Travel in India will open your eyes like nowhere else on earth. You'll see beauty and experience wonder in a new way in this incredible country. The triangle of Delhi - Agra - Jaipur is popular with tourists for good reason, but this tour offers a unique perspective. As well as seeing the Taj Mahal, you'll visit local communities, women’s cooperatives, and an elephant rescue center in Agra.

Highlights

  • Work with women artisans in a village near Jaipur & design your own block prints
  • Stay at a village homestay and learn about everyday life in Rajasthan
  • Explore Jaipur's famous Amber Fort, a palace carved out of sandstone and marble
  • Behold the Taj Mahal, India’s monument of love and a “teardrop on the face of eternity” 

Overview

This tour offers a unique perspective on the popular Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. While there will be plenty of time to be awestruck by the amazing monuments of these three cities, you'll also meet ordinary people, get a glimpse into rural and artisan life, and see the good work of several local Indian social enterprises. 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Explore Old Delhi & Nizamuddin

The lively markets of Old Delhi
The lively markets of Old Delhi

Delhi is one of the most historical and vibrant cities on earth and is certainly a city of contrasts. The city is divided into two main zones: Old Delhi, with old Mughal monuments, and New Delhi, the city built during British colonial times.

In the morning, you'll take a city walk through Old Delhi to Raj Ghat, the site of a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, near the lively district of Chandni Chowk. There, browse the famous silver jewelry market, and even buy a few pieces if you wish.

Later, take a walk through the narrow streets of Nizamuddin, the Sufi area in Delhi. You'll be guided by local youth who will help you uncover the traditions, monuments, flavors, and history of this neighborhood, which is a vibrant mix of old and new, upscale residences and ancient tombs. Travelers and pilgrims flock to the Nizamuddin Dargah, the saint’s tomb, to hear qawwalis, Sufi devotional songs, eat kebabs, and shop in the lively market area.

Day 2: Delhi to Jaipur, India's famous Pink City

Amber Fort reflected in the waters of Maota Lake
Jaipur's Amber Fort reflected in the waters of Maota Lake

Today drive to Jaipur, also known as the Pink City due to the color of many of the buildings in the old city. Jaipur is the capital of and gateway to Rajasthan. For two nights, be immersed in the daily life of the villages of Jaipur.

Visit a community led by Jaimala and Hitesh, who for more than ten years have worked with youth from Rajasthan and artisan women to develop an ethical fashion project. Visit the school and small initiatives that play a part in making the community more self-sufficient, such as a biogas plant and an organic farm.

Overnight stay in the community. The rooms are basic but cozy and come with a shared bathroom. (Note that your tour can be customized to stay in the city center instead of the rural area.)

Day 3: Meet local women artisans in Jaipur

Woodblock printing in Jaipur

With the help of local artisan women, you will learn the art of block printing, one of the oldest printing techniques in India. Here, you will make your own handkerchief using Rajasthani wood blocks.

Later you'll have a chance to chat with the women and learn about their lives. If you wish, you can join them in young people’s daily meditation, or even join in their evening games. 
 
Tonight, you'll stay overnight in the community in modest dwellings.

Day 4: Jaipur to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

In the morning visit the incredible Amber Fort, in a hill on the outskirts of the city. While you will see many elephants carrying tourists up the hill, we don't promote the labor of elephants as a tourist attraction, so will take you by Jeep instead.

In the afternoon, you'll travel to Agra by car.

Day 5: Visit the Taj Mahal, return to Delhi

Taj Mahal
Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise, the best time to experience this famous monument

Early in the morning, visit the world-famous monument of love, the Taj Mahal. Arrive at sunrise, one of the best times of day to witness this wonder of the world, as the white marble changes color with the changing light. The beautiful structure was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631 for his queen Mumtaz Mahal.

After the visit, stop for a rest at an inspiring café run by acid attack survivors, where you can read, relax, and interact with the women entrepreneurs.

Later, return by road to Delhi.

Recent Trip Reviews

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Chris

India's golden triangle: a local perspective - 5 days, India - Oct 1 - Oct 8, 2018

Traveler: Chris H. - Local specialist: Angela Manrique

Overall the planning and booking of the trip was great. I really appreciated how fast the trip came together since I started planning this trip about a week in advance of the start date.

That said, I wish there had been faster communication. It seemed to take about a day to get a response. I sense that if I had been able to jump on a call at some point we could have locked down the tour much more quickly.