The Golden Triangle in India is a very popular tourist route, taking you to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I have always wanted to go to see the Taj Mahal, especially before I left Dubai, so I settled on doing Delhi & Agra in a regular weekend. Hopefully, I’ll get back to see Jaipur some other time.
Because we were tight for time, we contacted Agra Day Tour Packages and they arranged everything for us once the flights were booked. They booked our accommodation, tours and tour guides and had a private car to drive us where we needed to go. Our drivers name was Rizwan and he was so helpful and punctual. I would definitely recommend getting in touch with them. They have brilliant reviews on Trip Advisor too, which is always good. We paid $260 each for the 4 star package. We booked flights separately.
We spent the first day exploring Delhi from 9 am – 4pm and this was more than enough time to quickly see everything. Delhi is a really busy city. Be prepared for some crazy traffic jams and a lot of beeping! It does take some time to get around, but with the tour company taking us, it saved so much hassle and time for us.
We began the morning with a Rickshaw ride through Old Delhi and arrived at Jama Masjid Mosque. It is free to enter this mosque, however, they will charge you 10 Rupees to mind your shoes when you go in and 300 Rupees per camera. We had 2 phones, a GoPro and a Polaroid so we had to fork out for these at the door. While you’re walking around the mosque, security ask to see the ticket you got to show you paid for a camera. Girls will have to cover here and boys will have to cover their knees, but they offer items for you here for free, but they do expect a tip. Getting to this mosque, you have to drive/walk through quite a poor area. I was warned by the tour guide to be really careful with my bag here.
Next, we explored the Bazar or Markets in Old Delhi. It was cool that all the same types of shops were located next to each other. There was a spice area, a technology area, a bike area etc. Our tour guide showed us all different types of spices and we were able to buy pre-made spices for meals like Tikka Masala, Biryani and any other Indian dishes.
Once we finished in the Markets,we headed to Raj Ghat on our Rickshaw, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. When we arrived there, it was closed because the French Prime Minister was coming the next day. So disappointing, but, we had a look from the outside. Make sure to check the calendar before you go to avoid random closures like this! On the way here, we also passed the Red Fort and we were able to get photos. You can also go to see Gandhi’s home, but, it is closed on Mondays.
Next stop was India Gate. For those of you that have been to Mumbai, it is so similar to The Gateway of India that they have there. This commemorates war soldiers and their names are written on the monument. It is situated in a lovely park, directly in line with the President’s House, on Parliament Street. There are a lot of people here, selling knock-off goods and souvenirs and there are some beggars too. Many people stay and relax in the surrounding park during days with nice weather.
From here, we drove directly to Parliament Street to see the President’s House. You can see India Gate from here and they are in line with each other. You cannot drive all the way up to the President’s House, but we were able to get out of the car and walk to see it and the buildings that surround it.
We stopped for lunch and ate in a really good restaurant called Pindi. I can be quite weird when it comes to food in some countries, but this was clean, full of expats, reasonably priced and had really good food.
After lunch, we went to Bangla Sahib, a Sikh Temple. To visit here, both males and females have to take off their shoes and cover their hair. They will provide you with a lovely orange bandana to cover your hair! The glamour! Thankfully, I had a scarf to use instead! We explored the Temple, which was decorated with gold walls and amazing chandeliers and sits next to a large pond out the back. Our tour guide told us about their beliefs and a history of the temple. There are loads of people praying and drinking the Holy Water from the fountain there too. You can take photos here, but no selfies are allowed.
The most amazing thing about this temple, is the charity work they do. Everyday the volunteers that work here, feed around 25,000 people. There are sittings in big hall and everyone gets the same amount of food served to them. We were fortunate enough to be able to see the kitchen, the giant pots and pans, the cleaning process and everything else that went on behind the scenes. It was amazing to see the work that was being done and the amount of people that were benefitting from this amazing service there. I don’t have much photos, but you can see some of what is being done there and those waiting on food in my video.
Once we finished up here, we met our driver and headed for Agra. It was a 3-4 hour drive and we arrived at our hotel that night. We had an early night and woke at 5:30 am to go and see the Taj Mahal.
Entry to the Taj Mahal is 1000 Rupees each. We were there at 6am and the queue for security was quite long already. If you have a bag they will search it and you cannot bring any food, cigarettes or lighters in with you. Having stuff with you slows you down a lot. Bring the basics and leave the rest in the hotel. Besides the ticket, you don’t need to bring money for much else.
Once we got through security, we got to see the Taj. It was so crowded but so amazing. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Every single detail of the building has been thought out and it is the most symmetrical building in the world. The attention to detail is crazy to see. Our tour guide, Gulshan, was amazing too. He told us so much about the history and the love story behind it and he was like our personal photographer too. We didn’t even ask! (You can contact him here firstname.lastname@example.org)
If the Taj Mahal is not on your bucket list, it needs to be. It is pretty high on the list of things I have seen! I haven’t stopped raving about it since I’ve been. After we spent 2 or 3 hours here, we headed back to our hotel for breakfast and a quick nap before the 4 hour journey back to Delhi Airport!
The Taj Mahal can only be visited during the day, but, around 5 times a month, you can buy tickets in advance and you view the Taj in batches of 50 people at night, when there is a full moon. It would be so amazing to see, especially because its not open after sunset. It does have mixed reviews so check it out and see if it interests you. We didn’t do this night trip.
Places to stay:
ITC Welcome Dwarka (where we stayed)
Four Points by Sheraton (where we stayed)
- Be careful of your bags and pockets in Delhi.
- The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays!
- Get to the Taj early to avoid the really bad queues. I couldn’t get over how many people were there at 6am
- Having a tour company organise everything saves so much time. So worth it.
- Get your e-visa before you go here at least 5 days before your departure date
- Check out my YouTube Channel for a video of my trip!
- If you’re travelling around India, check out my Mumbai blog post
Top Tip Traveller 🙂