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Highlights | Itinerary

Culinary and Gourmet Tour of India - Itinerary

The subject matter of Indian Cooking is as vast as the country. With differences in language, customs and traditions, the food habit as well as there preparations very from one province to another. Nevertheless, it is our earnest hope that our Culinary trips will be of some help and guidance to those who are interested in Indian cooking.

It is fairly common in the west to assume that Indian food is always 'hot' this is not true. Majority of Indians, who relish well cooked food, never like chilly power or ground peppercorn. It is important to remember that if you use only tumeric, salt and a little garam masala (mixed spices) leaving out the black peppercorns, you can make delicious curries which will be relished even by small children.

Ingredients: Again, it is a fairly common belief that Indian ingredients are difficult to obtain in the west. However, now most of the ingredients can be had from local grocer or supermarket, besides the gourmet experts we meet on our tour would advise us readily available substitutes, so that your Indian Cooking can still be delicious with ingredients obtained entirely from your local shops.

Weight and Measures: It is often not easy to give precise measurements for water in some recipes you would be explained during the tour. Therefore, it is advisable to take most particular notice of the terms 'thick' and 'thin' for better and syrup and 'stiff' or 'loose' for pastry and dough. This is more important than halving or doubling the quantity of a recipe. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much flavouring or butter fat is to be used in different dishes, so that you make a little variation in the measures would not spoil the food in anyways.

Cooking Utensils: Most cooking utensils are made of tin plated brass, iron or steel. It is however quite possible to cook Indian food in heavy enameled or aluminum saucepans. Deep heavy frying pans may be used for cooking vegetables, for frying and for condensing milk.

Serving Food: Indian Food, including the bread is served hot, although milk curd and its preparations, of course, are served cold. The modern way of serving food is to start with one dish of curry (preferably juicy) with the rice pulao. Then follow the other vegetables and meat dishes which are eaten with any of the several varieties of breads - chappatis, nan, puris etc. Next come the sweets, followed by fresh bowl of fruits. The traditional way of serving food is to have a brass or nickel platted 'thali' (medium sized around tray) for each person. On it are arranged 2 or more shiny bowls filled with various food. Chappatis or other kinds of bread are usually placed in the center of the thali. A majority of the Indian folk still eat with their well washed hands. They slip thr juicy food from the shiny bowls, and ingeniously manipulate the rest of the eatables by gathering them up with morsels of bread.

The dietary habits of different regions in India is distinct. The distinction is most pronounced when we compare North and South Indian food. The North Indian food habits are very much bread based. Thus the different varieties of bread that we find in India are a result of the North Indians love for bread. The North - Indian non - vegetarian preparations are mainly focused on goat meat and chicken. Fish is consumed generally in a fried form to go as snacks with alcoholic beverages. However, the regions meat and chicken preparations are known the world over as Mughlai food. There are very strong central Asian or Mughal influences in the preparations of meat or chicken here. Hence, the name mughlai. The preparation is rich without being hot. The popular North Indian vegetarian food includes delicious preperartions of a variety of lentils, chick peas, kidney beans spinach and cottage cheese. However, even within North India there are differences in food habits and preparations from province to province. The Kashmiri food has much stronger influences of the North West Frontier region. The food preparations (specially meat / chicken) are much more elaborate and involves a greater variety of spices, marination, seasoning and abundant use of dry fruits. As we move away from the border regions the flavour of the food starts to loose its Mughlai touch and more regional alternatives appear. With the loss of the the Mughlai touch, the emphasis also shifts to vegetarian preparations. The North - Central state of Utter Pradesh has its own brand of cooking involving fewer species and less of frying. Unlike non - vegetarian food, vegetables would get burnt and if the spicing is strong, we would get a flavour of only the spices and not the vegetables- spices are used such as to delicately heighten the taste of the vegetables.

Down South of India, the emphasis is purely on vegetarianism. This also conforms with their strict religious beliefs and observances, which advocate strict vegetarianism. South Indian food could be either very hot or completely deprived of any spice, save for salt. Fortunetly, the south Indian preparations of Idlis, Dosas, Vadas, and Uthapams, which are extremely popular all over the country fall in the latter category.

Needless to say, on our tour we would chiefly concentrate on these dishes. As opposed to North India, the South Indians are more liberal users of rice. If the North India has a variety of breads, the South has a variety of rice - lemon rice, tomato rice, curd rice,pickle rice, vegetable rice etc. It is pertinent to mention here thast there is no strict form of idlis, dosa or vada. There are over a 100 methoids (literally) of preparing these depending upon the ingredients you put in and the technique of preparation depending upon the ingredients you put in and the technique of preparation - each preparation is guranteed to be unique. Very simple put, idlis are ground and fermented rice dumplings prepared in steam. But of course, it could be a plain idli, a wheat and rice idli, lentil idli etc. Dosas are thin better of ground and fermented rice and lentils, spread over a flat frying pan. It could be just that or have a variety of pastries - cheese, onion, potatos. The South Indian food are easy to prepare and easy to digest.

Besides covering Kashmiri, Punjabi (mughlai), central Indian and south Indian food we could also taste and learn some speciality dishes of other parts of India. Of special mention are the preperation of the sea faring Goan people. Goa has a very noticeable Portuguese influence and their cusines reflect this influence. Bengal is famous all over India for her sweet preparations; The Himalyan state of Sikkim is famous for its ethnic Himalayan cusines which have ethnic Tibetan influences. Darjeeling and other popular hill station still has a lot British in it. Our Hotel here true to colonial style prepares some of the best continental fare in the country.

It is however, patient to mention that there are two distinct lines of thought as far as most Indian food preparation is concerned. The first school of thought are the prim and proper hotel chefs and catering schools, where you would be told exact measurements, frying/baking/ boiling time etc. So that you have the 'Just right'dish. However, the Indian housewives who comprise the second school of thought outrightly reject the exactness of approach. For generations Indian wives have been feeding us without any formal training with mouth watering dishes. They work on approximation and with formal training with mouth watering dishes. They work an approximation and with fewer spices. The paradox is that both lines of thought produce absolutely mouth watering dishes. The main feature of our tour would be visiting Indian families and sharing kitchen secrets with hoiuswife and share meals with a family in their home. For specialist learning we would visit catering schools as well as have special meetings with Hotel Chefs.

Flavours of India
For someone from the west, India provides an authentic adventure - stimulating, absorbing, daunting, sometimes moving and shocking. Here is one of the world's great dramas; an ancient, vast and crowded land committed to the most formidably challenging exercise in mass democracy. It is a spectacle in which hope, pride, paradox and uncertainty mingle and struggle. It is conducted on the whole, and to India's credit in the open. The lasting memories of the land are hospitality, kindness, good humor and generosity. Here is a society of over a 1000 million people, growing by a million a month, divided and united by language, caste, religion and regional loyalties. It has often been described as a functioning anarchy; and it is in many ways an amiable one, of marvelous fluidity and tolerance. Indeed, the true Indian motif is not the Tajmahal, the elephant or the patient peasant behind the ox drawn plough. It is the crowd, the ocean of faces in the land of multitudes, endlessly stirring, pushing and moving. It is in this human circulation that one sees India's colour, variety, busyness, and, senses also its power, vitality and grandeur.

Day 01: Arrival / Delhi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your Car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to our tour, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (No meals)

Day 02: Delhi (Red Fort is closed on Monday)

After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as, Humayun’s Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

Later we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.

Home Visit & A Welcome Dinner with an Indian Family : this evening, we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience in India. The evening is designed to give you a ‘feel’ and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and homemade Indian food.

Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (B & D)

Day 03: Delhi / Udaipur (SG 2437 – 1110 / 1235 Hrs)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Udaipur.

Welcome to Udaipur, the famed “City of sunrise”. Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar - the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel Jagat Niwas Palace, a modern heritage hotel replete with character and charm, besides all comforts discerning tourists would seek.

After rest & relaxation, we explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur, which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You’ll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Along with engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a specialty of this region. Udaipur also specializes in stone carving, especially in marble and sandstone, with artisans working hard at chiseling their finest filigree work. Colour as usual plays an important role in the life of Udaipur as in Rajasthan. It is wonderfully evident in ghagharas (long flowing skirts), cholis (blouses), and odhnis (long scarves) of the women as well as the turbans of the men.

Overnight at Jagat Niwas Palace (Raj Room – Lake View) (B)

Day 04: Udaipur

After breakfast, we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is 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 affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.

Evening we enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.

Overnight at Jagat Niwas Palace (Raj Room – Lake View) (B)

Day 05: Udaipur

After breakfast, we proceed on a short excursion to Eklingi & Nagda.( 25 kms). Eklingi is the temple of Shiva with its pyramidical roof and four faced shiva image. The temple was family temple of the ruling kings of Mewar. At Nagda the Sas Bahu temple and the Jain temples present beautiful architecture.

From here we tour the fascinating and impressive cluster of cenotaphs of the Maharanas of Mewar. Here, there are about nineteen cenotaphs of Maharanas cremated there.

The most striking cenotaph is that Maharana Amar Singh, who reigned from 1597 to 1620. Nearby is also Ahar Museum, where on display is limited but very rare earthen pottery. Some sculptures and other archaeological finds. Some pieces date back to 1700 BC and a tenth century metal figure of Buddha is a special attraction.

Next on our list is the Bhartiya Lok Kala Museum, one of the most famous museums of Udaipur, exhibiting the brilliant collection of folk articles of Rajasthan? This rare compilation varies from typical rural-dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings.

Before returning to our hotel for lunch, we also visit Saheliyon -ki-bari (the garden of maids of honour with numerous fountains which shows the unique life style of the royal ladies who once strolled here.

Evening dinner would be specially arranged for us at Surabhi, a heritage restaurant in a 300-year-old palace in Jaipur. The heart of the restaurant is the Durbar Hall, which is the main seating area. Having a meal there is just like having it in the Diwan-e-am (Hall Of Public Audience) of Amber Fort or City Palace. With original marble pillars, the Hall is the third largest in Jaipur after Amber and City Palace. The total seating capacity is 250 covers. We have an air-conditioned hall also with 50 covers. One of the unique features of the hall is the carving on the 280-year-old pillars whose designs are unfinished. Probably something happened; this is shrouded in the mist of history. The Haveli Mansion) is one of the oldest in Jaipur. A Unique feature of the place is that they offer demonstration & Lectures on food and cook in front of the guests serving directly from the frying pan at dinnertime.

Overnight at Jagat Niwas Palace (Raj Room – Lake View) (B)

Day 06: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Sardargarh (190 Kms) (04 Hrs Drive)

Following a breakfast, we will drive to Sardargarh. Enroute we will visit Ranakpur.

Upon arrival in Ranakpur, we enjoy excursion to Ranakpur Temple the exquisite Jain Temple. Built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-face temple dedicated to Adinath.

After the tour of Ranakpur Jain Temples we continue our ride to Sardargarh.

Upon arrival in Sardargarh, check in to Sardargarh heritage hotel, one of the magnificent forts of Rajasthan. It is an extravagant creation by men of a bygone era Situated amidst the mountains and deep forests of Chuppun, the 250 year old fortress can be seen from far as it dominates the landscape.

The Mahal (Palace) of the Ravala (Fort) with 21 suites, are today part of the Sardargarh Heritage Hotel. Each suite here has its own ethnic decor. Though all modern comforts that discerning western tourists seek are provided, but, as far as possible, the authentic elements of the Fort have been retained in the Hotel, thus recreating the romance and nostalgia of the era when the powers of the maharaja were at its zenith.

Upon arrival in Sardargarh, check in to Sardargarh heritage hotel, one of the magnificent forts of Rajasthan. It is an extravagant creation by men of a bygone era Situated amidst the mountains and deep forests of Chuppun, the 250 year old fortress can be seen from far as it dominates the landscape.

The Mahal (Palace) of the Ravala (Fort) with 21 suites, are today part of the Sardargarh Heritage Hotel. Each suite here has its own ethnic decor. Though all modern comforts that discerning western tourists seek are provided, but, as far as possible, the authentic elements of the Fort have been retained in the Hotel, thus recreating the romance and nostalgia of the era when the powers of the maharaja were at its zenith.


Evening, Night Safari at Sardargarh.

Overnight at Sardargarh Fort (Suite) (B)

Day 07: Sardargarh (Primitive Train Ride through Fascinating Villages in Sardargarh)

Optional Yoga classes are available under trained instructors. This can be booked directly at the resort the previous day. The class would be for 1 hour and conducted on the terrace of the Fort’s ramparts with great views overlooking for miles the primitive countryside. Popular asanas (Yogic positions) would be taught.

Following breakfast we embark upon a unique experience – a 44 km train ride between two villages. We will go native today, and travel with the villagers through exceedingly fascinating countryside and landscapes.

The track passes through a breath taking scenery of Ravli Sanctuary, with 100 feet high bridges, two long tunnels, waterfalls, thick jungle, and above all an unchanged ambience of a bygone era. The track is cut on a cliff side and one comes down by almost one thousand feet. All along one can only appreciate the Herculean effort by the engineers in 1928.

The safety devices are most amusing. At one place the driver has to get down physically to change the track (when gong down).

We ride on a meter gauge local train, having wooden sleepers, accompanying villagers traveling to Marwar. One travels through a Ghat section and descends 1200 feet to Phulad Railway Station. Enroute we stop at GoramGhat flag station where monkeys descend from nabouring scrub jungle to feed on articles given by the villages. Your car awaits you at Phulad 19 Km away that brings you back to Sardargarh.

We do have a bit of a leisure time upon our return, but, this may not be so. For people with culinary inclination, special cooking classes can be arranged. Here, we would start from the basic and the experience would commence with your visiting the local bazaar to buy your green grocery, and the chicken (if you wish). We will buy the spices, return back to the hotel. Get your chilled beer ready and keep it handy as you follow a step by step instruction and prepare a traditional Rajasthani cuisine. The great joy of Indian cooking is the release of aromas of different herbs and spices as they are added in steps to enrich the flavour of the curry. The saying “As you sow so you reap” is slightly amended in our context to mean “As you cook, so you eat - “Bon Appétit”


Evening Village Safari at Sardargarh.

Overnight at Sardargarh Fort (Suite) (B)

Day 08: Sardargarh / Jaipur (320 Kms) (06 Hrs Drive)

After breakfast, we will drive to Jaipur.

Upon arrival in Jaipur, check into hotel the Shahpura House. The Traditional Rajput architect, a mixture of Mughal and Indian, a facade with domes and frescoes. The House is a very fine example of Shekhawati frescos and architecture. Conceived as a traditional Indian palace, The Shahpura House showcases the rich heritage of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan with its rambling courtyards, gentle rippling fountains, reflecting pools and gardens. Interiors embellished with decorative domes, hand painted frescoes, intricate mirror work and beautifully crafted artifacts create an ambience of regal splendor. The family portraits, which add to the charm of this family hotel where tradition still runs strong.

After rest & relaxation, we explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur along with our Guide. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here. The opportunity also exists here to tailor make outfits to your design and size.

We also explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur - its jewelry, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewelry to enameled gold to modern diamond jewelry. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewelry has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champ eve (raised field) technique.

Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, Smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.

Overnight at Shahpura House (Suite Room) (B)

Day 09: Jaipur

Morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills.

We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.

We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens.

Afternoon, we proceed on a tour Of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The centre of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles, which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date.

Overnight at Shahpura House (Suite Room) (B)

Day 10: Jaipur

After breakfast, we will visit Known by locals and rickshaw-wallahs simply as Monkey Temple, Galwar Bagh is a popular pilgrimage site and temple complex on the outskirts of town. The temple itself is called Gulta Ji Mandir; it's a 30-minute walk from the ceremonial gate called Gulta Pol, located at the far eastern edge of the city, off Ajmer Road—about five minutes from the Muslim quarter. The walk leads you over a small mountain pass and past, inevitably, at least a few Hindu sadhus (holy men) and small temples. Jaipuri Hindus believe that at the site of the Gulta Ji Mandir, a local saint named Gala Rishi—nicknamed Gulta Ji—brought forth a spring of holy water from the Ganges and filled a tank (water reservoir 18 feet deep. The waters here are said to be spiritually connected to the Ganges—if you bathe here, you get the same benefits as a pilgrimage to the Ganges. The temple, which venerates Lord Brahma, Creator of the Universe, is in violation of a curse by Brahma's wife Savatri; she confined his temples to Pushkar.

After rest & relaxation, we will visit Birla Temple. This grand Hindu temple is located on an elevated ground at the base of Moti Dungari hill. The temple is sometimes also referred to as the Laxmi Narayan Temple. This is a very auspicious temple, and, locals do have a great faith in it. The craving here is done beautifully.

Evening, we will enjoy cooking demonstration at Ikaki Niwas.

Overnight at Shahpura House (Suite Room) (B)

Day 11: Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (270 Kms) (06 Hrs Drive)

After breakfast, we drive to Agra stopping at deserted capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. From here we continue riding to Agra.

Upon arrival in Agra, check into hotel Radisson.

Evening, we will visit Mahtab Bagh. The Moonlight Garden was an extension of the Taj Mahal Garden - on the other side of the river. In 1652 Aurangzeb wrote to his father telling of a visit to 'the blessed tomb' and commenting that 'the Mahtab Garden was completely inundated and has lost its charm, but soon it will regain its verdancy. The octagonal pool and the pavilion around it are in splendid condition.' The Mahtab Bagh was lost under the mud but re-excavated in the 1990s. Originally, the garden was planted with fragrant flowers and used in the cool of the night as a place from which to view the Taj Mahal reflected in the octagonal pool and in the river.

Overnight at Hotel Radisson – a 5* Hotel (Superior Room) (B)

Day 12: Agra (Taj Mahal is closed on Friday)

Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime - Taj Mahal. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire.

Afternoon we visit the itmad -ud -daula Tomb which was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens. The queen of Jehangir and the daughter of Itmad-ud-daula Nurjahan built the tomb. It was in the year 1628 that the pioneer of the white marble tomb was constructed.

Itmad-ud-daula i.e. the pillar of state was a tile bestowed on him by emperor Jehangir. The tomb is at times refereed to as the baby Taj. The mausoleum rests in a walled garden with a view of the river Yamuna. In fact it is approximately one and a half kilometers upstream of the Taj Mahal. The structure is renowned for its pietra dura decoration i.e. the inlay works and the carvings.

It way quiet different from the other Mughal tombs in terms of its architecture. The sight of the tomb is a spectacular indeed even though the structure is not as large as the Taj Mahal. The man Mirza Ghiyas himself laid out the char bagh style of architecture six years before his death that has been used in the construction of the tomb.

The beauty of the white marble with the mosaic and the lattice is simply awesome. The tomb structure has a minaret on each one of its four corners. The walls of the cenotaph reveal the intricate inlay work with a variety of illustrations.

The cypresses and the geometrical designs are worth watching. The depiction of the wine flask with the snakes as handles is a recurrent theme on the walls of the chamber. The adjacent chamber has the tombs of the other members of the family.

The decoration of the main chamber has been done with the extensive use of the semi-precious stones on the mosaics. The ornamentation that displays the indian version of the pietra dura is believed to have been different from the symbolic decoration followed in Europe.

Overnight at Hotel Radisson – a 5* Hotel (Superior Room) (B)

Day 13: Agra / Delhi (205 Kms) (04 Hrs Drive)

After a leisurely breakfast, we will drive to Delhi along one of the India’s finest freeways.

Upon arrival in Delhi, check into hotel Justa, The Residence G.K.

After rest & relaxation, we will enjoy the dinner at the Bukhara restaurant.

Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (B)

Day 14: Delhi

After breakfast, participate in a food and walking tour of the back streets of Old Delhi conducted by We will walk you through the charming quarters of Old Delhi, having the opportunity of experiencing a variety of food and visiting one of the best well maintained Haveli – a three storied home ( Private Mansion) with a central courtyard flanked by rooms with 58 doors.

Before visiting the home (Masterji Kee Haveli), we walk through local bazaars.

Old Delhi Bazaars have colorful and interesting street food and is crowned with the oldest shops with many delicacies. The best of the best chat can be enjoyed here offering Chat Papri, Laccha Tokri, Guliya, Desi Ghee Tikki, Moong Pakori,Kulche Chole, Dahi Bhalla, Bedwee Aloo and Alu are just lip smacking. Apart from that you can also have Samudra Kee Chat, Brown & White fresh milk cake, Kulfi, Ice creams, Hot Milk, Halwa Nangori etc. You can choose to taste some only if you wish. Else, you may enjoy a visual treat.The area is also home to several small temples, shrines, old mosque and protected monument sight. Cows wander the streets, small dharamshalas (rest-houses) and pyaus (water-stations) attest to the pious contributions of local merchants.

The walk is an escorted experience in English for about 3-3 ½ delightful hours as we explore the galis (bye lanes) of Shahjahanabad, the city built by Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) and from where PT. JAWAHARLAL NEHRU, the first Prime Minister of Independent India got married. Our discoveries while wandering the streets of Sitaram Bazar inspires an insatiable hungry for a flavour of Delhi.

After the walk, we visit a Hindu home (Masterji Kee Haveli) in Delhi, for a demonstration and tasting of traditional home-style Indian vegetarian cooking.

Haveli is a fine edifice that has been built on the lines of traditional Mughal architecture. Any onlooker is sure to be impressed with the carved stone pillars. We enjoy a delicious traditional meal served in bronze utensils. You have an opportunity to visit what life is really like in this narrow crowded part of Old Delhi, where adjacent houses share a common wall and everyone knows everyone else!

The haveli has a beautiful terrace from where, during the clear day there are spectacular 360 degree views Old Delhi and its higgledy-piggledy chaos which includes view of Masjid, Chawadi Bazar etc.

Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (B)

Day 15: Delhi / Cochin (SG 217 – 0840 / 1310 Hrs)

After breakfast, transfer to airport to board your flight to Cochin via Pune.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Cochin & transfer to hotel The Trident.

Kathakali Dance :
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreates an incomparable sense of pageantry.

Overnight at The Trident – a 5* Oberoi Group Hotel (Superior Room) (B)

Day 16: Cochin

After breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1000 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting. They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest. We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century. The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, is the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.

The area around the Synagogue, known, as ‘Jew Town’ is one of the main centers of spice trade. Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry, is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street.

Overnight at The Trident – a 5* Oberoi Group Hotel (Superior Room) (B)

Day 17: Cochin / Alleppey / Houseboat

After a leisurely breakfast we ride to Alleppey for a houseboat experience through the narrow canals and channels of the backwaters of Kerala.

The materials that go into the making of houseboat are all local and Eco-friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats carpets etc. The main wood used is "Anjali ". The Houseboat provides all comforts - Beds, a kitchen, western toilets and an upper deck. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. The cuisine is of traditional Kerala flavour along with the local Specialties - delicious fish and prawns.

We spend the day Cruising on our boat through remote tribal villages along the tranquil backwaters of Kerala is a superb experience. Sensational in its own silent way, the cruise takes you along snake boat docks, friendly cheering villagers, coir (Jute) making communities, toddy (local spirit) shops, fishing nets pitched for the day's catch, bunded paddy fields and manual canoes of different sizes criss-crossing each other. The experience enables you to reach beautiful untouched areas.

Overnight at Spice Coast Cruise Houseboat (B, L & D)

Day 18: Houseboat / Kumarakom

After breakfast, the houseboat traverses through narrow channels and canals and reaches Kumarakom

Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the fascinating lifestyles of the backwaters.

Upon arrival in Kumarakom, check into Lake Song Resort

Day is free for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional Ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala.

Overnight at Hotel Lake Song Resort (Punnamada) (B)

Day 19: Kumarakom / Philip Kutty / Kumarakom

After breakfast, we will have an excursion of Philip Kutty.

Around noon, a short boat cruise brings us to 'Philip Kutty's Farm' to see an extraordinary way of life, farming and fishing. Here, we learn the intricacies of Keralan food preparations. The type of cooking you will be exposed to, is predominantly with a Christian and backwater influence, ie, plenty of meat and fish preparations as well as other vegetarian dishes and also the little family touches passed down over the generations.

Following the tour, we will ride back to Kumarakom.

Overnight at Hotel Lake Song Resort (Punnamada) (B)

Day 20: Kumarakom / Cochin (85 Kms) (02 Hrs Drive)
Cochin / Delhi (SG 214 – 1340 / 1820 Hrs)

After breakfast, we will drive to Cochin.

Upon arrival in Cochin, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Delhi via Pune.

Upon arrival in Delhi, transfer to hotel Justa, The Residence G.K

Overnight at Justa – The Residence, G.K (Superior Room) (B)

Day 21: Delhi / Departure

ATransfer to international airport to board your onward flight.


Tour Cost Based On 02 People Traveling Together Sharing 01 Room

• Cost valid for period till 30th September, 2014: - INR 152,200* Per Person

• Cost valid from 01st October till 31st March, 2015: - INR 190,350* Per Person

Additional Cost For Suggested Upgrades To Hotels In Various Cities Per Room / Per Night

Destinations Suggested Upgraded Hotels Trip Advisor Rating Additional Cost Till 30th Sep 2014 From 01st Oct 2014 – 31st Mar 2015
Delhi The Lalit 4 star INR 2,050 Per Person INR 3,100 Per Person
The Imperial 4.5 star INR 4,850 Per Person INR 10,550 Per Person
Taj Mahal Hotel 4.5 star INR 7,050 Per Person INR 12,400 Per Person
Agra Amarvilas 4.5 star INR 14,150 Per Person INR 25,150 Per Person
ITC Mughal 4 star INR 7,00 Per Person INR 7,50 Per Person
The Gateway(Superior Taj View) 4 star INR 1250 Per Person INR 2300 Per Person
Jaipur ITC Rajputana 3.5 star INR 1300 Per Person INR 1100 Per Person
Royal Heritage Haveli 4 star INR 1650 Per Person INR 4550 Per Person
Rambagh Palace 5 star INR 13600 Per Person INR 23800 Per Person
Udaipur Fateh Garh 4.5 star INR 600 Per Person INR 3,250 Per Person
Taj Lake Palace 5 star INR 11,900 Per Person INR 23,350 Per Person
Cochin Vivanta By Taj Malabar 4.5 star INR 1100 Per Person INR 4500 Per Person
Brunton Boatyard Fort 4.5 star INR 1450 Per Person INR 10,300 Per Person
Kumarakom Coconut Lagoon 4.5 star INR 7,50 Per Person INR 3,950 Per Person
Vivanta By Taj 4.5 star INR 1,100 Per Person INR 2,850 Per Person

NOTE: - Upgrades at same price available depending upon exact date of travel.

*T & C Apply

Includes : Accommodation on twin share basis; daily American breakfast; • Rickshaw ride at Delhi, • Boat ride in Udaipur (Seat in a Launch), • Visit at Shashi Cooking Classes in Udaipur, • Joy Train ride at Sardargarh, • Elephant ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur, • Cooking demonstration at Ikaki Niwas in Jaipur, • Dinner at Bukhara restaurant in Delhi, • Walking Tour of Old Delhi with Dinner, • Cooking demonstration at Philipkutty, air-conditioned private car for all journeys and tours; local guides; Kathakali Dance in Cochin; Airfare for the Delhi / Udaipur & Delhi / Cochin / Delhi sector in economy class (Discounted airfare subject to change & availability).

*Special Tour & Activity Options Available: -

• Sardargarh Day 06: - Night Safari at Sardargarh: To round off an exciting engagement with nature, a Night Safari is offered today. A bone rattling jeep safari thru the wild areas at night where you could spot local wildlife like hyenas, wild foxes, hares, caracals, jackals, etc. caught in the dazzling beam of a spotlight - a not to be missed adventure that will remain a thrill all your life.
Cost For Night Safari (Sardargarh): INR 2,000 Per Person

• Sardargarh Day 07: - Jeep safari at Sardargarh we proceed on a jeep safari of the local tribal villages. During the safari we would be accompanied by the members of the Royal family. Traditional tribal villages, ethnic occupations, primitive homes arranged on the basis of caste as well as professional affinity and above all the unmistakable respect and regard for the feudal lords by the natives in spite of the latter having only titular power is something that converts the village safari to experiencing a Living Museum compared to experiencing a living museum. As the sun tends to mellow the village erupts into activity. The shepherds are returning with their stock and the women get set to milk the cows and then visit the local well to fetch water or bring the produce from the field. We will walk into homes to see how cooking is done traditional clay ovens. A bite of jaggery is offered to you as a mark of traditional welcome. Witnessing the making of traditional chunky Gold and silver jewelry too would be fascinating. The marble cutters of the village are a hit. Usually a small souvenir is handed to each guest for the sake of memory. We also pay our respects to the Holy man of the region – a hermit with long flowing beard as well as hair and someone who has not uttered a word for seven years! The safari takes us to local farms where we witness primitive means of harvesting and farming using hand tools.The Safari culminates at the bank of the serene lake Monohar Sagar at sunset. We enjoy a breather with refreshments. The lake is also a bird watchers paradise with a variety of resident birds available. The sight of the setting sun in the horizon is a very uplifting experience.
Cost For Night Safari (Sardargarh): INR 2,000 Per Person