India's Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is the most famous tour of India, a route between Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, named for the nearly perfect triangle formed by the three cities.
Starting in the capital, Delhi, and taking in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, it’ll give you an amazing collection of extraordinary religious and historical sights.
Your Volunteer Base; Jaipur
Your volunteer abroad project will be based in the capital of Rajasthan Jaipur, famously known as the “Pink City” for its pink-walled cluster of buildings.
Do yourself a favour and roam (somewhat aimlessly) around the centre to encounter historical landmarks like the impressive City Palace or Hawa Mahal.
Jaipur is the place to shop for fabrics and presents to take home since it’s renowned for its traditional crafts and designs.
Jaipur is the least hectic of the Golden Triangle’s vertices. Outside the city, Nahargarh Fort gives the best viewpoint over the far-reaching streets, while a visit to Galtaji is an entertaining opportunity to admire the hundreds of macaque monkeys that have conquered the ancient temples.
You can easily get around the whole of the Golden Triangle by bus or train. If you’re travelling on a budget, bus travel is the way to go as it is a wildly cheap way to travel. However, high speed trains and sleeper trains are incredibly efficient and will get you where you want to be quickly, and you can squeeze in a nap.
Throughout the Golden Triangle, you’ll be sure to see loads of religious temples. Find out if any are open to the public and see if it would be possible to take a look around and learn a bit about the religion. In particular, the Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi is not to be missed.
While you could spend weeks exploring what Delhi has to offer, from the Mughal Red Fort museums to the impressive Qutb Minar and the British Raj-era India Gate, The best way to get a feel for the capital’s eclecticism is by walking through its streets and bazaars such as Chandni Chowk and Paharganj.
Swaminarayan Akshardham is simply a must-see. This Hindu temple was built recently using traditional methods, but its grandness and intricate decoration elicit the memory a long-gone era.
Its sheer scale prohibition of photographs provide a unique setting for peaceful introspection guarded against the usual swarms of tourists you’re likely to find in similar attractions in other parts of the world.
Visit Agra, Taj Mahal
The iconic Taj Mahal is, unsurprisingly, Agra’s top attraction, and nothing can really prepare you for the awesome splendour of this monument to love, especially if you can time your visit with sunrise or sunset when the Taj is at its most majestic.
The Agra Fort is close by and it will be time well spent – from its walls, you can spot the Taj Mahal rising up in the distance. Maybe plan to catch the sunrise at the Fort and the sunset at the Taj Mahal?
Another way to pass the time and get over the crowd of the Taj Mahal is the small nearby city of Fatehpur Sikri, once the capital of the Mughal empire, boasting the grand Jodha Bais palace buildings and imposing Jama Masjid mosque, which have remained relatively safe from the crowds.