This exceptional and exclusive 11 or 14-day tour has been designed and conceived by Marieke Brugman, a renowned chef and teacher in her earlier career as co-proprietor of the Howqua Dale Gourmet Retreat and Cooking School.
The most obscure doors are opened to you, enabling you to experience the rarefied elegance and traditions of a by-gone, opulent princely lifestyle, the hospitality of Royal families, traditional rural villages, a cornucopia of art, craft and jewellery.
Enjoy exquisite architectural jewels, and rich, delicately scented and spiced cuisine.
This tour shares with you the history and nuances of Indian cuisine that is ancient and as varied as the different regions of the fascinating subcontinent. There is also plenty of opportunity for wonderful sightseeing, authentic cultural experiences and a little shopping. Continuing to Kolkata is an optional extension.
• the sumptuous environs of Raas Devigarh Palace near Udaipur
• the luxurious sanctuary of Amanbagh near Jaipur
• the option of adding the buzz of India’s most cultural and intellectual city, Kolkata
• some hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations
• dining with the royal family of Bedla
AT A GLANCE
LENGTH: 11 or 14 Days
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
TYPE: AoL Escorted | Small Groups | Guided | Bespoke
STYLE: culture | arts | architecture | heritage | cuisine
START/FINISH: Delhi | Delhi or Delhi | Kolkata
All meals, Cooking classes, entrance fees, guide, porterage
6* Luxury | Deluxe | Heritage hotels
Luxury mini coach
10-23 October 2018
11 days from USD $11,290 twin/double share
Kolkata extension from USD $2,100 twin/double share
- DAY 1
On arrival in Delhi you will be met at the airport and transferred to the your 5 star hotel near the airport. Inspired by Mughal architecture, this serene, modern hotel has soothing gardens, outstanding service, and wonderful facilities.
- DAY 2
After a leisurely morning take the lunchtime flight to Jodhpur.
Drive two hours then settle into your luxury and very peaceful rural estate surrounded by the Aravali hills. This is unspoiled rural Rajasthan at its best.
This afternoon enjoy ambling the local village before a very special communal dining room dinner preceded by a cooking demonstration highlighting Rajasthani delicacies.
- DAY 3
This morning, after a village amble, drive via the spectacular white marble Jain temple of Ranakpur, renowned for its grandiose scale of architecture and elaborate ornamentation. Later, continue to your next destination, Raas Devi Garh Fort Palace at Delwara, one of India’s most spectacular heritage properties.
- DAY 4
From Devigarh take a day’s excursions to the magical city of Udaipur, an oasis of white marble, soothing lakes and green hills in an otherwise arid region. Here you will visit the City Palace complex. Lunch will be hosted in the ancestral home of Kawar Vijay Singh scion of the royal Bedla clan and his wife. For 200 years their household has preserved the traditions of ‘Karan’ cuisine and royal heirloom recipes. Before returning to Devigarh, enjoy the tranquillity of Lake Pichola’s glorious golden dusk on your private boat cruise.
- DAY 5
Today, enjoy the restful environs of the palace. There will be a mornings’ hands-on cooking demonstration that segues into lunch. There is also the opportunity to visit the nearby temples. Nearby at Eklingji are a number of fascinating temples including an 8th C Shiva temple, and at Nagda the ruins of some Jain temples with particularly fine carving.
- DAY 6
This morning fly to Jaipur, then travel by road through very scenic countryside to reach Amanbagh in time for lunch. Amanbagh is a lavish rural property situated in an oasis of greenery that is in stark contrast to the arid plains and craggy hills that surround it.
Amanbagh boasts extensive organic vegetable gardens, a stunning pool and spa, wonderful library and a host of nearby excursions and activities.
Tonight their head chef will create a royal banquet.
- DAY 7
Today you will enjoy an amble amongst the homes of local village women cooking bread over open fires and churning fresh white butter. Later sojourn for a cooking demonstration in the gardens followed by a simple lunch of dishes that are easy enough to replicate at home.
Tonight’s feast will be in the style of the Nizams of Hyderabad, one of the justly famous regional cuisines of India endowed with spices, nuts, butter and saffron.
- DAY 8
Return to the bustling colourful capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur is famous for its many grand monuments and is specially regarded as a paradise for shoppers.
The next three nights your residence is a former palace now hotel. After lunch, wander through the city’s lanes and local bazaars – a foodie’s walking tour that is well off the beaten track.
Dinner this evening is in the hotel’s refined pan-Indian restaurant.
- DAY 9
Today, visit the impressive ancient capital, Amber Fort, the Royal Observatory with its beautiful sculptural forms that still function, and the wonderful Anohki textile museum housed in a restored haveli that tells the history of one of Jaipur’s oldest traditions – block-printing.
This evening’s cooking demonstration will segue into a vegetarian banquet.
- DAY 10
This morning visit the impressive City Palace with its various museums and the wonderful Jantar Mantar (Royal Observatory). After lunch there is plenty of time for curated shopping for the ladies and if of interest to the gentlemen, a game of golf can be arranged at the Rambagh Golf Club. Nahargarh Fort has recently inaugurated a new contemporary sculpture park with works by Indian and international artists.
This evening’s farewell banquet is in one of the prettiest dining rooms in all of India, decorated in Schiaparelli pink and serving a very elegant and refined contemporary take on Indian food.
- DAY 11
Guests departing the tour today will take the lunchtime flight back to Delhi where you have day-use back at the lovely Trident hotel for a shower and change before your transfer to the international airport.
Guests continuing with us to Kolkata will take the early morning flight, then check into the Oberoi Grand- the grand dame of hotels built in the 1880’s when the British were still in their Indian capital.
- DAY 12
Today is a full day’s excursion around the monuments, bazaars and historical sights of this vibrant colourful city with many gastronomic highlights. This is a city passionate about food.
A member of the local glitterati and intelligentsia will host drinks, dinner and a night of stories at his heritage apartment. He is also an avid collector of contemporary Indian art displayed in his rooms, with some works for sale.
- DAY 13
This morning visit the colourful flower markets.
This afternoon visit a stellar textile cooperative where many important weaving, block printing and embroidery traditions are being kept alive. The Weavers Collective also has an impressive archive of museum quality textiles.
This evening enjoy a grand finale banquet of Bengali specialities on the roof-terrace of Kolkata’s newest boutique hotel.
- DAY 14
The day is at leisure for any last minute shopping, packing sightseeing.
We will reserve a couple of rooms for the group for late checkout, shower and change before transferring to the airport for evening flight departures.
- Darjeeling – Glenburn Tea Estate |
- Rajbari Bawali
Your Tour Leader, Marieke Brugman has had an abiding love affair with India for over twenty years and lost count of how many groups she has led and how many curated journeys she has designed for private travellers and small groups. India is sometimes maddening, but always fascinating, surprising, soul-stirring. She has negotiated her way throughout the subcontinent, seeking out its many hidden gems – special spas and yoga retreats, exceptional craftspeople and artisans, ambient hotels with unique character, and stepped into many kitchens to learn their secrets and share her own. ‘How is it that basically the same spice box and very similar ingredients across that vast land can be interpolated into such dazzling variety and explosion of flavours?’ She looks forward to sharing her friends and some of her favourite destinations such as the glamorous Amanbagh and Devigarh, and especially the richly varied cuisines.
Your Tour Guide, Durga Singh is an aristocratic, proud and erudite Rajput whose family seat is Mandawa in the Shekhawati region, north of Jaipur. When they first met, Durga in typical Indian male fashion had only ever been cooked for. Marieke then invited him to her cooking school in Bali where he took up knife and apron. Ever since, he has taken up a keen interest in the regional variations to be found in India and can now tell you that a dal makhani made in Jodhpur will be superior to any other because of the sweet quality of the water. On his family farm, he practices organic principles so that his family and guests at his hotel enjoy superior wheat, millet and other grains. He has a marvellous sense of humour, is always unstintingly caring of our guests, and with his vast scope of knowledge and multiplicity of interests, is able to illuminate almost every aspect of his complex culture with passion and clarity. He and Marieke have been collaborating now for over two decades.
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