The Golden Triangle Tour: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur
Delhi, Jaipur and Agra are three cities that capture your imagination and take you into the fascinating, decadent and passionate world of the Mughals and Maharajas. What they left behind is some of the world's best architecture, from the Qutab Minar in Delhi to the Amber Fort in Jaipur and of course the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Day 1 - DELHI
Delhi, the Empress of Indian cities has a fascinating history and stimulating present.
She has often been sacked and left naked and desolate. But she could not be despoiled of the incomparable situation that marks her for the metropolis of a great empire .The capital of India, Delhi has been the seat of power of a number of dynasties – the Rajput’s, the Afghans, the Turks and the Mughals who continued their imperial line until the British. Scattered over are surviving ruins, remnants of mighty edifices, tombs of warriors and saints which, in an impressive sense of magnificence are memorials not of a single city but of supplanted nations.
A full day city tour of Delhi with your tour guide, your guide will come to meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 9 am. After breakfast, we explore the historical part of the city also known as Old Delhi starting with `Shah Jehanabad’ which has some dramatic remnants of the Mughal Empire in the imposing Red Fort and Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, built by Emperor Shah Jehan, creator of the Taj Mahal. We `trishaw’ through its principal street, Chandni Chowk, originally renowned throughout Asia with its tree-lined canal flowing down its center. These days it’s a bustling jumble of shops, temples, mosques and workshops of goldsmiths, silversmiths, silk traders and embroiderers.
After lunch, we drive around New Delhi with its majestic boulevards and grand government buildings. India Gate, Delhi's triumphal arch, the residence of India's president, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a complex of buildings that mix Mughal and Western architectural styles. Continue on to visit the Tomb of Humayun an early example of Mughal architecture.
The design elements of this tomb – a squat building lighted by high arched entrances topped by a protuberant dome and surrounded by formal gardens, were to be refined over the years to the magnificence of the Taj Mahal.
Overnight in Delhi.
Day 2 - DELHI - AGRA
After an early breakfast, we check out and drive around 3 1⁄2 hours to Agra via the expressway.
With the arrival of the Mughals in 1526 led by Babur, Agra entered a new era during the reign of emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan – and became one of the grandest cities of South Asia. Akbar made it a great centre for learning, art, commerce, and culture. With its cosmopolitan bazaars and strategic location on the river Jamuna, Agra was altogether a worthy setting for the focus of an empire.
We visit the Agra Fort, a World Heritage site credited to Emperor Akbar, India’s great visionary. His sons and theirs added to this imposing structure situated by the banks of the Yamuna River. The astonishing palaces, mosques and audience halls contained within its massive walls of red sandstone became once more a monumental mission of the Mughal Empire embellished by the artistic fusion of Islamic and Hindu tradition.
After the visit, we transfer to the hotel and check in.
In the late afternoon, we proceed to the Taj Mahal – ‘the ivory gate through which all dreams pass’, a lacy white grandeur, perhaps the most perfect architectural monument accomplished. At the day’s end, the monument appears to change its hue, tinted by the glow of the setting sun.
Post the visits, an option exists to visit Kohinoor, the erstwhile jewellers to the Mughal Court that have been featured in National Geographic. The Marble Inlay factories steeped in this decorative art culture are also a specialty of Agra.
Day 3 - AGRA - JAIPUR VIA FATEHPUR SIKRI & ABHANERI
An option to re-visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, when there are less crowds and the light is delightful!
Return to the hotel for breakfast after which we check out and drive an hour through the Indian countryside to visit Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone former capital of the Mughal Empire. Politically astute and remarkably broadminded for his time, India’s greatest emperor successfully addressed the Hindu-Moslem divide by marrying a Hindu princess whilst also combining their distinctive architectural styles finely exampled at this World Heritage site.
After the visit, we continue our journey to Abhaneri.
Abhaneri is an ancient village in Rajasthan renowned for its post-Gupta or early medieval monuments, Chand Baori and a local Goddess’ temple. The village is in ruins now, however Chand Baori is a huge step well, a unique idea conceived by the natives to work as a water reservoir. Chand Baori, which is fortified on all sides, is one of the largest and deepest step wells in India. This temple is an architectural jewel which symbolises 10th century architecture, the ruined images in the temple indicate that the temple was actually dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Later, we continue on to Jaipur, a 3 hours’ drive. Jaipur is where the enduring charisma of the past blends with the throbbing vitality of today. Where a colourful cast of characters - from painters and potters to artists and antique dealers - present a fascinating picture of a city that is alive to both tradition and change.
Transfer and check into our hotel. Evening at leisure.
Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 4 - JAIPUR
After breakfast, we visit the Amber Fort, the former seat of the Rajput rulers of Jaipur.
Ascending the fortress seated in a jeep, wander around the beautiful palaces.
Continue on to visit the open air royal observatory, Jantar Mantar built by Maharaja Onward to the City Palace, which occupies the center of Jaipur, covering one seventh of its area and is surrounded by a high wall. It differs from conventional Rajput fort palaces in its separation of the palace from its fortifications, perhaps modeled on the Mughal architectural style with its main building scattered in “a fortified campus”. The Royal family occupies a portion of this Palace. We also stop by the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, a stunning example of Rajput
artistry made of red and pink sandstone, beautifully outlined with white borders and motifs painted with quick lime.
Later, we visit the Johari Bazaar, where much of the story of this historical capital began...where a spirit of commerce and tide of human life rolls down the center of the street, unruffled by vehicles from all quarters ploughing their way through. The city’s densest concentration of lifestyle and retail stores is a crush of shop–fronts, street stalls, hawkers and spice merchants and a seething mass of people. Areas are closely knit in this organized chaos and cohesively built around traditional residences, temples, flower markets, community halls and cow shelters. Within a few square kilometers are a dozen bazaars and more commodities for sale than you will probably see anywhere else in a lifetime.
Return to the hotel with the evening at leisure.
Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 5 - JAIPUR - DELHI (300kms - 5 hours drive approx.)
08:30 am Check out from the hotel and drive to Delhi after breakfast.
Transfer to a hotel or airport in Delhi.
Price: USD 1100 per tour for upto 4 people for 5 days.
Transportation: All India tourist permit air-conditioned Toyota Innova car, Please note that if booking for more than 4 people, an air-conditioned mini-van (e.g. Tempo-Traveler) can be arranged on additional charges, please contact me for a quote.