According to Mathgeneral, India is the largest country in South Asia in terms of area and is only just behind China in terms of population. The country borders Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. In the north, the Himalayas are considered a natural border, in the south lies the Indian Ocean. The Indu culture is one of the oldest advanced cultures in the world and Indian culture is shaped by the country’s long history. India is around nine times the size of Germany and 14 times as many people live there (around 1.1 billion). The currency of the Federal Republic is the Indian rupee. A visa is required to enter India. In the country, which is characterized by many different ethnic groups, over 1,600 languages are spoken; the national official languages are Hindi and English. Indian society is still characterized by the caste system and the majority of the people belong to Hinduism. India is not only known for its cultural wealth, the colorful saris and temples, but also for its tasty typical Indian spices and dishes.
On many trips to India, the classic tourist highlights of the so-called Golden Triangle are visited. This bears the name due to the geographical location of the three corner points, which consist of the three cities Agra, Jaipur and New Delhi and which are a must on every trip to India.
Agra was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1526-1648 and is now home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Undisputedly the most famous sight in India is the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan had this built as a tomb for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, which is why it is also called the Monument of Love. Thousands of elephants, camels and oxen as well as more than 20,000 workers were involved in the construction of the mausoleum. The marble was transported from Makrana to Agra and the precious and semi-precious stones were brought from the Orient to India especially for this magnificent building. The complex was built in a strictly symmetrical manner and completed in 1644. The Taj Mahal is 58 m high and 56 m wide and is one of the controversial 7 new wonders of the world.
When in Agra, don’t miss a visit to the Red Fort, a symbol of the power of the Mughals from the 16th and 17th centuries. In the fortress, built of red sandstone, there are palaces, audience halls, towers and mosques. Particularly worth seeing are the palace of Shah Jahan and the pearl mosque (Moti Masjid), as well as the Friday mosque (Jama Masjid)
About 37 km from Agra you get to the ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri, which meant the city of victory. According to legend, Akbar built the city in honor of his second son. The city was a very splendid one in the 16th century and the route from Agra to Fathepur was a single bazaar with all the delicacies of the Orient. The impressive buildings still bear witness to the wealth of the city at that time. But already after 14 years the city had to be left again due to lack of water.
Less known but just as worth seeing is the Itmad-ud-daulah mausoleum on the east side of the Yamuna River. Agra is also home to three major Catholic churches, the Church of Akbar, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and the Church of our Lady of Good Health.
Also worth seeing is the Akbar mausoleum, about 10 km outside the city, in whose pretty gardens deer, peacocks and monkeys live.
Jaipur is the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Jaipur is a fast growing industrial city and transport hub as well as a cultural center and is located in the middle of mining and agriculture. The old town is also called the Pink City because of its pink buildings and is enclosed by a gigantic wall. The old town looks like a gigantic bazaar today. The landmark of Jaipur is the city palace Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawaj Pratap Singh and served as a building from which the harem ladies could watch the hustle and bustle on the streets without being seen themselves.
Another world heritage site is the Jantar Mantar, a planetarium and marvel of astronomy dating from 1728-1734. There are a total of 18 instruments, including a 27m high sundial.
In the middle of Man Sagar Lake is the water temple Jal Mahal, which unfortunately cannot be visited but is definitely worth a photo stop on the way.
The mighty fortress of Amber Fort is enthroned 11 km outside on the mountain. The hall of mirrors, part of the Diwan-i-Khas, the interior of which is decorated with a multitude of small mirrors, is particularly worth seeing. Not only the pretty courtyards and interiors are worth seeing here, you can also enjoy the fantastic view of the surrounding area.
A real insider tip is Nahargarh Fort. This was built in 1734 as a kind of watchtower and today it is particularly impressive because of its location. Because from here you have a magnificent panoramic view of the metropolis of Jaipur.
Another highlight is the Galta Ji Temple, located between jagged rocks. Because of the many monkeys that live there, it is also called the Monkey Temple.
The mega-metropolis Delhi is divided into 11 districts and includes 5 statutory cities, including the capital of India New Delhi. About 16.8 million people live in the capital’s territory. One of Delhi’s main attractions is the Red Fort (Lal Quila). This has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 and includes the Diwan-e-Am Reception Hall, the Mumtaz Mahal Marble Palace, the Khas Mahal Private Palace, the Rang Mahal Palace of Colors, Royal Baths, the Perl Mosque and some pavilions. A visit to the three-story drum house, which houses the Indian War Museum, is particularly recommended.
The largest mosque in India is the Great Friday Mosque, Jama Masjid. This was inaugurated in 1650 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. There is space for over 20,000 people in the inner courtyard. Other sights in Old Delhi are the Chandni Chowk, an old boulevard, the Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib temple, and the Raj Ghat, a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi who was buried there.
The circular Rajiv Chowk Square is the center of New Delhi. The boulevard Rajpath connects the Indian presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Indian Gate. The All India War Memorial is a gigantic triumphal arch at the end of the street.
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is a Sikh temple and a unique testimony to this architectural art. From the outside it looks almost inconspicuous, but inside it captivates with its particularly spiritual atmosphere. Those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city should visit the picturesque Lodi Gardens and find peace there. The extraordinary lotus temple is also a place to relax. The Bahai Temple in the shape of a lotus blossom has nine gates on all sides, which symbolize the openness for the followers of the different religions.
The largest Hindu temple in terms of area, the Akshardham, is completely different. This acts like an exhibition of Indian culture and there are many events and attractions.
But India also has impressive landscapes and national parks to offer. For example the Thar Desert or the Great Indian Desert. This is a sandy desert in the state of Rajasthan. The most suitable starting point for a desert expedition is the city of Jaisalmer near the Pakistani border, where numerous excursions and camel rides through the Thar desert are offered.
The Bandhavgarh National Park extends over the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains and is known for the large number of wild Bengal tigers that make their home there. The fascinating flora and fauna can be explored either on extended jeep tours or from the back of an elephant. The Bengal tiger can also be seen in the Corbett National Park. This is located at the foot of the Himalayas and is the oldest nature and wildlife reserve in Asia.
Those who prefer to relax on white sandy beaches will find what they are looking for in the state of Goa. In the capital Panaji you should visit the Idalco Palace, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Sebastian Chapel. The most beautiful beaches in Goa are Arambol, Baga, Palolem, Calangute and the Benaulim beach. Of course, mountaineers and trekking fans also get their money’s worth in the Himalaya Mountains. Just like the friends of Indian yoga, Varanasi is considered to be a particularly holy city on the holy river Ganges, which is visited by countless pilgrims in order to achieve complete salvation.
A visit to the bazaar and tasting of delicious Indian cuisine should of course not be missing on a trip to India.
The flight network in India connects around 70 cities, the tickets are relatively inexpensive. An extensive bus network can be found in all regions of the country. Public transport is cheap, but often overcrowded and not particularly comfortable. For individual travelers without a need for comfort, however, it is perfectly adequate to visit the Golden Triangle. Bus tours are also offered from major cities. Those who opt for a rental car trip should consider the chaotic traffic, the long distances and the very different conditions of the roads. Rental cars can also be rented with chauffeurs and are inexpensive. There are large numbers of taxis and rickshaws available in the cities. India’s rail network is the largest in Asia. Those who prefer to travel in an organized small group can choose between a wide range of trips. Most group tours visit the tourist destinations of the Golden Triangle and set individual priorities. Trips to India can also be combined with trips to neighboring countries.