Your 6-day private Golden Triangle tour of India includes four fantastic cities with a private guide, who will shed light on the cultural influences and architectural styles of each palace, monument and fortress you visit. With pickup and drop-off at the Delhi International Airport or your Delhi hotel, enjoy convenient transportation by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an English-speaking driver.
Choose 3-, 4- or 5-star accommodation including breakfast plus optional upgrades for lunch or dinner at your hotel. If you choose to eat on your own, your guide will recommend local restaurants and your driver can transfer you there at midday or during the dinner hour. (Simply give your guide one day’s notice if you plan to change your meal itinerary from day to day.)
Day 1: Delhi
Begin your half-day sightseeing tour of Delhi with pickup at your hotel or Delhi International Airport. Your driver will transfer you by private, air-conditioned vehicle to your accommodation to check in. After lunch, meet your private guide for your tour of some of the city’s top cultural landmarks.
On the drive to Jama Masjid, one of the biggest mosques in the world and India’s largest, your guide will point out the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk Bazaar and Khari Baoli spice market. When you reach the mosque, built by Shah Jahan to overlook Dehli, get out to explore the interior with your guide. View an antique copy of the Qur’an and other historical relics before heading to Raj Ghat – a memorial built to honor the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
Next, visit India’s highest minaret, Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site constructed with marble red and sandstone. See its inscriptions with verses from the Qur’an, and then stop at UNESCO World Heritage-listed Humayun’s Tomb – the burial place of the 16th-century Mughal emperor.
Hop back in your private vehicle and drive along Rajpath (King's Way), passing under India Gate, a tall stone archway built as a memorial to Indian soldiers who died in World War I. Take this official boulevard toward the Indian presidential state of Rashtrapati Bhavan as your guide shares interesting commentary along the way.
Overnight: 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel in Delhi
Day 2: Delhi – Agra
After breakfast at your hotel, your guide will take you by private vehicle on a four-hour drive to Agra for more sightseeing in the afternoon. Once you’ve settled in at your hotel, enjoy lunch and then head out to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
Taking 20 years to complete in the mid-17th century, the domed mausoleum was commissioned by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. This impressive structure, constructed of white marble, is considered one of the most extravagant monuments ever built for love. Your guide will discuss this exemplar of Mughal architecture – a style borrowed from many traditions including Islamic, Turkish and India – and share knowledge about its Persian designer.
Afterward, learn about the intricate design of the 16th-century Agra Fort, which combines both Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar on the banks of the Yamuna River, the fort is constructed of red sandstone. Walk around the complex to see the beautifully designed rooms like the Diwan-I-Am (public audience hall) and the Diwan-I-Khas (private audience hall), added by Shah Jahan.
The last stop on your Agra tour is the Tomb of Itmad-ud-daulah, built between 1622 and 1628 by Empress Nur Jahan for her father. The mausoleum, situated on the opposite bank of the Yamuna from the Taj Mahal, is more commonly known as the Baby Taj and is often described as a jewel box. Admire the trelliswork and precious stone inlay as you listen to your guide’s commentary and learn about the strong Persian influence on the tomb’s design – the first in India entirely made out of marble.
Overnight: 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel in Agra
Day 3: Agra – Jaipur
Taking an approximate five-hour drive to Jaipur after breakfast, stop along the way at the red sandstone compound of Fatehpur Sikri. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 1569 by Emperor Akbar, was abandoned 15 years later due to water scarcity. Your guide will enlighten you about the Hindu and Muslim architectural styles as you walk within the walled complex, visiting Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chishti Chisti, Panch Mahal and other buildings.
Afterward, check in at your hotel upon arrival in Jaipur, and enjoy your evening at leisure. If you’d like to stroll the local market, your driver will transfer you there and back, unaccompanied by your guide.
Overnight: 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel in Jaipur
Day 4: Jaipur
Start your day in Jaipur with a guided exploration of Amber Fort after breakfast. Enjoy the unique experience of riding atop an elephant outfitted with traditional Indian draperies, as you climb up to Amber Fort. When you reach the 16th century hilltop palace, explore on foot and admire breathtaking views of Maota Lake. Learn about the palace’s ornate design and Rajput architectural elements from your guide as you tour the fortress.
After lunch, enjoy an afternoon city tour of bustling Jaipur, a metropolis whose origins can be traced back to the reign of Jai Singh II in the18th century. Your guide will accompany you to Jaipur’s top attractions, starting with the fine collection of textiles, costumes and armor at the City Palace.
Next, visit the beautiful Palace of the Winds -- Hawa Mahal -- built to resemble the crown of the Hindu god, Krishna. Finally, view the stargazing observatory of Jantar Mantar, built by the renowned astronomer, Maharaja Jai Singh. Your guide will help you appreciate this city’s historical charm as you tour the magnificent palaces, temples and lush gardens. Admire the pink plastered stone that gives Jaipur its popular name -- “Pink City” -- before heading back to your hotel.
Overnight: 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel in Jaipur
Day 5: Jaipur – Mandawa
After breakfast at your hotel, embark on an approximate four-hour drive to Mandawa, a busy market town fortified in the 18th century by wealthy merchant families of Rajasthan. These businessmen constructed the havelis and baolis (stepwells), and commissioned artists to paint the building walls with their elaborate designs.
After you check in to your hotel, your guide will take you to visit around 20 to 25 havelis, remarking on the cultural splendor of this bygone era. At mansions like jhunjhunwala haveli and hanuman prasad goenka haveli, learn about what happened to these architectural wonders after their owners abandoned them to obscurity, and admire the extravagance as you explore each complex.
Then, head to 18th-century Mandawa Fort, and enjoy a sense of discovery at every turn. See battlements with spectacular views of the town below, a whimsical weather vane in the design of a peacock, and an arched window that overlooks a lush garden visited by the showy birds.
As you explore the palace, your guide will point out that no two rooms are alike. In the women's quarters, find antique murals in one room and a marble fountain in another. Look out the window of the turret room with its seven-foot (two-meter) thick walls, and imagine the marauding bandits that once roamed freely.
Overnight: 3-, 4- or 5-star hotel in Mandawa
Day 6: Mandawa – Delhi
Following breakfast at your hotel, your morning is free for sightseeing. Your driver will be on hand to drive you to wherever you would like to go within Mandawa, unaccompanied by your guide. Then, in the afternoon, you’ll be taken back to Delhi (an approximate six-hour drive) and directly transferred to the airport to board your flight for your onward destination.
The following hotels (or similar) will be used in each city:
- 3-star: Madhuban Peppermint or Grand Sartaj
- 4-star: The Royal Plaza or Country Inn & Suites
- 5-star: Hilton Garden Inn or ITC Sheraton
- 3-star: Rajmahal or Amar Hotel
- 4-star: Clarks Shiraz or Four point by Sheraton
- 5-star: Radisson Blu Hotel or Trident Agra
- 3-star: Redfox Hotel or Holiday Inn
- 4-star: Fortune Metropolitan or Ramada Jaipur
- 5-star: ITC Rajputana or Trident Jaipur
- 3-star: Surajgarh Fort or Heritage Mandawa
- 4-star: Desert N Dunes or Udai Vilas Palace
- 5-star: Vivaana Culture Hotel or Castle Mandawa