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India Golden Triangle Itinerary - Hawa Mahal Jaipur

If you’re seeking the perfect India Golden Triangle itinerary and travel guide, your search ends here!

We spent one week immersing ourselves on this incredible route through Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. We even joined in the celebrations of the Holi festival!

India presents a fusion of rich culture, historical depth, and breathtaking architecture. Over 7 days, delve into the essence of the Golden Triangle, from the lively streets of New and Old Delhi to the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, the Pink City of Jaipur, and beyond.

Uncover an array of activities, accommodation options, culinary delights, and invaluable travel tips to effortlessly plan your Golden Triangle adventure.

India Golden Triangle Itinerary (33) - City Palace
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (35) - Qutub Minar

7-Day India Golden Triangle Itinerary Overview

This journey guides you through the bustling streets of Delhi, the magnificent monuments of Agra, and the vibrant, colorful city of Jaipur.

2 nights in Delhi

Explore the diverse range of experiences in Delhi, from uncovering historical landmarks like the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb to navigating the winding streets of Old Delhi’s markets and indulge in a food tour.

1 night in Agra

Be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal, discover the majestic Agra Fort, and learn about the rich Mughal heritage of the city.

3 nights in Jaipur

Discover Nahargarh and Amer Forts, appreciate the intricate architecture of Hawa Mahal, and shop at Jaipur’s bustling markets.

How to get around

Rather than following the usual Golden Triangle route starting and ending in Delhi, we opted to fly into New Delhi and depart from Jaipur, as we could fly direct to our next destination (Thailand). Depending on where you’re heading after India, flying out of Jaipur might be a more practical choice.

Driving in India is quite chaotic, so I strongly advise against renting a car. Instead, we arranged private transfers for each leg of our journey. There are countless transfer companies and trips can usually be arranged by your hotel.

While Uber in India is convenient for short trips, I wouldn’t recommend it for journeys over 30 minutes. Our 3.5 hour ride from Delhi to Agra was rather uncomfortable. However, our private transfer with air conditioning from Agra to Jaipur was much more pleasant.

Despite being slightly more expensive than trains, we chose private car transfers for their comfort, flexibility, and convenience. Plus, we could request stops along the way, like our visit to Fatehpur Sikri between Agra and Jaipur.

There are also plenty of bus and train options available. You can book train tickets online here.

India Golden Triangle Itinerary (19) - Jaipur elephant
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (31)

Day 1 + 2: Exploring Delhi

Although some may find Delhi overwhelming and advise skipping it, we wholeheartedly disagree! Yes, it can be intense, but it’s equally enchanting. Venture out early in the morning to avoid traffic and enjoy the monuments almost entirely to yourself. Taking a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget and a must-add to your Delhi itinerary!

Best things to do & must visit places –

  • The Red Fort
  • Qutub Minar
  • Streets of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi (take a rickshaw ride)
  • Dili Haat Market
  • The Old Spice Market
  • Khan Market
  • The Akshardham Temple – no phones or cameras are allowed inside
  • Jama Masjid
  • Safdarjung Tomb
  • Humayun’s Tomb
  • India Gate
  • Food tour or cooking class
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (4) - Qutub Minar
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (8) - Chandni Chowk

Where to Stay in Delhi

We stayed at the Shangri-La Eros New Delhi and found it to be the perfect stay for us! Nestled in a prime location, it boasts a delightful pool, excellent dining choices, and luxurious, cozy rooms.

Given Delhi’s bustling nature, this hotel served as an ideal oasis for relaxation. Its array of onsite restaurants, notably Shang Palace and Sorrento, offer exceptional dining experiences. The breakfast spread is exquisite, and considering its five-star status, the price is definitely reasonable!

Here are a few alternative hotel options:

  • The Connaught, New Delhi -$
  • Taj Mahal, New Delhi – $$
  • The Leela Palace New Delhi – $$$
  • The Oberoi, New Delhi – $$$$
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (36) - Shangri La Eros
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (10) - Shangri La Eros

Best Restaurants in Delhi

  • Veda Restaurant – Indian cuisine
  • Shang Palace – Chinese cuisine
  • Indian Accent – Indian cuisine
  • The Sky High – Rooftop restaurant serving global cuisine

Day 3 + 4: Agra

I suggest limiting your stay in Agra to just one night. Most of the main attractions can be visited within a day or two and honestly, we didn’t find the city to offer much beyond that.

Best things to do & Must-visit places –

  • Visit The Taj Mahal at sunrise (opens 30 minutes before sunrise). Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays
  • Agra Fort
  • Akbar’s Tomb
  • I’timād-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj Mahal)
  • Sunset Taj Mahal boat ride
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (15) - The Taj Mahal
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (34) - The Taj Mahal

Where to Stay in Agra

We knew we were going to stay in Agra for less than 24 hours, so we opted to stay at Joey’s Hostel in a private room. It was super cheap, walking distance to the Taj Mahal, and had incredible Taj sunset views from the rooftop restaurant.

We’re not really hostel people, so we probably wouldn’t stay here again, but it was sufficient for our short stay and in terms of proximity to the Taj, it’s the best, most affordable option.

If you’re into a more comfortable or luxurious hotel I suggest:

  • Tajview, Agra – $
  • ITC Mughal, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa – $$
  • The Oberoi Amarvilas – $$$$ (definitely a bucket list stay)
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (13) - Joey's Hostel Agra View
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (12)

A Stop at Fatehpur Sikri

Arranging a private transfer from Agra to Jaipur gave us the chance to make a memorable stop at Fatehpur Sikri. After being captivated by picturesque images of this place on Pinterest years ago, I knew I had to see it in person, especially for photography!

Fatehpur Sikri boasts intricately carved palaces, vast courtyards, and graceful pavilions that leave a lasting impression. The city’s iconic red sandstone structures, adorned with delicate marble inlays and stunning geometric patterns, showcase the architectural genius of that era.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fatehpur Sikri is not just for history lovers, but for architecture enthusiasts too!

India Golden Triangle Itinerary (16) - Fatehpur Sikri
India Golden Triangle Itinerary - Fatehpur Sikri

Day 5, 6, + 7: Jaipur

This is the last stop on the India Golden Triangle Itinerary! Jaipur had been at the top of my bucket list for over 10 years, so I was eager to stay a bit longer in the Pink City. We planned our trip to coincide with the lively Holi festival, adding an extra layer of excitement (and another bucket list experience) to our adventure!

Whether marveling at the countless stunning monuments, leisurely wandering through vibrant markets, indulging in delectable cuisine at stylish restaurants, or joyfully participating in the colorful festivities of Holi, it’s fair to say that Jaipur quickly became our absolute favorite destination in India!

Best things to do & must-visit places –

  • Panna Meena Ka Kund stairwell
  • Amer Fort (at sunrise)
  • Nahargarh Fort (at sunset)
  • Jagat Shiromani Temple
  • City Palace
  • Patrika Gate
  • Maharani Ki Chatri Cenotaphs
  • Hawa Mahal (best view is across the street from The Tattoo Café)
  • Johri Bazaar for shopping
  • Early morning flower market
  • Albert Hall Museum
  • Monkey Temple
India Golden Triangle Itinerary - Jaipur stepwell
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (30) - Patrika gate

Where to Stay in Jaipur

Jaipur offers a plethora of fantastic accommodation options. During our stay, we chose the Marriott Jaipur for its excellent location, comfortable rooms, proximity to the Holi party we attended, and affordability!

If you’re exploring other options, consider these:

  • Hilton Jaipur – $$
  • Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar – $$
  • The Oberoi Rajvilas – $$$$
  • Rambagh Palace – $$$$
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (21)
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (18)

Best Restaurants in Jaipur

  • Peacock Restaurant – Indian cuisine
  • Bar Palladio – Italian + global cuisine
  • Once Upon A Time At The Bagh – Indian cuisine
  • Diona – Ale Works | Kitchen | Bar – Rooftop restaurant with global menu
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (29) - Diona Jaipur
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (22) - Peacock Restaurant Jaipur

Travel Tips for India’s Golden Triangle

  • Opt for conservative attire to avoid attracting unwanted attention, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Only drink bottled water and ensure the seal cracks when opened. Avoid drinks with ice and be cautious with raw vegetables, fruits, and undercooked eggs. Be extra careful with street food.
  • Be prepared for large crowds almost everywhere. Plan extra travel time, especially in bustling cities like Delhi, where traffic can be overwhelming.
  • Familiarize yourself with Indian etiquette, such as removing shoes before entering sacred places and using your right hand for eating. Respect religious practices and adhere to photography guidelines at holy sites.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate when shopping! Enjoy the vibrant shopping scene by negotiating fairly and respectfully with local vendors.
  • Download Google Maps, a translation app, a currency conversion app, and Uber in advance.
  • Exercise caution in crowded areas and tourist spots to prevent theft. Keep your belongings secure and stay vigilant against common tourist scams.
  • Make sure to get the necessary vaccinations before traveling to India. Along with routine vaccinations, ensure you’re vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. This precaution significantly reduces the risk of potential health issues during your trip.
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (32) - Jaipur flower market
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (7)

Best Time to Visit The Golden Triangle

The prime time to explore the Golden Triangle in India typically spans from October to March, encompassing the winter months. During this period, the climate is cooler and more comfortable to visit the vibrant cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.

October and November offer agreeable temperatures, clear skies, and reduced humidity, enhancing the pleasure of sightseeing. From December to February, tourism reaches its high season due to the delightful weather. This results in bustling attractions and escalated rates for accommodations and excursions.

If you prefer avoiding crowds and can handle the slightly warmer temperatures, the shoulder seasons of March or October are good options, still offering a delightful experience with fewer tourists. In our case, we chose to visit in late March and were met with excellent weather – no rain, moderate humidity, and warm but not uncomfortably hot temperatures.

India Golden Triangle Itinerary (26)
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (3) - Qutub Minar

Packing Essentials for India

Here’s a snippet from my ultimate India packing list –

  • Lightweight and breathable, yet modest clothing suitable for warm weather.
  • You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  • A travel adapter to charge your devices.
  • Insect repellent containing DEET or other effective ingredients to protect against diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
  • Pack any prescription medications you need, along with a basic first aid kit and diarrhea medication.
  • Carry a mix of Indian rupees for convenience, along with a credit/debit card for larger purchases. We were surprised to find that many places accepted cards, and even Apple Pay.
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (20) - Hawa Mahal
India Golden Triangle Itinerary (20) - Holi in Jaipur

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Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

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