Many people when visiting India do the Golden Triangle route, which we have also recommended to visitors including our parents. The Golden Triangle being the classic Delhi > Agra > Jaipur trip. Taking in the sights of the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Amber Fort, City Palace, Fatephur Sikri, Red Fort amongst others.
Its certainly worthwhile doing and for visitors they can easily do this in 4 nights, including a stopover in Delhi. There are many options around this however, some people choose to drive the new expressway Delhi > Agra which now only takes 3 hours and the road is far superior to any of the roads and expressways we have in Mumbai. Other people choose to take the train (2 hours) and I have heard good reports – as long as the timing suits. You can even fly into Agra if you are really short on time.
Once in Agra, The Taj Mahal is of course the main attraction but there are other sights to see as well, the Agra Fort and Baby Taj. With our little ones we kept our sightseeing to a minimum in order to maximize their attention span to ensure they will hopefully remember visiting The Taj Mahal and as it is such an iconic site they were aware of it before they visited which I think is important too.
Another recommendation would be Fatehpur Sikri Fort. Unfortunately I have yet to visit this amazing Fort as we ran out of time and steam. It was to too much for us to do and pool time beckoned, perhaps another day. However, both our parents took the opportunity to visit and were impressed. They drove the Triangle so it was easier for them to visit Fatehpur Sikri as its on the way from Agra > Jaipur. Its just an hour out of Agra and provides a good stopping place but then it’s a longer drive from the Fort onto Jaipur.
Once in Jaipur the main tourist attraction is Amber Fort along with the City Palace plus its worth a wander around the local shops.
The road between Jaipur > Delhi is not in good condition and road works have been continuing for many years, it can take 6 hours or even more, especially if you hit peak traffic upon arriving in Delhi. If you can, it is recommended to fly out from Jaipur to avoid this.
However, if you find yourself driving on that road, I would highly recommend pre-booking a lunch stop at Neemrana Fort. It is 150 km out of Delhi and can be a good stopping point along that road. The drive up to the Fort is steep and it is essential you book ahead. Another suggestion would be to stay the night but this depends on your time allowance. It sits on the side of the hill overlooking the valley, with many terraces.
As we live in Mumbai we chose to split our Golden Triangle trip into two different weekends. Our first time to Rajasthan was to Jaipur for 2 nights. I felt I had finally discovered India! I loved it and to me, I think it was what I was expecting to see when we moved to India. Not quite the hustle, bustle and madness we see everyday in Mumbai. I enjoy Mumbai but I LOVE Rajasthan. Another weekend we chose to visit Delhi and Agra for 2 nights. We have also visited Jodhpur and Jaiselmer.
I honestly believe you haven’t experienced India properly until you have visited the other states of India. The country is so diverse and each area has its uniqueness. I particularly love watching the country and its people of rural India. I think you can finally understand a lot of things we see as a resident of Mumbai which originate from the surrounding areas.
- If you have the luxury of time and are travelling with children, I would recommend splitting the Golden Triangle into different weekends over a period of time. Otherwise it would be too much to take in and very tiring!
- Choose a good hotel at least with a pool. This provides a welcome break for children.
- Plan your sightseeing for the morning or late afternoon – its cooler. We prefer mornings, then rest at the hotel before returning out again around 4.00pm. Otherwise do mornings only outside of the hotel then play at the pool for the rest of the day. Think of your little travellers.
- Visit Rajasthan between September – March or it can get too hot. Seek advice from your travel agent.