How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

taj mahal india family holiday – Alamy

The “Golden Triangle” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is often described as the perfect introduction to northern India. For years, escorted tours have whizzed around taking in all the temples, tombs and tigers at speed, with throngs of tourists dazzled by some of the Subcontinent’s most sublime landscapes and landmarks.

But it is also a family adventure that is ripe for the taking, particularly if you travel during the (admittedly humid) off-season – which neatly coincides with our summer holidays. Yes, it can be overwhelming at times. Yes, it will take you and your offspring out of your comfort zones. But experience it at an unhurried pace – with the right level of guiding and assistance, as we did – and it will provide a rich river of experiences that will stay with each of you forever.

Day 1-3

Adrenalin rush

It all starts in a frenzy. With 30 million people living in Delhi, the pace is unavoidably hectic. However, exploring the relative order and green spaces of Edward Lutyens’ New Delhi, and the chaotic, colourful winding streets of Old Delhi – expertly led by our guide Puman – was a multisensory experience, especially for my nine-year-old son, who found it slightly unnerving.

We whirled from the beautiful ­gardens and 16th-century architecture of Humayun’s Tomb (“the Red Taj Mahal”) to the Victorian grandeur of India Gate – but even the wide avenues of New Delhi couldn’t dull India’s real national sport: honking horns. Thank goodness for the oasis of calm at the Imperial Hotel, its art-lined corridors, the stunning hand-painted Spice Route (which took seven years to complete) and an enchantingly immersive evening meal that kicked off the gastronomic part of our adventure.

Old Delhi was a day on timelapse adrenalin, from the moving philanthropy of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple to the aromatic rusty rainbow of the 17th-century Spice Market and a Mission Impossible rickshaw ride through the jewel kaleidoscope of Chandi Chowk market, all shimmery wedding silks, glittering headdresses and – my favourite – acid-hued garlands and pom poms.

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

street market india – Getty

More than 600 million people in India live below the poverty line, and nowhere was this more obvious than in Old Delhi. Just when the sheer number of people on the streets felt like it might overwhelm my daughter, aged 12, we dipped through a doorway into the cool courtyard sanctuary of 200-year-old Unesco-awarded Haveli Dharampura whose recent renovation into a boutique hotel and restaurant gives a taste of a rarified bygone way of life.

Day 4

Wide-eyed wonder

The high-speed (and air-conditioned) Gatimaan Express takes just 90 minutes to reach Agra from Delhi. Travelling in August meant we passed through lush, green landscapes (and had little of the torrential monsoon rain we had imagined). However, there were days of intense humidity, so on arrival it was time to take a breather. Following an afternoon by the pool of the Trident hotel we headed to the Taj Mahal – via Agra Fort – for sunset.

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

Agra Fort – Alamy

The Taj Mahal itself is as spectacular as you imagine, with its translucent marble minaret and shimmering walls, delicately inlaid stones and majestic towers that change with every shift of the light. It is solid, yet everlastingly ethereal. As we discovered, everyone takes their own version away with them.

Puman had her own version, too. The grandchild of Pakistani refugees, she grew up as an outcast in her own country. Her former home in the poorest ghetto of Agra is now a café (one listed by Lonely Planet guides as having the best view of the Taj Mahal). Growing up, did she appreciate this extraordinary playground, I wondered? “We were free to roam it whenever we liked,” she mused, “but our family life was so hard then. I prefer not to dwell on the dark times.” Such extravagant splendour juxtaposed with extreme poverty seemed to sum up the many contradictions of modern India.

When we visited, there were surprisingly few foreign faces (the result of a slow tourism recovery after the pandemic, and India’s notoriously complicated tourist visa process). So as dusk fell and the few domestic visitors petered out, we reluctantly retreated, leaving Shah Jahan and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, alone once more in this extraordinary mausoleum.

Days 5-7

Where the wild things are

A fever pitch of excitement fuelled the six-hour drive to Ranthambore, with its promise of tigers. We passed streams of flip-flopped pilgrims – on foot, in buses, on floats with bombastic sound systems and flashing lights – celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, the biggest festival in India. We competed to spot the largest ­number of people on a single motorbike (six, since you ask), and the children obsessed over every random animal in the road: cows, dogs, pigs, camels, even elephants.

Ranthambore National Park, a wild jungle scrub stretching across almost 250 square miles of open meadows and dry deciduous forests – with the mighty fort that lends its name to the reserve rising majestically in the centre – offers a fantastic chance to see Royal Bengal tigers. Sujan Sher Bagh is the oldest safari camp in the area and offers an incomparably elegant base for game drives and expert guiding.

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

Hanuman langur monkey (Semnopithecus entellus) resting on wall in front of Ranthambhore Fort, Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan, India – Getty

Attention to detail governs everything, from the exquisite decor and local handicrafts, to the Anglo-Indian cuisine cooked on outdoor clay ovens and served thali style. The 5am alarm calls embodied a true spirit of adventure as we headed off into the lamplit dawn for game drives that took us through lush green jungle, dotted by ruins of palaces, cenotaphs and follies. We saw samba, chitak, wild boar, Indian hare, spotted deer, antelope, and many, many monkeys… and more pilgrims, some of whom had been walking for days. Every drive was punctuated by the tracks or “pugmarks” of tigers and, on one, tracks from a leopard kill. At each, we had imagined eyes watching us from the jungle depths.

Our afternoons were spent luxuriating by our private pool, browsing oversized wildlife books and leather-bound classics in the beautiful library, or taking in the spa. After sundowners, dinner was served around a crackling campfire beneath a starlit sky.

Fewer tourists meant more tiger sightings, at least in theory. But after a record monsoon season, the grasses were high. Our days in camp were the only time during our trip that rain fell, and tigers are – we were told – not great fans of inclement weather. The net result: ­Panthera tigris tigris remained elusive. It didn’t matter; Sher Bagh’s magic had overwhelmed us.

Days 8-10

India’s Game of Thrones

Our next stop offered something entirely different. An hour’s drive across rural Rajasthan took us to Fort Bawara, a new sanctuary of wellbeing offered by the Six Senses hotel group. More citadel than hotel – and the ideal destination for my inner Game of Thrones geek – this sensitive 14th-century walled fort conversion was originally owned by a Rajasthani royal family. It faces the Chauth ka Barwara Mandir temple and incorporates two palaces and two temples (a local priest welcomes guests with a traditional Puja ceremony). Many of the original walls, tiles and paintings have been left intact, swifts nest in the eaves, and a focus on integrating local life gives it a unique rhythm; villagers have artisan work stations around the fort.

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

Six Senses Fort Barwara

The pool, set in the courtyard, provided relaxation and fun – not to mention unintentional entertainment courtesy of a procession of Bollywood-inspired Instagrammers and their eye-catching wardrobes. The wellness offering, too, is renowned (the findings of my asthmatic husband’s Ayurvedic health screening led him to an intense lesson in pranayama breathing).

Day 11

Meet the elephants

From Fort Bawara it was a few hours to Dera Amer, a beautiful wilderness camp in the foothills of the ancient Aravalli Hills, set in a private protected forest. After a potter around the premises in a camel cart we met 48-year-old rescue elephant Laxmi, fed her bananas and washed her feet, then took her for a guided walk before our candlelit dinner. Then it was onwards to Oberoi Rajvilas, some 30 minutes outside the city. Its 300 acres, complete with a 300-year-old temple, provided a spacious, picturesque escape from the hubbub of the city centre. Resident peacocks offered exotic morning wake-up calls and left tempting feathers for the children to collect.

Day 12-14

Pink City adventure

Jaipur was a city we could enjoy at our own pace. Less busy than Delhi, but just as vibrant, it displayed Rajasthan’s colour, regal history and artisan culture. The stunning City Palace, with its armoury and royal costume archive, proved a surprise all-round hit; the nearby market was a gentler place to browse and buy souvenirs; and lunch at Rambagh Palace – set in 47 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens – evoked the impeccable service and charm of days gone by. For the astrology obsessives in our party, Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Jai Singh in 1728, was captivating.

How to make India's Golden Triangle an unforgettable family adventure

jaipur – Getty

Bar Palladio, located in the historic Narain Niwas Palace hotel, was our penultimate night’s wonderland, a playfully otherworldly combination of Italian style and cuisine and Mughal grandeur, complete with wandering peacocks, mature mango trees, and a garden of fairy-lit tented canopies.

If adventure is about the impression it leaves, and the life lessons learnt, India is the place. The lack of tourists during our visit only enhanced our experience of the warmth and friendliness of the people, who opened our eyes to so much more than their country. India has left an indelible mark on our souls, and our bond as a family.

Essentials

Lou Barraclough travelled as a guest of Scott Dunn (020 8682 5075; scottdunn.com), which offers a 14-night trip to the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan from £6,684 pp based on a family of four, staying at the Imperial New Delhi; the Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; Sujan Sherbagh Ranthambhore; the Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur; and the Oberoi, Gurgaon – all on a B&B basis. The price includes international and internal flights, all ground handling including a car and driver, sightseeing and game drives

Virgin Atlantic (0344 874 7747; virginatlantic.com) flies direct from Heathrow to Delhi, with return fares from £489 per person

Holiday Extras (0800 316 5678; HolidayExtras.com) offers meet and greet parking at Heathrow from £161.95 (14 days)

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Op-Ed: U.S. border killings evade accountability and justice. An international commission can change that

To people of color in the United States, the death of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas — a brutal killing at the hands of U.S. government officials followed by impunity — is all ... Read more »

Tornadoes, Hail, and Damaging Winds Reported as Major Storms Sweep Across the South

Heavy rain and hail as big as tennis balls were also possible as forecasters said the weather outbreak was expected to continue into Wednesday. Read more »

Airbnb Launches Platform Allowing Renters to Host Apartments, Partnering With Major Landlords

The company said a new page on its site will list so-called Airbnb-friendly buildings that let tenants host their apartments just as homeowners do. Typically, rental buildings prohibit tenants from ... Read more »

What did John Nicolson MP do? Why SNP politician faces probe for Lindsay Hoyle and Nadine Dorries intervention

SNP MP John Nicolson is after releasing details of private correspondence he had with House of Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle. The Scottish politician – a former BBC journalist – had ... Read more »

Winter closing of Toronto shelter hotel causing ‘chaos’ for some, advocates say

With a week to go before homeless residents have to leave a Toronto hotel-turned-shelter, some say they don’t know where they’ll end up once they have to move out while ... Read more »

Notes from America: 'Blackness (Un)interrupted'

“Racial imposter syndrome” is definitely “a thing,” for many people. Shereen and Gene hear from biracial and multi-ethnic listeners who connect with feeling “fake” or inauthentic in some part of ... Read more »

Jeffries poised to make history as first Black person to lead congressional party

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., ran unopposed for the position of House Democratic leader. He replaces Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who announced she would not run for the top leadership post ... Read more »

Why you should think twice before booking the Maldives

mauritius holidays maldives luxury travel hotels holidays islands resorts beach breaks romantic holidays honeymoon family friendly – Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa The Maldives and Mauritius have sometimes been ... Read more »

Ashley Graham praised for sharing reality of postpartum hair loss and regrowth

Ashley Graham has opened up about postpartum hair loss. (Getty Images) Ashley Graham has been praised by fans for opening up about postpartum hair loss following the birth of her ... Read more »

Thursday's racing tips Wincanton, Leicester, Market Rasen and Chelmsford

Planet Sport's tipsters hone in on four tracks around the United Kingdom for Thursday's racing action with top picks from Wincanton. Read more »

A Royal Grand Design: ITV release date of King Charles III episode, what building does he restore?

King Charles III will feature on ITV’s A Royal Grand Design, a special 10 years in the making which follows the royal’s ambitious plan to renovate a grand estate. Charles ... Read more »

An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border.

Abdul Wasi Safi was trying to reach his brother, who immigrated legally to Houston after helping the U.S. military. Legal experts say Wasi may have to serve a criminal sentence before he can pursue asylum. Read more »

When will England play in the World Cup round of 16? Date, UK kick off time, opponent for knockout round

have and have topped the group for the first time since 2006. opened the tournament with a record breaking 6-2 victory over Iran but were held to a 0-0 draw ... Read more »

Bird Flu: warning over ‘big, big’ shortage of turkeys this Christmas after ‘devastating’ epidemic

Consumers have been warned of a “big, big shortage” of British free-range turkeys this Christmas due to an outbreak of bird flu. The epidemic has already killed half of the ... Read more »

'Roblox' Anime Fighting Simulator Redeem Codes for December 2022: One Piece and Naruto-Inspired Rewards

New redeem codes for “Roblox” Anime Fighting Simulator have dropped for players to gain new rewards for the One Piece Naruto-inspired game. Players can use the codes to claim chikara ... Read more »

Jim Carrey Says He’s Leaving Twitter And Shares New “Crazy Old Lighthouse Keeper” Cartoon 

Jim Carrey. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic. Comedian, actor, and artist Jim Carrey announced Tuesday that he is set to join Twitter’s celebrity exodus and shared a new animated cartoon with his followers to ... Read more »

China vows crackdown on ‘hostile forces’ following protests over COVID policy

BEIJING —  China’s ruling Communist Party has vowed to “resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces,” following the largest street demonstrations in decades staged by citizens fed ... Read more »

15-Year-Old Fatally Shot While Sitting on Front Porch in Englewood

A 15-year-old was shot and killed while sitting on the front porch of a home Tuesday night in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, police said. According to authorities, the boy was sitting ... Read more »

Wednesday Haydock top tip: Brian Hughes can guide Jungle Jack home

Tipstrr racing expert Steve Jones has identified a possible upset at Haydock, where champion jockey Brian Hughes is booked to pilot Jungle Jack past the odds-on favourite. Read more »

Starry sight: Van Gogh adored Arles. And now a dazzling art centre inspired by his most famous piece of work is raising the French city's profile

Ten-storey 'Luma' is designed by Frank Gehry, famous for his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao It's made of 11,000 twisted stainless steel panels, glass and concrete, dominating a huge ‘creative campus’ The inside, with its double helix staircase and grand exhibition spaces, is equally spectacular, says Anwer Bati Read more »

Here's why Queen Consort Camilla signed off her recent tweet with an 'R'

If you’ve been on social media at all in the last few hours – who hasnt!? TBH – then you’ll likely have come across Queen Consort Camilla’s latest tweet. In ... Read more »

Hours After Trademarking 'Web5' Jack Dorsey's Bitcoin Project TBD Reverts

After the community backlash, Jack Dorsey's project TBD backed out of the previously announced plan to trademark the term “Web5.” Read more »

Singapore’s new climate targets still ‘critically insufficient’, says research group

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s climate targets are “critically insufficient”, said a global climate research consortium, despite the Republic’s efforts to implement a higher carbon tax and to cut its greenhouse gas ... Read more »

Pa. county meeting again to certify midterm results after Republican-led delay

Pa. county meeting again to certify midterm results after Republican-led delay The Democrat who abstained from the vote later said his concerns were addressed. The Luzerne County Board of Elections ... Read more »

Adam Scott excited about new Australian Open format

This week's ISPS Handa Australian Open is set to provide a unique experience for golfers, one Adam Scott is looking forward to. Read more »

Mother of two children found dead in suitcases in New Zealand charged with murder

The bodies were discovered in a batch of abandoned goods bought by a family at a storage unit auction. Read more »

Hundreds at Harvard, NYC, Chicago protest China’s COVID restrictions

Protesters gather near the Chinese consulate to stand in solidarity with their counterparts around the world demonstrating against China’s severe anti-virus restrictions on Nov. 29, 2022, in New York. AP ... Read more »

Sequin midi skirt options for a comfortable-yet-sparkly Christmas party outfit

Our sequin skirt round up features Marks & Spencer, Karen Millen, Whistles and more (John Lewis/Warehouse/Karen Millen) Nothing screams 'feeling festive' like a sequin skirt. Pairing one with a roll ... Read more »

Cyclist dies in suspected early morning hit-and-run accident along Adam Road

SINGAPORE – A 43-year-old male cyclist died after an alleged hit-and-run accident along Adam Road on Wednesday morning. The police said they were alerted to an accident at 6.29am on ... Read more »

‘No more lies’: Overseas Chinese step up protests amid calls to end stringent Covid-19 rules

TORONTO/HONG KONG – From Sydney to Toronto, mainland Chinese have stepped up protests this week, with demands to end the world’s most stringent Covid-19 restrictions evolving into calls to “free ... Read more »

How to stop keyless car theft? Police chief’s tips to prevent stolen cars - relay attacks explained

Police chiefs say most of the rise in car thefts is down to relay attacks New data suggests that n as those without. Figures from insurer Aviva reveal that between ... Read more »

M-Net Greenlights Season Two Of Fremantle Mystery Thriller ‘Reyka’; David Thewlis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster Cast In Disney+’s ‘The Artful Dodger’ — Global Briefs

Fremantle/M-Net M-Net Greenlights Season Two Of Fremantle Mystery Thriller ‘Reyka’ Iain Glen and Kim Engelbrecht will return for a second season of South Africa’s M-Net crime thriller series Reyka. Production on ... Read more »

HMS Wag: Aboard the swanky cruise ship hosting the England team's wives and girlfriends in Qatar

MSC Cruises doha megaship travel holidays family entertainment qatar world cup MSC World Europa fifa world cup england fans footballers – Getty While the England football team has spent their ... Read more »

Alzheimer’s: First symptoms, new drug ‘breakthrough’ and how a urine test could detect disease

One in 14 people over the age of 65 will develop a form of dementia in the UK (Peter Byrne/PA) Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that slowly destroys a person’s ... Read more »

China spokesperson responds to question about Covid protests with painfully awkward silence

Zhao Lijian concentrates heavily on papers kept in front of him for nearly a minute after being asked whether the Chinese government will do away with its zero-Covid policy following ... Read more »

Ambulance strikes 2022: where in UK will ambulance workers strike - when will it take place and why?

across England are set to strike before after voting in favour of over pay and staffing levels. But how will the strikes work and where will they take place? Here’s ... Read more »

World Cup 2022 live: today’s fixtures in full with France and Argentina - plus England v Wales reaction

England striker Marcus Rashford celebrates with team mates after scoring the first goal against Wales (Getty Images) England are through to the last 16 of the in Qatar and will ... Read more »

Holger Rune puts Grand Slams firmly in crosshairs

He hasn't set himself a goal yet for the 2023 season, but Holger Rune feels the next step in terms of his career is to win a Grand Slam. Read more »

Apple Limited a Crucial AirDrop Function in China Just Weeks Before Protests

A Nov. 9 software update included an additional AirDrop feature applying only to iPhones sold in mainland China. AirDrop, which allows users to share content between Apple devices, has become ... Read more »

What goes into protecting the British royals as they visit the US?

What goes into protecting the British royals as they visit the US? William and Kate are scheduled to arrive in Boston Wednesday. Months before Prince William and Catherine, princess of ... Read more »
Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network