Highlights of India Cooking Holiday | Indian Cooking Tours
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Highlights of India Cooking Tour - NEW
Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Lucknow

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About the location: Explore the highlights of this vibrant country on an intense and fun Indian cooking tour. From the jaw-dropping architecture of the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort of Agra, to the many religious temples and mosques, to Mughal monuments and remnants of British colonial rule, the north of India is full of amazing sites to see. Couple the cultural sites with the country's rich history and incredible gastronomy, and you have the trip of a lifetime! Your excursions and foodie tours will be led by experienced, English-speaking guides who will give you a new and authentic insight into the diverse and multi-ethnic culture of India. You will taste the meats and vegetarian dishes, the curries and bread, the rice and street food that make Indian cuisine one of the most known and delectable.

About the accommodations: During your Indian cooking tour, you will stay in four different beautiful 4-star and 5-star properties, from small boutique hotels to larger resorts. Each will provide modern comforts such as air conditioning and en suite baths, fine dining, swimming pools, spas, and more. See more about the specific properties here.

Indian food About the cooking courses: On your Indian cooking holiday, you will experience Indian cuisine through cooking courses and foodie tours, each teaching an appreciation of local cuisine. You will enjoy a class in Agra with an Indian woman who learned to cook as a child from her mother before helping her husband run their family-owned restaurant, and will learn native home cooking in Lucknow with a local Awadhi chef who will teach you about the cuisine of this part of India, which you will then enjoy together. In each class, as well as in the included meals and the food presentations and tours, you will learn about the best ingredients and spices to use to make a perfectly traditional, or wonderfully innovative, Indian meal.

Highlights of India Cooking Tour - NEW Itinerary

Day One - Delhi

  • Arrival in Delhi, where you will be met and accompanied to your hotel. Check in and time to rest.
  • This evening, dinner at the famed Indian Accent restaurant. Chef Manish Mehrontra is one of the most respected in all of India, and his restaurant showcases modern India food that marries global ingredients and techniques with Indian traditions. Your tasting menu might include such dishes as meetha achaar, chilean spare ribs, tandoori bacon prawns, rice-crusted John Dory moilee, and warm doda burfi treacle tart (beverages not included).
  • Overnight in Delhi.

Day Two - Delhi

  • After breakfast, visit Old Delhi and walk the streets of Shahjanabad, including the Chadni Chowk market district. Experience the bustling city in this amazing quarter as you walk the bazaars, and try such street fare as Chat Papri, Laccha Tokri, Guliya, Desi Ghee Tikki, Moong Pakori, Kulche Chole, Dahi Bhalla, Bedwee Aloo and Kachori Alu, not to mention Samudra Kee Chat, Brown and White fresh milk cake, Kulfi, Ice cream, Hot Kadai Milk, Halwa Nangori, and more—there is no shortage of amazing food in the markets of India!
  • Later, travel to a Haveli (a private mansion in the old city where the same family has lived for many generations) for a traditional lunch.
  • In the afternoon, have high tea at the Hotel Imperial’s bright Atrium. The Hotel Imperial’s colonial feel transports you back in time, and its huge gardens, artwork, and palatial decor are reminiscent of times gone by.
  • Dinner on your own and overnight.

Day Three - Delhi

  • After breakfast, enjoy a tour of New Delhi, in which you will see such famed sites as Qutab Minar, the Presidential Palace, the India Gate, the Sikh Temples (where you can see the community kitchens), and the Parliament House.
  • Lunch during the tour at a local restaurant.
  • In the afternoon, visit a local market to pick some fresh produce. The market visit will be followed by a cooking class in an Indian home with a friendly Indian family. Learn how to prepare some local dishes, such as Indian breads and scented rice, while discovering the time tested, but simple, traditions of Indian cuisine.
  • Dinner on your own and overnight.

Day Four - Delhi - Jaipur

  • Breakfast, then begin the approximately 6-hour driver to Jaipur. (You will stop for lunch on your own during the drive.)
  • When you arrive, check in to your hotel.
  • In the afternoon, visit the local Johari Bazaar, the most popular market in Jaipur, for a food tour; the bazaar is also the best place to shop for wedding gifts. From the tie-dye wedding lehengas, to the hand embroidery, from the mirror and kundan work to the dazzling jewelry, the stores are reliable for their authenticity and the quality of their products, in particular the jewelry. And don’t forget to stop at Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar, the most popular sweet shop in Jaipur. Another famous nsack is the Khasta Urad Dal Kachoir; accompanied by a glass of chai tea, you’ll get an idea of the true taste of Jaipur street food.
  • Dinner to follow.
  • Transfer back to the hotel and overnight.

Day Five - Jaipur

  • After breakfast, depart for the famed Amber Fort, the beautiful hilltop palace known for its ramparts and cobblestone paths, and visit with a Jeep ride.
  • Next, take part in a hands-on cooking class in Raj Mahal Palace. Lunch to follow based on your efforts, and you’ll leave with a handout of Indian spices.
  • Rest of the day and dinner on your own.
  • Overnight in Jaipur.

Day Six - Jaipur - Agra

  • Breakfast and then depart for the approximately 6-hour drive to Agra. En route, visit the ancient city of Fathepur Sikri, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The city was built by Akbar, the Mughal emperor in the year 1571, and was built as a tribute to the great Sufi saint, Shaikh Salim Christi, who legend said had blessed Akbar with a son. Today it is one of the best preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India.
  • Stop for lunch on your own during the drive to Agra.
  • Arrival in Agra, check in, and rest of day on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day Seven - Agra

  • Today starts with a 6:30 am sunrise visit of one of the “Modern Wonders of the World,” the Taj Mahal (please note that Fridays it is closed).
  • Back to the hotel for breakfast around 9:30 am, followed by free time to rest or explore. Lunch on your own.
  • This afternoon, visit the famed UNESCO world heritage site Agra Fort, a semi-circular walled city known also as the “Red Fort of Agra” for its bright color.
  • After the fort visit, stop at the Kinari Bazar in Agra, which dates back to the Fifteenth Century and showcases the traditional market life. See the whole sale spice market, the betel leaves, wedding garmets, plastic goods, herbs, sweets, and perfumes that line the market. The Kinari Bazaar also has a religious importance, as one side is bordered by the famed Jama Masjid mosque and the other by the famed Shiva temple of Mankameshwar.
  • Dinner tonight on your own.
  • Return to hotel and overnight in Agra.

Day Eight - Agra - Tundla - Lucknow

  • Breakfast at the hotel and drive the approximately 40 minutes to the train station in Tundla to catch your 8:51 am train to Lucknow.
  • Arrival in Lucknow around 12:40 pm. Transfer to your hotel and check in.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Meet up with your guide for a short orientation talk, and a visit to a chaat shop to savor the tangy, evening snacks popular in Lucknow.
  • This evening, dinner tonight on your own (if you’re still hungry!)
  • Overnight in Lucknow.

Day Nine - Lucknow

  • Breakfast at the hotel, learn about and experience a Rastogi meal, a popular cuisine of Lucknow. Rastogis are also primarily a business community that’s involved in selling Chikan handicraft and jewelry. Many of the shops in Lucknow open late, around 11 am, and by the time business has picked up, lunch time has been forgotten. To avoid this, the Rastogis often have a heavy meal — that’s primarily vegetarian and high in calories — at forenoon (in the morning).
  • Lunch on your own (if you’re still hungry).
  • Return to the hotel for a rest.
  • This afternoon, visit the Nawab Sahib, who will explain Awadhi cuisine to you over a casual tea at his home, and where you can enjoy his collection of antiques and his beautiful home.
  • After tea, take a culinary walk down the lane adjacent to the Akbari Gate, where you can taste the best street food from the most authentic places, which have held their own in the age of MacDonald’s and KFC. Taste the original Tundey kebabs, Raheem’s Nihari, and Mobeen’s Pasanda kebabs, some of the best meat dishes from Awadhi cuisine. See the chefs at work in their small, rustic stalls, dishing out food as they have for generations. Your guide will explain the history and recipes of the various dishes, and will encourage your adventurous spirit by tempting you to try them.
  • Dinner on your own… again, if you’re still hungry!
  • Back to the hotel and overnight.

Day Ten - Lucknow

  • After breakfast, visit the Husainabad Imambara, called the Babylon of the East and known for its decor. Built by Mohammad Ali Shah in 1840, it is to this day considered a sacred place by the natives. See the ornate chandeliers, calligraphy, and sandalwood decor on the walls, and pay your respects to the Nawab and his mother lying in eternal repose. (Closed on Sunday, second Saturdays, and government holidays).
  • Break for lunch at a local restaurant, the Royal Cafe, for some fusion cuisine at an eatery that once served the American and British soldiers during war time. Today the restaurant is very popular with tourists and locals alike.
  • After lunch, drive through the Kaiserbagh Complex, which was once Nawab Wajid-Ali Shah’s Palace complex; you’ll also see Baradari, considered one of the most beautiful of palaces in the Awadh region, and Kaiserbagh Gates. While in Kaserbagh, you’ll reach Kotward House, home to the legendary film maker, fashion designer, painter, and poet by the names of Muzaffar and Meera Ali. Their home is a living museum of sorts, and you’ll see how the creative couple live, work, and eat; as well as see their collection and workshop. You may even meet Muzzafar and Meera.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Around 6 pm, your driver will take you to a special cooking class at the Khajoorgaon Palace. After being greeted by the family, learn about the customs of Awadh followed by an exclusive Kathak dance performance. You’ll also enjoy a royal dinner.
  • Overnight in Lucknow.

Day Eleven - Lucknow - Delhi

  • After breakfast, depart for your fight to Delhi.
  • Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and check in.
  • The rest of the day on your own to relax.
  • Dinner tonight at the hotel, or if you prefer, we can transfer you to a nearby local restaurant (cost of dinner not included).
  • Overnight.

Day Twelve - Departure

  • Breakfast, then group transfer to the airport for your flight home.