Explore India's Golden Triangle With The Experts At Scott Dunn
We've teamed up with Scott Dunn, specialists in tailor-made holidays, to bring you a tantalising insight into the travel destinations that inspire our collections. As the first in a series of guest posts for MV Escapes, Scott Dunn's Daniel Smith shares his travel diary and tips for exploring India's Golden Triangle - the three cities of New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.
A natural starting point for any holiday to North India is New Delhi - India's compelling capital. There is no city quite like it, from its medieval back alleys, best explored on a cycle rickshaw, to its colonial grandeur.
This was my eighth trip to this addictive country and I was surprised how much Delhi has developed since my last visit in 2009. New Delhi, with its wide boulevards, contrasts wonderfully with Old Delhi which is inherently Indian. My expert guide, Manjeet, led me through a maze of backstreets, where children dodged men as they wobbled on bicycles and a cow blocked the way of a man pulling a cart full of ripe lemons.
Lunch was taken at Saravana Bhavan, a popular South Indian restaurant on Connaught Place; simple, delicious cuisine and in a location where a growing number of fast-food chains was obvious - it was worth it. Also a visit to the Indian Coffee House is a must; open since 1957, you will feel transported back in time.
I waved good bye to Manjeet. An exceptional guide can make for a truly memorable day - he was able to show me a different side to a city I thought I knew extremely well.
Agra can be accessed either by road, or by whistling down on a train from Delhi. I had been a couple of times before but could not pass through without visiting the Taj Mahal. I had to see it again. At 6am it poured with rain which was a blessing - for a few minutes I had the Taj Mahal to myself. Unforgettable.
The Oberoi Amarvilas is simply the best place to stay whilst in Agra. An opulent hotel where all 64 rooms, the bar and terrace share uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal.
In the afternoon, my guide took me on a village walk where I visited people's homes and chatted to a family of tailors, their simple home piled high with shirts and various garments desperately in need of repair. To wander through a village close to Agra, one of India's most visited cities, and not see another tourist was really special.
Just remember to avoid Agra on a Friday - the Taj Mahal is
closed on this day.
I continued my journey to Jaipur. A heritage walking tour of the city, pottering through the old artisan quarters, a wonderful way to explore.
Two nights in Japiur was not quite enough, I could have stayed
longer, but this is of course the gateway to Rajasthan - a region
of India which I find fascinating and exceptionally
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