Indonesia).