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Golden Triangle tour 3 days

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by AshiP, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. AshiP

    AshiP New Member

    I wanted to go on the Golden Triangle Tour, but I only have three days available for a holiday. I wanted to know whether it would be possible to complete the tour within three days and what exactly would I be able to get covered within the three days.

    I know to cover three places in 3 days maybe a bit tiring, but I don't have much choice and I am sure it would be all worth it at the end, so the more detail I can get about the trip the better.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello there, welcome to the forum!

    (Images from Planetizen, Ghumakkar and Panoramio)


    The Golden Triangle Tour is comprised of three cities, namely: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. It's a good start or base if you're a new traveller to India. It was named so because the three cities form somewhat of a triangle with Delhi in the northern point, Agra in the southeastern point and Jaipur in the southwestern point. Because of the rich historical significance of these cities, the term golden was also added into the tour. By doing this tour, you would get a brief overview of each city without spending too much time in each. Of course, the tours won't be as extensive and you won't be able to explore every nook or corner of each city. But if you are short on time, there's no doubt that the Golden Triangle Tour is your best option if you want to explore the heritage sites of these cities.

    The Golden Triangle Tour (Map from Google Maps)

    The Golden Triangle Tour in Three Days + Itinerary

    It is possible to do the Golden Triangle Tour within three days. As mentioned above, you won't be able to explore these cities extensively especially within three days. Your route would be:
    • Delhi > Agra > Jaipur > Delhi (Optional).
    You begin your tour in the capital of the country, Delhi. This is where the traditional and modern India can be seen. From the glitzy commercial areas, to the heritage sites, to the skyscrapers, to the street-side vendors, Delhi has got everything all mixed together. Just by visiting Delhi, you understand the chaos that makes it a bit overwhelming yet thrilling. With every new sight, you gain an understanding of the city and even the country. Then you would reach Agra, where the famous Taj Mahal is located. But there are two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this city that are also worth exploring. Last on the itinerary is Jaipur, famous for its pink walls but offers beyond just that motif. Its collection of palaces, forts and other heritage sites would give you a great overview of the bygone Mughal era.

    Day 1 - Delhi

    After breakfast, explore the sights in Old Delhi, which are the following:
    • Jama Masjid - At the centre of Old Delhi is the Jama Masjid, built around the middle of the 16th century by Shah Jahan. It is considered as the largest mosque in the country, with a courtyard that has the capacity to hold over 25,000 devotees. The mosque has a red sandstone and white marble facade, with two towering minarets along its sides and circular domes in the centre. Known as the final masterpiece of the emperor, the Jama Masjid is a fine example of the later style of the Mughal architectural style. Entry to the mosque is free but you do have to pay a fee to enter the museum showcasing the beard of the prophet Muhammad and another fee for climbing the top of the southern minaret. There's also a charge for bringing a camera inside the mosque premises.
    • Red Fort - Just opposite the Jama Masjid is the Red Fort of Delhi, also known as the Lal Quila, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.. This fort was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as well during the 16th century but it was completed many years later, during the middle of the 18th century. The Red Fort was made using red sandstone giving it its bright red appearance. The Red Fort is a huge complex and can take around a few hours to explore. But for those with limited time, do visit the Naubat Khana, also known as the Drum House, where musicians used to perform for the royal family. Also worth visiting inside is the Diwan-i-Am, also known as the Hall of Public Audiences, where disputes with locals were once held. Although this hall was once ornamented heavily with carvings, traces of these architectural marvels cannot be seen now. The Mumtaz Mahal is also worth visiting as it has been converted into a museum showcasing paintings, textiles and other artefacts used by the royal family.
    • Chandni Chowk - The last attraction for your first half of the day in Delhi is the Chandni Chowk, which is a walking distance from the Red Fort. You would find an assortment of stalls here selling every knick-knack you might need like textiles, trendy clothes, gadgets and even spices. But did you know that the Chandni Chowk has been around for more than 300 years now? As such, it has a long history behind it and deserves a visit as well. Even merchants and traders from other countries visited this bazaar during the older times. There are also tons of street food stalls and restaurants lining the place so you can opt to have your lunch here.
    After lunch, explore the sights of the more modern Delhi, which are the following:
    • Qutub Minar Complex - The first one on the list is the Qutub Minar, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Delhi. Some believe that the minaret was built to signify the victory of the Muslim rulers over the Hindu rulers. In fact, the Qutub Minar Complex was built over the remains of older Hindu and Jain temples. It was Qutub-ud-din Aibak who built the minaret, the first Muslim ruler of the city but it was completed by other rulers. At a height of about 73 metres, this minaret is one of the highest in the country. The distinct use of materials, the first three storeys made using red sandstone and the top two storeys made using marble, make the minaret stand out. Around the minaret, you can visit the Iron Pillar, Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid and Ala'i Minar as well.
    • Humayun's Tomb - Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site is Humayun's Tomb. This mausoleum is the first actual example of what would then become a legacy of the Mughal architecture. Human's Tomb started the Mughal tradition of creating grand mausoleums. The tomb was built by Haji Begam, years after the death of Humayun. The high entrance fee of Rs. 500 is well worth it as the tomb stands as a contrast to the busy streets of Delhi. From the four-quadrant gardens, up to the marble-lined mausoleum, the entire premises boast of elegance and royalty. With just one glance, you would see the tomb's resemblance to the iconic Taj Mahal, although it isn't as huge as the latter.
    Humayun's Tomb in Delhi (Image from Indo Vacation)
    • India Gate - At the end of your trip in Delhi, you must visit the India Gate. The India Gate is a memorial for the Indian soldiers who dedicated their lives during the Afghan War of 1919 and the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. It looks more stunning during night time though when it is lit and the surrounding fountains add some charm to the place. There are plenty of hawkers and vendors around the attraction too so you can have a little snack here before continuing on your journey into Agra.
    At the end of the day, drive towards Agra, about 4 hours away from Delhi. You can opt to hire a car or taxi, or even ride the train to reach the city of Agra. Rest for the night so you can explore the city the next day.

    Day 2 - Agra

    After breakfast, explore the sights of Agra itself, which are the following:
    • Taj Mahal - With the mere mention of Agra, the Taj Mahal comes to one's mind. The connection is uncanny since this iconic monument is the trademark of the city. It is the epitome of grandeur or even love, as Shah Jahan built it after the death of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The white marbled mausoleum stands in glamour, whether in day light or in evening light. The green landscape of the gardens only make the mausoleum stand out even more. The pillared arches, the carved exteriors and towering minarets give the mausoleum its grand appearance. While the exteriors are elaborate, the tomb itself of Mumtaz Mahal is very simple, with just a few flower motifs.
    • Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah - Next on the list is the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, also known as the Baby Taj. At first glance, its resemblance to the Taj Mahal is very apparent but do keep in mind that this tomb was built way before the iconic monument of Shah Jahan. This tomb was built by Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir, for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg (Also known as Itmad-ud-Daulah). While the Taj Mahal largely used white marble, the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah used both red sandstone and white marble. It is regarded though as the first ever mausoleum to use white marble in large quantities in the country. Unlike the Taj Mahal, the main tomb is largely decorated with animal and flower paintings.
    • Agra Fort - The Agra Fort is one of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Agra. It was built by Akbar by the last quarter of the 15th century and has its main purpose as a defensive fortress. The inner structures within the fort were built by his son, Shah Jahan, evident through the use of white marble in the buildings. One structure though that was built by Akbar is the Jahangiri Mahal, with a unique blend of Persian and Hindu architectural styles. The Sheesh Mahal, built by Shah Jahan, is extensively designed with small mirrors which sparkles in sunlight. Another beautiful structure within the fort is the Samman Burj, built by Jahangir for Nur Jahan. It is exquisitely designed with semi-precious stones and has a balcony overlooking the Taj Mahal. It is believed that this is where Shah Jahan spent his last breath in. The Agra Fort is the finest example of the architectural styles of these three emperors, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
    Agra Fort (Image from Make My Trip)
    • Mehtab Bagh - Before you take a break, visit the Mehtab Bagh, also known as the Moonlight Garden. It was built by Emperor Babur during the 15th century. It stands exactly symmetrical to the Taj Mahal thereby giving one a perfect view of the iconic monument. It is not known by many tourists though so you can enjoy the serenity here. For photographers, you can get a clear shot of the Taj Mahal from here especially on a sunny day. The surrounding gardens, complete with fountains and trees, is the perfect way to end your half day tour of Agra.
    After a hearty lunch, drive towards Jaipur, along the way visit the abandoned city known as the:
    • Fatehpur Sikri - About 39 kilometres away from Agra, on your way to Jaipur, is the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned city requires at least a few hours to explore but for those short on time, you can visit it en route to Jaipur. Fatehpur Sikri was once the capital of Akbar and his Mughal empire, but abandoned a few years later due to water scarcity. With just an hour or so, make sure you visit the three main sections of the city, which are the Royal Complex, the Mosque Complex and the Public Complex.
    About four or five hours later, you would reach the Pink City of Jaipur. Rest for the night as you have a long day ahead of you.

    Day 3 - Jaipur

    After breakfast, explore these attractions around Jaipur:
    • City Palace of Jaipur - The City Palace of Jaipur was built around the 17th century by Sawai Sai Jingh II. However, later additions to the palace complex was added by other rulers continuing until the 20th century. It is a huge palace complex so you can easily spend a few hours here. Although not all sections of the palace complex are open for visitors, you can still view them from the outside. The Mubarak Mahal is one of the best palaces here, combining a mixture of Mughal, Rajput and even European styles of architecture. The exquisite wall carvings and latticeworks add to the royal vibe the palace. There's also a small museum within the palace premises, showcasing artefacts from the royal era. The Chandra Mahal is still the residence of the descendants of the royal family but its ground floor is open for tourists for a fee of Rs. 2,000. Showcasing artefacts from the royal era such as textiles, manuscripts and carpets, it's another can't be missed attraction in the complex. The Diwan-i-Am and the Diwan-i-Khas are both open for tourists as well.
    • Hawa Mahal - Next is the Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of Winds. Resembling the crown of Krishna, a Hindu deity, the Hawa Mahal is yet another architectural masterpiece in the city. It has over 90 small windows, known as jharokhas, where the royal women used to view the street happenings at their own privacy. Just from the outside, the sheer beauty of the palace is mesmerising, from the windows, to the floral motifs and its design. The palace has five storeys, each floor having its own name, the Sharad Mandir, the Ratan Mandir, the Vichitra Mandir, the Prakash Mandir and the Hawa Mandir. Out of all these floors, the Ratan Mandir deserves a special mention. This floor is decorated with precious stones that reflect light during day time.
    Hawa Mahal in Jaipur (Image from Wikiwand)

    After lunch, explore one of the most important attractions outside of the city centre of Jaipur:
    • Amer Fort and Palace - Last is the Amer Fort and Palace, about 13 kilometres away from Jaipur. Originally built by Raja Man Singh in the end of the 15th century, it was completed by Sawai Jai Singh in the succeeding years. The Amer Fort and Palace is located high up on a hill and there are two ways of reaching it: either by foot or by riding an elephant. The complex is huge and can take a few hours to fully explore. Do hire a guide so you can fully understand the history of the complex. A cult favourite here is the Sheesh Mahal, which has inlaid mirror designs from its walls to ceilings. With just a small candle, the entire palace is lit up and reflects the light beautifully. The Sukh Mahal has this fascinating architectural design in which it seems like the entire palace has air-conditioning. Its other name is the Palace of Pleasures, as this is the palace where the 12 wives of the king used to stay in. You can also watch the Light and Sound Show held twice in the evening, one at 7:30 pm and another at 8:00 pm. Fee for the show is between Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 per person.
    You can return to Delhi after a long day or opt to reach any other city you need to go to.


    While you won't be able to explore these cities completely within three days, you can definitely still do the Golden Triangle Tour within that time frame. The attractions listed above are the most important ones for each city. Further, they are arranged accordingly so your trip would be a breeze. However, you won't be able to spend as much time in these attractions or heritage sites given the limited time you have. If you decide to take a guide, he or she can delve into the history and story of these attractions, saving you precious time as well. It's also better to just hire a taxi to take you from one attraction to another, or from one city to another, so you can also save some time and rest along the way.

    I hope this helps you!:)