India is a huge country in South Asia with diverse cultural experiences, people and landscapes. On a single trip, you can come across all sorts of climates ranging from snow-covered mountain tops and freezing temperatures in the Himalayas to sunny beach weather in Goa. The country is also home to some of the world’s most incredible architectures including the iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum.
As a friend would say, it isn’t a country that would leave you without an impression. My experience travelling across eight different cities didn’t scratch the surface of what the country has to offer but it did leave me with the experience of a lifetime, one I wouldn’t be forgetting in a hurry, If you have never considered going on a holiday to India, perhaps you should and if you’re a JJC thinking about it, this guide is for you.
Travel the Golden Triangle Route
The golden triangle is a tourist route spanning across the Indian cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. It’s named so because the route from one city to another forms a triangular shape. This is one of the most travelled routes in India and usually serves as a good introduction to the country for JJCs.
Typically, one would start the trip in Delhi and then move on to Agra, Jaipur and back to Delhi (as I did during my tour) but a few people choose to do it the other way round.
In Delhi, here are some of the things to see & do:
- Marvel at intricate designs, sculptures and carvings at the Akshardham and Lotus temples
- Take a rickshaw into the Old city of Delhi
- Visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest ancient mosques in India
- See the Red Fort
- Pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the India Gate
- Visit UNESCO world heritage sites, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar.
Where to Stay:
A hotel in the Connaught Place area will do. It offers a central location to all monuments and sites and a safe area for travellers. I stayed at The Lalit, which was great until I had to pay for Wi-Fi after 30 minutes each day (booo!!). On the plus side, the hotel had a wide range of continental and local dishes and they all tasted delicious! My room on the 24th floor (pictured above) was really lovely too.
Next city on the Golden Triangle tour route is Agra
You’ll often hear people say that Agra itself isn’t such a nice city to visit, which is ironic because it is the home of one of the most revered and photographed monuments in the world. It takes about 4 hours to drive from Delhi and I believe there’s also a train service that runs through this route. If you’re only interested in seeing the Taj, you can make it a day trip from Delhi. But Agra isn’t just about the Taj Mahal, there are more things to see and do in and just outside the city. (See also; Sleep, Eat, Do: Agra)
Here are some of the things to see & do:
- Take a picture at the Taj Mahal (Isn’t that what you really came for? Haha)
- Visit the Taj’s lesser-known but impressive site: Agra Fort
- Explore the abandoned city Fatehpur Sikri, just outside the city of Agra
Where to Stay:
Radisson Blu, Agra, Taj East Gate (or similar). I stayed here and I can easily recommend it. This hotel was very lovely and surprisingly affordable. It is also quite close to most of the city’s attractions including the Taj. The food was excellent, service – excellent-er! And the WIFI was free!
After Agra, the next city on the Golden Triangle route is Jaipur. But if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, you can take a quick detour to Ranthambore where you’ll come face to face with India’s Bengal Tigers.
The first wildlife safari I ever took was in Ranthambore, India. I combined the golden triangle tour with a trip to see the magnificent Bengal Tigers. It’s safe to say that this was the highlight of my entire trip and one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. (Read about it here)
Where to stay
Ranthambhor Regency (or similar). This hotel forever has a special place in my heart for this funny reason.
The last city (or first – depending on where you start the tour from) is:
This is the last city in the golden triangle. It’s called the ‘Pink City’ because of its characteristic pink/red coloured architecture. Jaipur is also known for jewellery making
While in the city, here are some things to see & do:
- Visit the Palace of Winds: Hawa Mahal
- Go back in time at the City Observatory
- Visit the Amber Fort
Where to Stay:
This hotel was once a Palace. I found it to be so traditional and beautiful. I definitely slept like a royal here.
Anyway, that brings us to the end of this guide. I hope you found it useful.
Some other points to note:
As a Nigerian, you need a visa to visit India. I’ll post a write up on the visa application process (at the time I applied). Some things might have changed between then and now.
The best time to visit India (for the Golden Triangle tour) is between October to March.