Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

Golden Triangle for a Golden Birthday


Awake way too early today as I am shaking off the 12.5 hours difference of the past week in India with my daughter Lisa. Her Golden Birthday trip choice was India and she found an amazing tour package that cost less than the retail price of airfare alone.  (I wrote about how to find travel deals in my CustomTripPlanning blog several years ago after a glorious four day trip to Paris for $499.) The price of the tour was $1299 and additional costs to us included obtaining our visas, recommended inoculations and medicines,  tips for our guides and drivers, and personal spending money.

The flight is long. I first flew from Portland to the east coast as the tour originated from JFK. Air India provided service superior to the American carrier I last flew to Europe. Not only were there small niceties like a foot rest with roller bar, DSCF5794but extensive entertainment options available through the seat-back display which also included a power port for electronic gear.DSCF5795  They offered two meals heading east, and three meals flying west.

DSCF5797I flew directly home after arriving in New York and that was a bit tough. Next long trip like this will be broken up with at least one day in an interim location.  Getting old, I guess, but making adjustments like that will keep me enjoying travelling for a long time to come.

India is a large country, about one third the size of the United States.  This map superimposes the outline of India on North America so you can see the comparison.compare INdia and Us map

India’s Golden Triangle are the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

golden-triangle-india-mapDelhi is the capital and has an estimated regional population of over 16,000,000. (New York, in comparison, has about half the population.)  While the ancient city of Delhi has been occupied for over a millennium, New Delhi was built in 1912 when the British moved the national government from Calcutta. DSCF5859

Agra is best known to most people as the location of the Taj Mahal.  I will write about that world heritage site in another blog as well as how we enhanced our experience by hiring a personal guide to get away from the tourist areas. DSCF6049

Jaipur is located in the State of Rajasthan which has many world heritage sites. It is known for its gems and textiles which, since I sew, got me pretty excited. I stuffed an empty duffel bag in my small almost empty suitcase to carry back my expected purchases and yes, used both suitcases for the trip home. Other people in our tour group had not planned and purchased new bags.


I have a lot to share with you.  India is certainly the most culturally different location I have ever visited and I bombarded our guides with tons of questions to better understand what I was seeing.  Here are some of the topics I plan to share

  • Visiting a Sikh Temple and the kitchens which prepare 20,000 meals a day
  • Understanding the story behind the Taj Mahal and concerns about it
  • Visits to amazing high quality crafts factories for rugs, marble, textiles, and more
  • Shopping in the street markets and how to deal with the aggressive vendors
  • Exploring rooms and passageways in several other World Heritage sites
  • Getting off the beaten track and seeing how real people live
  • Visiting a Hindu Temple sunset service for Shiva
  • So much more…..and if you have questions, throw them at me.

Author: GoingPlaces Can-Do Zero Waste

I moved to McMinnville a few years ago and was impressed with its friendliness and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. I write several blogs. GoingPlacesLivingLife is my personal blog related to travel, food and just general thoughts. Can-Do Real Food tells about my business processing local produce from small farms and preserving it by canning and dehydrating. The concept of Zero Waste appeals to me because we can truly reduce what gets tossed into the landfill with very small changes in our lifestyle. Join us.

6 thoughts on “Golden Triangle for a Golden Birthday

  1. Absolutely marvelous. Sounds like you had a great time. Eagerly awaiting further installments.

    • As I edit the photos I am struggling to figure out which is the first story to tell…but there is no reason to worry about sequence….when you are exposed to a culture that is so different there are so many things to explore!

      • Looks wonderful! Beth, can you share how much more money you had to add to the $1299? I’m assuming the trip was $1299 per person??? What did the total cost per person wind up being? I know that’s personal, but I’d like to know how much more these trips cost once you sign up for the $1299.

        • We needed visas…mine cost a bit more than Lisa’s since she could go into the Indian consulate in San Francisco and I had to mail my app…about $200 each. We got some shots and pills for Hep and diphtheria…the issue there is that they tend to use nightsoil as manure and the bacteria can cause real problems in our guts since we’re not used to that. We avoided eating fresh veggies and made sure any fruit we ate was peeled. So about $200 for that but you might be able to get it for less..just the way it is here at the Public Health Department. The guide, assistant and drivers were tipped…they are not paid by the tour company (one way they keep the cost low)….so about $200 for each of us for those three people. I also hired another private guide, asst and driver for our free afternoon and that cost about $250. And then personal spending, including lunches and some dinners….which was less than $300. Also transportation to and from JFK…so add about $500 for that. So I think about $2500 per person would generally cover it. The RT flight is selling for about $1500 (remember my tour package was $1299) Hotels, as nice as they were, are not expensive…the 5 nights can cost about $300. Breakfasts were included. I can;t find the rack rate for the dinner we had but it probably was under $30. So, it was a pretty good deal.

  2. Can’t wait to read more! Glad you’re back home 🙂

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