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Koken in India(2)

(tekst wordt binnenkort in Nederlands vertaald)
Take an incredible journey through the land of the Maharajas in Northern India learning age-old secrets of true Moghlai cuisine from royal chefs. Let your palate be pampered by graceful Pilafs and Kormas of Persian heritage… Allow culinary terms like ‘Dum phukt’ and ‘Tandoori’ to take on a new meaning in your cooking styles. Explore the elegance and finesse of this cuisine while living like Maharajas in exotic palaces. Come learn in authentic surroundings in a land where spices are the variety of life…

Day 01-Arrive Delhi

Arrive into the capital of India, New Delhi.; upon arrival and after clearing immigration and customs you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Delhi is the capital of India. Its history goes back to 3000 years. Various rulers built eight successive cities in and around present day Delhi. Few capitals in the world have as many monuments of which Delhi is justly proud.

Day 02-Delhi

This morning your tour takes you to Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, a symbol of Mughal power, later walk around Chandni Chowk (old shopping street) on to visit the Jama Masjid Mosque area. On return, visit Raj Ghat, a memorial of the great Mahatma Gandhi. We’ll also visit the Crafts museum, a collection of traditional Indian crafts in textiles, metal, wood and ceramics and the Temple of the Sikh, Gurudwara.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of New Delhi. Designed in 1911 by the British, New Delhi is one of the greenest capitals in the world. Your tour includes visit to the impressive Qutab Minar, a 234-foot high red sandstone minaret. The buildings in this complex date from the onset of Muslim rule in India. Also visit Humayun’s tomb, built in the 16th-century, a predecessor to the famous Taj Mahal. It is the first Mughal Garden Tomb and the tomb of the second emperor of the Mughal dynasty. Notable as an excellent example of early Mughal architecture, this style reached maturity in the Taj Mahal at Agra. The terraces of the tomb provide an excellent view of the surrounding city.Later, drive past the government buildings and the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace) along the broad and majestic Rajpath.

Enjoy a ‘welcome dinner’ tonight at one of Delhi’s popular restaurants; overnight at the hotel.

Day 03-Delhi

Early morning you are taken to a traditional Indian Subzi-Mandi or wholesale vegetable market to shop for some fresh produce .An overview of the traditional Indian Subzi Mandi is a big open area, covered only with some fabric for protection from the sun. Inside, vendors sit down in rows with their wonderful produce artistically arranged around them in baskets. All the veggies look so luscious and inviting. The market also has a couple of stalls that sell stuff other than produce like bangles and saris.

For breakfast today you are taken to a Indian “Halwai Shop” or sweet shop to feast on some traditional north Indian delicacies .-The usual North Indian breakfast consists of stuffed paratha breads or unstuffed parathas (they resemble crepes) with fresh butter, cooked spicy vegetables ,popular accompaniments include sweets like jalebi, halwa, and sweetened milk

Afternoon at leisure, this evening you are invited to a local Punjabi family’s house. The lady of the house will give you a tour of her kitchen and a cooking demonstration of some of her favorite Punjabi dishes. You will also have an opportunity to cook part of dinner which will be served tonight -Punjabi people have vigorous appetites and their food is like the Punjabis themselves, simple, sizeable and hearty with no unnecessary frills or exotic additions. The Punjabi tandoori cooking is celebrated as one of the most popular cuisines throughout the world. Huge earthen ovens are half buried in the ground and heated with a coal fire lit below. Marinated meat, chicken, fish, paneer, rotis and naans of many types are cooked in this oven and the results are absolutely amazing.

Overnight at your hotel.

Day 04-Delhi/Agra

This morning your private car with driver will drive you to Agra (210km/4hrs)

The earliest reference to Agra is in the epic The Mahabharat. Ptolemy, Alexander the Great's geographer also called it Agra. It was, however, in the medieval period that Agra earned prominence as a capital city under the Mughals. Its many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, have given it a unique position as a major tourist center.

Afternoon visit the Taj Mahal & Agra fort

The Taj Mahal, simply, is beauty - not just in design and technique, but also in desire and intent. It was built as a monument to love, a manifestation of life's most powerful emotion. When his wife died unexpectedly, Emperor Shahjahan vowed to honor her with a memorial of unmatched beauty. He commissioned the world's best craftsmen and 20,000 workers to build this beautiful structure. The result stands before you today - a delicately carved, white marble jewel, which seems to float on a sea of red limestone.
Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th- century Mughal monument Known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5- km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many Fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.Overnight at your hotel

Day 05- Agra/Fathepur Sikri/Bharatpur/Ranthambore
This morning your private car with driver will drive you to Bharatpur (2hrs) visiting en route Fatehpur Sikri (one hour from Agra), the once-fabled Mogul capital that has taken on a sleeping beauty quality, lying quietly but wonderfully preserved.

The Emperor Akbar built Fathepur Sikri during the second half of the 16th century; Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. A large number of masons and stone carvers worked hard on an area that was over two miles long and a mile wide; they used brilliant red sandstone available locally, which provides the buildings with much of their luster. Shortly after the work was completed fifteen years later, it was realized that there was a lack of an adequate water supply and the pristine complex was abandoned.

After visit to Fatehpur Sikri continue driving to Bharatpur Rail station to transfer to the Rail station for your train to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore)

Dep: Bharatpur at 10:54am by Jan Shatabdi Express
Arr: Ranthambore at 13:12pm

Ranthambore encompasses nearly 152 square miles of dry deciduous forest in southwestern Rajasthan and, in the heart of this forest, the Aravali and Vindhya ranges meet. The park derives its name from the fort of Ranthambore, which sits on a rocky outcrop in the forest. The fort dates back to the 11th century when it was a vital citadel for the control of central India. In 1981 Ranthambore was awarded National Park status and though overrun by vegetation, remnants of the summer palaces, temples and guard stones within the fort still remain.

Ranthambore is famous for its tigers and is a favorite with photographers. With strict tiger preservation measures, tigers have become more active during the day and can be encountered by visitors in broad daylight. The landscape is dotted with ancient banyan trees, dhok & pipal trees, clusters of mango trees and crisscrossed with evergreen belts. The terrain is made up of massive rock formations, steep scarps, perennial lakes and streams and forest suddenly opening up into large areas of savannah. For a relatively small area, the park has a rich diversity of fauna and flora - species list includes 300 trees, 50 aquatic plants, 272 birds, 12 reptiles (including the marsh crocodile) & amphibians and 30 mammals. Other than the tiger, other predators found in Ranthambore are leopard, striped hyena, jackal, and caracal and jungle cat.

Afternoon a game drive into the Park by Jeep/Cantor; Overnight at the Hotel

Day 06-Ranthambore
Morning & Afternoon game drives into the Park by Jeep/Cantor;

In the evening watch the skilled cook’s show you how they prepare a ‘Tandoori’ dinner in clay ovens and on charcoal grills…Succulent lamb, chicken and fish kababs marinated in yogurt and delicate spices. Watch them as they toss ‘Rumali rotis’ in the air creating paper-thin handkerchief bread to complement the grilled meats. Overnight at the Hotel

Day 07-Ranthambore/Jaipur
This morning your private car with driver will drive you to Jaipur (160km/4hrs)

The rose-pink capital of Rajasthan, is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, the city was founded in 1727 by the astronomer-king, Sawai Jai Singh II and built according to the Shilpa Shastra, the ancient Hindu treatise on architecture and sculpture. It is a walled city with seven rectangular blocks. The Maharajah's palace stands in the center of the city amidst lovely gardens. Jaipur is aptly called the ‘the pink city’ of India.
This evening experience a ‘Rickshaw’ (pedi-cab) ride in the exotic Bazaars in the walled city of Jaipur to get an insight into Rajasthan and also get to sample some of the sweet delacicies of this desert region; . The Rajasthani cuisine whole-heartedly offers a wide array of sweet dishes that will indeed satiate your half-filled appetite. Try the badam ki barfi, an almond fudge made from sugar, milk, almonds and ghee or tryp one of the local favorite sweet dish, ghewar. It is a paste of urad cereal which is crushed, deep fried and then dipped into a sugar syrup flavored with cardomom, cinnamon and cloves. Wow! It tastes so good when served hot, topped with a thick layer of unsweetened cream and garnished with rose petals!!Rest of the day at leisure; Overnight at the hotel

Day 08- Jaipur

After Breakfast excursion to Amber Fort; Riding on elegantly caparisoned elephants, we approach the palace in the traditional way. The high gateways allow us to enter on these broad-backed animals. Amber was once the ancient capital of Jaipur. Construction of the fortress-palace started in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput Commander of Akbar’s army. It was later extended and completed by the Jai Singhs. The fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and over-looking a lake which reflects its terraces and ramparts.
For lunch today your are taken to one of Jaipur cities popular restaurants where who will be given a tour of its kitchen and have a change to interact with the chef , who will give you cooking demonstration of some of his popular recepies as well as assist you to innovate and preperate a Rajasthani dish, which later the chef well will sample and if he approves it will be featured on the restaurants menu!!

Overnight at the hotel.
Day 09-Jaipur

Morning sightseeing tour of Jaipur city; You visit Jantar Mantar, an observatory which is equipped with instruments of astonishing size and precision, including a 90 foot high sun dial. See the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, a major Rajput landmark built in 1799. This five-story building in the old city is a pink sandstone masterpiece with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows. The monument was originally conceived to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the city’s everyday life and royal processions in absolute privacy.
The City Palace is the royal residence of the erstwhile King of Jaipur. It houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, armory of Mughal and Rajput weaponry, and swords of different shapes and sizes with ornamental handles – some of them inlaid with enamel, embellished with jewels and encased in magnificent scabbards.

Drive past Moti-Doongri Palace – a privately owned hilltop fort built like a Scottish castle – to Ram Niwas Gardens and architecturally impressive Albert Hall.

This afternoon you are taken to a local utensil shop and shown the various utensils used for cooking in this part of the country.

For dinner tonight, your are invited to a local families house to feast on some traditional Rajasthani marwari dishes.

One thing that makes the Rajasthani cuisine stand out from the rest of India is its fantastic existence in the top list of delicacies, despite numerous culinary constraints dominating the deserts cape, which ultimately led to strange reversal of values. In Rajasthan water is at a premium, and hence the food is generally cooked in milk or ghee (clarified butter), making it quite rich. ….you are s show you the cooking techniques of Marwari cuisine…strictly vegetarian, refraining from the use of onions and garlic, cooking only with fresh vegetables and spices such as fennel and fenugreek, ginger and asafetida, using yogurt as a base, accompanied by whole-wheat griddle breads.

Overnight at the hotel

Day 10- Jaipur/Chattar Sagar

Chhatra Sagar was built as a hunting lodge of the Nimaj Estate. Surrounded by lush green fields of wheat, mustard, cotton and chilies and vast grazing pastures, this hundred year old reservoir, with a periphery of about 10 kilometers, is an ideal destination for nature lovers and a perfect getaway from the chaotic city life.

(The campsite, situated on the dam, offers breathtaking views of the sunrise, sunset and the Aravalli ranges on the horizon.)
After lunch participate in a ‘Village Safari’. Here you will have an opportunity to experience first hand the authentic rural life of India and its local cultures and traditions. Because of the host family's special bond with different local communities that goes back for generations, you are taken into homes and received with warmth and affection, an experience that often eludes the ordinary traveler. See how the natives utilize their meager resources to make items of daily use. See the pot maker, shoemaker in action. Visit a few homes and meet the village people to learn about their farming practices and how they keep their animals.

Rest of the day at leisure ; Watch the birds, go for nature walks, soak in the fresh air, sit around the bonfire and listen to old Folk lore .
This evening experience the warm hospitality from your hosts & enjoy some truly delicious Indian and traditional Rajasthani meals cooked with farm fresh vegetables in the family kitchen.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10- Chattar Sagar/Jodhpur/Ranakpur

After a traditional Rajasthani breakfast your are driven to Ranakpur en route visiting the blue city of
Jodhpur (2hrs from Chattar Sagar)
The 15th century city of Jodhpur, stands at the edge of Thar Desert and is the largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur. Jodhpur is a resplendent city, with a blend of modern and traditional buildings. The city is totally dominated by a massive fort sprawled across 125- meter high hill known as Meherangarh Fort, founded by Rao Jodha in 15th century. A flourishing trade center in the 16th century, Jodhpur is still one of the leading centers of wool, cattle, Camels, salt and agricultural
Crops. It boasts of some of very fine reminders of its glorious past-palaces, temples and other elegant monuments of architectural and historical significance. Also Jodhpur is popularly known as the ‘Blue City’ because of the beautiful houses painted with indigo color mostly belonging to the Brahmin caste.

After sightseeing of Jodhpur, continue onward drive to Ranakpur (160km/4hrs); afternoon sightseeing of Ranakpur Jain temple & Kumbalgarh fort.

Ranakpur is widely known for its ornate marble temple; The Jain temple of Ranakpur is a 15th century temple, built in white marble with exquisitely intricate carvings, is unique in its architectural elegance. The entire complex is built on over 40,000 sq ft and comprises 29 halls 5 spires, 20 domes and 420 pillars. The temple is enclosed on all four sides with a row of 86 chapels. All these architectural elements are covered with carvings that are so delicate that it looks like lacework. It is amazing to find that among hundreds of pillars no two are alike.

Also visit Kumbalgarh Fort , which is one of the most important forts in the Mewar region. It’s an isolated and fascinating place, built by Maharana Kumbha in the 15th century and due to its inaccessibility on top of the Arravali range at 1100 meters, it was taken only once in history.
Overnight at your hotel.

Day 11-Ranakpur/Udaipur

Morning your private car with driver will drive you to Udaipur (90km/2hrs)

Also known as the Venice of the East, Udaipur, is an enchanting city. From the lakes in the midst of the sandy terrain to green forested hills where wildlife still abounds, the surprises are endless. And, in the lakes, or by their edges, are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the other. Founded in 16th century by Maharana Udai Singh, the House of Mewar or Udaipur as it is better known, is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain ranges.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Udaipur includes a visit to the vast and the exquisite City Palace of the Maharana. Amber, Jade, and colored glass give the palace a sparkling, yet ethereal quality. Also visit Jagdish Temple, 16th century temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Drive past Fateh Sagar Lake with a visit to Sahelion-ki- Bari, garden of the maids-of-Honor. On return visit the Crystal Gallery in the Durbar
Hall at the Fateh Prakash Palace which once used to the
Venue of state banquets, official functions & formal ‘durbars’, offers breathtaking views overnight at the hotel.
Day 12-Udaipur

Morning take a boat cruise on Lake Pichola to visit the Jag Mandir Palace. This palace is built on an island, which covers 4 acres and is noted for its marble interior and imposing dome. You will get a chance to witness the daily life on the banks of the lake.

Afternoon tour the market to get an introduction into some of the local spices of the region

For dinner tonight enjoy a meals specially prepared from the recepies of the Royal Kitchen of this area.
The royal kitchens of Rajasthan, the preparation of food was a very complex matter and was raised to the levels of an art form. Thus the 'Royal Cooks ' worked in the stately palaces and kept their most enigmatic recipes to themselves. Some recipes were passed on to their descendants and the rest were passed on as skills to the chefs of semi states and the branded hotel companies.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13-Depart Udaipur

Transfer to the airport for your homebound flight , connecting via Delhi or Bombay

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