India’s golden triangle – the tourist circuit which connects national capital, Delhi, with Agra and Jaipur – is a brilliant place to visit and travel there is easier than ever, as a group of travel agents from Australia and New Zealand are finding out.
A group of of top-performing travel agents from Australasia are travelling the region at the moment on a Total Holiday Options famil.
The agents found that arriving at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is smooth and easy, largely because of the e-Visa, which travellers apply for before departure. It is granted within 48 hours. On arrival at the airport there is no sign of crowds, Queues are short, though this sleek airport has been the busiest airport in the country since 2009 in terms of passenger traffic. It can take just five minutes to be processed at the e-Visa immigration desk. Arrivals are fingerprinted electronically, their e-Visa is checked in seconds, and they are through.
Agents participating in the famil are Karen Farley of TravelManagers Australia; Vanessa Brocklehurst of Helloworld New Zealand; Melanie Webb of Travel Bug Australia, Margaret Nagy of Danube Travel Australia, Cheryl John of TravelManagers Australia, Tanya Barker of TravelManagers Australia, Alison Kearney of House of Travel New Zealand; Mona Seul of Flight Centre Australia, Tammy Simmonds of Helloworld Australia; Theresa Kwong of TravelManagers Australia, and Bridget Middlemiss of Helloworld New Zealand.
The eight-day tour is led throughout by India expert Anita Thomas of Total Holiday Options, the Indian subcontinent specialist.
Delhi highlights included a visit to Jama Masjid; the largest mosque in India, built in red sandstone with extensive use of marble, with relics of the Prophet and Holy Quran. Between the mosque and Chandni Chowk is a narrow shop-lined street, along which we all travelled in cycle rickshaws – a most photogenic journey rated as unforgettable by all participants.
Beyond Delhi, the Agra Expressway out of the city has converted what used to be a bumpy trip from Delhi to Agra into a far faster, smoother one. There are plans to extend the highway to Varanasi.
One of the most striking aspects of this part of India is the contrasts: old and new; quiet and relaxing or full of action; fast internet at hotels and a fantastic tangle of overhead wires in the streets. You can stay in a fabulous modern hotel and, not far away, explore ancient lanes filled with shops that sell spices in the same way they have for centuries.
Written by Peter Needham