India - Eat, Pray, Love India
Eat, Pray, Love
This 10 day tour taking in Delhi, Agra, Amritsar and Udaipur is sure to delight the Culinary and Cultural Enthusiast.
Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits.
This trip gives guests the opportunity to find out more about these Indian cuisines and to make and sample many of these delicacies for themselves.
Day 1 - Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and will be transferred to your hotel.
New Delhi, the capital of India is a modern buzzing metropolitan city with remnants of the past strewn amongst the modern buildings. Much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyen’s, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British imperial pretensions.
Delhi was established between 900 B.C and 1930. Delhi's famous "seven cities" range from the 12th century Quila Rai Pithora, built by Prithviraj Chauhan, to the imperial Shajahanabad, constructed by the Mughals in the 17th century.
Of the many attractions in Delhi, the major sites are the Rashtrapati Bhawan designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens as the British Viceroys Palace, Shahajahanabad (Old Delhi) where the Red Fort is, or Jama Masjid in the famed Chandni Chowk in the heart of Old Delhi.
Just within reach of Delhi’s bustling city centre, Lodhi New Delhi -is a luxurious retreat in spacious surroundings, offering guests an ideal base from which to explore the city’s many diverse charms. Amidst the lush order of Lutyen’s' Delhi, just minutes from the grandeur of Rashtrapati Bhawan, the peaceful Lodhi gardens and many other iconic sites, Lodhi New Delhi provides one of the world's most colourful and cosmopolitan capital cities with a tranquil new retreat. Offering essential respite in spacious surrounds, this city-based resort is an elegant haven exuding an air of sophisticated calm, and provides guests with the ultimate in comfort.
You will spend three nights at The Lodhi in a Deluxe Room with ensuite facilities on a bed & breakfast basis.
Day 2 - Delhi
This morning enjoy, an interactive session with our Indian Chef who will take us on a delicious journey across South India as well as the Eastern part of the country. From buns stuffed with bananas to puttu or dosas, and from Kachori to Ghugni, you will get a glimpse into the different breakfasts across some of India.
After breakfast, you begin your tour with the Red Fort. The Red Fort or "Lal (Red) Qila (Fort)" is made in red sandstone and is a seemingly eternal witness to the Mughal splendour and extravagance. Built by Shah Jahan, the 5th in the line of Mughals, the fort covers a semi-octagonal area of about 2km.
Next you head to Chandni Chowk, also known as “Silver Street”, the walk takes you through the narrow lanes of old Delhi with mansions, colourful bazaars, Jain temples & stalls selling street food followed by a rickshaw ride. Even though today Chandni Chowk appears choked with congestion, it retains its historical character.
The narrow gullies of Old Delhi narrate many stories through the overwhelming variety of street food that they offer.
They’ll inspire you to pull out your cameras, explore new ways, and sometimes, even get into the kitchen and recreate. While walking through the chaotic maze of by-lanes, you can never be lost. If ever you are, you’ll probably catch the whiff of steaming samosas still hissing from the hot oil or the sweet aroma of crisp jalebis that will lead your senses. Temptation is everywhere and it’s hard to resist.
The old city shares an intimate relationship with food that began during the Mughal era. Here, traditions rule and history is served sumptuously garnished with culinary secrets that have been passed down through generations.
You will then visit Jama Masjid (the mosque) followed by high-tea at Haveli Dharampura. The Haveli Dharampura with its distinctive features is attributed as Late Mughal style though parts of it has the influence of the 20th Century architecture. During Mughal and late Mughal Period, a large number of havelis were built by the courtiers. This Haveli in particular dates to 1887 AD and was originally designed to have mixed use pattern i.e. both residential and commercial.
You have the evening at leisure in The Lodhi
Day 3 - Delhi
After breakfast, you will proceed to visit New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The tour of Imperial Delhi will include a visit to Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor Humayun, it is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style.
The tour also includes a drive through Lutyens Delhi, past the imposing India Gate– a monument dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence and Crafts Museum.
The Crafts Museum, designed by architect Charles Correa, was established in the year 1950 and displays more than 35,000 vintage articles and exotic crafts which include - pottery, wood carvings, metal-ware crafting, image and toys sculpturing. The museum also encompasses a village complex which spreads over an area of 5 Acre and one can see various craftsmen showcasing their skills and art work. The area shows regional architecture using Mud and brick as medium.
You can enjoy lunch at a quaint café within the museum complex.
You will then return to your hotel to freshen up before trying your hands at Indian cooking in a traditional Indian home.
In the evening, visit a local market to refresh the senses with the fragrance of fresh spices & vegetables followed by full hands on cooking class. This experience will start off by understanding how the spices and vegetable are bought by visiting a local market. Get a feel of how an Indian would purchase the ingredients to make delicious Indian dishes. Relish this experience by enjoying the Indian delicacies cooked by you with some help from us. Share a few laughs along the way!
Overnight at The Lodhi
Day 4 - Delhi / Agra
After breakfast you will be driven to Agra (around 3.5 hours)
The city of Agra flourished under the patronage of the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan and attracted artisans from Persia and central Asia. Agra is where Emperor Shah Jahan engraved his immortal love for his Empress in marble, the Taj Mahal. Agra is still famous for handicrafts products such as inlay work on marble, carpets, jewellery, zari and embroidery work.
You will be met on arrival and assisted to check-in at The Oberoi Amarvilas. The hotel is located 600 meters from the Taj Mahal and all the rooms, suites, lobby, bar and lounge offer breathtaking views of the monument. Built in a style inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, the resort takes you back to an era of Emperors and Princes. An interlude at The Oberoi Amarvilas is truly unforgettable.
In the afternoon you will visit Agra Fort. Few forts in the world have a more fascinating story to tell than the Great Fort of Agra, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture and the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace.
Situated 1 km upstream of the Taj Mahal, on the right bank of the Yamuna, the Agra fort was built under the direction of Akbar, by Mohammed Quasim Khan, his commander-in-Chief and Governor of Kabul and added to by his son Jehangir and grandson Shahjahan.
structure with walls of red sandstone, almost 3 kilometres (two miles) long.
The eastern part of the fort contains palaces, audience halls and mosques built by all the three emperors. The fort presents a good sampling of their favoured architectural styles. The Diwan-i-am (public audience hall) once housed the fabled peacock throne, which incorporated virtually all the important gems of the imperial treasury.
The beautiful Diwan-i-Khas (private audience hall) and the magnificent Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) are other attractions within the fort.
This evening we will take you to a small hillock near Taj Mahal, where you will find yourself away from the regular experiences. You will enjoy the sundowners with Taj Mahal as a backdrop, which will be followed by dinner and some live entertainment – Will only be offered for a group of Minimum 08 guests
Spend one night at The Oberoi Amarvilas in a Premier Room with ensuite facilities on a bed & breakfast basis.
Day 5 - Agra / Delhi / Amritsar
You will have an early start this morning as you head out to experience sunrise at the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is said to be one of the most elegant and harmonious buildings in the world, Taj Mahal is the manifestation of the wealth and luxury of Mughal art as seen in its architecture, garden design, painting, and calligraphy.
Please Note: “The three year-long conservation process of the Taj Mahal was started recently by the Archaeological Survey of India on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment & will go on until it is fully conserved & clay packed. This is a slow and delicate process. Work has begun on the minarets, currently enclosed in scaffolding, and it will proceed towards the main facade. The magnificence of the Taj Complex remains and the detailing is generally not interrupted. But the iconic photographs of the main building will be".
You will then be driven back to Delhi to board your flight to Amritsar.
Amritsar, the Sikh holy city, is the second largest town in the state of Punjab and a premier tourist destination. It was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, the fourth guru of the Sikhs. The name Amritsar meaning 'Pool of Nectar' is named after the sacred pool around which the Golden Temple is built. The city is an important regional market centre for agricultural goods and the centre for India's border security.
Upon arrival you will be collected from the airport and taken to your accommodation at Taj Swarna.
Taj Swarna, Amritsar embodies the best of Punjab’s iconic history, art and culture. Fusing modern design with traditional elegance, Taj Swarna, Amritsar is a stylish, world class hotel, basking in an enviable location that serves Amritsar and the adjoining cities of Jalandhar and Ludhiana. The hotel features spacious rooms, an array of dining options, sophisticated meeting facilities, Health Club, Jiva Spa and Salon and is close to the main shopping area of the city.
You have the afternoon at leisure to relax at the hotel following your early morning start.
In the evening you will be collected from you hotel for a walk through the market followed by dinner at the local Kesar Dhaba.
Started in 1916, Kesar Dhaba was originally in the Sheikhpura region of Pakistan and after the partition in 1947, the Dhaba was shifted to Amritsar. A pure vegetarian dhaba, this joint has a kitchen equivalent to the size of the dining area and is a place that’ll take you back in time. Famous personalities dined at the place back in the times and the legacy has continued.
After dinner you will head to the famous Golden Temple to witness Palki Sahib ceremony by night.
The Golden Temple, located in the heart of the city is the most visited tourist attraction in Amritsar. Characterised by its four entrance doors (called deoris) in all four directions and the tastefully decorated shrines, in terms of art and architecture, the Golden Temple welcomes everyone regardless of the religion or faith one follows. The stunning sanctum, shimmering in the water of the holy tank, flanked by spotlessly clean marble walkways and pavements makes it breathtakingly beautiful.
This evening, you will witness the religion in India more closely by witnessing the Palki Sahib ceremony with the accompaniment of drums and hymns that makes the atmosphere serene and pious, a gold and silver gilded palanquin (palki), decorated with silk brocades, is prepared by the devotees to carry the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book) from the main shrine in Hari Mandir to Darshani Deorhi (gateway leading to the inner sanctum).
This ceremony is performed every evening and several devout followers and visitors participate in the ceremony, which offers each individual at least a few seconds to help carry the palanquin.
Spend three nights at Taj Swarna in a Deluxe Room with ensuite facilities on a bed & breakfast basis.
Day 6 - Amritsar
After breakfast you will proceed to the community kitchen at the Golden temple to witness the service at this kitchen. Sikhism developed as an antithesis to the caste ridden and ritualistic forms of Hinduism and developed as a simple religion whose foundation was “sewa” – socially responsibility irrespective of a person’s social standing. Thus, every Sikh Temple has the famous community kitchen, where it is considered a privilege to assist cooking the food and serving a simple meal to pilgrim and visitors. This is followed by a heritage walk in the city and visit to Wagah Border.
The Heritage walking tour will take you deep inside the narrow lanes and by lanes of the 400-year-old city of Amritsar. One gets to see Katras, Akharas Bungas, Havelis, and Hatties. The walk takes you back in the time as you witness town planning traditional trade and crafts being practiced in the same place and in the same manner as have been done for centuries.
During the heritage walking tour, you will also visit the streets famous for its food, from many generations. Guests will visit traditional food stalls that developed in the folds of the culture of Amritsar. At each stop guests will see the house specialties. Some of the foods that guests may sample are: Parathana’s, (Indian Flatbread) Samosa (triangular deep-fried dumplings stuffed with potatoes), Kachori (deep fried dumplings stuffed with an assortment of lentils and spice), Kulfi (Indian ice-cream), Lassi (a yogurt drink), jalebi, (Indian Sweet) etc.
After the tour, you will proceed for Wagah Border, with a stop at SARHAD for lunch enroute.
SARHAD, the vibrant soul of this property comes alive from the architecture that adores the old Lahore and old Amritsar, giving you a prelude to the finer overall theme of the place which brings together the best of pre-partition Punjab.
Located on the Indo-Pakistan border, Wagah is 28 kilometres from the Amritsar main town. A good number of visitors come to this place to see the “Changing of Guard” ceremony and the flag hoisting and lowering activities which are done with great skill and precision by the border security forces of both the countries. A sight you cannot afford to miss!
You will return to the hotel in the late evening.
Overnight at hotel, Taj Swarna
Day 7 - Amritsar / Punjabiyat Farm / Amritsar
After breakfast, you will head out on a full day excursion to the Punjabiyat Farm for a rural Punjab experience.
Punjabiyat: - Pronounced Punjab-i-yat, meaning 'being Punjabi', 'essence of Punjab', 'quintessential Punjabi', is meant to be an expression of jest and effervescence of the Punjabi culture and its large heartedness.
Located a little more than an hour’s drive from Amritsar amidst vast farm lands, pulsating with vivacity and prosperity, the area though well-connected, feels a million miles away and completely isolated once you leave the tarmac road. Lush green fields as far as eyes can see, glittering in the sun and merging into the distant horizon.
You will arrive at Punjabiyat by mid-morning and will be welcomed with a traditional Bhangra dance troupe and traditional drinks. You can then relax and explore the Farm area nearby Punjabiyat.
Before lunch you will take a short tour of Gurdaspur Village on a Bullock-cart experiencing the real life of a traditional Punjab village.
Food is a serious matter in Punjabi culture and hence the food is emblematic of how Punjab welcomes you with its bounty. Enjoy typical Punjabi lunch on a charpai at Punjabiyat near the farms. You will be served traditional Punjabi Lunch like Lassi, Sarson ka saag and Makke di roti, Kheer made of Sugarcane, Raita, Stuffed Naan, Butter Chicken/ Paneer and Dal makhni with white butter.
After lunch you can relax for a short while and then enjoy some of the activities on offer at the farm (a tractor ride, a visit to the local Gallughora Gurudwara (Sikh Temple), visit to the Sikh History Museum or even get hands on with the farmers in their fields and learn more about local crops and their cultivation).
You can then enjoy afternoon tea / coffee with some traditional snacks, before heading back to Amritsar to your Hotel.
Overnight at Taj Swarna
This morning you will leave the hotel with a packed breakfast for your early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Udaipur via Delhi.
Day 8 - Amritsar / Delhi / Udaipur
This morning you will leave the hotel with a packed breakfast for your early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Udaipur via Delhi.
Known as the ‘City of Lakes’, this romantic city is dotted with marble palaces, hibiscus - laden gardens and fountain pavilions. Udaipur appeals to the imagination of poets and painters, travelers and writers like no other city in the country. The city's inherent romance and beauty and its remarkable past redolent with episodes of heroism and splendour, continue to enthral the visitor even today. Udaipur, the City of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white. Surrounded by hills and mountains and set on the edge of three lakes which lead on to a fertile plain - it is a truly enchanting city.
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel The Oberoi Udaivilas. Adorning the banks of Lake Pichola and standing witness to the historic City Palace, The Oberoi Udaivilas captures all the romance and splendour of a royal era. Rooms with terraces that open on to semi-private swimming pools present exquisite views and are a unique feature of Udaivilas.
Feel the magical experience created in one of the most romantic cities of India with afternoon boat cruise. All this while you drift on Lake Pichola with majestic views of the City Palace, Jagmandir and the breath-taking sunset.
Spend three nights at Oberoi Udaivillas in a Premier Room on a bed and breakfast basis
Day 9 - Udaipur
After breakfast you head to the city for a Heritage walk.
Udaipur is not only a town where everyone comes for monuments and serene lakes, the city also offers you a varied experience of indulging in its life like a local. Walk through its city life and market areas, walk through its medieval neighbourhood interact with the craftsmen and exchange your views with residents
Stop to witness the art of painting on water (Jal Sanjhi) surviving only in Udaipur. A unique art form was discovered in Udaipur where the canvas is not cloth or paper, but sheer water. Sanjhi -- paintings that float on water -- are made as a tribute to Lord Krishna during this festival season. Over 200 years old, this rare art and has been kept alive by just one family in Udaipur, who have been practicing it for generations. From the birth of Krishna to the destruction of Kansa, themes have always been the legend of Krishna. The artist made the famous ras leela or garba dance that Krishna does with his gopis.
The City Palace in Udaipur was built by the Maharana Udai Singh. It is located on the east bank of the Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within its complex. The Palace was built in a flamboyant style and is considered the largest of its type in Rajasthan, a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles.
Built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 the Jagdish Temple enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu. There is a brass image of Garuda the Lord bird carrier. The exterior and the plinth are covered with base relief of alligators; elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians rise in tiers. Chanting, bells and music can be heard throughout the day. It is the largest and most splendid temple of Udaipur.
After the tour you will stop to enjoy lunch at Royal Repast, Royal means Regal and Repast implies “feast or meal”. The Royal Repast from The House of Bedla, is a speciality restaurant and is an attempt to link and reconcile food with history and heritage. It attempts to show you a glimpse of traditional Mewar Style cooking that is counted among the legends of this glorious land.
You have the evening at leisure in the hotel.
Overnight at The Oberoi Udaivilas
Day 10 - Udaipur
You have the morning at leisure to relax and enjoy spa at the hotel (Pre-reservation is required a night prior). There are a variety of treatments available, all are payable locally.
The inner sanctum of the spa is majestic under a crystal chandelier, crowned by a day sky dome and caressed by the gentle sound of water cascading over a white marble fountain. Therapies use natural oils, and include international and Ayurvedic techniques to relax, refresh and rejuvenate.
In the afternoon you explore the Udaipur local Markets followed by high-tea at the Monsoon Palace.
No tour is complete without a little bit of shopping. In the company of local guide, shop the streets and stores of Udaipur and take a piece of India back home. The dazzling bazaars of this hypnotic city are flooded with textiles, footwear, ready-made garments, antique jewels, artifacts, bandhini print, carpets, pottery, marble curios and books, a mind-boggling collection of other exciting items.
The Monsoon Palace, formerly known as the Sajjan Garh Palace, is a hilltop palatial residence in Udaipur City. It is named as Sajjangarh after Maharana Sajjan Singh (1874–1884) of the Mewar Dynasty, who built Sajjangarh Fort in 1884. It offers a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built basically to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, appropriately, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace.
You will return to your hotel to freshen up and get ready for the farewell dinner at the lakeside pavilion at the hotel (Min 08 Guests). Beside unparalleled views of the night-lit City Palace and Jagmandir, guests can savour a specially curated menu, accompanied by fine wines and live traditional music performed on a shikhara boat on the lake.
Day 11 - Udaipur / Delhi
You have a leisurely morning ahead of you, before being collected from your hotel for your flight back to Delhi.
On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to airport hotel to freshen up and later will be transferred to airport to connect your flight for onward journey.
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