Golden Triangle, India

Delhi, Agra, the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore and Jaipur were all on the schedule for an eye-opening tour of the Golden Triangle in India…

After four weeks in Goa, I took a flight to Delhi to start a week-long tour of the Golden Triangle. I was travelling with two friends (who are also my yoga students) and we booked the trip through Adventure Holiday Tours India.

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We took the tour in February and this time of year is perfect because it is dry but not too hot. A similar temperature to a British summer so perfect for sightseeing. Temperatures in Goa, in the south of India had been around 36 degrees C in the middle of the day so it was appreciated having cooler temperatures for sightseeing!

Before the trip
We had left everything up to Adventure Holiday Tours India to arrange. The only specification we had was that we wanted to see the Taj Mahal and we were happy for them to structure our trip to make sure we saw the main points of interest in the Golden Triangle and to make the best use of time as we only had a week before we needed to go back to our jobs in the UK.
Adventure Holiday Tours India came back with a suggested itinerary and once we were happy they went ahead to book the accommodation and bookings for the attractions.
In hindsight, I think we should have perhaps researched the suggestions a bit better ourselves to check the travel time between each of the places on the schedule and we could have also asked for the details of the hotels to check that we were happy with the bookings. We didn’t do any of this, mainly because we had trust that the company would be planning sensible options based on our requirements and we are also very busy people and that was partly why the idea of someone else arranging everything really appealed. The downside was that there was a lot more travel between destinations than we expected.
The communication with the company before the trip was excellent, they were also quick to respond and it was great that they were able to arrange everything. It was an easy, hassle free way to book a trip like this, especially to a country you are not familiar with and where the culture is very different.

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New Delhi (Day 1 & 2)
Adventure Holiday Tours were at the airport to meet up when we arrived in Delhi in the evening. We had paid a deposit when we booked the trip and after settling the final payment at their offices we went out for dinner with the tour guide. We were taken to a great restaurant in New Delhi which we would never have found on our own and it was a great start to the trip. Once we were settled in at the hotel, we were getting excited about tomorrow’s itinerary and seeing more of Delhi by day.

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We were collected by the driver after the breakfast and had a visit to Laxmi Narayan Temple. It was great to have a guide who could explain the history, traditions and the rituals as well as how it relates to the current culture and education in India now. After studying yoga philosophy as part of my yoga teacher training during the previous month, it was interesting to make the connections with what I had learnt.

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We explored the hustle and bustle of New Delhi before a lunch stop at a local restaurant.

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Old Delhi (Day 2)
In the afternoon we travelled to the other side of Delhi, to the old part of the city and what a contrast! Even after spending a few months in India previously and having just spent a month here already, I was still shocked by the way of life, the busy streets and the way things work in India! Cars everywhere, people everywhere, animals all over the place and basically just chaos! In a place that should be stressful, everyone is relaxed, merry and just get on with things. It can be quite upsetting to see the poverty but no matter how little people have they seem happy. It really makes you think about what you have to be grateful for and that you should be more thankful for what you have.

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Agra (Day 2 & 3)
When I first visited India two years ago I stayed high up in the North, near the Himalayas. I was there for a month to complete my first yoga teacher training and had to return straight back to my job in the UK after the end of the course. After having enjoyed India more than I expected, I felt sad that I had only seen such a small part of it. The Taj Mahal was something I was particularly disappointed to have missed out on. I made a promise to myself that I would return one day and visit. The Taj Mahal was therefore a big reason why I had decided to take this tour of the Golden Triangle. I was so excited!

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We travelled from Delhi to Agra for a few hours in the afternoon so that we arrived by evening to check into the hotel, have an evening meal there and an early night. Our guide for Agra would be picking us up early the next day so we could experience the Taj Mahal at sunrise