Indian Cusine

16 Day Culinary

Private Tour with Personal Guide and Chauffeur Driven Vehicle

16 DAYS - Activity Level : Easy
  • Delhi - 3 Days
  • Agra - 1 Day
  • Ranthambore - 2 Days
  • Jaipur - 2 Days
  • Udaipur - 2 Days
  • Mumbai - 1 Day
  • Aurangabad - 2 Days
  • Cochin - 2 Days
  • Backwaters - 1 Day


Highlights

  • Red Fort - UNESCO
  • Qutab Minar - UNESCO
  • Humayun's Tomb - UNESCO
  • Jama Masjid
  • National Museum
  • India Gate
  • Bangla Sahib Gurudwara
  • Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi's Crowded Bazaar
  • Guided walk through Ancient spice bazaar
  • Taj Mahal (Both sunrise and sunset visits) - UNESCO
  • Agra Fort - UNESCO
  • Chand Baori Stepwell
  • Rajasthani Village Walk
  • Wildlife Safaris
  • Ranthambore Fort
  • Amber Fort and Palace - UNESCO
  • Jantar Mantar - UNESCO
  • City Palace
  • Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)
  • Monkey Temple
  • Elephant Ride to Amer Fort
  • Camelback (or Camel cart) safari at Samode
  • Rajasthani Lunch at Samode Palace
  • City Palace
  • Crystal Gallery
  • Monsoon Palace Excursion
  • Boat Cruise on Lake Pichola
  • Three Wheeler (Tuk Tuk) ride through the streets of Udaipur
  • The Gateway Of India
  • Prince of Wales Museum
  • The Victoria Terminus - UNESCO
  • Drive on the Queen's Necklace (Marine Drive)
  • Historic Flora Fountain and Fort area exploration
  • Mumbai's Launderers - Old Traditional Dhobi Ghats
  • Ajanta Caves - UNESCO
  • Ellora Caves - UNESCO
  • Cruise through the idyllic backwaters
Detailed Itinerary

All tours are not created equal. If you are searching for great value on an excellent tour that includes top rated boutique lodging, we strongly recommend that you take the time to read the detailed itinerary below.

Day 1: Arrive at Delhi (most flights arrive either in the evening or at night). You are greeted at the airport by our travel facilitator or Tour Director, and then ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and the travel facilitator or Tour Director hands over travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers to you.




Day 2: Delhi. Enjoy a guided city tour of Old Delhi. Drive, walk and ride through the ancient city’s streets and alleys; explore crowded and colorful bazaars. This excursion includes an exploration of the Jama Masjid (1650 AD), the largest mosque in India. The Masjid (Mosque) is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It is an active place of worship and its courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. You continue on to the amazing Red Fort that Qutab Minar was finished a decade before the mosque. Both structures were built by Shah Jahan, the emperor that created the Taj Mahal. The great city inside the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort offers visitors a large number of architectural and historical attractions; it was once known as the 8th wonder of the world. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal Empire for more than two hundred and fifty years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an amazing example of a blend of Persian, Indian, and European architecture. You will also experience a fascinating rickshaw ride in the ancient alleys of the crowded and colorful bazaar at Chandni Chowk. After these experiences a short drive will deliver you to an oasis of calm and serenity, which also happens to be your last destination in Old Delhi. The cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat) is a simple yet stirring memorial to the father of the nation. Lush lawns extend beyond the enclosure that surrounds the black marble platform occupying the spot where the Mahatma was cremated. An eternal flame burns next to the platform.
Lunch: Begin your culinary crusade at the Mughal Durbar Restaurant in Chandni Chowk. The mouthwatering buttered naans (leavened Indian bread) are freshly baked and flavored with aniseed. They will melt in your mouth and are a perfect accompaniment to the large variety of curries available here.
An essential is the popular tandoori specialty – Tandoori Chicken. It is marinated and then cooked to perfection in a clay oven. Round off a highly satisfying repast with the ever-popular Seviyan (vermicelli cooked with milk and sugar) for desert.
After your lunch at Chandni Chowk, you will be driven to visit the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Delhi has such an abundance of amazing monuments that this Tomb Complex (1562 A.D.) does not quite get the acclaim that it deserves. It is Delhi’s third UNESCO World Heritage Site and its amazing architecture and the elaborate gardens (all currently undergoing restoration) will captivate you.
From the tomb you will drive through Delhi’s British era monuments, which will include photo opportunities at some of the following attractions - the exterior of the massive and awe-inspiring Rashtrapati Bhawan (known as Viceroy’s House during the British era), Delhi’s landmark structure India Gate, and (after a drive through Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s downtown), a gold domed Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara).
From the Gurudwara you will drive to another one of Delhi’s UNESCO sights, the awe-inspiring Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.). This 239 ft tall medieval tower is a symbol of victory and a beautiful example of Persian architecture from that period. There is a winding stairway inside the tower that goes up all the way to the balcony at the very top of the tower – unfortunately they are no longer accessible for visitors. The Qutab Minar and its Monuments are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in over 1500 years.




Day 3: Delhi - Agra. Check out of your hotel and join your chauffeur for the drive to Agra. Begin your exploration of Agra with a visit to the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah and admire the exquisite  marble tomb made by Empress Nur Jahan for her father. Ornamented with marble lattice screens and intricateTaj Mahal ‘Pietra Dura’ - marble inlay work - it is eloquent testimony of a daughter’s love.
Predictably enough, you would have worked up an enormous appetite by now! Indulge yourself at the Taj Khema restaurant - a stone’s throw from the Taj Mahal. As you relish the delicious Kormas, rich mutton or chicken curries (flavored with saffron and nuts), you may find yourself imagining that you have traveled back in time and are sharing one of the Emperors royal feasts! Help yourself liberally from a platter of ‘pullao’ or aromatic rice, garnished with tender green peas or cumin seeds or onions or….the choices are endless.An absolute must of every Avadhi meal is its impressive variety of ‘kebabs’ or bite sized mutton and chicken preparations made from finely minced meat to which ground spices are added before cooking, or chicken pieces variously marinated and then cooked to a tender succulence. Replete with ‘royal’ cuisine, it would only be fitting to venture forth once more to explore some more marvels of Mughal architecture.
After lunch you are driven to your hotel and assisted with your check-in
Afternoon: Enjoy a detailed tour of the original red sandstone fort of North India - the Agra Fort - built by Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. and elaborately embellished by his successors with beautiful monuments. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love is obviously a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal was completed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 AD as a memorial to his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. This spectacular white marble mausoleum was created by about 22,000 skilled craftsmen and it took twenty two years to complete. When you experience the Taj Mahal with an Easy Tours Guide and have them provide unique insights into its innumerable facets, some of their passion for this masterpiece may rub off on you! Explore the amazing Taj and its surroundings until it is time to admire the sun’s rays setting on the façade of the world’s finest monument.




Day 4: Agra - Ranthambore. Checkout from your hotel and then you are driven to Abhaneri. We recommend that you get a packed lunch from your hotel for today’s journey – the dining options along the way are inadequate. You will stop for a very unique monument that is located in a rural area. The massive 10th century Chand Baori stepwell is one of the most impressive in all of India. The depth of the stepwell is that of a modern 7 storey building, and there are stairs leading down to the bottom from three of the 100 foot plus (35 meters) four sides of the opening. Enjoy a self-guided exploration of the stepwell and then join your chauffeur so that you can continue on with your journey to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore National Park). The second half of this drive is through rural Rajasthan and there are multiple photo opportunities of the colorful villagers as they go about their daily activities. You will also encounter many camels and other livestock on this drive. You are greeted on arrival at your jungle lodge and assisted with your check-in.
Since 2006, Easy Tours of India has tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with many of them getting multiple sightings.




Day 5: Ranthambore. Covering an area of 410 sq. km, Ranthambore National Park runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until Tiger it meets with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore used to be the private hunting ground of the rulers of Jaipur. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform. Dry deciduous forest covers most of the park, and the vegetation is lush around the many small lakes and ponds. The open grasslands that are the tiger’s favorite terrain account for much of the land on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.  
Enjoy wildlife safaris in to the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris, you have the option of a guided visit to the Ranthambore Fort. This excursion does have a fairly steep climb - approximately 700 feet of stairs. The massive Fort is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of “Vana-Durg”, or a fort protected by a jungle.  The history of this Fort (originally built in 944 AD) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Successively occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie partly in ruins. There are superb views of the park to be had from the ramparts. There is an ancient temple located in the fort and it attracts a continuous stream of pilgrims from the surrounding villages. A little note of caution - a large number of aggressive langur’s (South Asian monkeys) have made the Fort area their home and it is not advisable to have shiny objects and food visible in your hands as you tour the fort, as it will be snatched away.
On this evening you will dine while swapping tales about your experiences on the safari. Savor the succulent chicken and mutton kebabs, the fresh Indian breads, along with other delicious Rajasthani accompaniments.




Day 6: Ranthambore - Jaipur. Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning. Return to your hotel after the safari to have breakfast. Freshen up after breakfast and vacate your room by noon - your chauffeur will load your baggage. Enjoy your last lunch at your lodge and then you are driven to Jaipur. Arrive at Jaipur and check-in to your hotel.




Day 7: Jaipur. Start your day with an early Jaipuri Swadbhara Naashta (the literal translation is delicious breakfast). This would consist of a variety  of crisp Kachoris ( wheat preparations stuffed with onions, peas etc & deep fried), and delicious Dahi Vadas – a preparation made with fermented rice and lentils & deepAmber Fort fried, then soaked in yoghurt; savories and refreshing concoctions to drink, complete the repast. Proceed for an excursion to Amber Fort & Palace, located 12 kilometers from the center of the City. Arrive at the complex well before 9 a.m. so as to be able to partake in the elephant back ascent. The Fort was originally built by Raja Mansingh and is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Enjoy the ascent to the palace on the back of a brightly caparisoned elephant. Visit the chambers and hallways of the Palace which are famous for their design and decorations.
Enjoy a delicious Rajasthani lunch upon your return to Jaipur. Tuck into and savor the many unique flavors of a ‘Thali’ – a round platter in which a cross-section of delicious culinary favorites are there for you to sample and enjoy.
Afternoon - enjoy a city tour of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. Visit Jantar Mantar (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the magnificent stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. After the observatory comes a photo opportunity of the ‘Hawa Mahal’ (Palace of the Wind). This intriguing facade was built in 1799 so that the ladies of the court could use its unique windows and observe the bustling bazaar, without being visible to the people on the streets. Continue the tour with an exploration of the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of it is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of miniature paintings, costumes, and armory.
Evening - you are driven to a cultural show and dinner to an al-fresco venue.




Day 8: Jaipur - Udaipur. Check out of your hotel and proceed on the 6.5 to 7 hour drive to Udaipur.  A packed lunch from your hotel will be provided for this journey. Arrive at Udaipur and check in to your hotel. You are at leisure to enjoy your boutique hotel and its gorgeous gardens for a short while.
Experience dinner at the historic Sunset Terrace restaurant in the City Palace, where an entourage of royal cooks are busy preparing typically Mewari food to titillate your taste buds. The sunset views on the spectacular Lake Palace have to be seen to be believed. Choose from a mouth-watering array of authentic Mewari dishes, maybe settling for the delicious Gutte ka Saag - crusty gram flour dumplings cooked in a spicy onion based gravy twanging with cumin and ginger; savor the thick golden-brown Dal Mewari - special flavored Mewari lentils and Makki Pullao - rice garnished with tasty corn dumplings.  Other options may include Flaky fish wrapped in a green mint and coriander chutney, a tender mutton curry shimmering in tomato gravy & a succulent chicken curry innovatively teamed with sweet corn. End your meal with the famous Malai Ghevar - a spongy wedge made of refined flour and clarified butter, moistened with a splash of condensed milk and covered with the obligatory silver wrap.




Day 9: Udaipur. Proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the fabled City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the beautifully decorated rooms with thousands of exquisite,  handcrafted mirrors that cover the walls, the ancient ivory City Palacedoors that are a dark reminder of royalty’s passion for hunting, the brightly colored glass windows, expansive inlaid marble balconies and the unique peacock courtyard. Enjoy a private tour of the amazing Crystal Gallery which houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal. Marvel at pieces like the complete bedroom furniture set in crystal, discovered recently in a store room in the palace. There are amazing views to be had from this structure, especially of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace hotel and Jag Mandir.
After your tour of the City Palace you will enjoy lunch at a lakefront restaurant.
Enjoy a guided walk through the charming town of Udaipur after lunch - this is one India’s best cities to explore on foot.
Late afternoon/Early evening: Enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola and visit the historical and beautiful monuments at Jag Mandir Island (if available - the royal family at Udaipur will occasionally rent out the island for large celebrations and on those occasions the island cannot be visited by tourists).
It’s now time to end your explorations of Rajasthan, albeit with a delicious foray into some more unique Mewari cuisine at a local restaurant. Safed Maans - lamb chunks cooked to a tender succulence in yoghurt and almond-coconut paste - is a sure winner.  When teamed with a rich pullao - rice garnished liberally with nuts and raisins & Dana Methi Kishmish - a delicious fenugreek, raisin and yoghurt preparation, you will find it hard to accommodate any of the delicious dessert options afterwards.




Day 10: Udaipur - Mumbai. Board the morning flight to Mumbai. Arrive at Mumbai and proceed for a Mumbai City tour. The tour begins at the “Prince Gateway of Indiaof Wales Museum“, built to commemorate King George V first visit to India in 1905. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the museum has sections of art, paintings, archeological exhibits, and natural history. Across the road is the Modern Art Gallery which is a must for any connoisseur of art, we make a brief stop here. Continue the tour to visit “The Gateway of India”, Mumbai’s foremost landmark overlooking the harbor. This structure was conceived following the visit of King George V in 1911 and officially opened in 1924. A drive up to the Malabar Hill, to the hanging gardens, gives a panoramic view the city and the "Queens Necklace", a road called Marine Drive. You then drive through the Flora Fountain and Fort area, where you can view the Gothic and Victorian style buildings. Visit the Victoria Terminus (now known as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus) India’s finest Gothic building and a bustling Railway Station. Continue on your drive around Horniman Circle and visit the Town Hall, right besides the docks of Mumbai.
Check in to your hotel in the late afternoon.




Day 11: Mumbai - Aurangabad. Board the early morning flight to Aurangabad. Arrive at Aurangabad and proceed for half day guided excursion to Ellora.Aurangabad Caves Explore the magnificently sculptured caves of Ellora. These caves illustrate a resurgence of Hinduism, reflected by the creation of these 17 caves with Hindu themes, sculpture, and art; including Cave 16, the awe-inspiring "Kailash Temple". Like all of the other Cave temples, this one was created out of one rock. However, the significance of that fact changes when you put it in perspective of this enormous structure.
Check into your Hotel after the tour of Ellora.
Tonight you will enjoy Maharashtrian cuisine dinner at your hotel. Maharashtrian (or Marathi) cuisine covers a wide range from being extremely mild to very spicy dishes. Wheat, rice, jowar (sorghum), vegetables, lentils and fruit form important components of Maharashtrian diet.




Day 12: Aurangabad. Full day guided excursion to Ajanta. Buddhist monks and other craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century BC. The incredible variety of paintings and sculpture were created in hard rock by using elaborate and ingenious lighting, tools, and materials. These 28 caves are a testimony to the devotion of the Buddhists, as well as the talents of their skilled craftsmen. Ajanta's incredible paintings are even more amazing considering that the color and texture you're admiring today was created by artists about two thousand years ago. (You will carry packed lunch from your hotel).




Day 13: Aurangabad - Cochin (Kochi). Board the morning flight to Mumbai. Connect with the flight to Cochin. Arrive at Cochin and check in to your hotel. Enjoy a traditional Keralan breakfast this morning, with a choice between a Dosa or an Idli, both of which come with Sambar. Sambar is a delicious vegetable gravyKathak that is a popular dish all over India, but in Cochin, you’ll find that the Sambar is unusually sweet. This is the result of the base being made from coconut cream. You can find Sambar on the menu at every meal, but if you have it for breakfast, have it along side famous Keralan coffee. Accompanying the local cuisine will be a selection of fresh local fruits.
Kerala is the perfect place to grow pineapples, mangos, and several other fruits. You can’t find these ingredients any fresher; most of your food was picked that very day. Coconut will be found in many recipes while you are here. After all, Kerala means “Land of Coconut." With that said, coconut will not be the only fruit you’ll find melting in your mouth.
Start your exploration of the fascinating port city of Cochin and marvel in its culture and architecture, a result of centuries of various European influences combined with rich indigenous history. The guided tour begins from the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), which was built in 1568 and is still an active house of worship for the few remaining Jews in the area. If the synagogue is closed on this day the visit can be facilitated on the day before or the day after. Next to the synagogue is Cochin’s ancient and colorful Jew Street with its antique stores and souvenir peddlers. There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Kochi from 70 AD. After the synagogue you visit the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. This is one of the first European churches built in India and the famed Vasco Da Gama was buried in its courtyard for a few years before his remains were returned to Portugal. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants, where you will be served a selection of fresh local seafood.
After lunch you will visit the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, the Chinese fishing nets. Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese Explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of practice – it is a vocation handed down by generations. The lowering and raising of the nets has a synchronicity and rhythm that is quite an amazing experience. Some of the nets are more than a century old as the fishermen patch them up and keep going. Finish your exploration with a short guided walk through Fort Kochi and experience the unique local culture and architecture – Fort Kochi is one of India’s best cities to explore on foot. You will be driven back to your hotel after your walk.
The dinner buffet is included at your hotel this evening, and will include a great selection of both local and western cuisine.




Day 14: Cochin - Backwaters cruise. Check out from hotel and visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) built in 1568.
After the tour, Fishing Netdrive to Alleppey in the morning & board your houseboat. Relax and have a great time till the next morning as you cruise the amazing backwaters. While on the boat, your personal chef will see to your every need, all while cooking a decadent dish of traditional Keralan cuisine. This, only following an array of appetizers consisting of Banana Fry, Onion Pakkavada and Potato Bujjy.
The curries prepared for you are quintessential of the area, and are spiced sophisticatedly and abundantly. Your taste buds will morn your departure, and will never forget a lunch of Aviyal or sweet curd. The captivating city of Cochin is a destination your eyes and stomach will never forget.




Day 15: Kumarakom - Cochin. Disembark from your boat at Kumarakom. You are at leisure at Kumarakom till after lunch. Enjoy the beautiful, lush lakeside environment and have a nice buffet lunch (included) at one of the resorts.
Afternoon - Drive back to Cochin and check in to your hotel.




Day 16:  Cochin - Delhi/Mumbai. Drive to the airport and board the morning flight to Delhi/Mumbai. Arrive at Delhi/Mumbai and you are greeted at the airport by your personal chauffeur. You are provided with a personal vehicle for yourself (if Single traveler), for both of you (If Couple or Two people) or for your family (if a family is traveling). Do any last minute shopping and sightseeing that you feel you may have left for the end. Enjoy a diverse sampling of South Indian delicacies today at the original Sagar Ratna restaurant at the Ashok Hotel.
Your vehicle and chauffeur stay with you till your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport.

Our services end at Delhi airport.



Inclusions:
* Daily breakfast at the hotels
* All meals as described in the itinerary
* Hotel check-in is at 2 pm & check-out is at noon for almost all the hotels
* Dinner with a famous Keralan chef and her family (incl. cooking lesson) in Cochin
* Dinner & cultural show at Jaipur
* All transfers and sightseeing by your personal Crossover
* Complimentary WiFi in all vehicles, except for remote regions
* Services of an Easy Tours' Tour Director or the best local English or Spanish speaking guides at all destinations as per the itinerary.
* Representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers.
* Cycle-rickshaw ride through the ancient bazaar of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi
* A unique folk music & dance greeting at Agra
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary.
* Personal Elephant ride (per couple) with your own (jeep option available) up the ramparts of Amber Palace in Jaipur.
* Kathakali Dance performance in Cochin
* Boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur
* All safari related charges at Ranthambore (including park entry fees, guide fees, vehicle fees etc.)
* Delhi – Agra Train travel by Luxury AC Chair Car
* Bottled water during sightseeing/excursions and long drives.
* All currently applicable taxes.

Not included:
* International Travel
* Any expenses of a personal nature like tips, laundry, telephone calls, drinks etc.
* Meals other than those specified above
* Travel insurance, visa etc.
* Camera fees – still & video



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