If you haven’t been to an Indian wedding, then you are missing out big time. We experienced a festive and sumptuous 3-day wedding of our friend in Kolkata before our golden triangle tour of India.
Didn’t have too much time for sightseeing in Kolkata due to all the wedding activists. Victoria Memorial was a relic from the colonial period under the Britain Raj.
We planned a packed day of sightseeing in Delhi: Airport - Quran minar - Bhai house of worship - Humayun’s tomb - Rajghat - Jama masjid - Redfort - hotel. Unfortunately some of us got food poisoned so ended up spending the whole day resting at our hotel. Seriously do not eat anything raw or drink from anything other than western-brand bottle water.
Took a few random street shots here and there. Our overall impression of Delhi was pretty poor.
The best way to see the "golden triangle" is to hire a car with local driver. Don’t just rent a car and drive yourself. There are no defined lanes on the streets of India. And you had to constantly manouver around rickshaws, people, cows, goats, and monkeys in the middle of streets.
Depends on the comfort level of the car, it typically costs $50-100 per day to hire a car + driver. We got ours from indianprivatedriver.com and our driver, Chaman, was really awesome!
Taj Mahal was really impressive in person. The love story behind it was also very inspiring. However, its opulent structure and ornate design present such a contrast with the proverty spotted throughout this country.
Visitor have to take off shoes to go inside. If you don’t want to run the risk of shoes being stolen, you can also buy shoe covers there.
We encountered a lot of beggars throughout our trip in India. But it got even worse outside the Agra Fort. We were chased by a group of child beggars. If you give money to one, ten more would come after. Even when we returned to our car, we had to lock the doors and fully close all the windows. They were so aggressive that they sourrounded our car and kept banging at the windows. We would have been really scared if we hadn’t been with our local driver.
This was probably our favorite experience on the whole tour - riding up Amber Fort on the back of elephants.
A must-see in Jaipur! The palace consists of grand halls, lush gardens, and several open courtyards. The structures have beautiful designs both on the inside and outside. Views are amazing too as the palace sits on top of a hill.
After staying at very western hotels in Kolkata and Delhi, we chose to have a different experience in Jaipur. This hotel is run by a retired Indian admiral in his own residence so it’s more like a B&B. We had a very comfortable stay and felt connected with the local culture through the admiral and his staff.
One interesting thing was on our day of departure, we wanted to take a photo with the admiral and invited our driver, Chaman, to join us too. Chaman insisted on taking the photo for us instead of joining us. He told us afterwards that the old class system in India is still prevalent today and he thought it would be disrespectful for him to appear in the same photos with the admiral, who was two classes above him. We were shocked and sad to hear such an archaic system still has this kind of impact in the 21st century.
Our schedule was more relaxed in Jaipur. We enjoyed walking around and capturing moments of daily life of the local people.