Monday, 3 February 2014

Delhi-Agra-Jaipur with Kids

Hi People! I am Recounting my vacation in the hopes that someone might find this useful when they are planning a trip to the Great Indian 'Golden Triangle'.

At the time of vacation my kids were 4.5 and 1.5 years old.The Details I have given about the places are dated Nov 2013. So, things could have changed. Double-check! Anyways with kids don't we always double check... phew!

The trip was a 7 day round trip starting from Chennai, then onto Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We took a flight (Spicejet)back to Chennai from Jaipur and not Delhi . This saved from doing the road trip from Jaipur to Delhi (after I made sure there was nothing important to see in that route).
  As with any vacation I started planning at least about 2 months before. I always use Tripadvisor and Agoda reviews to help me decide the hotels. Agoda reviews are nearly 100% authentic, Tripadvisor has loads of bogus reviews either by mud-slinging competitors or by enterprising owners claiming they are better than Taj Group of Hotels! Usually reading a bit further will give us the true picture. We were travelling with my father and my domestic helper - So got a 4 bedded options everywhere. Btw, this was my third golden triangle trip, but the first one with my kids and husband.

Delhi - Day 1

Arrived from Chennai. Had booked a four-bedded room with HOTEL GRAND PARK INN in Karol Bagh. Secured a "free" airport pick-up - Its always hassle free to have a pre-arranged pick-up in a new city with kids tugging along.
         Staying anywhere in Delhi should be ok I guess, assuming you have booked a car at disposal for sight-seeing. I chose Karol Bagh to stay, as my accommodation in other cities were in quiet neighborhoods and I cannot go without zing for long ;) . We had a good South-Indian restaurant (Adyar Anandha Bhavan), traditional Delhi foods eatery "Bikanerwala" and "Aangan" (Take ur kids here to introduce them to Delhi foods - they have 100s of choices) and loads of road side shopping in the vicinity. Of course, I always feel good when I find fresh fruits stalls close by. Shopping here would involve extreme haggling (a skill that I lack!) 

Delhi - Day 2

             One problem with the Golden triangle is that the car drivers take you to shops where they get commission; be firm and let them know your itinerary. I was well informed about this, but then again ended up falling in this trap more than a couple of times in this very trip!
We visited 
1) Birla Mandir (Kids enjoyed running around)
2) Indira Gandhi House/Museum (Kids did not enjoy - probably bcoz it was too crowded for them)
3) Qutub Minar (My lil one was sleeping, so we let him have his rest in the car with my helper)
4) Lotus Temple (Just my hubby and elder one did it.. my lil one took his next nap in the car!)
5) Drove through India Gate and Parliment
6) Went off shopping in Ajmal Khan Road, Karol Bagh with hubby leaving the rest to take rest.

Can you guess who she is ? Clue: This was hanging in her grandmother's house

Our ex-PM's house

Delhi - Day 3

We started off with Redfort. I had liked it best in Delhi earlier and was looking forward to this... but... the car parking was a good 1 Km away (at least I perceive it to be 1 Km).. by the time we entered Redfort all of us were tired.. Never the less, it was not a disaster. After a while of exploring, the kids rested in the garden while me and my partner went off to do some clicking and more exploring. There are paid toilets in this complex and I did see some ramps (more of this below). While returning back, we could have taken a rickshaw as we were too tired to walk to the car park, but then we got our driver to pick us from the main entrance.

What a long walk from car park - phew!
Our next stop was Raj Ghat (Gandhiji's samadhi). My lil one was napping in the car with our helper. My elder one had fun running around and most importantly seeing hundreds of school children in uniforms. Of course, she relished being the 'cute little kid' to the grown up school kids.
       Last thing we did that day was visit Akshardham. I have always loved temples and I love them only when they are sprawling and when they are 1000 years old. So, I was not looking forward to visit a 5 year old temple... but man, I was blown away. The architecture was awesome! Must see!!!
Kids enjoyed here too.. There was a boat ride, laser show etc which I think a kid would enjoy...we dint see them as they were under maintenance then.

Delhi - Mathura - Agra -> Day 4

Taking a Train from Delhi to Agra was very tempting, but then we decided against it. Car seemed a better choice with our luggage and we wanted to do Mathura enroute. Liked the temple!
Did Sikandara fort then(we liked it, but you can miss this if you are seriously out of time). If you like any curios peddled by locals, buy them - should be cheaper than any showroom. Of course haggle first.
Sikandara - sprawling gardens! We saw black bucks, peacocks roaming about.

By Sunset we did Agra fort. Loved it! It was Number 2 monument for me after Taj Mahal.. but mosquitoes did scare me...there were huge masses of them. We used the audio guides here. If you have time and don't have kids tugging at you, its a great option.
Agra Fort - Its a wonder that mosquitoes have not lifted off this fort!

We then stayed this night at Sai Homestay, Agra. This was a two bedroom plus dinning hall kind of accommodation and it was home-like. Kids loved it.

Agra - Jaipur -> Day 5

This was the big day! We saw the TAJ MAHAL... every time we see it, its still awesome... but nothing can beat the first glimpse awe.. my hubby had it now and some of it rub on me too. No words can prepare you for the first sight of Taj mahal, let me simply say - "If you haven't seen it, See it".
We spent more than 1 hour in the main dome complex. We simply din't want to rush it. Kids loved Taj.

Guides "recommended" by drivers drag us around to remote corners for just one shop who would pay heavy commission to the guide. So, its better to take the official guides. Beware that all of them 'claim' to be official. Usually we could get an official guide while buying the entry ticket.

Enroute to Jaipur we stopped at Fatehpur Sikri. It was my 3rd time there, but just realized that I had not known that 'Sikri' - a sprawling palace existed there. Every time, the unofficial guides take you just to Fatehpur as they are not allowed inside Sikri...
Do you see the Ramps - they are a boon to people using strollers and wheel chairs!

Sikri - what an awesome place.. it has become my favorite right after Taj... I saw where Akbar Slept, the individual quarters of his three main wives including Jodha Bai, His Treasury, his entertainment zone, his official meeting hall.. man no words can describe the pleasure I had. Awesome p(a)lace...!
We had dinner on one of the road side Dhabas but the food was just so-so :( and the price pricey! During my last trip to Delhi, I had food in a road side Dhaba which was heavenly and cost peanuts.. so no luck on that front this time around.

Jaipur -> Day 6, Day 7
Here we stayed in "Umaid Bhavan Mahal" - this was a place modelled like a palace.. the next best thing if you can't really stay in a Palace. We got a 3 bedroom apartment and loved it.
Our hotel!

Day 7 in Jaipur we did the usual Jantar Mantar, City Palace Museum, Jal Mahal and Amber fort. Again we had a bad experience with a "free" guide suggested by our driver. The guide pushed us to visit some handicraft shops, while we wanted to spend more time exploring the monuments. We paid him off and got ourselves another "official" tour guide in Amber fort and loved it.
That night we went to Chowki Dhani - a must do if you have kids. The place is designed like a rural Indian fair complete with elephant ride, camel ride, horse ride, dancers, singers, handicraft stalls, etc etc. My daughter loved it and when asked what she loved the most about the trip, she mentioned this before Taj Mahal!
A maze we all loved playing!
Food - a typical Rajasthani fare, but my kids dint enjoy it :(

Overall a nice trip!

Cutting short my blog as I seem to be rambling a lot.. please feel free to drop me a line with questions regarding this itinerary.

Prices we had paid for tour guides, food, travel:

Take tour guides, they will make the trip worth it!

Redfort Official guide in unofficial price: Rs 150
Sikandra guide - incompetent guide: Rs 100
Agra fort Official audio guide: Rs 118 (two headset ports available; carry your own for your partner)
Taj Unofficial guide: Rs 300
Fatehpur Sikri Official guide: Rs 200 (we paid Rs 250- the official rate as we were happy with his tour)
Amber fort official guide: Rs 200
Jaipur City Palace & Jantar Mantar Unofficial guide: Rs 150-200

Food expenses for 4 adults and 2 kids per meal on an average was Rs 700-Rs750 (I had estimated Rs 500 - food prices have sky rocketed in India)

Car - Delhi Local Sightseeing per day : Rs 1800 (all inclusive)

Delhi-Mathura-Agra-Jaipur Package for Car - Rs 16,000 (all inclusive)


  1. hi, Good peoples always doing great things, share it in great way...
    Keep it up..

  2. Thanks for your kind words Ravi Shankar....glad that you like it!

  3. Nice will be definitely useful for people like me planning to visit :-)

    1. Thanks Bashyam. Taj Mahal lives upto the hype - a must do. Do let me know if you need any specific inputs when you visit.