We have just returned from an excellent Golden Triangle tour with Delhi Magic. I made all the arrangements with Deepa Krishnan by email and she organised a wonderful tour for us. Our time available was very short - only 3 days, but we were able to get a good overview in that time.
We flew into New Delhi airport from Sydney and were met by our lovely driver Umesh who was with us for the next 3 days. We spent the first night at Thikana a bed and breakfast, and found it to be clean, air-conditioned and extremely comfortable. I shall post hotel reviews separately. In the morning after breakfast we were met by our Delhi guide and driver and given a half day tour of old and new Delhi including a rikshaw ride throught Chandni Chowk and a walk through the old narrow streets. We also stopped at the site of Ghandi's cremation.
In the afternoon we drove to Agra and stayed overight at Jaypee Palace. We found the hotel to be excellent and the service superb. Especially enjoyed the live Indian musical entertainment at the restaurant at dinner.
We visited the Taj Mahal at 6.30 am the following morning with our Agra guide. The timing was perfect -it was cool and not crowded. Of course the Taj was just stunning! We returned to the hotel at about 8.30 for breakfast, then continued sightseeing before checking out at midday and driving to Jaipur.
At Jaipur we spoilt ourselves and stayed at the Taj Rambagh Palace where we were treated like royalty ourselves! I mean how often do you get a chance to stay in a real Palace? If any of you have the opporunity to stay here, do it! Next day we did a tour of Jaipur with our wonderful guide Annapurna including the elephant ride at Amer Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal. The Amer fort is a truly amazing place and our guide truly made it come alive for us. In the evening we were dropped at Jaipur's new domestic airport for a flight to Kolkata to visit relatives.
I would not hesitate to recommend Delhi Magic/ Magic tours. Deepa put together a wonderful itinerary for our short time. About 2 weeks before we left home she emailed me an extremely detailed travel dossier with contact phone numbers for all involved - driver, guides etc, and accomodation vouchers. At all times we felt extremely safe and well looked after.
A few comments which may be helpful specically to other Aussies. Australian dollars are easily exchanged at 5 star hotels so there is no need to take US dollars etc. The power point converter you need for India is the one sold in Australia as the South African one. It has 3 round prongs and works perfectly.
The only real difficulty we experienced was with the heat which in July was still quite extreme. I think if you are travelling around this time of year an air-conditioned car and hotel make things much easier, and a steady supply of cold bottled water such as our driver had for us was a real blessing.
India is truly a land of contrasts - rich and poor, old and new, but is always alive and interesting. Some of our highlights, apart from the sights such as the Taj Mahal of course, were just street scenes. I mean, where else will you find a Sadhu in his white robes and long flowing hair riding next to you on a modern motor cycle? I hope you will all enjoy your travels as much as we did!