Trip to India’s Golden Triangle

My husband and I had a fabulous holiday in April. We were in India! Here are some of our stories and photos to be shared with you.

Please note that if you want to use any of my photos, you have to credit my website mariabristoll.com.

We use Mercury Holidays as our travel company. We choose ‘Beyond India’s Golden Triangle’ package from Mercury Holidays.

The cities we visited: Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Jodhpur – Udaipur – Mumbai

Delhi

We arrived in the evening of April. The temperature was I think in the 20s. It was raining a little bit and it was quite windy.

Our hotel is Park Plaza Shahdara in New Delhi. We only stay 1 night at this hotel. And in the morning we do sightseeing in Delhi.

Breakfast at Park Plaza Shahdara

We visited the old Delhi the Jama Masjid mosque.

Jama Masjid in Delhi
Impressive red stones of Jama Masjid
The old Delhi: Jama Masjid mosque

We also took a rickshaw ride towards the Chandni Chowk market.

Hands up to our man-power driver!
Rickshaw ride to the colourful Chandni Chowk market.

We also visited the cremation ground of India’s founding father: Mahatma Gandhi.

The cremation ground of India’s founding father: Mahatma Gandhi
“The soul dries up without the company of the good” (Mahatma Gandhi)

We also passed the India gate, where there is a wartime monument. And the India Parliament House.

Wartime monument and the India gate
India Parliament House

We also visited Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple and see the kitchen than runs by the Sikh Temple volunteer community.

Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple in Delhi
Kitchen runs by the volunteers
Amazing work of volunteers from the Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple
Big bowl of food

This kitchen offers free food to all who need it. Fantastic charitable work!

Volunteers at the Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple kitchen

And last but not least, we also see the famous Qutub Minar in the Old Delhi.

Incredible Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar has a distinctive tower, probably the tallest and the oldest one in Delhi. The construction of the tower dates back to the 12th century.

Qutub Minar or Qtub Minar

Qutub Minar or Qtub Minar is a complex of buildings and monuments.

The construction of the Qutub Minar tower was began by Qutbud-Din Aibak circa AD 1192-1210 from the Mamluk dynasty.

Qutub Minar tower

There is also a mosque built at the same time of the Qutub Minar.

The old mosque
I am not sure what this ruin is..
The Qtub Minar complex
Ornate carving of the pillars at Qutub Minar complex

On the evening, we then departed from Delhi to Agra.

Agra

In Agra, we stayed at Howard Plaza The Fern hotel.

Howard Plaza The Fern Agra

In the early morning, at around 5am, we have the sunrise visit to the famous Taj Mahal.

Incredible Taj Mahal on sunrise visit
Breathtaking moment when seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time!

Words can’t describe the feeling when I see the Taj Mahal for the first time!. It is mesmerising!

Glowing Taj Mahal on a sunrise touch!
We can get in the Taj Mahal too, although we can’t see everything

The Taj Mahal, as we know, is a memorial palace built by Shah Jahan to remember his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631.

17th century Taj Mahal

It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It is symmetrical and it is built entirely from marble.

Incredible hand made marbles of Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal which houses the Tomb of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

It is incredible to see such a great loss experienced by the Mughal emperor (Shah Jahan) that he decided to built a beautiful palace to remember his wife. How romantic!

Taj Mahal at dawn
We can see a river from the back of the Taj.
The entrance gate to The Taj Mahal

We saw some monkeys on the ticket gate!

Monkeys in Agra!

After visiting The Taj Mahal, we went to see the Agra Fort.

The Agra Fort

The Agra Fort is the residence of the early Mughal Emperors. It was built by Akbar The Great, Shah Jahan’s father.

Agra Fort – this maybe Jahangiri Mahal
Jahangiri Mahal
Agra Fort main entrance ~ big old doors
Big old bath at The Agra Fort
Jahangir’s Hauz circa 1610
Bath fits for the emperor!
The ornate Jahangiri Mahal
Jahangiri Mahal

Jahangiri Mahal, apparently is for the wives of the emperor (Akbar’s wives)! It is a palace for women. Amazing!

The incredible Jahangiri Mahal at The Agra Fort
India’s chipmunk – residence of the Agra Fort!
The Agra Fort views towards Taj Mahal

The Agra Fort is built by the Father of Shah Jahan. Apparently I was told, the relationship between the Father and the son was not going very well. The Father (Akbar the Great) refused to authorise public money to build such a grand building as Taj Mahal (is this true?).

Diwan-I-Khas (Hall of Private Audience)

There is the incredible Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-I-Khas) which has beautiful marbled carving design.

Beautiful interior of Diwan-I-Khas
Diwan I Khas or Hall of Private Audience at the Agra Fort
Hall of Public Audience (Diwan I Am)
Diwan I Am at The Agra Fort
Chipmunk again at The Agra Fort!
Agra Fort complex

After The Agra Fort, we were back to the Fern hotel for lunch.

Lunch at The Fern Agra

At the evening, we opted to see the Moonlight garden. This is a garden built by Shah Jahan, probably, to see the mirror image of the Taj, using the shadow from the Yamuna River.

Moonlight garden, Agra

Shah Jahan vision, if I am not mistaken, is to see the mirror image of the Taj Mahal at night, via the river. That’s why it is called the Moonlight garden.

The view of the Taj from the moonlight garden
The locals and the Taj
Beautiful Taj Mahal from the Moonlight garden
A group of buffalos
Fantastic dusk image of the Taj

I think I can see Shah Jahan romanticism, the view of the Taj at dusk is amazing! Notwithstanding if there is a lake mirroring it! After the evening moonlight garden excursion, back to the hotel, and say goodbye to Agra in the morning as we move from Agra to Rajasthan.

Rajasthan

In the morning, we stopped by at Abhaneri village to see the outstanding Stepwell.

Stepwell

The Chand Baori is an extraordinary well where the foundation of the well dates back to the 8th century. The old architecture is from the Hindu era.

Chand Baori

There are some artefacts that come from surrounds the well that confirms the Hindu era.

Hindu statue
Another statue of (probably) Hindu God?

There are quite many stones depicting Hindu God/Goddess or stones with Hinduism theme, being found, and kept in separate enclosure.

Hindu characters on the stones
Chand Baori in Rajasthan

There are also later addition to the Stepwell, which comes from the Mughal era. I am not entirely sure which parts come from the Mughal era, probably those with red bricks? How about the steps?

Chand Baori in Abhaneri

Not far from the Stepwell, there is a Hindu temple called Harshshat Mata Temple.

Harshshat Mata Temple

This is also an early Hindu Temple dates back to 8th-9th century. It is built by King Chand of Nikumbha Rajputs who rules Abhaneri.

Some view of the Harshshat Mata Temple
The main sacred altar of the Harshshat Mata Temple
Harshshat Mata Temple at Rajasthan
Some ruins from the Harshshat Mata Temple
Ruins from the Harshshat Mata Temple

The view of Abhaneri village is quite something. The sense of tranquillity and peace, but also dry (perhaps the weather?) at the same time.

There was a wedding procession when we were there

There are some interesting carved stones of the Harshshat Mata Temple.

Harshshat Mata Temple – stone carved
Very intricate stone carved at the Harshshat Mata Temple
A scene from the stone carved at the Harshshat Mata Temple
A wedding scene? A naughty scene? at the Harshshat Mata Temple

After the village, we were then having a lovely lunch in one of the grand residence (probably still belongs to the local King – or their descendants).

Lunch place
My lovely Indian lunch

Jaipur

We were then arriving in Jaipur in the afternoon and staying at the Park Regis Hotel in Jaipur.

Park Regis Jaipur

In the evening, we opted to visit Shri Lakhsmi Narayan Temple to experience a Hindu prayer.

Birla Temple in Jaipur

The scenery surrounding the Temple is very beautiful.

Beautiful scenery surrounding Birla Temple
We can see a castle from the Temple
Can you spot a peacock?
Astonishing sunset view from the Shri Lakhsmi Narayan Temple

The Shri Lakhsmi Narayan Temple is unique because The Temple has some Christian figures too, depicted on the pillars:

Madonna with Christ
Jesus Christ at the Shri Lakhsmi Narayan Temple
St Anthony of Padua at the Shri Lakhsmi Narayan Temple

The next morning, we visited the magnificent Amer Fort.

Amer Fort Bus/Car Entrance
Amer Fort from road
Crocodile warning in Maotha Lake
Amer Fort from Ground Level

Amer Fort is built by the Meenas dynasty probably circa 10th century AD. It is located on top of the hill in an area called Amer in Rajasthan.

View from the jeep towards Amer Fort
Magnificent view of Amer Fort

The Amer Fort is later being controlled by the Rajputs from the 11th century. And the impressive 16th century architectural design by the Rajput Maharajas are the ones that are still vividly preserved. Some influence from the Mughal architecture is also present here.

Impressive Amer Fort

The hills are called the Hill of Eagles (Cheel ka Teela).

View of the Hill of Eagles from Amer Fort

Amer Fort is a royal residence of Rajput Maharajas.

Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience)
Impressive architecture of Amer Fort
Diwan-i-Khaas (Hall of Private Audiences)
Elephants to ride up the hill

There are choices to go up the hills to see Amer Fort: by jeep or by elephant. We prefer by Jeep as we tend to leave the elephants alone.

Elephants in Amer Fort
Riding Elephants in Amer Fort
Magnificent Amer Fort
Amer Fort
Sheesh Mahal

Probably the most intricate room in Amer Fort is Sheesh Mahal. It is designed with glittering mirror mosaics.

Mirror ceilings at Sheesh Mahal
Glittering mirror work at Sheesh Mahal
Carving details of the wall at Sheesh Mahal
Inside Sheesh Mahal at Amer Fort
We can see some elephants from the top fort!
Impressive view of elephant rides and surroundings
Sheesh Mahal on the left and the Palace garden

Next stop after Amer Fort is the Jal Mahal (Water Palace) in Jaipur. We did not actually get in. We just stopped by taking picture of the Man Sagar lake and its Water Palace.

Jal Mahal in Jaipur

We then going to see The City Palace in Jaipur.

The City Palace, Jaipur
The City Palace in Jaipur

The City Palace is the administrative seat of the Jaipur Maharajas. It is built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. At that time, he moved the capital city of Amber (capital of Rajasthan) to Jaipur.

City Palace, Jaipur
Pink – some wall of the City Palace has intense ‘pink’

The intense pink colour probably part of the celebration of Jaipur as Pink City.

Pink City Palace Jaipur
Glorious sunshine at City Palace Jaipur
Very big silver jar
Gangajali silver jar

Gangajali silver jar, probably instructed to build by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, is the largest silver object in the world weighted 345 kg.

Beautiful wall of Jaipur City Palace

The City Palace courtyard has beautiful four doors representing each season. Peacock represents Autumn, Rose for winter, Lotus for summer, and Green for Spring.

Beautiful Peacock door represents autumn
Jaipur City Palace

In the afternoon, we are visiting Hanuman Ji Temple on the secluded hill.

Hanuman Ji Temple

This area is also a sanctuary for wild monkeys.

Wild monkeys
Hanuman Ji Temple painting
Colourful painting of Hanuman Ji Temple
Khole Ke Hanuman JI Temple, Jaipur
Wild monkeys sanctuary
You can also see wild peacocks
Hanuman Ji Temple
Monkeys at Hanuman Ji Temple

We then going back to our hotel in Jaipur for a second night stay.

We departed Jaipur in the morning and stopped by at the Hawa Mahal, with an impressive women’s chamber: a chamber with windows that are built so small, so women can look out without being seen.

Hawa Mahal

And after that we departed from Jaipur to another city: Jodhpur. On our way to Jodphur, we stopped by to have lunch.

Building where our lunch is, on the way to Jodhpur from Jaipur

Jodhpur

Arrive in Jodhpur in late afternoon, a perfect time to stroll around Jodhpur Clock Tower market.

Jodhpur Clock Tower market
Jodhpur market

It is a lively area surrounding the Clock Tower, with many open stalls, and of course cows!

Lively Jodhpur Clock Tower Market
Cows at Jodhpur market
Sugar Cane
Open Stalls at Jodhpur Market
Another cow at the market

You can buy saree (traditional Indian dress) here.

Dress anyone?
Clothing shop by the high street
A lady selling scarfs
Souvenir or handcraft shop

You can also find many souvenir shops or handicrafts.

Souvenir shop

We stayed there until sunset. I think it is quite an old market. And the clock tower is obviously quite a historical tower.

Municipal Jodhpur
Jodhpur Clock Tower
Sunset in Jodhpur

After visiting the Jodhpur market, we are then arriving at our hotel in Jodhpur: Park Plaza Jodhpur.

Dinner time at Park Plaza Jodhpur
Lovely food at Park Plaza Jodhpur
Buffet Dinner at Park Plaza Jodhpur

The next morning, we were visiting the Jaswant Thada. It is a cremation ground for the Marwar Jodhpur royal family.

Jaswant Thada

It is located in a very beautiful setting at the hill with lake surrounds it.

Jaswant Thada
Beautiful Jaswant Thada
Inside Jaswant Thada
Rathores of Marwar Jodhpur
Cremation ground for Jodhpur royal family
Jaswant Thada is located in very beautiful hilly setting
Immaculate Jaswant Thada

The condition of this cremation ground is perfect. It is immaculately presented. I also saw a lady who cleaned the complex.

A lady cleaning Jaswant Thada

She is a kind person because I also saw her feeding the stray dogs that are there in the garden area.

A lady taking care surrounding
Beautiful view from Jaswant Thada
Lake at Jaswant Thada
Magnificent architectural carving of Jaswant Thada
Jaswant Thada royal cremation complex
Mehrangarh Fort view from Jaswant Thada

After visiting Jaswant Thada, we were then going to see the fantastic Mehrangarh Fort .

Mehrangarh Fort

Rao Jodha, from the Rathores of Marwar, built Mehrangarh Fort in 15th century. Mehrangarh Fort means Fort of the Sun. It is built as a territorial kingdom of Rathores. There are also the city walls of Jodhpur surrounding the Fort.

A lady at the entrance of Mehrangarh Fort
The entrance ticket to the Mehrangarh Fort
Jodhpur city view from Mehrangarh Fort
Impressive view of Mehrangarh Fort and the blue city of Jodhpur
Beautiful wall painting on the Mehrangarh Fort
Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park
Magnificent 15th century Mehrangarh Fort
The view is spectacular
Jodhpur city from Mehrangarh Fort

There are also palaces inside the Fort. I would guess that the Palaces are used as residential as well as entertaining any visitors that come to see the Royal family.

Glorious carving of the Mehrangarh Fort
Detailed carving of the Mehrangarh Fort
One of magnificent interior of the Palace at Mehrangarh Fort
Detailed mosaic wall of the palace at Mehrangarh Fort

There is also an impressive museum inside the Mehrangarh Fort. The Museum has superb collection of various Indian antiques.

Toran with Hindu God
Silver collection at the Mehrangarh Fort Museum
Ivory collection at Mehrangarh Fort Museum
Sword collection at the Mehrangarh Fort Museum

There are also exquisite collection of palanquins – the means of travel for the Royal family and noble persons.

Palanquins
Palanquin
Peacock palanquin or Tamzam circa 19th century
Tamzam
The Marwar Rulers
The Rathore Rulers of Jodhpur-Marwar

Another impressive details inside one of the Palaces at Mehrangarh Fort.

Inside Mehrangarh Fort
Exquisite decorations on walls and ceilings inside Mehrangarh Fort
Fantastic Mehrangarh Fort

After visiting the Mehrangarh Fort, we were having lunch at a modern building in a posh restaurant – forgot to take a picture of the building!

Lunch in Jodhpur

After lunch, we were visiting the famous Jain Mahavira Temple.

Jain Mahavira Temple
Jain Mahavira Temple in Jodhpur
The entrance ticket to the Jain Temple

Jain Mahavira Temple is very ornate. Everything is hand-carved in marbles.

Magnificent Jain Mahavira Temple

Jain Mahavira Temple was built in the 8th century. It is one of the important temple for Jainism – the ancient religion from India. The Temple is still visited by Jain and Hindu pilgrimage.

Intricate carving of Jain Mahavira Temple
Jain Mahavira Temple
Elephant carrying the Mother of Founder of the Temple

If I am not mistaken, the Elephant above carries the Mother of Founder of the Temple. I am not sure if what I say here is correct. According to the (probably) legend, the Mother of the Founder has a vision (when she is pregnant carrying the Founder), that she was brought on top of elephant. I also forgot the name of the Founder. The Founder is the person that build this Temple. He has a vision that one day he will build a magnificent Temple. I can’t remember the story that I heard from the audio..

Elephant carrying the Founder of the Temple (and his mother behind?)
Magnificent pillars of Mahavira Jain temple
Very intricate ceilings of Mahavira Jain temple
There are many pillars with different designs

There are many pillars in this Temple, none of it has the same design.

No two pillars alike
Impressive carving of the Mahavira Jain temple

Elephants have important roles during the building of the Temple. I can imagine the marbles are probably carried by the elephants during that 8th century period.

Another elephant
A man is preparing flowers for the altar
Stone (marble?) carving at Mahavira Jain temple
Rules for visitors
Another old Temple nearby

We also stopped by at the Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

We then spent another night in Jaipur and the next morning we departed Jodhpur to go to Udaipur. It is quite a long way from Jodhpur to Udaipur. I think our bus takes us for around 4.5 hours. We then arrive at our hotel in Udaipur: The Castle Mewar.

Udaipur

The Castle Mewar in Udaipur

The Castle Mewar is located in a scenic village by the mountain.

View from our window

The hotel has panoramic mountainous view.

Beautiful view of The Castle Mewar
Bedroom view of The Castle Mewar

Altough the view from the hotel is magnificent, I would think the hotel needs some improvement on the building. First, one of the step on stairs is uneven. My husband is almost fell because of this uneven stair. Second, on our bedroom, the floor seems unfinished, some section of the floor come without tiles. Some windows also off-painted. I think the hotel management needs to check the quality of the finishing interior of the hotel.

The Castle Mewar Pool
Our bedroom at The Castle Mewar
Lovely open space facility at The Castle Mewar

We only stay one night at Udaipur, due to the hiccup from JetAirways. We have to go to Mumbai to catch a flight to London. So we just have a relax evening at the Hotel and the dinner is fantastic too! Tomorrow morning we do a sightseeing in Udaipur. First stop is the City Palace.

Udaipur City Palace

The City Palace in Udaipur is a residential as well as the administration palace of the Mewar dynasty. It is built by the Maharana Udai Singh II at 1553 AD. Maharana Udai Singh II is the founder of Udaipur city. He is the 53rd ruler of the Mewar dynasty.

The current King of Mewar still resides here
City Palace Udaipur

The Palace has a nice view of Lake Pichola. The current King of Mewar, I think, still resides here.

Lake Pichola
The Maharanas of Mewar Dynasty
Maharana Udai Singh II

General Public can still spend a night here at the Fateh Prakash Palace. Altough I am not sure how expensive this accommodation is, since you are staying at the.. real Palace. I am not sure too if you can sit down having an afternoon tea with the Royals.

Fateh Prakash Palace

Out of my experience in India, I have learned that each district has its own local Kingdom. In Rajasthan alone, for example each Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur has its own ruler or its own dynasty. And of course another state of India has another ruler too. It is fascinating to see and experience the history of India.

City Palace Udaipur
View from the City Palace Udaipur
City Palace Udaipur
Our tour guide Kaleem

We would like to give our appreciation to our tour guide Mr. Kaleem who is very patiently guide us, especially me the slow walker and the shop stopper ;-).

Lovely view from the City Palace Udaipur
Beautiful painting of the City Palace Udaipur

Inside the City Palace is also mesmerising. The details of some of the rooms are just astonishingly beautiful.

Glass mirror room at the City Palace Udaipur
Absolutely beautiful wall painting at the City Palace Udaipur
Lovely painting of lotus flowers
Very intricate and detailed ceilings!
Beautiful Indian work of art

Looking at these beautiful wall and ceiling paintings, one must appreciate the Indian work of art! It must have taken hours and hours of work to create such detailed painting!

City Palace Udaipur wall painting
City Palace Udaipur tiles
View of Lake Pichola
Udaipur City from City Palace
Probably 19th century office table set up?
Maybe the working office of the King?
Antiquities of Rajasthan: I want those books please!
Colourful mirror room at the City Palace Udaipur
The swinger fit for a King
Antique Indian door? Or Toran?
One of many beautiful rooms inside the City Palace Udaipur
Sisodias the descendant of the God Sun?

I am not sure what is this sun with face? I forgot to note the explanation. Probably the face of the King as the descendant of the Sun God?

The God Sun?
The most beautiful court in the City Palace Udaipur

Our tour guide told us that this is the most beautiful court in the City Palace Udaipur.

Peacock and the mosaic above

There are peacocks and mosaics on this beautiful court.

Beautiful peacock: stunning work of art

Manek Mahal has very wow glass in lay work. Manek Mahal is built in the 17th century, but the glass in lay work is added on the 19th century.

19th century glass in lay work at Manek Mahal
Manek Mahal and the glass in lay work
Beautiful painted wall (Ganesha?) at the City Palace
Silver collection of the Mewar Royals
Silver horse carriage for the Mewar Royals
Splendour of Silver at the City Palace Udaipur
The Mewar Dynasty and its Silver Horse Carriage
Silver palanquin
Antique Indian enamelled silver chess set

After the City Palace, we visited Sahelion Ki Bari, a garden built in the 18th century by Maharana Sangram Singh II.

The garden is made for the entertainment of the royal ladies and their maids of honour.

Sahelion Ki Bari

We also visited Jagdish Temple, a 17th century Hindu temple.

Jagdish Temple Udaipur

The marble carving of the temple is very intricate and beautiful. Imagine the amount of work put into carving this marbles. Look at the details of the elephants, peoples, and (probably) statue of Gods too. They are astonishingly beautiful!

Marble carving on Jagdish Temple
Magnificent marble carving of Jagdish Temple

We have to leave Udaipur in the afternoon to go to the Airport and fly to Mumbai. Hence we have 24 hours spent in Mumbai. Welcome to the busy Bombay city!

Mumbai

Mumbai Aiport
Mumbai
Century Plaza, Mumbai
Mumbai City
Living in Mumbai

I have taken the pictures of Mumbai from the transfer bus that take us from the Airport to the Hotel. So these are not Mumbai City Centre, but I would say, Mumbai suburbs.

Mumbai suburbs near the Airport
Fruit seller in Mumbai
Mumbai Tuk Tuk
Mumbai suburb apartments
Mumbai City

We stay one night at the Kohinoor Continental Hotel near the Airport.

Kohinoor Continental Hotel
Kohinoor Continental Hotel Lobby
Kohinoor Continental Hotel in Mumbai

I like this hotel. It is modern, clean, functional, and good quality.

Kohinoor Continental Hotel in Mumbai
Perfect room at Kohinoor Continental Hotel
View of swimming pool from our bedroom

The buffet dinner at Kohinoor Continental is amazing!

Desserts at Kohinoor Continental Hotel
Buffet dinner at Kohinoor Continental
Restaurant at Kohinoor Continental Hotel
Lovely salad at Kohinoor Continental

I would say this is the best dinner we had at the entire of our tour!

My food at the Kohinoor Continental Hotel

We stay for one night in Mumbai and the next day in the afternoon, we are leaving Mumbai to Bahrain. From Bahrain, we are flying back to London. Thank you India. It was an amazing experience!

Hala Bahrain lounge

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