India is probably the most expansive and diverse single tourist destination on Earth. It’s so vast, it can be hard to know where a first-timer should begin. The so-called Golden Triangle of cities in the heart of the country’s north, however, offers the most popular starter trip for travellers trying to get to grips with this beguiling, multifarious nation.
The Golden Triangle takes in the head spin glamour of the capital, Delhi, the Arabian Nights wonder of Rajasthan’s Jaipur, and Agra, home to what is commonly considered the most beautiful building in the world; the greatest jewel in India’s impossibly spangled crown: the Taj Mahal.
Travelling India independently can be an exhausting process, whether you’re dealing with the Byzantine intricacies of the Indian rail networks or negotiating the Indy 500 all-for-one anarchy of its roads. This can be rewarding, sure, but for those who would rather the stress of travel removed so that they can concentrate purely on the wonders this region holds and be sure they’re not missing out on gastronomic, historical, or cultural highlights as they go, fortunately there’s a whole cavalcade of different tour companies to choose from. Here at TravelMag, we’ve picked out seven of the best, for all budgets and desires.
Luxury Golden Triangle Tour
Hitting all the major sights of the Golden Triangle, this six day English language tour is among the best of the straightforward packages on offer. With everything included, from chauffeurs whisking you in comfort between all destinations to knowledgeable guides and nightly stays in five star hotels. Prepare to be wowed by Mughal magnificence in the day then relax in modern style when the evenings draw in.
India’s Golden Triangle
With their dedication to respecting local culture, Intrepid really allow you to get under the skin of the Golden Triangle with this in depth eight day offering. As well as guided activities and all major transport accounted for, there’s a degree of freedom attached to every day for you to explore the suggested delights of Jaipur, Delhi, and Agra at will. The stay in a heritage property in the day spent in the village of Karauli, off the beaten track just outside Jaipur is a real highlight.
Golden Triangle Tour – 3 Days
For those short on time, but big on ambition, this three day whistle stop tour of the major sights is the one to aim for. Yes, it’s something of a rush, but so long as you’ve got the stamina, there’s no need to compromise on the quality. All the highlights are here, from the Taj Mahal to riding elephants up to Jaipur Fort. Granted, it’s probably not worth flying all the way out to India just for these three days, but it’s an excellent addendum to a larger trip.
Golden Triangle & Tiger Safari With 4 Star Hotels
OK, so this technically makes for more of golden rhombus than a triangle, but once you’ve done temples, Mughal palaces, the Taj Mahal, and the busy streets of Delhi, a tiger safari is surely next on the cards in what India has to offer. Ranthambore National Park is one of the world’s top tiger sanctuaries, where you head out into the tropical underbrush to search for the elusive big cat. Of course, it’s luck of the draw whether you snag a sighting, with even the routes that safari companies can take selected by daily government lottery, but much of the fun is in the searching for that flash of orange in the green.
Another slightly more in depth adventure, spanning over eight days, and with a dedication to smaller group sizes, so that you get maximum attention from your guide. As well as the standard highlights, this Golden Triangle tour from G Adventures, also includes a trip to the abandoned Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri, and lets you plunge into rural Rajasthan life, with a stop at a village where you get to spend the night in a tent, passing an evening around a campfire, looking up at the stars.
Premium India In Depth
For those wanting to take their Indian travels to the next level, this two week tour strikes out beyond just the Golden Triangle, taking you much further into the magical state of Rajasthan. Expect tigers, camels, the glorious lake palace of Udaipur, cultural dance, and much more. It’s more expensive, yes, but for good reason, as planes and private cars ferry you around the country. You’ll eat dinner on a sand dune, stay in Raj era luxury, and hopefully fall in love both with India, and the Indian people themselves.
Golden Triangle with Goa
Because India can be tiring, and after six days of Mughal palaces, bustling city streets, and extraordinary architectural splendour, you deserve a couple of days to cool your heels in the ocean. So why not book this Golden Triangle tour that ends with a flight to India’s tropical beach paradise of Goa. Formerly owned by the Portuguese, the pace and vibe here are very different to the rest of the country. So brim-full of culture, you can order yourself a freshly made Mango cocktail, bury your feet in the sand, and dive into the welcome waves.