India – The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle consists of three large cities in the north: Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Really diverse and each completely different. These were the first places I visited in India, rich in culture, art, history and of course delicious food. If you prefer the cooler temperatures for sit seeing December and January is a great time to visit. With most major airlines flying into Deli this is where your journey will begin. Then you can take short internal flights between the there cities. Here are AT’s top things to do in each city.

Delhi

  1. Streetlife Walking Tour – The Salaam Baalak Trust charity organises tours operated by former homeless and poor street children. Get a real insight into the lives of Delhi’s children and orphans. See the old walled city, down hidden alleys and across rooftops.
  2.  Jama Masjid Mosque – Take in the amazing view of the Old Delhi from the top of the minaret.
  3. Red Fort – A historical fort which was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years,
  4. Lodi Gardens – Get some piece and quiet away form the hustle and bustle of the Delhi streets. Stroll through the tranquil gardens and grad some local food.
  5. Chandni Chowk – One of the oldest and busiest maskers in Old Delhi. Its how you imagine Deli will be, hot, busy and bursting with culture and colour. Sample some local foods and products.

Jaipur 

  1. Amer Fort – This impressive fort on top of a hill over looking Jaipur is accessed via car or elephant ride. Once at the top you can tour the Palace within the walls to the fort and admire the architecture and make sure you check out Ogle the bejewelled walls in the Hall of Mirrors. tiny mirrors and coloured glass form a stunning kaleidoscope. We hope you won’t take the elephant ride (very cruel) but by all means take a few pictures of the beautiful elephants in Indian dress.
  2. Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) – One of the iconic buildings in Jaipur that was built in 1799 as a screen wall to hide the faces of the Royal women who were watching street processions.
  3. Galtaji (The Monkey Temple) – An old Hindu temple built within a mountain pass in the Aravalli Hills. You travel 10km east of Jaipur to this unique temple entered around a natural spring which is challenged to fill seven large pools where pilgrims come to bathe away their sins. Galtaji is also home to a large colony of moneys that run, play and swim throughout.
  4. Jal Mahal Water Palace – Combing both Mughal and Rajput architectural styles go and enjoy the scenic view across the Mansagar Lake to the Water Palace.
  5. Shop the Bazaars – Incredibly skilled craftspeople producing authentic and traditional jewellery, clothes, rugs and furniture. There are many places to buy and we recommend asking your guide for a good place. Gemstones at Johari Bazaar, jewellery at Tripolis Bazaar, marble sculptures at Chapel Bazaar, handcrafts at Mirza Ismail Road.

Agra

  1. Taj Mahal – The main reason you go to Agra is the Taj Mahal. So make it the first stop on your list. Go early in the morning to try and avoid the crowds (from midday it can become ridiculously busy).
  2. Agra Fort – Resting on the West Bank of the Yamuna River, Agra Fort boasts impressive red sandstone turrets and gates. A number of powerful leaders conducted their empires from behind these walls where you will find a mixture of different architectural styles. Remember your walking shoes, its pretty massive. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and open all day.
  3. Fatehput Siri – Agra is the only city in the world that has three World Heritage Monuments: the Tag Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehput Sikri. Built in 1569 it was meant to be Agra’s capital but due to lack of water was abandoned shortly after construction was completed in 1585. Having been empty for hundreds of years its now a driving tourist attraction 25 miles west of Agra and worth the trip. Less crowed that other sites you can comfortably view the Mughal architecture, mosques squares, palaces rooms and more.
  4. Dinner with Taj Mahal – Agra’s finest luxury Hotel Amor Vilas offers dining at one of two restaurants (Bellevue and Esphahan). International cuisine or traditional Indian is served which you relax with a stunning view of the Taj Mahal from the bar terrace. Expensive and a reservation is require. But its the best view in town and the Indian food is amazing.
  5. Haggle Time – Practice your haggling in Agra’s shops offering leather goods, marble crafts, souvenirs, semi-precious stones, carpets/rugs, jewellery and sprees. Also check out the old city wholesale markets which have been operating for over 400 years. We were told to watch out for Government Approved Showrooms which are a scam and in general I wouldn’t be buying anything too expensive.

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