Golden Triangle India

By: Shantanu Kumar

Visiting India for the first time and really don't have much time to explore the entire country? Wish to see the best of the country within the time you have? Well, the Golden Triangle is just the right choice for you. The Golden Triangle is not city, as you will instantly understand. Rather it comprises three cities that lie pretty close to each other and preserve some of the best tourist attractions of India.

The first of these cities is Delhi, the capital city of India. Its easy accessibility from most part of the world makes it one of the most visited cities in the country. Tourists land up at the Indira Gandhi International airport of Delhi and proceed on their journey to discover the rest of India. Exploring Delhi is like exploring India for this is a city that draws people from all over India. The reasons for their coming to Delhi may be different - education, career, better living or just holiday - but the outcome is something you will love. These people from different parts of the country follow their own customs and traditions despite living in Delhi and therefore give you an opportunity to see and enjoy different cultures - all in one city. So you get to see Biharis celebrating their chhatt with as much enthusiasm as the Bengalis celebrate Durga puja, the Gujaratis dandiyas and the Punjabis Lohri.

These festivals, however, are celebrated on specific dates, for the rest of the year it is the other attractions, or should we say the attractions in stone that keep the tourists busy. The monuments of Delhi are reminders of its glorious past. The Red Fort, Jama Masjid, the Humayun's Tomb are reminders of the Mughal era while Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House and India Gate are reminders of the British era. Apart from this, there are also places that can be visited by those looking for peace and spirituality. The Akshardham Temple and the Lotus temple are examples of this.

Shopping in Delhi is a delight and here I am not talking about branded items that you can get in any part of the world. What I actually mean is that Delhi gives you a shopping experience like never before. Shopping destinations have their own specialities. For example, those looking for relatively cheaper items can just go to markets of Lajpat, Karol Bagh, Sarojini and Janpath. These are places where you will see a variety of items being sold at a cost that doesn't weigh too heavily on your budget (however, the sheer variety may force you to cross your limits). For those looking for sovenirs, the state emporiums are the best place.

Agra, the second of the three cities of Golden Triangle, is not as big as Delhi, nor does it have as many attractions as the capital city. But as a matter of fact, the number of tourists to this city is comparable and sometimes even more than that of Delhi. The sole reason for this is the Taj Mahal. Recently voted amongst the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal stands for the immortal love of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, for his wife, Mumtaj Mahal. The white marble monument appears to be different at different point of time in a day but it is best visited during sunrise and sunset. Agra Fort and Fathepur Sikri, two of other reminders of Mughal era also attract tourists to Agra.

Jaipur, the third of of the Golden Triangle trio, is the capital city of Rajasthan, the land of Rajputs. The city is also known as the pink city because of the numerous pink houses in older part of Jaipur. The royal legacy of the city reflects in the magnificent City Palace, the majestic Amber Fort and the crown shaped Hawa Mahal. Apart from this, there is also Jantar Mantar, a stone observatory that despite being a part of the City Palace holds a distinct charm of its own. Staying in the heritage hotels of Jaipur is what makes a visit to the city even special. These hotels were used by the royal maharajas of Rajasthan in earlier days, however today, they have been opened up for the general public as well. Guests have to pay a bit more to stay here but the stay is so special that you will not mind parting with few extra bucks. Hotel Rambagh Palace, Hotel Man Singh Palace and Hotel Raj Vilas are few of them.

The three cities can be visited by tourists on their own. You can simply reach Delhi, hire a cab and then move to Agra and Jaipur. The approximate distance of Agra from Delhi is 200 kms while that of Jaipur from Agra is 235 km. Delhi is 250 km from Jaipur. For those not very sure of moving alone, can contact travel agents and request them to organise a trip as per their own requirements. As for the number of days required to explore the three cities, just keep atleast 5 days in hand. A quick trip can be made in a shorter duration but that will not allow you to explore in a exhaustive way. Moreover the trip might end up being a tiring one as well.

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