Delhi, Agra & Jaipur: India's Golden Triangle

Trip Start Dec 16, 2012
Trip End Mar 18, 2013

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wow.  We have been in India for only a week, and it has been spectacular!  This is Jessie here, filling you in on our ‘Golden Triangle Tour’ of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. 

We flew through the night from Greece, and spent the flight reading up on do’s and don’ts of India.  We read a lot that made us both excited and nervous, and still weren’t sure what to expect upon arrival.  We read a lot about taxi and rickshaw drivers charging way too much for tourists, and not actually taking them to the desired destination.  We figured that finding a legit taxi to take us from the airport to our hotel would be our first big challenge, but it was much easier than we thought.  Our first hotel was a bit drab, but it turns out that it was the only time in the last week that I have actually felt like I was in a 3rd world country.  Coming to India, I expected to feel the impacts of poverty, and I have been excited for that change in lifestyle and culture shock.  Unfortunately, in signing up for this guided tour, we have been quite separated from the real world of India.  Not to say that we haven’t seen the poverty (hectic roads, honking cars, stray animals, cows blocking the roads, people bathing on the streets, and lots of street food vendors) but we simply haven’t been a part of it. I realize that this is definitely a good thing, as we would be nervous, unsure and unsafe ifwe started the trip by exploring on our own, especially in the hectic and crazy city of Delhi. The tour has been amazing and definitely the safest way to travel for 2 young women, but as I mentioned, it has also separated us from the ‘real’ experience that we have been looking forward to. I think in order to find that experience we would have to be living or volunteering here for quite some time, because no matter what we do we will be treated differently because we are white. We no doubt did the right thing by taking this tour, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely!  None-the-less, while we were happy to play the role of the rich white tourists, we’re excited to be back to
being simple back-packers again for the rest of our stay in India.

I don’t mean to sound like the tour was a bad choice, because it was definitely the best option for us for safety reasons, so we’re really glad that we did it this way, and I would suggest it to any other first time travelers to India.  We got to see many historical and beautiful monuments in 3 different Indian cities, and didn’t have to worry about travel scams and our own safety. After a month of navigating ourselves through Europe, It has been quite a luxury not have to worry about directions and figuring out where to go every day.  Our tour started in Delhi, where we met our wonderful driver Laxman, who was with us for the duration of our tour.  We met a guide in
Delhi, who showed us different monuments in both Old and New Delhi.  These included the largest mosque in India, a bike rickshaw ride through the busy central street market, Chawri Bazar, and the cremation place of Mahatma Gandhi. In the afternoon we also saw the India Gate, important government buildings and the tallest minaret in Delhi, known as the Victory Pillar.

The next morning we drove to Agra, where we had only the afternoon to see the amazing Taj Majal and the Agra Fort.  Both of these were absolutely breath-taking, and I hope the pictures will do them justice. Agra is also where we had our favorite guide, Sanjay, who treated us like real people rather than tourists. While other guides brought us to expensive shops that were way out of our price range, he brought us to an affordable local shop where we got to buy Indian tea, spices and clothes, such as the traditional outfits Salwar Kameez that we had been wanting!  The next morning in Agra, we did a bit more sight-seeing which was lovely because it was so early in the morning, so there were no other tourists to be seen. 

Our next stop was Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, also known as the Pink City.  All the buildings are painted pink with natural dyes every 5 years to keep up with the famous name.  We spent the afternoon seeing the grand City Palace and the astronomical observatory, which is the home of the largest sundial in the world!  While this was all wonderful, our next day in Jaipur was really one to remember.  We went to the Amber Fort, and ascended the hill leading up to the Fort by elephant! Neither of us had ever ridden an elephant before, and we were shocked by how much we were tossed around, and it was so much fun!  We were sad when the elephant ride ended, because it also marked the end of our Jaipur trip, and Jaipur was our favorite of the three cities on the tour.  The drive back from Jaipur to Delhi took about 6 hours, and was on an extremely busy truck route.  This made for a bumpy but interesting ride, where we saw many small towns and markets on the way. 

Tomorrow we leave for Goa, and we are very excited to be on our own again.  Goa is on the Western Coast of India, and is famous for its long beaches and beautiful winter weather.  It’s supposed to be 90 and sunny every day! We are really looking forward to seeing an entirely different part of India, and will write again soon to tell you all about it!

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Mom fo Robyn on

Spectacular pictures, what gorgeous colors and the 2 beautiful girls wearing native clothing.

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