This Fall, Santa Barbara Travel Advisor, Kathy Reimer, traveled to India for a ten day tour of India’s Golden Triangle –Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur– ending in Udaipur as a supplement. The itinerary through the Rajasthan area was smooth, with rich cultural experiences and beautiful accommodations in each city. Below, read highlights from Kathy’s trip, see photos, and travel tips for your India adventure.
Having arrived in Delhi in the early morning, a hotel reservation booked the night before arrival was a welcomed plan for the weary traveler who will want to relax after the long journey. There will likely be an opportunity for a short tour and some shopping, but the first day is well spent acclimating and resting by the pool.
Of course, you will be flying in to Delhi, but you’ll want to venture into New Delhi, the capital of India. From the President’s House to Qutub Minar built in 1193, to the modern Hindu Lakshminarayan Temple, the history and culture of the city is magnificent.
TRAVEL TIP: Travel outside the monsoon season, which tends to be July to September. Depending on where in India you are traveling, the timing can fluctuate.
We also visited Old Delhi, a walled city, and the capital of the Mughals. Visit the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi, and enjoy a Rikshaw ride at Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets of Old Delhi.
If your focus is the Golden Triangle, Agra will be a wonderful treat, and is home to the famous Taj Mahal. The trip from Delhi to Agra was a relatively comfortable four hour bus ride, and offers beautiful views along the way.
TRAVEL TIP: Take the sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal for beautiful morning light, cooler weather, and fewer people.
We stayed at the Trident Hotel in Agra which had lovely grounds and service, and is very close to the Taj Mahal. Of course, in the true nature of a travel advisor, I had to see The Oberoi Amarvilas, which is only 600 meters from the Taj Mahal. Staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas is highly recommended, as every suite offers wonderful views of the Taj Mahal.
The journey from Agra to Jaipur is about a 5 to 6 hour bus ride, but was broken up by cultural visits to the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned for over 400 years due to water deficiencies. In contrast to the drought-deserted city, Abhaneri is also along the journey to Jaipur, and is known for having “Baoris” which are stairwell-type designs invented to harvest rainwater.
TRAVEL TIP: Hiring a tour company is very helpful when traveling to multiple location in India. Your advisor can help find the best company and itinerary to match your travel style.
Jaipur has earned the epithet Pink City, as it was once painted pink to honor the arrival of King Edward VII in 1876, and many avenues have remained pink. On your drive from Jaipur to Udaipur, stop in Pushkar to shop the colorful bazaars and see the beautifully dressed camels.
Once you arrive in Udaipur enjoy the beautiful lake views and palaces lining Lake Pichola. I couldn’t recommend a visit to Oberoi Udaivilas more highly, if not a stay. Be sure to experience their wonderful restaurant for dinner and ask the chef to send an assortment of traditional Indian dishes, which will amaze you. The hotel was designed to look and feel like the royal palaces of India, a beautifully accomplished feat.
TRAVEL TIP: Reserve your hotel for the night before you arrive if your international flight arrives very early morning. Otherwise, the wait to check in time will seem like the longest part of your journey.
Travel Advisor, Ventura
Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
3140 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003