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Golden Triangle (India) Tourism And Travel Guide
16° C / 60.8° F
October to April
7 to 8 Days
Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi)
Giving an overview of the Golden Triangle is not as simple, even though they are just three cities in the heart of Indian subcontinent. The diversity and rich history of these three cities, all of them strongholds of Indian Rajas, Maharajas, Mughals and Sultans, is unrivalled and makes you heady with its imposing past.
You can fly down to Delhi or Jaipur International Airport and then take connecting flights or train or bus/ car to your next destination. Ideally, Delhi should become your hub and you must travel to Agra for a 2-day sojourn, return to Delhi, soak in its experience for a day or 2 and then head to Jaipur for 2-3 days. Read on to understand a brief travel and tourism guide to Golden Triangle (India).
How to Reach
The Golden Triangle is one of the most prominent tourist networks in India. The three cities also hold high national and economical significance, hence the air, rail and road networks around here are well developed.
You can fly into one of the two International airports - Indira Gandhi International Airport of Delhi or Jaipur International Airport, and then take connecting flight to Agra. Air India, Jet Airways, Spicejet and Indigo are some of the local airlines plying regularly across these routes. Ideally, you must make Delhi your hub and then travel from there to the other two cities.
The Ajmer Shatabdi Express and Rajdhani are two of the best trains to take when travelling from Delhi to Jaipur. Many daily trains also commute from Delhi to Agra and Agra to Jaipur. Since Indian Railways are almost always running full, you must make sure to book your tickets in advance.
Agra is 233 km away from Delhi, while Jaipur is 281 km away. Delhi is at the pinnacle point that makes an almost equilateral triangle between these three places when plotted on a map. You can drive down, book an Outstation Ola or use the private Volvo/ state-run RSRTC buses for road transport.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The Golden Triangle falls in the northern belt of India and because it is in the hinterland, it experiences extreme weathers of summer and winter. The best time to visit these cities is through winters and beginning of summers, i.e. between October and April.
Summers are scorching with temperatures going as high as 45°C in Delhi, Agra as well as Jaipur. Since the three cities are in close proximity, their relative temperatures and weather conditions hardly differ. Heatstrokes are very common during May-June so this time is not very conducive to visit. March-April is still bearable and you can also be a part of the famed Gangaur festival of Jaipur.
Rainfall is medium-heavy in Agra and Delhi while Jaipur, being closer to the Thar desert receives lesser precipitation. Floods and traffic jams are common in this season hence a trip in monsoon is not recommended. However, some big festivals like Teej in Jaipur and Janmashtami in Delhi-Agra fall in this season, so those looking at experiencing these festivals can plan their trip accordingly.
Winter time in the Golden Triangle is generally quite pleasant, with temperatures falling to 22-32°C. December-January months are freezing cold but sightseeing and most activities are great fun. The Taj Mahal is best visited on winter afternoons, when the fog is lifted and sun shines in all its glory. This is also the season of festivals. Holi and Diwali, two of India's greatest festivals are celebrated in October and March respectivey.
Things to Do
Day Tour of ‘Dilli’:
Delhi (also popularly called ‘Dilli’ or city of hearts) is a vast experience of culture, politics, humanity, history, and most importantly - food. Take a day tour of this old city that has endured years of rule as well as ruin. Start your day with sunrise at India Gate, then proceed to Qutub Minar and Red Fort for a long, eventful history and architecture lesson in Indian sultans and Mughals. Later in the day, spend some time shopping at Sarojini Nagar for latest street style stuff, filling your tired, famished bellies at Chandni Chowk’s paranthewali gali. Don't miss the stuffed paranthas, kebabs and chhole.
The Taj Mahal:
Just standing a few hundred feet away from this magnanimous mausoleum and soaking in the peace and war that goes inside love is an experience in itself. The Taj Mahal or the crown of palaces, is a symbol of love as much as it is of a sultanate’s wealth drain that eventually lead to famine and ruin. The precious stones, gem stones, carvings, gold and silver studded lines inside the various minarets and walls of the Taj are screaming reminders of that fate. While the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz underneath are reminders of love that can cross time. It’s really a conflict of emotions and must be experienced at least once.
Fatehpur Sikri is famous as one of the strongholds and residences of Emperor Akbar. Agra was his capital and the fort in Fatehpur Sikri was his royal household and court. The Diwan-e-aam, Diwan-e-khaas, Panch Mahal, Birbal ki Haveli, Marium-uz-Zamaani’s (Jodha Bai) palace etc are some of the most famous attractions inside this fort. The Buland Darwaaza is a door everybody must see as it portrays the symbol of how larger-than-life a king was in those days.
Haha Mahal or Palace of Winds in Jaipur is a crown-like beehive-inspired palace built by a Rajput King for the women of his house. With more than 900 small and big jharokas (windows), the Rajputana royal women would be able to peek out into the real world without showing their faces. The windows also served as excellent ventilation and kept the palace cool through all seasons.
Elephant Rides at Amer Fort:
Amer Fort is a few kms away from Jaipur and marks the stronghold of Royals of Amer, also said to be the family of Akbar’s chief consort Jodha Bai. The Amer Fort, built atop a hill jutting over Maota Lake is really a palace from inside. The ramparts leading to its various gates can be traversed on foot but elephant rides up to the main palace are famous.
When in Delhi, do not ditch the street food. Visit Chandi Chowk for some amazing mughal, punjabi as well as chaat cuisines. Try the paranthas (stuffed bread, fried in clarified butter), various kebabs and rolls, the famous chhole-bhature (chickpea curry with deep fried flat bread) and lassi (sweetened frothed buttermilk). The chaat of Dilli is also quite tasty and will leave you licking your fingers.
In Jaipur, eat traditional Rajasthani fare including Dal-Bati-Churma, gatte ki sabzi, laal maas as well as sweetmeats like ghevar and besan ke laddoo.
Shopping in Delhi consists of bargain. Do not forget that as you go scouting the streets, especially Sarojini Nagar, for latest street style fashion. You will find everything from kurtis to tops, culottes to jeans, modern jewellery to ethnic wear here. In Agra, shopping is usually limited to souvenirs and mini Taj Mahal figurines. Inside the Taj Mahal premises itself, one of the Government Emporiums sell special sarees made so thin that they can pass through a finger ring. Do try these as a part of the sale go directly to the small-scale weavers.
While in Jaipur, your shopping will be a blast for the senses as there is leheriya saree, fabrics, duppatas (scarfs), jewels and precious gem stones at Johri Bazar, the special Jaipur blue pottery as well as colourful mojaris (Indian ballerina flats) for men and women.