*This is a collaborative guest post
India is a diverse and exotic country which in many ways can be seen as two lands merged together. Northern India features dry and dusty plains punctuated by cities built by Rajput princes and Mughal emperors. These vibrant cities are crowded and can be a shock to the system. The south features lush green hills and valleys and a slower pace of life with the odd ruined city here and there built by an empire that no longer exists. Given how easy it is to obtain an Indian visa from UK it is proving a very popular place to visit.
Let’s take a deep dive into Northern India’s delights.
Northern India’s Golden Triangle
Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur are known collectively as the Golden Triangle. The name derives from their cultural splendour and most tours of northern India will feature these cities. Most tours begin in Delhi with the more expensive options opposite the Cottage Industries Emporium. Here, you will find crafts from all over the country and is a favourite among travellers.
Like most cities, however, there are good accommodation options to suit all budgets and you should be able to find a tour that takes you to the best parts of Delhi.
A quick word here about travelling in India is that it is best to go with a tour unless you are a seasoned traveller. Given how crowded Indian cities can be having a guide and being part of a group is invaluable. They can easily overwhelm you as well as delight you with their cultural splendour.
Agra is home to both the Taj Mahal and the intriguing ‘Baby Taj’ which is a magnificent sandstone fort. It was partly built by Emperor Shah Jahan. The best way to reach the city is on the comfortable Shatabdi Express. An overnight stay here is advised.
Most Golden Triangle Tours will move on to Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri. This is a well preserved 16th century deserted sandstone city. It was once the capital of Mughal India and offers a glimpse into times past.
Jaipur runs at a 1000 miles per hour and many say it gets in your face but is worth it for the Palace of the Winds and the Amber Fort. To get the most out of your visit, sign up to a guided walk using a reputable company.
Jodhpur is last but not least and a visit to the Mehrangarh Fort should be high on your list of places to visit. Good guides are easy to find and using one brings the place alive. They also take in the old town for a cultural delight and a sense of completeness.
Golden Triangle Tours
Broadly tours of the Golden Triangle fall into two camps. Larger tours get around by coach and take in the main tourist attractions and the odd emporium. The smaller tours use a smaller vehicle which can negotiate tighter, smaller roads so you see Indian life in smaller towns and villages. Group sizes tend to be around 16 or so.
If you want to go it alone, you can hire a private driver and plan your own itinerary.