I recently got back from travelling around the Golden Triangle on our eight day Taj Traveller tour. Visiting the Taj Mahal and climbing to the entrance of Amber Fort in Jaipur have to be done and don’t disappoint. But as well as these bucket list sights, I wanted to share the less-known experiences that I enjoyed just as much.
Delhi by rickshaw
This is one of the most genuine local experiences you can enjoy in India. You weave through the busy Delhi traffic, the city life engulfing your senses as your driver safely navigates you through a maze of neighbouring vehicles. Whilst at times it is slightly hair-raising, along with my fellow passenger I laughed a lot and it was an amazing way to be introduced to one of the world’s busiest cities.
Trying a turban on for size
One of my favourite parts of visiting a country is learning about their customs and traditions – diving into India’s vibrant culture was an absolute dream. In Jaipur, I was lucky enough to be dressed with a typical turban and, whilst the fabric was tightly wrapped around my head, learn about their history and cultural significance. Who knew that most turbans are between four and six metres long?
Visiting a village school
It was an amazing opportunity to visit a school On The Go sponsors, meet the kids and watch their lessons which involve lots of singing. We all stocked up on school supplies before the visit and gave them to the children and teachers to enjoy once we left. Visiting the school in the village of Abhaneri was heartwarming and humbling.
Wildlife in national parks and the city
Leaving the fast paced rush of the city for the peaceful Keoladeo Ghana National Park was a welcome change of pace, one the whole group enjoyed. We climbed aboard our rickshaws and went off in search of wildlife. Cycling through the park, we pulled over wherever there was a clearing in the trees to view the wildlife, our guide setting up his impressive spotting scope to look at the birds perched high in the trees. Spotting wildlife in the national park, including monkey, deer and the rare Siberian cranes, in their natural habitat was thrilling. Our time in India was filled with animal spots such as cows walking the streets of Delhi and groups of monkeys on the side of the road.
Meeting the locals
Another great thing about visiting a new destination is meeting the locals and India has some of the friendliest and welcoming people of any country I’ve encountered. Many Indians travel miles to visit the sights of the Golden Triangle joining travellers from around the world. As we made our way from place to place there were normally a couple of Indians politely asking for a photo together to show their friends and family back home. Exploring the locations in my leisure time I could always find someone to ask for directions and take a selfie with.