Explore India’s Golden Triangle Region: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur

by Jules on January 26, 2014

The Golden Triangle tour is undoubtedly the most popular within India, exploring such icons as the Red Fort in Agra and the Qutab Minar in Delhi as well as the mighty Taj Mahal of course. Taking in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, this is the perfect introduction to the splendid heritage and culture of India, all within a short tour.

Discover Delhi’s Key Cultural Sights

Both Old and New Delhi are captivating, in their own unique way – this is the original city of contrasts! Old Delhi served as Muslim India’s capital city from the 12th to 19th century and the rich legacy within the forts, mosques and monuments is very much in evidence across the city. Then the British arrived and created imperial New Delhi, building modern examples of architecture and leaving their own legacy.

New Delhi

In New Delhi uncover the vibrant-red Jantar Mantar observatory complex which was built in 1724 and stop by the engaging Crafts Museum. Don’t miss a visit to the fascinating Indira Gandhi Museum and pay your respects at Gandhi Smriti (formerly known as Birla House) where Gandhi was assassinated ion 30 January 1948 and at Raj Ghat where Gandhi was cremated. Admire the opulent Sikh architecture of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib house of worship with its glittering golden domes and uncover the Hindu spirituality of the imposing Swaminarayan Akshardham temple complex. And finally, visit the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the imperial residence of the former British viceroys.

Old Delhi

Don’t miss the opportunity to take in Delhi’s original heritage within the oldest area of the city. Start at Chandni Chowk, which was Delhi’s imperial avenue and today is a bustling bazaar laden with people and traffic snaking from the Red Fort into Delhi’s walled city. Admire the exquisite Jama Masjid mosque which is resplendent in red sandstone and marble and learn more about Mahatma Gandhi at the National Gandhi Museum. Stop by the impressive Svetamber Jain Temple and admire the Sis Ganj Sahib Gurdwara Sikh shrine.

Red Fort, Delhi

The magnificent 17th century Red Fort complex glistens in the twilight, thanks to the glorious red sandstone. Built at the behest of the famous Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, of the iconic Taj Mahal fame! Lal Quila as its better known locally, served ruling Mughal Emperors until the inception of the British Indian Government in 1857. Surrounded by a moat, the Red Fort is one of India’s 30 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Inside are traditional hammams, the Palace of Colours where the wives and mistresses of the Emperors lived and also the Muthamman-Burj tower where Emperors would have addressed their subjects in the past. And each year on 15 August, the national flag flies in the humid air to celebrate independence from the British.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Now onto the most iconic sight within India; the incomparable Taj Mahal. The architectural wonder is a testament to the power of love – Shah Jahan built it as mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The sheer breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal is unrivalled. For over 17 years more than 20,000 men toiled to construct this monument of white marble and precious stones. This is undoubtedly the highlight of India’s Golden Triangle and is resplendent at both sunset and sunrise. Please be aware that the Taj Mahal is not open to tourists on Fridays.

Agra Fort, Agra

Experience the mighty Agra Fort with its opulent palace complex, royal pavilions and vast courtyards. Agra Fort was constructed when Agra ruled as the center of the mighty Moghul Empire. Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan all shaped this region. Don’t miss the Dewan-e-Am where the ruling emperors would greet his subjects whilst atop his throne.

As the sun sets admire the view from Agra Fort’s octagonal tower over the Taj Mahal. Alternately take a boat tour along the Jamuna River to admire the glistening marble mausoleum in the rich sunset hues.

Fatehpur Sikri

En-route from Agra to Jaipur, you should take the opportunity to stop at the deserted town of the Mughal Dynasty; Fatehpur Sikri. This ghost town was built in striking red sandstone in 1569 by the former Emperor, Akbar the Great. The opulent palaces and courtyards were abandoned just 14 years later however as the water dried up. Witness the imperial Jami Masjid, visit Shaik Salim Chisti’s tomb and try to figure out the curious Panch Mahal structure which looks much like a Buddhist temple.

Amber Fort, Jaipur

The largest city within the regal state of Rajasthan awaits. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City thanks to the ethereal hue of the historical buildings. Jaipur itself is home to colourful streets and lively bazaars.

First stop is the impressive Amber Fort, just outside the city, nestled in the Aravalli Hills. The relatively somber off-yellow exterior hides the regal interior where the highlight is undoubtedly the art-laden Hall of Victory.

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the Nahargarh fort exemplifies the royal heritage of Rajasthan. This majestic example means ‘abode of tigers’ and is also located within the Aravalli Hills, which offers a breathtaking view over the Pink City below. Nahargarh Fort features an extended wall that connects it to Jaigarh Fort. Despite its impressive exterior (or maybe because of it) Nahargarh Fort was never attacked.

Jaipur City Tour

Spend the afternoon exploring the rich cultural sights of Jaipur. Visit the majestic City Palace in the very heart of Jaipur, which is revered for its Rajasthani and Mughal treasures. Now serving as a museum, the highlights are the rare manuscripts, ancient carpets and intricately embroided clothing which belonged to ruling Maharajas and Maharanis of days gone by.

Stop by the engaging Central Museum and admire the vast Jantar Mantar observatory, which is one of five such structures built by Sawai Jai Singh in the 17th century. Next up is the breathtakingly elaborate Hawa Mahal, aka Palace of Winds, whose balconies and screens were built for the ladies of the royal court to watch the processions within Jaipur without being seen.

Spend the late afternoon wandering Jaipur’s famous markets and bazaars which sell everything from textiles, carpets, handicrafts, jewellery and traditional clothing.

The Golden Triangle tour is undoubtedly the most popular within India, exploring such icons as the Red Fort in Agra and the Qutab Minar in Delhi as well as the mighty Taj Mahal of course. Taking in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, this is the perfect introduction to the splendid heritage and culture of India, all within a short tour.

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