Visit Northern India & the Golden Triangle
The best places to visit in Northern India & the Golden Triangle
Close your eyes and think of India. What do you see? A mishmash of cultures; a sizzling cuisine; the unrivalled grandeur of the Taj Mahal? You’re no doubt imagining the country’s north. It is here, somewhere in between the towering Himalayan peaks, vast dusty deserts, temple-filled cities and the Bay of Bengal that you’ll find India’s fabled Golden Triangle, the classic trio of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur that offer first-timers their first tantalising taste of this colourful country.
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India’s sprawling capital, Delhi is most visitors’ first impression of the country. And what an impression it is! Traffic-filled streets, a cacophony of noise, packed bazaars and markets and the towering spires of mosques and temples rising from above the chaos, Delhi has to be seen to be believed. Spend at least a couple of days, and don’t miss the Jama Masjid mosque, Humayun's tomb or the rather quirky Lotus temple.
It’s the magnificent Taj Mahal that put Agra on the map, drawing admirers the world over to its exquisite jewel-encrusted marble façade. Although the world’s most famous monument is the stand-out highlight, linger longer to check out the city’s other attractions including the impressive Agra Fort, made of bright red sandstone, and the rose-filled Mehtab Bagh gardens, which offer sublime Taj views across the river.
The Pink City of Jaipur is filled with rose-hued palaces, mansions and bazaars, painted for the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876, creating an atmospheric, photogenic place that’s a great taster for the colour and vibrancy of the rest of Rajasthan. In the hills outside town stands the grand Amber Fort, a magnificent masterpiece of design and elegance while in town the Jantar Mantar royal observatory is a curious collection of larger-than-life star-gazing equipment.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park
The deep forests of rugged Ranthambore National Park are home to most regal of the big cats, the Bengal tiger. A former Maharajah hunting ground, conservation is now the order of the day, and tiger numbers have stabilised. Even if a glimpse of this elusive creature eludes you, then fear not because leopards, jaguars, jungle cats, crocodiles, antelope and a wide variety of birds can also be spotted.
The mountainside retreat of Shimla offers panoramic views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and a smattering of temples and museums. The town is brimming with grand buildings, old-fashioned lamp posts and historical sites. Uncover the mystery of Scandal Point, named after an elopement of an Indian Maharaja with a British Lady, admire the glorious Christ Church and take a peek at the 250-year-old temple of Tara Devi.