India - The Golden Triangle
I think most tourist who visit India start with the Golden Triangle as an introduction to an extraordinary country.
The Golden Triangle links Delhi, Agra and Jaipur together in the state of Rajasthan in Northern India. I visited in March before it gets to the extreme heat that they experience there, but it was still very hot so its very important to check the weather conditions before deciding to book at trip like this.
The Golden Triangle tour usually starts off in Delhi, a densely populated city with a over 28 million residents. You have to go there knowing that it’s going to be different and embrace that difference. The culture, the history and the people are all fascinating and I loved it. We spent a day there visiting markets, the inner old city of Delhi and an orphanage that G Adventures sponsors where one of the kids, now 16, told us about his life and how he ended up there. It was very moving.
The next day we headed to Agra, famous for being the home of the Taj Mahal. We got up before the sun to line up for entrance to the Taj. In India men and women have different lines, and there are also different lines for the tourists. As the night started to lighten into day as the sun crept up the excitement in the waiting line also escalated. Seeing the pictures doesn’t prepare you for seeing the real thing, as you catch your first glimpse through the gateway it really takes your breath away. We had a guided tour and brief history of the Taj before we were given time to explore and of course take lots of pictures. It’s really an amazing building. I was very please to get there early as the heat and crowds would be unbearable later.
We visited a number of Palaces and temples, both in Agra and in the Pink city of Jaipur always with a local guide. I found that having a knowledgeable guide made the experience so much better as they explain the history and culture to us. Even our G Adventures guide who stayed with us the entire trip would tell us stories and educate us about his country and it’s history as we took the coach from city to city, he was so passionate and engaging.
We took many tuk tuk rides in the crazy city traffic, toured the local markets on foot, and even did a yoga class on top of the hotel in Jaipur as the sun came up.
It was an amazing introduction to India and I can’t wait to go back and spend some more time there.