taj-mahal-india

My India Golden Triangle tour with Uniworld

Day 1: Arriving in New Delhi

We are here in bustling New Delhi for the beginning of a bucket-list India Golden Triangle adventure *multiple dates available*. After a quick grab of our cases, we were greeted by our Uniworld cruise manager and tour guide; introductions were made, and we were off to the coach. The 45-minute drive flew by as we were provided with a wealth of new knowledge of India and New Delhi. But suddenly there she was, the Oberoi New Delhi shining in the sun... our home for the night. A spacious room provides everything we could need with ample space for all our luggage. A quick lunch and freshen up later and we were off to explore.

the-oberoi-new-delhi-hotel-india

Top tip: Bring a swimsuit as you do not want to miss out on these pools! 

The first stop was Humayun’s Tomb, which helped to inspire the famous Taj Mahal. Built by one of the Mogul emperors, it is an impressive structure and well worth the visit. Next up, a beautiful memorial garden that pays tribute to some of India's most beloved figures including Mahatma Gandhi. Once inside we visited his plaque on the very point where he was cremated.

Top tip: To get up close to Gandhi's plaque, you will have to be barefoot.

Before reaching our home for the evening meal and a much-needed sleep the coach stops on what is one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip; a tuk-tuk ride through the beating heart of the New Delhi streets. Weaving in and out of traffic, there are stalls everywhere filled to the brim selling their wares; a complete sensory experience. It's the perfect immersive excursion that opens the eyes to the real Indian way of life and I could not stop the excitement buzzing through me in anticipation for the rest of the trip.

tuk-tuk-ride-in-new-delhi-streets

Day 2: Taj Mahal

An early morning beckons on Day 2,  and we say a fond farewell to Delhi and set off to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal. The coach takes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes, but there is a comfort stop and the tour guide does such an amazing job explaining the rest of the day's schedule that the time flies by. Before we knew it, we were basking in the Indian sun, soaking up the Oberoi Amarvilas in all its glory. This hotel has Taj Mahal-facing rooms, and yes that is how close we were to one of the seven wonders. We could view it from the comfort of our beautiful room, again equipped with everything we needed.

the-oberoi-amarvilas-hotel-agra-india

Remember I said bring your swimsuit? Well, you will need it here, as the vibrant blue waters beckon you for a dip in the serene quiet with the Taj in the distance. It truly is a little slice of paradise, and, I have to say, my personal favourite of the three hotels.

With a hotel so close to the site, a coach is not needed. Still, Uniworld and the Oberoi set luxury and guest comfort above all. Rather than a 10-minute walk, a charted golf buggy dropped us straight to the entrance where tickets have already been prepared well in advance. What follows next is a whirlwind of awe-inspiring craftsmanship as we gaze at a 400-year declaration of love. The sun set whilst we were serenaded with insightful information by the guide. Not only did we get to go inside, but we had plenty of free time to explore the grounds to our heart's content.

the-taj-mahal-india

Top tip: You will visit again at sunrise, so I would save the most popular areas such as Diana's seat until then!

Day 3: Travelling to Jaipur

Day 3 dawns early as we head back to the Taj for a sunrise photoshoot. I 100% recommend doing this. I know getting up early is not everyone's cup of tea, but not doing this is a huge missed opportunity. As sunrise breaches the horizon, there are so few people around that it almost feels exclusive just for Uniworld guests, allowing us to truly take all of its majesty in. It provides a truly perfect photo-taking opportunity whilst there is hardly anyone there. Those keen on photography will no doubt enjoy the lighting the morning brings.

panache-team-and-the-taj-mahal-india

Now this may not sound appealing, however a large chunk of Day 3 is spent travelling to Jaipur by coach. It’s approximately five hours away. Although it sounds daunting, most people slept the journey away after such an early start.

Halfway through, we disembarked the coach to experience an Indian extravaganza. It truly was a treat as we followed traditional dancers in full dress with flowers, music and even a red carpet! Lunch followed, before we were heading off once again to Jaipur.

Weaving through traffic we took a turn and entered our final hotel of the trip: Oberoi Rajvilas. Ranked in the top fifty hotels in the world, it's not hard to see why. Towering fountains, intricately carved elephant statues, flowers everywhere and even peacocks roaming free. Yes you read that correctly! Peacocks and an amalgamation of other wildlife roam free, allowing us to get up close and personal. 

indian-extravaganza

Top tip: These are still wild animals so be careful to not get too close.

The evening is yours to enjoy before a wonderful meal enhanced by some truly mesmerising performances.

Day 4: Exploring Jaipur

Another early morning as the Jaipur adventure awaited. First, Amber. No relation to the stone but rather a homage to the yellow-walled fortress atop the hill. As the coach did not reach that far up, Jeeps transported us the rest of the way. Enclosed within the fortress, it is hard not to marvel at the sheer scale and grandeur of this magnificent structure that carries so much history. 

Top tip: Bring your camera, as there are some great photo opportunities, including of the city below.

One Jeep ride later, we hopped on the coach briefly before disembarking at the Jantar Mantar Observatory. If you are into astrology and horoscopes, then this is the place for you. The largest sundial in the world finds its home here alongside statues of each star sign, so do not forget to get a photo with your own. I am a Virgo if anyone's wondering!

jantar-mantar-observatory-jaipur-india

Top tip: there are very few shady areas here so make sure to bring a hat.

Regrouping after some free time, we crossed on foot to the City Palace Jaipur and an interesting palace structure filled with interesting information on the maharajas and maharanis of India. Part of the palace is still off limits to the public, as the current maharaja and his family still reside there.

Back at the hotel, we take the chance to let the world go by as we relax by the pool before a late afternoon excursion to the bazaar. Whilst optional, I highly recommend you go. It only lasts for one hour and allows you to experience an authentic Indian way of life.

Top tip: Rupees can be bought at the airport in New Delhi or at the hotel.

India Golden Triangle overall? It is controlled chaos, loud, bright and constantly moving, and yet everyone has their place and knows exactly what to do, it all works so seamlessly. Take the chance to get your hands on some truly gorgeous local fashion. Many of our group wore their new purchases to dinner and whilst I am no fashion expert, everyone looked amazing in their outfits!

On your last night in Rajvilas, I suggest taking a walk by the pool and see if you can spot Lucky. He is a puppeteer who puts on a fabulous five minute puppet show that is guaranteed to get you smiling. Afterwards, you can browse his handmade puppets and ornaments to see if anything takes your fancy. If not, then head off to bed as the earliest start of them all awaits…

To be continued...


If this looks like a journey you want to experience, India's Golden Triangle is featured in our Iconic Collection. Take a look here!

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