Delhi, Agra & Jaipur Holidays
Busy street life, tranquil havens and architectural splendours await those who take the classic introduction to this vast and varied country. The triangle comprising the three most-visited cities in India's north west, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, has been dubbed 'golden' for the extraordinary wealth of cultural and historical splendour found in each.
India's capital, Delhi, is usually the main point of arrival. Totally intoxicating, Delhi has been the seat of Hindu, Muslim and British empires and all of them have left their mark in the architecture, customs, food and people. Teeming bazaars, crumbling havelis and spellbinding mosques lie amongst the labyrinth of dusty alleys in Old Delhi. In contrast, New Delhi, created by the British Raj, has spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings.
Delhi's most famous monument, the Red Fort, stands as a powerful reminder of the Mughal emperors who ruled India, while another treasure of Old Delhi is the Jama Mosque, which dates back to 1650. Don't miss Chandni Chowk, the chaotic main street where cars, cycle rickshaws, hand-pulled carts, pedestrians and animals all compete for space. Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world, is an incredible example of early Indo-Islamic architecture, while the outstanding Humayun's Tomb, which was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal, is spectacular. The towering archway of India Gate looks particularly striking at night as it glows under floodlights and the gardens that line its boulevards are a popular place for an evening stroll.
South of Delhi is Agra, site of arguably the most famous vision of India – the Taj Mahal, the great monument to love built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife. Built entirely of pure white marble, with richly decorated walls and surrounded by beautiful gardens, it truly is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Despite the hype, it is a truly mesmerising sight and won't disappoint.
Agra boasts many other beautiful monuments, tombs and mausoleums as well as a lovely river setting and medieval-like maze of ancient bazaars. Ensure you make time to visit the 16th century Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which contains splendid palaces, mosques and reception rooms.
Completing the triangle is Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Known as the 'pink city' due to the brightly-painted buildings and walls of the old city, Jaipur is quite enthralling with lots to see. Top of the list is the Amber Fort and Palace, resembling something from a fairy tale it lies in the arid hill country surrounding the city overlooking Maota Lake and has a number of breathtaking palaces, halls, gardens and temples.
Within Jaipur itself the intricate Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) is perhaps the city's most recognised buildings. It's five floors contain rows of small windows and screens, and legend has it that the palace was built so that the ladies of the royal household could watch the streets below without being observed. The magnificent City Palace is a huge complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings blending Rajasthani and Mughal architecture, while next door is the fascinating Jantar Mantar Observatory. Other notable sights include the spectacular hilltop Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort (Tiger Fort), while shopping opportunities abound amongst the vibrant street bazaars, with popular items such as gemstones, silver jewellery, pottery and textiles.
- India’s most iconic cities
- Historic attractions
- UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Opulent palaces
- Massive forts
- Bustle and buzz of markets
- Unforgettable highlights