It was more out of curiosity that we set out to explore the Golden Triangle cities because when they were first recommended a thought that crossed our minds was, "What's so golden about these cities?" So set out we did and were we in for one of the most pleasant and satisfying of journeys that any traveler can take on. Of course, the prospect of being in India, a country known for its splendor, thrills, hospitality and a fair share of misadventures (for the non-cautious) is in itself overwhelming. Add to that a dash of mystery, a pinch of adventure and a touch of exploration and you've signed up for a memorable holiday.
Our journey started at New Delhi, India's capital and the nucleus city of all Golden Triangle tours. It couldn't have been a better start or a greater precursor to the tour. Delhi is a comfortable city, especially for first-timers to India. For those of us who are wary of hitching an elephant ride from the airport to our hotels or running into snake charmers and fakirs, New Delhi is quite an eye-opener and an exact opposite of our pre-conceived notion of India.
The city's comfort with modernity is very obvious. From good transportation to clean roads to a population that appears at ease with foreigners, New Delhi is indeed worthy of being India's capital. But what's the most mesmerizing of its features is how easily the city blends the old and new. When you see buses and cars whizzing past the Red Fort or the Qutub Minar jutting right behind some modern high-rises, what strikes you is the beauty with which Delhi has preserved its glorious past while simultaneously accommodating the new. Neither the new facades and edifices nor the historical ramparts and ruins look out of place. And that's not all; the goldenness of Delhi gets transferred to its cuisine.
Out next stop was Agra where we realized how the hype about the Taj Mahal was understated. The Taj is surreally beautiful. Love and melancholy emanate from every stone, every carving and it's as if the monument speaks to you. You need a complete day to do justice to the Taj. Agra also plays host to a few more wonders such as the Fatehpur Sikri and the Red Fort which may not be among the seven wonders but are good rivals for the Taj.
A trip to Jaipur is what completes a typical Golden Triangle Tour and my, what a way to complete any journey! The sheer contrast between the landscapes and sights of Agra and Jaipur is itself breathtaking. The crowned heads of Rajasthan have left behind such wonders that you can't but envy them. Fortunately, its one place in India where you get to experience royalty just the way the royals did. From being serenaded to pampered to indulged, you'll only be the greediest person alive to ask for more! In addition to being just what a tourist wants Jaipur throws in a few extras such as wildlife sanctuaries, desert safaris and the works.
So it's safe to say we discovered the goldenness in the golden triangle cities. In fact, it was rather obvious from the day the journey started!