India’s Golden Triangle is a 700-kilometre route which connects its three most visited cities: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and provide travellers with a taste of the varied landscapes that exist within this vast country. From massive forts to opulent palaces, from bustling markets and bazaars to the sunlit splendour of the Taj Mahal, these are the highlights of North India that you can expect to experience along the way.
India’s capital city has a population of more than 16 million and has been continuously inhabited for more than 2,500 years, and your time here will at times feel like a sensory overload. A heady blend of ancient and modern, the city incorporates Old Delhi, which was built by the Mughals in the 17th century, and New Delhi, whose tree-lined avenues and architecture are a reminder of its British colonial past.
Lose yourself amid the excitement of the city’s bustling bazaars or marvel at its great monuments: the Red Fort was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, while Jama Masjid is India’s largest and most impressive mosque.
Located a little more than 200 kilometres south of Delhi on the banks of the Yamuna River, Agra is best known for its grand and beautiful Mughal-era buildings – in particular, the Taj Mahal. Constructed in the 17th century by the ruling emperor as a mausoleum for the tomb of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is considered a masterpiece of Mughal architecture and an enduring symbol of love. Visit at sunrise or sunset to witness its white marble façade being repainted by the rays of the sun.
Although you could spend many hours exploring the 17-hectare complex of the Taj Mahal, you should also allow some time to explore the red sandstone citadel known as Agra Fort and the tangle of narrow lanes in the Old City’s bazaar, where you can shop for variety of wares including spices, clothes, saris, shoes and crafts.
As you travel west from Agra, you’ll notice the landscape as you enter the state of Rajasthan. Jaipur is the main gateway to this region and is known as the Pink City for the distinctive colour of the buildings in its historic Old City. The markets are renowned as a great place to buy gemstones, silver jewellery, blue pottery and textiles, while Nahargarh Fort, also known as Tiger Fort, is one of the best places to visit for spectacular views across the city, especially at sunset, thanks to its setting, high on the hills above.
One of Jaipur’s most famous sites lies about half an hour outside the city: the Amber Fort, which is an extensive palace complex constructed from yellow and pink sandstone with a spectacular hilltop location overlooking the tranquil waters of Maota Lake. Its interior is a series of palaces, halls, gardens and courtyards, each elaborately decorated with silverwork, mirror mosaic and marble inlay.
India’s Golden Triangle offers a wealth of historic sites, breath-taking architecture and dramatic landscapes, combined with a vibrancy and colour that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home. One of the best ways to experience all that this region has to offer is by joining an escorted tour – your personal travel manager can recommend the best options to suit your preferred timeframe, budget, and level of luxury.