BOLLYWOOD
Step onto the sets of the Blockbuster of the Decade. Into the garishly colourful and wildly fascinating world of Indian cinema. With a scene straight out of a typical Hindi movie, a lavish dinner of spicy fare under the spotlights and a drunken medley of Hindi film songs, the evening promises to run to a full house.

SILVER THALI DINNER THEME
You are welcomed warmly, in true Indian Style, with a ‘tikka’ (an auspicious dot of colour), aarti and a shower of marigolds. You can then head for the ‘Dastarkhwan’. Relish the bounty at low dining tables laden with food from various Indian provinces, served in Silver Platters. Raise a toast to the grandeur of Royal India as you watch a classical dance performance.

MAHARAJA WELCOME
Your arrival at the palace hotel is like an historical event full of pomp and grandeur. You are announced to the strains of the ‘shehnai’. Camels and elephants decorated in royal Indian tradition salute you, while ladies in ethnic costume anoint you with a ‘tikka’ (an auspicious red dot), adorn you with marigold garlands and perform ‘aarti’. A welcome drink soothes you before you launch into the excitement of a whole new Indian experience.

THE GANGAUR BOAT CRUISE
For guests at one of the world’s most romantic hotels, there is one night like no other. Take a tranquil ride in the antique royal barge of the House of Mewar. Under a canopy of stars relish Mewari specialties favoured by the Maharanas of Udaipur as you circle the mystical Lake Palace Hotel.

SAND DUNES EXPERIENCE
History whispers in Jodhpur’s forts, havelis and temples. But there are stories lurking in the stretches of the Thar Desert. So take a camel cart ride to sand dunes lit gold by ‘mashaals’ (lighted torches ) and bonfires. Then in the shelter of tents and an even bigger canopy of stars sip a welcome drink while ‘Langas’ and ‘Kalbeliyas’ serenade you with Rajasthani dance and music. End an idyllic evening with a barbecue dinner and fireworks.

MOGHUL THEME
Slip back into the grandeur and glitter of the Mughal era. And into the role of an emperor. Where ‘Chobedars’ (gatekeepers) escort you to a ‘Dawaat Khana’ (dining room)and gracious hostesses in silk ‘shararas’ and veils fill the air with ‘attar’ (Mughal perfume) and a rain of flowers. Where you can sit down to flamboyant dances and row upon row of sumptuous Mughlai delicacies served in a manner befitting royalty.

KUNBI FISHING VILLAGE
Discover the charms of rustic Goa. Local artisans sell you trinkets, curious and coconut palm crafts amid rows of painted fishing boats and billowing fishing nets. And while you relish freshly prepared lobster and jumbo prawns, artistes put up a fishermen’s dance especially for you, a gesture of the warmth and cheerful hospitality that is Goa.

PIRATE THEME
Ahoy me hearties, stand and deliver! Corporate movers and shakers will feel right at home abroad the good ship “Jolly Rogers”. Raid the Quartermaster’s stores for good quality swig. Carry off plate loads of tantalizing seafood. Wild is the night, and the singing is loud and hearty. Make a rebel walk and remember take no prisoners.

KERALA THEME EVENING
Discover century old traditions. Discover why they call it “God’s own country”. Marvel at the exquisite grace and classical beauty of Mohiniattam, one of India’s most elegant art forms. As you relax under gently swaying palms sampling exotic specialties from the Malabar Coast.

HYDERABADI CHOWKI
The Nizam’s erstwhile rulers of Hyderabad, dined like this. You too, are invited to dine off traditional rich Hyderabadi fare laid out on a ‘Chowki’ (low table) for a group of 4 or 5 people , as musicians sing a soulful ‘Quawwali’ or ‘Ghazal’ (ballads in Urdu) and add to the romance of the evening.

COLOURS OF INDIA
Traverse the corners of this colourful subcontinent in one splendid unforgettable evening. Witness the rich cultural heritage and diversity of India at its best. After you attend traditional welcome ceremonies from all over the country, tap your feet to the pulsating ‘Bhangra’ from the North or silently admire the graceful “Bharatnatyam” from the South. Be hypnotized the swan like “Manipuri” dance from the East or passion stirring “Rajasthani” dances from the West. All the while savoring India’s myriad delicacies. Let it all fill up your senses.


KAKORI PICNIC

Play Nawab (lord) for a day as you lie back on a ‘charpoy’ in the shade of mango orchards that belongs to the Nawab of Kakori. Savour every bit of the delectable Awadhi cuisine and a host of mango dishes laid out especially for you. Give in to the temptation of the luscious Mango, the king of fruits. Enjoy the royal hospitality of the Nawab. It will become a memory you will cherish.


A PICNIC TO REMEMBER – TAJ KHEMA

Ba adab, ba-mulahiza (All rise, the king has arrived !) Treat yourself to a magnificent view of the Taj Mahal itself, as you picnic like Mughal royalty relaxing in colourful “Khemas” (decorated tents). Savour Mughal delicacies as you sink into the comfort of satin mattresses and are enthralled by a music and dance performance.


PANGHAT

Breathe the passion and desert spirit as finely attired folk artist give you a glimpse into Rajasthani art and culture at Panghat – amphitheatre at the palace. End a memorable evening under the stars with Rajasthani delicacies being traditionally cooked right there for you, on mud platforms.


MAHARASHTRIAN THEME

Welcome to an evening in the heart of Maharashtra. Get comfortable on low silk bolsters as you drink in the village ambience created by straw huts, arti facts, swords and spears from the bygone era of the warrior princes. Then dig into an astounding variety of Maharashtrian cuisine as you are entertained by a ‘tamasha’ troupe to a regional song and dance show called ‘lavni’.


LUCKNOW PAGEANT

The curtains go up. You are absorbed into history, art and culture presentation and five sequences directed by Muzaffar Ali, the world renowned director. The pageant plays out the story of a young man sent down from heaven to see the court of Wajid Ali shah- then known as ‘God’s own court’, and how he was regaled to a breathtaking kathak performance (A traditional Indian dance) and rituals there. The pageant is brought to a grand conclusion with the enactment of a marriage celebration, and a ‘mujra’ (regional dance)- all in traditional costume from the house of Kotwara.


INDORE MALWA DANCE

Stroll into the Malwa region in West Madhya Pradesh. Carefully savour every nuance of its famous cuisine that once graced tables in the princely Rajput states. Then let your heart swell with joy as the days of yore are recreated specially for you in colourful folk dances, puppet shows, magic shows and folk music from the hills.


JUNGLE THEME

Go back in time to a typical hunting camp. Drive out in open jeeps to a camp-site on sprawling lawns and to a welcome by a tribal chieftain. Then experience the life of the jungle as tribal singers and dancers perform specially for you. As torches and oil lamps, and rustic tents pitched on the site enhance the spirit of the wild. Finally, as your food cooks slowly on spits over a camp-fire, marvel at an elaborate display of fire crackers that light up the sky.

OTHER THEMES

TRADITIONAL WELCOME
The Indian saying goes “Atithii Devo Bhava” which means, “A Guest is God”. So we great you with great warmth; ladies in ethnic Indian costume garland you with strings of marigold, anoint you with ‘tikka’ (an auspicious red dot) and perform the ‘aarti.’ You can then relax with a cool, non alcoholic welcome drink..

GRAND ROYAL PROCESSION WELCOME
Only victorious Rajput warriors were accorded a welcome this magnificent. Relive it now as you arrive in a royal carriage on elephant back, escorted by caparisoned camels and elephants – their trunks raised in salute. Ride through a shower of rose petals as horsemen lead your procession and musicians herald your entry. Gentlemen can then try on ‘safas’ (Rajasthani turbans) while the ladies can drap themselves in ‘dupattas’ (shawls). You are then adorned warmly with marigold garlands and anointed with the customary ‘tikka’ (an auspicious red dot of colour) to the lilting strains of the ‘shehnai’. Finally, soak in the warmth of our ambience with a soothing welcome drink.

GRAND RAJASTHANI SOIREE
Be hypnotized by the Rajasthani folk dancers as they whirl dizzily to the folk music after a Royal Procession Welcome. Then treat yourself to an elaborate barbecue on palace lawns as you gasp in awe at a grand fire works display.

ELEPHANT POLO
Tuskers ahoy! Get astride an elephant like a maharajah and play a game so royal, the start is celebrated by a royal military brass band. While the pounding of ‘nagads’ (huge Indian drums) heralds your arrival, you are welcome warmly by tableaux of camels, elephants and ladies in traditional attire. After the final chukker, folk artistes regale you with music as a lavish spread of food brings down the curtains on this royal event.

MARWARI ROYAL PROCESSION
In Marwar, the return of victorious warriors is celebrated with great fanfare. Relive the experience as musicians trumpet your arrival and a camel cart takes you down the driveway lined with caparisoned horses. Ladies are presented with ‘dupattas’ (shawls) and gentlemen are crowned with ‘safas’ (Rajasthani turbans), then garlanded with marigolds and anointed with a ‘tikka’ (red dot of colour) . Sip a cool welcome drink to the throb of Rajasthani folk dances and the hum of traditional music.

WILDLIFE AND VILLAGE SAFARI
Come face to face with the Bishnoi tribe – original champions of the environment- who fiercely protect nature. Catch a glimpse of the black buck and exotic migratory birds. Visit the 300 year old ‘Mahant’s Math’ (home to the religious head) in a typical Rajasthani village. Step quietly into the temple of ‘Lord Shiva’ (the God of destruction) where Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had presented a ceremonial sword. Be the guest of the village and attend the worshipping ceremony of ‘Lord Shiva’. After you have enjoyed the traditional ‘chari’ dance, stroll leisurely through ‘ Meena Bazaar’ and admire a ‘dhurrie’ weaver, ‘lac’ bangle –maker and a potter at work.

LAKE PALACE EXTRAVAGANZA
Experience the luxurious lifestyle of royalty. Walk into a majestic welcome, and then get on the Gangaur boat and cruise around on the lake sipping cocktails. Pause by the Lily Pond to listen to the ‘sitar’. Later, wildly applaud the fancy folk dances and an even fancier fire works display.

THE LILY POND DINNER
As you absorb the calm and surreal setting by the Lily Pond, savour a variety of Chinese, Continental and Indian specialities. The more adventurous types, can get a taste of hot curries. Let the soft strains of Indian classical music and folk dance performances whet your appetite.

BAJOT DINNER AT MAYUR MAHAL
Dine to the lapping of waves on the banks of Lake of Pichola. As you settled into ‘gaddi mudhu’ (thick bolsters) at Mayur Mahal – formerly known as ‘Naach Ghar’ (the dance house)- and eat off “bajots” (low tables), let the serene instrumental music only whet your appetite for more of the delicious Rajasthani cuisine.

VILLAGE FAIR THEME
Wander through a traditional Indian village marveling at the skill of artisans; crafting dolls and puppets , pottery and ‘pichwai’. Amuse yourself with the antics of a ‘bandarwalah’ (an artiste with a monkey ), a snake charmer ‘ kachi- ghiodi’ and ‘dhamal’ (a performance with dummy horse , singers and dancers ). Then treat your stomach to a splendid Indian dinner and your eyes to a grand fireworks display.

BARADARI DINNER / DARBAR THEME
Sink into the comfort of satin mattresses, cushions and bolsters like a true maharaja as you dine under the stars. But, only after the gentlemen have been gifted ‘pagaris’ (turbans) and the ladies, ‘chunnis’ (veils). And welcomed in a shower of rose petals and ‘attar’ (perfume). Then sit-down to a delicious Rajasthani ‘Thali’ (a traditional platter laden with several delicacies). Served in silver thalis on ‘bajots’(low tables) by traditionally attired attendants.

BENARAS CHOWK THEME
Enter Benaras – the famous North Indian city- through rose garden. Begin your evening with the auspicious ‘arti’, ‘tikka’ (red dot of colour ) and garlanding ceremonies. Then settle down to an evening of Indian Classical music (‘sitar’, ‘tabla’ and ‘sarangi’) with a cool drink. Ladies can have their hands adorned with mehendi (henna’) and ‘churis’ (glass bangles). For dinner, feast on Benaras vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes following it up with ‘paan’ (betel leaf), the pride of Benaras.

LUCKNOW RACE COURSE
Flirt with Lady Luck at a 110-year-old racecourse, where races are curiously run anti-clockwise. Spend a private day hobnobbing at tote counters with bookies and sizing up the horses. Place your bets, then cheers your horses to a thundering finish. Stroll down to long and lazy High Tea.

DASTARKHAN
Learn the fine art of living. From the connoisseurs – Nawabs of Lucknow. Accept the grand salute from two adorned tuskers at the entrance. Ladies may then enjoy being carried away in ‘Lapkhis’ (palanquins). Raise a toast to the grandeur of Lucknow as you watch a ‘Kathak’ ( an Indian classical dance) performance. Then offer your undivided attention to ‘Dastarkhwan’, the bounty of the dining table and relish it while you are treated to al live ‘ghazal’ performance in true Lucknowi style.

NAWAB’S HUNTING CAMP
Participate in the royal celebrations that mark a successful royal hunt. As you sit entranced, a camp full of colorful tents come alive with resounding music and dances around a campfire. Mashaal’s’ (flaming touches) glow in the night as the food is barbecued on spits right in front of you and served piping hot by foot soldiers. Making it an unforgettable, evening of royal repast.

THARU VILLAGE
Experience the raw native life of the Tharus – original inhabitants of the Tarai region of Nepal. Bite into morsels of traditional Nepali cuisine. A two storied log hut with a thatched roof, bonfires and typical village ambience give you the opportunity to see Nepal at its traditional best.


ANAPURNA TREK

The rush of adrenalin you feel while trekking into dark forests, rock climbing and rafting on a lashing river will come back to you. So will the memory of the snow-clad mountains. Get into an adventurous mood. Taste the exotic Nepali dishes and gulp down fiery Khukuri Rum, ‘Raksi’ (home made liquor) by the light of bonfires and lanterns.


MUMBAI SIDEWALK YATRA

Heed the call of Mumbai’s buzzing streets. Come face to face with its many exotic distractions. Experiment gleefully and try some Bhel,Vada Pav, Lucknowi Kababs, North Indian chaats and roadside South Indian snacks. Poke around in a flee market and test your bargaining skills. Finally, sip from one our barman’s specials as you examine your shopping treasures.


SEAFOOD BARBEQUE ON THE BEACH

Sip languidly from a glass of wine. Toast the rushing waves, the envious stars. Then sink your teeth into succulent lobsters, jumbo prawns and other local seafood delicacies. Or if you prefer, roast your food on the skewers over a campfire. Then, gloriously satisfied shut your eyes and lie back as a Goan musician serenades you with his tales of love and passion. Savour the moments.


GARND CRUISE DINNER

Glide through the dark of the Mandovi River on a star-lit night. On a voyage blessed with divine food, soulful folk music and dotted with sights and sounds of a local Goan evening.


GOAN CARNIVAL THEME

Mardi Gras, sea and sunshine. Get into the swing of things with dancers in frills, feathers and exotic masks. Sway merrily to a ‘Mando’ (Goan song) singing trio. Raise a toast to good times with a glass of ‘Feni’ (potent Goan drink) as you wolf down plates full of tasty prawns, ‘Vindaloo’ (local spicy pork dish) and fish so delicious you’ll talk about it at dinners back home.


ETHNIC ANDHRA THEME

After you experience the warmth of traditional welcome wander off into coastal village in Andhra Pradesh. Peep into its charming rusting life; the maze of thatched roof huts, fishing nets and old wooden boats. Then feast on a lavish Andhra dinner as folk dancers entertain you.


KERALA VILLAGE TOUR

As your ‘vallam’ (wooden boat) slides through the lush vegetation and the backwaters of Kerala, into tranquility, you will see why it’s called ‘God’s own country’. Share your specially packed lunch with the staring kingfishers and cormorants as you float past traditional fish farms, Chinese fishing nets and paddy fields sweeping to the horizons.


INDIAN MARTIAL ART PERFORMANCE

It is widely believed that marital art originated in Kerala. Watch two of the oldest and well-known martial art forms: ‘Kalariyupayatu’ (armed and unarmed combat) and ‘Silambam’ (staff fencing). Stand quite to a jaw-dropping display of self-defence, physical and exercises and combat tactics. See opponents execute swift, powerful cat-like moves that could break a body in the flicker of an eye.


KERALA FISHING VILLAGE THEME

Get carried away in the happy bustle of a fishing village taken from ‘The Venice of the East’. Chinese fishing nets, local toddy shops, fish market, local artisans and vegetable vendors all mingle together to bring you a slice of native Kerala. Authentic cuisine is served in the traditional style; banana leaf et al. A definite feast for the gourmand.

SPECIAL WELCOMHERITAGE EVENTS

DAWAT-E-MEHRANGARH

Literally meaning an aviation to legal dining at the magnificent Fort. Guests are encourage to don colourful turbans, tied in true Rajput style, while the ladies are offered bright ‘Chunnis’ (stoles) to drape over their heads.

The stage is set for memorable evening. As the buses and cars climb the steep road to the Fort, the massive flood-lit monument towers above them, etched dramatically against the darkening sky.

And, as the colorfully dressed guests troop into the courtyard of the Fort, the ‘Langa’ musicians welcome them, escorting them with song and music

The guests are invited to proceed to the ramparts of the Fort on foot for those who do not wish to walk, a lift takes them there. Half-way up, two selected members of the group are then carried up regally for the rest of the way into a palanquin escorted by the group and the musicians, on a path lit with flaming torches (mashals).

The view from the ramparts is awe-inspiring, of the lighted Jodhpur city 500 feet below.

The evening entertainment consists of the ‘Langa’ musicians and a group of dancers in colourful skirts who dance and sing in traditional style. The guests sit on mattresses placed on the floor with bolstered backrests.

Meanwhile, the aroma of the preparations of dinner comes wafting through. A delicious dinner of bar-be-cue Rajasthani dishes as well as Continental fare is followed by a variety of desserts. The spread is laid out on buffet tables at one end of the ramparts from where the guests help themselves and proceed to individual tables.

Thus ends the magical evening, a fascinating experience, where one steps momentarily from the present into a fragment of royal living of the past.

FLAMING TORCH DINNER
The lush green lawns of Umaid Bhawan Palace, lit with rows of flickering, flaming torches and twinkling fairly lights in the surrounding trees and bushes, provide a perfect venue for a special evening. The flood-lit palace is the breath-taking backdrop for this unforgettable function. From here the twinkling lights of the city can be seen nestling between the palace and the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, whose grandeur is emphasized by spectacular lights.

In these romantic surroundings, listen to the haunting music of the deserts of Rajasthan, when singers and dancers vie with each other in entertaining the guests. The food is served in traditional Rajasthani as well as Continental dishes and an array of mouth-watering desserts. It is indeed an affair to remember.

 

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