Our India travel guide is an explosion of colour. The Golden Triangle glistens with culture, Rajasthan has pink and blue cities that sparkle with history, Keralaís luscious green Ghat Mountains invite hikers into their folds and the white, snow capped tips of Ladakhís ĎHigh Passesí are shining examples of trekking at its best. Whether you are seeking culture or nature in India, be prepared for pretty palettes everywhere.
THINGS TO DO IN THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Heritage is like honeycomb
Think of the Golden Triangle as a piece of Toblerone, solid and sublime, packed with legendary flavours. Cultural heritage is, of course, the honeycomb here, as you travel through periods of princes and palaces, Mughals and Maharajahs, each trying to outdo the other in terms of architecture, fortitude and craftsmanship. Thankfully, many of the great sites are in the safe hands of UNESCO for all to enjoy. Travel through not only great cities but also through time, seeing influences from the Mughal Empire, the Rajput royals and the British Empire. Cultural influences are everywhere, from the Chandni Chowk market in New Delhi to the Johari Bazaar in Jaipur, homestays in rural Rajasthan to heritage hotels overlooking the Taj Mahal.
If your holiday coincides with one of Indiaís famous festivals then your cultural experience will go off the scale. So will the crowds, but you just have to go with the flow. In fact, that is one of the big secrets of being able to truly immerse yourself in Indian culture in the Golden Triangle: look past the dust and the noise, crowds and cacophonies, and enter the otherworldliness of it all. In a world that is still deeply informed by religion, politics and heritage, you will be buzzing around that honeycomb.
Nothing banal about buildings
Architecture is high on the list for anyone visiting the Golden Triangle. Mughal marvels include the world famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort in Agra, the Red Fort and Humayunís Tomb in Delhi and the impressive Buland Darwaza gateway at Fatehpur Sikri. The Mughals certainly liked their masterpieces to mark their presence. In Rajasthan, you enter the regal world of Rajputana architecture, famous for splendid interiors and intricate details. The Amber Palace in Jaipur with its geometric and detailed ethnic influences is one of the finest. The blue and golden interiors of Jaipurís City Palace are exquisite as are the marble columns and geometric windows of Hawa Mahal Palace.
Colonial architecture has a somewhat different feel to it in the Golden Triangle at sites such as Delhiís Sansad Bhavan, Connaught Place, India Gate, and Rashtrapati Bhavan. The latter is the Presidentís residence, but was built for the British Viceroy in 1911, when the capital was moved from then Calcutta to Delhi.
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It is such a relief to travel in a country where they donít look at you strangely because you are vegetarian. And then lay out such feasts, too.
Foodies are in heaven in the Golden Triangle, because not only does food play a vital role in the countryís culture, but it is delicious. It is also varied, with each region boasting so many specialties. The great thing about a Golden Triangle trip is that you cover three very different regions, so you will get to know each of the different influences. See our Indian cooking and food holidays guide for more details.
Tiger tiger shining bright
If you are lucky enough to see a tiger, donít rush to grab your camera; it is a very emotional moment. So just enjoy it. It will be imprinted on your brain forever.
Indian royalty features highly along the Golden Triangle, but the king of Indiaís jungle, the tiger, still holds court. Thankfully. There are about 60 in Ranthambore National Park, once a hunting ground for Jaipurís Maharaja, and a popular addition to Golden Triangle itineraries, just 180km from Jaipur. Further away, but equally stunning, Kanha National Park, has about 100.
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