A CULINARY JOURNEY OF NORTHERN INDIA
Cultural tour of India

Nitin & Anish MehraIn 30 years with three restaurants  – two in Ottawa and one in Winnipeg, the East India Company are synonym to tasty indigenous Indian cuisine in Canada. Created by the patriarch, the restaurant chain is managed by a team of three passionate brothers – Sachit, Anish and Mitin. The Mehra brothers are dynamic, talented and have a family trait of charismatic. What gets them going is their love for food, sensitive taste buds and a natural demand for nothing but the best.

Sachit Mehra, at the young age of 19 was the recipient of the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award from the Asia Pacific Foundation. Focused on customer service and customer loyalty, he is at the heart of the restaurants growing patronage.

Anish Mehra is a graduate of the Restaurant and Hotel Management program from the University of Guelph. He has received numerous awards and scholarships in this field.

Nitin Mehra graduated as a chef from Algonquin Culinary as well as Le Cordon Blue. He spent five years traveling between Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal improving his skills as an Indian Chef. He is a trained Sommelier, which enables him to match the delicate flavours of Indian cuisine with the right wines and liquors.

The restaurants have received 5* ratings from several food critiques including the Winnipeg Free Press, the Ottawa Herald as well as being recognized as one of the best in Canada by Ann Hardy, Where to eat in Canada.

The Mehra brothers have developed this tour for their own journey of going back to India. At the requests of many of their friends they are inviting a small group of friends who are interested in India and in love with Indian food and culture. In short, it is for those who to want to have this unique opportunity to experience India with the Mehra brothers as your local hosts.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
1. Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
2. Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
3. Fatehpur Sikri
4. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
5. Agra Fort
6. Taj Mahal, Agra

Click to enlarge
Tour Information
Tour Duration : 16 days
Min. Tour Size : 15 persons
Max. Tour Size : 22 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Oct 26, 2016: Depart home city for New Delhi
 
Day 02: Oct 27, 2016: Arrival New Delhi
 
Day 03: Oct 28, 2016: New Delhi
(B, D)
Day 04: Oct 29, 2016: Old Delhi
(B, L, D)
Day 05: Oct 30, 2016: Delhi/Mandawa (Drive: 260 Km/06 Hours) DIWALI
(B, D)
Day 06: Oct 31, 2016: Mandawa
(B, L, D)
Day 07: Nov 01, 2016: Mandawa/Jaipur (Drive: 180 Km/04 Hours)
(B, D)
Day 08: Nov 02, 2016: Jaipur
(B, D)
Day 09: Nov 03, 2016: Jaipur
(B, D)
Day 10: Nov 04, 2016: Jaipur/Ranthambore (Drive: 180 Km/04 Hours)
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Nov 05, 2016: Ranthambore/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Drive: 280 Km/06 Hours)
(B, D)
Day 12: Nov 06, 2016: Agra
(B, D)
Day 13: Nov 07, 2016: Agra/Delhi (Drive: 220 Km/04 Hours) & Delhi/Amritsar by train
(B, D)
Day 14: Nov 08, 2016: Amritsar
(B, D)
Day 15: Nov 09, 2016: Amritsar
(B, L, D)
Day 16: Nov 10, 2016: Amritsar/departure
(B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Oct 26, 2016: Depart home city for New Delhi

Day 02: Oct 27, 2016: Arrival New Delhi

Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Sheraton New Delhi – Deluxe Rooms (3 Nights)

Day 03: Oct 28, 2016: New Delhi

Our culinary journey of India starts with an introduction of the capital city, New Delhi. We start with a visit of Birla House - residence of Mahatma Gandhi before he was assassinated. Then we visit the majestic India Gate followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and the beautiful Humayun's Tomb and Gardens*. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture recently restored the site to reflect its 1570 ambience.  At Qutb Minar and its Monuments* site we see the beautiful early 13th century red sandstone tower of over 70 meters height with it’s surrounding archaeological area containing funerary buildings including the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, a masterpiece of Muslim art in India.
Our first of many exciting culinary activities start with a private visit to the house of the famous chef Mrs. Jyoti Agarwal. Here we will, under the supervision of Jyoti preparing delicious home cooked Indian meal. Jyoti is natural with cooking and teaching. Over the sumptuous meal we will have cooked, we will enjoy dinner with Jyoti and her family. Chatting with the family we will get to know the life styles of contemporary urban India. Truly, an authentic introduction to India and its people. (B, D)

Day 04: Oct 29, 2016: Old Delhi

No visit to Delhi is complete without visiting Old Delhi. We start with a photo stop at the Red Fort – the massive sandstone fort built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The bestway to explore Old Delhi is the local way - on 3wheeler rickshaws - and that’s what we will do! The Rickshaw ride will take us through the narrow lanes of the Old city. Next we visit the exotic Kari Baoli spices section and get to know the secret of the Moghul Emperors’ royal kitchen that have been passed through generations and forms the basis of the popular Moghul Cuisine. Tour of Old Delhi will tantalize us with food delights at the Parathewali Gali-a whole street lined with shops specializing only in Parathas, a popular flat bread stuffed with vegetables, cheese, spices and everything the chef fancies! Watch them create masterpieces using exotic flours, spices, vegetables and other ingredients. These simple melt-in-your-mouth delicacies will leave you craving for more.
Then we visit the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque standing across the road from the Red Fort built in 1656 also by Shahjahan. About 20,000 people can pray here at a time. Still in Old Delhi we visit the bustling 3 Centuries old and still popular Chandni Chowk bazaar. From here an exciting foodies tour sampling food and seeing culinary in action. We start with the delicate kababs cooked to perfection in tandoors (clay oven) served with Roomali Rotis (“handkerchief” bread). Next is the famous Karim's Restaurant, which has had leading reviews in several international media channels. Next we head for dinner at the Moti Mahal Restaurant. It was here where the famous Butter Chicken was first served! What a day in the historical part of the capital city. (B, L, D)

Day 05: Oct 30, 2016: Delhi/Mandawa (Drive: 260 Km/06 Hours) DIWALI

A scenic start as we drive to Mandawa in Rajasthan – “land of the rajas”. Founded in mid 18thC it was inhabited by rich merchants who constructed massive havelis (mansions) adorned with beautiful wall paintings decorating their homes as mini forts and palaces. The beautiful wall paintings that decorate the havelis of Mandawa have seen themes changing from time to time. From mythology dominated the themes of the frescoes to displaying local legends, animals, portraits, hunting and wrestling scenes. The 19th C saw themes changing to reflect the British (Raj) influence on Indian culture. The traditional subjects were exchanged for cars, trains, balloons, telephones, gramophones, English men in hunting attires and portraits of haveli owners also immaculately dressed.  We arrive in time for rest before joining the locals in celebrating Diwali – the festival of lights. Enjoy the fireworks and illuminations followed by a traditional Diwali Dinner. We also meet the chef.
Overnight: Castle Mandawa – Standard Rooms (2 Nights) (B, D)
http://www.mandawahotels.com

Day 06: Oct 31, 2016: Mandawa

The Castle Mandawa is perhaps the best place to discover the legacy of Shekhawati. Enjoy this fortress-hotel, reviving luxury for the royal in contemporary elegance. Medieval turreted towers, palanquin-roofed balconies blend with modern comforts in old-world rooms with family portraits, antique cannons and arms add to the charm of this family-run resort where tradition still runs strong. Time is still measured by a huge brass gong struck by the resident timekeepers of the fort on the hour
Late morning we are treated to a cooking demonstration of Rajasthani delicacies. We will have the opportunity to try hands at making roti. Balance of the day is free open. Optional recreational facilities include billiard and poolrooms; swimming pool, badminton, croquet, table tennis, Ayurvedic massage, camel horse and jeep safaris, nature trails and a heritage walk through Mandawa town. For lunch and dinner we are treated to Rajput style, otherwise meant for the rajas! . (B, L, D)

Day 07: Nov 01, 2016: Mandawa/Jaipur (Drive: 180 Km/04 Hours)

After a leisurely start we drive to Nawalgarh, the 18th C fresco centre. Nawalgarh is a huge fort and houses numerous havelis with elaborate architecture making this a very interesting sight as we walk through the town visiting havelis Nawalgarh like Anandilal Poddar, Aath Haveli, Hodh Raj Patodia Haveli etc. Before driving to Jaipur we have time at the colourful bazaar. Late afternoon we arrive at Jaipur - the capital of Rajasthan. Balance of the day is free.
Overnight: ITC Rajputana – Executive Rooms (3 Nights) (B, D)
http://www.itchotels.in/hotels/itcrajputana.aspx

Day 08: Nov 02, 2016: Jaipur

We start with an exhilarating excursion of the Amber Fort crowning atop of the mountain ridge. A royal ride on elephant up to the hill will take our imagination to the world of kings and Nawabs. Enjoy a panoramic view before visiting the Jagmandir or the hall of victory. At Jaimahal amidst the center we see the exquisite mirror work and abstract inlay design. This will be followed by yet another interesting  activity as we visit the Pink City as Jaipur is popularly known. Drive through tour of this historical town before we are shown a demonstration of Block printing on cotton textile.  Our afternoon tour visits the Maharaja's City Palace - a museum that contains the original artifacts of the Maharajas of Jaipur’s personal collection including paintings, royal dresses and typical Rajasthani handicrafts. Drive past Hawa Mahal or the Palace of winds through the rose - pink structure which has long been the symbol of the city itself, with time at the bazaar followed by a visit of  Jantar Mantar: the stone observatory built in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The huge masonry instruments were used to study the movement of constellations and stars in the sky. This evening we are treated to a special dinner planned for us at the majestic Rambagh Palace. (B, D)

Day 09: Nov 03, 2016: Jaipur

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast. The day is free with no structured activities. Jaipur is a shoppers’ paradise and you have the day to shop for the beautiful handicrafts-trinkets, souvenirs, jewelry, fabrics, home furnishings and miniature paintings. Jaipur is known offer the best in India to suite everyone’s budget! Come evening and we proceed to Dera Amer for a very special experience, a 45 minute ride through the countryside on elephant back-enjoying the silence interrupted only by chirping of birds, calls of peacock, and sounds of bells around the elephants’ necks. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner under the stars with the chefs serving hot naans right from the tandoor. A luxury very few will have experienced before. (B, D)

Day 10: Nov 04, 2016: Jaipur/Ranthambore (Drive: 180 Km/04 Hours)

Today we experience a whole different facet of India. After breakfast we drive to Ranthambore, the former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Ranthambore National Park lies at the edge of a plateau, and is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River. There are several lakes in the park. It is named for the historic Ranthambhore fortress, which lies within the national park. The rugged terrain and the dense deciduous forests are major features of this national park, which has the largest and most diverse resident wildlife in India. After rest rime at our safari lodge, we go on a jeep safari through the National Park. Our aim is to see as many of the species that roam here including indigenous animals as tiger, nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar, jungle cat, ratel, hyena, porcupine, the Rhesus Macaque and the black-faced Langur. About 150 bird species can be found here including migratory birds that arrive in winter. Later we join the chef and get another facet of Indian cooking.
Overnight: Ranthambore Regency – Cottage Rooms (1 Night) (B, L, D)
http://www.ranthambhor.com

Day 11: Nov 05, 2016: Ranthambore/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Drive: 280 Km/06 Hours)

Ranthambhore, has since 1973, been declared as a Project Tiger Reserve. It is famous for the Royal Bengal Tigers and spotting the big cat in its natural habitat is an experience. We take an early morning in  time to catch the animals searching for their prey. Breakfast will be served after the morning safari and then a leisurely late morning drive to the UNESCO WHS site of Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri the eerily abandoned capital of the Mughal Empire (1570 – 1586). Today it is a ghost town however Mughal Emperor Akbar built this city to celebrate the birth of his son Jehangir the future heir to the throne. While Akbar is believed to have been illiterate, he took great interest in the arts and architecture; Fatehpur Sikri is one of his masterworks. Sadly, it served as a capital for a short period before being abandoned due to lack of accessible water. A short drive and we get a distant sunset view of the Taj Mahal. We enter Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. During dinner we are treated to a meet with the Executive Chef and also tour the kitchen.
Overnight: ITC Mughal – Mughal Rooms (2 Nights) (B, D)
http://www.starwoodhotels.com

Day 12: Nov 06, 2016: Agra

At sunrise we visit THE most well known wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal*. The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble built between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is the jewel of Muslim art in India and universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage and the embodiment of love. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mughal garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture. After enjoying a sunrise visit of the Taj, we return to our hotel for breakfast. Next we visit Agra Fort*. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5kms long enclosed walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. Here we have the opportunity of visiting the Pearl Mosque and the Tomb of Itamad-ud-Daula, both built by Empress Noorjehan in memory of her father. To learn about unique craftsmanship, we will get a demonstration of the inlay work with precious and semi precious stones from craftsmen who have kept the 380 years old traditions alive today. The day’s touring concludes with a visit to the local bazaar. Afternoon free time to rest and wonders about the wonders of the world we will have seen today. Agra is one of the few cities to house 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This evening we get a foodies feat as we venture out for some street food in Agra. The famous joint includes Mama's Chicken featured in Discovery Travel & Living. http://www.mamafranky.com/  This is a popular hangout for tourists and sophisticated Indians with their families. One can even look over the menu from now. (B, D)

Day 13: Nov 07, 2016: Agra/Delhi (Drive: 220 Km/04 Hours) & Delhi/Amritsar by train

A leisurely drive to Delhi Railway station to connect with our deluxe Shatabdi train to Amritsar. Traveling in India by train is an experience never to be forgotten. We arrive early to get a glimpse of the life and activities at the railway stations – truly a picture never to be forgotten. On any given day there are over 25 million people in the train of India. The 7 hours mostly daytime train ride allows us to see scenes of lavish green pastures and rural Indian lifestyle, enjoy dinner on board the train, and meet other folks on the train. We are welcomed as we arrive at Amritsar - the city that houses the incredible Golden Temple.
Overnight: Hyatt Amritsar – Hyatt Guest Rooms (3 Nights) (B, D)
http://amritsar.hyatthotels.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Day 14: Nov 08, 2016: Amritsar

After breakfast, we start with a more in-depth tour of the Golden Temple, the holiest religious shrine of Sikh religion. Characterized by its four entrance doors and a tastefully decorated shrine, the Golden Temple welcomes everyone regardless of religion or faith. Subject to availability, we have requested for a private audience with the chief priest. We also visit the community kitchen where free food is served all day and night to thousands of pilgrims and visitors – all on a volunteer basis. Next we visit Jallianwalah Bagh, a historical monument that immortalizes the April 13, 1919 massacre of innocent women and children by the British Army.
Late afternoon leave for an excursion to Wagah border (India-Pakistan Border) to witness the “Change of Guard” ceremony. Here Indian and Pakistani soldiers march to a very enthusiastic crowd as the flags of both countries are lowered with great skill and precision cheered by their countrymen. Evening we enjoy dinner at the Surjeet, recommended also by the Lonely Planet. Surjeet started as a cart fish shop at the local railway station. Today it is a fine dinning restaurant – a favourite amongst Bollywood stars… and who knows we may just meet one. (B, D)

Day 15: Nov 09, 2016: Amritsar

An early morning optional tour to experience the pre dawn rituals at the Golden Temple. We start at 430AM and at the temple walk on the marble flooring barefoot following the many pilgrims as they dip their feet to cleanse them. As they pass the flower stalls, some stop to buy garlands of yellow, gold or russet marigolds to carry inside as offerings. All this while other interesting ceremonies are taking place for us to see or just enjoy the serenity. At about 7AM we return to our hotel for breakfast and rest with the rest of the morning being free.  Afternoon, enjoy a street cuisine very popular in Amritsar. The walled city around the Golden Temple, the oldest part of Amritsar, is a heaven for food.  The foodies can look forward to savoring a seductive smorgasbord of specialties. Recommended is lunch of chole kulche (chickpeas curry) transformed to a gourmet meal. We bid farewell to Punjab in a typical Punjabi style. Evening (attire recommended is Punjabi in colour and style) we drive to Virasat Haveli to enjoy a traditional Punjabi Village dinner followed by dance and entertainment. A live bhangra performance will enthrall us and just like the locals we join and make it happen. (B, L, D)

Day 16: Nov 10, 2016: Amritsar/departure

After a memorable journey through incredible India, we are transferred to the airport for our flight back home. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2016

Oct 26

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

Departure(s) Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
2016 CA$ 6980 CA$ 999


Notes

N/A



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • International airfares from Toronto (add $ 190 from other gateway cities)
  • Within India tour airfare
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 31 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers as per the itinerary
  • Services of local English speaking guides/drivers
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Elephant Ride at Amber Fort
  • Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi
Not Included
  • Airport/Departure taxes (approx. $480)
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
N/A

USA(West Coast)
N/A

CANADA(East Coast)
N/A

USA(East Coast)
N/A

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 22 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.