NORTH INDIA Cooking with Maharajas and Holi Tour – March 2013

 

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EAT YOUR HEART OUT (EYHO) – INDIA!

Fabled North and Central India with Holi festival of Spring

MARCH 16 – 31, 2013

16 DAYS FULLY ESCORTED BY EXPERIENCED INDO-CANADIAN EYHO LEADER And SUPERB LOCAL GUIDES. MAX GROUP SIZE: 20

Udaipur Royal Chefs Prepare Lal Maas on palace grounds

WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!

A repeat of the inaugural 2012 tour will take in the greatest sights and experiences of north India:

  • Dynamic Mumbai (Bombay)
  • Fabled cave carvings at Ajanta & Ellora
  • Classic Golden Triangle of Delhi/Agra/Jaipur/Udaipur
  • Mesmerizing Taj Mahal
  • Relive the splendours of the Maharajas in Jaipur & Udaipur
  • Wrap up at the spectacular Fort Ahilya near Indore

In addition, a unique twist: discover the pulse of India through its food. Partake in cooking classes/demos at palaces and cooking studios. Walk food markets. Sip cocktails with royals and eat with locals. Add a unique dimension to your Indian adventure and transport the tastes of India to your kitchen.

ITINERARY

15/03     Int. flight. Airport transfer and extra night in Mumbai available for group members arriving early. Group flight arrangements available.

Day 1 – 16/03  Mumbai

Arrival.  Meet & Greet upon arrival .

Transfer to Hotel Trident Nariman Point

OPTIONAL $ MORNING VISIT TO ELEPHANTA CAVES.  OPTIONAL $ AFTERNOON VISIT CHOR (THIEVES) BAZAAR WITH MUMBAI MAGIC.

OVERNIGHT AT HOTEL TRIDENT NARIMAN POINT – MUMBAI.

D – OPTIONAL $

Day 2 – 17/03    Mumbai

Morning: walk through the fascinating Matunga Market.

Feel the pulse of Mumbai, and indeed India, in the market stronghold of three different vegetarian communities: Tamil Brahmins (originally from southern India); Gujaratis (originally from Gujarat); and members of a Hindu sect, Jains.

A gourmand’s dream, walk the market with a local guide and take in piles of exotic fruit and vegetables and the aroma of freshly roasted coffee. Admire blossoms tucked in women’s hair as they head for morning worship to Matunga’s multitude of temples, and inhale the scent of a million blossoms in the flower market. Stop for tastings at select hygienic eateries.

Unwind with a South Indian-style coffee and snack at an iconic resto $.

AFTERNOON CITY TOUR OF MUMBAI VISITING  DHOBI GHATS (A VAST OPEN AIR LAUNDRY), HANGING GARDENS, TOWER OF SILENCE & GATEWAY OF INDIA.

Overnight in Mumbai Hotel Trident Nariman Point          Meals B, (D – Optional $)

Day 3 – 18/03              Mumbai

MORNING:  The Dharavi Slum Walk.

Dhobi Ghats and skyscapers

Dharavi, Asia’s largest “slum” is home to nearly a million people, featured in the Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. Contrary to the movie’s portrayal of grime and squalor, Dharavi bustles with an economy estimated to be worth US$500 million, and boasts many rags-to-riches stories.

On this tour, witness the people of Dharavi; their homes, where they work, and importantly, their spirit.

Evening flight to Aurangabad.

EVENING FLIGHT TO AURANGABAD. 9W 2511 DEP 1920HRS ARR 2010HRS

Overnight Hotel Taj residency, Aurangabad

Taj Residency Aurangabad                                                            meals: B, D $

Day 4 – 19/03      Aurangabad

After Breakfast, drive to Ajanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Located approx 100 kms from Aurangabad, these 2nd century caves are fine achievements by Buddhist Monks.  Beautiful frescoes, wall paintings and vivid sculptures reflect the peak of ancient Indian art and architecture.  The horseshoe-shaped gorge has 30 caves divided into phases spread over a period of 900 Years.  Return to Aurangabad after a full day’s guided tour of these caves.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/india/ajanta-caves

Ellora Caves, India, circa 5th Century AD

Overnight at Taj Residency, Aurangabad                                  Meals: B, D$

Day 5- 20/03:       Mumbai 

Morning: Visit Ellora Caves, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, located 30 kms from Aurangabad.  This site is one of the finest examples of top-down rock cut caves.  The 34 Caves are: 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu & 5 Jain.  Cave 16 is the most famous, the centrepiece being its sculpture of Lord Shiva – the largest monolith in the world completed by 7000 laborers, working in continuous shifts over 150 years.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/india/ellora-caves

EVENING: FLIGHT AURANGABAD TO DELHI AI442 DEP1620 ARR 1810

Overnight at The Lalit, Delhi

THE LALIT NEW DELHI                                                                                       Meals: B

Day 6 – 21/03    Delhi

MORNING GUIDED CITY TOUR OF DELHI VISITING JAMA MASJID, RIKSHAW RIDE IN THE OLD CITY, DRIVE PAST RED FORT, VISIT RAJGHAT (MEMORIAL TO GANDHI). AFTERNOON VISIT GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS – PRESIDENT HOUSE, PARLIAMENT & INDIA GATE.

REST OF THE DAY FREE FOR SHOPPING.

Overnight the Lalit, Delhi.                                                                     meals: B

Day 7 – 22/03      Delhi 

Morning cooking class and lunch at the renowned Mrs Nita Mehta’s cooking studio

http://www.nitamehta.com/about.htm.

Afternoon Drive to Agra (200kms – approx 5hrs)

Agra achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal Emperors from 1526 to 1658 and remains a major destination because of its splendid Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Transfer to hotel upon arrival TRIDENT AGRA

MEALS: B, L, D$

Day 8 – 23/03              Agra/Fatehpursikri/Jaipur

Pre-dawn visit to witness sunrise over the Taj Mahal.  The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Shah Jehan for his queen Mumtaz Mahal.  It took over 20,000 craftsmen 22 years to complete. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_Mahal
Horse carriage ride back to the hotel and breakfast.

Drive to Jaipur (240km or approx 4 hrs). Enroute visit Fatehpursikri – an imposing ghost Fort abandoned by Emperor Akbar for unknown reasons.
Continue to Jaipur, the picturesque capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur architecture is washed in the color pink, which is associated with hospitality in Rajput culture.

On arrival transfer to HOTEL ALSISAR HAVELI, Jaipur                          meals: B, D$

Day 9 – 24/03            Jaipur   

Morning: tour of the ‘Pink City”, Jaipur. Drive 13kms to 1500-year old Amer (Amber) Fort, citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur.  The climb to this Fort is made on elephants. Return to Jaipur City, continue on our tour of the City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Observatory

Afternoon: At Leisure. Jaipur is renowned for its shopping

Udaipur Rainbow

Evening:  a plein-air cooking demo & private dinner with Jaipur nobles in their ancestral house, Ikaki Niwas. Prince of Raoti, Rajkumar Jaideo Rathore Singh and his family retain the grace of yesteryears, while their love for and knowledge of Jaipur enables them to share its charm, which is all too invisible to the casual visitor because of the bustle of modernizing India. The Rajkumar, his wife Devika welcome you to their extended family home.

Overnight: HOTEL ALSISAR HAVELI, Jaipur.                                                      meals: B, D

 

Day 10 – 25/03           Jaipur/Udaipur

Morning Drive (400KM APPROX 6HR) to Udaipur

The “City of Dawn” is an enchanting city of lakes in the midst of sandy terrain and green forested hills where Indian Royalty came to play. Wildlife still abounds and surprises are endless.

Upon arrival, transfer to Hotel Fateh Prakash Palace

Evening: A cooking demo hosted by Udaipur’s Royal family and present heir to the Mewar Kingdom, Shriji Arvind Singhji. The Mewars boast the world’s longest uninterrupted dynasty since 734AD      http://www.eternalmewar.in/Index.aspx

Overnight HOTEL FATEH PRAKASH PALACE                                      Meals B,D

Day 11 – 26/03            Udaipur

Morning:  Guided city tour of Udaipur, visiting City Palace, Vintage and
Classic Car collection, Saheliyon Ki Bari (Garden of Maids of honour) &
Jagdish Temple.

Afternoon: Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola around The Lake Palace where James Bond’s Octopussy was filmed. 

Holika at City Palace, Udaipur

Evening: participate in the spectacular Holika Dahan ceremony at the City Palace. The Custodian of the House of Mewar, Shriji Arvind Singhji Mewar, leads a royal procession followed by age-old rituals of lighting of the Holika which represents triumph of good over evil.  Folk songs and tribal dances bring alive the rich heritage of Rajasthan. http://vimeo.com/5696765

Overnight at hotel Fateh Prakash palace, Udaipur

Meals: B, private reception, D

Day 12 – 27/03          Udaipur/Delhi

Morning: celebrate the joyous festival of Holi!  On this occasion, coloured powder is rubbed or sprayed on friends and family to the accompaniment of folk music and dancing. Holi signifies joy at the coming of spring. An old T-shirt and pair of pants are recommended for this festival.

WATCH BBC’S TAKE ON HOLI

UDAIPUR TO DELHI FLIGHT (9W708 – DEP 1630 ARR 1735 HRS AT DELHI). CONNECT  AIRCONDITIONED OVERNIGHT SLEEPER 2ND CLASS TRAIN TO INDORE: DEP AT 2200 HRS

OPTIONAL$: OVERNIGHT IN DELHI HOTEL MAPPLE EMERALD

Meals: B, D

Day 13 – 28/03           Delhi/Indore/Maheshwar

FLIGHT OPTIONAL$: DELHI-INDORE S2 5091 DEP 0600AM ARR 0720AM UPON ARRIVAL TRANSFER TO  MAHESHWAR (91 KMS – 03 HRS DRIVE)

OR TRAIN ARRIVAL NOON. UPON ARRIVAL TRANSFER TO  MAHESHWAR (91 KMS – 03 HRS DRIVE)

A stay at Ahilya Fort is an experience straight out of the 18th century. Situated high above the banks of the sacred Narmada River, Ahilya Fort was the capital of one of India’s celebrated women rulers – Ahilya Bai Holkar. Our host, Prince Richard Holkar, son of the last Maharaja of Indore, ensures that the pace of life at Ahilya Fort is leisurely, in keeping with his wish that guests enjoy an oasis of calm and repose. Accommodation at Ahilya Fort is on full board basis (all meals). Indian beverages, soft drinks, tea – from an exclusive tea garden in Darjeeling, & Coffee from Coorg, specially roasted for Ahilya Fort’s guests, will be available throughout the day.  Cocktails, Wine &Beer are offered by the host
OVERNIGHT AT AHILYA FORT, Maheshwar                                        MEALS: B, L, D

Inner Courtyard

DAY 14– 29/03           Maheshwar

After breakfast, take in a cooking demo hosted by Prince Richard Holkar, celebrated gourmet and author of COOKING WITH THE MAHARAJAS.

COOKING WITH MAHARAJAS – ROYAL RECIPES

Rest of the day at Leisure. You can opt for nearby excursions organized by Ahilya Fort at an extra cost.  Whether you spend a couple of hours learning about handloom weaving at THE REHWA SOCIETY or visit a lac bangle maker, days are as relaxed as you wish.

Overnight at Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar                                        Meals: B, L, D

DAY 15 – 30/03           Maheshwar

Relax at the Fort.

Overnight: Fort Ahilya                                                                   Meals: B, L,D

DAY 16 – 31/03            Maheshwar/Indore/Bombay (Flight)

Breakfast at Fort Ahilya. After lunch drive to Indore to connect flight to Mumbai. On arrival, transit for international flight.

DAY 17- 01/04         Early morning departure from Mumbai

TOUR OPERATED THROUGH ACCREDITED MEMBER OF INDIA TOURISM BOARD

INCLUDED:

v Air fare: Bombay/Aurangabad, Aurangabad/Delhi, UDAIPUR/Delhi, Indore/Delhi

v Road transportation, including all transfers, tours & excursions in air conditioned mini vans, as applicable

v Train journey from Delhi to Indore (Air conditioned Sleeper Class). Alternate: flight Delhi – Indore + 1 night accommodation at Mapple Emerald Delhi $50 extra.

v Accompanying English speaking guides from Mumbai up to and including Udaipur

v Accommodation on Twin sharing basis, with Breakfast

v Lunch / Dinner after cooking classes

v Full Board accommodation at Ahilya Fort (includes all meals)

v Cooking demos in Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur & Ahilya Fort

v All entrance fees at monuments as per itinerary

v Horse carriage ride in Agra

v Elephant ride in Jaipur

v Boat ride in Udaipur

v Holika Dahan Ceremony in Udaipur and Maharaja’s private reception

All other services besides those mentioned above are not included in the price.

For an account of the 2011 tour, please visit Shila’s blog at COOKING WITH MAHARAJAS – NORTH INDIA 2011

PLEASE NOTE:

  • MEALS/EXCURSIONS DENOTED WITH A “$” SIGN ARE NON-OPTIONAL EXTRAS NEGOTIATED ON A GROUP BASIS DUE TO LOCAL CONDITIONS INCLUDING ARRIVAL TIMES, FOOD SAFETY, PROXIMITY OF RESTAURANTS ETC
  • MEALS/EXCURSIONS DENOTED WITH AN “OPTIONAL $” SIGN ARE OPTIONAL

Itinerary subject to change. While we will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, occasionally we may substitute with equally good or better options

Best approached on elephant

NAMASTE

For more information, contact shilkee26@gmail.com

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About Shila Desai

Conceptualiser of Unpackaged Travels (www.eyhotours.com). Writer. Culinary diva when someone else does the dishes.
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