For many people visiting India, be it for the first or the fiftieth time, the Golden Triangle – consisting the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – contains some of the country’s finest examples of architecture in the forms of temples, forts and houses. But India is also a sensory experience. It is impossible to visit the country without the senses being pushed to their limits. With all of the life of India going on all around, it is sometimes rather overwhelming, and an escorted tour can help take care of some of the logistics so that travellers can focus on the experience.
There are many fully escorted tours of India’s Golden Triangle, each one helping handle the hotel accommodation, dining and transport aspects, which can be a mind-boggling and occasionally frustrating series of hurdles to anybody not completely au fait with the workings of India’s life bureaucracy. These tours also help enlighten travellers to the meaning of specific details and flourishes in the Mughal buildings and artwork that may have otherwise gone missed. Here are five of the best.
From: $200/per person
This classic iteration of the Golden Triangle tour starts with hotel pickup in Delhi. While there is a minimum of two people per booking, the tour is designed to be a private one, including only members of your group. The first stop is Agra, where a tour of the modern wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, is followed by a trip to Agra Fort. There is the additional opportunity of waking up at dawn to catch the sunrise from the Taj Mahal. The trip then heads to Jaipur, passing Fatehpur Sikri with its vast Mughal gateway. Three nights’ accommodation, transport and breakfast are included in the price, although there is no Delhi sightseeing included in this itinerary.
From $767/ per person
For a more comprehensive tour of this region of India, one that follows more of a diamond than a triangular shape, try the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and Golden Triangle tour. The nature reserve is ideal for those who love nature. The visit to one of India’s most prized natural resources, home of the beautiful and endangered tiger, is one of those life experiences that often make it onto people’s ‘must-see’ lists. Additionally, the tour includes sights in Delhi like the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, while also ticking off the top sights in Agra and Jaipur, such as Amer Fort, along the way.
From $403/ per person
Given the short distances between Agra, Jaipur and Delhi (relative to the rest of India), travel by car is not altogether taxing. The longest leg of the trip, Jaipur to Delhi, takes around five hours. This Golden Triangle tour pads these journeys out with plenty of sightseeing over the course of five days. Highlights of the tour include the Jama Masjid in Delhi, the Taj Mahal at sunset, and historical sites in Jaipur such as Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal. Accommodation, some meals, transportation and your guide are included in the price.
From $390/ per person
Another great private tour option stretches the trip out over six days and five nights, with the additional benefit of being able to start out from your arrival at Delhi airport. As with previous tours, all of the famed sights of this region are firm fixtures on the tour itinerary, such as Shah Jahan’s ode to lost love, the Taj Mahal. Additional authentic India experiences, such as a rickshaw ride around Delhi’s Chandni Chowk market, and a jeep ride at Amer Fort in Jaipur, are also possible. English-speaking guides are provided at the main monuments, and breakfasts are included along with all accommodation.
From $192/ per person
For travellers who wish to see as much as possible quickly, either because their time in India is limited or because they wish to visit other places outside of the Golden Triangle too, this intensive two-day tour is a good option. While there are no sights included within Delhi, the early morning pick-up is set for either your hotel or the Delhi airport. Agra is handled in one day, with the majority of the time given over to exploring the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort before staying overnight in Jaipur. Day two involves less driving and more time to explore the pink city, before returning to Delhi.