CULTURE AND CUISINE OF INDIA

Itinerary

Day 01: Delhi Arrival

Welcome to India!! Upon arrival at Delhi Airport after clearing immigration formalities, proceed to exit gate where you will be greeted by VUE India Tours representative. Then you will be escorted to your hotel, where you receive a warm welcome followed by check in process. Stay for three nights in Delhi.

Day 02: Delhi

Morning after breakfasts meet your tour manager who will be introduced the group to your escort accompanying the tour throughout. During this session you will be given minute details and some tips on Do's and Don'ts which will help you to enjoy tour. Further proceed for sightseeing of New Delhi exploring the diplomatic area with drives pass President House and Indian Parliament, Stop for a short while at India Gate which is a tribute to our brave soldiers who scarified their life for the nation. Your first monument visit will be at Humayun Tomb. This splendid mausoleum was built in the memory of Emperor Humayun, the second Mughal. The Humayun's tomb is the starting point of the Mughal architecture in India which is an amalgamation of the Persian, Turkish and Indian architectural influences.

Recommend lunch at - The Great Kabab Factory, signature restaurant specializes in serving meals that are both aesthetically pleasing and undeniably delicious, from juicy skewered meats to mouthwatering vegetables. Inspired by traditional and contemporary Indian recipes, we prepare tasty meals in one of seven different cooking styles: roasted on a tandoor or a sigri, shallow-fried in a tawa or a mahi tawa, deep-fried in a kadhai, steamed in pots, or grilled on a stone.

Further visit to Dilli Haat which is a treasure house of Indian culture, handicrafts and ethnic cuisine. It provides the ambience of a traditional Rural Haat or village market, but one suited for more contemporary needs. Here one sees a synthesis of crafts, food and cultural activity. Evening enjoy a cooking session followed by dinner. During the session learn about a few famous dishes of North India that is a blend of different cultures. (B, L, D)

Day 03: Delhi

Optional: Yearly morning meet your Yoga Instructor and proceed for an hour session with basics and the most common ones.

Morning proceed for Heritage Walk of Delhi. Experience the old Delhi traditional surroundings while you walk on the buzzed roads of Old Delhi. Enjoy the heritage charm of Shahjahanabad reminding you of the Mughal and exploring the delicious food stalls while on your old Delhi Food Trail. You will be transferred to Chawri Bazar where we start our walking tour. It was the first wholesale market of Delhi is specialized in brass, copper and paper products. Walk through the buzzing Chawri Bazar road to reach Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India and a magnificent facade of Mughal architecture. You will then board rickshaw to reach Khari Baoli one of the biggest spice markets selling all kinds of spices, nuts, herbs and food products like rice and tea. After exploring this buzzing, aromatic and amazing market you will be transferred to Paranthe-wali-Gali by rickshaw which introduces you to North Indian breads and Mughali food. The aroma of Mughali foods and Kababs fills your smelling veins. You will witness live cooking of many dishes as you walk through the shops.

Enjoy your lunch at Lakhori - An old ethnic ambience and the desire to bring street food to the table. Located on the ground floor of Haveli Dharampura, it promises to satiate your palette with Chandni Chowk delicacies and the rich Mughlai cuisine. From the famous Papri Chaat to the exquisite flavors of kebabs, the restaurant is the best place to relish delightful food in a beautiful setting.

Post lunch walk through the roads walk through the crowded roads reaching Kinnari Bazzar, which is the prime attraction for ladies as it's a wholesale retail market where you can get everything for any special ceremony, festivals, parties etc. Kinari Bazaar is place where you can find almost everything for Indian Bridal dresses. Conclude your day with a short rickshaw ride driving pass Red Fort reaching the parking area where your coach awaits for you to transfer back to hotel. Stay overnight at hotel. (B, L)

Day 04: Delhi - Varanasi

Morning get in time transfer to airport to board flight to Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities on earth and abode of lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Ghats of Varanasi are natural supplement to the concept of divinity and is known as the city that liberates soul from human body to ultimate. The city is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Upon arrival at Varanasi airport meet assistance and transfer to hotel. After brief rest proceed to explore the retail markets followed by witnessing of Grand Aarti at Dashashumedh Ghat. The picturesque Ganga Aarti is the central event of the evening. Huge lamps are lit up and priests hold forth huge burning lamps as the multitude chants the hymns. The ghats of Varanasi come alive with thousands of twinkling lamps (diyas) float away on River Ganga. The sparkling and floating lights give the occasion a dazzlingly and spiritual aura. Breathing this incense-filled air and witnessing the glimmer of dancing lights is truly a one-of-its-kind experience. Transfer back to hotel for two nights stay. (B)

Day 05: Varanasi

Early morning (before sun rise) proceed for Heritage Walk with boat ride exploring the ghats and witnessing the morning activities along the ghats of Varanasi reflecting the true culture of this ancient city. The river will be thronged with early morning bathers, raising their faces to the rising sun and reciting the sacred mantra. One can see the perpetual movement of the pilgrims on the steps, the vivid colours of their clothes glistening against the pale gold water, the triangular flags fluttering atop the temple spires.?Varanasi is associated with promotion of spiritualism, mysticism and Sanskrit, yoga and Hindi language. Return to hotel for breakfast. Further proceed to visit Varanasi Weavers where we meet the local weavers and their handloom. Witness the brocading and weaving of silk fabrics. Interact with the craftsmen and learn some techniques. Then after visit a few emporiums to see the final products for end user client.

Enjoy lunch at Annapurna Restaurant and savour your palate with South Indian meal.

You will then proceed for excursion to Bhadohi where you visit one of the workshops to explore the making and designing of hand-knotted carpets. Return to Varanasi city and explore the local markets to experience the Indian snacks and sweets which Varanasi serves the best.

Day 06: Varanasi - Agra

Optional: Yearly morning meet your Yoga Instructor and proceed for an hour session with basics and the most common ones

Morning get in time transfer to airport to board flight to Agra. Upon arrival travel to Agra, which is home to Taj Mahal and liberal sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums, Arrive and check in at hotel for two nights stay. Enjoy your dinner at Peshawri (ITC Mughal).

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 a 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.? (B,D)

CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

 

Day 07: Agra

Early morning visit Taj Mahal (with sunrise view) - the epitome of love, stands on the banks of the river Yamuna built in the 17th century by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. The white marble building changes its hue with the variations in the daylight. Made entirely of white marble and decorated with exquisite pietra dura (stone inlay) work, different types of precious and semi-precious stones were used in the intricate inlay work done on the interiors. Return to hotel for breakfast. Then after visit to Agra Fort a UNISCO World Heritage; the imposing structure on the banks of the river Yamuna is replete with priceless examples of craftsmanship in the Mughal period. It blends the Hindu and central Asian architectural styles very beautifully. Further visit Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb; also nick named as Baby Taj and was the first Mughal structure built completely from marbl.

Evening proceed for cooking demonstration at a local family house. The host is food lover and has good hands on Mughalai Food. You will be shared with Indian kitchen and spices secrets that make our food delicious and flavored. Get hands on experience marinating and cooking the main course.Return to hotel for overnight stay. (B, D)

Day 08: Agra - Jaipur (by surface: 06 hrs drives)

Morning travel to Jaipur (06 hrs drives approx), also known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city and is steeped in history and culture. Here the past comes alive in magnificent forts and palaces, blushed pink, where once lived the maharajas. En-route visit to Fatehpur Sikri, which short-lived the capital of Mughal Empire and was masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture.

Then after enjoy lunch at Laxmi Villas Palace, Bharatpur (own cost).

Arrive and check into hotel. After a brief rest proceed for cooking session at a local family home with highlights on Rajasthani food. Cuisine of Rajasthan is influenced by the Rajputs who were predominantly non vegetarians. Their diet consisted of?game meat?and gave birth to dishes like laal maas, safed maas, khad khargosh and jungli maas. Return back to hotel for two nights stay. (B, D)

Day 09: Jaipur

Morning after an early breakfast proceed for guided visit of Amber Fort, en-route photo stop at Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace); built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh at a time when women of the royal family had to observe strict purdah. Continue your morning with Amber Fort excursion, the ancient capital of Rajasthan and the majestic palace complex to witness a unique system of air-conditioning of 17th century. The most enthralling experience of Amber Fort is the gaily elephant ride. A beautiful complex of Palaces, halls, pavilions, garden and temples, it still stands in magnificent state. The red sandstone and white Marble palace has some very interesting apartments- Diwan-I-Am, Ganesh Pol, Sheesh Mahal, Sukh Niwas, Jai Mandir, Man Singh Palace and Shila Devi Temple. Afternoon proceed to visit City Palace and Royal Observatory. Evening enjoy exploring the old markets which showcases the colorful lifestyle of Jaipur people.

Recommend lunch at - Roof Top Restaurant (Hotel Regenta Central), located opposite to Man Sagar Lake this restaurant is a prominent place to dine and experience juicy barbeque and Indian delicacies.

Surbhi - is a heritage restaurant in Jaipur. The heart of the restaurant is the Durbar Hall, which is the main seating area. They serve Indian, Rajasthani and Continental food and their menu has over 220 varieties of dishes.

Then after proceed to explore the old markets of Jaipur where you can see the Bandhani and other Rajasthani Fabrics. You will also be taken to a shop where you can witness the making of Lac Bangles on gas stove. Market visit is incomplete without getting your hands heena painted which is a tradition of India and most of the Indian ladies apply it on special occasions. Return back to hotel for overnight stay. (B, L)

Day 10: Jaipur - Pushkar (by surface: 03 hrs drives)

Morning check out from hotel and travel to Sanganer, well known for Shrine of Jains, handmade paper industry, and for textile printing Sanganer prints are one of its own types, for the reason that samples in bright colors are always printed in white backgrounds.

Further proceed to explore an ancient art that migrated from Persia to India. You will also visit to a few shops of Blue Pottery which is a remarkable traditional craft of Jaipur and got its name from the eye catching blue dye used to color the pottery. It is low-fired and glazed; and some of them are semi-transparent and mostly decorated with animal and bird motifs. Continue your journey to the tranquil town of Pushkar. Arrive and check into hotel. Later climb a top Savitri Hill (by cable car) to get a mesmerizing view of Pushkar Town. Further proceed to visit Bramha Temple along the Pushkar Lake. Stay overnight at hotel. (B)

Day 11: Pushkar - Jodhpur (by surface: 04 hrs drive)

Morning travel to?Jodhpur, former capital of Marwar Estate, Retaining much of the medieval character its brave kings fought and ruled from the virtually impregnable fort until their territory covered some 35,000 sq. miles making it the largest Rajput state. Your journey will bring you across many small castles and estates that later became a part of either the Jaipur or Marwar estate. Arrive at Jodhpur and check into hotel. After a brief rest visit to beautifully sculpted?Jaswant Thada, a milky white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. Further visit the massive?Mehrangarh Fort?which is pride of Marwar Kingdom.

Then after you can opt to walk down the hillside pathways or travel by bus to Sadar Bazar. This walk down is very good and allows them to witness small craftsman's workshops, homes and family activities as the sunsets. Further enjoy your dinner on Roof-Top Restaurant at Pal Haveli having a clear view of Mehrangarh Palace. (B, D)

Day 12: Jodhpur

Optional: Yearly morning meet your Yoga Instructor and proceed for an hour session with basics and the most common ones

Morning enjoy your hotel and the local surroundings. Later proceed for cooking session with introduction to lecture at Spice Paradise. Run by husband and wife team this place has become a junction where you get knowledge of spices and its uses in Rajasthani as well as Indian food. During the cooking session you will learn some of the basics of Indian cooking like preparation of chai, lassis, chutneys, dal, chapatis, naan, raita, biryani rice and a paneer curry. You will also get hands on experience to cook some of the popular Indian dishes. Afternoon explore Sadar Bazar market where to see the famous Jodhpuri fabrics.

Stay overnight at hotel. (B, L)

Day 13: Jodhpur - Udaipur (by surface: 06 hrs drives)

Today you will travel to Udaipur - one of the most romantic destinations in India. Besides shimmering Lake Pichola, with the ochre and purple ridges of the wooded Aravalli Hills stretching away in every direction, Udaipur has a romance of setting unmatched in Rajasthan and arguably in all India. Passing through the Aravali Valley you will reach Ranakpur, known for the Chaumukha Mandir (Four-Faced Temple), is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar, and was built in the 15th century in milk-white marble.

This magnificent temple is a complicated series of 29 halls, 80 domes and 1444 individually engraved pillars. The interior is completely covered in knotted, lovingly wrought carving, and has a marvelously calming sense of space and harmony. Then after enjoy your lunch at Maharani Bagh (own cost). On arrival at Udaipur check in, while rest of the evening to enjoy at leisure. Stay for two nights in Udaipur.

Day 14: 13 February, 2018: Udaipur

After breakfast proceed for walking tour of Udaipur market. After visit to Clock Tower have a brief rest at Jagdish Temple which is three storied and finely carved pillars, beautifully decorated ceilings, well-painted walls, and lush halls. Further continue down the road through Bara Bazar and then to Bapu Bazar. Lunch at Garden Hotel (own cost) Then after visit City Palace and its complex which was built by Maharaja Udai Sigh II along the banks of Lake Pichola. The building is a unique depiction of the architectural and artistic evolution of Mewar through centuries. The City Palace Museum, Udaipur was set up in 1969 by Maharana Bhagwat Singh ji to safeguard and preserve the cultural heritage and the time honored traditions of the people of Mewar. Conclude your city tour with boat ride (on sharing basis) on Lake Pichola. Further enjoy dinner at Ambrai. (B, D)

Ideally located on the banks of Pichola Lake with panoramic view of Jagdish Temple, Gangaur Ghat, City Palace, Lake Palace, Jag Mandir and Sajjangarh Fort, Ambrai serves excellent multi cuisine delicacies to the guests. Pamper your taste buds with the mouth watering food and experience the five basic elements of body - Earth, Water, Air, Sky and Fire to wholly absorb your body and soul.

Day 15: 14 February, 2018: Udaipur - Delhi/Mumbai (by flight)

Check out and get in time transfer to airport to board flight to Mumbai. On arrival in Mumbai you will either board connecting flight to Cochin or International flight back home.

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