Take the road less taken with Golden Triangle route

India with its extraordinary diversity beckons all. The question is where you would want to be in this vast country of beguiling landscapes & rich culture. A must for a first time traveller to India is the “Golden Triangle”, the route is literally a triangle formed by three cities – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – in the northern region. Filled with the grandeur of old times, it is up to you how you want to explore this circuit that is vividly chaotic and equally mesmerising.

Here is a curated list of exciting attractions in the three cities, beginning with your first stop in Delhi:

  • Walk side-by-side with the old and new in the capital

Delhi, the vibrant metropolis, is a striking blend of fascinating remnants of past empires and ultra- modern lifestyles. Purani Dilli, better known as Old Delhi, still offers the essence of what it was during the Mughal times. The overcrowded labyrinthine lanes filled with the irresistible aroma of street food make it quite alluring.

Yes, the crowd may overwhelm you but walking down the streets is the only way to feel like a local. Right next to the iconic Jama Masjid, you have Gali Kababian – the street lined with eateries serving mouth-watering Mughlai cuisine, or, Gali Paranthewali – famous for its stuffed paranthas. Don’t fight your craving for sugar when you are at the Old Famous Jalebiwala. Just watching those delicious jalebis being made in front of you will take your mind off the crowd.

If you have had enough of the bustle and sated your appetite, the newly opened Sunder Nursery next to the heritage-listed Humayun’s Tomb is a must-visit. Along with magnificent pools, various species of trees and incredibly well maintained lawns, explore the Mughal-era monuments here. The dome-shaped structures amidst the vast greenery with colourful birds chirping around create a magnificent setting and definitely, a refreshing afternoon escape.

South Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village is quite fascinating, to say the least. While the 600-year-old Hauz Khas Fort overlooking the lush environs of Deer Park offers yet another respite from the city’s humdrum, you will be surprised how modern this artsy neighbourhood is. With differently themed cafes and restaurants populated mostly by a younger crowd, you will have a gala time here, for sure, especially during the evenings.

But before you leave for Jaipur, don’t miss the famed Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, where you can volunteer for the community kitchen service, known as langar, and not to forget, Agrasen Ki Baoli, a hidden gem in the heart of the city. Which was once a water reservoir, is an exquisite example of splendid architecture and ancient engineering skills.

  • Jaipur’s grand visual treats

Popularly nicknamed as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is majestic. While driving from Delhi to Jaipur, some 70 kms before the city, you can experience a meal at the 300-year-old heritage retreat, Shahpura Haveli, in the cozy rustic town of Shahpura. Nearby, the vibrant rural bazaar where merchants sell traditional handicraft will be a visual treat.

One of the most unique aspects that you will enjoy in Jaipur is exploring it in the pink e-rickshaws, locally called Tuk-Tuk, and they are all driven by women. You should definitely hop on one early morning and head to the traditional markets within the walled enclosure. The dazzling jewellery shops of Johari Bazaar and the traditional footwear, mojari, at Bapu Bazaar will be a delight.

About an hour way, the mesmerising Nahargarh Fort sits majestically in the Aravalli Hills. Best visited during the evening, the fort is beautifully lit and its rooftop restaurant, Padao, offers a fantastic outdoor seating arrangement. Against the jaw-dropping backdrop of the beautifully illuminated city, tantalise your taste buds with some north Indian fare.

Try Jaipur’s leisure sport, kite flying, with the locals at Dera Mandawa. This boutique hotel of Thakur Jait Singh Ji of Mandawa, now run by his great grandson, will let you in on the rich heritage passed down through generations. How about learning to cook a traditional Rajasthani dish? Yes…you can do that here. Go back into the times of maharajas by preparing papad ki subji and batti.

A visit to the Galtaji Temple complex, flanked by cliffs, is a must. It’s also a fun attraction, mostly because of the always-hungry macaque and langur monkeys. However, do not get too close to them.

Fret not, more experiences follow you in Agra.

  • A joyful, homely feeling in Agra

During your sojourn in Agra, there is no dearth of options for you to experience its local life. Become a pro in preparing a traditional North Indian meal at someone’s home in the city. Along with observing the traditional customs of an Indian home, you will certainly enjoy the memorable conversations.

Why not indulge in a yoga session facing the impressive façade of Taj Mahal? Enjoy practicing some asanas with awe-inspiring views of the white marble monument early in the morning. Certainly, this would be quite refreshing. But, before you leave this cozy city, you must have a stopover at Panchhi Petha Store and try out those savoury, sweet pethas.

With so many treasures to enjoy on the incredible Golden Triangle route, these attractions will not just be fun but unforgettable.