In short, this slice of India is sometimes summed by the three Ts: the Taj Mahal, tigers and traditions. Beginning in India’s capital Delhi, you’ll explore both its old and new faces with your own guide. Pair must-see sights like the mosque of Jama Masjid and the UNESCO-protected Qutub Minar with a deep dive into day-to-day Delhi life into one of India’s largest markets, before exploring the British influence in India’s capital.
Then, make a beeline for Agra, where you’ll whet your appetite with time at the Mughal marvel of Agra Fort before your day crescendos with a sunset experience at the Taj Mahal: India’s crowning architectural masterpiece. On the Taj Mahal trip, you’ll swap the wonder for the wilds of Ranthambore National Park – pausing at the ancient fortified city of Fatehpur Sikri along the way – where you’ll spend a couple of days seeking out its infamous Bengal tigers (as well as a supporting cast of leopards, striped hyenas and over 250 species of birds) on Jeep safaris.
The Golden Triangle’s final trident, Jaipur is your final stop. Take a Jaipur tour and stroll the numerous courtyards, halls and grand rooms of the Amber Fort, before also spying the City Palace in the heart of Jaipur’s Old City and the befuddling Jantar Mantar – the best-preserved medieval scientific observatory in India. You’ll realise this corner of the country can’t be simply boiled down to those three Ts. It’s far more complex and fascinating than that. Take a luxury holiday in India and see for yourself.
Ever since it was built in 1903, the whitewashed Maidens Hotel has retained an old-world charm that’s nothing short of magnetic. Its palm-shaded gardens are a luxurious way to relax away from the urban drama of Delhi, while dinnertime at The Curzon Room is a meal steeped in nostalgia as several photographs whisk you back for a sepia-tinged glimpse of the Raj’s heyday at the turn of the twentieth century. Despite its sanctuary-like feel, the Maidens Hotel is only a short distance from sights like Humayun’s Tomb and India Gate.
Set a mile from the magnificent Taj Mahal, the Trident is a genial retreat encased within languid landscaped lawns, flowerbeds and a pool that is perfect for wallowing in, especially if you’ve had an early start visiting the Taj. Its red sandstone façade, ornamental table lamps and wall art are all inspired by the Mughal architecture that is typical of Agra. In the evenings, the gardens are alive with charming entertainment that include a magician, working potter and even a puppet show.
Cocooned by lush jungle and overlooking a natural lake, Ranthambhore Kothi is right on the fringes of its namesake national park. Its beige and seafoam-green accommodation are modelled on colonial British bungalows and their interiors effortlessly combine class and charm. The serene gardens, swimming pool and calm courtyards are an idyllic place to relax, especially after an exciting day on safari in Ranthambore National Park. At Ranthambhore Kothi, you’re only ever fifteen minutes from the thick of the tiger-spotting action.
Once a decadent manor house for the aristocratic Samode family and dating back over 150 years, Samode Haveli was one of the first of its kind to be converted into a boutique hotel in Jaipur. Its palatial interiors have gloriously been kept intact, none more so than the delicate eighteenth-century hand-painted murals in the dining room. The rooms themselves are bedecked with mosaics, painted arches and family photographs, while the leafy courtyards, walled gardens and tranquil pool are all regal places to relax, just like the Samode family would have done.
A contemporary take on a Mughal palace with its huge sandstone dome, all of the features in the Trident Gurgaon appear to be slightly larger and more elaborate than normal. There are towering doors, cathedral-like colonnades and brass snakes for handles – just the way a king or queen would like it. The yawning marble hallways, shimmering silks, incense-scented courtyards and luxurious floral displays accentuate the palatial grandeur further in one of Delhi’s earliest resort hotels and where attention to detail is everything.
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