The Golden Triangle tour basically covers three of the most popular and most vibrant cities of India – Delhi, the country capital that served as the political and financial heart of several empires; Agra, the seat of power during the Mughal empire and is home to the iconic Taj Mahal; and Jaipur, the historical capital of Rajasthan. Despite all the negative news reported by the media, wonderful surprises abound here that makes India an utterly compelling destination. For a taste of intriguing cultures and exciting adventures, where else but in India?
Things to consider before travelling to India:
1.Safety and security – There is currently no nationwide security advisory in effect for India. Check your country’s travel advisory website to get the most up-to-date information for your personal safety abroad. It is safe to travel in the country. However, it requires special preparations, research and practices, especially for women. India is very traditional and the attitude towards women are not really the best in this side of the planet. When traveling to India, be cautious, use common sense but do not appear fearful.
2.Indian cuisine and food safety – Indian cuisine is very diverse. However, the staple diet in India consists of rice, atta (fiber rich wheat flour used to make most South Asian flat-breads, such as chapatti and roti) or whole wheat flour, different pulses such as dals and vegetables. Regarding food safety, it is recommended not to eat salads and cut fresh fruits. Eat only unpeeled fruits. Only eat freshly cooked food from a restaurant with high turnover. Most importantly, do not eat from vendors on the street.
3.Clothing – There’s no need for a foreigner to feel obligated to dress in traditional Indian clothing. Modesty is the key in India. For women, avoid revealing clothes so you won’t get unwanted attention. Jeans and shorts not higher than mid-calf, knee-length skirts partnered with T-shirts or blouse are acceptable. For men, loose cotton shirts, T-shirts and pants are okay. Lastly, while visiting places of worship, you should be fully clothed. Don’t forget to remove your footwear before entering a temple and mausoleum.
4.Language – India is a vast country which resulted to a number of different languages spoken by its people. However, the official language in India is Hindi. English is taught in schools and is widely used in the country, so do not worry about not knowing local phrases or words. It is, however, recommended to learn some Hindi or dialects specific to that region if you are heading towards rural areas.
5.Money and costs – The official currency of India is the rupee (INR). Exchanging money in India is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Asia. Currency can be changed at banks, airports, authorized money changers and some hotels. Credit cards are accepted in major cities and ATMs are widely available. The best way to get local currency is to use the ATM and withdraw in rupees to get the best rate.
6.Where to stay – Due to its popularity among visitors worldwide, India has heaps of accommodation to suit every pocket, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. To help you decide on the best place to stay, it is recommended to do a bit of prior research so you won’t land in the wrong part of this country. In Delhi, Main Bazar (which is known as Paharganj) is the backpacker area which offers many budget friendly guesthouses. In Agra, hotels located at Fatehabad road or towards the east gate of Taj Mahal are great for sightseeing opportunities. In Jaipur, Havelis and converted palaces are recommended to get a taste of the noble lifestyle.
7.Getting there – Due to the strong competition among airlines, airfares to Delhi are relatively cheap. It’s cheaper to book a round-trip ticket to and from Delhi (and book a one-way ticket Jaipur-Delhi at the end of your trip for 22-24 USD with JetAirways). From London a round-trip airfare starts at about 460 USD (with a stopover in Istanbul); from Amsterdam you can fly directly to Delhi and back for about 540 USD; from Moscow – a round-trip ticket could be yours for 323 USD… hmmm the price of 70 grande lattes from Starbucks; and from Dubai – a round-trip airfare is less than 200 USD.
Detailed Itinerary India’s Golden Triangle 6-day Adventure: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur
Day 1: Old Delhi
Your adventure in India starts today! Take an international flight to Indira Gandhi International Airport, the main civil aviation hub for Delhi, India. It is best to get an early morning arrival so you could fight off your jet lag before you go exploring in the afternoon. After check in, minimize your jet lag by spending a lot of time out in the sunlight so your body can adapt to its new surroundings. Wear a comfortable walking shoes as you will do a lot of walking for today.
Where to stay in Delhi:
Wood Castle Grand (EA/190, Tagore Garden | near Tagore Garden Community Centre, New Delhi 110027, India)
JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity (Asset Area 4 – Hospitality District, Delhi Aerocity, New Delhi 110037, India)
The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi (Bangla Sahib Road | Connaught Place, New Delhi 110001, India)
Sheraton New Delhi ( District Centre | Saket, New Delhi 110017, India)
Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel (19 Ashoka Road | Connaught Place, New Delhi 110 001, India)
If your flight gets in early enough, head to a nearest restaurant or cafe for a quick breakfast. Then start your walking tour around around Old Delhi’s main strip, Chandni Chowk. This part of Delhi is the most crowded and chaotic so first time travelers are recommended to avail walking tours. Not only you will learn the history of Old Delhi from a knowledgeable guide, you will also be able to get useful travel tips. The most famous attractions in Old Delhi are Digambara Jain Temple, Gauri Shankar Temple, Jalebiwala, Kinari Bazaar, Paratha Wali Gali, Sunder Masjid, Svetambara Jain Temple and Sisganj Gurdwara. Then head for dinner at one the top-rated restaurants in downtown (Tamra, Dum Pukht, Bukhara and Hauz Khas Social just to name few) to celebrate your first night in the country.
Day 2: New Delhi
On your second day in Delhi, take a stroll around the rest of this beautiful state. Frequent travelers would agree that New Delhi is a perfect walking city. Even without a rigid itinerary, you will definitely enjoy strolling in its delightful streets.
You may be wondering what the difference between Delhi, New Delhi, and Old Delhi is. Delhi is a Union Territory in India which consists of 11 districts. New Delhi, one of the districts of Delhi, perfectly showcases progress and modernity. Designed by the British, New Delhi is now the seat of the government of India. Old Delhi, on the other hand, is a walled city of Delhi founded by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639.
Some of the attractions you can see on this day are Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (one of the most prominent Sikh house of worship, in Delhi and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru; located near Connaught Place), Qutub Minar (at 120 meters, is the tallest brick minarety in the world), Humayun’s Tomb, Swaminarayan Akshardham, Lodi Gardens (also lnown as Lodhi Gardens (Hindi: लोधी बाग़, Urdu: لودھی باغ) is a city park situated in New Delhi, India. Spread over 90 acres it contains, Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad) and Rajpath (is the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi, India, that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill through Vijay Chowk and India Gate to National Stadium, Delhi. The avenue is lined on both sides by huge lawns, canals and rows of trees).
Day 3: Delhi – Āgra
On your third day in India, get up early to prepare for your next destination. Agra, located on the banks of the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh, India, is one of the most famous tourist destinations in India. There are many tour operators offering regular bus service from Agra to Delhi so make sure to check reviews online before you reserve your seats. Travel time is around 3-4 hours via Yamuna Expressway. Also, you have the option to get to travel from Delhi to Agra by train (travel time is less than 3 hours and the cost is less than 15 USD). Check in at your chosen accommodation before you go on your historic tour.
Where to stay in Agra:
The Oberoi Amarvilas (Taj East Gate, Agra 282001, India)
Courtyard by Marriott Agra (Fatehabad Road | Taj Nagri, Phase 2, Agra 282001, India)
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Agra (B/H – 1&2, Taj Nagri Phase II, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, Agra 282001, India)
Radisson Blu Agra Taj East Gate (Taj East Gate Road | Near Shilpgram, Agra 282001, India)
Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre Agra (Fatehabad Road, Agra 282004, India)
In the afternoon, you can visit the beautiful Taj Mahal (entrance fee is 750 INR or about 11 USD; do yourself a favor and hire a guide), the iconic mausoleum of white marble built in Agra by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. You may also visit the other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Agra – Fatehpur Sikri (a city in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh, India, founded in 1569; the city is still surrounded by a five mile long wall built during its original construction on three sides; however apart from the imperial buildings complex and the magnificent mosque, which continues in use, little of the city survives) and the Agra Fort.
Day 4: Āgra – Jaipur
On the morning of Day 4, after grabbing some breakfast, get set to experience the other magnificent attractions of Agra – Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, Mehtab Bagh, Wildlife SOS (the world’s largest sloth bear rescue facility) or Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (Shahzadi Mandi, Rakabganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India).
In the afternoon, travel to Jaipur, the capital of India’s Rajasthan state.
The best way to to get to Jaipur from Agra is by train. There are several trips per day between Agra and Jaipur and cost depends on the type of train. Travel time is approximately 5 hours. For time table and train ticket information, visit cleartrip.com or makemytrip.com.
Check in to your preferred hotel, before having an afternoon seeing the famous attractions of Jaipur.
Where to stay in Jaipur:
Taj Rambagh Palace (Bhawani Singh Road, Jaipur 302005, India)
Jas Vilas (C-9, Sawai Jai Singh Highway | Bani Park, Jaipur 302016, India)
Hotel Pearl Palace (51 Hathroi Fort , Hari Kishan Somani Marg,Near Vidhayakpuri Police Station, Behind Hero Honda Showroom, Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302001, India)
Hotel Meghniwas (C-9 Sawai Jai Singh Highway | Bani Park, Jaipur 302016, India)
Sunder Palace Guest House (46 Sanjay Marg, Hathroi Fort, Ajmer Road, Jaipur 302001, India)
Hotel Anuraag Villa (D-249, Devi Marg | Bani Park, Jaipur 302016, India)
Holiday Inn Jaipur City Centre (Commercial Plot No 1, Sardar Patel Road, Jaipur 302 001, India)
Day 5: Jaipur
On your fifth day, get up early and take an early morning hot air balloon experience. Be mesmerized as you drift slowly over the historical Forts and hidden palaces of the Pink City. Then, explore the vibrant Pink City of India on foot. The old city became the Pink City in 1876 when Maharaja Jai Singh decided to paint it with terracotta pink color for the visit of the then Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria to show Indian Hospitality.
In the afternoon, continue the tour in Amer Fort, another famous attraction in Jaipur. During the height of the Mughal Empire, fortified walls were built by the Maharaja rulers to defend their domain. Amer Fort is one of them.
Day 6: Jaipur
Your final day in India can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those Jaipur attractions that you haven’t yet had time for. If you are on the lookout for precious and semi-precious stones as well as ornaments and jewelries, then go to Johari Bazaar. For ready-made textiles, utensils, ironware and Rajasthani camel leather shoes, try Bapu Bazaar, Nehur Bazaar and Tripolia Bazaar. Fit in one last amazing lunch or dinner in the town before you go to the airport or if you decide to spend more time in Jaipur you should definitely check our Three days in Jaipur – a gateway to India’s most flamboyant state for more ideas of how to spend your time in Jaipur.
This is the end of our 6-day suggested itinerary to India. The sequence of the activities and attractions above are just a guide and you can definitely change it to suit your interests. Travel to India when you are ready because it is definitely not for everyone. Go with your eyes open and experience the charm of this land. Namaste, Welcome to India!
Have you been to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur or anywhere else in India? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.