My trip to India’s Golden Triangle in September was probably one of the best work trips I have ever taken.
On arrival into hot and buzzing Delhi, my group was introduced to the driver that would accompany us for the week. By the end of our trip we thought he must be the best driver in India for managing to navigate us through the chaotic streets –it’s not unusual to come across a herd of cows casually lying in the middle of a dual carriageway, or to see a family of five, all on one moped, whizzing past you! We stayed in the centre of the city in a great location for exploring and I couldn’t wait to get out and sightsee. Whilst in Delhi we visited Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is said to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal. We visited Chandni Chowk in a cycle rickshaw which was absolutely amazing seeing how people live and shop in the narrow lanes. We also saw New Delhi which has beautiful architecture and visited the India Gate and symbolizes the sacrifice of Indian soldiers in both world wars.
Next it was off to Agra where we visited the iconic Taj Mahal and it didn’t disappoint! It really is one of those images you see so much but when it’s right in front of you, it’s truly surreal and was really breathtaking. Western tourists are very much in the minority here but the bonus is there are lots of locals dressed in their best saris which make the place come to life with colour.
Jaipur was a real highlight and my favourite place in the Golden Triangle. I loved our trip to the Amber Fort where traditionally painted elephants carried up us up to the top. On our way back we also stopped off to view the palace on the lake and visit the Royal Observatory!
While visiting Jaipur we were based at the Samode Palace (Google it!), an 16th Century former Maharaja’s residence – this was a haven of tranquillity in the countryside and a “must do” for anyone lucky enough to visit this area of India. The town of Samode is almost medieval with the streets shared between traders selling everything from food, clothing, spices, tools etc and pigs,cows and goats.
India was hectic, noisy, dirty and absolutely beautiful all at once. It offers a unique experience that really throws you and it’s hard to quickly forget the unbelievably contrasting sights that you will see. I felt really welcome and got to enjoy an insider’s view of the country and experience the best that Indian culture has to offer in the Golden Triangle.