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Textiles Tours and Tribes of Gujrat
Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
On arrival at the airport in Mumbai, meet our local representative and check in to your hotel. Later this morning, we explore the vibrant city of Mumbai and visit the Prince of Wales Museum, a unique building housing exquisite paintings and sculpture.
We take you to the Dhobi Ghat, where clothes from all over Mumbai are hand laundered, ironed and packed off within the day by hundreds of dhobi-wallas and to Mani Bhawan, a charming museum housing artifacts and photographs from the extraordinary life of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the afternoon, enjoy the boat ride that takes you to the serene forested island of Elephanta to see magnificent 8th century cave sculptures of the Lord Shiva. Spend the evening shopping in the colorful bazaars of the city.
Day 02 : Mumbai - Bhuj
We fly you to a location to the beautiful old walled city of Bhuj, with its narrow streets, lively bazaars and colorful tribes-people largely untouched by the outside world.
On arrival our representative will meet you and check you into the up-market Hotel Prince.
In the afternoon, we visit the colorful and lively Swaminarayan Temple standing majestically and vividly against the sandy desert of Bhuj and the imposing Kutch Museum with its archaeological and cultural artifacts.
Later we browse through the vibrant streets of the bazaar with their displays of handicrafts and colorful embroideries and see a demonstration of the "tie and dye cloth" technique that this area is famed for.
Day 03 : Bhuj :
This morning we visit various fascinating Tribal Villages that surround Bhuj. Each tribe can be recognized by its costume.
The Banni tribal homes are made of round mud huts with a single central support pole and a thatched, surrounding a large community courtyard. The women are hospitable and will welcome you into their homes. They have an exquisite collection of embroidered quilts and garments.
Walls and cupboards are fashioned in mud with decorative designs washed with lime paste and fixed with mirrors. You will also see a variety of handicrafts, including textiles like tie and dye, vegetable color dye printing, glass bead work, woollen shawls, leather articles and more.
We also drive to Sumarsar village, famous for Embroidery and Nirona Village with its wonderful art & bell making. You can also see some lace work done here. Later we drive on to Mundra Village, to see the making of sheep wool, including wax printing. Spend the evening at leisure.
Day 04 : Bhuj - Bhujodi - Zainabad
[ By road - 6 hours drive ]
visit Bhujodi Village to meet the nomadic Rabari who weave camel wool into blankets and shawls. We then drive 6 hours to Zainabad where we check into a unique tribal camp, the Desert Coursers Camp Zainabad - with huts built like the colorful tribal villages in this area.
This western part of Gujarat has unique barren salt flats known as the Rann of Kutch. During the monsoons this area is flooded with seawater and once this water retreats, this vast land is covered with salt.
In the winter months November to February, this area forms a good breeding ground for flamingoes and pelicans. The famous Indian Wild Ass live here in abundance and the isolation from the outside world has helped the local Kutchhi people protect their customs and traditions more than any other part of the state.
Day 05 : Zainabad
We spend the entire day traveling into the Rann of Kutch, meeting the local tribes and viewing the wildlife which includes a thriving population of Wild Ass, Indian foxes, jackals and birds like the houbara bustard, sandgrouse, quails, eagles and falcons just to name a few.
Day 06 : Zainabad - Patan - Ahmedabad
[ By road - 6 hours drive ]
we drive to Patan to visit some of its 100 Jain temples. We also visit weavers of the colorful Patola silk saris who use imaginative skill to dye silk threads in natural colors in a set pattern before modifying them into a magnificent six-yard sari on a complex loom. Each sari takes 4-6 months to complete.
We continue our drive for another 3 hours to Ahmedabad - the capital of the state of Gujarat. Here we check-in to the hotel and in the afternoon, visit the Sabarmati Ashram, situated on the western bank of the Sabarmati River. This ashram, founded in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi, who revived the textile industry here, became the headquarters during the struggle for Indian Independence and it is be-fitting that it is now mainly a spinning wheel factory. Later, we visit the Sidi Saiyed Mosque famous for its beautiful carved stone windows.
Day 07 : Ahmedabad :
In the morning visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, which exhibits stunning antique and modern textiles including rare tapestries, wall hangings and costumes from all regions of Gujarat as well as the rest of India.
See a variety of textiles ranging from long colorful embroidered wall hangings to Zari saris embroidered in gold and weighing 9kg. In the afternoon, after lunch, we return to the museum. We will also see Mr. Manubhai's rare and wonderful collection of embroideries from all over Gujarat.
Later in the evening we proceed to Vishala, an authentically created Gujarati crafts village complete with traditionally decorated mud huts where potters and weavers are at work. Here we visit the Vechaar Utensils Museum with its collection of 2500 Gujarati utensils, including knives and forks and machinery for milking camels.
Day 08 : Ahmedabad - Udaipur
In the morning visit the National Institute of Design, India's leading institute of modern design, and the Shreyas Folk Art Museum to see the collection of tribal costumes and crafts of Gujarat.
In the afternoon, we drive 5 hours to the magical city of palaces, Udaipur where we check you into your hotel.
Day 09 : Udaipur :
In the morning, tour the romantic, city of Udaipur. See the City Palace with its beautiful mosaics, mirror-work and fine gardens, visit Sahalion ki Bari, the delightful garden for the Maids of the Court with its lotus pool and fountains, and see the Jagat Temple, built in the Indo-Aryan style and dedicated to Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe.
In the afternoon, we visit some art studios, specializing in Rajput-Mughal miniature paintings and a charming store of artifacts, antiques and paintings. In the evening, enjoy a serene boat ride around the fabulous Lake Pichola and visit Jagmandir, a beautiful palace on an island that some say inspired the Taj Mahal.
Day 10: Udaipur - Jaipur
This morning we drive 2 hours to Ranakpur, to see the wonderful 500 year old Jain Temples, surprisingly in near perfect condition. The main temple with 29 halls took apart by 1444 ornately sculpted pillars of which no two are alike and temple walls supporting brackets detailing musicians and dancers is outstanding. ]
Thereafter we return to the hotel at Udaipur and in the evening board the flight to Jaipur, the Pink City, also famous for its silver jewelers and gems, its carpets and textiles, and beautiful mirror-work and brightly lit and lively bazaars.
Day 11 : Jaipur :
In the morning we take you on a tour of the city. See the superb City Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the Hawa Mahal,a stunning example of Rajput invention and the Jantar Mantar, the incredibly accurate Royal Observatory built in 1728.
Later we take you to the Amber Fort atop an elephant. This ancient and imposing palace is a superb example of Rajput architecture.
In the afternoon, visit a hand knotted carpet- weaving unit where wool is colored in vegetable dyes and assembled into a beautiful creation of patterns that cannot be replicated. No one carpet here is like another. You can also see a demonstration of the traditional hand block printing on cotton fabric, an art very popular in this region.
Day 12 : Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
[ By road - 6 hours drive ]
This morning we start our drive to Agra via Fatehpur-Sikri, the ancient city built in a blend of Hindu and Muslim artistic styles by the great Moghul Emperor Akbar.
See the magnificent Royal Palace with its famous Panch Mahal, the five-storied palace and the impressive Jami Masjid with its striking Buland Darwaza.
On arrival in Agra check in to your hotel and in the afternoon visit the Agra Fort, the regal fortress built by Emperor Akbar and the seat of the Mughal Empire for generations. Its massive gates lead to the graceful Diwan-I-Am with its ornate architecture, and to the ornamental royal palaces and royal tents built to catch the cool river breeze.
At sunset see the brilliance of the Taj Mahal. The eternal monument of the romantic love of an Emperor for his favourite Queen, the Taj Mahal is constructed in gleaming white marble. It's exquisite and delicate carvings highlighted by floral patterns graced with precious stones are extraordinary It took some 20000 workers 21 years to build this incredible marble tomb.
Day 13 : Agra - Delhi
[ By road - 4 hours drive ]
At sunrise visit the Taj Mahal, masked in fogs and bathed in a red glow. After breakfast, we drive 4 hours to Delhi where you can check in to your hotel.
In the afternoon, visit the National Crafts Museum, an exhibition of rural arts and crafts from all over India in an authentic rural cultural setting complete with mud huts and a haveli.
Later walk through one of the largest bazaars of Delhi, Lajpat Nagar with its wonderful display of complex traditional Indian attire or the Hauz Khas Village with its line up of fashionable boutiques and antique markets.
Day 14 : Delhi
This morning we take you on a tour of the magnificent monuments of Delhi. Visit the Raj Ghat and see the memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque dating to 1658, the Red Fort a magnificent structure of red sandstone built in the time of the Mogul empire, and the enchanted shopping bazaar, Chandni Chowk.
See the Qutub Minar, a superb example of early Afghan architecture going back to 1199, the Emperor Humayun's Tomb, the architectural pioneer to the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Houses of Parliament and the Presidential Palace, both extravagant masterpieces of the British Raj. observe India Gate constructed in tribute to the 30,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives while fighting for the British during the First World war.
In the afternoon visit the National Museum, a treasure trove of exhibits ranging over 5000 years providing the best overview of Indian culture and history. The fascinating display showcases every era of Indian history from the Neolithic to the British Raj and includes everything from sculpture to architecture, bejewelled clothes to ancient manuscripts.
At night we take you to the famous restaurant, the Chor Bizzare to experience the delights of the finest Kashmiri cuisine famed for its delicate, subtle and unrivaled taste.
Day 15 : Delhi Departure :
We drive you to the International airport to your board your flight for your onward journey.
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