Panoramic view of Taj Mahal during sunset

A colourful, cultural introduction to India

Holidays to the Golden Triangle

Start with the temples, mosques and monuments of Delhi. Add in the majestic Taj Mahal. And finish with Jaipur’s beautifully ornate palaces and forts. Welcome to India’s Golden Triangle, an easily explored area that offers the perfect introduction to this magical country.

There are a fair few ways to explore – an independent Golden Triangle tour allows you discover its delights at your own pace (Five Star Golden Triangle is great if you’re looking for luxury), while a group trip is a sociable experience where you’ll share your adventures with like-minded travellers.

The Golden Triangle is an incredible adventure on its own, but there are some wonderful opportunities for combining it with another part of the country. Adding Ranthambore National Park is a popular choice – this former hunting reserve is now one of the best places to spot tigers in India. You could go north, where you’ll find breeze-cooled hill towns and the heritage railway leading to Shimla; or south, to the beach towns of Goa or Kerala’s Ayurvedic spa retreats. Combine half-a-dozen great rail journeys with India’s Golden Triangle or perhaps go all-out and add a stay in the blissfully unspoilt Buddhist realm of Bhutan, where you can hike to mountain monasteries and picnic with views of the Himalayas. If none of those fit the bill, why not give our Tailor-Made Travel team a call – they can customise a trip to suit you perfectly.

India’s capital city is the gateway to the Golden Triangle – holidays usually begin here. There’s an impressive list of sights to see, spread across both Old and New Delhi. Highlights include Jama Masjid, India’s largest and most impressive mosque; the Red Fort, with its sandstone battlements; and Qutab Minar, a UNESCO-listed minaret dating back to the 13th century. Chandni Chowk, Delhi’s oldest and busiest market, is great for a wander, too.

Agra’s headline act is undoubtedly the Taj Mahal, a soul-stirring monument to love crafted from gleaming white marble. Get there early to avoid the crowds, and spend some time wandering through the gardens, where the mausoleum is mirrored in the waters of reflecting pools. UNESCO-protected Agra Fort, started by a Mughal emperor and finished by his grandson and great-grandson, is another must-see.

Fans of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ will recognise Jaipur – the city’s markets, palaces and temples played a starring role in the film. It’s nicknamed ‘the Pink City’ for its blush-coloured sandstone buildings – one of the finest is the incredible Hawal Mahal, with its latticed windows and ornate arches. The City Palace, the 18th-century Jantar Mantar Observatory and the hilltop Amber Fort are all well worth adding to your itinerary, too.

Ranthambore National Park makes an easy addition to Golden Triangle holidays. It’s most famous for its Bengal tiger reserve – impressive conservation efforts have seen numbers here steadily increase since the ‘70s. They can be elusive, but your best chance to spot them is on game drives in the early morning and late afternoon. Tigers aren’t the only creatures that call Ranthambore home – look out for leopards, monkeys and sloth bears, plus an array of birdlife.

The Golden Triangle is the name given to a popular tourist route in India. The three ‘points’ of the triangle are Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. There are fantastic sights to see and experiences to be had along the way, and it’s relatively easy to travel between each of the three destinations. Our Golden Triangle holidays are among our most popular itineraries.

India’s Golden Triangle is in the north of the country. Delhi is in its own territory (National Capital Territory of Delhi), while the other two destinations are split across two states – Rajasthan for Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh for Agra. Each city is around 125 miles from the others, making it relatively easy to get between them.

We tend to time our Golden Triangle holidays to avoid the summer months, when it can get uncomfortably hot and wet. We recommend visiting between October and March for the best weather. Pack layers for the winter months, as it can get cold, especially at night. If you’re looking to tie your tour in with a festival, try October/November for Diwali (the date changes each year, so check before you book) or March for Holi.

It depends on how much you’d like to do, and whether you want to build in any relaxation time along the way. As a guide, we’d suggest 7-10 days as a great length for a Golden Triangle holiday. Two nights in each destination is recommended – add another two if you’d like to include Ranthambore as well.

You certainly can – we offer independent trips as well as group tours. India’s Golden Triangle is best explored by road, so a coach tour or private driver are the most reliable ways of getting around. Local guides are a must for getting the most out of your time away, giving you valuable insight into the history, culture and traditions of the area.

Our escorted tours include VIP door-to-door transfers from home, international flights, hotels, and excursions and meals as detailed in the itinerary. If any rail journeys are part of the tour, they’ll be included too. A friendly, knowledgeable tour manager will accompany the group throughout, and local guides will add an extra layer of expertise.

Our Tailor-Made holidays have more flexibility, so the inclusions will vary. Hotels and a selection of meals and hand-picked excursions will be included, plus transfers and private guides as detailed in your itinerary. International flights aren’t included, but we can easily arrange these for you, and if you’d like to add any other excursions or experiences, then we can do that too.

An expertly organised tour is the best way to experience the Golden Triangle. Whether you opt for an escorted group tour or a private tour customised by our Tailor-Made team, you’ll have the benefit of decades of expertise. We know the places to go, the hotels to stay in, the routes to take between sights – we’ll take care of the logistics and organisation, so you can concentrate on enjoying India.

When it comes to ways of travelling, our package holidays to India’s Golden Triangle give you a few options. On group tours we’ll move around by coach, or occasionally train (India’s rail network is extensive, and a wonderful way to travel). For independent tours, we’ll arrange a private car for you, with a driver-guide who’ll take you from place to place.

With the widest choice of holidays and travel experiences than ever before, you can now personalise your trip so you are in complete control. All this is backed up by the high-standards and service you’d expect from Saga.

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