Golden Triangle India Itinerary - Taj Mahal

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE INDIA – ITINERARY & GUIDE

The Golden Triangle Itinerary in India, otherwise known as the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur circuit, is one of the most common travel routes in the country. If you only have a short time in India, it’s the perfect route to get a taste for what this wild country is all about.

This route is particularly popular among travellers visiting India for the first time. On the Golden Triangle Itinerary, you’ll get to experience some of the countries architectural wonders (I’m looking at you, Taj Mahal). And you’ll immerse in the rich and vibrant Indian culture.

We spent over One Month in India last year. And it has to be said that these three cities are some of the most challenging places to travel. They can be hectic, busy, and overwhelming; however, they are all significant in the Indian culture. And you’ll be rewarded with some of the most awe-inspiring sites in all of the country.

In this Golden Triangle Itinerary & Guide, we share all of the best places to see in each city, information of Golden Triangle Tours, as well as our top tips and recommendations. So let’s get to it.

The Golden Triangle India – Itinerary & Guide

*Before You Travel to India, have you got your travel insurance sorted?  Cover yourself for the unexpected, read why you really need travel insurance.

*Have you got your travel Visa sorted? Check if you need one here and retrieve a quote. It’s simple, fast and reliable.

*Don’t leave home without any backpacker essentials with our free printable packing list.

How Long to Spend on the Golden Triangle India Itinerary

Most Golden Triangle Itinerary Tours are for 4-5 days. And it is certainly possible to cover most of the highlights during that time.

That said, from our experience, we recommend taking it a little slower. This part of India is fast-paced, and we found that exploring was far more enjoyable when we didn’t have to rush.

All things considered, 1 week would be an ideal amount of time to complete the Golden Triangle Itinerary.

Golden Triangle India Itinerary - Taj Mahal

Golden Triangle India Itinerary – Highlights

For those who don’t have time to read through the entire itinerary, here are some of the highlights you can enjoy on the Golden Triangle Itinerary in India.

Delhi Highlights

  • Marvel at the striking Redstone architecture of Humayun’s Tomb
  • Go on a Street Food Tour of Old Delhi
  • Take a Walk to India Gate
  • Visit the majestic Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple

Agra Highlights

  • Watch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal
  • Take a trip out of town to Emperor Akbars mausoleum
  • Visit Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah – The baby Taj Mahal

Jaipur Highlights

Golden Triangle Itinerary India Route Map

Golden Triangle Itinerary

Delhi Itinerary

We Recommend: 2 Nights

Your Golden Triangle Itinerary will inevitably begin in the capital city of Delhi. Delhi Airport is one of the busiest in the country. And thousands of flights arrive here daily, from all over the world.

If it’s your first time in India, starting your journey in Delhi is a bit like diving headfirst into an empty swimming pool. I don’t want to scare you or anything, but hey, we are all about honesty over here.

The truth is, it’s mayhem. And we’d be lying if we said it was our favourite city in India because it certainly isn’t. That said, if you can see past the madness, there is a lot of interesting things to do in Delhi.

If you’re anything like us, you may want to escape Delhi as soon as possible. If that is the case, we recommend two days to cover the Delhi highlights.

Delhi Highlights

Here are some of the Delhi highlights that we recommend you do not miss during your Golden Triangle India Itinerary.

1. Humayan’s Tomb

Humayan’s Tomb is one of the most significant monuments on the Indian subcontinent. As well as resting place for the almighty Emperor Humayun, it inspired several other architectural innovations across the country. It is also famed for being the first garden-tomb in India.

Today, the grandeur monument is a Unesco World Heritage site. The tomb itself is remarkably impressive and well worthy of a visit during your time in Delhi.

Humayun’s Tomb
2. Dilli Haat Market

When it comes to shopping in India, Delhi is one of the best places in the country. Here you will find an abundance of markets where you can pick up an array of handicrafts and local goods. Trust me when I say it’s easy to get carried away buying souvenirs in India. Everything is so unique and beautifully made.

The most famous market in Delhi is Dilli Haat. This particular market was set up by the government as a platform for artisans to come and sell their wares. Akin to other markets in India, the att@ck on the senses is a show-stopping delight. Vibrant colours, tantalising smells, cultural performances – it’s a spectacle not to be missed.

3. Go on a Street Tour of Old Delhi

If you really want to immerse yourself in the Indian culture, eating street food is a great place to start. If you’re anxious about getting sick, your worries are warranted; however, there are steps you can take to avoid the dreaded Delhi belly.

Eating street food is by far the best and most affordable way to sample all of the tantalising flavours of Indian cuisine. And while you will find street food all over the city, Old Delhi is the street food capital! Work your way through all of the delicious street food on this list, and your tummy will be very happy. Well, hopefully!

4. Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple

For a spot of tranquillity in Delhi, we recommend a visit to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple. It’s not a popular attraction in the capital city. But we found it to be incredibly peaceful and soothing.

There is something quite humbling about Sikh Temples. You’ll find that often, they supply free meals to anybody who visits – regardless of your faith or background.

It might be the only time you’ll get to visit a Sikh Temple on this Golden Triangle Itinerary, so it’s worth factoring it in during your time in Delhi.

*Travel Tip – Delhi Tourism runs a Hop On Hop Off bus service, takes you on a tour of the sights of the city. You can find details on the official website here.

Places to Stay in Delhi

Hostel – Nomadia Hostel By Anara Homes & Villas  – Cosy and modern hostel in the heart of New Delhi.  Guests can expect comfortable dorm rooms, social area, and cooking facilities.

Budget Private – Artistic Homestay – A beautiful and artistic homestay in central New Delhi.  The private rooms are modest but have everything you need for a comfortable stay.

Mid-Range – The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa New Delhi – This hotel offers a touch of luxury in New Delhi, without the hefty price tag.  Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, and award-winning restaurants.

For more places to stay in Delhi, you can check the latest prices here.

Golden Triangle India Itinerary

Agra Itinerary

We Recommend: 1-2 Nights

The next stop on your Golden Triangle Itinerary is Agra. Again, this city is no walk in the park. But in comparison to Delhi, it feels like a breeze.

Of course, the highlight in Agra is undoubtedly the Taj Mahal. This man-made wonder of the world should be on everybody’s bucket list. And I think it’s fair to say, that the monument stands like a diamond in the rough amidst the run-down town of Agra.

That said, there are some other places worth visiting in Agra. And we would recommend spending 2-days exploring all of the highlights.

Agra Highlights

Here are some of the Agra highlights that we recommend you do not miss during your Golden Triangle India Itinerary.

1. The Taj Mahal

We highly anticipated our visit to the Taj Mahal. And to be quite honest with you, we were extremely anxious that it was going to be a letdown. Of course, we’d heard a thousand interpretations of just how beautiful it was. But we just weren’t sure what to expect.

Anyhow, our anxieties were unwarranted. It is impossible to put into words just how beautiful this seventh wonder of the world is. The one word that does spring to mind is Ethereal. As we watched the first ray of sunlight hit the marble dome, it almost looked like a mirage. It was overwhelming.

While we aren’t often advocates for sunrise missions, sunrise at the Taj Mahal is one exception. Be aware that the security here is quite tight, and several items are restricted. Check the website ahead of your visit for more information.

*Tip – The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

Golden Triangle India Itinerary - Taj Mahal
2. Agra Fort

Historically, before the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi, Agra fort was residence to big shot emperors. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And while not the most impressive monument you’ll visit during your time in India, it’s worthy of a visit all the same.

It doesn’t take long to explore the various halls and palaces inside the fort. The highlight is probably the views, and in one spot you can even glimpse the Taj Mahal.

Golden Triangle India Itinerary Agra Fort
3. Sikindra – Emperor Akbars Mausoleum

Sadly, we didn’t have time to visit this monument; although it is something we regret as it looks breathtaking. Located 10km outside of the city, it isn’t well known among tourists. And as a result, we only found out about it too late.

On the bright side, we can share this hidden gem with you instead. The monument serves as the final resting place of Emperor Akbar – A 15th Century Mughal emperor known for his policy of religious tolerance.

The extraordinary mausoleum is a reflection of this, incorporating a mix of Hindu, Islamic, Christian, Jain and Buddhist themes

4. Sunset at Mehtab Bagh

When we first heard about Mehtab Bagh, otherwise known as the Moonlight golden, we were told it was a secret viewpoint of the Taj Mahal. Naturally, we were intrigued, and we set off one evening at sunset.

It turns out that it isn’t so secret after all; however, it is still a pretty spectacular place. The gardens are pristine, and you can see the Taj Mahal in all its glory just across the river.

The sunset is up there with the most glorious we experienced in India. In all honesty, though, you could look at the Taj Mahal in the bleakest of conditions, and it would still be one of the most spectacular sites of your life.

Places to Stay in Agra

Hostel – Rhine Hostel – Located within walking distance of the Taj, this well-rated hostel boasts a garden, a bar and a shared lounge.

Budget Private – Hotel Four Apple – Centrally located, you can expect clean and stylish rooms at an unbeatable price.

Mid-Range – Grand Imperial Heritage Hotel – Boating a swimming pool, spa facilities, and incredible guestrooms, this heritage hotel is stunning and excellent value for money.

For more places to stay in Agra, you can check the latest prices here.

Jaipur Itinerary

We Recommend: 2-3 Nights

Your final stop, and our personal favourite, on this Golden Triangle Itinerary will be Jaipur. While the city is just as strenuous as it’s predecessors, it feels more like organised chaos here. And something about the city is strangely compelling.

Walking the streets of Jaipur is a spectacle in itself. Vehicles, humans, dogs, cows, monkeys, camels, and horses, all fight their way to claim a space in the bustling metropolis. It truly is an extraordinary place. And the energy is enthralling.

It is the architectural wonders of Jaipur, however, that are the real highlight of the city. World Heritage Sites are just as bountiful as the culture. And it is impossible not to be amazed by them. To cover all of the highlights, we recommend spending 2-3 nights in Jaipur.

Related Read:  2 Days in Jaipur – Itinerary & Guide

Jaipur Highlights

Here are some of the Jaipur highlights that we recommend you do not miss during your Golden Triangle India Itinerary.

1. Amer Fort and the Amber Palace

A world heritage site, the opulent Amber Palace, is the epitome of Rajasthani architecture. Once residence to Rajput Maharajas, no holds were barred in its extravagance.

The striking sandstone and marble structure of the palace is breathtaking. And sure to captivate anybody who lays their eyes on it. It is without a doubt one of the highlights in Jaipur.

That said, we also love the fort on which the palace resides. Amer Fort not only provides awe-inspiring views over the city. But also a sense of peace and tranquillity, that can often be hard to find in India.

Read Full Blog Post: Amer Fort & Amber Palace – A Reliable 2019 Guide

AMER FORT JAIPUR
2. Sunset at Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh, meaning tiger, once formed part of the defence wall around the cities old town.  The fort is located way up in the hills, boasting a breathtaking view over the city.

We witnessed some of the best sunsets of our lives in India. And sunset at Nahargarh Fort is up there as one of the most memorable. One of the only advantages of the pollution in Jaipur is that it makes for a pretty awesome sunset.  The sun appeared hazy and ethereal as it set over the horizon, transforming the sky into dusky shades of orange and pink.

Read Full Blog Post: Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur – A 2019 Guide

NAHARGARH FORT JAIPUR
3. Architectural Wonders in the Pink City

I don’t think I yet mentioned that Jaipur is famed as being the ‘Pink City’. Either way, it is because of the trademark terracotta architecture that prevails throughout the old city complex. Even today, any new developments in this part of the city are required by law to adhere to the colour.

Anyway, there is an abundance of architectural masterpieces to discovered around the Pink City. First, you have the likes of the grandeur Jaipur City Palace and extraordinary Hawa Mahal. But equally impressive is the modest layout of the bazaars.

The Pink City is a playground. And there are a ton of interesting places to be discovered. We recommend going on a walking adventure to see what delights you can find.

Read Full Blog Post:  An Honest Review of Jaipur City Palace

HAWA MAHAL JAIPUR
4. Galta Ji – The Monkey Temple

Out of all the temples we visited in India, Galta Ji, aka Monkey Temple, is up there with our favourites. As well as a place of worship for Hindu devotees, it is home to thousands of cheeky rhesus macaques.

Although the monkeys are a key attraction at this temple, what we loved most was the location. Built amidst a mountain pass, natural springs from the mountain replenish the temples 7 holy baths.  It is just how we imagined an ancient pilgrimage to be – mysterious and empowering.

While many visitors like to get to the temple early to avoid the crowds, we personally enjoyed witnessing the spiritual ceremonies unfold later on in the day.

Read Full Blog Post: Monkey Temple Jaipur – A 2019 Guide

MONKEY TEMPLE JAIPUR

Places to Stay in Jaipur

Hostel – Hostel Lumb’s Nest – For affordable, clean & comfortable dorms or private rooms, we can personally recommend Hostel Lumbs Nest. They are located outside of the city, which may not be convenient if you are only in Jaipur for a short time;  however, for longer stays it’s perfect to escape the hustle and bustle.

Budget Private – Blue King – If you are on a budget and wish to be a bit closer to the city attractions, perhaps Blue King would be more suitable.  Located in the heart of the Pink City you can enjoy the view from the hotel rooftop.

Luxury – Umaid Bhawan – If you are looking to spend a bit more on accommodation, Umaid Bhawan is a touch of luxury in the city.  The heritage style hotel boasts a swimming pool and rooftop restaurant.

For more places to stay in Jaipur, you can check the latest prices.

The Best Time for Golden Triangle India Itinerary

The best time to visit the Golden Triangle is during February and March, or October and November. This is when temperatures will be at their most tolerable; however, you can expect crowds at popular sites.

April-June is unbearably hot. And July-September is monsoon season. Both of these periods should be avoided. December to February is when temperatures are at their coolest, but visibility is often poor during this time.

Golden Triangle India Tours

While we explored the Golden Triangle in India independently, it is possible to book an organised tour.

By booking a Golden Triangle India Tour, you remove any of the planning hassles. Such as accommodation, transport, where to eat, planning your schedule, and all that jazz.

Many companies are organising such tours, and the prices vary depending on how comfortable you want to be. We recommend reading the reviews of Golden Triangle India Tours, and choosing which one is most appropriate for you.

Although we must point out, it is far cheaper, and arguably more adventurous, to complete the itinerary independently.

JAIPUR NAHARGARH TIGER FORT-3
Sunset at Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Extensions to your Golden Triangle Itinerary India Route

If you plan to stay on in India after you’ve completed the Golden Triangle Itinerary, that’s awesome. There are so many more amazing places to be discovered in India. And we could talk all day about all the wild adventures that are possible.

For those of you with limited time, we recommend exploring more of the exuberant Rajasthan state. Some of our favourite cities include opulent Udaipur and the golden city of Jaisalmer. Otherwise, you could go East to Varanasi – considered the holiest city in all of India.

If you have a lengthy amount of time in India, we recommend checking out our 1-month itineraries for India. Here, you will find a ton of our favourite places to visit all over the country. Hampi, Mysore, and Goa, to name a few.

Getting Around in India

AIR – You can catch domestic flights to almost anywhere in India; however, this is the most expensive way to travel. For the real backpacking India experience, you need to slum it on a bus or a train once in a while.

BUS – We found that travelling by bus was the easiest way to get around India. We could book our tickets last minute and travel to pretty much anywhere in the country.

To check routes, timetables and ticket prices we recommend using Redbus. In our experience, they are extremely reliable. They are one of the few companies who will accept payment with an International card, and they are contactable by phone should you have any issues with your journey.

TRAIN – The train network in India is tricky. And as a result, we personally never used it. It is advised to book at least 3 days in advance and even then you aren’t always guaranteed a ticket.

For this reason, we always used the bus network in India. You can book trains up to 6 months in advance using 12go Asia and you can read this guide to train travel in India for more information.

Golden Triangle India Itinerary Mini Taj
Mini Taj in Agra

What to Pack for India

Unsure of what you might need to pack for your adventures in India? Don’t worry, we have got you covered.  Check out our backpacker essentials, for a packing list of items that we carry with us on every adventure.

Travel Responsibly

As travellers, it should always be a top priority to travel responsibly.  We already leave a substantial carbon footprint just by flying to our travel destinations, so that’s even more reason to make a positive impact when we get there.  There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller, and we highly encourage you to educate yourself before travelling to India. Here are some things you can do to minimise your footprint:

1. Do not leave any rubbish on the ground: You will see a lot of rubbish on the ground in India, but that doesn’t make it ok to add to it.  Bin your trash!

2. Limit your single-use plastic consumption:  This is tough in India as we wouldn’t recommend drinking tap water even if it has been treated/sterilised.  However, you can say no to straws and plastic bags. Take a reusable bag with you everywhere.

3. Respect the local culture: Be courteous of the local culture and act in such a way that leaves a good impression.  Learn a little of the local language (hello and thank you is the minimum), greet the locals in a polite manner, and respect dress codes & traditions. We recommend carrying a Sarong with you to cover up where needed.

More on Rajasthan

Are you planning a trip to Rajasthan?  Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.

Did you enjoy our Golden Triangle India Itinerary?

Well, that concludes Golden Triangle India Itinerary.  We hope you enjoy your time in this magical country. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here where we share further travel advice & inspiration.

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Charlotte & Natalie x

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through these links, we will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. And we can continue bringing you free travel tips and advice. If you found the content helpful and are kind enough to use our affiliates – you are awesome, and we thank you! 

MORE ON INDIA

TOP 15 INSTAGRAM SPOTS OF INDIA

AN ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIPPIE ISLAND IN HAMPI

THE ULTIMATE HAMPI ITINERARY & TRAVEL GUIDE

17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN THE SOUTH OF MUMBAI

TOP 5 BEACHES IN SOUTH GOA, INDIA

PIN IT FOR LATER

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE INDIA – ITINERARY & GUIDE

Sharing is caring ♥

Related Posts

27 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Charlotte & Natalie

Hi There!

We’re Charlotte & Natalie, a British lesbian couple with a passion for travel and adventure.
Here you will find everything from LGBTQ+ travel & lifestyle advice, to comprehensive guides and itineraries designed to make your travel planning easier.
We want to inspire you to live the life of your dreams.

subscribe

💌 Get discounts & updates in our monthly newsletter

Find Hotels
Via Booking.com

Book Tours & Activities
Via GetYourGuide

Get Travel Insurance
Via Heymondo