Planning a short trip to India and not sure where to start? In this post, I wanted to share with you my itinerary for 4 days in India visiting Delhi, Jaipur and Agra – the Golden Triangle. Later, we also visited a real Indian wedding in Lucknow, so I will talk briefly about it at the end of this post. 4 days in India are not enough to see even a little bit of the country, however, if you only have 4 days and still want to see the highlights of North India or Golden Triangle, that would be possible! Make sure to check my other posts about India such as the most Insta-worthy spots in India and the scams to avoid in India.
4 days in North India: Indian Visa
You can also check the Indian visa policy here and see whether you need a visa to visit India. When it comes to the Indian visa, most people are eligible for the e-visa, however, the process is quite lengthy and tiring. You can 100% do it yourself though, however, if you want to skip the hassle and save some time, you can use one of the official Indian e-Visa centres and apply for the Indian visa online here.
The perfect itinerary for a short trip to India
Most people, who come to India, end up buying a tour. I must admit that it’s probably the best option when it comes to travelling to India. As much as I don’t like tours in groups, it’s probably the safest option and you will possibly like and enjoy the country more if you buy a guided private or small group tour.
In our case, we decided to travel around India independently. We didn’t want to buy a tour because we had quite a peculiar schedule and we also had to go to Lucknow from Agra by taxi rather than returning to Delhi and flying from there. We also wanted to decide, what and when we wanted to see and when do we want to wake up. Overall, I was pretty happy with our schedule and would recommend it to you if you only come to India for a short time like 4 or 5 days and would like to have a convenient itinerary for the North of India.
Things you need to know before visiting India
If you have respiratory diseases, it might not be the best idea to travel to Delhi, Jaipur or Agra, as, unfortunately, these cities are among the worst cities in the world for the quality of air.
Bring a lot of cash to India, as sometimes, working ATMs are hard to find, even at the airports.
There are many tourist scams in India (unfortunately), so make sure to check my post about the scams in India and how to avoid them.
If you have a sensitive stomach or gastritis (like I do), you will struggle to find food in India. I recommend bringing some food supplies with you. I came prepared with cup noodles, powder soups, dried fruits, nuts and protein bars. In some places in India, I was not able to eat at all, as all food options were incredibly spicy and oily.
If you’re a female, avoid bringing short dresses. If you don’t like constant attention (which you will get anyway as a foreigner), try to wear something like long harem trousers, long-sleeve blouses and avoid wearing makeup.
Organising our trip to North India for 4 days – visiting the Golden Triangle:
As we only had 4 days in North India, we decided to visit the Golden Triangle and stay 1.5 days in Delhi (including the arrival day), 1 day in Jaipur and 1 day in Agra. From Agra, we took a taxi to Lucknow, where we stayed for another couple of days for our friend’s wedding.
We decided to fly to Jaipur from New Delhi and take a train from New Delhi to Agra. Buying an internal flight in India was pretty straightforward, we used Skyscanner to find the most attractive price and bought it from the airline.
Buying a train in India is a bit more complicated. I would recommend checking this guide to have more clarity on how to buy train tickets in India.
The train ride between Jaipur and Agra is between 4 and 5 hours and it seemed doable to us.
4 days in India: our itinerary for Golden Triangle
Days 1 & 2: Sleeping in Gurgaon (Gugugram) and exploring New Delhi
We had a lot of plans for exploring Delhi upon arrival, however, our passport control in Delhi took almost 2 hours. If you add to this the time we spent looking for a working ATM in Delhi airport, that would be around 3 hours.
Make sure to bring a lot of cash with you to India, as it’s hard to find a working ATM sometimes.
The day was pretty much gone, so we decided to head to the hotel and get a good sleep. We stayed at a hotel in a nearby town called Gurgaon or Gugugram (apparently, it was renamed recently). Pepe works for a company that has a tech office in Gurgaon and we just wanted to see the office. We had a small tour in our taxi around the streets of Gurgaon, as it seemed like a very surreal place.
At that moment, we didn’t know that Gurgaon has the 2nd worst air pollution in the world (and Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are also among the top 10 cities in the world with the worst air pollution). The air smelled funny and there was a smog as well. However, inside the hotel, the air was great.
What to see in Delhi in one day
Make sure to see the main highlights of Delhi such as Jama Masjid, Red Fort and the Lotus Temple. You can read a great article on what to do in Delhi in 1 day.
Day 3 in India: flying to Jaipur
On the third day in India, we went to a second destination of the Golden Triangle and took a very early morning flight to Jaipur. The flight departed at 8 am and we were in Jaipur by 9 am. It was an internal flight, so there was no passport control and our baggage arrived quite fast. At the airport, we took a taxi to the train station.
We were departing from that train station at 5 pm the same day, so we found out, that if you have a train ticket, you can use the train station’s luggage storage. The price was ridiculously cheap and the place seemed very safe. Once we got rid of our suitcases, we could go and explore the city.
Jaipur is one of the most beautiful cities in India and it’s my favourite. I only visited 5 cities in India, but Jaipur is way more impressive than the rest. Even though we had a bad experience with our guide (if you ever meet a guy named Ali at the Jaipur train station, avoid him), we still enjoyed the city a lot.
Jaipur has a prominent position in my guide to the most Instagrammable places in India.
In Jaipur, I recommend visiting the City palace (you can opt-in for the additional tour of private rooms – the tour costs a fortune – over £50, but these rooms were the highlight of the palace); the famous Hawa Mahal, the Amber Palace and the famous pink staircase. I felt like Jaipur deserved at least 3 days of exploration, so if you have more time in India, try to spend it there. I would recommend skipping Delhi and spending more time in Jaipur instead. However, I also know people, who enjoyed Delhi.
After the tour, we headed back to the train station to catch our train to Agra.
The train ride was quite pleasant. We bought first-class tickets and they were very cheap (around £7). The seats were spacious and comfortable. The people you meet while travelling in India might try to convince you against using trains in India, but on most occasions, that’s because they will try to sell you a private taxi transfer instead.
Last day in India – visiting Agra
On the last day of our 4 days in India, we had Taj Mahal on our itinerary. In order to avoid crowds, arrive either very early – around 5 am so you can take one of the first spots in the queue and take wonderful photos of Taj Mahal at sunrise – or during the day, around 11 am – 4 pm, when it’s not so crowded, and if the light for photos doesn’t matter for you that much, you’ll be okay!
In Agra, you can also visit the Agra Fort – a stunning Mughal fort that is so huge that you need 1/2 day to see it all. Unfortunately, as we had to take a taxi all the way to Lucknow, we couldn’t visit the Agra Fort, however, if you have enough time before your flight or train, make sure to take a lot at it.
Summary of 4-day itinerary for India: 4 days in North India / Golden Triangle
In total, visiting India was a very interesting experience. It feels and looks like a different world, that functions in its own, very unique way. India can be certainly very overwhelming and scary for some, however, the architecture is stunning and if you like spicy food, you’ll be in a paradise. You won’t be able to see much in India in 4 days, however, Delhi, Jaipur and Agra are great places to know in India on your first visit.