India Highlights and Food Experiences Combination
Spend 9 days discovering the sights, sounds, and flavors of India. In addition to covering remarkable heritage sites, this food tour offers a culinary experience of incredible India. You will have a home-cooked meal with a local family, enjoy a fancy dinner inside the Amber Fort, and discover the vibrant street food in Varanasi.
Oct. to Mar.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
The itinerary below is only a sample to inspire you. Let us know your preferences and your travel advisor will customize this trip to suit your interests and budget.
Upon arrival, your guide and driver will be waiting for you at the arrival hall with your name sign. They will be happy to assist with the hotel check-in. Have a good rest and adjust to the jet lag!
You will start your tour with the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid, an Islamic monument. Then, a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk market will introduce you to the local lifestyle.
After lunch, admire the spectacular Qutub Minar, the highest brick minaret in the world. Afterward, step into the beautiful tomb of Humayun, which was the first garden tomb in India. It's said that the Taj Mahal was inspired by it. Follow your guide, explore the peaceful Mughal buildings, and enjoy the exquisite artifacts and vivid stories.
Then, knock on the door of a local family and enjoy an authentic home-cooked dinner with them. Chat with them, get to know their daily lives, and share your stories if you'd like.
After breakfast, you will leave for Agra by a private car, which will take about 4–5 hours.
Upon arrival, check in and freshen up at your hotel. You will explore Mehtab Bagh, the best place to view the Taj Mahal. Sitting across the river from the Taj, you can see the Taj Mahal changing colors during sunset.
Start your day early with the exquisite Taj Mahal. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of his love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Known as one of the world's greatest architectural masterpieces, the Taj Mahal reflects different colors of light at different times of the day. When you get close, your guide will show you more secrets of the iconic structure.
Then, move on to Itmad-ud-Daula's tomb. Also known as the “Baby Taj”, it dazzles with marble lattice screens and fine carvings. It is an incredible structure that inspired many other marble buildings, like the Taj Mahal.
Finally, pay a visit to Agra Fort. The imposing red sandstone walls have guarded the royal palace for centuries. Walking through courtyard after courtyard, you will learn the story about the considerable changes in its appearance and enjoy lovely views of the Taj Mahal.
Departing from Agra, you will take a 5-hour car ride to Jaipur.
Your will stop at Chand Baori, a stepwell that is over 1,000 years old. This unique well in India is no longer in use, but its exquisite design cannot be missed.
After the hotel check-in, have dinner in Amber Fort. When all the lights turn on, you can see the fort from a different perspective. Sitting inside the fort, surrounded by its incredible ambience, you will get a glimpse of how royalty dined. Silver furniture, Belgian lamps, and live music — all these will make the dinner truly magical.
After breakfast, visit the stunning Amber Fort. The perfect reflection in Maota Lake creates a magical, mirage effect. Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) is another spectacular building that you must not miss. The walls are decorated with tiny mirrors. The hall can dazzle you with the light of a single match.
Afterward, step into City Palace, where you can observe an amazing blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural brilliance. In the late afternoon, have a quick photo stop at the famous Hawa Mahal, which has a delicate façade of carved pink sandstone.
Then, take part in a cooking class at Ikaki Niwas. You will learn to recognize the ingredients and spices, learn some time-tested cooking techniques, and enjoy the food you cooked alongside engaging conversation with the local family.
In the morning, you will fly to Varanasi, the holiest city for Hindus. After freshening up, take a boat ride on the Ganges River. On the ghats and temples along the river, witness thousands of Hindu pilgrims dipping their bodies in the holy water, and observe the rituals of life and death taking place along the riverbank.
As dusk descends, experience the Ganga Aarti ceremony at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Aarti refers to a devotional ritual that uses fire and an offering. The pandits (Hindu priests) will light up lamps and circle around in a clockwise manner, accompanied by chanting or singing songs in praise of Mother Ganga.
Get an early start to catch the sunrise on the Ganges River by boat. As you glide across waters, you can see the entire river being engulfed in orange and red hues. You will witness the peaceful riverbank and see the life around slowly wake up.
Then, stroll through the street and hunt for local street food to get a real taste of Varanasi. Food is always the best way to know the local lifestyle.
Then, visit Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught after achieving enlightenment. One of Buddhism’s four holiest sites, Sarnath draws pilgrims from all over the world. Grab a seat to meditate, listen to the monks chanting, or circumambulate around the large stupa.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel lobby and transfer you to the airport. You will fly back to Delhi and take your flight home.
Price from: $1,939 (Tour code: gh-ah-in-82)
About the Meals and Food Experiences
The meals included in the itinerary, the cooking class menu, and the street food experience can be customized to be completely vegetarian. Please let your travel advisor know if you have any dietary requirements. He or she will arrange the meals accordingly.
About Extending Your Food Trip
Indian cuisine varies in different areas. This trip includes the highlights and the famous food in North India. If you would like to discover more of this country's delicacies, we suggest that you extend your trip to South India. There, for example, you can discover a lunch box delivery in Mumbai, try the famous Kerala fish in Cochin, visit a spice garden in Periyar, and enjoy a cooking demo on vegetarian sadya in Kumarakom.
About the Car Transfers Between Cities
We will arrange private car transfers from Delhi to Agra and from Agra to Jaipur. Your guide will not be with you during the transfers. You will have different guides in different cities. Your driver will be able to speak basic English so there will be no problems with basic conversation during the transfers.