The Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – are India’s three most visited travel destinations, with the Taj Mahal as the jewel in its triangular crown. I’ve visited the Golden Triangle on a tour previously but, with us keen to visit the Taj together, we decided to do the route ourselves quickly on a backpacker’s budget.
Delhi is normally the first stop on a Golden Triangle trip and can be daunting and overwhelming. With it not being the main reason we were doing this part of our visit to India, we decided to have just one full day here to pack in the sights and then get out. The Red Fort, temples, markets and bustling streets of Delhi were fascinating but exhausting. It feels like everyone in Delhi is trying to con you, in the words of our hostel: ‘When you arrive, don’t trust anyone, not at the airport, not at the train station, not your taxi driver.’ However, we’re lucky that as we’re now pretty-well travelled and used to the odd travel con, we’re able to politely decline any dodgy offers or misinformation with a ‘No, thank you’. Pair that with a bout of ‘Delhi Belly’ and we left the city pleased to have visited but happy to be leaving!
Agra may have other sights, but let’s face it, the Taj Mahal is worth the visit alone. The Taj – meaning ‘Crown of the Palace’ – is a marble mausoleum for the 17th Century emperor’s ‘favourite’ wife. It took 20,000 people to build it at a cost equivalent to 827 million US dollars today. It’s beautiful and mesmerizing. We opted to get up while it was still dark to beat the crowds and tour groups (as much as you can at one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations) and had an incredible couple of hours wondering around the grounds. A certain highlight of our trip!
Although Jaipur didn’t stand out to me the last time I visited, it has been one of my favourite cities to visit on our entire year away so far. We saw so many of the city’s sights, headed out of the centre to visit the Amber Fort, watched children fly their kites every evening at sunset from the roof of our hotel, and went to watch a Bollywood film at the famous Raj Mandir cinema. A beautiful and fascinating city, packed with culture and history.
See all our photos from the Golden Triangle, India below…