On your arrival at the Airport after clearing the immigration formalities and baggage collection , proceed towards the arrival hall were you will be welcomed by our driver and will be transferred to Delhi hotel . Check in to hotel and later visit Qutub Minar, an excellent example of Afghan Architecture. Enjoy the serenity of Bahai Temple. Situated at top, the Kalkaji Hill. It is also known as "The Lotus Temple" due to its distinctive lotus shaped design in Marble, Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948. Drop back at the hotel . Overnight stay at Delhi.
Delhi–Agra (242 Kms/approx. 3-4 hrs.)
After breakfast at the hotel , proceed for a check out from hotel and transfer to Agra . Check in at the hotel . Later visit Taj Mahal built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Queen Mumtaz.( Taj Mahal closed on Friday ) . Sikandra (Akbar`s Tomb): Akbar`s mausoleum lies here. It is a combination of Hindu, Muslim, and Persian Architecture. Agra Fort: Built by three generations of Mughal Emperors, in around 100 years and is about 400 years old. Drop back at the hotel . Overnight stay at Delhi .
Agra–Jaipur (240 Kms/approx. 4–5 hours)
After breakfast at the hotel , proceed for a check out and your onward journey to Jaipur . En route visit Fatehpur Sikri which was made the political capital of the Mughal Empire by Emperor Akbar from the period of 1571 to 1585. The capital was later shifted to the city of Agra. There are majestic buildings built by Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri. There is a fort in the site which is a blend of Mughal and Persian architecture. Check in at the hotel . Overnight stay in Jaipur .
Jaipur – Delhi (295 Kms/approx. 4–5 hours)
After breakfast at the hotel . Proceed for a check out and local sightseeing of Jaipur . Departure for Delhi.
As in the rest of India, the people of the Golden Triangle are a colorful mix of communities, religious, languages and traditional tribes. All the gradations of the caste system are found here the upper brahmins and kshatriyas, the middle-ranking, vaishyas and the lowest, menial labourers. Almost all of India's communities are represented in Delhi: dark-skinned Tamils and Keralites, lighter-skinned Punjabis, the shorter, squatter Bengalis, as well as Maharashtrians, Gujaratis and students from the north-eastern states of Assam and Nagaland.
It is interesting to see how certain communities have created their own housing areas in the capital. Janak Puri in west Delhi is dominated by Keralites and Tamils, while Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi is made up almost entirely by Bengalis. It is complete with a market that stocks a wide variety of delicious fish.
Thousands of migrant labourers from the villages of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana swarm into Delhi to look for work. Certain jobs and services have become associated with distinct communities and castes. Tribal Christian girls from Bihar work as housemaids, a number of plumbers come from Orissa, the nurses from Kerala, and the doss (south Indian bread) restaurants are, of course, all staffed by Tamils or Keralites.
In Delhi you can also see the puppie, or Punjabi Upwardly Mobile Professional, zoom by in a Hyundai or Honda and swing in the city's booming night-clubs. India's Generations x are called trendy conservatives. They dress fashionably and listen to the latest western pop music, but few are able to break out of parental control. Living together, having gay relationships and even divorce are still fairly unacceptable.
In Rajasthan the most visible group are the Rajputs — the warriors representing different noble houses — like the Kachhawahas of Jaipur, the Rathods of Jodhpur and the Sisodias of Mewar. Together with the brahmins they constitute less than a tenth of Rajasthan's population. With a brightly coloured turban and handlebar moustache, the Rajput prides himself on his ancestry, although many have now fallen on hard times and have been forced to convert their ancestral properties into luxury hotels. Rajput villagers might be tall and brightly turbaned, but they are also impoverished and skinny.
There are several other communities like the Marwaris (traditional traders). One of India's richest industrialist families, the Birlas, are Marwaris. There are tribes like the Bishnois, traditional conservationists who have been known to commit suicide in their efforts to protect trees and animals. There are also banjaras (gypsies) who wear colourful clothes and heavily oxidized silver jewellery. In fact, the highly skilled artisans of Rajasthan are becoming leading couturiers. Their vibrantly coloured minor-work fabric, block-prints, silver jewellery set with semi-precious stones, ornament design and minakari jewellery (mirrorwork on gold), as well as bandhani print (the tie and dye print, patterned with tiny white squares, circles and lines) are justifiably famous. Most of India's artisans have been practising their art for generations and some, like the celebrated minakars (jewellery artisans) of Jaipur trace their descent as far back as the 17th century.
Agra has almost the same social landscape as Delhi where Hindu and Muslim have lived as friendly neighbours for centuries. The Agra region is not only known for its Islamic monuments, but also for the Hindu Krishna cult that flourishes around Vrindavan, an important Hindu pilgrim centre north of Agra. Hindus generally believe in the two epics, (Ramayana and Mahabharata), the fact that all living beings are manifestations of the Supreme Being or Brahman and that there are three aspects to God: Creator (Brahma), Destroyer (Shiva) and Preserver (Vishnu). But there are also a huge number of local gods, small shrines and cults, all of which are recognized as Hindu if they are associated with the holy trinity or the two epics.
Muslims believe in the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as set down in their holy book, the Qur'an. In India, the Sufi or mystical aspects of Islam are also strong. The Sufi (wandering mystic) is known for his personal communion with God. He whirls in ecstasy while praying and is known as a mast qalandar (intoxicated by devotion). The shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer is an important centre for the Islamic world. The Sikhs, with their main shrine at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, believe in the teachings of their gurus, while Buddhism and Jainism adhere to doctrines of compassion, non-violence and personal communion with God. They are systems of philosophy and codes of morality that adhere to the achievement of enlightenment.
North Indian cuisine is generally called mughlai food with a heavy emphasis on barbecued and curried meats and breads and rice eaten with flavoured yoghurt.
A vegetable or non-vegetable thali (a metal dish) set with metal katoris (bowls), is a full Indian meal consisting of rice, bread, curries, chutneys, papads (crispy deep fried wafers), curds and mithai (generic term for Indian sweets). Biryani (rice flavoured with spices and cooked with chunks of meat) and pulao (rice mixed with vegetables, lamb or chicken) are also common. Typical vegetable dishes are sabzi (mixed vegetable), baigan bharta (curried eggplant) and aloo jeers (spiced potatoes). Standard non-vegetarian dishes would be butter chicken, rogan josh (Iamb curry), gushtaba (meatballs) or chicken korma (curry with curd). Kebabs (skewered barbecued meats) are common in Delhi, as are shammi (flat kebabs of minced meat), seekh (sausages of seasoned lamb) and burra (pieces of lamb grilled on a charcoal fire).
Communities like the Jains and certain brahmins are strict vegetarians. Typical south Indian fare like dosas (rice pancakes), idlis (steamed rice dumplings) and sambhar (savoury lentils) is also completely vegetarian and available all over Delhi and Agra. Roadside stalls dispense cut fruit, samosas (fried and stuffed dumplings), paapri chaat (savoury pastry chips smothered in curds and chutney) and thole bhatoore (spiced chickpeas with fried bread), but these are best avoided. Delhi belly (food or water poisoning) can sometimes turn nasty and even locals suffer if they are not careful. Mithai (sweets), made from thickened milk and sugar are generally safe. Different types of mithai are: laddoos (sweet yellow balls), jalebis (twisted fried sugar), gulab jamuns (cardamom-flavoured caramelized sugar-and-milk balls) and Kilfi (ice cream).
Dal (lentils) and cereal (rice or bread) is the staple diet all across this region. Most Indians eat achar (pickles) with their meals. Other side dishes include dahi (curd) or raita (flavoured curd with cucumber or tomatoes). No Indian meal is complete without a paan. A paan is a betel leaf wrapped around a betel nut spread with lime and spices (it is mildly addictive and should not be swallowed). Indians can spit paan juice from a mile, sometimes leading the visitor to think they are vomiting blood. A certain type of paan is known as the palang-tod (wrecker of beds), since it supposedly acts as an aphrodisiac. A common drink is lassi or iced yoghurt shake. Indian beer is high in alcohol content and brands like Kingfisher and Rosy Pelican are good. Try to avoid brands like Thunderbolt that have a ferociously high alcohol content.
The architecture of the Golden Triangle is grand and there are monuments here in the Hindu, Indo-Islamic and British colonial styles.
The Indo-Islamic style is evident in the Taj Mahal and the other elegant luxuriously carved monuments in Agra. The Taj (proud passion of an Emperor's love) is a beautiful, melancholic monument built by Shah Jahan. This Mughal emperor was so devoted to his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in delivering her child, that he built this memorial to her. Legend has it that the emperor had the thumbs of all the artisans cut off after they finished their breathtaking carvings, so that they would never be able to build another like it ever again. The Mughals used a great deal of white marble and red sandstone and the Taj is the best example of Mughal style with its elegant minarets and dome, elevated platform, rich carvings and screens.
The decorated forts, tombs and gardens of Agra show Mughal splendour at its height. The pietra dura technique (carved flowery patterns on marble) can also be seen here, as well as the use of running water for cooling. The spectacular Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb in Agra is described as a 'jewelbox of marble.'
The red sandstone desert palace fortresses of Rajasthan show the varied styles used by Rajput architects. They are decorated with carved wooden doors, balconies, pillared verandas, mirrors and mosaics, latticed windows, chhatris (pavilions), painted walls, tall battlements and domes in the Mughal style. The colonial buildings erected by the British in Delhi use a combination of classical western and Indian styles and they are indisputable reminders that this was the capital of British India. There is an interesting area, north of the old city, known as Civil Lines where the British used to live.
The geometrically designed Jaipur (also known as the Pink City) and the Jantar Mantar observatory show the modernism of Jaipur's remarkable founder Sawai Jai Singh IL
Modern Indian architecture is higgledy-piggledy, with all manner of styles and constructions juxtaposed on each other. The luxury villas in Delhi and Jaipur are as fanciful as their owners want them to be. Those with the money to build big houses are not too bothered about history. The restoration of old buildings is sadly neglected and beautiful old havelis (townhouses) in Old Delhi have been allowed to fall into ruin. Old and new are combined curiously. Chrome-and-glass high-rises stretch glossily behind Lutyens's (the thief architect of New Delhi) colonial buildings. The clamour and traffic of Jaipur obscures its meticulously planned structure.
North Indian crafts range from delicate embroidery on cotton to textile design and intricate jewellery manufacture, as well as folk art such as puppet making and creating clay idols for festivals. Agra is renowned for its gold thread and bead embroidery known as zardozi.
The karigars (craftsmen) of Jaipur are proud, skilled artists who have perfected their art over centuries.
Textile design is a specialty of the region. The bandhani workers, mostly women, transfer designs onto cotton or chiffon by tying yards of cloth. The ghagra (flaring skirt), choli (short tied top) and odhni (veil) make up the typical Rajasthani dress. In Jaipur, shops like Anokhi stock typical block-printed cottons. In fact, its owner, Faith Singh, an Englishwoman by birth, has helped to sell the hand- and block-printed designs (chhapai) to tourists and internationally. The owners of the popular shop Fabindia in Delhi have done the same.
Jaipur is also the largest ornament-production centre in India and the expert artisans here work on zari (silver and gold thread fabric) and gota (gold thread material). Emerald design, garnet-setting, stone-cutting, wood-carving as well as the highly skilled minakari (jewellery work) in which tiny pieces of glass are fused on gold, are all practised in Jaipur. Between them, the towns of Sanganer, Banner and Bagru in Rajasthan produce about 250,000m (275,000 yards) of printed fabric every day. The Sanganeri print is very famous, as is Rajasthani silver and kundan (expensive stone, essential if you want to look like old Rajput nobility).
Rajasthani jootis - leather slip-ons, either decorated or plain - pinch cruelly when you begin to wear them and often need to be soaked in oil to fit your feet. Once they are 'broken in' though, they are very comfortable.
The Arts and Crafts Museum and Cottage Industries Emporium in Delhi are good places to see the crafts of north India, from teak furniture, wood, marble and papiermache objects to lampshades and lamps, dhurries, carpets and fabric. Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings are beautiful, renowned for their subtle use of colour and delicate lines.
The culture of India at this time is in a state of enormous flux, with inﬂuences from the West being absorbed and resisted at the same time. Indians are. looking at their traditional culture and examining it in the light of the new, but the power of the old achievements in kathak and bahratanatyam (classical Indian dance), Urdu poetry, Hindi literature, traditional vocals and instruments continues and is still very much alive, even though, some classical exponents have been criticized for 'going popular'. The number of Indians writing English literature continues to grow. The trend of dynamic artistic writing in English which began with Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children was taken forward by writers like Amitav Chosh and Vikram Seth. After Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997, a host of other younger writers like Pankaj Mishra, Raj Kamal Iha, Kiran Desai and Jayshree Mishra emerged. Increasingly, the literature and music of the south and northeast of the country are being revived and Delhi is a lively cultural centre that often holds shows, exhibitions and book readings. 'Bollywood', the largest film industry in the world, pumps out its melodramatic song-and-dance performances and some smash box office hits. Younger film-makers are beginning to explore themes like the Mumbai underworld and political corruption.
Home-grown television soaps, new cable channels that show Baywatch and Ally McBeal, and 24-hour news bulletins, lively Internet sites and the fact that an increasing number of Indians are going abroad for education and jobs, places India at a fascinating stage in its history.
Only a small detour west of Agra will take you to the stunning ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, once a seat of the Mughal empire under the free-thinking emperor Akbar. Even after seeing the Taj Mahal, this haunted city does not fail to impress. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur, some 55km (34 miles) from Agra, is a must see for bird lovers, with over 300 species. The Water Palace in sleepy Deeg illustrates monsoon architecture beautifully. Landmarks Mathura and Vrindavan are famous for their connection with the Lord Krishna and for being busy sites of Hindu worship and pilgrimage.
Fatehpur Sikri is one of the important sightseeing excursions in DELHI JAIPUR AND AGRA with Fatehpur Sikri Tour Package If the Taj Mahal was Shah Jahan's signature and embodiment of the artistic and romantic aspects of his reign, then Fatehpur Sikri is Akbar's architectural autograph, built in his favourite red sandstone. Akbar was a tough empire builder and might have been impatient with the marble delicacies so favoured by his son and grandson. The buildings in Fatehpur Sikri are impressive and robust, but lack the finesse of later Mughal architecture. Akbar was engaged almost continuously in battles on all fronts to consolidate his empire. The architecture shows a fusion of the Islamic and Hindu styles. During the time that the city was being built Akbar was fighting with the rulers of Gujarat so several features of Gujarati architecture, such as the carved brackets in the Diwan-i-Khas (House of Private Audience), have been incorporated.
It is believed that Akbar commissioned Fatehpur Sikri after his son was born. He had waited for a male heir for many years and was overjoyed when his Rajput wife gave birth to Salim, later called Jahangir, in 1569, a year after his annual pilgrimage to the Sufi saints at Amer. He was anxious to create a monument to his rule and bolster the prestige of the Mughal throne. Located 37 kilometres west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was built in 1571 and was the capital of the Mughal empire for 14 years.
Nobody knows why Akbar suddenly abandoned it, perhaps water supplies ran out or he was called away on a military campaign. The main entrance to the city is through the Buland Darwaza (Gate of Victory) built to commemorate Akbar's victory in Gujarat. It stands 54m (177 feet) tall and makes a medieval diving board for young men from the neighbouring village.
A section of the city houses the private quarters of the emperor, consisting of the Khwabgah (House of Dreams) sleeping quarters that overlook a lake called Anoop Talao. It is a colonnaded building that was cooled by the breeze blowing in from the water. The emperor's wives came to him through latticed passages connecting his quarters with the harem.
The Anoop Talao or peerless Pool, set in the middle of a square, has a platform at the centre where Tansen, the legendary court musician sat. He was apparently such an accomplished musician that he was able to light lamps and create rainfall whenever he wished, through the sheer power of his voice. In a corner of the square is the small but exquisite pavilion of the Turkish sultana, one of Akbar's favourite wives. It could have served as a hammam or even as an informal discussion chamber. The elaborate carvings of pomegranates, palms and fabulous animals betray mixed influences from Persia, Turkey and even China.
The public area consists of the treasury, the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) and the harem. Then there is the sacred area where the delicately carved marble tomb of saint Sheikh Salim Chishti (the only marble structure in the city) and the Jama Masjid stands. Another great gateway, decorated with characteristic chhatris (small pavilions), the Badshahi Darwaza separates the royal living quarters from the sacred area. The largest open courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri is the Pachisi Court. This was apparently used as a giant chess board on which courtesans played the parts of chess pieces while the emperor watched and directed them from the overlooking Panch Mahal. The fantastic Panch Mahal is a large five-storeyed pavilion open to cool breezes on all sides. There are 176 columns, none of which are exactly the same and a superb view of the surrounding fields. In Akbar's time, there must have been a view of the river. The steps are rather steep and climbing them is certainly a calorie-burning exercise but must have been very pleasant in the evenings. The ladies of the harem sat out on the Panch Mahal on summer nights with their emperor.
The Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas are the two main public halls of the city. The Diwan-i-Am is built like a large open courtyard where the emperor held his public hearings and occasional public prayers. This is also where he married his queen.
The Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) is a richly carved building, with interiors heavily influenced by Hindu styles. The curving staircase and the carved cross beams could easily pass for the interior of a Gujarati palace. The giant carved capital at the building's centre from which four walkways radiate towards a circular balcony, is a masterpiece. This is where Akbar sat in his throne and surveyed his domain. The two-storeyed façade of the Diwan-i-Khas is square and boxy, with chhatris at either ends of the roof.
Yet another important public building is the Aankh Michauli, the treasury which stands behind the Diwan-i-Khas. The strange name comes from the story that the emperor played hide and seek here with ladies of the harem. Stone monsters guard the building's dark interior where the royal gold and silver was stored.
The Jama Masjid in the southwest corner is a huge open structure, with chhatris on its roof, delicate jaali work at either end and an open verandah lined with carved pillars.
To the west, the women's quarters or zenana include the main harem, several separate residences for the queens as well as a royal garden. The imposing Jodhai Bai's Palace, named after Akbar's favourite wife, was guarded by eunuchs and is where the emperor reputedly spent his nights. There is a section which was democratically converted into a temple for the Hindu contingent of the harem. The fusion of decorative styles is remarkable: we find elements of Gujarat and Gwalior art such as the blue tile work on the ceiling, mixed with Islamic details. The beautiful tulip motif is the city's blueprint.
Across from Jodhai Bai's Palace, Matyam's Palace has obscure origins. It could have been named after a Christian queen, although there are no records to substantiate this claim. It is also possible that Akbar's mother lived here. The inside walls were once lined with gold frescoes depicting angels, birds and animals, hence the other name of the residence - Sunahra Makan (Golden House). There was an inscription on the wall once penned by Abu'l Fazl, the royal biographer: 'The gardens painted on these walls are on a par with the gardens of paradise'.
It is a mystery why the third and finest main building of the zenana, Birbal's Palace, was named after Akbar's trusted advisor who could not have lived in the women's quarters. Birbal the Wise, the musician Tansen and the biographer Abu'l Fazl were three of the 'Nine Gems' at Akbar's court. This residence has preserved its extensive and intricate stone carvings of lotus blossoms and geometric forms.
Fatehpur Sikri is a ghost city today but at sunset when a red glow illuminates the ruins, you can imagine the life of the young and vigorous king: his harem, his debate hall, houses for his wives and mistresses, his mosque, the public buildings and the giant courtyard for his live chess games. Rich carpets and curtains adorned the palace, cool water flowed through its gardens and rose bushes lined the pools. Outside the city on the banks of the river Akbar is said to have played polo and watched his favourite sport: Elephant fights.
Delhi Jaipur and Agra with Fatehpur Sikri Tour can be customised by Swan Tours - one of the leading travel agents in Delhi promoting Golden Triangle tours, according to your specific requirements in terms of transport, choice of hotels, budget ,etc. For more information on golden triangle tours visit the below links: