My short time in India of just three weeks was long enough to experience the top sights of India – many of which are on the Golden triangle. The Golden triangle India route is the route from Delhi > Agra > Jaipur and is doable in a week or two. It’s popular with budget backpackers and wealthy tourists alike, and I highly recommend it if you want a taste of India.
What is the Golden Triangle India?
The Golden Triangle in India is a fantastically varied introduction to the sounds and sights of the country. From hurtling tuk-tuks and busy bazaars to serene temples and majestic mosques, this is the country at its most chaotic and noisiest. Chances are the colourful exuberance will leave you feeling like you need to return again. The Golden Triangle is the route between Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and it’s named for the nearly equilateral triangle that the three cities make when they are plotted on a map. Starting at the capital, Delhi, and taking in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, it’s India’s most well-trodden tourist track.
Why is it called the ‘Golden’ triangle? This is due to the extraordinary religious and historical sites that the three stops have to offer. Jaipur, capital of the largely desert state of Rajasthan, is home to some of Asia’s best bazaars. You could potentially spend many weeks in Delhi, the extensive, captivating Indian capital, and still not see all of it, while Agra, once the core of the Moghul empire, provides supreme beauty of the Taj Mahal, which embellishes the banks of the Yamuna river. India’s Golden Triangle is a characteristic introduction to India: if you haven’t been to the subcontinent before, be sure to start here. This usually involves a flight into Delhi.
The Golden Triangle India Route
People mostly start their golden triangle itinerary in Delhi, because this is where the majority of international flights arrive. The trips normally start in Delhi and move south to the site of Taj Mahal at Agra, then west, to see the desert landscapes of Rajasthan. It is possible to do the trip by coach or private journey through the majority of the tour operators. India’s Golden Triangle is now a well-travelled route which provides a good spectrum of the country’s different landscapes. The circuit is around 720 km by road and each leg is around 4 to 6 hours to drive. The Shatabdi express train connects Delhi with Agra and Jaipur.
What to do in each City on the Golden Triangle India
Destination 1 – Delhi
In Delhi you will find a great city that has embraced the 21st Century yet has consistent reminders of its unstable history at every turn. The elegant Georgian style colonnades of Connaught Place may be classic British colonial but the delicious aroma of sizzling chaat and plaintive cry of street vendors drifting on the warm breeze is pure modern India. Earlier conquerors, the Moghuls, built the elegant Jama Masjid over 350 years ago but the call to prayer still summons thousands to the vast courtyard as it always has. Here’s a great link on the best Delhi tours.
Where to Stay – The Claridges, New Delhi
The Claridges is set amid the lush centre of the city and is in close proximity of the business district, shopping hubs, cultural centres, and historical landmarks. One of the most preferred hotels in the Diplomatic Enclave, it is equipped with 140 spacious rooms and offers an array of accommodation options ranging from beautifully appointed Luxury Suites to Deluxe Rooms, some rooms with their own private terrace. The property caters to discerning leisure travellers as well as those looking for business hotels in New Delhi. There are a total of seven dining venues which bring tastes from all the different corners of the world to your own platter.
Destination 2 – Agra
It’s a few hours to the south-east though in Agra, where you’ll find the lasting Moghul legacy. The extreme beauty and setting of the Taj Mahal, perched high above the Yamuna River, still takes your breath away and though the tides of history have washed away the builder’s empire, the tale of devotion and love, treachery and tragedy still resonates as strongly today.
Where to Stay – Mansingh Palace, Agra
Situated in downtown Agra, this well-equipped, modern hotel signifies outstanding value less than 10 minutes from the Taj Mahal.
Both the Agra Fort and Taj Mahal are quickly available from the hotel by car or rickshaw in less than 10 minutes, and in the vicinity are loads of shops which are useful to foreigner travellers, such as a Pizza Hut, a selection of restaurants, and wi-fi cafes. The multi-cuisine eatery (Sheesh Mahal) is on-site overlooking the pool. Appointed in honour of Rajput Emperor Sawai Mansingh, this property hails guests with an a secure gated driveway, expansive lobby and deluxe marble floors throughout.
Destination 3 – Jaipur
Across the hot desert plains of Rajasthan lies Jaipur, the Pink City. Mighty forts and fairy-tale palaces look out over a hectic city of colourful bazaars packed with crimson turbans and lovely saris. Perched high on the serrated ridges of the hills overlooking the city, the Amber Fort looks down on the swirl of life. Follow these links for more amazing places to visit in Jaipur and tips on choosing a Jaipur tour package.
India is one of the few places where you can spot tigers in the wild. Ranthambore National Park is the closest park with tigers to the Golden Triangle, but our private touring team can add a stay in any of the India’s tiger reserves to your tour.
Where to Stay – Alsisar Haveli, Jaipur
A refurbished old mansion in the centre of the Pink City, Alsisar Haveli is near the Johari Bazaar, City Palace, and Hawa Mahal. The rooms take you back to the days when the Thakurs of Alsisar lived there with antique furniture and medieval Rajasthani style-fabrics to enhance the Rajasthani look. The hotel is located just outside the old walled city and is an oasis of tranquillity from the busy Indian streets. The old mansion encircled by a beautiful garden with an enjoyable pool also allows lovely outdoor dining and is a nice treat in this setting. The indoor dining room serves Indian and western food, has walls decorated with inlaid gold, and is truly magnificent. This property is built with the guest’s enjoyment and comfort in mind, and the team is offered to help make that possible.
Got Extra Time? Consider the Pushkar Add-On
Pushkar is a popular add on during the Golden Triangle. The major attraction of Pushkar is the Pushkar Lake which is seen as sacred similar to the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. Pushkar has become a key place of Hindu pilgrimage because of the holy lake. Legend has it that this lake was consecrated to Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe when a lotus dropped from his hand into the vale and a lake emerged in that place. You can book a Golden triangle tour including Pushkar here.
The most important temple in Pushkar is the Temple of Lord Brahma, one of the holy trinities of Hinduism. The temple preserves a life-size idol of Lord Brahma. This Savatri temple which is located at the top of the Ratnagiri Hill is dedicated to Savitri, (the wife of Lord Brahma). The temple also contains a statue of Goddess Savitri. Finally, Old Pushkar lake is rebuilt and is located around 5 km from Pushkarlake. Rendering to the ancient texts, Old Pushkar has equal religious and cultural significance for the pilgrims.