India's Golden Triangle Dropdown content is a fantastically varied introduction to the sights and sounds of the country. From busy bazaars and hurtling tuk-tuks to tranquil temples and majestic mosques, this is the country at its noisiest and most chaotic. Chances are its colourful exuberance will leave you wanting to return again and again. Here's a first-timer's guide to the famous Golden Triangle in India.
India's Golden Triangle is the route between
Most people start in Delhi, where the majority of international flights arrive. While you could spend weeks exploring the city’s sights, from the museums of the Mughal
At the triangle’s third corner is
Throughout India's Golden Triangle, the best way to escape from the throng is often to step into one of the many Hindu, Sikh and Muslim buildings scattered around the cities. Inside, you will find oases of calm, as well as some of the circuit’s most beautiful structures.
In Delhi, just a short drive away from the city centre, visit Swaminarayan Akshardham. This Hindu temple was built in 2011 using traditional methods, but its grandness and intricate decoration evoke a far older era. It’s a huge complex, and photography is banned. This give a welcome opportunity for peaceful reflection away from the selfie sticks and smartphones snapping away in most of the city’s monuments.
The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort are invariably jam-packed, so consider taking a day trip to nearby
Jaipur is the least hectic of the Golden Triangle’s cities. Just wandering around the backstreets you’ll be able to find yourself off the main tourist track. Outside the city, Nahargarh Fort gives the best viewpoint over the sprawling streets. A visit to
The Golden Triangle in India is well connected by public transport. If you’re on a strict budget, the cheapest way to travel is by bus. Indian bus journeys are an experience in their own right, as people tumble in, perching on armrests and sitting in the aisle.
Far and away the best way to travel around India's Golden Triangle is by train. You’ll have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of rural India as you roll through the countryside. Book your ticket in advance, either online or at a train station.
Otherwise, if you only have a few days, consider hiring a taxi from a government-approved company to take you around, allowing you to see as much as you can in the time available.
Within the cities, take an autorickshaw (or tuk-tuk) between destinations. Thick traffic makes these small vehicles the most effective way to travel, as they dip and dive between taxis and trucks. They can be hair-raising, but also fast, inexpensive (make sure you agree a price beforehand) and a fun way to see India's Golden Triangle at its most chaotic.
Not everyone gets ill while touring India's Golden Triangle, but it can put a downer on your holiday. So-called “Delhi belly” comes from drinking unsafe water. The cheapest and most environmentally friendly strategy to avoid it is to use water purification tablets. If you struggle with the taste, bottled water is also readily available (just ensure that the lid is sealed).
Make sure your food is always hot and freshly cooked. Avoid raw fruit and vegetables, which may have been washed in unfiltered water. Finally, don't worry too much and you’ll be able to make the most of the delicious curries and Indian snacks on offer.
Top image: Agra downtown with Taj Mahal, India © turtix/Shutterstock