India wildlife tour - Golden Triangle, Part 1
With this first blog about India's cultural triangle we look at the key attractions in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Later blogs will seek out modern twists on this very traditional 3 city tour, as well as fresher alternatives for travellers looking for the 'path less travelled' in a sometimes hectic country.
As part of their India wildlife tour, nearly all first time visitors to India wish to include as a bare minimum, visits to Delhi and Agra; with many of them moving onto Jaipur and thus completing India's famous cultural triangle. Since the vast majority of tourists arrive by plane into Delhi it would be rude not to take at least half a day to visit some of the capitals most iconic sites. For us at Wildlife Trails this would start with a visit to the Mughal built Red Fort; since these famous rulers put this city on the map by choosing it as their capital in the early 1500's. We would then include visits to Akshardham, Jama Masjid and Gurdwara Bangla Sahib in celebration of Delhi's 3 main faiths. There are so many amazing places to visit in Delhi - you really need to tailor a private tour to your own interests - but we would certainly include a visit to Raj Ghat for a moments quiet contemplation before launching into the high energy malestrom that is Chandi Chowk market; or other famous markets in the capital.
Just a short car or train journey away is the magical, if a little dusty, city of Agra and what is regarded as one of the most iconic buildings in the world; the Taj Mahal. Quick Hint: Take a sunrise not an evening tour of this beautiful memorial to Shah Jahan's wife, as many Indian and foreign tourists are not good at getting up in the mornings, so the crowds will be a lot smaller. After your sunrise tour you can travel the short distance to the magnificent Agra Fort and share the same view back to the Taj as Shah Jahan did when he was imprisoned here by his ambitous son Aurangzeb. Other interesting and less touristy places to visit include the Baby Taj and Akbar's Mausoleum.
The final leg of your India golden triangle tour takes your 4 hours by car south east from Agra to Jaipur, sometimes know as the Pink City. When Wildlife Trails first visted in 1997 we were entralled by the huge Amber Fort which dominates one the the main access roads into the city. Other attractions includes the Palace of Winds, City Palace, Nahargarh (Tiger) Fort and Jantar Mantar Observatory. A tiger safari to Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary is easy to add on, as it is only 3 hours away from Jaipur. A great way to finish your India wildlife tour.