A Gllimpse of the Golden Triangle
India's golden triangle is a tourist circuit which connects the national capital Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. The Golden Triangle is so called because of the triangular shape formed by the locations of New Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan on a map. The trips usually start in Delhi moving south to the site of Taj Mahal at Agra, then west, to the desert landscapes of Rajasthan. It is normally possible to do the trip by coach or private journey through most tour operators. The Golden Triangle is now a well traveled route providing a good spectrum of the country's different landscapes. The circuit is about 720 km by road. Each leg is about 4 to 6 hours of drive. The Shatabdi express train also connects Delhi with Agra and Jaipur.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Red Fort is a historical fortification in the national capital of New Delhi. Located in the center of the city, it was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. It was constructed by Shah Jahan in the year 1939 as a result of a capital shift from Agra to Delhi. This imposing piece of architecture derives its name from its impregnable red sandstone walls. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political center of the Mughal state and the setting for events critically impacting the region. Today, this monument is home to a number of museums that have an assortment of precious artifacts on display. Every year, the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag here on the Independence Day.
Formerly known as Quila-e-Mubarak or the Blessed Fort, the Red Fort lies along the banks of the river Yamuna, whose waters fed the moats surrounding the fort. It was a part of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad, popularly known today as 'Old Delhi'. The entire fort complex is said to represent the architectural creativity and brilliance of Mughal architecture. With so much history and heritage associated with it, the Red Fort is one of the most popular monuments in India and a major tourist attraction in Delhi. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. The Archaeological Survey of India is at present responsible for the security and preservation of this magnificent monument.
Qutub Minar, New Delhi
The soaring and brave tower that allures tourists despite being destroyed by ravages of natural apocalypses several times, Qutub Minar is the tallest individual tower in the world and second tallest monument of Delhi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located in Mehrauli and its construction was started in 1192 by Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, founder of Delhi Sultanate. Later, the tower was built by various rulers over the centuries. The sight of this glorious monument takes you back to the rich history of India.
The astounding architecture which includes immaculate carvings will leave you bewitched. Besides Qutub Minar, the Qutub Complex has many other ancient structures to offer you like Iron Pillar and the Alai Darwaza. As you roam around, the place will surely compel you to immerse deeper into India's past and admire the vintage architecture. The architecture aficionados will never have enough of Qutub Minar. It has become a favourite picnic spot for Delhiites where they just relax with the Minar in the backdrop. Also, the opulent Qutub Festival which brags about the glory of the tower is a major attraction for tourists. So, live the illustrious history of India with Qutub Minar and other different monuments erected at one place.
What is widely considered as the most beautiful building in the world, Taj Mahal is located in the historical city of Agra. Called as the "symbol of love", it was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Every year visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra passes through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breathtaking monument, and only a few leave disappointed. Shah Jahan said about the Taj that it made "the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes".
The Taj Mahal stands for the Crown of Palaces in the Persian language. It rises from the dust-beaten earth of Uttar Pradesh, but even the wildest imaginations leave visitors underprepared for this world wonder. It is a breath stealing moment when the gates of this monument are traversed, and the Taj Mahal comes into focus. It is considered as the finest example of Mughal architecture and is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Covering a land over 60 bighas, the Taj Mahal was constructed using white marble obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan.
Rabindranath Tagore described it as "a teardrop in the cheek of eternity" while Rudyard Keepling said it is "the embodiment of all things pure". It took almost 17 years to complete the construction of the Taj Mahal, and it was finally completed by 1653. The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape, and that can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. The Taj, so majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors. There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. Simply said, it is the most beautiful building in the world, and it's impossible to see it without feeling wonderstruck!
Also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge or Red Fort of Agra, the Agra Fort is a massive fortification located on the right bank of the river Yamuna in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, at a mere distance of 2.5 kilometres from the world famous Taj Mahal. Encompassing an entire city within its walls, this imposing structure was built in the year 1573 by Mughal supremo Akbar himself.
Agra Fort was the main residence of the Mughal up to the year 1638 when the capital was shifted from Agra to New Delhi. Owing to its historic importance and bedazzling construction, the Agra Fort has also been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Agra Fort is one of the most special monuments built by the Mughals and has richly decorated buildings. It is the perfect example of the Mughal style of art and architecture and is one of the most visited tourist spots in Agra. Built purely out of red sandstone, this expansive architecture stands out against the soft azure of the sky. Within the premises of the fort lie the most exquisite architectures of the Mughals like the Pearl Mosque, Diwan-i I Khas, Diwan-i I Aam, Moti Masjid and Jahangiri Mahal. Each and every one of these edifices has remarkable handiwork and ornamentation, which make this place a delight for every history and architecture lover. You can also get a very splendid view of Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
The massive edifice of Hawa Mahal stands at the intersection of the main road in Jaipur, Badi Chaupad. It is regarded as the signature building of the city and was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799. Hawa Mahal derives its name from its unique structure, which is a mesh of small windows that allowed cool wind to enter the palace and hence kept the palace comfortable during the hot summer months. The main reason behind the palace's construction was to allow the women of the royal house to observe the festivities on the streets whilst being unseen from the outside.
Hawa Mahal is built in the Rajput architectural style and is constructed of red and pink sandstone. The Palace has a pyramidal structure which almost resembles a crown, and is embellished with myriad tiny windows. From within, the Hawa Mahal palace is based on five floors with each and every one of them housing uniquely decorated chambers. A charming fountain welcomes you inside the main palace, from whereon you can make your way up to the different floors. The top of the palace offers a brilliant view of the City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the ever-busy Siredeori Bazar. There is a small museum as well which holds some rich relics and miniature paintings.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Located near the City Palace in the regal city of Jaipur, Jantar Mantar is the largest stone astronomical observatory in the world. This ancient study boasts of nineteen instruments built out of stone and brass and was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727-33. The intelligent construction and placement of these instruments allowed the observer to note the position of heavenly bodies with their naked eye alone. Time has failed to lay dust upon this engineering marvel and it still works as well as it used in the olden times. An amalgam of various disciplines, Jantar Mantar stands proudly as a witness of the wisdom and mathematical prowess of a former age. Owing to its rich cultural, heritage and scientific value, Jantar Mantar has also been featured on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
The main objective of building this vast observatory was to study and gather information about space and time as was known. The instruments here pertain to Egypt's Ptolemaic astronomy and follows three classical celestial coordinates to track the positions of heavenly bodies- namely horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system and the ecliptic system. This observatory also employs the "Kapala Yantraprakara", which allows the transformation of one coordinate system to the other directly. Another fact that makes this destination unique is that the world's largest sundial is situated here. The observatory in Jaipur is a part of a collection of five other such observatories built by Raja Jai Singh, which are located in New Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. The architectural brilliance of Jantar Mantar is an amazing thing to experience and is a delightful look into the days bygone.