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Golden Triangle Tour by car

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by IndraNeal, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. IndraNeal

    IndraNeal New Member

    Hello, members, my family want to go on the Golden Triangle Tour, and they want to stay for extra days in Jaipur and Agra, so taking a taxi would work out to be too costly. What we intend to do is take our car, and self-drive do the destination in the Golden Triangle Tour.

    Please guide me on how we can complete this tour, which destination to visit first and also a short itinerary would be good to help us know how many days we would be spending on this trip, although we have no limit to the numbers of days to be spent on it.

    We would like to visit all the places which are in Golden Triangle Tour.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    The Golden Triangle Tour is comprised of three destinations, namely, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. It was so-named because the three cities form a triangle when traced from point to point in a map. The tour usually begins with Delhi, the vibrant yet chaotic capital of the country. Delhi is an important part of any traveller's itinerary as it gives one a unique blend of modernity and tradition. You would then proceed to Agra, the home of the iconic monument for love, which is the Taj Mahal. But other than this, Agra is also home to two more UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other interesting Mughal structures. Last is the pink city of Jaipur, where forts and palaces dominate with modern structures as well. The city of the maharajas is an important part of the traveller circuit too, giving one a glimpse of the strength of the royal era. This is the Golden Triangle Tour and it can be easily done in three days or six days. In your case, you can complete the tour within six or seven days and enjoy all places without rushing.

    [​IMG]
    The Golden Triangle Tour (Image from Google Maps)
    Golden Triangle Tour in Six Days (With Itinerary)

    Day 1 - Arrival in Delhi

    If you have family members coming in from other parts of the country, the first day would be spent on travelling to Delhi. Once they arrive, you can either check in at the hotel or stay at a relative's house in Delhi. Since travellers are usually tired during the first day, they can spend it at their leisure. Explore nearby sights to the hotel, take a stroll around the busy streets of Delhi and just enjoy exploring the capital on your own. You can try dining at the local restaurants too but make sure you rest early as the next day would be very busy.

    Day 2 - Tour of Delhi

    After breakfast, proceed to sightseeing around Delhi. If you have your own car, this is very easy, just have Google Maps or your GPS on. For those hiring a local cab, they usually know their way around the city as well. Make sure you include the following attractions in your tour.

    The Old Delhi (After Breakfast)
    • Red Fort - The Red Fort, also known as the Lal Quila, was built by Shah Jahan in the first quarter of the 16th century, but took about 9 years before it's finally completed. As you get closer to the fort, its imposing red sandstone facade would greet you. It is an important part of the itinerary because it was once the home of Shah Jahan, after transferring the capital from Agra. The Mughal empire resided in this fort slash city for many years before the British empire took over the city. Though most of the structures here are off-limits to visitors, there are a few that you can still explore. One of which is the Mumtaz Mahal, named after Shah Jahan's favourite and most beloved wife, Arjumand Banu Begum. It has been converted into a museum where you can find royal clothing, ancient weaponries and other personal items used by the royals. The Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audiences have some of the most exquisite inlay works in the fort, but you can only view them from the outside. Last but definitely not the least, make sure you visit the Museum for India's Freedom Movement, where you can get a detailed history of the country's fight for independence from the British.
    • Jama Masjid - Just adjacent to the Red Fort, about a kilometre away, is the Jama Masjid. This mosque was built by Shah Jahan as well, in the middle of the 16th century. It is also known as the Friday Mosque, since worshippers usually visit the place during Fridays, considered as their auspicious day for worshipping. The minarets, made of a mixture of red sandstone and white marble, flank the sides of the mosque. There's a huge courtyard too, that can actually be occupied by thousands of devotees. If you are of good health, climb one of the minarets open to the public, which is about 120 steps, so you can get a good view of Old Delhi.
    • Sis Ganj Gurudwara - Just over a kilometre away from the Jama Masjid, located on its northern side, is the Sis Ganj Gurudwara. This gurudwara is dedicated to Guru Tegh Bahadur, the 9th Sikh guru who died while defending his faith from Aurangzeb's army. The exact spot where he was beheaded and the place where he took his last bath before his death is preserved in here. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, the Sis Ganj Gurudwara is one of those places that exude utmost serenity and tranquility. It is also open to all visitors, regardless of faith, religion, race or gender which is why it's almost always crowded.
    • Raj Ghat - A bit further to the south, about four kilometres away, is the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the Raj Ghat. Because of his influences and philosophies, he was a well-loved freedom fighter, not only in India, but in the whole world. This ghat is originally a sacred ghat in the Yamuna river but has been turned into a memorial site for the freedom fighter. The black marble platform memorial contrasts with the green surroundings. Both though exude some kind of serenity and peace that you won't find elsewhere in the city.
    • Chandni Chowk - The last attraction for your half day is the Chandni Chowk. Here, you can find various restaurants, street food stalls and shops selling all kinds of knick knacks. It is definitely crowded, and chaotic, but also quite invigorating. As you stroll around and explore the older streets of Delhi, you can't help but imagine the bygone era. You can have your lunch here before proceeding for the last half of your tour in Delhi.
    The New Delhi (After Lunch)
    • Akshardham Temple - This temple is about 9 kilometres away from the Chandni Chowk. This is one of the most modern sights of Delhi yet deserves a visit all too well. One of the largest temples in India, it has pinkish hues in its facade but the main hall has a pure white motif. It was built in the year 2005 and took over 5 years to be finally completed. On every surface of the temple, you can find exquisite carvings worth exploring. The temple also has three main halls, where you get to experience Indian culture and tradition, in theatre style, museum style and even a boat-ride style.
    • Rashtrapati Bhavan - This is about 10 kilometres away from the Akshardham Temple. This is a notable landmark of the city, built in the exquisite British architectural style but with elements of the Indian traditional architectural style too. There's a big note though, the attraction is open only from Fridays to Sundays and you need to book an online ticket to see the interiors. The beautiful Mughal style gardens of the presidential home can only be visited during spring, from February to March, also by scheduled appointment. With all these restrictions, if ever you don't have time or extra money to book online, you can still enjoy passing by the Rashtrapati Bhavan and seeing its beauty from the outside.
    • India Gate - The India Gate is about three kilometres away from Rashtrapati Bhavan. This memorial is dedicated to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the World War I. The names of the known soldiers who died during the war are engraved in the monument. But even those who are not found or known are still remembered through this monument. A half hour visit for this monument would be enough, just so you can pay your respects to the brave soldiers who dedicated their lives for the nation.
    • Humayun's Tomb - This attraction is about three kilometres from the India Gate. This mausoleum was built by Haji Begum for her husband, Humayun. Think of Humayun's Tomb as a warm-up before exploring the grander Taj Mahal. It actually preceded the iconic monument and was the first mausoleum to use the garden-style of architecture as well. In the main tomb of Humayun, you can enjoy the shadows of the inlay works especially during the mid-afternoon sun. There are also other structures in the premises, like that of Isa Khan's Tomb, Bu Halima's Tomb, Afsarwala's Tomb and even the tomb of Humayun's barber, the Barber's Tomb.
    • Lotus Temple - The Lotus Temple is about eight kilometres away from Humayun's Tomb. You can opt to visit it inside or also just to pass by it. The Lotus Temple is easily visible from a distance because of its lotus-like design, with pure white marbles in its facade. Unlike other temples, the Lotus Temple allows for visitors of any caste, religion, gender or race. It is mainly a meditation hall, where you can enjoy peace and serenity, especially with its exquisite water works from the outside.
    • Qutub Minar Complex - About 10 kilometres away from the Lotus Temple is the Qutub Minar Complex. The Qutub Minar is the tallest bricked minaret in the country, standing at around 73 metres in height. This minaret was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak during the 13th century but was completed by his son and other rulers in the succeeding years. Around the minaret are many more Muslim structures, which were interestingly made from the ruins of destroyed Hindu temples on the site. Make sure you look closer and inspect the inlays and carvings around these Muslim structures, supposed to be that of the original temples because they are mostly depictions of gods and goddesses.
    This is the end of your tour of Delhi, as you have explored its most important attractions, on the older side and on the newer side. You can have dinner and rest for the night at your hotel.

    Day 3 - Travel to Agra + Half Day Sightseeing

    After a hearty breakfast, bid goodbye to Delhi and venture into Agra. Make sure you use the Yamuna Expressway so your travel time won't be more than 3 hours and 30 minutes at the most. Leave Delhi early too, so you can avoid the rush hour traffic in the city. Once you arrive in Agra, check in at your hotel, rest for a while, before proceeding for a half-day tour of Agra.

    Agra (After Lunch)
    • Agra Fort - You begin by exploring the Agra Fort, a red sandstone structure built by Akbar during the 15th century. Originally though, this fortress was built by a Rajput ruler named Raja Badal Singh during the 10th century, when it was just a mud fort. Even the Lodis once conquered the fort so there is lots of history behind it. While the facade is stunningly bright red, the inner structures are mostly in white marble, as it was Shah Jahan who mostly built them. Aside from its stunning architecture, the palaces, the halls and mosques, Agra Fort has a lot of history behind it. It was here that Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, and also where he took his last breath. Numerous more tragic stories have happened under the premises of the Agra Fort, which gives it a mysterious vibe. You can easily spend two to three hours exploring the Agra Fort.
    • Taj Mahal - As the sun begins to set, make your way into the Taj Mahal, Agra's pride and glory. It is about seven kilometres away from the Agra Fort. This white marble mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved, Mumtaz Mahal, also known as Arjumand Banu Begum. It has become the epitome of love, because of its grandeur and elegance. It was made using white marble and gleams during day light. By sunset, the white marbled facade reflects the orange hue of the sun. It's an amazing sight to behold especially if you're with your loved ones. Stroll around the lush expanse of gardens and get lost in the beauty of the iconic monument that has stolen the hearts of many architecture and history buffs.
    This is the end of the half day tour for the third day. You can have dinner and retreat to your hotel for a good night's rest.

    Day 4 - Tour of Agra + Travel to Jaipur

    After breakfast, you can explore the remaining sights of Agra before departing for Jaipur. You would be exploring two sights today, one is located a bit further from Agra but en route to Jaipur.

    Agra (After Breakfast)
    • Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah - You begin by exploring the Baby Taj, so-named because it resembles the iconic monument. This mausoleum though was built way before the Taj Mahal. And unlike the iconic monument, the mausoleum was built by a daughter for her father. It was Noor Jahan, the wife of Jahangir, who built this tomb for her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg, also known as the Itimad-ud-Daulah. Although comparatively smaller, the beauty of the tomb is undeniable. It does resemble the Taj Mahal on some aspects but it also has a few distinctions. For instance, the interiors of the main tomb are quite exquisite, showcasing geometrical, mosaic and lattice patterns. This touch of femininity sets the mausoleum apart from the famous monument.
    • Fatehpur Sikri - About an hour away from Agra is the Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned city that was once the capital of Akbar. The city has several sites that you can explore. Because the city was built for Salim Chishti, the main attraction here is the Tomb of Salim Chishti. The shrine can be found in the Jama Masjid, also a must visit site, one of the largest mosques in the city. The Panch Mahal is also worth exploring, built with about five storeys and open-aired, it is grand but also quite simple in design. Legends say that the Anup Talao is where the favourite dancer of Akbar, Tansen, used to perform. There are many stories about this abandoned city that makes it quite interesting. To make your trip even more interesting, excavations on the site during the 20th century proved that the city was built over Jain temples as well, making its existence even older than the presumed date of residence of the Mughals.
    After lunch, you can proceed to Jaipur, the pink city of Rajasthan. From Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur is about 206 kilometres away or 3 hours of driving, more or less. Once you arrive in Jaipur, you can check in at your hotel, have some early dinner and rest for the night.

    Day 5 - Tour of Jaipur

    After breakfast, you can explore some sights on the outskirts of Jaipur. Make sure you bring some water and snacks so you won't encounter delays while travelling.

    Jaipur (After Breakfast)
    • Amer Fort and Palace - This attraction is about 30 minutes away from Jaipur proper. This fortress and palace is located upon a hillock overlooking the Maota lake. Many tourists opt for an elephant ride to reach the gates of the fort proper. You can also opt to walk or bring your own vehicle to reach the entrance. This fort was built by Raja Man Singh I at the end of the 15th century. It is a massive fortress with many structures, it can take a half day to explore most of its parts. As you enter through the Chand Pol, one of the many gates of the fort, you would reach the Jaleb Chowk, the huge courtyard where soldiers assembled during the pre-colonial era. There are several halls and even a temple alongside the courtyard. Worthy of mention is the Ganesh Pol, a heavily decorated gate, completely filled with geometrical patterns and colourful inlays. Past the gardens, you would reach the Sheesh Mahal, also known as the Palace of Mirrors, an elaborate palace as a work of art, as it reflects the light of even just one lit candle or lamp. There are many more sections in the fort that you can explore so make sure you reach it early, as three hours won't be enough for it.
    Jaipur (After Lunch)
    • Jaigarh Fort - About seven kilometres away from the Amer Fort and Palace is the Jaigarh Fort. While it isn't as massive or as decorated as the inner structures of Amer Fort and Palace are, it provides one with a picturesque view of the former. This fort was built in the 17th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, as sort of a protection for the Amer Fort and Palace. In a way, this fort was built for entirely strategic and military purposes, unlike the Amer Fort that was the residence of the royal family of Amer for a long while. You can spot lots of weaponries in the fort, even the world's largest cannon on wheels, known as the Jaivan. Overall, you can spend at least an hour in this fort to further expand your itinerary for the day.
    • Nahargarh Fort - This fort is about 11 kilometres away from Jaigarh Fort, located closer to Jaipur, on its outskirts. This is your last attraction for the day so you can explore the fort leisurely. Once the sun sets, you can enjoy the view of the pink city from this fortress too, as it is located upon a hillock. This fort was mainly a retreat centre, built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II during the 17th century as well. Interestingly, the palaces in the fort has proper ventilation systems that make summers a bit more cooler. The Madhavendra Bhawan, built by Sawai Madho Singh, has several suites, all interconnected to the main king's room by secret pathways. These suites are for the different queens of the king. This is the best place to enjoy the view of the city as the sun starts to set in.
    Return back to Jaipur and have dinner before resting for the night.

    Day 6 - Tour of Jaipur + Return to Delhi

    After breakfast, you can do some sightseeing around Jaipur proper. Most of these attractions are located within a few metres or kilometres away from each other. But they are all located within Jaipur itself so you can change the order of the itinerary according to your interests.
    • City Palace of Jaipur - The City Palace of Jaipur is also one of its most important attractions. Originally built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the complex was then renovated and added into by other rulers of the city. As such, it's a mix and match of several architectural styles of different rulers. Though not all of the complex is open for visitors, you can still explore some parts of it. The Mubarak Mahal, now turned into a museum, holds important artefacts from the Mughal empire. The stucco works in the walls of the palace are also very stunning. The Diwan-i-Aam holds the largest sterling vessels in the world too so it's worth a visit. If you're lucky, you might be able to spot some of the descendants of the royal family as they still reside here.
    • Hawa Mahal - Just a few metres away from the City Palace is the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds. From the outside, the hundreds of small windows look merely like beehives but they serve a purpose back then. From these windows, the royal women can look out the streets without being seen by the commoners. These small windows provide for ventilation too during the hot days of the summer. As you reach the inner palace, you would be surprised to see ramps, which were used by the royal ladies as they were transferred from one floor to another by palanquins. The palace has about five floors that you can explore though there's not much intricate sculptures or structures inside.
    • Jantar Mantar - Close to Hawa Mahal is the Jantar Mantar. People from the past are never behind when it comes to astrological or astronomical instruments, as is showcased in the Jantar Mantar. A collection of 19 instruments that can accurately tell time, eclipses or other phenomenon, this is another must visit when in Jaipur. The world's largest sundial, the Samrat Yantra, is located here and can tell time in an interval of two seconds. With the use of shadows, these instruments can foretell weather and time predictions easily. There are boards in English so that foreign visitors can understand how they work.
    • Jal Mahal - The last attraction of the day is the Jal Mahal. This palace is located amidst an island in the Man Sagar Lake. No one really knows exactly why the palace was built although some scholars believe it was used for hunting expeditions of the royals. A while back, boating facilities were available to see the palace up close. Recently though, this activity was banned and so the palace can only be seen from a distance. It's the best place to end your trip of Jaipur, as you look out into the sunset with the view of the pure white facade of the palace.
    This is the end of your trip and you can return to Delhi after lunch.

    Conclusion

    Even without hiring a guide or a tour company, you can easily do the Golden Triangle Tour. Whether you have three days or six days or even more, the circuit can be done on your own terms and availability. Just make sure that you enjoy every last bit and don't be too strict on the itinerary as you can always tweak it according to your schedule. Enjoy!
     

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