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Gourmet tour - North India tour

Gourmet tour - North India tour

12 Nights/ 13 Days

Detailed Tour Itenerary

Kolkata - Lucknow - Delhi - Agra - Sikri - Jaipur - Udaipur - Mumbai

Day 01 - Arrive Kolkata

You will arrive at Kolkata’s International Airport.

Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, our representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel.

Depending on your arrival time, remainder of the day may be spent in leisure or free to explore on your own. Those interested may undertake walking tour of old colonial buildings ending with arrival at the restaurant for dinner to join the others.

Dinner tonight will be at Aaheli Restaurant for a taste of authentic Bengali cuisine in a traditional ambience.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02 - Kolkata

Breakfast at your hotel

In the morning you will be taken for brief drive past tour of Calcutta including Victoria Memorial (Closed on Monday), and Howrah bridge.

Lunch on your own.

After lunch, enjoy a nice cuppa at the Indian Coffee House. The Coffee House which has made absolutely no attempt to mask its age with designer tables and petite chairs, fancy lighting and noiseless fans-still continues to be very special. The prestige of the Coffee House increased with regular visitors such as stalwarts like Satyajit Ray, Manna Dey, Amartya Sen, Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen.

In the evening, you will be taken for a cooking demonstration and dinner to a traditional Bengali home.

The traditional society of Bengal has always been heavily agrarian; hunting, except by some local tribals, was uncommon. The rearing of animals was also not popular. This is reflected in the cuisine, which relies on staples like rice and đal, with little place for game or meat. Fish is the dominant kind of meat, cultivated in ponds and fished with nets in the fresh-water rivers of the Ganges delta. More than forty types of mostly freshwater fish are common, including carp varieties. Salt water fish is very popular among Bengalis. Almost every part of the fish (except fins and innards) is eaten; the head and other parts are usually used to flavor curries. Khashi (referred to as mutton in Indian English, the meat of sterilized goats) is the most popular red meat.

Macher Jhol is one of the most preferred dishes of people living in West Bengal. Macher Jhol or Machchi Jhol is usuallyy eaten with rice. Macher Jhol is quite easy to prepare as you will find while trying your hands at cooking machcher Jhol. Sweets occupy an important place in the diet of Bengalis and at their social ceremonies. It is an ancient custom among Hindus to distribute sweets during festivities. The sweets of Bengal are generally made of sweetened cottage cheese (chhena), khoa (reduced solidified milk), or flours of different cereals and pulses.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 03 - Kolkata - Lucknow

After buffet breakfast, our representative will transfer you to Kolkatta domestic airport to board flight for Lucknow.

Departure: Kolkatta At: 11:05hrs By: 9W2461 Arrival: Kolkata At: 12:40 hrs

Upon arrival you in Lucknow you will be met by a SITA representative who will transfer you to hotel.

Lunch will be at your Own.

In the afternoon, proceed for a sightseeing tour visiting the great Imambara – built in the 18th century. The absence of beams and pillars in the huge main hall is an architectural achievement.

For dinner you will be taken to a Nawab’s Haveli where you will be served the famous local cuisine, Awadhi. You would be particularly delighted to know that some of these dishes could have been invented by the forefathers of the Nawab’s family.

The rich Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow region was made popular by the Nawab of Awadh who, to deal with food shortage, ordered his men to cook food in huge handis (vessel) to feed the hungry people. This eventually led to a style of cooking called dum, i.e., the art of sealing ingredients in large handi and cooking over a slow fire.

Utensils are made either of silver or copper. Kababs are cooked in a Mahi Tava (large, round shallow pan), using a Kafgir which is a flat, long handled ladle for turning Kababs and Paranthas. Bone China plates and dishes were also used in Lucknow since the times of the Nawabs. Water was normally sipped from copper or silver tumblers and not glasses. The seating arrangement, while eating, was always on the floor where beautifully embroidered Dastarkhwans were spread on mats or carpets or even Chandnis (white linen). Sometimes this arrangement was made on low-raised wooden tables called Takahts.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 04 - Lucknow - Delhi

After buffet breakfast, proceed to visit Lucknow residency where the British resident lived, picture gallery exhibiting excellent full-sized portraits of the Nawabs of Awadh.

In the afternoon, you will be taken to a local restaurant, to sample local cuisine under expert guidance of Prateek Hira (Avadhi Cuisine Expert, by virtue of his education, knowledge and experience).

Later our representative will transfer you to Lucknow railway station to board flight for Delhi

Departure: Lucknow At: 15:35hrs By: Shatabdi Express Arrival: Delhi At: 22:05 hrs

Dinner will be served onboard train.

Upon arrival in Delhi railway station you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 05 - Delhi

After buffet breakfast at hotel, you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi.

The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid or Friday Mosque, walk down the narrow streets of Chandi Chawk to reach mosque. It is the largest mosque in India, accommodating up to 25,000 worshippers at one time. Designed by Shah Jahan, this grand red sandstone and white marble mosque was said to have been built by 5,000 artisans from 1644 to 1656.

You will also visit the markets of Old Delhi. Sacks of spices and nuts, edible sheets of silver, and local pickles make for an aromatic day out. In the lanes of Khari Baoli you will be introduced to saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, by one of the oldest and largest distributors of this exotic spice in the world.You will also visit the markets of Old Delhi. This experience takes you back to the markets of Old Delhi. Sacks of spices and nuts, edible sheets of silver, and local pickles make for an aromatic day out. In the lanes of Khari Baoli you will be introduced to saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, by one of the oldest and largest distributors of this exotic spice in the world.

After sightseeing you will be taken to Sagar Ratna restaurant for South Indian vegetarian meal for lunch. The restaurant offers rare pleasures of authentic regional specialities of South India such as dosas, vadas, appams, parathas, chutneys, sambar, rasam and other south Indian dishes. Add to it the freshness, purity, hygiene, taste, variety, homely service. This is cooked with coconut oil and coconut is major ingredient of almost all cuisines.

After lunch, you will be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. Designed and built by the British architect Edwin Lutyens and his friend Sir Herbert Baker, the new capital was formally inaugurated in 1931. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, The five-storied tower with a 14.4 metre base that tapers up to two and a half metres at the top is visible for a long distance around. Pulling down 27 Hindu and Jain temples and using their columns erected the attached Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque also built by him. Then visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, it is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style, a precursor of the Taj Mahal. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.

Your dinner tonight is at Punjabi by Nature for a north Indian Punjabi fare in a contemporary setting, Unique and authentic, the culinary selection at Punjabi By Nature is reminiscent of the food from the Northern terrains and its royal inflections. Gourmet food of the Mughal era with its intricate masalas and elaborate preparations is a discerning diner’s delight.

Punjabi people are robust people with robust appetites and their food is like the Punjabis themselves, simple, sizeable and hearty with no unnecessary frills or exotic accompaniments. The Punjabi tandoori cooking is celebrated as one of the most popular cuisines throughout the world. Huge earthen ovens are half buried in the ground and heated with a coal fire lit below it. Marinated meat, chicken, fish, paneer, rotis and naans of many types are cooked in this novel oven and the results are absolutely scrumptious! Punjab has imbibed some aspects of its cuisine from external influences. Connoisseurs of the cuisine say that the gravy component of Punjabi cuisine came from the Mughals. The most popular example is the murg makhani. It served the state well to combine this influence in its cooking since it had a lot of pure ghee and butter. Murg makhani also provided a balance to tandoori chicken, which was dry because it was charcoal cooked. Nans and parathas, rotis made of maize flour are typical Punjabi breads. Of course, over the years the roti has been modified to add more variety, so there is the rumali roti, the naan and the laccha parathas, all cooked in the tandoor.

Winter, in Punjab, brings in the season of the famous makki ki roti(maize flour bread) and sarson ka saag(mustard leaf gravy). No meal is complete without a serving of lassi( sweet or salted drink made with curd) or fresh curd and white butter which is consumed in large quantities. The other popular dishes, which belong exclusively to Punjab, are ma ki dal, rajma (kidney beans) and stuffed parathas.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 06 - Delhi - Agra

Early in the morning you will be driven to the railway station for your train to Agra (0600/0810 hrs). Arrive Agra, met and transfer to the hotel. After freshen up you will proceed for brief sightseeing of Agra including the incomparable Taj Mahal.

That magnificent monument to love – Taj Mahal, built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen. 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 is said to be that of the legendary architect, Ustad Ahamad Lahori. Legend has it that once construction was completed, Shah Jehan had Lahori’s hands cut off, and blinded, so he would never be able to duplicate the structure. What makes the Taj Mahal unique is its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, medium of construction and ornamentation. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day. It is impossible to visualize the Taj Mahal in any surrounding others than its paradoxical garden. Paradise, in Islam, is visualized as lush garden where running streams flow . When the Moguls brought this concept to India they elevated it to the heights of incomparable. (TAJ MAHAL REMAINS CLOSED ON FRIDAYS)

Return to hotel for Breakfast after after the sightseeing tour.

Lunch at your own.

In the evening, you will be taken to Peshwari restaurant for dinner.

In 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. Experience the wonder of this cuisine 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.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 07 - Agra - Sikri - Jaipur

This morning you will be driven to Jaipur ( hillie 5.5 hours) – en route visiting Fatehpur Sikri. Lunch will be served at Laxmi Vilas Palace near Bharatpur. The Laxmi Vilas Palace lies in the beautiful location enhanced by the sumptuous lunch preparation.

Upon arrival at Jaipur, proceed to check-in at your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Your dinner tonight will be at the ethnic village, Chokhi Dhani, for a Rajasthani fare

Rajasthani cuisine is perhaps the most sensitive among Indian cuisines. Rajasthan cooking in general has its own unique hilli where the simplest and the most basic of ingredients go into the preparation of most dishes. Perhaps due to general scarcity of water, cooking is done with minimum use of water, instead milk, buttermilk and clarified butter is used.

Non-availability of vegetables like tomatoes has led to the usage of dried mango powder while hillies is used instead of onion and garlic. Gram flour is a major ingredient and is used to make some of the delicacies like khatta, hil ki sabzi, pakodi; powdered lentils are used for mangodi, papad; bajra and corn is used all over the state for preparations of rabdi, khichdi and rotis. Various chutneys are made from locally available spices like turmeric, coriander, mint and garlic.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 08 - Jaipur

Enjoy tour of Jaipur city.

Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II and is a marvelous synthesis of architectural influences – Hindu and Mughal. The bazaars teem with people, camels, horses and a multitude of vehicles, while around them loom magnificent palaces and buildings. In the morning you will drive past the Hawa Mahal, otherwise known as the palace of Winds, and continue to Amber Fort.

Hawa Mahal is just an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to sit and observe life in the streets below. Amber, the ancient capital of the region, still recalls its heydays in the majestic ramparts rising steeply along the contoured hillsides. Here, elephant still carry visitors in stately splendor to the main Palace, through unusually high gateways, obviously designed to accommodate this archaic mode of transport. It is an extremely well preserved building and very delightful to explore. Visit the Jagmandir or the Hall of Victory glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali.

You lunch is arranged at Samode Haveli – The exquisite former dining hall that serves as a restaurant is bedecked with colourful hand-painted murals. There’s a choice between the traditional Rajasthani cuisine and international flavours within these frescoed interiors.

Later, you will be drive to Dera Amer to enjoy elephant safari followed by dinner:

The elephant Safari is conducted in the natural and serene area surrounding the camp of Dera Amer. At dusk upon arrival the guests are welcomed by the elephants, after feeding the elephants, welcome drink and face towels and the guests are seated on the cushioned seat (2 adults on each elephant) and sent on a picturesque track following a local tribal guide passing through a private jungle area surrounding the camp, as the sun sets over the hills passing by village hutments, fields, a medieval fortress lit up by flame torches – mashaals (at night) and monument finally arriving at the camp situated in the middle of the forest to a grand welcome. The elephant ride culminates at the camp or the exclusive jungle spots.

The guests arrive at these surprise locations lit by Mashals and Diyas, local traditional instrument playing from the distance, exclusive seating and dining with a luxurious candle lit layout and live barbecue.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 09 - Jaipur - Udaipur

Early morning 45 minutes meditation session at the hotel

Breakfast at your hotel

Later you will be driven to Udaipur (400 Kms / 07 Hrs)

On arrival, check in to your hotel

In the evening you will be taken to Devigarh to sample Kashmiri cuisine known for its traditional fesat OR Waazwan, where many different meat dishes are prepared and served on a white sheet. It is flavoured delicately with saffron and Kashmiri chillies which are not too spicy, but give a rich red colour to the food. The abundance of dry fruit like walnuts, dried dates, and apricots also inspire the Kashmiri to use them abundantly in puddings, curries and snacks.

Day 10 - Udaipur

Breakfast at your hotel

Your sightseeing includes a visit to the City Palace, an enormous edifice, stands on a hill on the banks of Lake Pichola, surrounded by crenulated walls. Built in 1567, it is composed of 4 major palaces and several minor palaces that form a single façade. It is here that Udai Singh met an ascetic who suggested this site for Udaipur. The centrally located 17th century Mor Chowk (Peacock Courtyard) gets its name from inlaid glass mosaics of peacocks on its walls. Other exotic rooms include the Krishna Vilas dedicated to the memory of a 16 year old princess's tragic suicide, the Zenana Mahal (Palace of the Queens) and the Chini Chitrasala, which has exquisite mosaics and blue and white ceramics. To the west of main gate lies Khush Mahal (Palace of Happiness) and to its south lies Shambhu Niwas, built in the 19th century. The third palace is Shiv Niwas, which is now a hotel. The Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakash Hotel overlooks the grand Durbar Hall. It has a rare collection of Osler's crystal ordered from England by Maharana Sajjan Singh in 1877. It includes crystal chandeliers and crystal furniture like chairs, dressing tables and a bed.

You will enjoy a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola (subject to water level permitting) up to Jag Mandir Palace, built by Maharana Karan Singh in 1622 AD as a pleasure palace for royal parties and functions. This magnificent monument with its domes, marble pillars and fountains has a special approach of a row of marble elephants that seem to be guarding the island.

Return to hotel after sightseeing. Rest of the day is at leisure. Lunch will be on your own. In the evening, you will be taken for dinner with the Bedla Family. The present scion of the Bedla clan, Vijay Singh was persuaded to share the rich culinary heritage of Mewar. Bedla, in a way, is only carrying forward a bloodline that traces not only prime ministers and royal advisers but also exemplary hosts. Bedla Palace near Udaipur became known as much for its punditry as its pan craft. Lovers of the palace cuisine have included Jawaharlal Nehru, Queen Elizabeth II and Jacqueline Kennedy. Bedla cuisine makes generous use of corn and milk products, and includes the super secret, 38ingredient Bedla sauce that requires eight months to make. Tomatoes, a late entrant in Rajasthani food culture, don't figure among the ingredients and curd takes their place. An iconic dish is Banjara Mans, a meat dish cooked with some spices and salt in the crude fashion favoured by a nomadic tribe. The dish is stirred in one direction so as not to break any ingredient. The Bedlas say they have recipes of over 20,000 exclusive dishes.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 - Udaipur - Mumbai

Early morning yoga session for 45 minutes at the hotel.

Breakfast will be at your hotel. Morning is at leisure to enjoy facilities of the hotel. Lunch will be at your own.

Later, in the afternoon your will be transferred to airport on time to board flight to Mumbai

Depart Udaipur: at 1550 hrs by IC471 Arrive Mumbai: at 1655 hrs

Upon arrival in Mumbai you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Later in the evening you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Trishna Restaurant for dinner. A seafood speciality restaurant serving coastal cuisine, Trishna is particularly famous for its crab preparations. It also serves up hyderabadi dal (spicy lentils), prawns koliwada (batterfried prawns) and pomfret hyderabadi-style (a local fish barbecued with a coating of freshly ground pepper). There’s plenty there for vegetarians too.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12 - Mumbai

After buffet breakfast at hotel. We shall take you to “food-oriented bazaar walk”, that takes you to one of the traditional middle-class markets of the city. The walk is ideal for foodies and anyone interested in understanding the rich cuisine legacy of India. (All days except Mondays)

The Matunga area was settled in the 1930’s and 1940’s, as the city grew northwards from its original southern beginnings. Today this is a bustling, prosperous area, home to three different communities: Hindu Tamil Brahmins, Hindu Gujaratis from trading communities, and Jains. All three communities are vegetarian, but follow different religious rules. As a result, their cuisines reflect their rich food traditions, evolved over the years in accordance with specific food taboos. The Matunga area is not just a vibrant food market – it is a cultural epicenter, housing several popular temples for Hindus and Jains. The walk will cover these temples, other shops in the market (textiles, household goods, etc) and the colourful Matunga flower market.

We will start the walk at one end of the market, at the Kannika Parameswarai Temple (patron goddess of the Andhra business community). From there, the market begins, with various pavement stalls selling vegetables and fruits. We will introduce you to

typical vegetables, herbs, aromatics and spices that are available in the market, and how they are used by different communities in daily food. The guide will also point out seasonal specialties that are available in the market. We will stop at a popular local store, selling a dazzling array of snacks and treats. There is a hygienic tasting counter, where you can sample many of these tasty specialty treats. At the ‘mukhwas’ counter, you can sample a wide range of mouth fresheners.

After the Food Oriented Bazar Walk, You will be taken to famous Café Leopold’s for Lunch one of the oldest Cafés in Mumbai. The café is a great hangout place and is known for its relaxed ambiance, great food and reasonably priced drinks. The café was attacked by the terrorists during Bombay seize in Nov 2008…was quickly re-opened as a mark of total defiance of the terrorists.

After Lunch proceed for sightseeing tour of Mumbai. The tour includes a visit to the Gateway of India-erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911; the collection of Indian painting and sculpture at the Prince of Wales Museum, Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, the Meticulously Hanging Gardens of Malabar Hill, the Tower of Silence – a circular raised structure used by Zorastrians for exposure of their dead and the Crawford Market.

Return to your hotel and remainder of the day will be at leisure.

Your farewell dinner tonight is arranged at the Zodiac Grill.

The Zodiac Grill makes the perfect place to celebrate or to just enjoy a memorable meal. This Continental restaurant in the legendary Taj Mahal hotel is one of the fanciest places to eat at in town. It's Western in style, with subdued lighting, handsome chandeliers, captains in black jackets, and waiters wearing white gloves. Specialties include Camembert dariole (soufflé) and a creamy Kahlua mousse for dessert.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 - Depart Mumbai

In time transfer to International airport to board flight for onward destination.

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