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A Guide to the Golden Triangle, India

29th Aug

If you’re planning your first visit to India, the Golden Triangle is a brilliant place to start. Consisting of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, the three most frequently visited cities in the north-west of India form a triangle on a map, named "golden" because of the vast amount of culture and history on offer.

Originally the heart of the Moghul Empire, Agra is home to India’s most iconic mausoleum, the Taj Mahal. As the capital city of India, Delhi is packed with culture and fascinating street life, whilst Rajasthan’s beautiful capital Jaipur is where you’ll find some of the best bazaars in Asia.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about visiting the Golden Triangle. 

Taj Mahal, Agra

Amazing architecture in Agra

Commonly known as the city of Taj, magical Agra is home to three World Heritage Sites, a maze of bazaars and many fairs and festivals. Over 7 million visitors a year come to see one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Taj Mahal (‘Crown of the Palaces’), commissioned as the final resting places for the wife of Mughal king Shah Jahan.

The crescent-shaped sandstone Agra Fort (also known as the Red Fort) is a typical example of Mughal architecture, and just out of town you’ll find the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, believed to have been built to provide leisure and luxury to its regal residents.

India Gate, Delhi

The delights of Delhi

Crazy traffic, loud noise and chaos may spring to mind when you think of Delhi, but the bazaars and bustle of Old Delhi is just one of many experiences waiting to be discovered.

If you’re partial to architecture, visit the enormous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and the India Gate national monument. Delhi also boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and The Red Fort Complex, named after its enormous sandstone walls.

You’ll find a more cosmopolitan feel in the urban district of New Delhi, with a multitude of museums and galleries covering everything from modern art to traditional arts and crafts.

Jaipur - Amer Fort

Jaipur – the pretty pink city

Known as the ‘Pink City’ due to its vibrant pink buildings, mesmerising Jaipur is a melting pot of hubbub and history. Haggle in the market, sample locally made sweets, or step back in time at the many-windowed red and pink sandstone Hawa Mahal, the impressive City Palace and the Jantar Mantar astronomical observation site where you can see the world’s largest stone sundial.

The opulent marble and sandstone Amer Fort (also known as the Amber Fort) overlooks Maota Lake and is connected to the nearby Jaigarh Fort by a subterranean passage, used as a wartime escape route for the royal family.

Accommodation

The busy Golden Triangle cities can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s great to take sanctuary after a day’s sightseeing in a decent hotel. The accommodation we offer on our tours gives you the chance to regroup, relax and unwind with some peace and quiet whilst still being in the heart of the action!

Food and drink

Indian food is one of the world’s most colourful, fragrant and delicious cuisines. However, whilst most hotels will have stringent hygiene procedures, it’s worth exercising caution elsewhere. There’s an abundance of delicious street food to try, but follow the locals and choose popular vendors that prepare food in front of you. As a rule, err on the side of caution by choosing freshly prepared food that is served hot.

Most tap water in India is unfit for consumption, and although some hotels offer treated water, it’s best to stick to the bottled kind. You’ll encounter two types: packaged drinking water that has been treated, and pure mineral water – both are safe to drink, although mineral water has the edge as it is chemical free. Be wary of washed salads, fresh fruit juice (which may be mixed with water), and ice cubes.

Getting around the Golden Triangle cities

Taxis are an inexpensive way of getting around, but we recommend a rickshaw ride. This is a great way of seeing the sights, and will rarely cost more than a pound or two.

What to watch out for

India is a friendly place, and you will encounter many locals just wanting to chat and say hello. However, you may be approached for money, by hotel touts, pushy shopkeepers, rickshaw drivers wanting to take you to a particular bazaar, or photographers wanting to take your picture at tourist attractions. A firm “no” is the best response!

Our top tips

  • Research what you want to see before you travel
  • Choose a private tour to explore at your own pace
  • Flat shoes are a good choice as paths can be a bit uneven
  • Dress conservatively if you’re visiting a religious building
  • Clean your hands on the go with antibacterial hand gel or wipes

 

We offer a range of Golden Triangle tours which can be tailored to meet your requirements. Book your dream North India holiday today.