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This 9-day golden triangle tour encompasses all of the essential highlights of India. On this tour, you will discover India’s grand capital of Delhi. Then journey to the Mughal city of Agra which is home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. Finally, bask in the fascinating colors of the “Pink City” of Jaipur.
This tour is ideal for first-time visitors to India and is especially perfect for travelers who want to have the most iconic experiences such as watching the sunset over the Taj Mahal or taking a rickshaw ride through a bustling bazaar in Delhi.
- Visit Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, and then take a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s bustling bazaar.
- Explore the Colonial-era Lutyens’ New Delhi by walking along Vijay Chowk where you will pass by the impressive residence of the president of India and other Colonial-era buildings as you head towards the iconic India Gate.
- Visit the Taj Mahal, the world-famous mausoleum that was built with perfect proportions and exquisite craftsmanship. Then explore the Agra Fort, an imposing red sandstone structure from the Mughal-era.
- Explore the exquisite architecture of the Amber Fort’s various buildings that are elegantly decorated with latticed windows and colorful mosaics.
- Make accommodation part of the experience by staying in heritage hotels that showcase old world colonial charm or palace hotels that were converted from ancient palaces and mansions once owned by royal families.
- An English-speaking guide who will explain the history and importance of each site
- A chauffeured car with air conditioning for all transportation needs during city tours, day excursions, and trips to and from hotels
- 4-star hotels that are hand-picked to match your preferences
- All entrance fees for activities that are listed on the itinerary
- Hotel buffet breakfasts and lunch at our recommended restaurants
- One-on-one consultations with one of our travel experts
- A 24/7 helpline while you are traveling
- Government tax
Itinerary in detail
At Asia Highlights, all of our tours are flexible. If this tour fits you perfectly, you can go ahead and sign up! If you think a few things are missing, you can use this tour as inspiration and let us make changes to better fit your travel goals.
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to Delhi, the capital of India and a city where all the contrasts of this modern country with an ancient culture are particularly visible.
Our representative and driver will meet you at the arrivals hall and take you to your hotel. After check-in, you will enjoy the rest of the day at the hotel relaxing and decompressing from your long flight.
In Delhi, we have selected a heritage hotel for you which showcases beautiful 19th-century colonial charm and architecture. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and features a coffee shop that extends into a charming open courtyard.
At the hotel, you can spend your time enjoying the sunshine while lying by the pool, grab some light snacks, or simply explore the grounds. This hotel offers a variety of amenities and has a relaxing atmosphere.
Day 2 Experience the Contrast of Old Delhi and New Delhi
In Delhi, you can see all the contradictions of India. In Old Delhi, you will explore the ancient roots of the country by visiting 16th- and 17th-century Mughal-built monuments and old bustling bazaars. Then head to modern New Delhi with its wide avenues and colonial mansions.
Explore these vastly different sections of Delhi on a private guided tour. The tour includes driving past the Red Fort, observing worshippers as they pray at the sandstone and marble Jama Masjid Mosque, and taking a rickshaw ride through the bustling Chandni Chowk market which is a great way to absorb the lively sights and sounds of Old Delhi.
In the afternoon, go and see the Qutub Minar, where Qutbuddin Aibak announced the advent of the Muslim sultans. Then visit Humayun’s Tomb, the first great example of a Mughal garden tomb and also the inspiration for the incredible Taj Mahal.
Walk along the boulevards of Vikay Chowk, or the “Victory Square”, in New Delhi to see monumental buildings like Rashtrapati Bhawan and the iconic India Gate. Finally, stroll through the pleasantly shaded streets of Connaught Place to see the difference between the city’s business sector and the noise and chaos of Old Delhi’s traditional bazaars.
Day 3 Delhi to Agra and Get your First Glimpse of the Magnificent Taj Mahal
Today, you will leave Delhi in the morning and travel south to Agra in a private car (approximately 4-5 hours). Upon arrival, take a few hours to relax in the hotel.
In the afternoon, the sightseeing begins with a guided tour of Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb which is a small yet elegant garden-tomb that is often called the ‘Baby Taj’. This 17th-century Mughal building was constructed with white marble and decorated with colorful mosaics and stone inlays.
Get the classic view of the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh, or the “Moonlight Garden”, which is a beautifully landscaped garden built along the Yamuna River. The garden is located behind the Taj Mahal and is purposely shaped to offer great views of this world wonder. Watch the Taj Mahal as the sun sets and it takes on an orange hue.
Day 4 Explore the Shared Past of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
In the early morning, you will take a guided tour of one of the world’s most elegant and extraordinary buildings, the Taj Mahal.
This beautifully constructed garden mausoleum was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. When visiting the Taj, you will be impressed by its perfect symmetry, the tall teardrop-shaped spires, and the Islamic garden of paradise.
Next, head to Agra Fort which is an imposing red sandstone rampart that contains an enormous complex of courtly buildings. The Agra Fort was where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by this son Aurangzeb. He spent the last years of his life here in an octagonal tower with clear views of the Taj Mahal.
Enjoy the rest of your day at the hotel. We have selected a retreat hotel for you with an outdoor swimming pool and a spa and wellness center where you can experience traditional Indian Ayurvedic treatments. This is the perfect place to relax with a refreshing beverage while enjoying some authentic local dishes.
Day 5 Agra to Jaipur and a Visit to the City Palace
In the morning, drive to the photogenic city of Jaipur (approximately 5-6 hours) where many of the prominent buildings in the old sector of the city are painted a dusty pink.
In the afternoon, start with a visit to Jantar Mantar which was built between 1728 and 1734 and is a large and well-preserved astronomical observatory created by Sawai Jai Singh II. Here, your private guide will show you how to use some of Jantar Mantar’s instruments to calculate the time and forecast the crop prospects.
Afterward, take a short walk to the City Palace which has been the home of the rulers of Jaipur since the first half of the 18th century. Part of this beautiful complex is open to the public as a museum that tells the story of Jaipur’s princely past through fascinating artwork and crafts.
The last stop today is Nahargarh Fort which is a stunning hill-top fort that sits on a ledge of the cliffs of the Aravalli Hills. Here you will enjoy an unrivaled bird’s eye view of the city at dusk.
Day 6 Explore the Amber Fort and Take a Cooking Class With a Local
You will start your day at the Hawa Mahal, or the “Palace of Winds”. This building’s ornate pink façade has become an iconic site in Jaipur and is a great place to take photos.
Then head to the Amber Fort. Sitting like a crown on the crest of a hill, the Amber Fort offers a panoramic view of Maota Lake and is known for its impressive architecture. Inside the Amber Fort, you can admire the Sheesh Mahal or Hall of Mirrors. The interior of the Sheesh Mahal has so many tiny mirrors that when a single candle is lit, it’s reflection is cast all around the room making it look like a starlit sky.
You will then go to the home of a local Jaipuri where you will learn about basic Indian ingredients and spices. Following the host’s instructions, you will prepare a meal of authentic local dishes and then enjoy it together. This cooking class will allow you to learn more about the lives of the locals and to exchange cultural understanding through food.
Spend the rest of your day at the hotel. We have selected a wonderful heritage hotel that was once the home of the ruling royal family. This establishment treats clients like honored guests and has decadent old-world charm. Fitted with antique couches, rich mosaics, and painted arches, this hotel truly reflects the style and elegance of the royals.
Day 7 Return to Delhi and Departure
Today you will drive back to Delhi (approximately 6-7 hours) via private car and you will then be transferred to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to catch your flight home. If you would like to stay in Delhi one more night, we are pleased to help you arrange accommodation.
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.
We recommend staying in palace hotels, heritage hotels, or nice resorts in order to get the high quality service and to your experience.
Built in 1903, Maidens Hotel showcases 19th century colonial charm and architecture. It has an outdoor pool, fitness center and features a coffee shop which extends into a charming, open courtyard.
Built in 1952, The Claridges, New Delhi is an iconic hotel superbly located in at the heart of New Delhi’s eminent address – Lutyen’s Delhi, and is a perfect blend of old world elegance and contemporary luxury.
Double Tree by Hilton is within 2.8 mi from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, offering an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness center and a fitness center.
Jaypee Hotel features landscaped gardens with ponds and water features. It houses a shopping mall, an Ayurvedic spa with a Turkish bath and a large outdoor pool.
Featuring traditional Rajput architect, a mixture of Mughal and Indian, a facade with domes and frescoes, Shahpura House is also home to the ruling royal family.
Built over 175 years ago within the city of Jaipur as the royal family manor, Samode Haveli reflects the style and elegance of the royals. It features an outdoor swimming pool and a spa and health club.
- Extend Your Trip
If you want to extend your trips, you can use this extension as inspiration and let us make changes to better fit your travel goals.
Ranthambhore National Park: add 2-3 days — Take a jeep safari inside the nature reserve to see some of the country's incredible wildlife such as deer, monkeys, and colorful birds. Here you can also try to catch a glimpse of India’s reclusive wild tigers.
Varanasi: add 2 days — Visit India’s holiest Hindu city which has a spiritual and religious legacy that goes back nearly 3,000 years. Take a boat ride on the River Ganges and observe the Ganga Aarti Hindu ritual.
Rajasthan: add 3-5 days — visit the blue city of Jodhpur with its blue-painted houses and fragrant spice shops. Visit the yellow city of Jaisalmer to take a camel ride in the Thar Desert. Unwind at pristine Lake Pichola and visit the City Palace in the white city of Udaipur.
In India, there is a wide range of choices for accommodation including everything from ancient palaces, decadent mansions, and Colonial-era hotels to mid-range boutique hotels and western-style business hotels.
India is also well-known for its specialized resorts that offer yoga and traditional herbal treatments. Many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have luxurious resorts located on their periphery.
Staying in one of these hotels is a truly unique opportunity that adds to a traveler’s experience. We have carefully hand-picked our hotels to ensure that our travelers will have access to the very best.
Let us know your preferences for accommodation and our travel experts will help find the perfect hotels that suit your taste and budget.
There are many different types of transport available to travelers in India and each type is suitable for different journeys.
If you are traveling over a long distance such as from Delhi to Varanasi, going by plane is the best way.
If you want to know more about the locals and see the countryside from your window as your travel, then going by train is your best bet.
If you are traveling within the city, especially in the big cities like Delhi, or traveling between the cities in the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), the best mode of transportation is by private car with a chauffeur. When traveling this way, you will be more comfortable and also save time so that you can spend more of it exploring.
When traveling with us, our experts will help you transfer between all of your destinations easily and efficiently.
Restaurants in India offer a range of food options from pizza to sophisticated multi-course meals.
Many hotels offer buffets with a variety of cuisines from Indian to Italian and Asian. Most hotels also have coffee shops that serve beverages and light snacks. Vegetarian food is widely available in India due to the country’s large vegetarian population.
People who are looking to taste authentic local cuisine can try the restaurants specializing in barbecued tandoori kebabs and Indian naan bread. We also recommend trying out one of the many great restaurants that serve modern Indian fusion food.
Let us know your food preferences and we’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to inform us of any allergies or dietary requirements in advance.
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