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Gujarat Textiles & Crafts Tour

This tour is a fascinating insight into the rich cultural tradition of the people of Gujarat, who, with, an instinctive eye for design and colour produce some of the most creative craftwork to be found in the whole of India. The various techniques used are explored and visits include the Banni Tribes famed for their exquisite mirror embroidery and the Royal city of Jamnagar, extold for its bandhej and home to the only Ayurvedic University in India. The tour also visits the unforgettable Jain temples at Palitana and National Park at Sasan Gir, sanctuary to the only remaining population of Asiatic Lion.

Textile Shopping, India Hand made Shoes of Gujarat
Destinations Covered: Mumbai (Bombay) - Bhuj - Wankaner - Gondal - Sasan Gir - Bhavnagar - Palitana - Ahmedabad - Mumbai (Bombay)
Duration: 13 Nights / 14 Days

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai (Bombay)
Meeting and assistance on arrival at International airport & transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2: Mumbai – Bhuj (By Flight)
Morning transfer to airport to connect flight to Bhuj. On arrival, transfer to hotel. Bhuj a centre of excellence for the unique Gujarat textiles. The Banni tribes living north of Bhuj produce the finest mirror work. Girls spend their youth learning the techniques, cumulating in wonderful extravagant covers, tunics and scarves emblazoned with minute mirrors. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Bhuj
Bhuj is the capital of the Kutch region famed for embroidery, leatherwork, mirror and beadwork and vegetable dye printing. Local women express their creativity by their vibrant, fine and incredibly varied embroidery, unmatched throughout the rest of India. Visit the outlying tribal villages to see the superb skill of the workers. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4: Bhuj
Colour and eye for design is the keynote of Gujarat handicrafts, and is an expression of their rich traditional heritage and personal artistic talent. Visits continue today to villages to see first hand the production of these treasures. Tie and dye using wool and silk is especially popular. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 5: Bhuj – Wankaner (By Surface)
Morning after breakfast drive to Wankaner, nestling on the bend of the River Machhu, dominated by its palace. On arrival, check in at the Wankaner Summer Palace. Afternoon explore the palace including the private museum housing relics and antique weapons, visit the unique step well or swim in the Royal swimming pool. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6: Wankaner
Full day excursion to Jamnagar, the Royal city, to see tie and dye known as bandhej or bandhani. An amazing process of tying thousands of miniscule knots in a piece of fabric, which simplistically speaking is dyed at various stages before untying the knots and the design revealed. Here in Jamnagar the intricacy and refined style is outstanding and is produced on superfine cotton ’mulmul’ and muslin. It is used as base material for the special red bridal ‘gharchola odhani’ worn over the white sari, edged with an orange red border for a wedding. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7: Wankaner – Gondal (By Surface)
Morning drive to Gondal ruled for the last 300 years by the family of the Maharaja of Gondal. On arrival, check in at the Riverside Palace Hotel. Gondal is an excellent place to relax, visit the Royal Garages and visit an amazing collection of vintage and classic cars, or bird watch at Veri Lake to see pelicans, flamingos, ibis and other wetland birds. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: Gondal - Sasan Gir (By Surface)
After breakfast drive to Sasan Gir, home to the remaining population of Asiatic Lion. The numbers are now slowly recovering and an estimated 300 lions live in the sanctuary. On arrival, check in at the hotel. Late afternoon game viewing. Panther, hyena, deer and mongoose live in the rugged terrain: mixed deciduous trees in dispersed with large ranges of grassland. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9: Sasan Gir
Morning and late afternoon game viewing. Marsh crocodiles, four-horned antelope, Bengal fox and a plethora of birds including the paradise flycatcher and Bonelli’s eagle add to the diversity of this fascinating park. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10: Sasan Gir – Bhavnagar (By Surface)
Optional early morning game viewing. Morning drive to Bhavnagar. On arrival, check in at the hotel Nilambagh Palace. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11: Bhavnagar – Palitana – Ahmedabad (By Surface)
Early morning start to visit the Palitana Temple complex, one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Jains. The exquisite marble temples are also of significant artistic importance, with intricate carvings, jewelled statues, delicate carved pillars and outstanding toranas (frieze). The Shetrunjaya Hill with its 863 temples, built over a span of 900 years, is reached by 3500 steps or by doli – a rope chair. Outstanding temples include the Adinatha, Bhulavani and Vallabhi built in the 16th, 18th and 19th Century respectively. Later visit the town to perhaps hunt for textile related handicrafts. On arrival, check in at hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12: Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad was once known as the ‘Manchester of the East’ due to the proliferation of the textile industry. Morning tour includes the Calico Museum, with exhibits of rare tapestries, modern and antique textiles, also sightseeing of the City Havelis. Afternoon visit to local textile market to see block printing and tie & dye pichawari. Optional evening visit to Vaishali Village Restaurant for dinner, traditional folk dancing, music and stage art. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13: Ahmedabad
Full day excursion to Patan and Pethapur to see textile work, mashru, double ikat weaving, and wooden block carving. Mashru is a mixed fabric woven essentially for Muslim men, with a combination of cotton and silk. Intricate double ikat weaving produces complex multi-coloured patterns. The characteristic geometric design achieves a natural soft hazy outline. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Ahmedabad – Mumbai (By Flight)
Morning visit to the textile craft outlet for self employed women. Meeting with the crafts women and watching them work. Evening transfer to airport to connect flight to Mumbai. On arrival, transfer to International airport to connect flight for onward destination / home.

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