Dream curry trip!

This has to be a curry lover’s dream holiday… Fresh from Pat Chapman, author and general curry expert

Pat Chapman's Curry Club
Luxury Gourmet Tour to North India 2011

Dates
Thursday 10th March 2011 to Thursday 24th March 2011.

Overview
Pat Chapman first took a Gourmet Tour to India in 1983 and he has to date taken 16 tours there, the most recent being last year, 2009. There are no other tours like this one. The tour is led and managed by Pat and his wife Dominique. Between them they have over 50 years experience of India including over journeys there. The tour takes in all the sights you’d expect to see plus some not available to regular tourists. You will stay in the best hotels in each place. Being a Gourmet Tour, your food is way, way better that tourist buffets. All meals mentioned in this itinerary are included in the price. Scroll down for more on the food.

Number of people in group
Maximum 14, (minimum 10) plus Dominique & Pat Chapman – Tour Managers.

Destinations
Mumbai (1 night), Aurangabad (2 nights), Udaipur (3 nights), Kumbhalgarh (1 night), Shahpura(1 night), Jaipur (2 nights), Agra (2 nights), Delhi (2 nights). The destinations have been carefully chosen to show you the best of historic and modern India, from chaotic cities to peaceful villages. The Nine hotels are all the best at the chosen destination. (Four are rated in the World’s Top 50). Fiveare genuinely former palaces, while the remaining four are hotels built for the purpose. A number of rural royal-owned palaces have been restored offering greater luxury rooming choice in unusual places where there used not to be choice. Their  devoted owners, have invested their all to make their venues attractive They aren’t as well heeled as the Taj Group’s (four) or Oberoi’s (one) (nor are they as expensive). But they are equally unmissable, located in interesting rural locations … not to mention conveniently placed en route which makes our day to day transit mileages managable.

International flights
Heathrow to Mumbai outbound, Delhi to Heathrow inbound, both on the modern fleet of the acclaimed Jet Airways.

Domestic flights
Deliberately kept to the minimum possible, (one on Day 3 and two on Day 5).

Road transporation
Day 2 to 5 and Day 16
Local a/c coaches for road transfers and sightseeing.
Day 5 to 15
All travel from Udaipur to the end of the tour is by road in a modern Volvo 40 seat air-conditioned coach on exclusive hire to our group. It will be crewed by a highly qualified driver and an assistant. Most Indian coaches are relatively primitive, no power sterring, their air-conditioning may or may not work, windows are small, the seating is uncomfortable and luggage space limited. We will be travelling up to 6 hours on transits between destinations on several occasions, so we consider it to be an absolute essential that you travel at European comfort and standards. There are very few Volvo coaches in India, infact the few Indian companies that offer them for hire call them ‘hi-tech!’ We have booked one. So you can be sure of having plenty of space aboard. Each seat does a deep recline, and there are enough seats for you to spread out over two seats if you wish to do so.

The tour’s historical overview
North India has more historical monuments, than anywhere on earth, and not a moment too soon India has started to preserve them. Your route has been carefully chosen so that you see all the sights that the average India Tour group will see, plus a lot of sights they won’t see. We enter India via Bombay. Renamed Mumbai, it is India’s commercial centre. It’s typical of India with abject poverty in the slums and some housing costing more than that of Mayfair. Mumbai is and worth a look, but not a long stay, particulary when you find out how expensive it is. India is home to many religions and you will see several temples and mosques, including the ancent temples at Ellora. The subsequent tour will take you first into Mughal territory, then that of the Maharajas. You will visit no less that four of the six great emperors’ tombs including the most famous one of all, the Taj Mahal, and make comparisons between them. You’ll also visit their red forts and mosques. There were some 650 Maharajas until in 1965 they were stripped of their royal status. But as far as the people are concerend they still hold them in high respect, Many ex royals and their descendents are still around and to prevent the government comandering their palaces, they live in them, and unlike British stately homes, they let rooms on a hotel basis. You’ll meet some of them since you will stay in five former palaces and visit several more. The two of the richest are Udaipur and Jaipur. We return to Mughal lands with our stays in Agra and Delhi, where you will see some of what the British did for India.

Gourmet meals on the tour
24 Meals (excluding in-flight meals and 14 full breakfasts) The menus of all have been arranged with discussions between the chefs and Pat Chapman. We will be served 14 dinners and 10 lunches, 8 of which are at specialist outside restaurants and 16 of which are at our hotels of which 5 are held in private hotel locations exclusive to our group.

Meals on the tour
The regions and cities we visit all have distinctive cuisines, including Aurangabadi, Deccan, Maharashtran, Marathwadi, Mewari, Mughal, Mumbai and Rajasthani, and we have stipulated that our meals are cooked as accurately as possible. En route there are other fabulous culinary specialist cooks at venues where you will experience Gujarati, Lucknowi, south Indian and Tandoori cuisines and from India’s top chef, Modern Indian. In order to bring you as much culinary accuracy, variety and as little dish repetition as possible, Pat Chapman is in constant contact with all the Executive Chefs en route, many of whom he knows personally. They know he expects excellence and they rise to the challenge. They also know that the clients on Pat’s Gourmet Tours know Indian food, so do not expect the buffets proffered to the mass tourists. Twenty-four (10 lunches and 14 dinners) meals are provided on your 16 day holiday to north India. The are all specified in this itinerary and are included in the tour price, as are 14 full breakfasts and your in flight meals. All will give you ample portions, so most of the lunches are light and/or self-service and all the dinners are waiter-served allowing you to control your portions.

Four chef cooking demonstrations
Chefs are busy people and they don’t do demos for the masses.  You will meet four chefs, demonstrating four completely different food styles, in Mumbai, Udaipur, Jaisamand and Agra.

Excursions
Morning or afternoon city tours of Mumbai (Bombay), Aurangabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. Full day tour to Jaisamand Lake, Rajasthan. Visits to four other key destinations: Dera Mera, Fatepjur Sikri, Bharatpur and Sikandra. Three Jeep excursions, two elephant rides and two boat trips.

Guide
On every excursion and city tour we engage the services of a fully licensed Guide. (It will be the same Guide acoompanying the coach from Udaipur to Delhi). Her/his expertise will be invaluable, as (s)he answers your local questions and fills us in on India’s economics, history and ecology.

Attention to detail
We hope we have thought of everything… it’s those little extra touches which count. Things like, cool water on the coach, fruit and flowers in your room, full moon at the Taj Mahal, the Elephant Festival, sound & light show, Holi Festival.

Cricket World Cup
No other country on earth worships cricket more than India and to prove it the cricket World Cup is in full swing during your March 2011 holiday, with the finals day on 2 April. And this is immediately followed by the world’s top players competing in India’s premier league, the IPL.  You will be able to follow the World Cup on your room TV.  India and England are in group B and these are the days on which they play.
6th March 2011  –  India v Ireland – Bengaluru
6th March 2011  –  England v South Africa – Chennai (Madras)
9th March 2011  –  India v Netherlands
11th March 2011  –  Bangladesh v England – Chittagong
12th March 2011 –   India v South Africa – Nagpur
17th March 2011  –  England v West Indies – Chennai (Madras)
20th March 2011  –  India v West Indies – Chennai (Madras)
23rd March 2011  –  Quarter Finals – Dhaka, Colombo, Ahmadebad
24th March 2011  –  Quarter Finals
25th March 2011  –  Quarter Finals
26th March 2011  –  Quarter Finals
29th March 2011  –  Semi Finals – Colombo
30th March 2011  –  Semi Finals – Mohali
2nd April 2011  –  Final – Mumbai (Bombay)

Tour extension
We have some lovely extension trips. Perhaps you would like to go to Goa to relax, read and rest, please let us know.

Tour price
£5,995 per person (sharing a twin or double room).

Full details

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