Guide to India for Beginners

Guide to India’s Golden Triangle for Beginners @muzzymandyy

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Planning a trip to India can be pretty daunting. Its preserved culture and diversity remains a deep mystery yet somehow draws travelers into this magical country. A lot of visitors are taken aback by India’s immensity which is why it’s always better to plan ahead of time. If you’re traveling for the first time, the best way is to discover the country gradually, beginning with the famed Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle consists of three metropolitans: New Delhi, Agra, and Rajasthan. When you look at the Indian map, these three cities form a triangle and can be easily linked by land. This 750 km route is commonly embarked by tourists due to its simplicity.Guide to India for Beginners

GUIDE TO DELHI, INDIA

The starting point of this journey is New Delhi. It’s not only conveniently located in the center but also happens to be India’s capital. So make sure you take a flight to Indira Gandhi International Airport and prepare to unravel India’s mysteries.

Where to Stay?

Fortunately, Delhi offers an array of options for budget travelers. If you haven’t booked anything in advance, you can choose from Mahipalpur’s wide selection of hotels. It’s a few minutes’ drive from the airport, and you’ll surely be accommodated regardless of the season.

However, it’s recommended to have a booking in advance as you might just be lost in the city’s mad traffic jams and dense population. But don’t be fooled, beneath the chaos lies a treasure waiting to be revealed.

Other options:

Budget – Hotel Livasa Inn

Middle – Grand Notting Hills Hotel and Resort

Splurge – The Leela Palace

What to Do?

Dilli Haat – A bazaar in Delhi where you can find all traditional crafts such as Tribal Paper Mache, Madhubani Paintings, Hand-made bags, etc. This shopping center became an immediate hit with tourists after Hilary Clinton visited in 2009. Perfect for souvenirs.

Entrance Fee: 30 RS for Indians / 100 RS for Foreigners

The Lotus Temple – The architecture of this sacred place is something you shouldn’t miss. Built in 1986, the building is constructed like a flower – consisting of 27 flower petals made of marbles. Since it’s a Bahá’í Houses of Worship, you can enter the sanctuary, breathe in the tranquillity and stroll around the polished garden for free!

Guide to India for Beginners

Hauz Khas Complex – If you’re doing the Golden Triangle tour, there might not be enough time to truly engross yourself into the city’s exquisiteness. Hauz Khas is a village of beautiful ancient ruins of mosques and tombs. This area of Delhi would profoundly feed your photographer soul.

Guide to India for Beginners

Where to Eat?

Because it’s the capital of the country, finding all types of cuisine is a child’s play. Indulge in organic and seasonal food at Lodi – The Garden Restaurant and enjoy the 90 acres garden as a bonus.

Guide to India for Beginners

  • Delhi’s street food is exceptional. One can survive on it so long as you pack a bag of antibiotics. Pro tip: Have the Kathi Rolls and Samosas at the nation’s pride, Bikanervala.
  • Embassy, Potbelly Rooftop Café, Elma’s Bakery and Le Bistro du Parc are perfect if you’re looking for mid-ranged, good meals!
  • Leela’s Le Cirque serves one of the best Italian and Continental cuisines in the city. You can pamper yourself with their steak and wine but be careful as it might leave a hole in your pocket!

You can spend at least two days in Delhi before heading to Agra.

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GUIDE TO AGRA, INDIA

230Km away from the hustle bustle of Delhi, Agra’s charm attracts tourists like a flower’s nectar to a butterfly. People come to Agra for one reason: The noble Taj Mahal. Upon arrival, they discover much more than they expected to see.

Guide to India for Beginners

You can choose to rent a car, board a train or take the coach to reach Agra from Delhi as its only 3 and half hours away by land or 2 hours by train (Shaitabdi Express).

Where to Stay?

Budget: The Coral Tree’s quirky design is popular with budget travelers so be sure to book ahead of time!

Middle: Hotel Parador, A Boutique Hotel is a beautiful property near Taj Mahal. They’re known for their admirable service.

Splurge: The Oberoi Amarvilas offers you an experience you will never forget. It’s THE place to stay if you want to leave your better half in awe with the bewildering view of the Taj Mahal by your window.

What to Do?

Agra is better termed as a historical city with a beautiful Mughal legacy. Start from the Taj and the Fort and then leisurely go deeper into Kinari Bazaar when you’re done admiring Jama Masjid.

Where to Eat?

  • Mama Kitchen Dhaba is a hit for both locals and tourists. Buckle up for the rush never ends.
  • Jonie’s Café is popular with budget backpackers and apparently serves the cheapest food in the country.
  • Pinch Of Spice serves European and Indian dishes and is great for family get-togethers.
  • Esphan is the place to authentically enjoy Mughal-dining, a bit of a splurge but totally worth it.

A day is usually enough to cover all landmarks.

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GUIDE TO RAJASTHAN, INDIA

Guide to India for Beginners

Rajasthan is India’s largest state by area. It’s not difficult to be lost in its vastness and get absorbed in the richness of their culture. As you arrive in the state’s capital, Jaipur, you are in for another adventure. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking “Is there anything else I need to know about India?”

Where to Stay?

Colloquially termed as the Land of the Kings, expect to see accommodation in Rajasthan to be designed like royalty.

JAIPUR

Jaipur a.k.a The Pink City is a 3 and a half hours drive from Agra, but most people choose to travel by train as it’s cheaper although it takes approx. 5 hours.

Where to Stay?

Budget: Hotel Jas Villas

Middle: Hotel Alsisar Haveli

Splurge: Raj Villas will make you feel nothing short of an ancient Queen/King.

What to Do?

  • Amer Fort
  • Hawa Mahal
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Chowki Dhani
  • Night Safari

JODHPUR

The next destination is a 5 hours trip via bus from Jaipur. A day in Jaipur is usually enough before you can move ahead see one of the world’s most beautiful fortresses.

Where to Stay?

Budget: Yogis Guest House

Middle: Juna Mahal Boutique Home Stay

Splurge: Umaid Bhawan Palace

What to Do?

  • Mehrangarh Fort
  • Kaylana Lake

JAISALMER

Spend the night at Jodhpur and take a bus to Jaisalmer in the morning. A faster option is to take an outstation taxi although it is more expensive than the bus/train.

Where to Stay?

Budget: La Diva Homestay

Middle: 1st Gate Home Fusion

Splurge: Jaisalmer Marriot Resort and Spa

What to Do?

  • Jaisalmer Fort
  • Camel Trek and Safaris
  • Sam Sand Dunes
  • Bada Bagh
  • Kuldhara Abandoned Village

Tip: Try to spend a day in Jaisalmer and save the remaining days for Udaipur.

UDAIPUR

Buses and Train would take approx. 20 hours to reach but you can go on a ‘sleeper train’ if you prefer to travel in the night and save on the accommodation.

Where to Stay?

Budget: The Little Prince Heritage Home

Middle: Udai Kothi

Splurge: Shiv Niwas Palace – Grand Heritage

What to Do?

  • Fort Tour
  • Fateh Sagar Lake and Lake Pichola
  • Udaipur Lake Palace
  • Cycling Tours, Heritage Walks, Horse Riding
  • Ranakpur Jain Temple
  • Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary
  • Solar Observatory

Where to Eat?

Rajasthan’s food is the state’s heart and pride with their own unique flavors.

Guide to India for Beginners

  • Sheesh Mahal at the Leela is the best place to take in Udaipur’s cityscape, right on the banks of Lake Pichola! (Udaipur)
  • Darikhana is a terrace restaurant for a romantic meal under the stars while spices are specially sourced from a 200-year-old shop! (Jodhpur)
  • The Serai offers a unique dining experience in a tent with organic food straight from the garden. (Jaisalmer)
  • Samode Haveli is great for those looking for a refined, fine-dining experience at a Heritage hotel more than centuries old. (Jaipur)

End the trip with a quick trip to the India Gate, back to Delhi before heading home. Three days in Udaipur is enough, but you can always linger around as this city is brimming with activities!

PRO TIPS:

-Watch out when crossing roads, most drivers do not stop for anyone.

-Keep your valuables with you at all times.

-Wear conservative clothing to avoid unnecessary attention.

-You’re visiting the 2ND most populous country in the world. Be prepared for the crowd, cows on the road and all sorts of things but most importantly, enjoy!

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CAR RENTAL TIP: We always try to rent our own car when we travel, so that we can explore off-the-beaten-path places on our own schedule. Check out the best deals on rental cars for your trip and explore your independence! Check cheap prices here, now!

If you are looking to work in India, then you must apply for a PAN Card. Visit pancardapply.in for help with your application.

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About the Writer

Guide to India for BeginnersMandy is a travel enthusiast and writer from the Philippines. She has lived in multiple countries despite her young age. While studying in London, she discovered her passion towards traveling and has ever since become a digital nomad. Mandy works as a brand manager during the day, studies for her double degree course of Law and Management in the evening and she also writes her own travel/food blog during the night! All at the same time – while on the road!

Social Media: Instagram / Twitter

 

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Comments 12

  1. Thanks a lot for the short but very informative guide. Myself and boyfriend will be going to India in just a few weeks and we have no idea where to start. This guide has been super useful in our planning!

  2. I also recommend shopping in Bahar Ganj market in Delhi (best deals I’ve found in India). There is a restaurant called Everest which overlooks the neighborhood where they filter their own water, so it’s safe to eat and drink there.
    Also in Delhi to visit the “Peace Museum”. It’s the house where Gandhi lived and was killed, and it’s also a free museum.

  3. Nice Itinerary that you have shared with us., India, This trip is ideal for those who want to know the history of India, passionate to know about Mughals and Emperors.

  4. Thanks for such an informative post! We are planning a trip to India in April and haven’t known where to begin with our itinerary. This seems like a perfect starting point.

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