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Golden Triangle Tours of India – First Timer’s Guide

  • Explore India’s Golden Triangle – a cultural and historic adventure that takes in the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
  • Golden Triangle tours to India deliver must see-sights including the Taj Mahal, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Hawa Mahal and the Red Fort.
  • Discover the best time of year to visit India’s Golden Triangle, when Diwali is in 2019, and what you need to bring.

Curious about India’s rich history and culture and already looking at holidays to India? It’s a vast country – 13 times larger than the UK – and there’s a wealth of places to visit, so what’s the best option for a first-time trip?

Tours to India are an excellent way to discover more about this captivating country. If you’re keen to see India’s most iconic sights, such as the Taj Mahal and Red Fort, a Golden Triangle India tour package is perfect. So-called because the journey takes you to the highlights of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, following a route in the shape of a triangle.

Golden Triangle tours in India: Delhi

Holidays to India’s Golden Triangle usually start in Delhi in north-central India. The city is split into two: one part is the historic Old Delhi; and there’s also New Delhi, which lies to the south and has been the country’s capital since 1947. The ‘new’ centre, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens at the beginning of the 20th century (Sir Lutyens also designed London’s Cenotaph), is home to Rashtrapati Bhavan – the Presidential Residence, a vast mansion with 340 rooms and 190 acres of gardens. On the best city tours, you’ll also be taken to see stunning older monuments. Be sure to admire the 73-metre-high Qutub Minar – constructed in 1193 – and Humayun’s Tomb, an outstanding UNESCO-listed mausoleum dating back to 1570.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Humayan's Tomb with Palm Trees

Humayan’s Tomb

In vibrant Old Delhi, surrounded by imposing walls, you’ll discover spectacular examples of Mughal architecture. The magnificent Red Fort, so-called after its massive red sandstone exterior, is Delhi’s most iconic landmark – note that it’s closed on Mondays. The evening Sound and Light Show is an entertaining way to learn more about Indian traditions and culture. Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, and Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques, are city highlights too. Remember to dress conservatively when entering a place of worship.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Jama Masjid Mosque in Delhi

Jama Masjid Mosque

Golden Triangle tours India: Agra

The city of Agra, on the banks of the Yamuna river, is on the itinerary of a Golden Triangle tour. For many people, it’s the most anticipated part of a holiday, as it’s here you’ll see the magnificent Taj Mahal. Note that the Taj Mahal closes on Fridays, and prohibited items include books and toffee. The impressive white marble mausoleum was built in the mid-17th century as a memorial to Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s favourite wife. If you wish to marvel at its beauty and symmetrical design without huge crowds, visit late in the day or early morning – though queues start at 5:30am. At sunrise, the white marble takes on a rosy glow, whereas as the sun sets, the building appears to turn a soft shade of orange.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Taj Mahal Agra

Taj Mahal

Agra Fort is another must-see, with several impressive palaces, audience halls and mosques. The ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, an hour’s drive away, is fascinating too.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Agra Fort

Agra Fort

However, if you’re a wildlife lover, don’t miss out on a trip to Ranthambore National Park. A former royal hunting ground, today this vast reserve is home to the elusive Bengal tiger, leopards, marsh crocodiles, sloth bears and over 300 species of birds. A safari on an open-top, four-wheel-drive vehicle is sure to be unforgettable.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Bengal Tigers Ranthambore National Park

Bengal tigress in Ranthambore

Golden Triangle tours India: Jaipur

Jaipur is the next destination in a Golden Triangle India tour package, the final stop-off on the triangle before travellers return to Delhi. Often referred to as the Pink City, many buildings within the walled historic centre are a terracotta pink colour – the colour of hospitality. One such landmark is the Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds‘ Five storeys high, it has 953 little windows – if you choose to explore inside, note that narrow passageways can feel claustrophobic.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Hawa Mahal Jaipur Palace of the Winds

Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

Other Jaipur must-see sights include the City Palace, still home to the present Maharajah and where you’ll find a treasure trove of costumes, carpets, paintings and armoury. Adjacent to the palace is the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar, an observatory built for measuring the heavens back in the early 1700s. It boasts a significant and well-preserved set of fixed instruments, including the world’s largest sundial.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Astronomical Observatory

Astronomical Observatory

A short drive from the city, the Amber Fort is a joy to behold – and worth the steep climb up to the palace complex and courtyards. On a guided tour, visitors can discover more about the remarkable hall of mirrors and see inside the secluded women’s quarters that were reserved for the Maharajah’s wives and concubines.

Golden Triangle Tours India | Amber Fort

Amber Fort

Golden Triangle tours India: travel essentials

Holidays to India need some careful planning, and one of the first things to consider is when is the best time to visit India’s Golden Triangle. Any time from October to April will be the most pleasant, and if you visit during Diwali – this year on 27 October – you can join in celebrations for the festival of lights. Do remember, though, that popular landmarks will be very busy during the peak tourist season.

UK passport holders require a visa to enter India, and your passport must be valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into the country. It’s also wise to consult your doctor around eight weeks before your departure date to discuss immunisations. Take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and be aware that there may be severe air pollution in highly populated cities.

The currency of India is the Indian rupee, but visitors are not permitted to bring any amount into the country. Instead, bring sterling, travellers’ cheques and a bank card so you can exchange and withdraw rupees once you arrive. Keep your money and belongings safe at all times.

When visiting attractions, always be respectful. You may be expected to remove shoes (and pay someone to look after them) and cover your shoulders. Women may have to cover their head with a scarf. Photography is banned inside some places of worship, while other sites charge a fee for you to use your camera.

Golden Triangle tours in India – start planning

For a first-time visit, you really can’t beat a Golden Triangle India tour. It’s an easy and exciting way to see India’s most iconic sights, immerse yourself in a new culture, and get a taste for authentic Indian cuisine. What’s more, on an India tour an expert guide accompanies you every day bringing destinations alive with historical, architectural and cultural insights.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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