Temples, forts, spice markets, villages… India is a country that has a lot to win you over. But one thing that stands out in the journey is the eclectic cuisine of the country.
Evolved over a period of 5000 years, Indian food has been influenced by different cultures, religions, traditions and migrations that changed the food palate of the country. From the street food in Delhi, Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow to delightful taste of Rajasthan’s royal dishes, you will be spending two weeks exploring India’s unique flavours.
Sprinkled with a pinch of history and local stories, along with a chance to cook up a storm, this journey will take you to the gastronomical heart of India. So, get your appetite ready for a delicious adventure!
Welcome to New Delhi - the capital city of India, home to approximately 17 million inhabitants! The city is divided into two parts including Old Delhi, located near the River Yamuna, and New Delhi, home to the national government, the imperial city created by the British Raj. This city is a fusion of the ancient and the modern and paints perfect picture rich with culture, architecture, human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries and gardens.
Upon arrival into Delhi, our representative will meet and greet you at the airport and transfer to your hotel.
The remainder of the day is at leisure to allow you to settle into your new home away from home experience.
This morning, we take an escorted tour of Old Delhi to indulge in a food walk. You will wander inside the local bazaar, where you'll learn about the ingredients and essentials of Indian cooking. Then, you'll visit a restored haveli (old mansion with a central courtyard) in Old Delhi where you will witness a meal preparation and also a chance to visit a local home to get a glimpse of daily life. The haveli has a terrace offering fabulous views of Old Delhi. You can even fly a kite there if you wish. This is a highly recommended tour.
Visit India's largest mosque, the white marble Jama Masjid or “Friday Mosque.” Rising from between the crowded medieval streets of Old Delhi, the Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India. Enjoy a photo opportunity of the iconic Red Fort (drive past), built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan before leaving Old Delhi.
Late afternoon you will be taken back to the hotel for you to enjoy the facilities - evening being at your own leisure.
This morning we shall know New Delhi a little bit more. The city was designed and built by the British in the 1920s and is made up of well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautiful trees and beautiful colonial government buildings. As you navigate the city, you will drive along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House.
Visit the Gandhi Museum showcasing the life and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation who led the nation against British colonial rule. (closed on Mondays)
You will also see Humayun's Tomb, which was built by the wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun, Haji Begum, in the mid-16th century. This red sandstone structure is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal and one of the best examples of Mughal architecture.
This afternoon, you shall participate in an interactive cooking session with your hotel chef. You will learn various techniques, authentic styles and classic Indian dishes using local ingredients, and also assist the chef in preparation and cooking together.
Later drive to the famous Qutab Minar, a tall tower built by conquering Mughal leaders which is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1199 by Qutbuddin as a tower for his victory against a Rajput King and is considered a great example of Indian-Islamic architecture.
This morning we fly to Lucknow, the City of Nawabs. Lucknow is famous for its heritage, culture, Mughlai cuisine and fine embroideries. On arrival, check into the hotel.
This evening we will take you for a food walk around the traditional roadside eateries and try the best that is on the menu. This is a guided tour with our own set of cutlery and basic dining gadgets, allowing you to experience the best of the best in the restaurants, without having to worry about how to eat without a fork or to wipe your hands clean after you are done.
Lucknow is a city that holds many stories and has a lot to offer the curious traveller. The structures in the city showcase a fine blend of Indo-Islamic and colonial era architecture. We will visit sites like the Dilkusha Garden, Shah Najaf, Ram Krishna Math, Moti Mahal, La Martiniere, Chattra Manzil and more. You will also spend some time indulging in shopping and trying out some delectable ethnic dishes.
After seeing the fabulous monuments of the city, built by the Nawabs of Awadh in Lucknow, how about meeting a descendant of the Nawab over an afternoon tea. Talk to him about all that he has seen changing over the years in Lucknow, know a bit about his family and experience the innate etiquettes, the mannerism and the art of speech that is mastered by him. There is more to the city of Lucknow than just its fabulous monuments, it reeks of a culture that keep politeness (Lucknow locals call it ‘tehzeeb’) at its realm and has been handed down through generations, Nawab’s being one of those.
We take you for this one to one session, after the city tour of Lucknow, serve you a refreshing cup of tea with some Indian savouries, while you interact with Nawab at his small family museum that houses inherited antiques.
After a leisurely breakfast, we start the day with a drive to Agra. This is a fascinating way to see India as we wind our way down from the foothills back to the plains and onward to the city of love, Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Upon arrival we will assist you with the check-in process at your hotel.
In the evening enjoy the grand live performance “Mohabbat-e-Taj”, based on the love story of Taj Mahal. This theatrical show portrays the lavish lifestyle of the Mughal era and the story of the emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz Mahal.
Rise early and enjoy a spectacular sunrise tour of the famous Taj Mahal. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631, and is believed to have taken 18 years to complete, with over 20,000 craftsmen working around the clock. The design and construction are said to be that of the legendary architect, Ustad Ahamad Lahori. What makes the Taj Mahal unique is its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, precise and detailed construction and decorative architecture. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day.
Late this morning visit the Agra Fort, a great monument of red sandstone that dominates a bend in the Yamuna River and was constructed by the Mughals during 1565-1571. It was Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation of this majestic citadel. The Fort contains splendid mosques and palaces in red sandstone and white marble built by two generations of creative builders during the time of Akbar and later Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
In the afternoon you shall enjoy a cooking class followed by lunch.
Indian food makes a large part of brand India, with delicacies such as Chicken Tikka Masala. If you have a picture of a colourful city with bustling streets, true to its gastronomic style, Agra is one place that you, the hungry traveller will never be disappointed with. It is famous for its Petha and the different varieties of chaat. Our food trail is a journey, not just of taste, but of knowledge, as passionate people tell you about how this food has ended up on your plate. In the tour, we take you to the oldest and most popular food joints for tasting a variety of Indian cuisine and show you a different side of Agra, which you may not encounter on your own.
Enjoy dinner at Peshawari. With an ambience reminiscent of the rustic charm of dining in the warmth of tents under a starry sky in the cold desert terrain of the North West Frontier, Peshawri brings to Agra an award winning menu of delicacies cooked in the clay tandoor. With a lavish spread of delicious kebabs - vegetarian and non-vegetarian that are cooked in myriad ways, a range of Indian breads - from the decadently indulgent to light and fluffy breads and of course, the inimitable Dal Bukhara - all of which is paired with an exclusive collection of wines and other beverages.
This morning, drive to Ramathra Fort, a luxurious fort hotel situated deep inside the plains of Rajasthan. Constructed over 350 years ago, the landmark was first granted as a fiefdom to a Rajput nobleman. Today, it’s owned and maintained by Ravi Raj Pal, the nobleman’s 11th-generation descendant. With lavish suites and myriad activities, a stay here is nothing buy a royal experience.
This evening enjoy a boat ride and take in the picturesque view of the landscape. Later indulge in a cooking demo by the chef as he prepares your chosen dish on traditional chulha (stoves).
This morning, hop onto the Ramathra village trail as you explore the small hamlet and its daily life. The trail takes up to 3 hours and you will get an opportunity to see all kind of field crops, farming activities and much more.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at the hotel.
Evening you shall put on the chef hat and take part in a cooking session to create some delectable traditional dishes and cook up a storm on the terrace of the fort with some amazing views for company.
This morning we shall visit the countryside and see the ‘Gujar’ hamlets, a cavernous gorge, an old cave temple and hope to spot some wildlife sightings enroute.
Check-out and drive to Jaipur, also referred as the ‘Pink City’ due to its many pink sandstone monuments. Jaipur’s vibrant culture is on dazzling display in the lively local streets and bazaars. It is one of the great cities of the Rajput, with historic forts, palaces and gardens. Jaipur is named after its founder, the warrior and astronomer sovereign Sawai Jai Singh II who planned his new capital to reflect the increasing wealth of the kingdom.
Post breakfast we shall visit the splendid Amber Fort, a spectacular complex of palaces, temples and apartments that offers a stunning view of the city. It is a marvelous example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. Feel the history and visualize the pomp and grandeur of a kingdom never conquered.
Our next stop will be the stunning City Palace, a former royal residence built in the center of the old city, blends in perfectly the Rajasthani and Mughal architecture styles. We move onto Jantar Mantar, the largest of the five remarkable observatories built by Jaipur’s founder. Its complex instruments, with scientifically designed settings and shapes, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy. We’ll also visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), where a high and intricately carved wall allowed the women of the court to watch the royal processions below.
Later in the evening enjoy the interesting sights, sounds and flavors of Jaipur on a food walk with our expert local foodie Payal. Pass by heritage buildings, palaces, and historical landmarks that make up the beautiful 'Pink City'. Drop by local markets that feature spices, flowers, fruits, and vegetables, as you get an insider view of the Indian food and culture. Visit a handful of legendary, age-old stalls, learning about family-run establishments and their story of triumph and also sample the fascinating local cuisine.
Indian food is incomplete without desserts, try an assortment of traditional sweets and savories made from recipes that have been passed down through generations. Sip on the ubiquitous 'masala chai' tea while mingling with locals at street corners and lastly chew on the famous ‘paan’ (flavored betel leaf), an after-dinner specialty, ending your tour with a stimulating mouthful!
Evening join cooking session with your hotel chef.
This morning set off for on a cooking date with a local family and learn some Indian culinary secrets. Traditional Indian cooking is passed on from one generation to another, and involves picking the best spices and produce. This experience will introduce you to the various ingredients in an Indian kitchen, methods of cooking and what makes a quintessential Indian meal. You can choose to cook two dishes from a pre-decided menu. As you relish your culinary creation you will get an opportunity to closely interact with the local family about their food traditions, culture and story. So, get ready, apron-up and get an insight into an authentic Indian meal with your warm and friendly host family.
Continue drive to a nearby village called Dera Amer, a preserved wilderness of natural beauty creating a sanctuary for animals to live in. The elephants and camels are adopted from Amer Fort and rescued from a life of hard labour.
On arrival, enjoy a friendly interaction with elephants. You’ll tour the nearby forest area and be greeted by elephants. You will take the elephants for their evening walk along the treks conducted in the original Aravalli forests surrounding the camp. Follow a route passing traditional homes, agricultural fields, hills and ancient monuments. Panthers do inhabit the jungles and it is a very rare sighting, however, occasionally the hyena and wolf have been seen by guests along with antelopes and jackals.
End your day with an intimate jungle dinner at Dera Amer under the stars and later in the evening we will drive back to hotel.
Today you will fly to Udaipur and on arrival check-in at your hotel. Hailed as
most romantic city of India, Udaipur, is built around four lakes. The blue waters that reflect the shimmering white palaces and temples exude a feeling of peace and serenity.
Explore the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and impressive views of the lake. We’ll then proceed on to the Jagdish temple which enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle - a mighty bird called Garuda in a brass image. The temple is a fine example of Indo-Aryan art.
Late this afternoon, create some amazing culinary delights in a cooking class with chef Karan using recipes over two centuries old from the kitchens of the House of Bedla. The family has carefully preserved these recipes and it will be a perfect way to end your journey in the magical land of Rajasthan.
This evening, enjoy a Farewell dinner at a special venue at your hotel with a handcrafted menu and impeccable service. The palace, its stunning lake and regal views, guarantees culinary memories you will cherish forever.
Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival connect to your international flight back home.
We wish you safe travels back home and we look forward to welcoming you back and continue exploring Incredible India in the near future.