India is a land of breathtaking diversity, a country steeped in history, heritage and adventure. As Indians slowly start to venture out and reignite their desire to travel again, CNN celebrates the ‘Spirit of India’ in a special 30-minute program, exploring age-old traditions, unique fine dining experiences and unexpected outdoor wonders.
A room fit for a king
Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’, boasts dozens of ornate ‘palace hotels’ – residences that were once home to actual kings and monarchs. CNN showcases one of Rajasthan’s finest former royal homes: the Samode Palace, now owned by Yadavendra Singh, a descendent of the royal family in a small town just outside Jaipur. At the Palace, ancient history truly meets contemporary high-end hospitality: the 475-year old structure now functions as a luxury hotel, offering one of the most elite escapes on earth.
Is this the world’s best Indian food?
Ask any chef or food critic where to find some of the best Indian food in the world, and you might hear the same answer: Delhi-based Indian Accent. At the helm is the award-winning chef Manish Mehrotra, known for his innovative approach to traditional Indian cuisine. Mehrotra invites CNN into his kitchen, and shares the inspiration behind his menus and the secrets of sourcing his favorite ingredients.
Reviving India’s ancient art of calligraphy
Calligraphers were once some of the most notable artists in India. But in the digital age, the millenia-old artform is slowly fading away. One of the last remaining professionals in the field is Delhi-based Qamar Dagar, a pictoral calligrapher whose work features a combination of Hindi and Urdu font in poetry and paint. She is hoping to revive this age-old craft through her art, and by promoting and bringing together local calligraphers.
India’s extreme whitewater kayak race
India’s longest and most sacred river, the Ganges, serves as a holy site of worship for many. However, in the recent times, the river has become a coveted site for extreme adventure sports – namely, whitewater racing. CNN journeys north and meets Bhupendra Singh Rana, a professional kayaker who created the first ever kayaking festival on the Ganges in 2013 – an event that has drawn both athletes and thrillseekers to ride some of the best white water rapids in the world.
Making green tea even greener
Darjeeling, India’s mountainous and lush tea country, produces some of the finest quality chai on the planet. Rajah Banerjee, known locally as the King of Tea, once managed the oldest and the most famous tea estate in the region: Makaibari, India’s first organically-certified tea garden. CNN joins Banerjee at his new label, Rimpocha, in the remote state of Sikkim, to discuss his latest mission: to introduce sustainable and eco-friendly farming to the country.