Planning to have your first assignation with India’s riveting history, culture and heritage? There’s no better option than the North India Golden Triangle tour circuit to begin with. The invigorating trail begins at Delhi, the national capital with a superlative amalgamation of classical and modern architectures, and advances towards Agra, known for its imperial Mughal heritage. The final destination of the North India Golden Triangle is Jaipur, the Pink City with fairy-tale forts and palaces. Have a look at what makes the tourist circuit an interesting expedition.
Day 1: Delhi
On arrival at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport, our company representative will be waiting to welcome you at the arrival lounge with a placard. He will assist you to the hotel and give you all your important tour documents and discuss the next day’s tour.
Perhaps there is no other capital city in the world so steeped in history and legend as the Indian capital Delhi. It was the magnet, which drew the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its glorious but turbulent past. The fascination with Delhi was such that even though it was abandoned many times, its rulers returned to it again and again, rebuilding it at least seven times. Today, the twin cities of Old and New Delhi still intrigue Indians and tourists alike as the cultural and political capital of the largest democracy in the world.
Today’s sights: post lunch you visit Dilli Haat (India Traditional market) and Connaught Place Shopping area & Jantar Manter and later you can visit the Museum. Overnight stay.
Day 2: Delhi
In the morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then depart for a combined sightseeing tour of New Delhi.
Jama Masjid – this is the largest mosque in India at the height of 40 meters where you are able to view Delhi from the minarets of this last architectural project of Shah Jahan.
Qutub Minar – in 1199, Qutbuddin raised the Qutab Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 meters, it tapers to 2.75 meters at a height of 72.5 meters. It is still the highest stone tower in India, one of the finest stone towers in India, one of the finest Islamic structures ever raised and Delhi’s recognized landmark. It was completed by the Sultan’s successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The tomb of Iltutmish, which he himself built in 1235, is nearby, its interiors are profusely decorated with calligraphy, though the dome has collapsed.
Lunch break – you will be taken by your guide to a good Indian restaurant where you will enjoy the flavor of North India Cuisine.
Old Fort – it is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for the administration of many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here until he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat.
Safdarjung Tomb – the Safdarjang tomb is beside the Safdarjang airport. This tomb was built by the Nawab of Avadh for his father. The structure is one of the finest examples of architecture of its time and tells a saga of the last remnants of a dying empire.
Rajpath & India Gate – flanked by ornamental ponds and lawns, Rajpath is host to the Republic Day Parade. The two secretariat buildings and Rashtrapati Bhawan on the Raisina hills are located on the two sides of this immensely broad road. Previously the Boat Club, besides the Rajpath, was host to many demonstrations and rallies. India Gate is towards the eastern end of Rajpath. India Gate is a 42m high stone arch of triumph. It bears the name of the 85,000 Indian Army Soldiers who died in the campaigns of WW1, the North-West Frontiers operations, and the 1919 Afghan Fiasco. Below the arch is the memorial to the unknown soldier. India Gate is surrounded by green grass lawns and trees.
Humayun Tomb – built by the wife of Humayun, Haji Begum in the mid 16th century, this red sand stone structure is considered to be the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The structure is one of the best examples of Mughal Architecture. Humayun’s wife is also buried in the red and white sandstone, black and yellow marble tomb.
Bhai’s Temple – completed in 1986, the Bahai temple is set amidst pools and gardens, and adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate silently according to their own religion. The structure is in a lotus shape so it is often called the lotus temple. The view of the temple is very spectacular just before dusk when the temple is flood lit. After visiting Birla Temple you will head back to the the hotel. Overnight stay.
Day 3: Agra
In the morning, have breakfast at the hotel then drive to Agra.
Sikandara – en-route, six miles north of Agra, is a glorious introduction to the city of Mughal wonders, Sikandra. The site of Akbar’s mausoleum, Sikandra was begun by Akbar and completed by his son Jehangir in 1613 AD. It reflects the fusion of Hindu and Muslim art and architecture which characterized the era. The tomb is situated in the center of a large garden and four identical red sandstone gates lead to the tomb complex. The building, with three-storey minarets at each corner, is built of red sandstone with white marble polygonal patterns inlaid. Sikandra is named after Sikandra Lodi, the Delhi ruler who was in power from 1488 to 1517.
Continue to drive to Agra. On arrival at Agra, you will be checked-in to your hotel. Lunch at hotel, then you will start a sightseeing tour of Agra.
Taj Mahal – described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, it was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It is made out of white marble and took 22 years to complete (1630-1652 AD). Ustad Ahamad Lahori, a Persian Architect, is said to be the main designer and planner for this magnificent memorial. On full moon nights, the glory of the Taj is at its best. Over the centuries, the Taj has attracted more visitors than perhaps any other monument in the country, and it is all too easy to resort to conventional superlatives when describing it. What makes the Taj Unique is its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, medium of construction and ornamentation. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day and glows pearl-like in the moonlight and during the monsoon.
Agra Fort - construction of the massive red sandstone Agra Fort on the bank of the Yamuna River was begun by Emperor Akbar in 1565, though additions were made up until the rule of his grandson, Shah Jahan. In Akbar’s time the fort was principally a military structure, but during Shah Jahan’s reign it had partially become a Palace. It is an imposing structure with walls of red sandstone almost three kilometers long. Entered through the Amar Singh Gate, the eastern part of the fort contains a palace, audience hall and mosques built by three emperors. The fort presents a good sampling of their favored architectural styles. Akbar drew on Islamic and Hindu traditions and the result is eclectic. By Shah Jahan’s time the style had become so homogenized that it is impossible to separate the Hindu and Muslim strands. The Diwan-i-Am (public audience hall), the beautiful Diwan-i-Khas (private audience hall) and the magnificent Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) were also added by Shah Jahan. After visiting these two monuments we head back to the hotel.
Lunch break – after Fort visit you will have lunch at an Indian Restaurant. Post lunch you can do the shopping because Agra is famous for Marble Art and much more or free at leisure.
Day 4: Jaipur
After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Jaipur.
Fatehpur Sikri - en-route to Jaipur you will visit Fatehpur Sikri which is 40 km from Agra, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal and their Palaces. After this visit, continue the drive to Jaipur.
Lunch break – you will stop at Bahratpur for your lunch. After lunch if you are interested you can visit Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
Jaipur has been called the Pink City ever since Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had built it in 1727. It is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. The architect who formalized the city’s plans on the Shilpa Shastra, the epic Hindu treatise on architecture, mixed it with the sublimate of the Mughal and Jain influences of those times. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. On arrival, you will be checked-in to your hotel. Evening free to be spent at your leisure. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 5: Jaipur
In the morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel before proceeding for a sightseeing tour of Jaipur.
Amer Fort – built in the 16th century by Maharaja Man Singh, it sprawls on the hillside. Its construction was started by Raja Man Singh but completed by his descendant Jai Singh. Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthan fort palace. Amber today is nothing but a reflection of the glorious past of the fierce Kachwaha Dynasty that ruled over this region from the 12th to 18th century. The Amber fort is built in red sandstone and white marble; the palace complex has very interesting apartments. The old township of Amber lies at the foothills of the palace and has an old world charm. The rugged walls of this fort may not look beautiful from the outside, but the interior is a virtual paradise and painted scenes of hunting and wars adorn the walls along with precious stones and mirrors set into the plaster. Here you will enjoy the elephant ride to the Fort, which gives you another memorable experience.
Jal Mahal – the Jal Mahal Palace at Jaipur lies on the way to Amber and it is at a distance of 6.5 km from the striking city of Jaipur. There are many memorials of the royal families which the tourists can view on their way to the palace. The Jal Mahal Palace at Jaipur is strategically placed in the centre of the Man Sagar Lake. It is really inspiring to see the first four floors of this fabulous building, which are submerged under the waters of the lake. Only the top floor of this beautiful palace is visible to the watcher. The lake and the palace offer some of the best views that are simply a feast for the eyes.
City Palace – known as the core of the Rajasthan, is situated in the heart of the city. The Palace is now converted into a museum except for one section where the erstwhile royal family still lives. The Palace cum museum is constructed in the fortified campus style and covers more than half of the old city. There are different sections of the museum dedicated to subjects like arms and ammunition, textile and costume, and an art gallery. A pride of peacocks adorn an ornate doorway in Jaipur’s City Palace. Palace retainers stand at attention as in the past when Jaipur Court was headquartered here. On display are two huge urns of silver, said to be the largest silver vessels in the world. Nakkarkhana-ka-Darwaza, the imposing gateway of the City Palace guarded by stone elephants, is monumental.
Lunch Break -company guide will take you to a good Indian Restaurant for Lunch.
Albert Museum – one of the oldest museums of the state. Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob designed it in 1876 to greet King Edward VII as Prince of Wales on his visit to India. It was opened to the public ten years later. Positioned amidst the gardens of Ram Niwas Bagh in Jaipur, this museum has an assortment of rare articles on display including textiles, carpets, paintings, metal and wood crafts, pottery, arms and weapons, flora and fauna of the state, toys, dolls and even an Egyptian mummy that belongs to the Ptolemaic Epoch. It is also known for housing the famous carpet, which portrays the scene of a Persian garden carpet with running water streams that was bought at a dear price from Shah Abbas of Persia, by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I. It also puts on show the miniature paintings of a number of sub-schools of Rajasthan.
Hawa Mahal – Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds, a fantasia of 953 ornate windows set in a rose-colored five storey facade. The palace has tier upon tier of curved arch surmounting fairy casements with “jali” – lattice work screens. From here the ladies of the court could look out at festive processions without jeopardizing their modest seclusion.
Chokki Dhani - its ethnic village resorts where every night they organize the Rajastani folk dances followed by traditional Rajasthni dinner. After dinner back to your hotel. Overnight stay.
Day 6: Jaipur
After breakfast, drive to Delhi. On arrival do a little bit of shopping in Delhi and later transfer to the International airport to board your plane home.