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Golden Triangle Holiday Package
Discover the designer town of Fatehpur Sikri, Stroll the pink-hued streets of Jaipur. Delight in the fragrance of India's spices, experience the chaotic charm of Old Delhi, explore the Red Fort of Agra, sit and stare at the Taj Mahal, truly one of the wonders of the world, and ponder as to why it was described by Rabindranath Tagore as a 'teardrop on the face of eternity'.
Visit India and follow the famous Golden Triangle. Enjoy the perfect introduction to India's three most popular destinations, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, as we explore the icons and discover the secrets of this fascinating region. Experience the history of massive forts, the opulence and splendour of Rajasthan's palaces, the bustle and buzz of markets and bazaars, and the traditions of a heritage homestay. Travel through a land full of contrasts on this compact India tour, jam-packed with unforgettable highlights, and perhaps adding some areas to this Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package!
Upon arrival at Delhi airport or train station, you will be met by a representative who will transfer you to your centrally located hotel. There are no activities planned for the rest of the day so you are free to explore this bustling capital city. The hotel is located in the heart of New Delhi and you may then explore Connaught Place. Commonly abbreviated as CP and also known as Rajiv Chowk, this is one of the main business, shopping, restaurants and market area of the city. It was developed as a great piece of architecture and art display of Lutyens' Delhi featuring a Central Business District. Named after the Duke of Connaught initially, India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but certainly one of the most interesting cities. Delhi comprises of conspicuously contrasting Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India in the earlier centuries and one can find mosques, monuments and forts related to the Muslim history. New Delhi is the imperial city created as India's capital by the British, intricately planned and comprising of imposing buildings displaying various modern styles of architecture. For those arriving early, start with some of the many attractions on your own, such as the Jantar Mantar, wander the market of Janpath in CP, catch the metro anywhere, visit the Crafts Museum, Indira Gandhi Museum or Birla House (the site of Gandhi's assassination) or relax in the magical Lodi Gardens.
The next morning you visit the Raj Ghat, which is the cremation ground of the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and continue to the Humayun's Tomb which is believed to have been designed by the widow of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Its design and layout is based on the description of Islamic paradise gardens and is known to have inspired the Taj Mahal and later the Mughal tombs. The Qutab Minar has walls inscribed with intricately carved quotations from the Koran and is one of the most perfect towers of the Persian world. You can drive past the Red Fort, an ancient edifice made of red sandstone and then, move on to Agra.
You may make your way to the Taj Mahal to watch the sun rise over this extraordinary monument. Built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the beauty of this structure is unmatched. In memory of his beloved wife, in wild extravagance, Shah Jahan built her this memorial, a wealth of white marble and precious stones. You have time to walk the corridors and gardens before continuing on to the Agra Fort. With its grand courtyards, royal pavilions and palaces, the Agra Fort is a fitting testimony to the Great Moghuls, Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, during the era when Agra was the capital of the Moghul Empire. The most impressive part of the Fort is the Dewan-e-Am, where the Emperor sat on his throne to dispense to his subjects, and the Dewan-e-Khas where he received foreign dignitaries. A brief visit may also be made to the marble inlay workshop, where one can see the art that went into the exquisite craftsmanship at the Taj Mahal. This workshop has brought back into India this almost forgotten inimitable art style, If time permits you should visit Itimad-ud-Daulah, known as the ‘Baby Taj’; which was built before the erection of the Taj Mahal by Nur Jahan, queen of Jehangir, for her parents, recognized as the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble, where, for the first time, ‘pietra dura’, precious stones inlaid into marble were used. Alternatively head down to the Yamuna River and take a small boat across the river to get a glimpse of the Taj Mahal, from a different angle and a different perspective. The truly magical Agra is a great place to try barbecue meats or kebabs mixed with Indian spices. Petha, pieces of white pumpkin dipped in sugar syrup, and gajak, a crumbly sweet made with sesame and jaggery, are delicious local sweets and sold everywhere…..try them! For a splurge, have a drink at a hotel of your choice. Most of the hotels are built in typical Mughal style, and have the most stunning view of the Taj Mahal, monument, on the Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package!
You may then depart for Jaipur by road and en-route you may visit the city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built in red sandstone by Emperor Akbar, its glorious courtyards and palaces conjure up dreams of the mysterious past. There is the imperial Jami Masjid, the tomb of Shaik Salim Chisti who predicted the birth of Akbar’s son Jehangir, the Panch Mahal, a strange building which resembles a Buddhist Temple, a cloistered courtyard which was the Hall of Public Audience and the Pachchisi paved with black and white where the Emperor played chess using slave girls as figurines.
On the Agra-Jaipur road, your next destinations are off the beaten track, as you now move on to a small town called Karauli, which retains a lovely rural feel and has some impressive palaces and heritage buildings to enchant you.The Kaila Devi (Goddess) temple is located on the banks of the Kalisil river in Karauli district. This temple is devoted to the tutelary deity, Goddess Kaila, of the erstwhile princely rulers of the Karauli state, and is a fine example of medieval architecture. The ornamental work, engraving and encarving have been done on the walls and pillars. The temple stands on a rocky elevation and has marble structures with a large courtyard of a checkered floor, and in one place are a number of red flags planted by devotees. The place is also famous for its fair held during the dark half of Chaitra, in March–April, and lasts for a fortnight the city is surrounded by a wall of red sandstone strengthened by bastions at several places. Karauli has some interesting places of visits like the temple of Madan Mohanji and other historic monuments. You have a splendid opportunity. To mix around with the habitants of this town, which is quite a contrast to the huge urbania, and taste its variable flavours on the Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package?
Another discovery beyond the run-on-the-mill track! Bandikui is a famous city and a gram panchayat in the Dausa District in the state of Rajasthan, and surrounded by some noteworthy monuments and sites. Jhajirampura a religious and picnic spot located in Bandikui near Baswa is known for its stone Gaumukh with water flowing through it all the year round. There is also a flower garden associated with the spot.
Abhaneri, originally named Abha Nagri, which means "city of brightness," is another village in the Dausa district of Rajasthan. The place is popular for the Chand Baori step well and the Harshat Mata Temple, but is now in ruins, and attracts tourists from across the globe, for its unusual environs. It is prominent for 'Baoris', step wells which were invented by the natives to harvest rain water. These tanks were used as cool places of retreat and as water reservoirs during parched times of the year. Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in Rajasthan and is the most popular of the wells in the region, as it is one of India's deepest and largest water reserves. This colossal and delicately carved well is located in front of the Harshat Mata Temple, dedicated to the Goddess Harshat Mata, serving as the other tourist attraction of this place and it is a ritual to wash the hands and feet at the well before visiting this temple. Razed during the tenth century, the remains of the temple still boast of architectural and sculptural styles of ancient India. Harshat Mata is considered to be the goddess of joy and happiness, and according to myth, the Goddess is always cheerful, and she imparts her joy and happiness to the whole village. Mingle around with the residents of this area and exchange suggestions on their lifestyle and skills and perhaps share a simple snack or a meal with them!
A few more acknowledged sites around Bandikui! Mehndipur Balaji is a highly revered Hindu religious site dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It is located a short distance from Bandikui. Sikandra is known for its traditional Rajasthani shoes and stone carving industry and falls on the main Agra-Jaipur National Highway. The Kalakho Lake is also located on the Highway just outside Dausa. It has a large palace, Umaid Lake Palace, which is now converted to a resort and known for its bird life. The Ganesh Mandir is a famous temple located at High School Road, Bandikui. It is situated in the city and has a Gaushala also. Ram Mandir is a famous temple located in the city. Badiyal Kalan is famous for its Nalas and River, and has the popular Hanuman temple and Pipli Wale Balaji, besides other old temples. Karnawar is known for the temple of Sanwaria Ji Seth or Sri Krishna and Bawli. Nihalpura is a very beautiful village on the outskirts of Bandikui, lending you another chance to get a taste or rural, earthy and rustic life in its original form and shape!
Arrive at Jaipur and you may then head out for a day of sightseeing in and begin at the Amber Fort, the honey coloured fortress-palace in the Aravalli Hills, just north of the town centre. The sombre exterior belies the richness of the royal apartments, which open to striking views of the gorge. The Hall of Victory presents a galaxy of decorative art, panels of alabaster with fine inlay work of the tenderness hues and the intriguing Chamber of Mirrors. It would be imperative to take a trip towards, Jantar Mantar an observatory with an extraordinary collection of complex astronomical instruments and the Hawa Mahal, also called the Palace of Winds, having ornate sandstone windows which were used by royal women to watch processions through the perforated stone screens. The Albert Hall Museum , now called the Central Government Museum, is impressive with it vast collection of Indian arts and crafts including metalware, ivory and woodcarvings, jewellery, textiles, pottery, sculptures and paintings. Another evocative place is Galta, which is perched between cliff faces on a rocky gorge, and further surrounded by temples and sacred pools. On the ridge is the Sun Temple.
Make a quick visit to the Jantar Mantar an observatory with an extraordinary collection of complex astronomical instruments. You conclude at the City Palace, now a museum that contains fine Rajput and Moghul paintings, rare manuscripts and an armoury, old carpets, and even amazingly embroidered clothes of the Maharajas and the Maharanis. The City Palace is a medley of Mughal and Rajput styles, with courtyards, gateways, gardens and temples. The Mubarak Mahal which has been converted into Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum has a display of costumes, weapons, manuscripts and memorabilia! This effectively planned city boasts of its traditions and heritage with pride and the pink hue adds emotions and calm amidst the hustle and bustle! After the sightseeing has finished, you will be returned to the hotel where the trip ends in this city on the Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package!
The extended route now begins! Faith and history define Ajmer, due to the town’s close association with the Dargah Sharif, as the final resting place of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, with his preachings, `Be generous like a river, affectionate like the Sun, and hospitable like the Earth’ and whose disciples included the Mughal Emperors. The air around the area is thick with roses, incense and the fervour of prayer. Also known as Garib Nawaz, or the helper of the poor, He was a giant figure on the Sufi map of the sub-continent. The Ajmer Dargah, is a complex full of many structures and encloses the Akbari Masjid and the Buland Darwaza. There are some charming picnic spots and artificial lakes in Ajmer such as Ana Sagar, Ajaipal and Foy Sagar. After feeling blessed by the holy shrine and some quick sight-seeing, go further on to a hill resort!
From the desert area, you could take a short break to Mount Abu, a cool paradise which does justice to the charms of a mesmerising landscape, and it takes something special to be a lush hill station in a desert state, as there is a long history of Hindu mythology attached to the lakes, caves, temples and ashrams tucked away in these hills. Further there are dense forests and trekking trails vanishing into them, and the Delwara Jain temples, where marble becomes rain, dew, fire, silk……..leaving all but tourist guides speechless. You could visit the Achalgarh Fort and the Guru Shikhar Peak. The Nakki Lake is the centre for most activities in Abu, such as boating on the lake, as there are motorboats and rowboats as well, some of them shaped like swans. Apt for a holiday amongst your family, children and the crowds, the area is closely interspersed with forests, lakes and rocky terrain. If you go for paddle boating at sunrise and sunset with a sound oarsman, who after the mandatory rounds and view of Toad’s rock, can point out to you different birds by the shoreline. The Sunset Point has fabulous panoramic views, and also has an amusement park for children, a perfect family outing! You could visit other temples such as Vimal Vasahi Temple, Luna Vasahi Temple, the Pittahara Temple, the Chaumukha Temple and the Mahavira Temple. Mount Abu also has a wildlife sanctuary lined with champas, jasmine, odown with blooms and fruit. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise, although Leopards, chinkaras, sloth bear, wild boars and hundreds of langurs are also seen here. The Achalgarh Fort comprises of ruins which preside over two temples, the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple which lays claim to a toe impression of Lord Shiva, and the Kantinath Jain temple, which emulate Delwara in the quantity of marble and sculpting.
Move on to another versatile heaven! Rising like a sandcastle from the deserts of Rajasthan, the ‘Land of Kings’ or Jaisalmer’s twelfth-century citadel. Looks more like something from a dream than reality. The enormous golden sandstone fort, with its crenellated ramparts and undulating towers, is a fantastical structure, even while camouflaged against the desert sand. Inside, an ornate royal palace, fairytale havelis, intricately carved Jain temples and narrow lanes conspire to create the world’s best place to get lost. Jaisalmer is another exotic destination for Indian and foreign tourists, as coming here is about getting close to the desert, with those rare and real cinematic changes of uninterrupted sand dunes. Camp here, take camel rides, sit by bonfires and enjoy local music and dance. Many of the buildings in this town have been made by stone carvers using similar sandstone as they bolster a rare image, ambience and an enigmatic feel! The Jaisalmer Fort is a delicate castle built on a miniature, a sandstone barricade ringing the hilltop. Yellow stone towers all around, often becoming golden, and stone-paved passages wind through massive, intricately positioned gates. Residents of the oldest living fort go about their business while musicians play haunting tunes on the ravanhatta and tribal women sell jewellery to tourists. Walk about in the narrow streets of the Fort and soak yourselves in its character! The Raj Mahal, the Jain Temples, the Patwon ki Haveli complex are all unique architectural splendours, made of sandstone and adorned with elaborate facades, with the most skilful stonework done on the exteriors, displaying immaculate glory! You could take camel safaris on the Sam Sand Dunes where you could get a picture-postcard image of camels silhouetted against a setting sun, engulfed by glistening sand, as you could also roll yourselves on those glorious white mounds of clean dry sand, on this Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package!
For shopping, The Cottage Industries Emporium and numerous State Government Emporia offer handicrafts, souvenirs, artefacts, clothes and jewellery unique to each Indian state at fixed prices. The Rajiv Gandhi Handicrafts Bhavan houses stores run by NGOs that sell clothes, paper products, cane furniture and pottery. The shopping arenas throughout Delhi are abuzz with high-end malls, both open-air and indoors, showcasing designer labels, chic clothes, footwear, watches, jewellery,music, flowers, toys, cosmetics, imported fruits and vegetables, curios, antique furniture and artefacts as well as abundant flea markets to help you economise on the pocket!
Agra is well-known for handicrafts, but the local markets are chaotic while the big shops are expensive. The pietra dura or marble inlay work seen on the Taj is still practiced by a dwindling number of craftspeople. Marble inlay on tables, boxes, knick-knacks, even sofas, are available for purchase. The city’s craftsmen are also famous for carpet weaving and there are good cotton durries too. Zardozi gold wire embroidery, usually on silk, is another speciality. There are plenty of handmade leather works such as bags, sandals, purses, shoes, belts, accessories, artefacts and curios in marble and sandstone, semi-precious stones with jewels, and wood and metal craft. There is Shilpgram with a collection of open- air stalls with mostly handcrafted items, high-quality emporia, outlets like CIE for marble inlay, carpets, metal work, Saga for heritage products with a contemporary touch and branded items, Kalakriti for marble and handicrafts, Jems Art, Sadar Bazaar, too has several emporium style shops and to brave a local experience, head to Pratap Pur or Kinari Bazaar for jewellery
Rajasthan is stretched with vast shopping locales, throughout its huge expanse, for an extensive range of merchandise, such as clothes, sarees, linen and fabric in that ethnic and traditional `bandhini’, tye and dye , in cotton, silk, chiffon and georgette, pottery, lacquer, curios in semi precious stones and ornated marble, paintings in `batik’ and varied art, crafted wooden furniture in vibrant colours and hand-painted craft. Jewellery in gold, diamond and polki diamond, showcasing the gold and silver `thewa’ and `naqashi’ range, in addition to silver trinkets and authentic gems, is abundant all around the region! The Rajasthani quilts and home furnishings in cotton, silk and brocade are equally popular!
The dignified and elegant Capital is associated with a varied gastronomic fare, be it the mouth-watering flavour of chaat, succulent kebabs, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, butter chicken or minced meat and shahi paneer! The place is a haven for foodies, offering an amazing mix of international and local cuisine. From age-old eateries in the bylanes of the walled city with restaurants and stalls clustered around Jama Masjid, Karim’s, an institution of lip-smacking dishes, Paranthewali Gali, offering a feast of mouth-teasing paranthas, to the glitzy, exclusive restaurants, malls and five star hotels ,serving a blend of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Continental, Mediterranean specialities, in addition to a whole range of sweet, patisserie and savoury delicacies, both Indian and International in some of the best pastry shops, sprawled through the entire stretch of the city. Night life is active and alive in pubs and discotheques located in all the premier and upscale areas, hotels and shopping malls, with DJ’s, rock bands, and foot-tapping music.
For foodies, In Agra, the Mughal’s buffet lunch is popular with the tourist groups, while Clarks Shiraz offers decent food. Dasaprakash on Gwalior Road, has idli-dosa-sambar combos and the famed Chiman near the Jama Masjid is known for its thalis. Capri in Hari Parbat serves good North Indian and Mughlai fare. For a decent variety, try Pinch of Spice at Wazirpura Road, favoured by backpackers.Take home angoori and kesar petha from Panchhi Petha in Sadar Bazaar and Hari Parbat or from Kedarnath Phool Chand Pethawala in Johri Bazaar. The bustling town does not discourage Indian or International tourists from trying the roadside eateries with some authentic and traditional food or even some Chinese or Continental fare!
Visiting the Jewel of the Desert known as Rajasthan the place would entice your culinary desires with the earthy rustic core dishes such as dal bhatti, bajra roti and kheer, along with delicious Indian vegetarian food in desi ghee and minimal oil for all tastes, including a varied range of blended International dishes, such as Chinese, Continental and Oriental, to invite tourist attraction!
Delhi has a moderate climate though with global warming the weather is slightly unpredictable! The summer months stretch out for a fairly long period, accompanied by low showers, and the monsoon season ranges anywhere between June to September, for a short or long duration. There are short but cold winters varying between November to February, when heavy or light woollens may be required. Advisable for a visit throughout the year keeping its expansive indoor and outdoor recreational and entertainment attractions in view, thereby devoid of even a single dull moment!
Agra has a climate which is rather hot during the summer months and fairly cold during the winter months. Rain showers are unpredictable, and may not occur as per their scheduled time of the year as light showers can occur every now and then, but encouraging enough for a visit any time of the year!
Rajasthan, being a desert region with hot days and cool nights, the summer is unbearingly hot but a `Eureka’ enough, though in winter the pleasant days are definitely tempting and even the nights, though cold, are enjoyable, for an escapade! Mount Abu is the only hill station in Rajasthan, which has a salubrious climate, resting at a phenomenal height above sea level! Recommended for a visit throughout the year!
Bowled over by this vivid spread of the glitzy cities and humbly grounded village folklore, it is certain that tourists would look forward to another return on this Extended Golden Triangle Holiday Package!