Five top things to do in India’s Golden Triangle
India is an absolutely extraordinary travel destination – no doubt about that.
It’s unlike anywhere else I’ve travelled. The poverty is distressing; the rubbish and pollution is staggering. Yet all is forgiven as you encounter the next exquisite Mughal palace or historical monument.
The Golden Triangle is located in the country’s north and refers to a triangle formed by the capital Delhi, the city of Agra – home to the Taj Mahal, and the city of Jaipur – the flamboyant capital of Rajasthan.
Here are five top things to do in India’s Golden Triangle.
Navigate Delhi’s hair-raising traffic
This may seem like a strange highlight, but navigating the insane traffic in Delhi is an adventure in itself. It’s a real life dodgem ride and everyone’s playing to win.
I’m cheerfully told by our driver you need three things to survive India’s roads: a good horn, good brakes and good luck. May the force be with you.
Take a morning stroll through Chandni Chowk market
Send your senses into overdrive at India’s bazaars and medieval-esque markets, including Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. Markets a great spot to pick up souvenirs of your visit – and a stage on which the trials, tribulations and triumphs of many of India’s 1.3 billion citizens are played out. Park yourself at a well-located teahouse, order a steaming glass of sugary chai and watch the drama unfold.
Make an entrance at the Amber Fort
It’s hard to choose a favourite from the stunning collection of historical monuments, forts and Mughal mausoleums around India’s Golden Triangle, but the Amber Fort outside Jaipur has to be right up there. On a sunny day the reflection of the golden walls in the lake below is quite something.
Love them or loathe them, the elephant rides up to the fort are also a highlight. The sight of these gentle giants with their gorgeous livery entering the main courtyard through the Sun Gate is a sight that will stay with you forever. This is the India of maharajas and magic.
Revel in the pink city of Jaipur
Take a look at life through rose-coloured glasses in the outrageous pink city of Jaipur. The old town was first painted mauve to welcome the Prince of Wales on a royal visit back in 1876. I guess everyone liked it so much they kept the tradition going. Stroll through the gorgeous City Palace, visit the petite Hawa Mahal palace, or unravel a cosmic mystery at the Jantar Mantar observatory.
Experience the majesty of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal will cast its glorious spell over you – just as it has done over millions of visitors since it was completed in 1653. No-one leaves here the same person they were when they arrived.
If only Mumtaz Mahal could have seen the extraordinary monument that would immortalise her name and watch over her beloved India for the next millennia. The Taj Mahal is the ultimate highlight of any visit to India’s Golden Triangle – and a piece of human history everyone should have the opportunity to see.
Adam travelled as a guest of Wendy Wu Tours and Singapore Airlines.
Do you have any tips for top things to do in India’s Golden Triangle? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.