Category Archives: India Golden Triangle

Baby Taj Mahal

Today is Friday and we have the whole day in Agra, but the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays, so we will have to go there tomorrow before our 7 hour drive back to Delhi. It means we have some free time today. This morning we visited The Red Fort and did some shopping. At the fort one of my clients told me that she needed 2 disposable cameras, urgently. It may seem like a strange request but in India, anything is possible. I told a young hawker that we needed the cameras the off he ran, appearing 5 minutes later with 2 cameras – only in India! 

Agra Fort

The afternoon was officially free but I felt bad for the group having missed so much already so we took them to the “Baby Taj Mahal”, another tomb made from marble. Two of my clients got sick and threw up over the baby Taj Mahal – it is a good job that I can move fast otherwise it would have been all over my feet. 

Baby Taj Mahal

Some travel programmes on TV recommend seeing the Taj Mahal from the other side of the River Yamuna, so I ventured off there with my group. The light was good and the Taj Mahal looked as magical as ever but don’t believe those travel programmes that say it is a better view over the river – it isn’t. Walking through the main gate and seeing the Taj Mahal in all its glory can not be more beautiful. 

Taj Mahal from River Yamuna

My clients seemed to be falling like flies, but half the group were keen to go to the bazaar with me. I was a little tired but had promised to take them there – without me they would not have ventured into this locals area. The coach dropped us on the way back to the hotel and the clients enjoyed all the life of this colourful area. I managed to organise 5 tuk tuks for the journey back to the hotel, which was a fun ride.


At dinner a lady from my group fainted. They really are dropping like flies.

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Indian School and Hawkers

It has stopped raining, the park is open and I would have liked to have organised one more safari for my group, but we have a very long drive to Agra today. It is the first time I have brought a group to Ranthambore and not seen a tiger, so I do feel bad for the group. 

Female Tiger - My unlucky clients did not see


The hotel in Ranthambore is great and I know the staff pretty well. One of the receptionists, Loretta, has just stopped work here and started work at a new school in the town. She has a three and a half-year-old daughter, who will go to that school, which is a Catholic School but open to kids all faiths. Loretta informed me this morning that if her daughter had not got a place in that new school, she would have moved to Mumbai for her daughter’s education as there are no other decent schools in the area. 

On my request, Loretta has arranged for us to visit the school before we leave. 

Indian School


The Bishop of Jaipur set up three schools in Jaipur and has now built this small infant school in Ranthambore and has a big plot of land to build a bigger school for a primary and secondary school. It will be the first decent school in the area and should open up a lot of opportunities for the children of poor villagers. The key to a better life for India’s poor has got to be in improving the education system. 

The school consists of one office and three small rooms and has 78 children from the age of four to seven. They were very pleased to see us and my group really enjoyed the visit. I passed an envelope around so my group could give a donation to the school, if they wished. Some gave, some didn’t. 

We said our goodbyes to the nuns and kids and started our long journey to Agra. The roads were terrible because of all the rain and the traffic was chaotic, as usual. 

Traffic Indian Style

An hour before Agra is the ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri – founded by the Moghul Emperor Akbar but then deserted because of lack of water. 

The hawkers here are very persistent. I still tried to help them sell their stuff once we got back on the coach. I also let a boy called Abdullah come onto the coach and do some magic tricks for the group, paying him 300 Rupees (about £5) for this. I try to give these people a break as life is difficult for them and at least they are trying to make a living instead of begging. 

The street is India’s biggest employer, with around 10 million hawkers and 60 million people making a living from street sales. Bribery and corruption are rife in India and apparently 10 million US dollars per year are paid in bribes from the half a million street sellers in Delhi.

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Safari in the Rain

There was no chance of a safari this morning as it had rained too much, however it was possible to take one of the big open topped vehicles used for safaris and see some of the national park and visit the fort situated at the entrance to the main part of the park.

Flooded Hotel Grounds

It kept raining and most of my group and myself have no waterproofs so the hotel supplied us with large bin liners to keep the rain off. We all looked great.

Mother and baby monkeys at the Ranthambore Fort

Got wet and then dried off at the hotel and had a nice lunch. This afternoon we did a kind of mini safari but no tiger sighting, but we did see a huge 15 foot long python with a dead monkey. 

Python chasing a bird

At least my group have seen the park though and had a nice day. Most groups just hung around the hotel all day doing nothing, so I think we did pretty well.

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Rain Rain Rain

Departed early this morning for a five-hour drive to Ranthambore and the national park. The plan is to arrive at the hotel in time to check in, have lunch and be ready for our first safari at 2.30pm. It is still raining but it will stop soon as it never rains here in the winter.

It is now 3.30pm. The first safari has been cancelled, as it still has not stopped raining. It is a big disappointment for the clients, who have travelled far and paid a lot to be here. The journey here was strange as the roads that are normally full of life, were empty. The windscreen wiper on the coach stopped working and all the windows, including the windscreen all misted up. I don’t know how my driver could see. His helper kept trying to wipe the windscreen but it just kept steaming up again.

All the roads and fields are flooded, as are the grounds of our hotel.

The clients are quite cheerful, despite the weather and cancelled safari and I have arranged a slideshow and documentary on the national park at the hotel, hosted by my guide/naturalist, Vipul.

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A Day in Jaipur

Everyone had a good day today, visiting the Maharaja’s Palaces and an outside observatory.  

Palace Life


Amber Town



 We also saw how the gems are cut and polished and had lunch at the beautiful Raj Palace. My local guide for the day was Mahindra, who has the most piercing green eyes. It is very unusual for an Indian to have anything but brown eyes. Over lunch we had a long discussion about the Hindu religion or way of life. Our karma decides how we are reborn but our behaviour in this life does not necessarily decide our karma. Being good will not do us any harm though.  

It never rains here in Rajasthan in the winter but it rained this afternoon. I am sure it will have stopped by tomorrow, when we head to Ranthambore and the national park for our safaris and  tiger spotting. 

Wish I had time to visit a NGO (Non Government Organisation) I-India who have shelters and schools  for Jaipurs many street kids.

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Golden Triangle – Traffic

I had my reservations about doing Old Delhi on the first day, as it is a bit much for the clients to take in straight after the flight. However the other part of the programme includes New Delhi, a tomb for a Moghul Emperor and Qtab Mnar, a Moghul Tower. Our local agent informed me, that Qtab Mnar is one hour closer to Jaipur than Old Delhi so I agreed to do New Delhi today. This morning I found out that there was a half marathon taking place and all of New Delhi was closed, so we had to miss that out - not even one day into the tour and we have missed out 2 items from the itinerary. We tried to get to the other 2 sights but encountered road block after road block and it took ages to get to these 2 wonderful attractions.

Moghul Emperor Humayun's Tomb

Qtab Mnar


It then took nearly 8 hours to get to Jaipur. The road was terrible and full of trucks. Sometimes there were 4 lanes of trucks all trying to merge into one lane, literally hundreds of trucks, sounding the horn. The journey was certainly an adventure for the clients and they saw a lot of life.

I think after such a long day we will all sleep well tonight.

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India Golden Triangle – Arriving in Delhi

I have been in India for just a few hours and am struggling to do everything on the programme. We only have one night here and have a 6 or 7-hour drive to Jaipur tomorrow. It was a tough start to the tour for the clients, as straight after the night flight we checked into the hotel at 2.30 pm, had one hour to freshen up and have lunch and then departed for our first sightseeing tour at 3.30. It gets dark at 6pm so I have a couple of hours to show the clients Old Delhi and the Mahatma Gandhi memorial. It is Saturday and the traffic was crazy and the whole place chaotic – talk about culture shock. 

Street in Old Delhi

 We saw the biggest mosque in India and then took a rickshaw ride to the Red Fort, where we had a photo stop and waited for our coach to pick us up. 

Mosque in Delhi

Red Fort

The coach didn’t show up and by the time it did, it was dark so too late to go to the Gandhi Memorial. I think the driver must have got lost as we waited 40 minutes for the coach. Maybe we can go there tomorrow but I doubt it as we already have plenty to do before our long journey to Jaipur.

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