We loved our Golden Triangle India itinerary. It was an extraordinary trip for all of us. My children were 12, 13, 15 and 18 years old at the time and I feel like they were at the perfect age to experience and appreciate India. Since we’ve been back, I have tried to find a couple of words or sentences to sum up our time there. The default words like “amazing”, “fantastic”, “exceptional, “life changing”- don’t really work. This was a trip to one of the most complicated and chaotic countries that we have ever visited.
I feel like we experienced it all. On the one hand, we stayed in luxury accommodation and ate some mouthwatering meals. Then, shortly after, we saw extreme poverty and hardships that were difficult to see. We shared crazy “hold on tight” experiences that challenged our comfort levels but then moments later, some awe inspiring sights that made us gape open mouthed amazed at what people were capable of creating.
14 Day Itinerary In India
In this blog, I am going to provide our 14 day itinerary in India – where we went, stayed, ate, and what we saw. If you are interested in more, in my article Best Places to Visit in India: Four Reasons Why You Should Go, I highlight some of the reasons why India was an amazing place to visit. If you are not sure whether you or your family are ready for any trip to India, much less a 14 day itinerary in India, then you should read my article India with Kids: Eight Reasons Not To Go. This blog highlights many challenges that we faced when we visited India. For a full list of my articles from our trip to India, please take a look at the list at the end of this article.
Planning A Trip To India
Like any trip we take, I spent hours and hours thinking and planning a trip to India. However, when it came time to finalizing the details of our Golden Triangle India itinerary, I wanted the expertise that only a local could provide.
It was my good fortune that I discovered Mona Kapoor, the owner of a travel agency located just outside Dehli called Indian Vistas. She was absolutely fantastic in planning a trip to India. I told her that I wanted to:
- visit cities and rural villages;
- see key cultural and historical sites;
- learn about local crafts and artisans;
- have experiences with animals; and
- meet locals and learn about their way of life.
She delivered an exceptional 2 week India itinerary for my family. We had our own driver and guide everywhere we went. We always had someone dropping us off at the airport, greeting us upon arrival, and help with our luggage to and from the car. They recommended restaurants that were excellent and we never once got sick.
North India Itinerary
Before we did our Golden triangle India itinerary, we headed to Punjab for four days. What an extraordinary experience! India is made up of 29 states. Punjab is one of them. It borders Pakistan and is the heart of India’s Sikh community. More importantly to us, Punjab is the home to the Golden Temple.
Day 1 of our North India Itinerary- Amritsar and the Golden Temple
Afternoon – We arrived and were greeted at the airport. On our way to our hotel, we stopped at The Yellow Chilli restaurant and had a delicious lunch. We loved our lunch here, so much so that we ended up here a few more times while in Amritsar. The food was exceptional and it was spiced to a level that we could tolerate and appreciate. Afterwards, we went to our hotel, Ranjit’s Svaasa. This was a lovely boutique hotel that instantly reminded me of the hotel in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – comfortable, quaint, and of course, exotic!
Evening – We went to the Golden Temple and watched the Sikh’s Holy Book be put to bed. The Temple was alive with thousands of people celebrating Holi and their pilgrimage to the Golden Temple. It was an exhilarating atmosphere. We returned late and ate dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 of our North India Itinerary – Amritsar
Morning – We returned to the Golden Temple and toured the magnificent complex. A highlight was visiting the Langar, a kitchen run entirely by volunteers that provides between 50,000 -75,000 free meals a day. We even volunteered in the kitchen which was a fantastic experience. For more information about our time volunteering, please read Exploring The Golden Temple in Amritsar India.
We also visited Jalianwala Bagh, a public garden near the Temple that commemorates a massacre by British soldiers in 1919. Despite the history of the garden, it was a very beautiful place. We went back to The Yellow Chilli for lunch.
Afternoon – In the late afternoon, we drove to the Wagah Border, the common border between India and Pakistan. We watched Indians and Pakistanis, on both sides of the border, celebrate the lowering of the Indian and Pakistani flags. This was a wild experience! Every day in the late afternoon, thousands of people arrive to watch an elaborate choreographed routine with Indian and Pakistani soldiers on each side of the border. There is singing and dancing in the stands and on the street. Adults and children run around proudly waving the Indian flag with huge smiles on their faces. It is an amazing spectacle to watch and one that I would highly recommend including in a 14 day itinerary in India.
Day 3 of our North India itinerary – Hoshiarpur
Morning – We drove approximately 3 hours to Hoshiarpur, a city and district in Punjab. There, we stayed in the countryside in lovely cabins around 15 minutes out of town on a farm called Citrus County. We were the only guests for our two night stay and were thoroughly spoiled by the owners and their staff. All meals were home cooked and delicious.
Afternoon – After lunch, our host took us on a guided walk of the small village next to the farm. We met many lovely families and were invited to every single person’s home for tea! We learned about how many families live in rural Punjab which was fascinating. Once back on the farm, we hopped on the back of a tractor and took a tour of the farm, which was lovely.
Dinner – In the evening, our hosts organized a cookout in the garden. We were taught how to make a mouth watering mutton stew from a family recipe, and then, we ate under the stars.
Day 4 of our North India Itinerary – Hoshiarpur
Morning – Our host took us to Hoshiarpur for a walking tour of the city. We shopped in narrow alleys, all the while dodging people, cows, dogs, motorcycles and bicycles coming from all sorts of directions. We saw beautiful wood crafts and leather shoes, and my daughter and I tried on traditional sarees. However, it was a relief to return to the quiet and calm of the farm.
Afternoon – Our hosts drove us into the mountains and we went for hike. It was wonderful to be in the countryside and away from the hustle and bustle of Hoshiapur. I strongly recommend including some hiking on your 14 day itinerary in India.
Golden Triangle India Itinerary
Day 5 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Delhi
Morning – We drove back to Amritsar and had lunch at The Yellow Chilli.
Evening – We ate at Megu, a Japanese restaurant at the hotel. The restaurant was stunning and the food was delicious.
Day 6 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Delhi
Morning – We went to Old Delhi and visited Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Then, just steps away, we took a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, a market area brimming with people, monkeys, cows, cars, bicycles and motorcycles. It was crazy and we hung on for dear life! I was relieved to not be walking. Afterwards, we went to a Hindu Temple called LaxmiNarayn Temple and learned about the Hindu faith. This was a beautiful temple.
Afternoon – We had a fabulous lunch at Lutyens Cocktail House. In the late afternoon, we drove 1 1/2 hours to Gurgaon, a city next to Delhi. Mona (our travel agent) and her husband hosted us for drinks and hors d’oeuvres in their home. This was a special evening.
Evening – We went to the Kingdom of Dreams to see a live Bollywood show. The theatre complex was incredible and we saw some amazing dancing and costumes.
Day 7 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Delhi
Morning – We went to New Delhi and visited Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, which were fascinating. We drove around the colonial part of Delhi called Raisina Hill and saw various monuments and government buildings. We also went shopping at Hauz Khas Village, which had fantastic shopping for contemporary Indian fashion and art. I bought a beautiful dress and shoes.
Afternoon – We had a delicious lunch at Lazeez Affaire and then, did more shopping.
Evening – We had dinner outside at Lodi – The Garden Restaurant. It was beautiful.
Day 8 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Agra
Morning – We drove four hours to Agra. This was a long drive, but it was fascinating looking out the window at the countryside. We checked into the Courtyard by Marriott Agra and then, went to the Taj Mahal. This was an extraordinary experience and one of the reasons we decided to visit India. It did not disappoint.
Afternoon – We ate a delicious lunch at Bon Barbecue. After lunch, we visited stone masons descended from the masons who built the Taj Mahal. It was interesting watching them create works of art. Thereafter, we went to the Agra Fort, which was a fascinating. Dinner was at the hotel.
Day 9 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Ranthambore National Park
Morning – We drove 1 1/2 hours to Bhartapur to catch a train to Ranthambore National Park. The train ride was approximately two hours. This was a pretty interesting experience. We were all scattered about on the train in “first class” (which was not even close to first class in western terms) and shared spaces with other Indian people who couldn’t speak English. I loved looking out the window and seeing rural life. I also thoroughly enjoyed the people watching on the train. Everybody who we met was very helpful and kind.
Afternoon – We were met at the station and transferred to our luxury resort Sher Bagh. This was a small gorgeous resort right next to Ranthambore National Park. We stayed in beautiful tents with furniture that looked like it had only just been removed from an old English Plantation house. Once settled, we had a delicious lunch (all meals were included in our stay) and then, went on our first safari. We did not see any tigers, but saw other wild animals in beautiful surroundings.
Evening – We had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by a campfire, and dinner under the stars. It was magnificent. I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life when I bumped into a Bengal tiger outside our tent in the dark and survived… really! (Escaping Death Near Rathambore National Park In India)
Day 10 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Ranthambore National Park
Morning – We went on a safari and saw a tiger. It was UNBELIEVABLE! I would highly recommend that any visit to the Golden Triangle India includes a tiger safari. They are extremely endangered and it was extraordinary to see them in their natural habitat. For more information about our time in the resort, please read Ranthambore Safari in India: How My I-Phone Flashlight Saved My Life
Afternoon – We sat by the pool, played cards and read. In the late afternoon, we went on another safari.
Evening – We had cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner under the stars in a different spot on the property. It was spectacular!
Day 11 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Jaipur
Morning – We drove four hours to Jaipur and checked into the magnificent Taj Jai Mahal Palace and had lunch.
Afternoon – We went to Hawa Mahal, a wall with 953 little windows and balconies that had allowed women of the royal household to view outside events without being seen. After, we went on a walking tour of the market and learnt about spices and Indian foods. I loved exploring this market! The smells, colours and activity everywhere we looked made it exciting just to walk in and out of all the stalls. Later, we had High Tea on the roof of a home of a local noble family where we learned about the history of the the City and their important role in it. It was fascinating.
Day 12 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Jaipur
Morning – We went to Amer, the Medieval Rahput Citadel. It was an amazing complex and the scenery was breathtaking. Afterwards, we went to Jantar Mantar, a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments and learned the history and use of these items.
Dinner – We ate dinner outside at Giardino, an Italian restaurant at the hotel. It was very good.
Day 13 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary – Jaipur
Morning – We visited Dera Amer, a farm on the outskirts of Jaipur and had an elephant safari. These elephants are rescued from abusive owners and brought here for care. We had a lovely time. We washed and fed the elephants and afterwards, we decorated them (with natural and organic products) in a traditional Indian fashion. After our time with elephants, we had a fantastic private lunch in the garden.
Afternoon – We visited a block printing factory and watched the traditional form of hand-dying and printing patterns on material, which was very interesting. On the way back to the hotel, we did a little bit of shopping.
Day 14 of our Golden Triangle India itinerary
We flew home.
If you are interested in hearing more about our time in India, please check out the list below. It is a complete list of all the articles that I have written about our extraordinary time there.
- Best Places To Visit In India: Four Reasons Why You Should Go;
- India with Kids: Eight Reasons Not To Go;
- Rathambore Safari in India: How My I-Phone Flashlight Saved My Life;
- Escaping Death Near Rathambore National Park In India;
- Exploring The Golden Temple in Amritsar India; and
- Amritsar Sighting in India: Things You NEED To Know
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