The splendour and variety of India’s Golden Triangle

This was published by Global Travel Media in May 2018.

Len Rutledge: “I am sitting in front of the Taj Mahal absorbing the magic of the world’s most beautiful building. India’s crowds, chaos and poverty are temporarily relegated to the back of my mind as I let this piece of paradise into my soul”.

India is a country of enormous contrasts where poverty sits beside wealth, beauty intermingles with filth, and structure and chaos compete for supremacy. It will dazzle all your senses and cause you heart-ache at the same time.

It can be challenging and charming, overwhelming and stunningly beautiful. The eager friendliness of the people is endearing, and the food is unforgettable but there is likely to be unexpected glitches no matter how much you plan.

India is a large country and the one with the second largest population in the world. It really is many countries all rolled into one. If you lay a map of India over a map of Europe you will see that it covers the area from Scandinavia to North Africa and from Spain to Russia. It is one of the world’s oldest living civilizations yet the present nation-state is just over 70 years old.

Jaipur Hawa Mahal

Just like Australia, it is difficult to see the whole country in one visit. That is why my wife and I restricted ourselves to a part of north-west India, known better as the Extended Golden Triangle, on our recent visit. There were many highlights.

Delhi, India’s capital, is dotted with mosques, forts, and monuments left over from the Mughal rulers that once occupied the city but there are also some more modern temples and other buildings. The contrast between rambling Old Delhi and well planned New Delhi is immense, and it’s interesting to spend time exploring both.

Udaipur, in Rajasthan, is sometimes called the most romantic city in India because of its famed lakes and palaces. The City Palace complex, the architecturally splendid Bagore Ki Haveli, and Lake Pichola with its beautiful Lake Palace Hotel are just some of the ‘must-see’ sights. We loved it.

New Delhi Qutb Minar

Jodhpur is famous for its blue buildings and for the unusual pants worn by a polo team when visiting England in 1897. The impregnable Mehrangarh Fort, which rises above the city, is one of the largest forts in India.

Also here is the magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the last great palaces to be built in India. The royal family of Jodhpur still occupies a section of it but most has been converted into a luxury hotel. Nearby Mandore was the capital of the Marwar region before Jodhpur was founded.

Pushkar is a sleepy little holy town that attracts a lot of backpackers and hippie types and is one of the most visited pilgrimage places in India. Surrounding by hills on three sides, Pushkar abounds in temples and is centred on the lake which has mythological importance.

 Puskar

Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan’s most famous festival, is held here late October or early November depending on the moon and it attracts 200,000 visitors from around the world.

India’s desert capital of Jaipur, known as the Pink City because of the pink walls and buildings of the old city, lures visitors with its stunning ancient palaces and forts. It is an excellent place to shop for gemstones, silver jewellery, bangles, clothes, blue pottery, and textiles.

Nearby Amber Fort is set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake and it is accessed on the back of elephants. It was the original home of Rajput royalty until Jaipur city was constructed and it is now a much-enjoyed attraction.

There are quite a few worthwhile places to visit in Agra and around, apart from India’s most famous monument — the Tāj Mahal. The many interesting remnants of the Mughal era will surprise you and the crazy, congested bazaars of the Old City will fascinate you.

Udipur Lake and City

Don’t miss a visit to majestic Agra Fort, Mehtab Bagh known as the Moonlight Garden, and the tomb of Itimād-ud-Daula or ‘Little Tāj’.

Indian food is widely perceived as being predominantly vegetarian but in fact less than half of the Indian population is vegetarian. In the past, the abstinence from meat eating has often been an economic consideration because many people could not afford meat.

As India improves economically, the consumption of meat is increasing and the variety of cuisines available to the visitor has sky-rocketed. We were delighted with much of the local food and with the people who cooked and served it.

The Golden Triangle region has accommodation costing from $18,000 (no this is not a misprint) to $2 per night. Naturally, the quality and experience varies widely. We generally used economical 3-star accommodation and were happy wherever we went.

India has some of the best and most expensive hotel rooms in the world and the facilities and service are virtually unmatched anywhere. On a couple of nights we lived like royalty at reasonable cost in restored palaces that are now hotels. That experience will long be remembered.

Words: Len Rutledge    Pictures: Phensri Rutledge

www.LenRutledge

Len is the author of Experience India’s Golden Triangle 2018 available as an ebook or paperback from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B078H9VPJB

All books now available

This is just a reminder that the eight 2016 editions of Experience Guides are available as e-books and paperbacks. Probably the easiest way to find them is to go to www.amazon.com then type Len Rutledge into the search bar. All the books in both formats should then appear. Amazon allows about 10% of the book to be read free for those who are interested.

Experience Guides books pics

Four more Experience Guide titles available in 2016 editions

Experience Istanbul, Experience India’s Golden Triangle, Experience Ireland and Experience Singapore are all now available in new 2016 editions. Each has been extensively rewritten with additional information, maps and images to make them better than ever. Each is available as an e-book from amazon.com at a cost of US$4.95.

Go to amazon.com, type len rutledge in the search box, and the whole range of Experience Guides will come up. Please take a look.

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Experience India’s Golden Triangle

The eigth book in the Experience Guide series has just been published. Experience India’s Golden Triangle is designed to be read in the same way as a novel. It is a valuable resource for those planning to visit the most popular area of India, a source of information for those just interested in finding out more about this region, and a pleasure for those armchair travellers who just enjoy a good read.

It follows a visit that my wife and I made to the Golden Triangle in November/December 2014. This makes the information absolutely current and it contradicts some other guide books which contain out-of-day information.

We capture the personality and the underlying cultural and historical significance of the region. We explore the wonderful temples, mosques, forts and museums, and recommend things to buy, eat and experience. In the process we meet friendly, helpful people, buy fascinating handicrafts, try tantalizing cuisine, and enjoy charming hospitality.

For those interested in reading more this link will allow you to preview the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9KR1I6

book cover