The Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle

Our ‘Golden Triangle’ itinerary is a contemporary and responsible take on an old and ever-popular classic.

Delhi, Agra and Jaipur stand as giants of history that dates back centuries, crucibles of North Indian art, craft, culture and cuisine. Imprints of empires and dynasties remain, not just in stone but encapsulated in daily life.

Our itinerary reveals the many layers of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur rather than a sequence of sights to be ticked-off. Visit magnificent places that remain off the beaten track, explore bustling markets to get vignettes of daily life, meet generational artisans preserving traditional crafts and ways of life that directly connect contemporary India with the medieval.

Stay at painstakingly restored grand residences in Delhi and Jaipur, fit for royalty and discerning travellers alike. Admire the Taj from your hotel room in Agra. Travel Green in Executive class on the Delhi-Agra and Jaipur-Delhi legs using two of India’s fastest trains. Let stories come alive with our expert local guides.

This grand tour takes in no less than eight World Heritage sites. Gourmands will love the chance to taste exquisite and authentic cuisines, and if you love shopping, or even browsing, the old bazaars and trendy boutiques will enthral you.

Not all Golden Triangle tours are created equal. Ours certainly isn’t.

11 DAYS
FROM £1895
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Moderate
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Upon arrive at Delhi’s International Airport, you’ll be met by our representative and transfer to your hotel, Haveli Dharampura at the heart of Old Delhi.

Delhi is a grand city with a history that goes back many centuries. The imprints of many dynasties and Empires are found all over the city. Old Delhi, or Mughal Delhi is one of the best preserved of the ‘cities with the city’. Until the British creation of New Delhi as the grand administrative capital of the Jewel in the Crown, the area we now call Old Delhi was just known as Shahjahanabad (the city that Shahjahan built), which was synonymous with Delhi. Its streets were the epicentre of art, culture, cuisine and commerce, the very heartbeat of Delhi.

While Delhi has become much modernised and cosmopolitan, Old Delhi’s enclave still retains its distinctive charms. Haveli Dharampura is a magnificently restored haveli located deep within Old Delhi, and is the perfect base exploring these charms.

Rest of the day at leisure, enjoying the warm hospitality of your hosts.

None
Day 2: Pre-Mughal Delhi

Begin unpeeling layers of Delhi’s history over the next three days, in roughly chronological order

Start with the sights of pre-Mughal Delhi – the World Heritage site of Qutub Minar, the sprawling ruins of the citadel of Tughlaqabad, the remnants of Hauz Khas Fort and its medieval village whose narrow streets are now the home of several fine restaurants and smart boutiques.

After lunch, visit the grandest of early Mughal monuments in India, Humayun’s Tomb.

Breakfast
Day 3: Shajahanabad

Today, we marvel at the glory days of Mughals in Shahjahanbad, starting with an early visit to the Red Fort before the crowds arrive. Then visit Jama Masjid, the grand mosque. Climb one of the minarets of the mosque for a truly spectacular bird’s eye view.

Chandni Chowk’s famous street food has something for everyone – lip-smacking kababs, or vegetarian paranthas. Several sweet shops cater to those with a sweet tooth.

After lunch, continue exploring the many market streets of Chandni Chowk with sections devoted to spices, fragrances and perfumes (ittr), books and other commodities. During the afternoon, you’ll visit a traditional family-owned perfumery to observe the medieval art of making natural perfumes.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mughal culture in Shahjanabad is the sport of Kabootar-baazi (Pigeon racing) that is still passionately followed here. Meet a Kabootar-baaz and learn all about the intricacies of this sport from the rooftops of Old Delhi for a truly unique cultural experience. Finish tour of Chandni Chowk with a visit to the Fatehpuri Mosque, contrasting its simpler yet elegant architecture and its lack of crowds with the Jama Masjid you saw earlier in the day.

Breakfast
Day 4: New Delhi

After breakfast, move into 20th and 21st century Delhi with a visit to the wide treelined boulevards of New Delhi. The grand Imperial architecture was built for a British Empire that aspired to rule for centuries but barely managed 40 years post construction before the democratic institutions of Independent India took over the keys.

View (from outside) the largest palace built anywhere in the 20th century, the erstwhile Viceroy’s Palace (now Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the home of India’s President).

Visit Jantar Mantar, giant astronomical instruments which were among the last pre-British era monuments to be constructed in Delhi. Visit Imperial Delhi’s commercial heart, the grand colonnaded shopping arcades of Connaught Place and have lunch at any of the fine restaurants that take your fancy.

After lunch, visit Birla Mandir, one of the most popular old Hindu temples in Delhi. Then drive along the famed Rajpath (Delhi’s answer to London’s Mall or Paris’ Champs Elysee) to India Gate. Walk around India Gate and the newly built National War Memorial.

Visit the Gandhi Smriti Museum, a private mansion where Mahatma Gandhi spent his last few days before his assassination in the garden. The mansion is now a memorial.

End the day by visiting Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib, the holiest Sikh temple in Delhi, which looks serene and spectacular just after dark when lit up.

Breakfast
Day 5: Agra

An early start to catch Gatiman Express, one of India’s fastest express trains and the quickest way to get to Agra.

On arrival, you’ll be met by your guide and check into your hotel for 2 nights.

See some of Agra’s finest Mughal architecture, starting at the red sandstone Agra Fort. Then visit the beautiful grand mosque, Jama Masjid firmly off the beaten track, a surprise given its grand scale and unique geometric designs of marble-inlaid sandstone. It is a a gem hidden amidst the chaotic bazaars of Agra.

Enjoy a short walk around old bazaars. To gain insight on Agra’s living arts and distinctive cuisines, see some of Agra’s speciality foods being prepared – the sweet ‘Petha’ and the savoury ‘Dal Moth’ (Agra’s tangy version of Bombay mix). Watch marble inlay artisans at a marble workshop.

Proceed to the exquisitely decorated tomb of Itimad-ud Daulah to appreciate the mausoleum’s delicate inlay work.

Towards late afternoon, Mehtab Bagh, a Mughal garden overlooking the Taj Mahal from across the river. Lost to the world for years, it has now been gradually restored to provide the perfect place to relax and soak in sunset views of the Taj Mahal. As the evening sun goes down the horizon, the Taj is a magnificent sight, with its white marble transforming into shades of pinks and oranges.

Breakfast
Day 6: Agra

Today, rise early to visit the Taj Mahal at dawn. This is the best time to visit the Taj, as the light is soft and atmospheric. No matter how many times one has seen the photos, the experience is truly memorable.

After breakfast back at hotel, visit Agra’s bustling wholesale Flower Market.

Take some time exploring off the beaten track Agra with Akbar’s Catholic Church and the European Cemetery to see the Red Taj.

After Lunch, drive to Sikandra to visit Akbar’s tomb, one of the gems of Agra’s Mughal architecture and one that is seldom on any of the rushed Golden Triangle itineraries.

Breakfast
Day 7: Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur

After breakfast, bid Agra adieu and drive towards Jaipur.

En-route, visit the fabulous Fatehpur Sikri with its remarkably well-preserved monuments that are vivid reminders of the period in the 16th century when Fatehpur Sikri was the Mughal capital. Among the highlights of Fatehpur Sikri are the grand gateway of Buland Darwaza, the Diwan-i-Khas hall with its richly carved throne pillar  and the beautiful Tomb of Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti.

Admire the magnificent 1000 year old Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri. It is one of the grandest stepwells in the world and its 3,500 narrow perfectly symmetrical steps descend 20m to the bottom of the well, providing a mesmerising backdrop to your holiday photos.

Arrive in Jaipur and check into the delightful Shahpura House for 3 nights. Shahpura House is the 19th century Indo-Saracenic palace of the Shahpura Royal Family, now a luxury heritage hotel in the heart of Jaipur.

Breakfast
Day 8: Jaipur

A day of guided sightseeing in Jaipur begins with a exclusive trip to the City Palace.

Jaipur’s City Palace is spread out over a series of courtyards. It was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and his successors continued to add to the elegant buildings up until the 20th century.

The visit includes exclusive access to the most spectacular and private areas of the palace. You will be escorted around the seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, the Royal residential apartments within the Palace. It contains the grand Sukh Niwas apartments, completely covered in wall paintings and filled with furniture and artworks from around the world, still used for entertaining royal guests. Also included are richly adorned Sri Niwas and Shobha Niwas apartments. At the summit is the Mukut Mandir pavilion, from where the Jaipur state flag is flown every day, with spectacular views over the city and palace gardens and courtyards.

Visit the royal observatory at Jantar Mantar, with its large sundials and instruments for celestial measurement and the  iconic ‘Hawa Mahal’ or ‘Palace of Winds’, a five-storey façade of elaborately screened windows from where the women of the royal household used to watch processions in the town’s streets.

End the day’s cultural walks with a visit to busy Tripolia Bazaar whose inviting streets are perfect for browsing or shopping for souvenirs or arts and crafts.

Breakfast
Day 9: Amber

Explore the hilltop township of Amber (pronounced Amer) beginning with the majestic Amber Fort.

Amber has some of the finest interiors surviving from the 16th and 17th centuries in India, notably the glittering ‘Hall of Mirrors’ where the Maharaja and his consorts would enjoy music and poetry recitals.

Later, explore Amber’s famous Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing dedicated to the traditional craftmanship of India’s textiles.

Visit the hilltop forts of Nahargarh and Jaigarh, each built to  augment the strategic value of Amber Fort, both offering insights to Jaipur’s royal history and sweeping views.

Breakfast
Day 10: Jaipur

Jaipur is known throughout India and globally for its distinctive crafts of Blue Pottery and Block Printing, which even today are practiced in traditional workshops and ateliers around Jaipur. These hard-working craftsmen and artisans have gained new audiences and markets through responsible tourism.

Today, you’ll experience these crafts first-hand, visiting workshops where you try your hand at decorating or creating some pottery and block printing, perhaps creating a personal souvenir for your Golden Triangle holiday.

You’ll be transferred to Jaipur’s Railway Station in the afternoon to catch the Shatabdi Express train back to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be transferred to a hotel near Delhi’s International Airport.

Breakfast
Day 11: Departure from Delhi

On the last day of your holiday, enjoy a relaxed morning.

Depending on the time of your flight’s departure, you’ll be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.

Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival in Delhi

Upon arrive at Delhi’s International Airport, you’ll be met by our representative and transfer to your hotel, Haveli Dharampura at the heart of Old Delhi.

Delhi is a grand city with a history that goes back many centuries. The imprints of many dynasties and Empires are found all over the city. Old Delhi, or Mughal Delhi is one of the best preserved of the ‘cities with the city’. Until the British creation of New Delhi as the grand administrative capital of the Jewel in the Crown, the area we now call Old Delhi was just known as Shahjahanabad (the city that Shahjahan built), which was synonymous with Delhi. Its streets were the epicentre of art, culture, cuisine and commerce, the very heartbeat of Delhi.

While Delhi has become much modernised and cosmopolitan, Old Delhi’s enclave still retains its distinctive charms. Haveli Dharampura is a magnificently restored haveli located deep within Old Delhi, and is the perfect base exploring these charms.

Rest of the day at leisure, enjoying the warm hospitality of your hosts.

None
Day 2: Pre-Mughal Delhi

Begin unpeeling layers of Delhi’s history over the next three days, in roughly chronological order

Start with the sights of pre-Mughal Delhi – the World Heritage site of Qutub Minar, the sprawling ruins of the citadel of Tughlaqabad, the remnants of Hauz Khas Fort and its medieval village whose narrow streets are now the home of several fine restaurants and smart boutiques.

After lunch, visit the grandest of early Mughal monuments in India, Humayun’s Tomb.

Breakfast
Day 3: Shajahanabad

Today, we marvel at the glory days of Mughals in Shahjahanbad, starting with an early visit to the Red Fort before the crowds arrive. Then visit Jama Masjid, the grand mosque. Climb one of the minarets of the mosque for a truly spectacular bird’s eye view.

Chandni Chowk’s famous street food has something for everyone – lip-smacking kababs, or vegetarian paranthas. Several sweet shops cater to those with a sweet tooth.

After lunch, continue exploring the many market streets of Chandni Chowk with sections devoted to spices, fragrances and perfumes (ittr), books and other commodities. During the afternoon, you’ll visit a traditional family-owned perfumery to observe the medieval art of making natural perfumes.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Mughal culture in Shahjanabad is the sport of Kabootar-baazi (Pigeon racing) that is still passionately followed here. Meet a Kabootar-baaz and learn all about the intricacies of this sport from the rooftops of Old Delhi for a truly unique cultural experience. Finish tour of Chandni Chowk with a visit to the Fatehpuri Mosque, contrasting its simpler yet elegant architecture and its lack of crowds with the Jama Masjid you saw earlier in the day.

Breakfast
Day 4: New Delhi

After breakfast, move into 20th and 21st century Delhi with a visit to the wide treelined boulevards of New Delhi. The grand Imperial architecture was built for a British Empire that aspired to rule for centuries but barely managed 40 years post construction before the democratic institutions of Independent India took over the keys.

View (from outside) the largest palace built anywhere in the 20th century, the erstwhile Viceroy’s Palace (now Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the home of India’s President).

Visit Jantar Mantar, giant astronomical instruments which were among the last pre-British era monuments to be constructed in Delhi. Visit Imperial Delhi’s commercial heart, the grand colonnaded shopping arcades of Connaught Place and have lunch at any of the fine restaurants that take your fancy.

After lunch, visit Birla Mandir, one of the most popular old Hindu temples in Delhi. Then drive along the famed Rajpath (Delhi’s answer to London’s Mall or Paris’ Champs Elysee) to India Gate. Walk around India Gate and the newly built National War Memorial.

Visit the Gandhi Smriti Museum, a private mansion where Mahatma Gandhi spent his last few days before his assassination in the garden. The mansion is now a memorial.

End the day by visiting Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib, the holiest Sikh temple in Delhi, which looks serene and spectacular just after dark when lit up.

Breakfast
Day 5: Agra

An early start to catch Gatiman Express, one of India’s fastest express trains and the quickest way to get to Agra.

On arrival, you’ll be met by your guide and check into your hotel for 2 nights.

See some of Agra’s finest Mughal architecture, starting at the red sandstone Agra Fort. Then visit the beautiful grand mosque, Jama Masjid firmly off the beaten track, a surprise given its grand scale and unique geometric designs of marble-inlaid sandstone. It is a a gem hidden amidst the chaotic bazaars of Agra.

Enjoy a short walk around old bazaars. To gain insight on Agra’s living arts and distinctive cuisines, see some of Agra’s speciality foods being prepared – the sweet ‘Petha’ and the savoury ‘Dal Moth’ (Agra’s tangy version of Bombay mix). Watch marble inlay artisans at a marble workshop.

Proceed to the exquisitely decorated tomb of Itimad-ud Daulah to appreciate the mausoleum’s delicate inlay work.

Towards late afternoon, Mehtab Bagh, a Mughal garden overlooking the Taj Mahal from across the river. Lost to the world for years, it has now been gradually restored to provide the perfect place to relax and soak in sunset views of the Taj Mahal. As the evening sun goes down the horizon, the Taj is a magnificent sight, with its white marble transforming into shades of pinks and oranges.

Breakfast
Day 6: Agra

Today, rise early to visit the Taj Mahal at dawn. This is the best time to visit the Taj, as the light is soft and atmospheric. No matter how many times one has seen the photos, the experience is truly memorable.

After breakfast back at hotel, visit Agra’s bustling wholesale Flower Market.

Take some time exploring off the beaten track Agra with Akbar’s Catholic Church and the European Cemetery to see the Red Taj.

After Lunch, drive to Sikandra to visit Akbar’s tomb, one of the gems of Agra’s Mughal architecture and one that is seldom on any of the rushed Golden Triangle itineraries.

Breakfast
Day 7: Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur

After breakfast, bid Agra adieu and drive towards Jaipur.

En-route, visit the fabulous Fatehpur Sikri with its remarkably well-preserved monuments that are vivid reminders of the period in the 16th century when Fatehpur Sikri was the Mughal capital. Among the highlights of Fatehpur Sikri are the grand gateway of Buland Darwaza, the Diwan-i-Khas hall with its richly carved throne pillar  and the beautiful Tomb of Sufi saint Sheikh Salim Chishti.

Admire the magnificent 1000 year old Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri. It is one of the grandest stepwells in the world and its 3,500 narrow perfectly symmetrical steps descend 20m to the bottom of the well, providing a mesmerising backdrop to your holiday photos.

Arrive in Jaipur and check into the delightful Shahpura House for 3 nights. Shahpura House is the 19th century Indo-Saracenic palace of the Shahpura Royal Family, now a luxury heritage hotel in the heart of Jaipur.

Breakfast
Day 8: Jaipur

A day of guided sightseeing in Jaipur begins with a exclusive trip to the City Palace.

Jaipur’s City Palace is spread out over a series of courtyards. It was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and his successors continued to add to the elegant buildings up until the 20th century.

The visit includes exclusive access to the most spectacular and private areas of the palace. You will be escorted around the seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, the Royal residential apartments within the Palace. It contains the grand Sukh Niwas apartments, completely covered in wall paintings and filled with furniture and artworks from around the world, still used for entertaining royal guests. Also included are richly adorned Sri Niwas and Shobha Niwas apartments. At the summit is the Mukut Mandir pavilion, from where the Jaipur state flag is flown every day, with spectacular views over the city and palace gardens and courtyards.

Visit the royal observatory at Jantar Mantar, with its large sundials and instruments for celestial measurement and the  iconic ‘Hawa Mahal’ or ‘Palace of Winds’, a five-storey façade of elaborately screened windows from where the women of the royal household used to watch processions in the town’s streets.

End the day’s cultural walks with a visit to busy Tripolia Bazaar whose inviting streets are perfect for browsing or shopping for souvenirs or arts and crafts.

Breakfast
Day 9: Amber

Explore the hilltop township of Amber (pronounced Amer) beginning with the majestic Amber Fort.

Amber has some of the finest interiors surviving from the 16th and 17th centuries in India, notably the glittering ‘Hall of Mirrors’ where the Maharaja and his consorts would enjoy music and poetry recitals.

Later, explore Amber’s famous Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing dedicated to the traditional craftmanship of India’s textiles.

Visit the hilltop forts of Nahargarh and Jaigarh, each built to  augment the strategic value of Amber Fort, both offering insights to Jaipur’s royal history and sweeping views.

Breakfast
Day 10: Jaipur

Jaipur is known throughout India and globally for its distinctive crafts of Blue Pottery and Block Printing, which even today are practiced in traditional workshops and ateliers around Jaipur. These hard-working craftsmen and artisans have gained new audiences and markets through responsible tourism.

Today, you’ll experience these crafts first-hand, visiting workshops where you try your hand at decorating or creating some pottery and block printing, perhaps creating a personal souvenir for your Golden Triangle holiday.

You’ll be transferred to Jaipur’s Railway Station in the afternoon to catch the Shatabdi Express train back to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, you’ll be transferred to a hotel near Delhi’s International Airport.

Breakfast
Day 11: Departure from Delhi

On the last day of your holiday, enjoy a relaxed morning.

Depending on the time of your flight’s departure, you’ll be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.

Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)