Visit India and take a food tour from Delhi to Goa via Rajasthan and Mumbai

Spend two fabulous weeks discovering the sights, sounds and flavours of India. From Delhi to Goa and via the ethereal beauty of Rajasthan, experience the best street food in Delhi, the beautiful sight of the Taj Mahal in Agra, the delightful taste of Rajasthan’s traditional cuisine in Jaipur and Udaipur, the colours of India’s markets and bazaars and how to cook up delicious regional Indian dishes in a number of inspiring cooking classes. Relax on Goa’s beaches, see Jaipur’s breathtaking Palace of the Wind, explore the vibrant food scene of Mumbai and spend time in rural Rajasthan living it up in a 17th-century fort. This unforgettable journey into the cultural and gastronomic heart of India will satisfy every appetite.

Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
Goa, India
Countries
India
Themes
Food
Code
HHZM
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 666kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Get a real taste of some of India's most famous culinary traditions – Mughal, Rajasthani, and the Portuguese-tinged flavours of Goa – while feasting with locals in family-run restaurants, rural homes, or in temples
  • Discover how food forms part of the daily ritual from cities to rural villages, and learn the secrets of regional cuisines in many local cooking classes
  • Get in touch with an amazing array of street food on eye-opening and adventurous cuisine crawls
  • Be surrounded by India’s incredible culture, from streets filled with life to a Bollywood movie theatre, or the incredible architecture of the Taj Mahal and beyond

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Namaste! Welcome to India. Delhi is an excitingly chaotic capital city – filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see, do, and eat. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have these for your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. After the welcome meeting it’s time to celebrate the beginning of a wonderful culinary adventure. Take a vehicle to a restaurant that specialises in Punjabi and Mughlai flavours.
This morning venture out to Old Delhi, the historic city also known as Shahjanabad, where some of Delhi's best-known local food joints are found. Here you’ll wander through narrow alleyways and enjoy an authentic Delhi street food-style breakfast. Keep your eye out for the local chaiwala (tea maker), well known for his delicious milky tea. Next, jump on the city's modern metro system and head to Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings. While Hinduism is the dominant religion in Delhi, there is also a significant Sikh population – so continue the religious theme with an insight into the food traditions of Delhi’s Sikh residents over a vegetarian lunch at a local Sikh temple. After lunch, tour Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Visit the spice warehouses in the back alleys of Khari Baoli, Asia's largest wholesale spice market. See the spice selling process from truck to table, and meet a spice seller to hear him talk about how he mixes the spices for retailing. This evening, perhaps take the unique opportunity to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal – get an insight into the day-to-day life of Delhites and enjoy a delicious dinner. Jot down some secret home recipes, get involved in the preparations, or simply enjoy a chat around the kitchen table with warm and welcoming hosts.
Get your first experience of Indian rail travel with an air-conditioned express train to the Mughal city of Agra (approximately 3 hours). Famed for the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, Agra is a city with a fascinating history, rich in Mughal heritage, lush gardens and exquisite buildings and temples. Here you’ll visit the spectacular and iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century white marble Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, it lives up to all expectations. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort – part fortress, part palace and part prison – and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. For dinner, jump on a chaat crawl in the city thought to serve up the country’s best. Chaat are savoury snacks (like fried potatoes or samosa broken into pieces with chutney) typically served roadside from stalls or carts in India and Bangladesh – the Indian equivalent to fast food. With its origins in Uttar Pradesh, chaat have become immensely popular in the rest of India and the Indian sub-continent.
Drive to Karauli in eastern Rajhasthan (approximately 6 hours), said to be founded by descendants of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna. A small town by India's standards, Karauli is not often visited by travellers and so retains a lovely rural feel alongside its impressive palaces and heritage buildings. Take a walk around the Old Quarter of the town, interact with the friendly locals and learn about rural Indian life off the tourist trail. Explore the marketplace with its stalls selling everything from lacquered bangles and silver, to wooden utensils and other locally manufactured kitchen items.  Tonight you'll stay in an atmospheric palace built as a royal residence for the ruler of Karauli in 1938. The palace also has a huge farm house and an adjoining dairy, producing much of its own vegetable and grains. Enjoy a cooking demonstration in the palace courtyard, where the palace chef will create some delicious Rajhasthani dishes, that you will then enjoy over dinner beneath the stars (weather permitting). The cuisine of Rajasthan is intrinsically linked with its desert landscape. Due to the scarcity of water, milk, buttermilk and curd are often used to add moisture, and leafy greens are replaced with a focus on lentils, indigenous beans and other cereals. Dominant spices include turmeric, fenugreek, mustard seeds and coriander. Many ingredients used in the demonstration and dinner are sourced from the palace grounds.  
Today drive to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur (approximately 6 hours). Jaipur was designed by royalty and has delighted visitors for centuries with its pink-hued buildings, wonderful bazaars, and rainbow of bright colours dancing along hectic streets. Jaipur, like Delhi, has both old and new parts, although you’ll concentrate on the old. The streets are busy with camels and bullock-carts, monkeys climb overhead, and you’ll pass traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds’; here royal maidens once watched the streets below through the fabulous jali (lattice screens) which hid them from prying male eyes. Today snake charmers and fortune-tellers ply their trade below the same hideaway. Visit the oldest chaiwala in the city, a favourite of the Maharaja and cool down with a delicious kulfi (ice cream dessert). In the evening, discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Hollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema. Don’t forget to check out the Indian take on movie snacks.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. Set in stunning surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the opulent palace is the legacy of a fallen empire and a superb example of Rajput architecture packed with elaborate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. One of its most spectacular buildings is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). With its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match. For lunch try a local favourite, Kachori. Kachori is deep-fried bread stuffed with vegetables and lentils and are one of the most sought after snacks in north India. If sweets are your thing, try the Mawa Kachori, a dried fruit and mawa (milk solids) stuffed kachori, deep-fried and coated in sugar syrup. In the late afternoon, enjoy a second cooking demonstration, then sit down to feast on the dishes prepared.
Today you’ll leave the city behind and visit a small village for a true insight into rural Rajasthani life. You’ll drive approximately 6 hours to a Heritage Stay located in the Vindhyanchal Hills, stopping en route to enjoy lunch with a local family. Your accommodation is in a 16th-century castle, now a heritage hotel, with an attractive dome, arched windows and doorways, all within the original fortified walls. Enjoy the blend of colonial and Mughal architecture as you relax by the pool or in the gardens, pampered by the Mewar hospitality of the hotel’s owners. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in your impressive surrounds. Perhaps take a dip in the pool or take a walk around the grounds.
Today you’ll jump in a jeep and explore the surrounding farming communities. This is a major agricultural area and, depending on the season, you will pass through fields growing wheat, corn, maize, a variety of lentils, aubergine, spinach, fenugreek, okra, green chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, bottle gourd, sponge gourd, onion and garlic. Spices such as turmeric and cumin are also grown here. In the late afternoon, return to your heritage stay and learn how these ingredients are used in the desert cuisine of Rajasthan in a cooking demonstration.
Travel to the ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur (approximately 4 hours). The beautiful city built around the shores of Lake Pichola and full of fascinating temples, ornate palaces and impressive 'havelis' (merchant homes). On arrival, take a walk around town to help get your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with traditional Rajasthani wares – silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings. Tonight you have a free evening for dinner. With a strong influence of Jainism and Vaishnaism, the preferred food in Udaipur is vegetarian. Udaipur has numerous rooftop restaurants so climb some stairs, settle in and watch the sun set over a shimmering lake while dining on scrumptious local cuisine.
Begin today at the local market to collect ingredients for a cooking class, where you will learn how to prepare a traditional north Indian thali meal. A thali comprises of numerous dishes, which vary depending on which region the thali is prepared in. As you’re in Udaipur, you will make a vegetarian thali. Typical dishes include rice, dahl, vegetables, roti, papad (deep-fried flat bread), curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. After all that cooking, enjoy your handmade thali for lunch. Visit the City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within, from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils. Tonight you’ll board an overnight train, bound for India's capital – captivating Mumbai (approximately 16 hours). The train will depart late evening and arrive after midday the following day.

Notes: Your sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, and is a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available.
Arrive in Mumbai after your overnight train by early afternoon. Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital. Some would say that Mumbai is also the food capital of India. This is the heart of Marathi cuisine, however you will also find huge culinary diversity that celebrates regional cuisines from across the country. After checking into your hotel, freshen up for a special treat - High Tea at the Taj Hotel. This is the perfect way to unwind after a long journey.  For anyone who still has room, you’ll also stop past a popular kebab stand serving roomali rotis, located behind the hotel. This is a firm favourite of the Food Adventures team!
Time for sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere of this incredible metropolis. This city of contrasts can be hard to get your head around – poverty standing side-by-side with prolific consumerism; a city of slums that’s also the financial capital of the sub-continent and has the shopping centres, bars and restaurants to match. Make your way to the remarkable Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat. At 140 years old it's Mumbai's oldest laundry and, with over a 1,000 troughs, it is also the world's largest open air, human-powered one. Your orientation walk will also take in some of the key landmarks including the impressive World Heritage Site and historic railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – a striking combination of gothic and traditional Mughal architecture. Keep your eye out for the dabbawallas, as they deliver lunches to offcie buildings throughout the city. For your own lunch, seek out a restaurant known for serving Parsi cuisine, whose community is largely concentrated in Mumbai. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who are believed to have immigrated to India from Persia in the 10th century. After lunch, drop past Mumbai’s bustling Crawford Markets and see the difference between north and south Indian cuisine. While wheat (in breads) is a northern mainstay ingredient, rice is paramount in the south – find out about the various varieties of rice available and their preferred uses. In the early evening wander down Marine Drive to Chowpatty Beach and enjoy the sunset and a street-food crawl by the sea.
Take a flight from Mumbai to Goa (approximately 1 hour), arriving in the early afternoon. Tinged with a Portuguese flavour, the state of Goa is blessed with lovely beaches, rich traditions, mouth-watering cuisine, World Heritage buildings and a wealth of attractions. The locals say that time moves more slowly in Goa, so if nothing else it's a brilliant stop for a couple of days to enjoy a bit of tranquility in an often frenetic country. Goa is also renowned for its seafood, and variations of the fish curry, laced with coconut and served with rice, have become a regional classic. This evening you will be treated to a cooking demonstration in the garden of your hotel, showcasing some classic Goan dishes, including the celebrated fish curry.
Join your leader on a tour of Old Goa, and see the Portuguese influence in the churches dotted around the region. Visit the Panjim fish and vegetable market and watch locals shop for the best catch. Next, head to a local spice farm. Goa's dense forested areas and favourable climatic conditions make it a perfect location to grow the spices liberally used in its cuisine. Go on a guided tour of a plantation that uses organic methods of cultivation, and enjoy a mouth-watering Goan buffet lunch. Lunch incudes a tasting of feni, a spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple, and made in the state of Goa. Return to your hotel by mid afternoon and enjoy some final shopping, sightseeing, or simply relax on the beach (within walking distance of the hotel). Perhaps farewell this epic Real Food Adventure with a final group dinner at one of the food shacks that line the beach. 
Your Real Food Adventure India comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners
Transport
Car, Metro, Plane, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Taxi, Train
Accommodation
Heritage Property (3 nights), Hotel (10 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included activities
  • Real Food Adventure Welcome Dinner
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Street Food Breakfast
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Lunch at a Sikh Temple
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Chaat Crawl
  • Karauli - Village Walk
  • Karauli - Cooking Demonstration
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie - Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - traditional Kachori lunch
  • Jaipur - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner
  • Heritage Stay - Village Jeep Safari
  • Castle Bijaipur - Rajasthani Desert Cuisine Cooking Demonstration
  • Udaipur - City Palace
  • Udaipur - Thali Cooking Class
  • Mumbai - High Tea at The Taj Mahal Palace
  • Mumbai - Chowpatti Beach Street Food Crawl
  • Mumbai - Heritage Quarter Walking Tour
  • Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
  • Goa - Tour of Old Goa

Dates

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Important notes

LUGGAGE LIMITS
Please note, there is a strict luggage limit of 15kgs checked in plus 7kgs carry on for the flights on this trip. No exceptions can be made.
FESTIVALS IN INDIA:
Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Real Food Adventure - India trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 141 reviews in the last year.

Real Food Adventure - India , April 2016

Real Food Adventure - India , April 2016