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We realise that you may wish to combine your chosen itinerary with visits to other destinations within India, and there are several possibilities for extending your holiday. We can arrange an overnight trip to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, or a longer three-night trip from Delhi to complete 'The Golden Triangle’, taking in Agra and Jaipur. Both excursions include a car and driver. Alternatively, you can visit Agra by rail, returning the same day. Please discuss your requirements when you call so that we can obtain the best and most up-to-date advice.
India's 'Golden Triangle' takes in three of the country's most historic, cultural and beautiful cities: the capital Delhi; Agra, home to the fabulous Taj Mahal; and Jaipur, 'The Pink City' of Rajasthan.
Delhi is the first city in India's glorious 'Golden Triangle'. As your flights are via the capital, all explorations begin here. Read more about Delhi >
Agra stands on the banks of the River Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 206km (128miles) south of New Delhi. It is home to one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal, and many splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Red Fort, the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638; and Fatehpur Sikri, which are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The 'golden age' of the city began with the Mughals under the padshahs (emperors) Akbar, Jahangir and Shāh Jahan. Akbar built the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, and the 'new' city of Fatehpur Sikri; while Shah Jahan, known for his keen interest in architecture, constructed the Taj Mahal in 1653.
Undoubtedly one of the most famous buildings in the world, the perfectly symmetrical Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum for Emperor Shah Jahan's favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is classed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It was completed in 1653, and finished in marble, having taken 22 years to build by 20,000 labourers, masons and jewellers. It is set amidst landscaped gardens on the south bank of the Yamuna River. The major dome is 60feet (18m) across and stands directly above the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. The interiors are exquisitely decorated with fine inlay work, incorporating semi-precious stones.
The Red Fort was commissioned Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great in 1565. It was later converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's reign, and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura (pictorial mosaic work using semi-precious stones) inlay. The double castellated ramparts of red sandstone contain an inner paradise including the Pearl Mosque, Halls of Private Audience, and the Mirrored Palace.
Fatehpur Sikri, 25km from Agra, is accessed through a series of ornate gates along a 5-mile-long wall, and houses some remarkable buildings including (among many highlights) Buland Darwaza, a gateway-cum-victory arch; Jama Masjid Mosque decorated with white marble inlay; The Hiran Minar, or Elephant Tower, a circular tower covered with stone elephant tusks; and Anup Talao, an ornamental pool surrounded by the palaces of the royal family. If time permits, it's well worth a visit.
The capital of Rajasthan dates back to the 18th century and is one of the finest planned cities of India, with its wide streets. It is often called the 'Pink City' due to the coloured buildings, which were originally painted red to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. We recommend a short trip up to the hill-top Amber Fort to admire the views of breath-taking Rajput architecture, bounded by ancient, crenellated walls.
Places to visit include:
The Amber Fort, a massive fort-palace complex built in Hindu-Muslim style dating back to Raja Man Singh and formerly the capital of Jaipur. Inside, the Sheesh Mahal is hall adorned with thousands upon thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling. In the heart of Jaipur lies the City Palace, a large complex of palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples, completed in 1732, many of which are now museums.
Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observation site, built in the early 18th century, and contains a set of around 20 fixed astronomical instruments, some on a monumental scale and the largest examples of their kind anywhere in the world. It is the best preserved of India’s historic observatories, and has UNESCO World Heritage status.
Hawa Mahal is a breathtaking, delicately honeycombed, pink sandstone structure, constructed in 1799 to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of Jaipur. The top offers great views over the impressive City Palace and Jantar Mantar.
Guided sightseeing options from Delhi
• we can arrange an overnight trip to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra
• a longer three-night trip to complete the ‘Golden Triangle’, taking in Agra and Jaipur. Both excursions also include a car and driver. Or...
• you can visit Agra by rail from Delhi, returning the same day.
Please discuss your requirements when you call so that we can obtain the best and most up-to-date advice.