India’s Golden Triangle is a heady mix of world wonders, ancient fort cities and the country’s capital where Indic architecture and technicolour marketplaces sit side by side with a dignified colonial charm. You’ll explore it all in style, with private guided touring, cookery demonstrations, food tours and even a dinner with a local family, coupled with stays in some of the country’s finest accommodation, from landscaped oases to grand colonial mansions. After introductions in Delhi, you’ll turn to Agra and its Taj Mahal icon, complemented by its palace fort and riverside monuments. Then, after stopping at a 16th-century deserted city, you’ll dip into Rajasthan – ‘The Land of Kings’ – with Japiur. Here, ancient fortifications dot cragged hillsides and a walled old town recalls the palatial riches and heritage bustle of the Mughal Empire.
Enjoy included UK airport lounge access before your overnight flight to Delhi.
Arriving into the Indian capital, you’ll met for your private transfer to the Imperial Hotel where crystal chandeliers and marble floors will transport you back to the luxuries of the Raj. It’s an opulent contrast to the bustling bazaars of Old Delhi, where rainbow-coloured spices are piled in pyramids and ancient mosques rub shoulders with minute shrines. Further juxtapositions will be found in New Delhi; here, wide, leafy boulevards are lined with tropical gardens and historic mansions – the homes of British colonists.
Your touring begins on day three, as you join a local chef for a walk among the city's bustling markets to locate some its finest street food joints. Expect a genuine insight into Delhi's rich culinary landscapes, trying a host of classic dishes along the way. Then, in the afternoon a rickshaw ride and guided tour will see you past the giant India Gate, the country’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe, to take in the Mughal architecture of Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar – a beautifully curved 12th-century mosque that features the world’s tallest brick minaret.
Your next private transfer brings you to Agra to take in its eponymous fort. More walled palace than fortified citadel, it’s here that the region’s Mughal rulers lived in still-standing royal quarters and the Taj’s author was imprisoned – his gilded cage hosts views, over a crocodile-infested moat, to his great monument to love. You’ll visit it at sunset, when the Taj Mahal’s white-marble beauty is set aglow in hues of rose-tinged gold and its sculpted gardens are shaded from the sun’s glare.
Retire to Agra’s finest hotel whose privileged position enjoys spectacular sunrise views of the Taj from every one of its rooms and suites.
On your way to Jaipur, you’ll stop off at Fatehpur Sikri, once the imperial capital of the Mughal dynasty. Mysteriously deserted in 1584, it’s a true lost city of palace complexes, grand courtyards and ancient mosques that form perhaps India’s best-preserved collection of Mughal architecture.
After a private guided tour, you’ll continue on to the four-poster beds and marble baths of your luxurious accommodation, set on 32 acres of tropical gardens just outside Jaipur.
The Rajasthani capital is a riot of colour and history. Known as the ‘Pink City’ for the flamboyant hues of its walled Old Town, you’ll take in its striking collection of multi-tiered temples, vibrant bazaars and 18th-century observatories along with the riches of the City Palace Museum. Your private chauffeur will also bring you out into its surrounds, winding into Jaipur’s hills to reach the spectacular Amber Fort; great medieval walls map green contours while an imposing central keep is reflected in its lake’s shimmering waters. Here, marble-lattice windows of the royal cloisters look out over squares where the drama of courtly life played out.
You'll then enjoy a real trip highlight as you join a local family for a cooking demonstration and the chance to enjoy a delicious meal in their home. It's a wonderful end to a truly memorable adventure.
Meet your chauffeur for the drive back to Delhi where you'll end your trip with an evening of relaxation at the Oberoi, Gurgaon. Found in the city’s commercial centre, it’s a nine-acre oasis of cutting-edge design, vibrant gardens and giant pools where spa treatments and award-winning dining are a fitting end to your comprehensive tour.
You'll also be just 15 minutes from the airport, making for a seamless departure.
Stay: Oberoi Gurgaon
A final private transfer will bring you to the airport for your day flight back to the UK.
"This is a fantastic first timer's itinerary for those on limited time, and includes the main highlights of India – the crazy capital Delhi, the stunningly beautiful Taj Mahal and historical Jaipur. A stay at Oberoi hotels will make your trip really special, from the delicious food on offer to the excellent customer service. I was particularly keen to include The Oberoi Amarvilas for its unique and breathtaking views of the Taj Mahal"
Low Season from: £2,735 pp
High Season from: £4,025 pp