Food and Tea, The Experience of the senses
Breathtaking architecture and urban vibe in Delhi, The Great Delhi Food Experience, Experiencing a glimpse of the imperial lifestyle of the Nizams at the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, which was once the sole preserve of visiting royalty like the last Russian Tsar ,Kolkata the cultural capital of India, A panoramic view of the Himalayas from the Glenburn Tea Estate.
Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be warmly welcomed by your host and chauffeured to Hotel ‘Imperial Hotel .Which boasts a rich historical past with an awe inspiring heritage and a truly international appeal. Unpack, settle in, relax and recover.
Following breakfast this morning you will venture out on a private guided sightseeing tour of Chandni Chowk which was once the grandest of markets in India. Even though today Chandni Chowk appears choked with congestion, it retains its historical character.
In Chandni Chowk you will visit The Jama Masjid, the Friday congregational mosque, known as the largest and glorious mosque in India. It was the last architectural extravaganza of the Mughal Emperor; Shahjahan built in the year 1656 AD.
This experience showcases the street food culture of Old Delhi. Led by a noted food enthusiast, you will visit traditional food stalls that developed in the folds of the culture of Old Delhi. At each stop you will unravel the history, traditions, and culture behind the “house specialties” and get to taste them.
« Paratha Walan Gali (Street).
« Old Famous Jalebiwalla.
« Gali Kababian.
Duration: 4 hours
Later visit Qutub Minar: The Qutub Minar, a tower in Delhi, India, is at 72.5 meters the world’s tallest brick minaret. Construction commenced in 1193 under the orders of India’s first Muslim ruler Qutab-ud-din Aibak.The Qutab Minar is notable for being one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Humayun’s Tomb: Humayun’s tomb is a complex of buildings built as the Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb, commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Evening enjoy dinner at Bukhara – You will be given a talk by a culinary expert who is associated with Bukara & was involved in creating the Menus & was a chef there. During the course of the evening, you will gain hands on experience with the cooking implements, techniques, and ingredients used in an Indian kitchen & especially at Bukhara.
Bukhara is where the romance of the rugged North West Frontier comes alive at this authentic, award winning restaurant making it a landmark dining destination in New Delhi.
A key feature on the itinerary of practically every visitor to New Delhi, Bukhara recreates the charm of the traditional clay oven or tandoor with its delicious menu of succulent tandoor-cooked kebabs, vegetables and breads.
Once a rustic cuisine, it was enjoyed in the harsh rugged terrain of the North West Frontier, bringing comfort and succour to diners, with its warm, robust flavours.
Today, Bukhara has perfected the art of this cuisine, evident in its star dishes such as the Sikandri Raan, the iconic Dal Bukhara and the various platters that offer a sampling of the menus best features.
A beacon of culinary excellence across the globe and the undisputed pride of India, Bukhara has won innumerable accolades over the years, making it the only globally recognized Indian restaurant and the preferred dining destination of gourmets, presidents and heads of state for over 35 years.
Take a morning flight to Hyderabad.
Upon arrival at Hyderabad, you will be met and chauffeured to the hotel Taj Falaknuma Palace: Passed on for generations like a precious jewel, Falaknuma Palace or ‘Mirror of the Sky’ was the residence of Nizam Mehboob Ali Khan. After ten years of sensitive restoration, the Taj has infused new life into this sixty room private palace to offer you a glimpse of the imperial lifestyle of the Nizams who governed the legendary city of Hyderabad. What was once the sole preserve of visiting royalty-King Edward VIII and the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II; will now be yours to discover.
Go on a relaxed visit of your palace Hotel with an in-house historian with a glass of Champagne – Or just laze around the pool
Later enjoy a five course meal at Gol Bunga.
After breakfast at the Hotel. Visit the Grand Chowmahalla palace.
Walk through the magnificent quaint Laad bazaars- this is the main market for bangles, it is popular for bangles with semi-precious stones, pearls, jewellery, products such as silverware, Nirmal, Kalamkari paintings, bidriware, lacquer bangles studded with stones, saris and handwoven materials of silk, cotton. brocade, velvetand gold embroidered fabrics, traditional Khara Dupattas, lacquer bangles and perfumes.
The narrow lane is filled with burkha-clad women, bangle shops and old buildings with wooden balconies, bargaining and haggling is part and parcel of this market. Shopkeepers employ “beckoning” tactics, placing an employee at the entrance of the store beckoning passers-by to enter their shop.
Many stores are furnished with a clean, soft cotton mattress that covers the entire floor. Customers sit on the soft cotton mattress without shoes, lean against a wall with a round pillow and the sales person presents all items on the floor. All business is conducted on this floor and often other employees use the padded area in the back, as they may be sorting or sewing.
Witness small pieces of silver being transformed into beautiful “warak”. Silver flakes used to decorate Indian sweets, enjoy a cup of the famed “Irani chai” with “osmania” biscuits – later visit Charminar.
This bazaar culminates to the the Spectacular Monument “Charminar” – Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built this Monument in 1591 AD, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golconda to what is now known as Hyderabad. He built this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid (Islamic mosque) at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli Qutb Shah prayed: “Oh Allah, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water.
The mosque became in its heyday, the Charminar market had some 15,000 shops. Today the famous markets known as Laad Baazar and Pather Gatti, near the Charminar, are a favour, of tourists and locals alike for jewellery, especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls respectively.
After Lunch: visit The Salarjung Museum is the third largest museum in India housing the biggest one-man collections of antiques in the world. It is well known throughout India for its prized collections belonging to different civilizations dating back to the 1st century. Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889–1949), former Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, spent a substantial amount of his income over thirty five years to make this priceless collection, his life’s passion. The collections left behind in his ancestral palace, ‘Diwan Deodi’ were formerly exhibited there as a private museum which was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951.
1500 hrs – Later Visit Mrs Vinitha Pittie beautiful Haveli – an Unconventional Fashion designer par excellence – over a cup of Tea.
When you enter a house, either you become a part of the house or the house acquires your characteristics. It cannot be both ways. I chose to become a part of this house when I set foot here as a 16-year-old bride,” smiles Vinita Pittie, walking along the courtyard of the 200-year-old Raja Bahadur Motilal haveli in Hyderabad’s Begum Bazaar. Vinita Pittie has been in the business of fashion for 23 years and was one of the first designers who put Hyderabad on the national fashion map. Her trousseau collection of saris, cholis and bangles has added much to Bridal Asia ever since its inception in 1999. “I cannot take the stress of Lakme Fashion Week or the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week. I have no pretensions and I am not a mainstream designer. I am just happy to represent Hyderabad,” she says.
This morning you will visit Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Charminar, Mecca Masjid The fort is renowned for its acoustics, beautiful palaces, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Ruben Topee, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, a Mughal ruler, to whom the fort ultimately fell.
Qutb Shahi Tombs One of the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad, combine Persian, Afghan and Indian architectural styles. Built by the Qutb Shahi rulers, it is a truly fascinating and unique site where an entire dynasty has been buried.
Charminar built in 1591 by Sultan Mohammad Quli Shah in the centre of the old city, is a magnificent landmark that draws thousands of tourists from across the world.
The oldest and largest mosque in Hyderabad city, Mecca Masjid took 77 years to be completed.
Return to Hotel for Lunch and to relax
1700 Hrs depart to Mrs Mumtaz Khan residence & good peep into the Hyderabadi Cuisine
Demonstration of one or two dishes – followed by dinner SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS Begum Mumtaz Khan, one among the few, who knows the secrets of Hyderabadi cuisine. Tucked away in a lane, away from the hustle-bustle of the traffic on Begumpet flyover is a quiet, cosy house. This home was once mostly visited by young girls on the verge of matrimony, seeking Begum Mumtaz Khan’s lessons in cooking. Granddaughter of Shahzoor Jung (a close friend of the Nizam), Begum Mumtaz Khan’s is no ordinary cookery class, and that’s what turned her into a mentor for three generations of aspiring homemakers.
Take a morning flight to Kolkata.
Upon arrival at Kolkata, you will be met and chauffeured to the Oberoi Grand, offers the ultimate classical residence in the City of Joy. Standing stately for over 125 years, The Oberoi Grand combines classic victorian architecture and charm with state of the art amenities and facilities, offering guests an oasis of tranquillity amidst this bustling city. Located in the heart of the commercial and administrative hub of Kolkata, this heritage hotel features elegantly appointed rooms, award winning restaurants and exclusive spa and fitness centre. Personalised, efficient and unobtrusive service combined with the unique luxury offering makes
Set off for a Sunset boat cruise
Drinks and Bengali dinner at Bomti’s with a presentation on the Story of Tea/History of India (optional)
Boat cruise up the River Hoogly. In a private river boat, guests are able to discover a hitherto unseen side of Kolkata, with a ring-side view of the myriad happenings on the river’s ‘Ghats’. This was the view that greeted many a 19C adventurer as he stepped up to the Princep’s Ghat. You will sail past Belur Math, headquarters of The Ramakrishna Mission, as the city’s two huge and famous bridges, Howrah and Vidyasagar Setu pass overhead.
Morning visit the Flower market, synagogues and Dalhousie Square followed by Kathi Roll breakfast at St Johns. – Live breakfast counter at St. John’s church after the heritage walk, serving Calcutta’s famous kathi rolls
Heritage Walk of Dalhousie Square, now a World Heritage Site. The walk takes place in the morning so that you can leisurely take in the architecture and history of the city’s many unique and spectacular buildings without any traffic on the roads. There is an option to begin at The Flower Market on the River Hoogly – where it really “all” began. The walk then starts at the site of the terrible ‘Black Hole’. takes you past the famous Writer’s Building, the former HQ of the infamous East India Company, around the square to, among others, the magnificent Governor’s House and the almost forgotten Charnock Mausoleum. The whole experience takes you back to the 18th and 19th century when the British ruled the entire subcontinent from Calcutta – at that time the most fashionable city in the world after London. It is also a chance to experience a special side of the city as it is waking up in the morning with many interesting city characters to interact with along the way.
Later visit Victoria Memorial followed by Jaggu Bazaar (for fish, Bengali spices and local vegetables) and Balram Mallick sweet shop – Balaram’s Sweet Shop – one of the oldest sweet makers in Calcutta
Lunch at Oh! Calcutta. Bengalis are known to love fish curry and rice, and sweets!
The cuisine also has a large vegetarian repertoire, including some typical local delicacies like Mocha Banana Flower, Thor Banana tree trunk core, Chhana (a soft paneer) and much more.
Fish includes shrimps/ prawns/ lobsters and crab.
Meat curries include mutton, chicken, duck and pork.
Sweetmeats – a special love for any time of the day; the extensive range includes the ubiquitous Mishti Doi.
Afternoon visit to North Calcutta – Kumartuli, Marble Palace, Jain Temples (time permitting).
The Marble Palace is a palatial mansion located in North Kolkata which was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835 and contains many beautiful Western sculptures, pieces of Victorian furniture, and paintings by European and Indian artists. Large chandeliers, clocks, and busts of kings and queens decorate the hallways of the palace. It is famous for marble wall & floors, antiques, paintings by Rubens, curios, marble statues,floor to ceiling mirrors and for its collection of rare birds. Marble Palace is still resided in. Entrance is restricted and permission must be obtained from the government tourist office.
Located next to the palace is the Marble Palace zoo,which was the first zoo opened in India, also by Raja Rajendra Mullick. It now primarily serves as an aviary, including peacocks, toucans, storks, and cranes
Dinner at Bengal Club, a mid-range restaurant for Indian/ Bengali food or Penthouse with alcohol
Take a morning flight to Bagdogra. On arrival at Bagdogra airport you will be met by car driver and chauffeured to Glenburn Tea estate (approximately 4 hours drive – The drive is over an average road condition).
On arrival check in at the Glenburn: A heavenly little plantation retreat which lies on a hillock above the banks of River Rungeet, overlooking the mighty Kanchenjunga. The plantation was established in 1860 and remains today as a working tea estate.
Picnic by the River – Hike onto the bridge that takes you to Sikkim.
Morning after breakfast a four-wheel drive jeep will take you down through the Simbong Forest to the River Rung Dung. Cross the river over a small suspension bridge, that takes you into the Badamtam Forest. Walk along the forest path, following the River Rungeet. On the way, our naturalist will help you identify the birds, butterflies, occasional animals, and the rich plant life to be found in the forest. You will also walk through a forest village, and have the option to walk down to the sandy banks of the river.
After about an hour’s walk, you will reach the Manjitar Suspension Footbridge, leading the way across the River Rungeet into the old royal kingdom of Sikkim. This spectacular structure was built by the British in 1902, after the original cane bridge was washed away by the floods of 1899. About 200 feet across, and at least 100 feet above the river, crossing this footbridge is an adventure in itself! A black and white photograph of the original cane bridge, which was taken some time during the last century by Robert Phillips, can be seen on the Glenburn front verandah.
Cross the bridge into Sikkim and wander around Manjitar Village, stop for a cup of tea in one of the village “dhaabas” (tea shops), and visit the local Shiv Temple. There is a volleyball match that takes place every day at 4.30 pm between the local police force and the villagers. Spectators are welcomed with hot cups of tea and biscuits from the local tea shop!
Lunch will be served picnic-style, somewhere along the way. The return journey follows the same route back, although one can also take the alternative “river beach” route, which is slightly tougher, and depends on the season and whether the river water level permits it.
We then move to the Tea Factory where you will be taken for a guided tour on how the leaf is brought in from the fields, weighed, and then taken through the processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting.
The factory tour ends with a tea tasting session with our range of black, green, oolong and white teas, where one can discover the differences in aroma, flavour and appearance of tea manufactured in different ways and at during different times of the year.
Walk or drive through the tea fields with one of our guides, who will give you an insight into how the tea bush is grown and looked after. Interact with the Glenburn tea picker ladies and learn how to pluck the “two leaves and a bud” that is later manufactured into the tea that ends up in your teacup. During the winter season, learn about the different types of pruning that is undertaken to increase the yield of the coming season. Interact with the estate workers as you move from one part of the estate to another. Enjoy the variety of bird life, butterflies and flora that add to the diverse landscape that makes up a tea estate. Catch a crab, or pick some watercress from the numerous springs that filter through the fields. Refreshments will be provided at a suitable mid-way point.
Morning at Leisure.
Later with a Picnic lunch, take an excursion to Darjeeling and enjoy a ride on the scenic train.
Duration: Full day with a complementary AC car.
Driving time to the town is 1 hour 15 minutes
Steeped in British colonial history, the hill station of Darjeeling stands at a height of 6,000 feet, with the magnificent Mount Kanchenjunga as a backdrop. Take a ride on the famous Darjeeling Hill Railway (now a World Heritage Site) from Darjeeling Town, through the picturesque Batasia Loop and then to the neighboring towns of Ghoom and Kurseong. Wander through the Mall, shop for local crafts and antiques along the way, drop in to the famous Das Studios for a peek at their collection of old black and white photographs of the area, and stop for a cup of tea or coffee at Keventers or Glenary’s, two famous old cafeterias on the Mall. Visit the grand old Planters’ Club, once the Palace of a local Maharaja, and enjoy the views of the surrounding hillside (Glenburn included!) from Chowrasta, where the bandstand still conjures up old colonial memories of days gone by.
In the afternoon, drive a little out of the main town to the Lebong Cantonment area, where the original Lebong Race Course remains. Although not in use today, Glenburn horses once walked across the valley every Sunday to take part in the weekly races held here.
Later enjoy a Cookery Class at Glenburn estate.
This morning after breakfast, you will be met and chauffeured to Bagdogra airport (Approx. 4 hour drive) to connect flight for Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport you will be warmly welcomed by your &Beyond India host and escorted to the International Terminal to connect your flight for Onward destination.
This is just the beginning.
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