Golden Triangle Romance

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Golden Triangle Romance
The Golden Triangle is the land of the maharajas and their maharanis—a place of epic love stories, precious jewels, intoxicating bazaars, golden sunsets, and spellbinding monuments to eternal love.
By Neha Puntambekar , AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
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    Romantic Dates in Delhi
    Delhi has a number of romantic, candlelit dinner options for lovebirds. Most restaurants fill up after 9:00 p.m. and shut at 1:00 a.m.—go early and order a few cocktails before your meal. You’ll find a number of chic, romantic nooks at Hauz Khas Village. Alternatively, try Café Ludus, in Saket, where you can enjoy your own private enclosure, complete with soft drapes and pops of greenery, and an eclectic international menu. For a more formal evening, try Connaught Place, or head to the lavish Le Cirque, in the Diplomatic Enclave, which has impressive decor and a rich French-Italian menu.
    Photo courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts
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    Delhi's Historic Gardens
    After a day or two of Delhi’s intensity, you may need a moment of tranquillity, which is the perfect time to escape to one of Delhi’s gardens or parks. Many of these gardens are historical landmarks in their own right, landscaped on the orders of emperors. For a breath of fresh air, head to the 15th-century Lodhi Gardens, close to Humayun’s Tomb; the tomb too has beautiful lawns surrounding it. The Deer Park at Hauz Khas Village and the Garden of Five Senses near the Qutub Minar are also pockets of serenity. The most spectacular gardens in Delhi are the Mughal Gardens behind the President’s residence. They are open to the public only in February and March; if you happen to be in the city during this time, don’t miss the opportunity.
    Photo by James Sparshatt/age fotostock
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    Jaipur's Royal Living
    When in Jaipur, live like royalty. A number of the city’s palaces and havelis (aristocratic dwellings) have now been converted into upscale and boutique hotels. This means you get to experience all the perks of royalty during your stay, but without any of the murky politics involved. No matter where you end up, your stay will be one of lavish comfort. If sumptuous four-poster beds, latticework windows overlooking spectacular views, crystal chandeliers, antique furniture, a sparkling pool, attentive staff, and marble everywhere are things that you think you’d enjoy, look up the Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, Samode Haveli, or Alsisar Haveli.
    Photo by Walter Bibikow/age fotostock
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    Jaipur's Precious Spark
    The land of the Maharajas is the best place to score deals on precious and semi-precious gemstones and customized jewelry. You can buy loose stones, or opt for traditional designs like kundan (polished gemstones set in gold), thewa (made by fusing colored glass and gold), or meenakari (gold or silver jewelry with bits of color). Johari Bazaar has a number of gold and silver shops amidst the sprawl. You can also stop by Gem Palace on M.I. Road, a Jaipur institution famous for its unique designs and willingness to customize, visited by tourists and locals alike. Alternatively, Bhuramal Rajmal Surana has enjoyed royal patronage and continues to be a highly regarded establishment.
    Photo by Tim Graham/age fotostock
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    Jaipur's Walled Town
    There is a certain romance to walking the winding lanes of Jaipur’s historic core. Pass from the modern city through one of the seven gates in the ancient pink walls that encircle the old town, and the old way of life still thrives. Traditional crafts are shaped out of sheet metal, marble, threads, and even resin, using age-old designs and techniques. Bazaars set up in the exact same spot as they have for hundreds of years; walk along the market corridors and take in the aroma of spices, fresh-milled grains, and new textiles. Food stalls and carts do rapid business, selling fresh fruit, masala chai, and spicy fried vegetable fritters. Here, life in the light pink shadow of the grand City Palace continues as it always has.
    Photo by Neha Puntambekar
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    Jaipur's Golden Sunsets
    Catch the sunset from behind one of the turrets of the Amber Fort, up along the Aravalli Mountain Range. Enjoy a vivid red-orange sky and the many different colors that swathe the city below. This is also a good time to get a bird’s-eye view of the city switching gears from the heat and chores of the day to a quieter and calmer dusk. If you have time after sunset, catch the sound-and-light show held at the fort—you'll learn all about the history of the fort and the ruling Rajputs—before ending the evening with a meal at the opulent restaurant there. On the menu are many local favorites, including lamb curries and kebab platters. In addition to the food, there’s also local folk music, puppet shows, and sprawling city views to enjoy.
    Photo by Peter West Carey/age fotostock
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    Explore the Romance of Rajasthan
    Jaipur is an excellent base for further travel across the state of Rajasthan. Jodhpur, or the Blue City, is best known for the unique blue-painted homes within the old walled town—catch the views from above the Mehrangarh Fort. Udaipur is famous for its palaces, and the glamorous weddings that now take place there. Jaisalmer, or the Golden City, offers some unique camel safaris, ranging from a few hours across the sand dunes of the desert to a two-week trip around the region. Pushkar, a Hindu pilgrimage destination, is famous for its annual camel fair; held in October or November, this is the largest cattle fair of its kind in the region, and offers visitors camel safaris and hot-air balloon rides, too.
    Photo by Alexis Bjorlin
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    Agra's Iconic Photo
    When in Agra, posing in front of the marble mausoleum of the Taj Mahal is obligatory. Everyone has done it—struck a pose in front of this monument to eternal love—from your average tourist to celebrities such as Princess Di, Tom Cruise, and even Oprah. So why not you? Find the marble bench at the far end of the Taj, or seek out a quiet corner along the perfectly manicured Mughal gardens, and pose for your own iconic shot. Around dusk, with a sinking red sun and a pink-purple sky, the Taj looks nothing short of magical. In the heat of the moment, you might even be forgiven for taking one of those "I’m holding the tip of the Taj dome" shots.
    Photo by Tawny Clark
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    Pampering in Agra
    After a busy morning at the Taj Mahal, check into a luxury hotel close by and avail of its rejuvenating spa facilities; choose from a variety of treatments and services on offer and spend the rest of your day getting pampered. Watch the Taj from a distance as the knots are eased out of your shoulders, or soak in a warm tub full of ruby-red rose petals. Try a signature Indian therapy like the Spirit of Ayurveda (a full-body Ayurvedic body massage with herbal oils) or shirodhara (a traditional calming treatment that funnels warm therapeutic oil through a copper urn onto the forehead in a slow, steady drip). The Oberoi Spa at Amarvilas, the spa at the Trident, and the spa at ITC Mughal all offer great packages.
    Photo by Remi Benali/age fotostock
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