December 3rd to 17th, 2011 – Coincides with Rann Utsav (Festival) in Bhuj
Gujarat will transport you to a world of colour. This rich bounty that nature has endowed this land with, is manifest in the life and work of its people. Colour suffuses Gujarat’s handicraft, its textiles and fabrics. Folk art and craft is its way of life.
Tie and dye and embroidery, Shawls, durries, sarees and apparel woven in bright colours. Silver and Gold jewellery. Clay craft, circular huts of Banni in Kutch, with their white clay relief work and mirror inlay is not just for display or decoration but manifestation of a way of life.
Art, history, music, culture form a wondrous matrix that is the cultural exuberance of the people of the state. The people of Gujarat are gregariously friendly, inviting and will entice you to come again and again. Aavo Padharo are words of welcome in Gujarati. The Gujaratis certainly believe that ‘Guest is God’.
Day 1, Dec 03, 2011: Arrival in Bombay
Meet and Greet and transfer to hotel near airport.
Day 2, Dec 04, 2011: Fly to Ahmedabad. Hotel Cama (B)
Connect flight 9W327 dep. 1025 / arr. 1125 or 9W2049 dep. 1255 / arr. 1355.
Afternoon see Mr.Manubhai’s rare and magnificent collection of embroideries from all over Gujarat. Evening enjoy a traditional Gujrati vegetarian dinner with local dance and music at Vishala, an authentically created Gujrati crafts village complete with traditionally decorated mud huts where potters and weavers are at work. Here we visit the ‘Vechaar’ Utensils Museum.
It is one of its kinds in the world of museums as this is the only museum in the world portraying such precious collection of utensils.A walk around the hut-like museum makes one’s heart skip a beat watching at the irrevocable beauty of the utensils. They speak of the unmatchable genius of mankind during the old days when they did not have the modern facilities of our times. But for Vechaar our rich heritage would have been lost under the smoldering fire!
Day 3, Dec 05, 2011: Ahmedabad / Hotel Cama
Morning visit Calico Museum of Textiles, (pending availability; it is private museum and restricted to very limited number of entrances per day and they do not allow advanced booking). The museum exhibits spectacular antique and modren textiles including rare tapestries, wall hangings and costumes from all the regions of Gujrat as well as the rest of India. See a variety of textiles ranging from incredibly long, colorful embroidered wall hangings to Zari saries embroidered in gold and weighing 9kg. Also on display are old weaving machines.
Afterwards: visit the Sabarmati Ashram, situated on the western bank of the Sabarmati River. This ashram, founded in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi, who revitalized the textile industry here, became the headquarters during the struggle for Indian Independence.
Day 4, Dec 06, 2011: Ahmedabad / Hotel Cama (B, L)
Day excursion to to Sayla (150 km / 3 hr), via Limbdi where mirrors are made for Gujarat’s famous mirrorwork embroidery, and visit the Bharwad and Kathi villages where beadwork traditions thrive, the silk weavers who use the ikat technique, and the town of Wadhwan where women work on bandhani or tie-and-dye. Wadhwan’s walled town has historic buildings and a living heritage of metalwork crafts. We will carry a picnic lunch and return to Ahmedabad for overnight. Dinner on your own.
Day 5, Dec 07, 2011: Drive Ahemdabad – Patan – Zainabad /Camp Rann Riders (B, L, D)
Morning drive to Patan to visit some of its 100 Jain Temples including the Sun Temple in Modhera and Rani Kava Steps. We then visit the Salvi family, master weavers of the colorful Potala silk including the ancient art of double Ikat. Continue to Zainbad. Overnight at Camp Rann Riders (cottages, western toilets, running hot/cold water). A fantastic mix of rustic comfort in a rural setting near the villages.
Day 6, Dec 08, 2011: Zainabad / Camp Rann Riders (B, L, D)
Morning safari to view wildlife including the wild ass. Return to resort for lunch and free time. Late afternoon/early evening excursion to the ‘Rann of Kutch’ to visit Kutchhi Tribes. Among others, we visit Banni settlements to see the traditional handicrafts of these Abyssinian settlers, who migrated to India from Abyssinia around the 10th Century. Their work is the famous glass embroidery.
Day 7, Dec 09, 2011: Drive Zainbad – Bhujodi – Bhuj / Hotel iLark. (B)
Enroute we visit Dhamadka the block printing ‘Ajrakh’ village and Bhujodi Village to meet the nomadic Rabari who weave camel wool on pit looms into blankets and shawls.
Day 8-9, Dec 10 & 11, 2011: Bhuj / Hotel ilark (B, D)
Bhuj, the major town of Kutch, is an old walled city. There are walls within walls, attractive gateways, old palaces with intricate carvings, and striking brightly coloured Hindu temples. This is India before the tourist invasion.Morning visit various fascinating tribal villages surrounding Bhuj. Each tribe can be identified by its traditional attire and specializes in a different form of handicraft. The Banni tribal dwellings are made of round mud huts called `bhungas‚ with a single central support pole and a thatched or tiled roof, all surrounding a large community courtyard.
The women tend to be shy with male visitors, but are hospitable and will welcome you into their homes. They have an exquisite personal collection of embroidered quilts and garments. Walls, shelves, grain containers and cupboards are fashioned in mud with decorative designs washed with lime paste and embedded with mirrors that throw hundreds of shimmering reflections. You will also see a variety of handicrafts, including textiles, vegetable colour dye printing, Rogan art (wax printing), glass beadwork, woolen shawls, leather articles and more.
We also visit some local weaving families in Sumarsar village, famous for Scoof Embroidery, Nirona Village with its fabulous Rogan art (wax printing) & bell making and Ludiya (aka Ghandi Gram) village. Return to Bhuj for the overnight. Traditional Thali dinner at Hotel Prince.
Day 10, Dec 12, 2011: Bhuj-Gondal (275 kms / 5.5 hrs) / Orchard Palace Hotel (B,L,D)
Gondal, the capital of the former princely State of Gondal, was ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan, until the independence of India. It is a fortified town located on the river Gondal. Present day Gondal is a testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinh Ji, who introduced social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century. Gondal royal family has an exquisite & rare collection of vintage cars.
Day 11, Dec 13, 2011: Gondal / Riverside Palace Hotel (B,L,D)
Visit to Ayurvedic Pharmacy, 17th centuary Naulakha Palace, Udyog Bharti – spinning & weaving of Khadi (cotton fabric & famously associated with Mahatma Gandhi) and the Swaminarayan Temple.
Day 12, Dec 14, 2011: Drive Gondal – Junagadh – Somnath – Gir (200 kms/04.5 hrs) Loin Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Junagadh, was the capital of Junagadh state under the muslim rulers of Babi Nawabs. In Gujarati ” Junagadh ” literally means ancient fort. The Junagadh town is located at the foothills of the sacred hill of Girnar and occupies a special place in the history of Gujarat. The history of Junagadh is checkered by the rules of the Mauryans, Kshatrapas, Guptas, Vallabhis, Chudasamas, Gujarat Sultans and Babi Nawabs.
Junagadh, at different times in history, was under the influence of four major religion : Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Muslims. Both political powers and religious influences enriched the culture and created fantastic edifices leaving their mark on the architecture of Junagadh. The Ashoka edicts (from 250 BC) near the town, testify to its great antiquity. Visit Uparkot Fort built 319 BC, famous for its virtual inaccessibility- the walls are 60 feet high in places.
Somnath is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of lord Shiva. In the Shiva Purana and Nandi Upapurana, Shiva said, `I am omnipresent but specially in 12 forms and places, the jyotirlingas`. Somnath is one of these 12 holy places. Today, Somnath offers a holy pilgrimage, places of historic, religious or scenic importance.
Day 13, Dec 15, 2011: Gir / Loin Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Morning and afternoon jeep safari in the National Park.
SASAN GIR NATIONAL PARK.
The Gir lion sanctuary project was initiated in 1972 with one of its main objectives being to remove the local indigenous people (Maldharis) from the interior of the park. The reason for the displacement of this devoutly religious pastoral community was their on-going conflict with the Gir Lions. In the distant past plenty of water and grazing was available in Gir and the Maldharis and the magnificent Asiatic Lions co-existed with little conflict. Lions in the main were not interested in domestic livestock and the Maldharis were able to protect their stock with relative ease.
Prior to and after Independence conditions in Gir deteriorated rapidly to the detriment both of the Maldharis and the Lions. Sasan Gir Lion sanctuary is one of India’s success stories. From a pitifully small number of around twenty lions at the turn of the century there are now approximately three hundred lions in the park. If you compare this number to the populations of 30 to 40 tigers in most Project Tiger parks you can see that your chance of a lion sighting (with a reasonable length of stay) is good. Gir is also home to one of the largest leopard populations in any park in India, and especially in the hotter season they can sometimes be seen at night close to the lodges.
Other wildlife to look out for are the Four-Horned Antelope (which is the only four-horned ungulate in the world), Wild Boar, Wolf, Hyena, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Chinkara, Blue Bull, Marsh Muggers as well as a wonderful variety of bird species.
Day 14, Dec 16, 2011: Gir-Diu
Morning safari. After breakfast drive 3 hrs to Diu, a secluded island offering a sensuous blend of sun, sand and deep blue sea. Off the west coast of India, it is connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway. The total length of the coastline of Diu does not exceed 21 km and measures less than 40 sq.km. This beautiful island in the Arabian Sea has the river Chasi running along its northern frontier. It is one of the country’s finest beaches and perhaps one of the most exotic destinations on India’s west coast. A former Portuguese enclave, Diu is dotted by three Portuguese churches, one of which has been converted into a museum housing some rare Portuguese artifacts.
On arrival, a brief driving overview of the island. Rest of day free to relax! Radhika Resort is the best hotel here 3/4 star category.
Day 15, Dec 17, 2011: Fly to Bombay, 9w 3403 dep 1435, arr 1705
Transfer to hotel by airport. Shared rooms for wash/change. Transfer to international airport for fligt home.
Price PP in CA$:
6-15 Pax: CA$3276
Single Supplement Extra $1472
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis.
- One night Bombay at Kohinoor Continental (B)
- Three nights in Ahmedabad at Hotel Cama (B)
- Two nights in Zainabad at Raan Reiders Camp (B,L,D)
- Three nights in Bhuj at Hotel Ilark (B)
- Two nights in Gondal at Riverside Palace or Orchard Palace (B,L,D)
- Two nights in Gir at Loin Safari Camp (B,L,D + Jeep safaris)
- One night in Radhika Resort Diu (B,D)
- Some Rooms for wash and change at Kohinoor Continental on last day
- One dinner at Gujrati Restaurant, Amhedabad
- One dinner at hotel Prince in Bhuj
- One Packed lunch during Sayla excursion
- Transport for 1 -3 pax in A/C Toyota Innova and 4-6 pax in A/C Tempo Treveler as per itinerary
- All arrival / departure transfers as per Itinerary
- Professional escort in Gujarat throughout from day 2 – 15
- Monument entrance
- Airfare PP: (exact when TBD when booked)
- Bombay – Ahemdabad min CA$90 max CA$245
- Diu – Mumbai min CA$100 max CA$250.
Does Not Include: Any air fare, insurance on actual, tips, camera fees, personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, alcoholic drinks extra.