India is the country of many religions, the out-and-outer combination of mystery, magic and mayhem. This is the only place on Earth filled with such contrasts, bright colors of multiple cultures, the cradle of so many religions peacefully dwelling next to each other… Like a resurrected Byzantium, India is spread with relics and footprints of collapsed empires, and immortal creations of human ingenuity. This unusual habitat for civilization and medieval community will leave astonished even the most skeptical person with its separateness and oneness at the same time. Smelling some oxymoron? Yes, you are totally right! Here we will lead you to the macrocosm of incompatible wonders – India’s Golden Triangle, letting you discover amazing things to do in Agra, Jaipur and Delhi!
India is a major spot for tourists all the year round and has plenty to offer to any kind of them. The golden triangle is the most prevalent traveling route that includes the chief attractions of the country. The heads of the triangle comprise Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The triangle has been christened “golden” due to the rich cultural and historical legacy it offers. Jaipur, once the capital of Rajasthan, owns some of Asia’s finest bazaars. Delhi (or New Delhi) is India’s present-day germinative, enchanting capital city where you might not see everything even despite spending weeks in. Agra, the past limelight of Moghul Empire, boasts the magnificent Taj Mahal ornamenting the banks of River Yamuna.
A Spoonful of Traditions
If you are looking for a nice, mild, unusual and facetious place to spend Christmas holidays, India is to be your exceptional choice. The New Year celebrations held in the Golden Triangle will become an unforgettable memory for the rest of your life. Thousands of people, once taking part in Indian New Year celebrations, cannot resist the temptation of coming back and experiencing the same atypical feelings at least once again. The tours arranged at that time will lead to the glory of further ordinance where each person will find something meant solely for himself. Some may enjoy heart-warming dinners with traditional dishes of European and Indian cuisine at one of Delhi’s most fabulous restaurants, while others might get lost in bright sensations raying out of the racy carnivals and not recollecting the common fir-trees and salad Olivier. Travelling through the major spots of “Golden Triangle” will let you dive in the wealthy splendor of their sights as well as have a bite of the nightlife of these three “capitals”. By the way, according to Indian traditions under no circumstances should you frown, grow irritated and angry, inasmuch as the rest of the year will continue the started “gloomy” mood in chain.
The hereditary European New Year – January 1 – has been celebrated in India quite recently and not yet ubiquitously. However,some traditions have emerged and set a strong foundation here. For instance, on a Christmas table you will find vegetarian dishes with multiple kinds of spices: it is believed, that the more spices are put in the food the more prosperous will the upcoming year be. Another bright kind of newly set habitude is mass festivals and dances in one of the first days of the year. Real contests of colorfully dressed dancing girls are held in the streets, and the sight is undeniably worth seeing. They also set off flying kites into the sky: you can freely join the exciting event at every square of the cities.
Dances are a substantial part of Indian culture. Consequently, on such massive celebrations they are one of must-dos. On New Year’s occasion, dancing ensembles arrive in Jaipur, Agra and Delhi from various angles of the country to demonstrate the Indian classic folk dances. These are unlike any other kinds of dances of the world: the main emphasis is placed on a story telling with the help of mimics and hand moves. Over four hundreddifferent movements exist to depict various emotions and stories.
To keep you warmed and less culture-shocked many hotels and restaurants embellish their halls and grounds with decorated fir-trees, garlands, sometimes even Indians dressed like Santa Claus.
The Necessary Choice of Shelter
Regardless of where you choose to stay from the three heads of “Golden Triangle”, the price range will be almost the same. You can take a room in an affordable hotel with five to ten dollars a day. However, it should be mentioned that no air conditioner, breakfast and everyday cleaning is provided on such small amount of money. For fifteen to twenty dollars, you can take a room of a middle-class hotel. The high-rank hotels offer rooms with prices starting from a hundred dollars. Undeniably, the most luxurious hotel in Agra is Oberoi Amarvilas at Taj East Gate Road. It is placed at a short distance of five hundred meters from Taj Mahal. All 105 rooms of it overlook the staggering mausoleum. You can take a double starting from about 400$. For middle-class hotel choice, you have Clarks Shiraz – a four-starred hotel in Agra, Umaid Bhawan three-starred pleasant hotel in Jaipur, Nirula’s and house-proud Alka in Delhi.
Getting Acquainted with the Pink City
Agra, Jaipur and Delhi offer a saturated program of entertainment during holiday periods.
The Pink City – Jaipur – has attained its nickname due to one of its quarters having all its buildings painted in pink and terracotta. By daytime you can head for excursions and tours through the main places of interest of the city. The most remarkable and outstanding of those can be considered Jaipur City Palace and the Palace of Breeze (Hawa Mahal). The latter is a truly exquisite and unique building created for the royal women to observe life and festivals outside the palace, while people out there could not see them. It will probably take you an entire day to see them, as the complex includes several curiosity museums with exhibits of clothing, textile, musical instruments, collections of weapons, etc. More by token, the once royal family still lives in the palace occupying a small part of it.
As the sun sets, Jaipur is lit up with the rosy flames of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, some of which are worth visiting at New Year’s night. Niros is one of the fabulous restaurants in the city, where the Indian celebrities and “golden youth” can be met. Excellent delicacies of Indian cuisine are offered to guests here, and the chef’s most famous dish – lamb with red spicy sauce – is considered incomparable. On New Year’s night, delightful presents and surprises are granted to guests by the restaurant. Tasting a bit of “celebrity life”, you should move onto the restaurant Handi, which offers a great variety of national dishes. You will be positively surprised by reasonable prices here, and the chicken marinated in yogurt and flavored with fragrant curry will remain a pleasing memory for quite a long time. A special kind of menu is offered to vegetarian guests: the only drawback of it is its vast variety of dishes because of which people spend half an hour on choice making. Finally yet importantly, Jaipur’s most famous nightclub is Angara, which can accommodate about half a thousand people. You will be fascinated by the Italian-style dancing hall and almost natural snow coming down from the ceiling during Christmas holidays.
Exploring the Cradle of Taj Mahal
Agra has managed to keep the spirit of history. It is famous for the seventh wonder of the world Taj Mahal – a subtle spirituel sophisticated edifice that will leave every personjaw-dropped. Shah Jahan constructed this white marble tomb in honour of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died at the age of thirty-one after giving birth to her fourteenth child. Taj Mahal is a living symbol of everlasting love and affection, which has been inspiring people all over the world since the day of its creation. It proves to be exceptional with its solidarity: so many cataclysms have not been able to do any harm to the most expensive construction ever built on earth. When visiting Taj Mahal, make sure you learn the rest of its unbelievable background history. No less interest arouses Agra Fort made of red sandstone. Marble mosque, terraces and halls have been preserved from ancient times in it. The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah situated in it is considered the small Taj Mahal. It is striking with its openwork panels, precious stones, eccentric mosaics and marble.
No matter what restaurant you choose to visit or celebrate New Year and other holidays in Agra, you will find a wide range of dishes made by antic recipes of Maharajas and Moghuls. Rajasthan’s cuisine includes very spicy dishes: the main ingredients comprise beans, potatoes, flour and sauces. You should certainly try bafla tortillas and bedmi puri spicy tortillas here, which are extremely delicious. For the sweet course, you might order Churmit laddu – sweet balls with almond in them. These have almost become the symbol kind of Indian sweets. On Christmas table, you are sure to find ghewar – a traditional sweet pastry with sugar syrup decorated with almond and saffron.
Perfect presents for yourself and your family members could be the products made by the artisans in Agra. Caskets, plates and trays encrusted with marble can be found in city bazaars of Agra. Agra is also famous for its carpets and gold-embroidered velvet. Those who have sweet toothwill most probably fancy transparent crystals made from fruit essence, or crunchy dalmot cookies.
Toddling in the City of Rallies
The third “head”of the triangle is Delhi. Despite its traffic, countless crowds and unsanitary conditions, Delhi is a fine accommodating starting point to the nation’s heart and soul. We strongly recommend you starting your investigations of Delhi visiting the huge mosque Jama Masjid made of red sandstone and white marble. This is India’s largest mosque and it can accommodate a mind-blowing twenty-five thousand people. Here you can wash your hands in the basin and go up to one of the two minarets to view the picturesque city panorama. Afterwards you can visit the Red Fort, which was the royal palace of several Indian emperors. Among other must-see places of interest in Delhi are Gurudwara Nanak Piao, Swaminarayan Akshardham, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s tomb and Lotus Temple. The latter is a splendid flower-shaped Baha’i house of worship, open to all regardless of religion, nation or other group divisions. People can come here and worship their God with no denominational limitations.
After getting nourishment for soul, let us move on to Chatta Chowk – a bazaar, where you can truly sense the incomparable atmosphere of real India that used to be there hundreds of years ago. Plenty of unimaginable goods can be found here: jewelry, fabrics, butter, aroma candles and souvenirs. Shopping done, time to move on to Connaught – the tourist and administrative center of New Delhi where you will find the best restaurants and shops. Here opens up the road leading to India Gate. It is impossible for one not to admire its impressive design, which is especially attractive when beautifully lit with its surrounding fountains at nightfall. At that time, India Gate becomes a perfect place for picnicking with family or friends. Besides historical heritage, there is a lot of fun learning in Delhi. You will be amazed by visiting the Museum of Toilets, which has exhibits of toilets and appurtenance, both dating back to ancient times and newly invented, displayed to public. On one of the walls, you will read the quote of its minister-founder: “Toilets first, temples later”.
With the setting sun, it makes sense to go near to the restaurants or cafés. But before you enter one you should try chaat – an exceptionally delicious snack sold on trays just in the street. To dine out or celebrate Christmas you are free to go to any of the restaurants situated in the center of Delhi, as they are all perfect differing only with prices and interior décor. The most luxurious restaurant of the city is Enoki, which specializes in Japanese cuisine, but is not limited to the common sushi and sashimi. It offers a pleasing range of delicious dishes like succulent barbecue, chicken on bamboo skewer and lamb with spicy “wasabi”. If you desire to have a touch of royalty in your mouth, go to Haveli. Besides the menu, you will be fascinated by the interior décor with pearl ceiling and gold-rimmed perches. We cannot but mention Bukhara, which is Bill Clinton’s favorite eating institution, when he visits India.
After a substantial dinner, it is high time that you went to a nightclub. One of the best choices could be 21-Fahrenheit club, where you will be taken aback by decorations made solely of ice. If you do not wish to see the gone-crazy youth in here, you can go to the club Annabelles visited by people of older generations. However, the honour of best nightclub in Delhi goes to SSteel. The DJ lights up the representatives of all ages and nationalities whole night. It is also famous for its unique cocktails, the list of which is enriched by the skillful barman during holiday periods.
In the end, you will find yourself fulfilled, fascinated and satisfied after visiting the country with busy street life, never-ending mayhem, tranquil temples and absorbing mystery. Go for it and find the never-to-be-forgotten adventures…