Contrary to popular belief, Indian cuisine is not inherently supposed to be hot. It is designed to have a combination of flavors that fascinate your palate and, for this purpose, a large variety of spices and herbs are used in the elaborate and time consuming process of cooking in India.
The finer restaurants in India serve cuisine that is milder than most Indian restaurants in other countries. There are people in India that cook and eat really "hot" food; however, almost all Indian restaurants will ask for your preference while taking your order.
The great variety of herbs and spices used by Indian chefs almost always add flavor, digestion, have medicinal properties, or just bring color to the food. (Usually it's a combination of a few qualities.) Even within these herbs and spices, the types and flavors vary as you travel from one region to another.
The hotels you will stay at offer a choice of cuisines and extensive room service offerings. The smaller lodges at wildlife parks or very remote custom visit destinations will usually offer lesser choices.
During lunch breaks while you sightsee, your Tour Director / Guide will provide you with two choices (either Continental and Indian cuisines) that do not require a significant detour. Group members can select whichever one they prefer. This can also include dining in your hotel where logistics permit. Occasionally, when your location leaves no other alternative, this may be just one restaurant that serves both cuisines.
Restaurant prices tend to be reasonable; they are moderate (by western standards) at the most expensive establishments. Alcoholic beverages are the exception, you'll pay a lot for an imported alcoholic beverage in a bar or restaurant. Indian beer is a good alternative, and there are now a number of wineries in India that are producing world class wines. Most of the hotels offer a large selection of wines from all over the world, and the Luxury & Opulent Level Hotels in larger cities have collections that rival the best Hotels in the world.
Bottled drinking water is provided, at no charge, throughout your visit. Choices between gourmet Indian and western (and other) cuisines are available all throughout your visit. We strongly recommend the former.
India offers a range of cuisines that are as diverse as its people; there are distinct differences between foods from different parts of the country. The Tandoors (Clay Ovens) of the North and the versatility of the coconut in the South are obvious examples.
Each area's agricultural yield, climatic conditions, as well as social and religious influences have established the local cuisines. Any given dish (with the same main ingredients) may be available in a dozen different flavors, depending on what part of the country you're in. Centuries of foreign presence has also had significant influence on the food.