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The Tailor-Made Guide to India’s Golden Triangle

Updated: Mar 28

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

Author: Barry Pickard

Hi, I'm Barry, the owner of Tailor-Made Itineraries and I have been designing bespoke self-guided tours for adventurous and curious travellers since 2015. I am a history graduate with a passion for travel.


I created this blog to show, through my own adventures, how you can have an incredible travel experience as an independent traveller, giving you the information to navigate the world with confidence.


India’s Golden Triangle
Lodhi Gardens, Delhi

India's Golden TriangleDelhi, Agra, Jaipur – is a triumvirate of cities and popular tourist circuit. The Golden Triangle is adorned with royal legacy, vibrant culture, and breathtaking architecture. It beckons travellers with the promise of history etched in sandstone, the intoxicating aroma of spiced cuisine, and the kaleidoscope of life unfolding on bustling streets. If you’re an independent traveller who wants to explore India on your own terms, the Golden Triangle is an excellent place to start.

India’s Golden Triangle
Taj Mahal, Agra

In this blog post, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to travelling the Golden Triangle independently. I’ll cover everything from transportation and accommodation to food, sightseeing, and shopping. I’ll also give you tips on how to stay safe and respectful of local customs.

India’s Golden Triangle
Lotus Temple, Delhi

We'll navigate the intricate tapestry of traditions, unravelling the knots of history at Delhi's Red Fort, marvelling at the Taj Mahal's ethereal testament to love, and losing ourselves in the vibrant chaos of Jaipur's Pink City. No two journeys will be the same, for the Golden Triangle, like India itself, is a kaleidoscope of experiences, ever shifting and endlessly fascinating.

India’s Golden Triangle
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of the Golden Triangle appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the fascinating attractions of India’s Golden Triangle, or indeed, just those of Delhi, Agra or Jaipur.

Guide to India’s Golden Triangle

Best Time to Visit

Weatherwise, the best time to visit the cities of the Golden Triangle is from September to February, when the rains have finished, the land is lush and green, and the temperature is cooler. However, this is the most popular time to travel this route and attractions like the Taj Mahal get especially crowded at this time. I visited during August, when it was still very hot and humid, but if you can tolerate this, it can be a great time to explore the city without the hassles of too many tourists.

How Long Should You Stay in Each City

Delhi is the arrival point for many visitors, but most only spend a cursory amount of time in the city, before moving on to the likes of the Taj Mahal. However, this is such as shame, since Delhi is packed with interesting attractions and is full of history. You should aim to have at least two full days of sightseeing in Delhi, but in fairness, you could easily spend a week here and you wouldn’t run out of interesting places to visit.

The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort can be visited comfortably within a day, but to get the best out of Agra, aim to have two full days. Plenty could be included in a third day, but after that, attractions would be running thin in Agra.


Jaipur has much to see, with two days required to see its best attractions. If time is not of the essence, then an extra two days or more on top of that could easily be filled with the city’s fascinating attractions and experiences.


Depending on the transportation option you choose for getting between the cities, you should expect to take up to a day travelling between each city, especially if you want to stop off at places like Fatehpur Sikri.

Getting to the Cities

New Delhi:

By Air – There are extensive links within India and internationally, with six USA routes, two Canadian, two UK, as well as to Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and a number of other European, Middle East, SE Asian and Australian airports.


By Rail – The New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station and Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station connect Delhi to all major cities of the country.


By Road – Delhi is well-connected by a network of roads and national highways across the major cities of the country. Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Kashmiri Gate, Serai Kale-Khan Bus Terminals and Anand Vihar Bus Terminus are the main bus stands of Delhi. It takes approximately 4 hours by car to get to Agra and 5½ hour to Jaipur.



By Air – There is a small domestic airport just outside the city, with direct flights from six Indian cities, including Jaipur and Mumbai.


By Rail – Agra is well integrated into the extensive Indian rail network, and there are regular departures to and from Delhi.

By Road – Agra is connected via regular bus services to New Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Lucknow and Kanpur. It takes approximately 4½ hours by car to get to Jaipur.



By Air - Jaipur has regular flights to almost 30 Indian cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, and has an international connection with Dubai.


By Rail – There are trains from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Agra etc. There are also trains running between Jaipur and Udaipur, Bikaner and Jodhpur.


By Road – Jaipur can be reached via the extensive state and national highways of India. New Delhi is 260 km away. Buses, with AC and non-AC, operate from all major cities of Rajasthan.


Hire a Driver:

Hiring a driver is a more economical and personalised way of travelling the Golden Triangle than booking with a bus tour operator.

This is my own preferred mode of transport when travelling in India, and the Golden Triangle in particular. I used the excellent services of Vivek at Just To Travels to organise this for me – website & email.

Read on to discover the attractions of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.

Top Five Attractions in Delhi

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar is a 73-meter-tall minaret and victory tower that stands as a testament to the rich history and culture of Delhi. It is the tallest minaret in the world made of bricks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1199 and 1220 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, the minaret was originally intended to be a victory tower to commemorate his victory over the last Hindu ruler of Delhi.

Qutub Minar, Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Look out for the Iron Pillar of Delhi near the base of the minaret. This 7-meter-tall iron pillar dates back to the 4th century AD and is remarkable for its resistance to rust. The pillar is believed to have been made using a special technique that is now lost.

Red Fort

The Red Fort, also known as Lal Qila, was built between 1638 and 1648 as the new imperial residence of Shah Jahan. The fort was constructed of red sandstone and marble, and it is decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions. The fort is surrounded by a moat and has a high wall with 13 gates.

Red Fort, Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: There are also interesting museums within the fort, such as the Museum On 1857- India's First War of Independence and the Archaeological Museum, so you can easily spend half a day exploring this historic site. There is plenty to see!

Lotus Temple

The Lotus Temple is a Bahai House of Worship, and, as its name suggests, it is known for its unique lotus-shaped design. The temple was designed by Fariborz Sahba and built between 1978 and 1986. This stunning temple is made of white marble, and it is surrounded by a nine-pool complex.

Lotus Temple, Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: On the walk towards the temple, you will find a shoe depository, where you place your shoes into a bag, give to the attendant and then you will get handed your receipt.

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb was one of the first garden-tombs on the Indian subcontinent and is considered to be the precursor to the Taj Mahal. It was built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum. Construction began in 1565 and was completed in 1572. The tomb was designed by Persian architects chosen by her.

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Make sure to visit Isa Khan’s Tomb, which is on your right soon after you enter the complex and before you arrive at the main gateway to Humayun’s Tomb. Isa Khan’s Tomb is much smaller than Humayun’s, but I would argue that it is more appealing.

Lodhi Garden

Lodhi Garden is a sprawling 90-acre urban park located in the heart of New Delhi. It is home to several well-preserved tombs and monuments of the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties, which ruled over Delhi from the 15th to 16th centuries. The garden is also a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to enjoy a picnic, go for a walk, or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

Lodhi Garden, Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Surprisingly, the garden does not have a café, so maybe take a picnic if you are wanting to spend a few lazy hours enjoying Lodhi Garden.

Other Attractions in Delhi

Wander through Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi. Or discover the colourful murals of the Lodhi Arts District (LAD). For more culture, visit the National Museum which boasts a vast collection of over 200,000 artifacts. The India Gate is also a most impressive sight, being 42 meters high and was heavily influenced by the Arc de Triomphe.

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Top Five Attractions in Agra

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture, blending Islamic, Persian, and Indian styles. Its symmetrical design, intricate carvings, and delicate pietra dura work create a mesmerizing visual experience. The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1632 and employed over 20,000 artisans and labourers. The mausoleum was completed in 1643.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Aim to visit early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds and capture the best light for photography. The site opens 30-minutes before sunrise.

Taj Mahal Viewpoint ADA

Nestled across the Yamuna River from the iconic Taj Mahal, the viewpoint offers a breathtaking perspective of this architectural marvel. This location provides an unobstructed view of the Taj Mahal's grandeur, allowing visitors to capture the monument's beauty against the backdrop of the city and the river.

Taj Mahal Viewpoint ADA, Agra

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Similar to when visiting the Taj Mahal itself, aim to arrive for sunrise (the viewpoint is open from 6:00 am) or sunset.

Agra Fort

Construction of the Agra Fort began in 1565 under the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar, and it was completed in 1573. The fort served as the primary residence of the Mughal emperors until 1638, when the capital was shifted to Delhi. Over the years, the fort witnessed numerous historical events, from the coronation of Mughal emperors to the imprisonment of their rivals.

Agra Fort, Agra

Tailor-Made Top Tip: There are a number of beautiful buildings and palaces within the fort, and it is difficult to know how you should visit them, so as not to miss anything. I found that by starting at the Jahangir Palace, then working northwards, you should get the best experience.


On the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India, stands a gem of Mughal architecture, often referred to as the "Baby Taj" for its resemblance to its grander counterpart. Itmad-ud-Daulah, a mausoleum commissioned by Nur Jahan, the powerful wife of Mughal emperor Jahangir, is a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship and artistic sensibilities of the Mughal era.

Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Pay attention to the interiors of Itmad-ud-Daulah, which is a marvel of pietra dura, a technique of inlaying semi-precious stones into marble to create intricate patterns and designs.

Akbar's Tomb

On the outskirts of Agra amidst a lush green garden, lies the majestic tomb of Akbar, the third Mughal emperor. This grand monument, constructed in a unique blend of architectural styles, stands as a testament to the emperor's legacy and the artistic brilliance of the Mughal era. The construction of Akbar's Tomb commenced in 1605, under the reign of Akbar himself, and was completed in 1613.

The gate to Akbar's Tomb, Agra

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Akbar’s Tomb is housed in a vast site, so be prepared to spend a couple of hours here to enable you to see all the buildings.

Other Attractions in Agra

Visit the Gurudwara Guru Ka Taal, a sprawling centre of Sikh worship with historic artifacts, ornate architecture & gardens. For peaceful surrounds in the bustling city of Agra, stroll around the beautiful Persian influenced gardens of Mehtabh Bagh or Aram Bagh. Agra has many more impressive monument tombs that you can visit, such as the Tomb of Mariam-UZ-Zamani.

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Top Five Attractions in Jaipur

Amber Palace 

The Amber Palace was commissioned by Man Singh I, the general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, in the late 16th century, and is a mesmerizing blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Its sandstone and marble walls gleam under the warm Indian sun. The fort complex is divided into four courtyards, each with its own unique architectural features.

Amber Palace, Jaipur

Tailor-Made Top Tip: If you are feeling adventurous, you can ascend the hill to the palace on one of the elephants that ply their trade up and down the path. Quite a memorable experience.

Jaigarh Fort 

Sitting imperiously above the Amber Palace, with views stretching out over the city of Jaipur, lies Jaigarh Fort, an imposing defence, with architectural brilliance. Built in the early 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II, this formidable fortress served as a strategic stronghold outpost for the Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur.


Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur

Tailor-Made Top Tip: There is a once-secret open-air passageway that winds its way up from the palace to the outer defences of the fort. Take this path for an interesting journey to the fort. 

Hawa Mahal

Standing gracefully amidst the bustling Pink City, the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of Winds," is a mesmerising five-story structure that stands out for its unique honeycomb-like façade and intricate latticework. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal served as an extension to the royal City Palace, allowing the royal ladies to observe street processions and festivities without being seen from outside. Its unique design also allowed for natural ventilation, keeping the palace cool during the hot summer months.


Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Tailor-Made Top Tip: The best way to see and appreciate the Hawa Mahal, is by having a meal on the Tattoo Café and Lounge terrace. The café is situated directly across the road from the façade of the awesome structure.

The City Palace

The City Palace stands in the heart of the vibrant "Pink City." This grand palace complex, built between 1729 and 1732 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, served as the seat of the Kachwaha rulers of Jaipur until the early 20th century.

City Palace, Jaipur

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Take note of the beautiful gateways that line the Pritam Niwas courtyard.