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Ultimate Golden Triangle Itinerary: Visit India’s Top Cities

Planning a trip to India? India is a vibrant country with a rich history that spans centuries of traditions, cultures, and economic evolution. The Golden Triangle of India is one of the famous tourist circuits in Northern India. The trip offers a perfect introduction to India’s rich history, culture, and customs, especially for first-time visitors.

The Golden Triangle will take you across the most visited cities of India – Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The route earned the name Golden Triangle because the three cities cover the country’s most majestic sights and form a triangle on the map.

These three destinations boast a variety of palaces, mosques, and markets that offer a glimpse into the storied history of India. Each leg of the triangle is 200 km (124 miles) apart and takes 4 to 6 hours by road.

If India is on your bucket list of places to see, the Golden Triangle is well worth your time. Here’s your guide to India’s Golden Triangle that covers everything you need to see and do in these three major cities.

This post will help you plan a perfect Golden Triangle tour that will leave you surprised and mesmerized with pleasant memories for a lifetime.

The Ultimate Golden Triangle Itinerary in India

As mentioned above, India’s Golden Triangle comprises three major cities. Let’s jump into the post to discover the best things to do in each one.

Stop 1: Delhi

Delhi India Gate

Delhi is the capital city of India and has an international airport with flights to almost every country in the world. If you are flying to India from abroad, this is the best place to start your trip

Delhi is known for its numerous historical landmarks, tourist attractions, and impressive range of structures. Since the city has a population of over 19 million, you can expect a big crowd. 

Your best option to get around Delhi is Uber or an auto-rickshaw. Make sure to book a hotel in the center of the city to ensure easy access to all the major tourist spots.

If you want to avoid the hassle of traveling from one place to another, consider taking an 8-hour guided tour of Old and New Delhi. Here are the best places to see in the city:

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

The Red Fort is undoubtedly one of Delhi’s most famous attractions. Once home to the Mughal royal family, this historic fort has been converted into a historical site. 

Also called Lal Qalʿah (Lal Kila or Lal Qila), Red Fort is in Old Delhi. Spread over 255 acres, the attraction earned its name from its massive surrounding walls made of red sandstone. 

Enclosed by two gates, the Delhi Gate and the Lahore Gate, this monument overlooks the Yamuna River. Today, this historic fort is home to various museums with a vast collection of precious artifacts on display.

Make sure to get a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site to learn about the royal family that resided here and the significance of the fort in wars.

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The India Gate

India Gate Architecture

India Gate is a war memorial which stands at one end of Rajpath. This iconic monument is a tribute to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives during World War I.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, this 137-foot tall structure features a large arc and 13,313 engraved names of martyrs, including officers, soldiers, and servicemen. This major tourist attraction welcomes countless visitors every day, locals and foreigners.

The best time to visit this ever-happening monument is between 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm. The structure is well-lit at this time, and you can find several street vendors around. Considering the central location of this iconic gate, expect some big crowds.

The Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar and Skyline

Built by the Mughal Empire, the Qutb Minar is a victory tower in the Mehrauli region of South Delhi. Also spelled Qutab Minar and Qutub Minar, this is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the city. 

Constructed between 1199 and 1220, this 240-foot tall structure was built after the defeat of the last Hindu ruler to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi. Its height makes it one of the tallest minarets in India made of bricks. 

Qutb Minar is a five-story structure, with each level marked by a projecting balcony. The first three levels are constructed with red sandstone and the fourth and fifth with marble and sandstone. 

While the attraction is mostly a ruin, it is still worth a visit. The attraction features several pillars and walls decorated with intricate patterns and carvings. You can take a full-day tour to combine this site with other areas of interest in Delhi.

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Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid Architecture

Another famous attraction located just a short walk from the Red Fort is the Jama Masjid. A majestic example of Mughal architecture, this structure was built in the 1650s by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan.

As one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid, can hold 25,000 devotees in the interior and courtyard. The mosque is open every day from sunrise to sunset except during prayer hours.

Though there is no entry fee to visit the attraction, those who want to click photos need to pay 300 INR (~$3.50) as the ticket price for photography. Make sure to wear an outfit that covers the shoulders and legs when visiting this holy site. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed in.

Also called Masjid-i Jahan-Numa, this stunning mosque made of red and white stone is one of Delhi’s biggest architectural wonders.

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk Busy Street

Delhi is India’s popular shopping destination, so don’t skip exploring the city’s many markets during your trip here. The most famous market in Delhi is Chandni Chowk. It includes many smaller markets that sell a variety of spices, artifacts, and clothing.

The market was built in the 17th century and attracted traders from all over the world. Home to more than 1,500 shops, you will find anything and everything, including clothes, artifacts, decorative items, spices, and street food in this market. 

While the experience can be overwhelming, Chandni Chowk offers a glimpse into Delhi’s vibrant culture. To make the most of your visit, you can take a tour of nearby markets and temples in Old Delhi. The tour guide can help you make the most of your time in the city.

Best Places to Stay in Delhi

Delhi is a city with diverse culture. Old Delhi can take you back to history. At the same time, you will get a taste of the modern era in New Delhi.

Celebrate the beauty of the historic capital of India with the best accommodations. The city is home to some of the best hotels in the area

You can book any place as per your budget and convenience. Some of the best options are Hotel D’CapitolHotel Vanson DeliteHotel The IVY Grand, and Hotel Smart Palace

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Stop 2: Agra

Agra India

Agra is the next stop on the tour of India’s Golden Triangle. A 1 to 2-day stopover in the city would be ideal for exploring its famous attractions.

You can take the Express Train from Delhi to Agra. Here are some of the top attractions you need to cover in this gorgeous city.

The Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Scenery

The city of Agra may not be well-known for many things, but it is home to the iconic Taj Mahal. The structure is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a must-see attraction on a trip to India.

The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, as a resting place for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This white-marble architecture features intricate calligraphy on its pillars, and is an ideal blend of Mughal and Persian construction styles.

The Agra Fort

Considering Agra’s high pollution levels, the Taj Mahal has undergone some preservation work to prevent deterioration. The best time to visit this wondrous construction is during sunrise and sunset to catch the beauty of the mausoleum in the light. 

You can also view the structure on a boat cruise on the Yamuna River. Since the Taj Mahal is a bucket list destination, make sure you get there early for some great pictures.

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Agra Fort

Agra Fort

If you have some spare time during your stay in Agra, consider checking out the Agra Fort. Also known as Qila-i-Akbari, Fort Rouge, or Lal-Qila, this historic fort was constructed between 1565 to 1573 by Mughal Emperor Akbar. This is the place where Aurangzeb imprisoned his father, Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal), for eight years until his death. 

This historical fort houses a maze of buildings, including underground sections. This UNESCO World Heritage site features Mughal-style architecture and was constructed using red sandstone and marble. 

The Agra Fort is home to many buildings, and you can spend hours walking the grounds and marveling at the architecture. The Anguri Bagh, made of white marble, is one of the most famous structures on the Agra Fort premises. You can even take a combined tour of the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri Architecture

Founded by a Mughal Emperor, Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar, in the 16th century, Fatehpur Sikri is a small city in northern India. Located west of Agra, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Constructed using red sandstone, this palace city sits on a rocky ridge 0.62 miles wide and 1.9 miles long. It is surrounded by a 3.7 miles long wall on three sides, with the fourth side bordering a lake.

The city houses several monuments, palaces, public buildings, mosques, and other ancient structures. Fatehpur Sikri was the first planned town in Indo-Islamic style, making it one of the prime tourist sites in Agra. If you’re interested in Indian history and fascinated by Mughal architecture, do not skip a visit to this historic site.

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Best Places to Stay in Agra

No matter which part of the city you are in, you need to have a list of the right places to stay in Agra to ensure a relaxing and comfortable experience. From high-end luxury hotels to resorts to rental houses to budget-friendly hotels, the city offers all types of accommodations

Some of the best hotels in the city are Aman HomestayEkaa Villa & KitchenHotel Marine HouseTaj HotelDoubleTree by Hilton Agra, and ITC Mughal. Browse all available options and book any accommodation as per your preference. Explore the city’s top attractions during the day and spend your nights at a place of your choice. 

Stop 3: Jaipur

Hawa Mahal

The third stop on the Golden Triangle tour is Jaipur. The Pink City of Jaipur is easily one of India’s most picturesque destinations. The city has a population of four million and earned its name for its stunning pink architecture. 

Immersed in rich culture, Jaipur houses various palaces and forts, each with its own storied history. The city is around 167 miles from Delhi and 147 miles from Agra. You can travel via bus, train, or plane to Jaipur.

City Palace

City Palace Architecture

One of the most important monuments in Rajasthan’s history is the City Palace. Built between 1729 to 1732, the palace has been home to many royal families for centuries. It is still a residence of the last ruling royal family, which lives in a private section of this complex.

The City Palace showcases Rajasthani architecture with vibrant colors and intricate patterns. The complex features various buildings, galleries, and offices of the Museum Trust.

Apart from stunning structures, City Palace has various gardens and courtyards that add to its beauty. The most visited sections of this complex are the City Palace Museum, Mubarak Mahal, and Chandra Mahal. Almost every corner of this attraction is picture-worthy.

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Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal Architecture

The Hawa Mahal is one of the most photographed locations in Jaipur. This magnificent structure is made of pink and red sandstones and sits in the city center and is hard to miss. It is considered the world’s tallest structure without a foundation.

Also called the Palace of Breeze, the Hawa Mahal was constructed in 1799 as an extension to Jaipur’s Royal City Palace. It’s a five-story building with 953 small jharokhas or windows. Each window features intricate latticework. 

It is a combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture depicting the dominance of both empires in the city. For insta-worthy pictures, head to the Tattoo café, a rooftop café opposite the Hawa Mahal. You can even take a combined tour of City Palace and Hawa Mahal.

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal Architecture

The Jal Mahal, the Water Palace, is in the center of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur. The palace grounds spans 300 acres and is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Aravali Hills.

This palace is an architectural demonstration of the rich Rajput-style construction on a grand scale. Sitting on a water body, the Jal Mahal gives an illusion of floating over the lake at first look. This is when this attraction takes your breath away.

Amber Fort and Palace

Amber Fort

Located in the village of Amer, the Amber Fort or Palace is one of Jaipur’s must-see attractions. The palace is built with red sandstone and marble, keeping with the Pink City’s colorful architecture.

The fort comprises four main sections, each with its own gate and courtyard. Known for its artistic style elements, this structure overlooks Maota Lake, the primary water source for the Amer Fort.

The Jas Mandir, the Shila Mata Temple, and Sheesh Mahal are some of the highlights of the Amber Fort. Considering the expanse of this place, you should take a tour to cover all the major tourist attractions while learning about its history.

You can even take an elephant ride during your visit to Amer, either at the fort or at one of the surrounding elephant villages.

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Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park Fort

Located near Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan, Ranthambore National Park is a vast wildlife reserve in Northern India. This national park is home to leopards, tigers, and marsh crocodiles.

A visit to this national park during the Golden Triangle tour is a perfect mix of wildlife adventure and rich culture. You can take a Gypsy Tiger Safari in Ranthambore on a six-seater vehicle to go through the thick forest and enjoy the wildlife. The Canter Safari is held in a 20-seater bus and takes guests through some amazing safari zones. 

Filled with heritage sites, steeped history, rich culture, and stories from the Ranthambore forests, this tour will leave you spellbound. 

Best Places to Stay in Jaipur

Regardless of your budget, Jaipur is home to some of the best resorts, palaces, hotels, villas, and other options. Book your stay in any accommodation that suits your needs and budget, and be ready to experience genuine Rajasthani hospitality. 

Though you will come across a vast list of options, some of the best accommodations in Jaipur are Jaipur Hotel NewMahal KhandelaMukamHilton JaipurHotel Diggi Palace JaipurTrident JaipurJaipur Marriott Hotel, and Umaid Bhawan.

This list of hotels across the city fits every budget and need. You can book your stay online in any of these places based on your priorities if you’re visiting Jaipur.

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Tips for Visiting the Golden Triangle India

Since the Golden Triangle of India includes various sites, it can be overwhelming for most travelers to cover all of them without getting tired. Here are some tips that can help you plan a wonderful trip to Golden Triangle India:

1. Take a Guided Tour

If you want to make the best of each place on the route, I recommend you take a guided tour. There are several Golden Triangle tours that cover the best sites in all these three cities: Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Guided tours are the best way to introduce you to a vast spectrum of India’s colors, expressions, and moods.

2. Decide Trip Length

Decide how many days you have to explore these Golden Triangle cities. The trip length may vary from person to person. However, you can find 3-Day, 4-Day, 5-Day, 6-Day, or 7-day Golden Triangle luxury tours.

Those looking to explore all the major landmarks in these three cities along with their history and local culture must go for a 6-day tour.

Also, if you want an in-depth experience, a Golden Triangle itinerary of 7 days is the best option. This tour will allow you to discover India Golden Triangle and its rich cultural heritage without compromising comfort. 

3. Carry Local Currency

The local currency is Indian Rupee. 1 USD is equal to 81 INR (not fixed, it keeps fluctuating). Make sure to carry cash with you, as some shops still don’t accept cards or online payments. 

4. Keep Modest Clothes

Another important thing you must keep in mind is your attire. You will come across several sites on this India Golden Triangle trip that lean towards the conservative side. That means you should wear modest clothes covering your knees and shoulders, especially while exploring holy sites. Remember to keep such clothes in your backpack or rent some from nearby rental shops. 

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5. Buy a SIM Card

If you want, you can buy a local SIM card. Provide a copy of your proof of identification to get one SIM card at the airport. 

Plan Your India’s Golden Triangle Trip

India is a massive country with a rich history and vibrant culture. A tour of the Golden Triangle India is one of the best ways to get a glimpse of major attractions in North India. All these sites dot the three Golden Triangle cities on the map.

From the iconic Taj Mahal to City Palace and the Amber Fort, a trip to this culturally-rich country is nothing short of exciting. The best time to take a tour of the Golden Triangle of India is between October and March.

There are several Golden Triangle tour packages that make sure to provide Golden Triangle tour travelers with an overwhelming experience throughout the trip. Explore all options to find the right tour package for you.

Plan your trip wisely to explore the historical and cultural heritage of each attraction and enjoy your time to the fullest. Get ready for an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

FAQs

Why is the Golden Triangle called the Golden Triangle of India?

India’s Golden Triangle is one of the famous tourist circuits in India that interlinks New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. The name is given because of the triangular shape these three cities form on the Indian map.

Is the Golden Triangle India worth visiting?

Undoubtedly YES. The Golden Triangle is the most sought-after tourism circuit in India. Featuring a vast range of breathtaking attractions, this route provides visitors with an experience of a lifetime.

Being a first-time traveler to India, it might be daunting for you to cover all the major attractions on the circuit. The best option is to find the right Golden Triangle tour package.

How many days are enough for the Golden Triangle India tour?

Well, the Golden Triangle trip length varies from person to person. Most people prefer spending between three and seven days to cover three Golden Triangle cities.

But, if you want to take a dip into the history and culture related to all the major attractions on the route, we recommend you plan a trip of at least six days. This way, you will have enough time to explore all three cities without feeling overburdened and tired.

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