India has many regions and generally you can describe the Indian Regions as East India, North India, North East India, South India and West India, yet these regions, each of them are still very big regions.
To the locals, these regions are divided into different states and territories for the islands dotted around India (excl. Sri Lanka) – references of these states can be seen here. Regardless of that, what I knew before visiting India was that I was going to the Golden Triangle… The most popular route when visiting India if you don’t want to miss the Taj Mahal and that was my answer when the visa officer at the Indian Consular ask me where abouts in India are you planning to visit.
“What? What is Golden Triangle? Where about in India is Golden Triangle… ” that was his reply when I said that we are going to the golden triangle area… I then realised that the term Golden Triangle is for the foreigner, the tourist, which housed the popular destination like the pink city of Jaipur, that belongs to the state of Rajashtan, Delhi, that belongs to the special capital territory, and the last is Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The main destination was off course the Taj Mahal, but as we landed in New Delhi International airport, then we had to see Delhi. Off course, the Taj Mahal is very majestic, and it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but that doesn’t mean that Delhi is not interesting, Exploring Delhi is an adventure by itself, as what I had on my tour on a ricksaw in Delhi. And that’s not all; near by there is this old Mosque – Jama Masjid, Delhi, located in the Old Delhi area, that was built between the years 1650 to 1656, and commissioned by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan. And there’s this Red Fort, just opposite the mosque or that’s the theory, but like many other big ‘modern’ cities; now you can’t visualize this theory anymore as there are so many things built in between that obstruct the idea and view of the architectural concept.
To me, the most interesting visit in Delhi was not the mosque or the Red Fort, but Qutib Minar, it has interesting architecture, where according to our guide, Qutib Minar is not a religious place, as it has a combination of Hinduism and Islamic culture, yet it’s not a complete one, thus, the locals decided to make this an historical place but nothing to do with any religion.
I bet there are more places to see in Delhi, but as our stay was only for a day, that’s as much as we managed to see in Delhi, as to travel around is difficult. Delhi has a metro system which helps with the traffic but the traffic is still bad.
Jaipur and Rajastan:
We arrived in Jaipur – the Pink City in the afternoon, after a long bus journey (8 hours) through the country side of Haryana State and Rajashtan state (where Jaipur is located). They call Jaipur a pink city, as the whole city was painted “pink” to welcome King George V of England, during the colonial era. and to date they preserve the colour to mark the city as the hospitality city which symbalized by the colour.
Like Delhi, Jaipur has a lot to offer as an attraction, from Hawa Hahal, – Palace of the wind, an interesting facade as the landmark of the city, right in the center of the hustle and bustle of the city and Amber Palace and Fort, just outside the city with elephant rides to go up to inside the fort. Nearby the fort there is the whimsical Jal Mahal, built in 1799 in the middle of a man made lake. Unfortunately this building was closed for renovation when we visited the area, so we could only see it from a distance. Actually there is a lot more to see in Jaipur / Rajashtan, but as we were only traveling through, we could not see all of them.
Agra via Barathpur:
The journey was not as bad as Delhi to Jaipur, as we start earlier, and the trip was “only 5 hours”, just to catch holi celebration in Barathpur, which to me was a bit of a disapointment of the trip. In the afternoon after the holi madness, the tour arranged for us to go to a bird sanctuary, nearby, where according to our guide on a good day (maybe in winter), it housed migrating birds from the north, unfortunately we were there, in spring, so the swamp area had less water and not many birds to see…. I guess this concluded the disapointment of the day….
Agra or really the Taj Mahal was off course the highlight of our trip. All the girls in our tour group were dressing up just to go to Taj Mahal, and yes once we were there, we were all fascinated by the massive tomb of love. It was magical and even though we could not see the sunset as there was no sunset that day, it was still very special.
Last but not least, it was well worth seeing the Taj Mahal from the other side of Jamuna river during sunrise. Before we headed back to Delhi and to our next destination; should it be another area of India or another country….? there are so many other wonderful places to visit….