Northern India: Navigating the Golden Triangle and beyond
February 24, 2023
India is a country too vast and diverse to travel in a single trip. As a result, many people choose to focus their first experience in a region that offers a broad sample of all India has to offer. Often, that means a trip to Northern India, where they can explore India's Golden Triangle of three cities including the modern sights of Delhi, the opulent heritage of Jaipur, and Agra, the seat of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Northern India is known for its melting pot of cultures, people and languages, thriving in fast-paced, energetic lifestyles. Outside of metropolitan areas, the landscapes range from Himalayan foothills to expansive deserts. And while the traditions of Punjabi, Rajasthani and Bengali cultures are evident in the cuisine and arts of the region, visitors will also see Imperial history and architecture in the mix.
The historic and modern capital of India, Delhi, is filled with iconic preserved sites as well as a hustle and bustle that is unmatched around the world. Locals recommend the Red Fort and Qutub Minar, both historic Mughal edifices that are open to tourists. The diverse population also means the city is filled with culinary discoveries, countless marketplaces and beautiful gardens for taking a time out from city life.
Known as the "Pink City" due to the color of the local sandstone used across the historic heart of the city, Jaipur is filled with pre-colonial palaces and fascinating architecture. Jaipur was the first planned city in India, making it feel more manageable to navigate compared to other cities in the country. Many take advantage of their time in Jaipur to visit the Palace of the Winds, known in Hindi as the Hawa Mahal, with an elaborate facade featuring 953 windows.
No visit to Agra would be complete without a stop at the Taj Mahal. Construction of the Taj mausoleum complex began in about 1631 A.C.E., with its most famous white marble monument completed in 1648 A.C.E. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his spouse Mumtaz Mahal, and is particularly striking viewed at night (the local department of tourism recommends visiting within a 5-day window around a full moon for full luminescent effect).
Extending your visit beyond the three cities? Discover Udaipur, just southwest of the Golden Triangle, known for beautiful palaces and temples as well as magnificent garden and lake views. Globetrotters also enjoy heading further west to take a camel safari in the Jaiselmer desert. To the east, Varanasi, on the banks of the northern Ganges river, is a sacred site and an important place of pilgrimage for Hindus.
Business customs in northern India
When doing business in North India, it's typical for people in the region to focus on status and displays of wealth. Relationships are extremely important, with an emphasis on understanding the decision-making hierarchy within a business. Most business people are fluent in English, but conversations are less direct than in the United States, so allow time and patience to cover all topics at hand. It also means that punctuality is less emphasized and meetings may begin later than scheduled.
Whether you're planning your northern India trip for work, vacation, or a little bit of both, be sure to look up the latest in document and vaccination requirements for travel to India. The latest information is always available from the U.S. Department of State.
To better prepare for a trip where unexpected circumstances might change your itinerary, consider UnitedHealthcare Global's SafeTrip trip protection plan, designed to allow travelers coverage as well as backup support on the go.
- Consider the International Travel Medical plan that helps you with a medical or dental emergency, connecting you with quality, English-speaking care wherever you are, plus covers your needs if your bags are delayed or lost.
- You can upgrade to International Travel Medical Plus to be covered for costs related to cancellations or changes in plans, or to add on medical evacuation that will transport you to specialty care if needed, and medical repatriation if you need to get home to loved ones.
In any situation, whether itinerary complications or health issues, a 24-hour Emergency Response Center assistance coordinator is just a call away and ready to help with location-specific information and recommendations, no matter where you are in India.
*Policy availability varies.
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