This is a guided 12D/11N culinary program of North India (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra-Lucknow-Delhi).
The program can be easily customized based on your preferences.
Best season for this tour: October - March
For queries/bookings, pls email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
India is one of the largest countries in the world with its diverse and vibrant, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic culture. For over 5,000 years of history, India has welcomed a multitude of settlers with a variety of belief system bringing with them different types of spices and method of cooking.
Hindu and Muslim are the two dominant religions that have influenced Indian cooking and food habits the most. The Hindu vegetarian culture is widely practised while Muslim tradition is the most dominant in the cooking of meat. Mughlai food, Kabbas, rich Kormas and Nargisi Koftas (meatballs), the biryani (layered rice and meat dish), Rohan Josh and favourite dishes prepared in clay oven or tandoor. As they say the flavours of India are best revealed through its culinary arts.
So, embark on a journey with us for a mix of culture, history and spiritual beauty, while indulging the palate with exotic food where the people, the bustling populous and the vibrant land reveal the true essence of a culturally rich country.
Day 01 : Arrive Delhi.
Day 02 : Tour of the city with cooking class.
Day 03 : Food walk of Old Delhi.
Day 04 : Drive to Jaipur (280 kms/06 hrs). Evening food walk.
Day 05 : Tour of the city with cooking class.
Day 06 : Drive to Agra (250 kms/05 hrs) via Fatepur Sikri.
Day 07 : Visit Taj Mahal and Fort. Evening food walk.
Day 08 : Drive to Lucknow (290 kms/05 hrs) Dinner of Awadhi cuisine.
Day 09 : Tour of the city with culinary walk in the evening.
Day 10 : Tour of the city with cooking class.
Day 11 : Fly to Delhi. Evening farewell dinner.
Day 12 : Depart Delhi for home.
Your first stop would be the capital city Delhi. Upon your arrival at the airport, our representative will meet and greet you and then drive to your hotel.
The next day your real journey starts. If you think today would be all ruins, forts and statues, you’d be wrong. Delhi is a very old city with fascinating history that is best observed in her architecture and religion. We will kick off the morning with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb and the Sikh Temple, and in particular a behind-the-scenes look at the massive community kitchen where they cook for 15,000 people a day. Lunch will be in a local restaurant serving fabulous South Indian Thali.
In the evening, we all go to a local house where the host Ms. Neha will teach us to cook some of her signature dishes and then wind up the day with some drinks, snacks and dinner.
The start of the third day will be with a spectacular food walk of Old Delhi where you experience heritage and bazaar walk, cycle rickshaw ride and some street food tasting, followed by local home visit with a traditional lunch in a Haveli (old private mansion).
On the fourth day, we depart early for the Pink City and the capital of Rajasthan – Jaipur. Jaipur has always fascinated visitors with its vibrant people, magnificent forts and food. Later in the afternoon, we take you on an amazing food walk – a fantastic experience of street food, colourful shops and plenty of photo opportunities. You will be taken to LMB sweet shop, one of the oldest restaurants established in 1949. Some popular sweets are Paneer Ghewar, Doodh Feeni, Sweet Lassi, Rasmalai etc.
Fifth day in Jaipur will start with visit to the Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) and the magnificent Amber Fort. Later followed by an exclusive one-to-one interaction/cooking session with the executive chef in beautiful Sujan Palace. You will be wearing customized Sujan aprons, chef caps, and will be given a book on authentic Indian recipes.
On the sixth day, we travel to the city of Taj Mahal – Agra. Along the way we stop at Fatehpur Sikri – a magnificent city that was built and then abandoned by Emperor Akbar in 1585 after just 14 years when he moved the capital to Agra.
On the seventh day we leave just before sunrise to be the first in line to visit the Taj Mahal in the cool of the morning and in the best light. The best part is there are so few tourists you practically have the Taj to yourself. No crowds to fight through and plenty of opportunities to take photos that are people-free and in the most dramatic lighting too. Seriously, the Taj Mahal is an incredibly moving experience - the Taj wasn’t built to commemorate a war or as a grandiose tribute to the ego of a ruler - it was built for one reason: LOVE.
In the evening, we will proceed for a food walk of Agra. We will be indulging in some of Agra’s best local food and sweets including Petha, Kababs and Kulfi (Indian Ice cream) while exploring the busy streets of Agra on foot and the local non-touristy market.
Day Eight we drive to Lucknow. It is a four-hour drive on the express highway. Upon arrival, we check in at our hotel. The remainder of the day is to relax and unpack.
In the evening, we proceed for dinner at Oudhyana: AWADHI CUISINE UNPLUGGED - this is cooking elevated to a fine art. No pretentions. No hype. Simply original and true to the rich tradition of Lucknow. Some say it is the best Awadhi restaurant in Lucknow.
Awadhi cuisine uses many spices, but it isn’t pungent. It is subtle, delicate and delightfully aromatic. A burst of flavour in every mouthful! Indulge in melt-in-the-mouth kebabs that originated from the kitchens of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and suck shamelessly on the lamb bone marrow in Nahari Ghosht. See how hours of massaging dough with clarified butter makes for the finest Sheermal and Warki Paratha. And, when you’re at Oudhyana, you've got to have a firm resolve to resist the Chef's Sevian ka Muzaffar (an affair with vermicelli).
Day Nine We will embark on a city tour of Lucknow, driving past Sadat Ali Tomb, Chatar Manzil (a part of this palace was built by a French architect, Claude Martin).
We enter the gateway of world’s most unique architecture - Asifi Imambara. This monument was built by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula as a relief measure for a devastating famine – it was to provide employment to the subjects of the state. This is the world’s biggest hall that is devoid of any pillar support, wood, iron beams or concrete walls. Salute the “Nawab” (Prince) lying in peace inside and proceed to see his noble work. Also see the 'Rumi Darwaza' or the Turkish Gate and the Asfi Mosque.
Later visit the Husainabad Complex - The Clock Tower which is the highest Clock Tower in Asia, and in some ways superior to its counterpart, 'Big Ben'. Today the clock stands motionless but has witnessed all times - the good, the bad and the ugly. Now enter the Babylon of East, the Husainabad Imambara, known for its beauty and pieces of décor. We now break for lunch at a local restaurant, The Royal Café and try out the fusion cuisine at this eatery that once served the American and the British soldiers during the world war times. Today this restaurant is extremely popular with the locals and tourists alike.
We will now reach Kotwara House, abode to the legendary film maker, fashion designer, painter and poet, Muzaffar & Meera Ali. Their Lucknow house is in the area of the erstwhile palace complex of Kaiserbagh, and the very aura, interiors and artifacts that adorn their living space is no less than a living museum of sorts. We will have access to the living spaces of the house to understand how this creative couple live, work and eat. We enjoy a great afternoon seeing their collection and workshop of Chikan, Zari and Mukaesh with an opportunity to interact with artisans at work. Also enjoy a short dance clips from Muzzafar’s landmark films including Umrao Jaan over a cup of hot tea/coffee.
In the evening proceed for a culinary walk down the lane adjacent to Akbari Gate. Tasting the best of meat dishes from the Awadhi menu at places where they actually originated from and have still been able to thrive on their own in the era of McDonald’s and KFC. You will experience the concept of food loyalty and the real taste of the original Tundey Kebabs, Raheem’s Nihari and Mobeen’s Pasanda Kebabs. To take this tour, you need to be a foodie with closed eyes, so that your taste buds work to their best of abilities. Try all of these, while our Culinary Curator explains the history and the recipe of each of these.
Tenth day we start with remaining tour of the city – the La Martiniere School which was designed by the Frenchman Major-General Claude Martin as a palatial home. Even to this day, Claude Martin is a revered personality in the city of Lucknow.
We will now reach the Lucknow Residency, a place where speechless walls are known to speak the gruesome tale of the 1857 mutiny. The sprawling British campus witnessed nothing less than 3000 deaths to keep the Union Jack flying. Yet the British could not defend their domain and the buildings were lost to the high spirited and enthusiastic Indians who fought till their last breath. The trees, bullet sprinkled walls, unusable canons, worn out firearms all cry aloud with the burden of deaths that were witnessed here. We also visit the graveyard to pay our homage to named and unnamed soldiers who gave up their lives in the defense of The Residency.
Also visit SEWA - SELF EMPLOYED WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION - an autonomous organisation of Chikan artisans. Impetus for setting up SEWA-Lucknow came from a UNICEF-sponsored study conducted in 1979 on the condition of Chikan artisans. The study established that over 40,000 Chikan artisans working in and around Lucknow were highly exploited in the industry even as middlemen made hay. As a result, Chikan artisans lived in shanty localities and suffered from poverty; they and their offspring were illiterate; and their families had poor health. Vision: To set up an egalitarian and gender just society.
Back to hotel for lunch and later in the evening at about 6pm we will be picked up again for an exclusive cooking session at Coquina.
We will now reach Coquina/Chaat, where we will have an Awadhi Cooking Session with an expert who will teach us a dish from this cuisine – an opportunity to cook with him and enjoy our dinner right here inside this kitchen. We will be served the authentic Awadhi home cooked meal here, prepared by some passionate individuals.
We start with an orientation session that will deal with the Indian style of cooking and how Awadhi cuisine evolved with times to retain its high position in gastronomy. Enjoy your evening drinks with some Awadhi starters and drink snacks during this talk by an expert. Later a workshop will take us through a step-by-step Awadhi cooking. We will learn at least two dishes here during a cooking demonstration and will be served these for dinner along with other essentials.
Today on the Eleventh day we fly back to Delhi. We are not finished yet, around 1800 hrs we will proceed for the last time for an amazing farewell dinner at Indian Accent.
Indian Accent showcases inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavours and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. The only restaurant in India to feature in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, Indian Accent has been awarded the San Pellegrino Best Restaurant Award in India by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 for the third consecutive year.
Twelve Day - Every good thing must come to an end. We bid you final farewell today as you depart Delhi for your onward journey.
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