Wednesday, 8 August 2012 12:33 PM
If you looking for ideas for a trip to India, the Golden Triangle is an excellent place to start - especially if you have never been to the country before. Delhi, Jaipur and Agra comprise the Golden Triangle, and tours around them allow you to see some of the nation's most famous sights.
For the most part, tours of the Golden Triangle will begin in Delhi, the capital of India. The city is broadly divided into two main areas, Old Delhi and New Delhi, which can be easily discerned from their appearances and atmospheres. New Delhi, which was created by the British, has broad avenues, while Old Delhi has a more crowded feel and a vibrant, bustling ambience. So, the first thing to remember while you're here is that you should see a little bit of both places.
In New Delhi, one of the top sites to visit is the India Gate Memorial, which commemorates the lives of the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting the first world war. In Old Delhi, you should make an effort to visit Raj Ghat, another memorial, this time dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Jama Masjid, the nation's largest mosque, is also well worth a visit.
Departing Delhi, your next stop will typically be Jaipur. Often referred to as the Pink City due to the hue of its buildings, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is home to a great many famous sights, including historic palaces and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Among the top places to see is the Palace of the Winds, or Hawa Mahal. Instantly recognisable thanks to its striking honeycomb-like exterior, this palace's unusual facade allowed ladies of the palace to observe life at court without being seen themselves (known as remaining in purdah). While visiting Hawa Mahal, you should also explore the City Palace, which sits behind it.
If you do so, you'll have the chance to see its mix of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture, as well as explore one or two of its museums. On display are artefacts such as Rajput weaponry and ancient manuscripts, while you can also see some particularly impressive examples of silverware.
The final stop on your tour will be Agra. It is arguably most famous for being home to the Taj Mahal, and this is, undoubtedly, a place you will want to visit as soon as possible after arriving. Dating back to the 17th century, this mausoleum was built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, in memory of his wife Mumtaz.
The building is famous for its remarkable symmetry and beauty - something that has secured its position as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The grounds are also marvellous, and taking a stroll around them is an ideal way to admire this celebrated structure.
Not far from these gardens is another important site - the Agra Fort. Also known as the Red Fort of Agra, this citadel is entirely enclosed in walls that span some 2.5 km. Make your way inside and you'll be greeted by a fascinating complex, comprising palaces, stunning mosques and audience halls. This was once the imperial city of the Mughal emperors, and today it is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Agra.