This is Part one of my experiences travelling the Golden Traingle India Tour in 5 days. Starting with an overview and following with articles about my experiences in New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
The overview about all articles you will find here – India Article Overview.
Golden Triangle India in 5 days
„India in 5 days!“ This sounds crazy and it is! Normally I would have never planned a tour like that, but in December 2015 a good friend of mine, who organized a longer journey for himself asked me to meet him in New Delhi for the last days of his 4 week holidays.
You need to know that this is a friend I know now for about 30 years. We travelled together several times so that I know that we harmonize very well concerning our expectations how holidays should be. Right now he is the only person I would join for such a tour ;-)!
My first flight with Air India
As start point for a Golden Triangle India Tour New Delhi is the right place to start. I packed my suitcase and my photo bag on January 11th 2016 and entered an Air India flight from Frankfurt Airport to New Delhi Airport to meet him there.
I have to say, that I never used Air India as carrier before and my expectations were…hmmm…how should I say it…mixed. Of course the flight was fully packed with Indians and only some tourists. I expected an older plane and not much room for my legs and was happily surprised. Ok the room for my legs was „ok“. The plane was pretty good in shape and equipped with nice comfort on every tourist seat. Every seat had a touch screen system with extra remote for watching videos, TV, gaming,…and the service on board was very attentive and pleasant. It was a night flight and I got some hours sleep although sleeping in a regular seat is definitely not mine. The flight was good, the service crew was nice and attentively. After arrival you have to pass customs check and show your passport and visa.
What do you need as tourist? – Visa
The indian government allows tourists of some nations to enter India with passport and visa. As german tourist (Jan/2016) you need a tourist visa, which can be easy requested at the internet page of the Government of India on a special page: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. I requested my „e-tv“ about a month before arrival and got the ok 2 days after request. With this e-tv confirmation and your passport you can go straight to a special counter only for e-tv holder. You have to give your finger prints and an extra photo electronically. After leaving the plane it took about 15 minutes for me and I was finally welcomed in India. On above mentioned page you find all informations about costs and which states are allowed to use this easy way!
Our plans for the Golden Triangle India Tour
My friend and I had planned to see the Golden Triangle, which means New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Our first and last night was planned in New Delhi, as our flight back home started early on January 16th 2016. The hotels at the airport are pretty expensive compared to hotels in New Delhi, but as the traffic is so chaotic it was a good choice for us. We finally checked in at Nikunj at the Grand Notting Hills Hotel & Resorts. After 2 nights there I would say that this hotel is not a regular tourist hotel or airport hotel. Indians celebrate big weddings and the resort has big facilities for celebrating weddings. The rooms were ok for one night, not 4 star german standard, but clean and comfortable. You should stop to watch the environment with german or european goggles and that is the reason why I do not list the complaint points I would have listed if it was a german, spanish or french hotel.
Driving in India
Driving in India is an adventure. Not only because they drive on the left side of the street. We knew that before and organized a car including a driver. After some research we decided to make a reservation for a car with driver at Anita Tours. Anita and her husband Bengali organize whole India Tours, not only Golden Triangle India Tours, with drivers and hotel reservations. Due to our schedule we decided to organize our hotel reservations some time before departure and b yusing reservation platforms, but Anita and Bengali can do this for you too. If you want to travel more independently you can also decide during the tour where to stay and your driver will help you to find a hotel. The internet page of Anita Travel is also available in german, but you definitely should speak english for a holiday in India. Anita and Bengali have a german friend who wrote an email shortly before my departure. This email included further tipps and informations for my journey. This was pretty nice and gave me a good feeling about my decision making the reservation with Anita Tours, although he is not involved in their business. So thank you Albert at this point!
We made a reservation for the driver for pick up at 1 pm for a sightseeing tour New Delhi and Ravi, our driver for our Golden Traingle India Tour, was of course in time. Ravi arrived with his car, a Toyota Etios, which was very clean and well maintained. You could see that he cares very good for his car. The seats were all covered by extra white seat covers, including the headrest. Every morning there was a new bottle of water for each of us in the car door and although the traffic is CHAOTIC – if there would be a rise word for chaotic I would use this – I felt always save in Ravi’s car. He is a foresighted driver and I would definitely travel again with him!
New Delhi is a giant town and the traffic is chaotic. Chaotic like everywhere in the country, but due to the amount of people New Delhi is special. The first thing you need to know is that they have no rules. OK they have rules, but it seems as if most of the rules aren’t important. The only rules seem to be:
- The naughty one wins!
- Use your horn!
- Try not to get in touch with somebody or something! This means people, cows and other road users like cars, trucks, tuk tuks, horses, camels, cycle rickshaws, pulled rickshaws, pigs, dogs, chicken,… The following pictures will give you an idea about what you may face on the streets of India.
Golden Triangle -Traffic Gallery:
After the first shock about this chaotic traffic, I must say that the traffic in India would not work with our western rules. Due to the way they drive it is possible that the traffic rolls and that they are not always stuck in traffic. OK they are stuck in traffic, but most of the time it rolls somehow.
Here are just some examples what we experienced:
Freeway with seven tracks. The driver of our hotel noticed that he should leave the freeway. He uses the horn, states the steering wheel left until it stops and drives totally calm left over 7 tracks. This is nothing special!!
On our way back to New Delhi on the freeway there was a congestion. Several cars in front of us turned around and drove back as ghost drivers to use the next possible of course not regular possibility to enter the service road, which you always find outside the freeways.
The classic situation! A freeway with 3 tracks and cows or people cross the road.
First and second impressions of India
India is dirty and poor but has wonderful people and exciting sights. The first thing you see after arrival in India is the poverty and the dirt everywhere. I am a big fan of documentations and I have seen a lot about India. I have travelled a lot around the world during my time working in tourism business. I travelled not only to western countries, but it is something totally different to see this kind of thoughtless handling of resources of our planet for the first time. I could not believe that everybody leaves his dirt wherever he stands, sits or drives and that people have to live in this dirt due to their poverty. It is not my business to judge somebody or to solve the problems here in this travel post, but I think every western tourist needs to know that it is a shock at first.
After the first shock, when you get to know this open friendly people and when you see this wonderful historic sights with it’s exciting history you forget about this and you are able to see the wonderful face of India.
Jaipur – coming soon