India is a really big country and if you don’t want to spend most of your time on the plane or in a car hurrying to get to places, then I recommend to pick a part of the country and only travel through this specific area. India is just way too big to see everything in 2 weeks.
During our time there we travelled through the northern part, and stopped at a few cities around Delhi. I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
Initially it can be said that historic monuments, museums and markets determine the cityscape all throughout the country.
We started and ended our tour in Delhi. The city can be divided into two parts: crowded Old Delhi, which maintained its rustic charm with the narrow lines and tiny shops, and New Delhi, the capital of India.
Both sections offer many great attractions that vary from mosques (like Jama Masjid), tombs (like Humayun’s Tomb or Safdarjung’s Tomb) and temples (Lotus Temple or Akshardham Temple), over colourful markets, to monuments (like the Red Fort, India Gate, Jantar Mantar or Qutb Minar).
A truly special attraction is the Salaam Baalak Trust City Walk Program, where former street children guide visitors from all over the world through the streets of the inner city. By sharing their personal story and leading tourists through the areas where they once lived and worked, participants will see the city with whole new eyes.
For further details and inspiration what to do in Delhi, have a look at my previous blog post 16 things to have a look at in Delhi, India.
About 210km south of Delhi we stopped at Agra. Thanks to the Agra Fort and Taj Mahal the city located at the Yamuna River became a major tourist destination.
The immense white marble mausoleum attracts as many as 7 – 8 million visitors annually. Build between 1632 and 1653 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife; the mausoleum is the symbol of India’s rich history.
In 1983 the tomb and its 42 acre complex with formal gardens got declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Red Fort of Agra, or also known as the Agra Fort, is located near the gardens of the Taj Mahal. The massive fortress of 2.5 km long red sandstone walls could more accurately be described as a walled city.
Because of its close location, the Fort provides a great view over the Yamuna River as well as the Taj Mahal.
The ghost town Fatehpur Sikri resides on a rocky ridge in the Agra District. According to an old legend, the childless Great Mogul Akbar prayed for the birth of a son in the 16th century. As shortly after a healthy child was born, he built a whole town as a token of gratitude. In a few short years Fatehpur Sikri was completed. The building material used for this town is the red sandstone.
Only 10 years after the city was built the residents left and a ghost town remained.
The big mosque was Fatepur Sikri’s first building. In the courtyard they established a mausoleum for the saint who predicted the birth of a child.
Even today, Indian women pilgrimage to this place to ask for a male offspring.
The Panch Mahal is a five-floor palace in Fatehpur Sikri. Due to its close location to the Harem it is supposed that this place was used for entertainment and relaxation.
Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
The reason we stopped in Sawai Madhopur, a city located in the state of Rajasthan, was the Ranthambore National Park.
Ranthambore National Park
This park offers safaris and makes it possible for visitors to see wild animals. Ranthambore National Park is the home of a variety of animals, but most famous is the park for its tigers. There is a good chance that safari participants see a wild tiger.
The safari tours happen in “no roof jeeps” or “no roof busses”, which make this visit even more spectacular.
The city which closes the Golden Triangle Tour is Jaipur. With only 260km distance to Delhi it is a very convenient travel destination and therefore forms a part of the most popular tourist route.
It is the capital and largest city in the state of Rajasthan and also known as the Pink City of India.
The City Palace is a palace complex in Jaipur which includes several palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples.
Nowadays it resides a museum, but the main part is still a royal residence.
Translated into English, Hawa Mahal means “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of Breeze”. The red and pink sandstone high screen wall was built for the women of the royal household so they could have a look at the street festivals whereas no one from the outside could see them. It is a unique five-storey exterior with 953 small windows facing the street close to the City Palace.
With a length of 3 kilometres and its thick walls of red sandstone, it was Jaigarh Fort’s purpose to protect the Amber Fort and its palace complex. The two forts – Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort – are not only similar in structural design but also connected and even considered as one complex. Because of its elevated location it provides a marvellous view of Aravilli hills, the Maota Lake and the Amber Fort.