Master the bold flavors of Indian home cooking in Rajasthan's desert region by learning from culinary experts in cities, farms, and remote outposts.
India entices our sense through its exotic music, the rich colors of spices, the scent of incense, and the piquant flavors of food. Travelers to Rajasthan, in northwestern India, know the region for its palaces and forts, once home to Maharajas (high kings). We'll delve deeper: Our culinary tour will immerse us in the local culture to reveal the spirit of the people of India's warrior/desert state, where cooking is influenced by availability of ingredients - millet, barley, spices, yogurt - in this arid landscape.
We'll visit home kitchens - many with wood fires and terracotta pots simmering on coals - to learn the techniques of northern Indian cooking, and we'll come away with mouth-watering recipes. As part of our immersion, we'll stay in heritage mansions and forts as well as in a deluxe tented camp, and we'll visit family homes in small villages where we'll learn about Rajasthani foods - as well as Mughlai and Tandoori North Indian cuisine.
Note: This itinerary focuses on northern India’s food culture and traditions, and it involves cooking lessons and food visits. Although there are city and palace walking tours and some garden/marketplace/farm strolling, we will not take daily group walks.
DAYS 1 & 2: Flavors & Sights of Delhi
You’ll be met upon your arrival at the Delhi international airport and transferred to the hotel for the night. The following day, a rickshaw will carry us throughChandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s bustling bazaar filled with shops selling Indian delicacies and sweets, saris, and jewelry. Next, we’ll have a guided tour of the Red Fort, the palace home of India’s Mughal emperors and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll also wander along Paranthe Wali Gali, a narrow street named for parantha, a fried Indian flatbread stuffed with spiced vegetables. For our first hands-on cooking experience, we’ll join a chef in cooking a Punjabi dish such as Tandoori Kebabs or Balti Meat.
Overnight in Delhi
DAY 3: Cooking on an Organic Farm
We depart the city for the tranquility of organic Laksh Farms—located in a valley between the Aravalli Hills—where we’ll spend the night and get lessons in traditional farm cooking. We’ll enjoy chapati (Indian bread) cooked on an open-air chula (wood-fired clay stove); palak (spinach) fresh from the fields; and paneer (fresh curd) made from Laksh cow milk. In addition, we’ll help grind wheat and dalia (bulghar) and harvest vegetables like saag (spinach greens), dal (lentils), and broccoli from the vegetable patch.
Overnight at Laksh Farms
DAYS 4 & 5: Jewels of Jaipur
Today we’ll fly to Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur, and are invited to lunch in the home of a Rajput family for our first taste of the different spices and cooking styles unique to this region. One evening, we’ll learn to make a Rajasthani staple, Dal Baati, baked or grilled wheat bread balls served with spicy dal. On Day 5, we’ll walk through a wilderness reserve and dine outdoors by candlelight on Rajasthani specialties. We’ll even try our hand baking breads in the tandoori oven. Sightseeing highlights for these two days include the Jaipur City Palace and astronomical observatory; the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing; and the Amber Fort, a 16th-century complex with breathtaking ramparts andcarved walls and ceilings
Overnight in Jaipur
DAYS 6 & 7: Chattra Sagar Deluxe Tented Camp
The remote Chattra Sagar Tented Camp, situated on a reservoir with inspiring views across the grasslands, awaits us. During our two days at this enchanting place, we’ll explore its farm, visit local temples, and meet nearby villagers. We’ll also drive through the grasslands, spying wetland birds, herds of blue bulls, and other animals. Our cooking instruction continues with learning family recipes passed down through the generations; making Rajasthani lamb kabobs grilled over hot coals; and preparing Khade Masale Ka Gosht, a spicy-hot dish made with goat or lamb and whole peppercorns.
Overnight at Chhatra Sagar deluxe tent camp
DAYS 8 & 9: Rohet Garh Estate
We’re off on a new culinary adventure—this time at Rohet Garh, a noble ancestral estate built in 1622 that specializes in traditional Marwari-region culture and cuisine. Situated on a lake in rural surroundings, the property is now a stylish boutique hotel in remote western Rajasthan. We’ll immerse ourselves in the subtleties of cooking Safed Maas, lamb in a non-coconut version of a korma. On Day 9, the highlight is a Jeep safari to a nearby village, where we’re welcomed into the homes of the Bishnoi people, strict vegetarians whose spiritual practices include protecting natural ecosystems and wildlife. The blackbuck antelope, an endangered species, stays close to the Bishnoi. We’ll see the blackbuck and meet raikas (shepherds) wearing glorious costumes. The village women will include us in preparing a vegetarian meal.
Overnight at Rohet Garh
DAY 10: Jodhpur & Departure from Delhi
After an early breakfast, we drive to Jodhpur for a guided tour through the towering Mehrangarh Fort, which encloses several royal palaces and a museum. By noon we’ll transfer to the Jodhpur airport for the flight back to Delhi, where we’ll be met upon arrival. Depending on the time of your international flight departure, we’ll plan a home visit where we’ll be served a variety of Indian snacks.