Into the Heartland
Into the Heartland
Geographically, this tour is centered on North India’s Gangetic Plain, with a southward foray as far as the city of Bhopal, which lies in Central India.

Crafted to pull together Adya’s guiding principles of meaningful engagement with the land and traditional communitieswhile not missing some of India’s big tourist attractionsthis tour is centered on North India’s Gangetic Plain, with one leg reaching into Central India. It includes grand medieval architecture dating from the Islamic period and food experiences ranging from a wide variety of street fare to sophisticated royal cuisine. Community engagements with folk artists in Bhopal, craftswomen in Aligarh, and acid attack survivors in Agra are particularly enriching.

A sampling of our experiences

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s dazzling ode to his queen, Mumtaz.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s ode to love for his queen Mumtaz dazzles you, no matter how many pictures you may have seen of it. Set at the end of a representative Islamic “Garden of Paradise, beneath which rivers flow”, the tomb has many anecdotes and intricacies going beyond the obvious, which our knowledgeable historian-guide will reveal on a lingering walk.

Besides, we will show you views from across the river Yamuna, on the banks of which it stands, arrange an ethereal full-moon tryst (date allowing), and show you the mausoleum’s “baby cousin” built in another part of the teeming city, commissioned, this time, by a grieving woman for her soldier husband.

Additional experiences

Qutb Complex
The soaring spire rises over tombs, gateways, and mosques of the Sultanate period.
Sanchi Stupa
An introduction to Buddhism at the religion’s most significant site in India.
Artisanal lanes
See inlay artists, carpet makers, and zardozi embroiderers ply their craft.

Tuck into Old Delhi’s famous street food

Eateries with stories
Eateries with stories
In the 17th century, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built his new walled capital, Shahjahanabad, which is now known as Old Delhi (relative to the British New Delhi that came immediately after). Today’s Old Delhi is one of the most fascinating parts of Delhi. It is a maze of lanes, by lanes, cramped residences, decaying mansions, bazaars of all kinds, shrines of all faiths, lots and lots of people, and an amazing array of north Indian street food, steeped in stories and culture. 

Additional experiences

Munchy, juicy paan
The betel leaf concoction is probably India’s favorite digestive, and Bhopal has its own iteration.
Home meal
Delve into Braj cuisine, after being taken through its preparation.
Cuisine of nawabs and begums
The delicious food of the erstwhile royals is sophisticated yet robust. 

Sewing gently, quietly, precisely

Phool Patti embroiderers
Phool Patti embroiderers

In this small town, on the way from Delhi to Agra, is practiced a craft called phool patti (lit. flowers and leaves) embroidery, so called after the delicate floral patterns hand stitched on soft, light cloth. The artisans are women, mostly from under-privileged Muslim families, who work under the guidance and care of a lady entrepreneur from a local family. Collaborating on producing homeware products with the phool patti ladies of Aligarh is an on-going Adya project that gives life to our vision and has its own story.  

Tourists don’t go to Aligarh. However, we’d very much like our guests to meet and know these quiet, dignified workers who live in small-town India and create the beauty that brings us joy.

Additional experiences

Gond artists
Up close with the art of a tribe that has inspired some of Adya’s beautiful homeware.
Watch the wheel spin
These khadi cloth makers take inspiration from Gandhi’s call to home-spin cotton.
“Sheroes”, the acid attack survivors
A visit to the foundation that supports these brave women.
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