A few months ago I was posting a news piece on a visit paid to The Holiday Place by leading Indian travel management company Sita, the company responsible for providing us with the excellent quality tours to India we proudly package into full holiday experiences and currently offer to discerning travellers wanting to get a full immersion into the real Indian adventure.
The occasion of their visit was to mark the outstanding success of The Holiday Place in selling their Golden Triangle Tour in India, a holiday package that grew so much in popularity amongst our travellers that it exceeded the number of holidaymakers in the previous year by over 100 per cent!
After mutually congratulating each other for the unprecedented success of the tour and after thanking each other for the great support offered throughout since the start of this now well-established relationship, the conversation between Sita and The Holiday Place turned to future projects and great expectations of further growth.
Whilst India as a destination is forecasted to grow even further this year, by as much as 160 per cent, this phenomenal success has had a clear star from the beginning – the Golden Triangle Tour. This is why I've set out to discover and outline just what it is that has made this tour so popular for our customers and why you or anyone should invest in it.
The ideal immersion for first-timers and puzzled India enthusiasts
Many people dream a fragrant dream of India, spice-infused, temple-laden and eye-poppingly colourful...yet when most people are confronted with the idea of actually planning a trip to India they don't know where to start, or where to go, what are the obligatory, totally unmissable must-see sights and how, with India being such a vast country, you can easily get from A to B without over-complicating your trip or spending too much money in transportation, accommodation – and of course the added hassle of planning all yourself whilst lacking local, first-hand knowledge.
Yes, India is a backpacker's dream but many people don't want the long hours of extra time laying the ground work for the trip, researching online, making cost comparisons, and finally creating an itinerary that may or may not work out as you hoped. This extra hard work definitely pays of for some, indeed many get a of a sense of satisfaction and pride in building their own experience, but with a country as overwhelming as India, most just want to be safe in the knowledge that they can put themselves in the hands of a reputable travel company that will take them there, escort them every step of the way whilst giving them some breathing space to explore on their own and the option of booking some extra activities on the spot, or do nothing and just soak it all in.
This and more is exactly what the Golden Triangle Tour offers, a chance to see it and live it all in one single trip. You won't miss a highlight, you won't have to ride for hours in the back of a stuffy bus or coach and you'll make the most of your time by maximising on a set number of adventures each day, all duly planned in advance for your peace of mind.
The Golden Triangle Tour takes the hassle out of all the planning and discussing what to see and what to skip. It's all easily visible, the itinerary is crystal-clear, you can add extra experiences to it if you so wish and you can extend it with a visit to other places if you want your discovery of India to be more thorough and varied. It's flexible, it's ready-made but not set in stone, the options are numerous.
So if it's your first time to India and you'd like to take in from more than one angle, the Golden Triangle Tour is a great place to start. Or in other words, the Golden Triangle Tour is the perfect way to be introduced to India.
What is this so-called Golden Triangle all about? What does it stand for? Well, India's most famous three cities of New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are what make up this cultural triangle and many people that come to the Indian nation focus on seeing the highlights found in these regions. You'll enjoy visiting the grand palaces and mosques, including one of the largest in India, the Jama Masjid.
Wikipedia describes the Golden Triangle as a region called Mewat (the Land of Meo – the Muslim population- and Meena – the hindu population) a historical place whose loose boundaries comprise the states of Haryana and Rajasthan in north-western India.
Most Golden Triangle tours are a week long, beginning and ending in Delhi as part of a circuit. This is the case for our Golden Triangle Tour with the only difference that ours can be extended to include visits to other areas in India or other destinations in the world. But more on this later, let's find out what a Golden Triangle itinerary
You start off with a direct nine-hour flight aboard one of Qatar Airways' award-winning ultra-modern fleet, on a plane that takes you to straight to Dehli, where shortly upon arrival you'll be picked up by one of our Sita representatives who will then promptly escort you to your coach.
After the meet and greet session with your local representative you will enjoy a pleasant air-conditioned ride, where you'll get to meet the driver that will drive you around for the remainder of your holiday. You're finally dropped at your hotel, but not a minute before you're briefed about your itinerary the next day and given detailed information of the representative's contact details in case of an emergency, special request or rearrangement.
Then, after a whole day of relaxation at your leisure and exploring the dazzling (and often puzzling) capital of Delhi on your own terms (or going for total laziness and relaxation at your hotel), the next morning you wake up and the real adventure starts.
The day-by-day adventures
On the third day of your trip right after breakfast you're taken for a full day city tour of Old and New Delhi. Landmarks to take in will include a visit to the 17th century Jama Masjid mosque, a fascinating, winding walk through the narrow lanes of bustling and colourful Chandni Chowk. In New Delhi you'll be driving past the presidential palace and visiting the 16th century Humayun's Tomb – a magnificent taster to wet your taste buds before you go on to see the grand Taj Mahal (Humayun is its not least impressive predecessor and is bound to leave you gasping in awe). You'll be staying overnight in Delhi once again, at the very same hotel since your arrival (you've got a choice among four and five-star hotels on the Golden Triangle tour) where you can rest off the day's emotions from the spectacular sightseeing.
The fourth day arrives and it's just as packed-full of activities as the previous one. On this day you leave Delhi right after breakfast and board the coach where amidst lively conversation and information from your knowledgeable driver, you'll be making your way towards Agra. Upon arrival to the city you'll first check-in at your hotel in Agra, where you can relax and unwind as you prepare to explore the city with a fully guided tour the next day. You could of course use this time to stroll along the streets surrounding your hotel and discover why this has been dubbed the carpet capital of India, with its many craft makers, leather workers and even marble sculptors, many of whom actually claim to be the descendants of those who helped build the Taj Mahal – the greatest construction in the name of love that humanity has witnessed.
Come day five and you'll still be in Agra, ready for a day of non-stop adventures discovering this wondrous city and, of course, its number one marvel – the Taj Mahal. You'll be admiring this grand masterpiece up-close, from the jewel-like stones on the inner walls to the majestic exteriors. After a morning of eyeing up one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, your afternoon will be spent discovering the imposing Agra Fort next door, which is from where the aging father of the Emperor witnessed the construction of his grand dedicated to his deceased beloved.
The journey to your next stop in the tour starts in the morning of day six, when right after breakfast you'll be making a move toward Jaipur, stopping to visit red sandstone UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri en-route to your final destination. You'll find that this small and deserted city remains immaculately well-preserved, in virtually the same condition it was 300 years ago prior to its abandonment.
Once in Jaipur you'll proceed to check-in at your hotel and then get the rest of the day free to enjoy at your own leisure. Come evening you'll be taken to Nokha House to sample a typical Rajasthani meal with an authentic Rajasthani family. After this enriching experience you can sleep off the day's adventures and get ready for your last day in Jaipur before heading back to Delhi and putting an end to your tour circuit.
Day seven will be for exploring Jaipur even further. In the morning you'll be taken to admire the grandeur of the impressive Amber Fort, overlooking the glistening Moat Lake. Its impressive ruins and scattered remains over the Aravali hills will draw a few gasps of admiration. You'll then move on to visit the amazing City Palace in the afternoon, but not a minute before you enjoy a stopover half way along to witness the Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of Winds", dubbed this way because it was constructed in a way that a high screen wall shielded the women in the household from being seen, yet they could perfectly peer through to witness festivities in utter privacy. Your last stop of the day will be at the City Palace, an enormous complex of exquisite gardens, palaces and courtyards, lined by intricately carved doorways, beautiful art adorning the internal walls and a collection or ancient costumes, rare manuscripts, carpets, armory and miniature paintings.
And so your last day in Jaipur arrives as you are driven back to Delhi in the morning of the eight day, right after breakfast at your hotel. Once in Delhi, for this last day in India you will be left to your own device, to relax at your hotel, wander around the city and do any last minute souvenir shopping.
The time has come to return back home on the ninth day and take your onward flight to London Gatwick (LGW). For this your Sita representative will meet you in the morning and assist with your transfer from the hotel to the airport. Journey done! This is when you'll be wishing your holiday was longer - and you can definitely make it so with one of our add-on options, but more on this later on.
The different accommodation options
The great thing about our Golden Triangle Tours, is the mere fact there isn't a single one of it, but several variations to adapt to the needs and budget of every traveller. We currently offer three ready-made versions of it: the Superior Golden Triangle Tour, the Deluxe Golden Triangle Tour and the Platinum Golden Triangle Tour.
All of them have the exact same itinerary and routes; the only difference is the category of hotels you'll be staying at. The most basic of them all (if it could be called that way because "basic" it isn't) is the Superior Golden Triangle, with a selection of beautiful four and five-star properties. Your first three nights are at the five-star The Surya hotel in Delhi, then in Agra you stay at the four-star Taj Gateway and lastly in Jaipur you stay at the four-star Fortune Select Metropolitan.
Actually with the Superior Golden tour you have the choice of upgrading to Trident and ITC hotels for part of your stay. It's all easily customisable online via our website as you go through the booking process you can upgrade with just a click, or, alternatively, with just a call to one of our knowledgeable travel experts.
The Deluxe Golden Triangle is a slight step-up, also with four and five-star hotels, but plusher ones, namely the five-star Vivanta Taj Ambassador in Delhi, and the four-star The Gateway in Agra and The Gateway Ramgarh Lodge in Jaipur. Lastly, the crème de la crème is the Platinum Golden Triangle tour, with nothing but five-star accommodation through and through, staying at a selection of Oberoi Hotels and Resort.
As you can see there isn't just one fixed Golden Triangle mold. The best thing about this tour is that it can be easily custom-made to adapt to every individual's personal interests and every travel party's specific requirements. Its length can be extended to include other destinations or experiences and more excursions can be included if you should wish to pack your tour even more.
The possible extensions and combinations
If a one-week tour seems too short for you, or if you would like some time at the end on a deserted beach to let all the adventures sink in, then we have the perfect extensions and combinations to pair your Golden Triangle tour with. You could extend your tour with additional visits to Shimla, Goa, Mumbai, Amritsar, Kerela, Varanasi, Ranthambore and Nepa, for example, or you could combine it with other destinations in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
One of our most popular, ready-made combination packages with the Golden Triangle tour include three additional nights in other exotic destinations such as Dubai, Fujairah, Oman and Sri Lanka.
If at the end of your Golden Triangle tour you're thirsty for more adventure, Oman and Sri Lanka are the ideal extensions, as they guarantee you further excitement and discovery with three extra days of exploring either a magnificent capital like Muscat, with its rich history and culture or a wondrous place like Sri Lanka and its many temples and natural delights, as well as excellent sunkissed beaches.
If all you're in need of after your Golden Triangle tour is some pampering and retail therapy, then Dubai is your ideal extension, with glorious manmade beaches to top up your suntan and relax as well as limitless opportunities for shopping to your heart's delight or enjoying a very contrasting change of scenery – from ancient temples, palaces and ruins to the ultra-modern skyscrapers and malls of a city always outdoing itself in terms of opulence and state-of-the-art technological feats.
The only with extra surprises
Our Golden Triangle Tour is also the only one with extra surprises such as free horse carriage rides around the Taj Mahal and complimentary elephant rides in Jaipur's amazing Amber Fort.
Likewise, we offer the exclusive Rajasthani feast for free as part of the experience, as well as a fantastic, scenic bicycle rickshaw ride in Old Delhi – all fully included at no extra charge. Of course, all transfers and fully-guided excursions with fluent English-speaking local guides are also fully included in the price, and for an even more personalised experience we give you the option to opt for private car transfers with personal driver and personal guides from an extra small charge.
So, beyond your basic Bed and Breakfast meal plan, you can see how we throw in little touches here and there to make your stay an even more memorable one – at no added cost to you!
What makes our Golden Triangle tour extra special - what travellers say
But of course, what ultimately makes our Golden Triangle tour so popular can only be explained by the travellers themselves who've made the journey and recommended to friends and families.
What many of our customers repeatedly say on our feedback forms, is how wonderful, professional and outstandingly fabulous our Sita representatives in India are, how well-organised and punctual the transfers are, how pleasant the drivers and how insightful the local guides. All in all, between the choice of accommodation we provide, the flexibility of our travel dates and the different airlines we work with, we've got a winning combination.
First and foremost they put great emphasis on the personalised treatment they receive from the local representatives and the driver, Ranjeet, who often gets much praise. In fact many comment on how delightful a man he is, how he goes above and beyond to advise, give safety tips and more.
Past customer Mrs A. Jenkins, said of her experience:
"Wonderful tour and our driver (Rana) was excellent and very helpful."
Another past traveller noted:
"Brilliant trip, very well organised. Sita Travel did a marvellous job from the driver to the guides and their office keeping in touch to check up on our feedback. This trip was very well organised with everything running like clockwork and if anyone considering doing the Golden Triangle tour should definitely consider booking through yourselves. Hotels where of the highest quality with excellent food and facilities, a job very well done."
They say that the knowledgeable and kind staff at Sita are what makes the difference. I'm sure that they're absolutely 100 per cent and that, together with our fantastic flights and hotel combinations, it looks like we've got a leading product that will continue to thrill many more travellers.
Some of the feedback we get on our Golden Triangle tour reads like this:
"The Superior Golden Triangle part of our holiday was excellent and I would give it 5 stars. Meet and greet worked perfectly. We were not expecting but got our own air-conditioned car with the same friendly driver throughout and the guides friendly and informative. The hotels were excellent, and my wife who does not eat curry, had no difficulty finding food. We could not fault this part of our holiday and would highly recommend it in spite of temperatures of 45°"
"We had a fantastic trip, very well organised, most hotels were great and the tours were well managed and we were well looked after. We would certainly use your company again, we were very pleased with our holiday and have brought back a lot of memories, thank you so much!"