India has rich and varied culinary traditions. Whilst some are enmeshed with religious and spiritual traditions, others arrived throughout India’s long history with those who wandered into the land from afar and settled here, as well as with those who invaded its territories. Still others have been shaped by the natural forces of climate and geography. Explore with us an extremely large repertoire of Indian cuisines – from juicy tender kebabs of the Mughalai cuisine of the North to the exotic Keralan cuisine of south, tangy macher-jhol of West Bengal in the East to the spicy Malvani cuisine of Maharashtra in the West. From immeasurable variety of ingredients and methods of preparation to varied cooking practices, food aficionados have limitless options to explore in India.
Welcome to India. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel, Get a taste of Indian hospitality while you enter the hotel by the hotel staff. You will experience the traditional Indian welcome, whilst you complete the check-in procedures. We realise that our guest will be tired and jet lagged by a long journey, so the first day is for you to relax and get acclimatised to the surrounding.
Overnight in New Delhi
This morning you will be taken to visit the medieval Jama Mosque followed by a walking tour of traditional businesses of Old Delhi – exploring centuries old arts and crafts with businessmen belonging to the 6th or 7th generation of the men who first started them. Whilst exploring Old Delhi we will take you to the famous Karim’s for a Nihari breakfast and during the course of the walking we will also sample some amazing Delhi street food. In the afternoon you will be taken on a tour of New Delhi visiting – Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb
and drive past Lutyens Delhi. Later in the evening you will be taken for dinner to a local Punjabi food restaurant.
The people of Punjab love to eat; and this is reflected in their delicious, hearty regional cuisine. So delicious is Punjabi fare that it has not just wowed Indians all over the country but the world at large. People the world over, in fact, often identify Indian cuisine with Punjabi food, as there are few who haven't heard of Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Chole-Bhaturey....
Punjabi cuisine is mainly based on wheat, spices, pure desi ghee (clarified butter), with liberal amounts of butter and cream. The food is tailor-made for the Punjabi lifestyle in which most of the rural folk burn up a lot of calories while working in the fields. Striking feature of the cuisine of Punjab is pulses or dals, cooked on slow fire and flavoured with characteristic Punjabi tadka. Sarson Da Saag and Makki Di Roti and stuffed paranthas are some other popular dishes in this cuisine. Gravy of most dishes is prepared using the basic mix of onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, chillies and liberal dose of spices.
Overnight in New Delhi
This morning you will be taken to the rail station to board your train to Lucknow (Shatabdi Express;
departure Delhi 0615 hours / arrival Lucknow 1230 hours). Upon your arrival in Lucknow, you will be received at the rail station and taken to your hotel.
Later in the afternoon you will be taken on a tour of Lucknow city - visit the beautiful Bara Imambara built by Asaf-ud-Daula in the year 1784 and the Residency which played an important role in the history of the region during the rebellion of 1857. For dinner you will be taken to a Nawab’s Haveli where youwill be served the famous local cuisine, Awadhi. You would be particularly delighted to know that some of these dishes could have been invented by the forefathers of the Nawab’s family.
The rich Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow region was made popular by the Nawab of Awadh who, todeal with food shortage, ordered his men to cook food in huge handis (vessel) to feed the hungry people. This eventually led to a style of cooking called dum, i.e., the art of sealingingredients in large handi and cooking over a slow fire, which you can so well relate to therelaxed outlook and attitude of the people of the region.
The most well known Awadhi preparations are galouti kababs, boti kababs and biryani.
Overnight in Lucknow
After a leisurely morning, around noon today you will be collected from your hotel and taken to sample Lucknow’s famous street food - particularly its barbeque ‘tikkas’ and ‘kebabs’.Lunch will be at the famous Tunda’s Kebabs, which is one of the best known food outlets in thecity. Rest of the day may be spent in leisure or you may explore Lucknow on your own.
Overnight in Lucknow
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport to board your flight to Kolkata (earlier known as Calcutta). On arrival in Kolkata you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day may be spent in leisure or free to explore on your own. Those interested may undertake our walking tour of old colonial buildings.
In the evening you will be taken for a cooking demonstration and dinner to a traditional Bengali home.
Bengali food is characterized by the use of mustard oil and five basic spices: zeera (cumin), kalaunji (nigella), saunf (fennel), methi (fenugreek) and sarson (mustard seeds). The cuisine generally consists of a variety of rice dishes and fresh water fish delicacies. Bengali sweets such as Rasgulla, Sandesh, etc, are popular all over the world.
Overnight in Kolkata
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and taken for breakfast to China Town for a Chinese traditional breakfast. Family prepared ‘tai pao’ and ‘yeo teow’ that is prepared right in front of your eyes (Thin potato or shrimp fried dough).’Mee gao pan’, which takes long hours of grinding rice to prepare. Here the whole family takes part in preparing dishes. The food sold here are unique in the world in taste not only for its freshness and mystery ingredients but use of local ingredients for Chinese food!
Later in the afternoon you will be taken for a short sightseeing tour of Calcutta city – visiting Victoria Memorial, Botanical Gardens and the Indian Museum.
Overnight in Kolkata
Today you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the airport to board your flight to Chennai. On arrival in Chennai you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel.
The rest of the day may be spent in leisure or free to explore on your own.
In the evening today you will be taken to a speciality restaurant to experience unique Chettinadu Cuisine.
The Chettinad cuisine of Tamil Nadu has transcended the boundaries of the state to carve a worldwide following. Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables reflecting the dry environment of the region. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosas, appams, iddiappams, adais and idlis. The most important spices are marathi mokku (dried flower pods), anasipoo (star aniseed) and kalpasi (dried bark). In addition, tamarind, whole red chillies, saunf (fennel seeds), cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorn and cumin seeds are widely used.
Overnight in Chennai
This morning you will be taken to explore Chennai - visiting Fort St George where you will see StMary’s Church and other buildings associated with the Raj. You will also visit Kapaleeshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
For lunch you will be taken to a famous local food outlet where you will sample traditional Tamil Brahmin Cuisine (South Indian vegetarian).
Tamil Brahmin Cuisine
Tamil Brahmin cuisine is based on the concept that food shapes the personality, mood and mind.In a Brahmin household food is always cooked with a great deal of attention to cleanliness; to the balancing of nutrition, flavour, texture and variety. All this coupled with the knowledge of the Divine as the first taster of the day’s meal. Different spices play an important role in the dishes. Fenugreek as a digestive aid, cumin for its multiple usages, dried legumes and beans as nature’s tiny capsules of proteins, pepper for colds and coughs, turmeric as a healer and every ingredient is used in the cuisine has a purpose that goes beyond taste and texture. Rice and dal is usually the staple diet - the food is characterized by dishes cooked on the griddle such as dosas, thin broth like dals called sambar. The region is also known for its heavy use of 'kari' leaves, tamarind and coconut.
Overnight in Chennai
This morning you will be taken to the airport for flight to Cochin. On arrival in Cochin you will bereceived and driven 2 hours to board your houseboat.The entire state of Kerala is criss-crossed with waterways that provide for irrigation and also serve as convenient modes of transportation and commerce. Next to the coastline, these endless stretches of lakes and lagoons are together called the backwaters. Life along these canals and byways is quite different from that seen along the highways. Many of the villages are isolated and entirely dependent on the canals for means of livelihood, transportation and communication…and the best way to explore these surroundings is by a 'kettuvallam' or houseboat.
In Malayalam the word 'kettuvallam' means a sewn or stitched canoe. Traditionally they were built of planks sewn together with coir cordage, threaded through with a needle carved from a palm frond. The seams, caulked with coir plugs soaked in sardine or cashew oil made the boats waterproof. The traditional houseboat of Kerala is one of the most enduring images of the backwaters - its natural, cocoon-like profile complementing the surrounding countryside. These 'kettuvallam', were designed to carry heavy cargo, such as coconuts and spices and to provide living accommodation for the boatmen.
Enjoy backwater cruise in your houseboat as it meanders through the tranquil network of water canals, dotted with busy hamlets and lush green paddy fields. Whilst cruising through the backwaters of Kerala you will also get opportunity to interact with your onboard cook who will
prepare you some very traditional Keralan food.
Overnight in Cochin
After breakfast you will disembark from your houseboat and be driven (2 hours) to Cochin.Just before entering Cochin a traditional lunch on banana leaf would be a great experience at Sarovaram dining outlet. On arrival in Cochin you will check into your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.Later in the evening you will be collected from your hotel and taken to witness the Kathakali
Overnight in Cochin
This morning you will be taken for a tour of Cochin will include visit to Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), Mattancherry or Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays), St Francis Church and Chinese Fishing nets. Rest of the day at leisure. Tonight you will be hosted a sumptuous sea food dinner.
Overnight in Cochin
Today you will be driven to Cochin airport (2 hour) for your flight to Mumbai. On arrival in Mumbai airport you be received and taken to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure or free to explore. Later in the evening you will be collected from your hotel and taken to Trishna Restaurant for dinner. A seafood speciality restaurant serving coastal cuisine, Trishna is particularly famous for its crab preparations. It also serves up hyderabadi dal (spicy lentils), prawns koliwada (batter-fried prawns) and pomfret hyderabadi-style (a local fish barbecued with a coating of freshly ground pepper). There’s plenty there for vegetarians too.
Overnight in Mumbai
This morning you will be taken for a half-day city tour of Mumbai – visiting Dhobi Ghat (Washermen Enclave), Gateway of India and the Prince of Wales Musuem (closed on Mondays).For lunch you will be taken to famous Café Leopold’s; one of the oldest Cafés in Mumbai. The café is a great hangout place and is known for its relaxed ambiance, great food and reasonably priced drinks. The café was attacked by the terrorists during Bombay seize in Nov 2008…was quickly re-opened as a mark of total defiance of the terrorists. Rest of the day will be at leisure or you may explore on your own.
Overnight in Aamchi Mumbai as fondly called by the locals.
This morning you will be collected from your hotel and you will be driven to Mumbai airport for boarding your flight back home with a bunch of enthralling and mesmerizing memories of your tour.
Yes. All Zigi Tour’s guests are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their India tour. Your leader will record your insurance details on the first day.We have negotiated very special rates with our colleagues at Holiday Extras – with no upper age limits and no medical declaration for UK tours.
To obtain a quotation simply call them on 0800 2800 104 – Please ensure you quote our special price code Q4228
Unfortunately pollution is a global phenomenon. It is advisable to carry dust masks if you are sensitive to dust or may have conditions like asthma, etc.
They’re an incredibly effective way of stopping diarrhoea and preventing dysentery (Delhi Belly). It quickly absorbs the toxins or pathogens that are causing the problem and keeps you strong.
A pouch to keep your personal belongings like passports, loose money, personal medications, Photo ID, etc. is strongly recommended.
India is a place of endless eye candy and spectacles that you won’t see anywhere else. Naturally a camera comes in handy.