India is big and its culture and language change every 400 miles. It’s chaotic with swarm of people wherever you go. And can be shocking on your first visit.
To get over the confusion and the chaos, let things seep in slowly. Keep an open mind and start with a travel route that can help you to see the country’s beauty and charms to balance the cultural shock you might get. Golden Triangle is one such route that can get you used to India quicker than going some place else.
Golden Triangle is a travel route between Delhi, Agra and Jaipur that covers the most popular tourist destinations in India. These include the country’s capital and its crowded bazaars, Taj Mahal and Jaipur’s historical monuments. Golden Triangle has been a must for travelers with tight schedule as well as for first-timers.
Why Golden Triangle
It is convenient. Delhi-Jaipur is under five hours of travel. Delhi-Agra takes almost the same time. Agra to Jaipur takes about seven hours. Typically, a person should start from Delhi and head to Agra, the next destination is Jaipur and then, back to the capital.
On this route, you can choose all possible mode of transport depending on your budget – from daily trains to air conditioned buses and private vehicles. When you are done, you have touched upon three different states and a variety of sights. Being close to each other, the itinerary can be as lean as just four days.
Delhi: It gives you a wholesome cultural perspective. In Delhi, you get to see the cosmopolitan culture of the country. It has its share of malls, Mc Donald’s, Subways, coffee chains, metro (subway in the US and tube in London), swanky cars, houses of powerful politicians, and the country’s parliament. At the same time, you can also experience the historical monuments like Red Fort and Jama Masjid, bazaars in narrow lanes that sell traditional clothes and accessories and get to ride a cycle rickshaw.
Agra & Jaipur: Agra is all about Taj Mahal. No visit to India is complete without seeing this man-made wonder. You can also catch a glimpse of religious India by traveling to near-by towns of Mathura and Vrindavan. Jaipur is the gateway to the royal India. You can experience forts, palaces, temples and other historical monuments here. As you travel deeper in Rajasthan, these sights get better and better.
Day 1 Delhi
Buckle yourself for a lot of walking. Reach Old Delhi and spend the entire day in the area. Visit Red Fort and Jama Masjid. Lose yourself in the chaotic bazaars of this area, where you have to walk slow to avoid being pushed. Visit Chandani Chowk. Try spicy Delhi Chaat and samosas for snacks. Feast on Mughlai cuisine in one of the best restaurants in India – Karims. Take a cycle rickshaw to the metro station while heading back home.
Red Fort: This fort, occupies a lavish area of almost 255 acres, was the residence of Mughal emperors. Get there to know the history of India, fascinating lifestyle of kings and surprise at the Mughal extravaganza.
Jama Masjid: Situated very close to Red Fort, this is the largest mosque in India. Every stone in this building was used after recital of holy Quran. You can feel the spiritual energy the moment you enter it.
Chandani Chowk: This is one of the biggest markets in the country. It is also home to some of the famous restaurants and confectioners. It also has the house of the famous poet Mirza Ghalib.
Day 2 Delhi
Devote first part of the day to either Jantar Mantar or Qutab Minar. In the second half, go to Delhi Haat to enjoy food, tradition and arts and crafts from different Indian states in this permanent exhibition. Head to Connaught Place for dinner.
Jantar Mantar: It is an observatory built in 1724 to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Check out the interesting 100-plus feet long instruments built here.
Qutab Minar: This building marks the onset of Islamic rule in India. This minaret was built by destroying 27 temples and reusing their material for construction. At the base of the structure is a mosque.
Connaught Place: This is one of the most vibrant business districts of New Delhi.
Day 3 Agra
Find a homestay. Head to Taj Mahal. After getting amazed by its beauty, head to Yammuna River to cross the banks and watch the magnificent wonder from the other side. To discover the lavish Mughal kings’ lifestyle, head to Agra Fort. Savor different types of Mughlai Kebabs during meals.
Taj Mahal: To India, Taj Mahal is what Eiffel Tower is to France and pyramids are to Egypt. The structure is admired globally. Before the visit, you surely must have heard the hype. Eventually, you will feel every word spoken of this ‘monument of love’ is true.
Agra Fort: This Mughal monument lies barely 2.5 kilometers away from Taj Mahal. Like Red Fort, this structure too speaks of the Mughal history and lavishness. Some people find this ‘walled-city’ more interesting than red fort.
Day 4 Around Agra
Travel to Vrindavan and Mathura to experience the religious side of India at its best. Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna, one of the most worshiped Hindu deities. The city also finds a mentioned in Indian holy book of Ramayana. Mathura is where Lord Krishna spent his childhood.
Day 5 Fatehphur Sikri & Jaipur
Head to Jaipur by road and visit this ‘ghost city. Find fascinating facts about this place like a Mughal emperor deserted it after using it as headquarters for 14 years due to water issues. Admire the sheer efforts taken to build this by human hands.
Day 6 Jaipur
Choose among the palaces, forts, and temples that you would like to visit. Some of the interesting one includes Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal), City Palace Museum and Amber Fort, where you can take a regal-robed elephant to tour it.
Hawa Mahal: Admire the architecture of this palace originally constructed to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. The palace’s architecture represents a beehive and has 953 windows.
City Palace: A palace complex, this monument was residence of King of Jaipur. It was constructed keeping principals of vastu-shastra, the science of construction based on how the laws of nature affect human dwellings.
Amber Fort: It is the most popular historical structure in Jaipur that receives about 5,000 visitors a day. The palace has four levels that are designed to serve different purpose such as public and private meetings. One of the levels also had Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace
Day 7 Delhi
Take a Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation’s air-conditioned Volvo bus back to Delhi.
By the time the trip ends, you will be better prepared to handle crowds of people, pestering touts, nuances of public transport and even in the art of bargaining. You would be definitely ready for your Indian travel adventures thereon.