India is a country with many treasures. Amongst them is the Taj Mahal, located in the small city of Agra. Its construction was commissioned in memory of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife in the mid-1600s and is considered one of the wonders of the world. The city of Agra is one of three that form what is known as India’s Golden Triangle. The other two cities that form the Triangle are Delhi (sometimes called New Delhi) and Jaipur. Most visitors to the region take a high speed train from the bustling regional capital of Delhi, with a population of over 18 million, to capture stunning views of the Taj Mahal and it predecessor, the Baby Taj. If you are lucky enough to make your visit at night, the view of the majestic mausoleum by moonlight is nothing short of incredible.
Taj Mahal is hauntingly beautiful in the moonlight
Tourists often hope to see a Bengal tiger on their India adventure
If wildlife is more your speed, Ranthambore National Park is a popular destination located just outside of Delhi. Visitors of the park can immerse themselves in the natural beauty and wildlife from the comfort of a jeep. The park opens up different zones on select days so as not to scare it inhabitants, which include deer, buffalo and the solitary and mysterious Bengal tiger.
Jaipur is home to the “Monkey Temple”, otherwise known as Galtaji. As the name suggests, the temple is inhabited by monkeys. It’s a sight to see, but not one worth touching, given that many of these primates are quite aggressive and sometimes rabid.
The Monkey Temple in Jaipur
On your trip to India, you will want to consider hiring a driver. Given the complex highway system and chaotic driving, it’s probably best to leave this job to a professional. And let go of any illusions about cheeseburgers during your trip. It is common to see cows walking through the streets, but they are not for consumption. These animals are considered sacred and your driver will avoid hitting them at all costs. If these warnings are not enough to keep you from driving in India, then the lack of streetlights certainly will. Most drivers are lucky enough to see just beyond their headlights!
Photo Credit: David Hansen
Pollution is a big problem, especially in Delhi. The farmers burn their crops in order to get the fields ready for the next year, so allergies can start acting up if you aren’t accustomed to this environment.
But don’t let this scare you away from visiting the Golden Triangle, especially in December, which is considered wedding season. During this month, there’s at least one every day, and these are not your typical weddings. They last for many days and have numerous dramatic elements, including colorful traditional garbs, grooms riding in on horses, and artists drawing henna tattoos on guests. The festivities are filled with copious amounts of food and dancing - but no alcohol!
Photo Credit: David Hansen
Most of the food served is vegetarian cuisine, but they do have non-vegetarian options. Make sure you are well rested for the day, because final ceremonies begin at around 1:00 AM and can last for 3-4 hours!
Have you been to the Golden Triangle? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below and happy travels!
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