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Tripping around the Golden Triangle

Mehak Chauhan | New Delhi |

With the onset of winter and the year drawing to a close, many people are planning trips for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Friends and colleagues are already booking flights and some are gearing up for a dream vacation. 
After working hard the whole year, one does deserve a good vacation. But planning a vacation may not be easy. One of the hardest things is to choose the right destination, then to book flights or trains. How about this time you ditch all of this and hit the road with your dear ones? Playlist of your favorite road trip songs, foot on the accelerator pedal, eyes on the road, gear shifted to the fifth and with your car running and fingers drumming, begin the journey. 
If you are in New Delhi, it being the capital city has great road connectivity. One of the best roads around is the six-lane Yamuna Expressway which stretches to 165 km. It is a modern day wonder and you will agree once you drive down. A smooth drive on this expressway will lead you to Agra- the city of Taj Mahal–the symbol of love, a proof of mankind’s hard work and dedication and an amalgam of various cultures. The whole world has been enchanted by the mesmerizing beauty of Taj Mahal. 
About 43 km away from Agra is Fatehpur Sikri, the land of highest gateway in the world–Buland Darwaza. It is one of the most magnificent masterpieces by the Mughal Empire. When you stand right under it and look up, it leaves you awestruck. You will wonder how man can make something this huge in those historic times when there was no machinery at all. The architecture and carvings reflect the period of Mughals. There is an Islamic inscription written in Persian on this gate that reads “Isa (Jesus), son of Mary said: 'The world is a Bridge, pass over it, but build no houses upon it. He, who hopes for a day, may hope for eternity; but the World endures but an hour. Spend it in prayer for the rest is unseen.”  Verses from the Quran have also been carved in the Naskh (script) along the top. These were drawn by Khwaja Hussain Chishti, a disciple of Sheikh Salim Chishti. 
India is home to several monuments and forts and when we talk about forts we can never miss talking about Jaipur. So, from Agra head to south-west on Agra-Bikaner road and drive for 238 km. into the Thar region amidst hot deserts with sand dunes and golden sand spread around you to finally reach the vibrant Pink City. 
The royal essence of the city makes you feel grand with its rajputana traditions and customs. Rich culture, history and colours make this city one of the most visited cities in the country. If you have an affinity towards monuments and photography is your passion then this place is a paradise for you. Gigantic forts like Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal and City Palace leaves you awestruck and captivates your mind with interesting stories. 
In the middle of calm water, stands Jal Mahal, floating and flaunting the amazing architecture. Then, in the middle of a dynamic market place is Hawa Mahal with enormous amount of windows from where the queens and princesses used to peep out to see public celebrations and ceremonies so that people could not see them. 
City Palace has been the location for many Bollywood films and songs. Inside this palace, women and children come together to perform and that is a treat to watch.  The history of City Palace and stories related to it are not less than an entertaining movie with plot twists and actions. 
Amer Fort is a case of brilliant architecture with serpentine staircase and from inside, the most attractive place is Sheesh Mahal, which gives a starry sky look to the ceiling and walls. The unique architecture of these magnificent forts and monuments leave you spellbound. 
The liveliness, vibrancy and high spirit are the jewels of this place. Combination of folk music and dance with Rajasthani food at Chokhi Dhani is the icing on the cake. You can let yourself set free on a shopping spree at Bapu Bazaar that has variety of things to offer. Colourful traditional wear, jewellery, bags, wall hangings and handicrafts… the list is never ending. 
Delhi-Agra-Jaipur makes the famous golden triangle. So pack your bags, fill up the fuel tank and drive around the Golden Triangle to get those golden days written in golden letters.