Best things to do & places to stay:
India’s Golden Triangle destination guide
- bucketList Experiences
- other Experiences
- organised tours
- where to stay
- Travel advice
Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ – lie at the heart of many Indian cultural tours and form the backbone of most first-time visits to India. These three destinations pack in most of India’s most bucket list experiences and all of its unique cultural essence.
Delhi, the capital, presents two distinct faces: Raj-era New Delhi boasts neat tree-lined boulevards and most of the best hotels, while Old Delhi distils a frantic, earthier atmosphere and is dotted with medieval monuments.
Agra is synonymous with the iconic Taj Mahal while Jaipur is the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, an exotic desert state hosting massive forts and exquisite palaces. A few hours from Jaipur is the Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in India to see wild tigers.
There are good transport links between the three destinations, but for a real treat, take the luxury Mahajaras Express train which shuttles you between the main stops in blissful comfort, as you stare out at India’s uniquely exotic and evocative scenery.
The capital, Delhi, lies in the north of the country. Despite differing characters, New Delhi and Old Delhi have merged into one great city, with Connaught Place (now officially renamed Rajiv Chowk) at its heart.
Agra – home of the Taj Mahal – stands 170km south with the Yamuna River linking both cities.
To the west stretches the huge desert state of Rajasthan whose capital, Jaipur, and nearby Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, remain easily accessible.
The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination
Tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan, India
Experience the thrill of spotting one of the world’s last remaining wild tigers on a game drive in the Ranthambore National Park, one of India’s most picturesque and easily-visited reserves.
India's Golden Triangle, India
Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest
Bhangarh, Rajasthan, India
A small, part-ruined medieval ‘ghost-town’ – reputedly one of India’s most haunted places – in picturesque countryside near Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Best for ages: 13+ | £1
Deeg, Uttar Pradesh, India
A little-visited lakeside summer resort and palace complex that was built in 1772 for the Jat kings of Bharatpur, as a luxurious retreat. Its architecture fuses Mughal and Rajput styles.
Best for ages: 18+ | £1
Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum
The former bungalow residence of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is now a slightly macabre museum. Assassinated here in 1984 by her bodyguards, even that very spot remains spotted with blood.
Best for ages: 18+ | Free
Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers
11 Days Golden Triangle & Varanasi With Luxury Accommodation,internal Flights
$847 | Rating 4.76 / 5 [13 ratings]
2 Day Private Luxury Golden Triangle Tour to Agra and Jaipur From New Delhi
₹17,600 | Rating 4.96 / 5 [27 ratings]
2-Day Golden Triangle Tour to The Taj Mahal, Agra and Jaipur from Delhi by Car
$224 | Rating 4.85 / 5 [69 ratings]
3-Day Private Luxury Golden Triangle Tour to Agra and Jaipur From New Delhi
₹18,300 | Rating 4.88 / 5 [115 ratings]
Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination
When to go
The main tourist season runs from October to March, though September and April are also fine – clear skies with warm to hot days.
May and June bring extreme heat and are worth avoiding while the July and August monsoon cools things slightly but brings more humidity.
Peak season is Christmas and New Year as well as the Indian festival of Diwali in late autumn. Mid-December to early February can deliver surprisingly cool nights and Delhi is prone to fog.
Getting there and away
Delhi’s new metro has revolutionised public transport there, though buses, autorickshaws and taxis remain popular in Delhi, and are essential in Agra and Jaipur. Unless using pre-paid booths at the railway station you’ll need to be firm about getting a metered fare for taxis and autorickshaws.
A private car with a driver – usually arranged through a travel agency – is the most relaxed, convenient and flexible way of touring the Golden Triangle. Trains are another characterful means of transport, with fairly reliable services to/from Agra and Jaipur.
Health & Safety
India generally remains an extremely safe and crime-free country for tourists. At worst lone female travellers may receive unwanted and unwarranted attention from younger men. Road accidents are common though rarely involve tourist vehicles.
Always drink bottled water or soft drinks (and drink plenty in the heat) and, except in good restaurants, treat salads, ice cubes and ice cream with caution. Follow medical advice on vaccinations and malarial prophylactics.
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