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The Ultimate Backpacker's Guide to India's Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra, & Jaipur

Gardens in Agra

India is a land of many cultures and religions, with diverse landscapes that range from the Himalayas to the tropical south. As a backpacker's paradise, India offers something for everyone, including world-famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal, stunning mountain scenery, and tropical beaches. There are also innumerable temples and mosques to explore, bustling markets full of colorful wares, and delicious food to savor.

With so much to see and do in India, Knowing where to start your trip is challenging. To help you out on your adventure, we put together this handy guide to India's Golden Triangle route, which includes the cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. This route is ideal for backpackers who want to experience the best of India without spending too much money.

Note: A note of caution before we get started. Never purchase any tickets from anyone other than the official agency. And absolutely never surrender your passport to anyone!

India's Railway System:

The best way to experience the Golden Triangle is by train. India is a vast country with an extensive railway system. If you're planning on traveling through The Golden Triangle by train, there are a few things you need to know first.

Picture from inside the sleeper train in India.
Picture from inside the sleeper class.

  • Purchasing Tickets: In India, you can buy train tickets either in person or online through the Indian Railway Company. If you're buying your ticket online, you'll need to create an account and have a valid form of payment. Once you've found the trains and dates that work for your itinerary, select the type of class you'd like to travel in - first class, sleeper class, or general class - and add the tickets to your cart. Follow the prompts to complete your purchase. If you book directly at the train station, the clerks will take care of all the details for you.

  • Classes of Service: There are three classes of service on Indian trains - first class, sleeper class, and general class. First class is the most expensive and offers amenities like air-conditioning, bedding, and meals. The sleeper class is slightly less costly and gives air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned sleeper cars with berths instead of seats. General class is the least expensive option, offering only bench seating in non-air-conditioned cars.

  • Onboard Experience: The experience of riding the train in India will vary depending on which class you choose to travel in. If you're traveling first class, you can expect a comfortable ride with plenty of amenities. If you're traveling sleeper class, you'll share your berth with other passengers but still have access to bedding and other basic amenities. General class is the most basic level of service - there are no beds or bedding, and the cars can be pretty crowded. No matter which class you choose, make sure to keep your belongings close by, as there is always the risk of theft on public transportation in India.

Traveler note: If purchasing your tickets at the train station, be aware of the scammers posing as railroad workers. Only buy your tickets from inside the ticket office.

The Golden Triangle Route

1 - New Delhi

People in line to enter to the Red Fort in Old Delhi, India. A must visit in India in 2022, 2023, 2024.
People in line to enter to the Red Fort in Old Delhi.

New Delhi is India's capital and the main starting point of the Golden Triangle. New Delhi is a bustling metropolis with plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from, especially for budget travelers. Also, street food is plentiful and delicious, so don't be afraid to dive in and try something new. We recommend staying in Paharganj, which is centrally located and within walking distance of many of Delhi's best attractions. Also, don't miss Old Delhi, where you can stroll through narrow alleyways with shops selling everything from spices to saris. Last, be sure to stop by the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, two of Delhi's most iconic landmarks.

We recommend staying in New Delhi for two to three nights before heading out to your next stop - Agra!

2 - Agra (2 hours from Delhi)

The best picture spot for taking picture of the Taj Mahal in India, Agra.
Picture of the Taj Mahal.

Agra is home to one of the world's most famous landmarks: the Taj Mahal. In the late 1600s, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the construction of this beautiful mausoleum in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. While the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly the main attraction in Agra, there are plenty of other things to see and do in this city. When it comes time to eat, try some traditional Mughlai cuisine—it's some of the best in India! Also, don't forget to check out the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once the Mughal Empire's capital.

To see the best of the Taj Mahal, we recommend visiting in the early morning hours before the crowds arrive. You can buy your entrance ticket in one of the ticket windows right outside the Taj Mahal or online 24 hours in advance through the official website.

Traveler Tip: Take a sunrise boat ride on the Yamuna River for a unique view of the Taj Majal!

3 - Jaipur (5 hours from Delhi)

Beautiful travel couple in front of the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) in Jaupur India.
Us in front of the Hawa Mahal.

Jaipur is the final stop on the Golden Triangle tour. Also known as the "Pink City," thanks to its abundance of pink-painted buildings, Jaipur is a must-see if you are traveling through India! Some of the main highlights include the City Palace, Hawa Mahal (the palace of winds), and Amber Fort—a stunning hilltop fort that can be reached by trekking. Jaipur is also home to many beautiful temples and gardens, so make sure you leave some time in your itinerary to explore them.

Last, don't forget to check out the Amer Stepwell (baori) while in Jaipur. Stepwells are unique architectural feats found throughout India. The wells feature stairs and corridors, which allow you to descend to the bottom and collect water.

Amer stepwell in Jaipur, India. Sitting inside a stepwell in India a must visit in 2022, 2023, 2024.
Amer stepwell.


In conclusion, the Golden Triangle is one of India's most popular backpacker routes, encompassing three of the country's most incredible cities: Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. We hope this short guide will help you plan a fantastic adventure in India!

Have you been to India? What was your favorite city there? Let us know in the comments below!


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