On 18th January 2020 I took a flight from Prague to New Delhi (with a stopover in Doha). I had one week to see some places in India. It was just enough to visit the India’s Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Since it was four of us travelling, we decided to rent a car and it was the best decision that we could have made!
India’s Golden Triangle Road Trip
I arrived in New Delhi in the morning, Chandan picked me up at the airport and we went to the hostel where I met his friend Sagar. First I took a rest for a while in the room since I didn’t sleep much during the flights. Then we went to have lunch and after that we took a tuktuk in order to visit the Red Fort.
The Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi (in Old Delhi) that served as a main residence of Mughal Emperors. It is a huge complex of palaces, gardens, halls, monuments and mosque which was constructed between 1639 – 1648. The entrance fee was 550 INR (around 6€).
In front of the Red Fort there were many Indians and I finally found out how it feels when everyone stares at you and sometimes even asks you for a photo. Anyway, during my stay in India I kind of got used to it. I understood that they are not used to seeing a blond girl every day!
In the late afternoon we took an Uber and metro to India gate. The place was all closed because of the upcoming Republic Day. We could still get to see the India gate with its lights in the colours of the Indian flag. We walked around and then we went for a dinner and to take some rest. At night we had to go to the airport to pick up my friend Yara so we didn’t get much sleep.
After having breakfast, we took the rental car and started driving to Agra. We were driving for many hours but the time was passing quite fast because we were either sleeping or talking and listening to the music. We arrived in Agra in the evening and we were very hungry. In the hostel where we were staying, we ordered food and ate it on its terrace with the Taj Mahal view. The rest of the evening we were just relaxing and looking forward to visiting Taj Mahal.
We got up early in the morning, had breakfast and then went to visit the Taj Mahal. It was quite cold and foggy so at first we could not see much. Later on the fog disappeared and we could admire its beauty. We took many photos and videos. The Taj Mahal is monumental and breathtaking, it’s a must-see in India. I really enjoyed its visit. The only ugly thing I would point out is Agra. It’s a very dirty town which seems like it is falling apart. It does not match the atmosphere of Taj Mahal at all. I think it’s a shame that they don’t try to preserve it since they receive many tourists all the time.
Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658) to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It was also declared as one of the seven new wonders of the world. The entrance fee for foreigners is 1300 INR (around 15€).
After visiting Taj Mahal we took the car and drove to the pink city of Jaipur. We got there in the evening, we dropped the luggages and went out for dinner. We found a nice food corner in the park just behing the Albert Hall. They had food from different parts of India so we could literally try anything!
On the first whole day in Jaipur we visited three forts – Amer fort, Jaigarh fort and Nahargarh fort. For the first one we hired a tour guide who explained us the history of the fort very well. The other two forts we just visited by ourselves.
The huge Amer Palace Fort sits atop a small hill, and is located at a distance about 11 km from the main city. The magnificent Amer Fort is an extensive palace complex that has been built with pale yellow and pink sandstone, and with white marble. It is an old fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. The entrance fee is 500 INR (around 6€).
Jaigarh Fort is made-up of sandstones and is spread over an area of 3 km. Made with the purpose of protecting Amer Fort, Jaigarh fort is considered as the strongest monument of Jaipur. Jaigarh fort was built in 1726 by Sawan Jai Singh II. The entrance fee is 200 INR (around 2€).
Last of the forts, Nahargarh fort was built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the king of Jaipur. Along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh once formed a strong defense ring for the city. The entrance fee is 200 INR (around 2€).
The second day in Jaipur was way more relaxing than the first one. In the morning we were just sitting on the huge terrace where we stayed and we were enjoying the sunny weather. Later on we drove to the Water Palace (Jal Mahal), we had lunch there and then we walked around. After that we went to the city centre because we wanted to check some shops, on the way we also stopped to see the palace Hawa Mahal.
Jal Mahal is a palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II. of Amber.
Hawa Mahal is a palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It was made from red and pink sandstone. This palace is a five-story pyramidal shaped monument that rises to about 15 metres.
In Jaipur we had the best accommodation! The old couple that owns the house is just so nice, welcoming and helpful. They take care of the place and they really make you feel like home. They give you homemade breakfast with anything you want. If you ever go there, make sure you book Doongri Haveli Homestay and you will not regret it!
Before leaving, we took a photo with them. Then we just got into the car and drove back to New Delhi.
Last day that we were all together. The boys decided that we could visit the Akshardham temple. Before we entered the complex, we had to leave all of our personal belongings (backpacks, handbags, cameras, phones etc.) and we had to pass through security check. In the Akshardham complex it is completely forbidden to take any photos or videos. They took all these precautions because of the attack that happened there in 2002.
We were a bit sad we could not take any photos but on the other hand we could fully enjoy the atmosphere of the place. It was not that bad to completely disconnect from the world and just admire beauty of such a stunning Hindu temple complex. When entering the temple, we also had to leave our shoes so walking barefoot we connected even more with the place.
Akshardham temple, also known as Swaminarayan Akshardham, is a magnificient temple complex situated in Delhi that represents the rich and age-old Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality and architecture. Construction on the temple began on 8 November 2000 and Akshardham was officially opened on 6 November 2005. There is no entrance fee to the complex.
India’s Golden Triangle Road Trip is over
One week of our road trip passed very fast. Nevertheless, we had an amazing time together, we got impressed by so many beautiful places and we tried different types of Indian food. We got to know what “real India” is, its atmosphere surrounded us all the time. The India’s Golden Triangle includes three cities that are must-see when you are in India. Delhi shows you the Indian city life, Taj Mahal’s visit in Agra is kind of obligatory when you’re in India and Jaipur is more relaxing place where you can admire its palaces. Anyway, I recommend to visit these three cities if you ever come to India, they are totally worth seeing!