Textiles, Tribes And Wildlife Of Gujarat
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: Arrival in Bombay
Meet and Greet and transfer to hotel near airport.
Day 2: Fly to Ahmedabad
Connect flight 9W327 dep. 1025 hrs / arr. 1125 hrs or 9W2049 dep. 1255 hrs / arr. 1355 hrs.
Afternoon see Mr.Manubhai’s rare and magnificent collection of embroideries from all over Gujarat. Evening enjoy a traditional Gujarati vegetarian dinner with local dance and music at 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. 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: Ahmedabad
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: Drive Ahemdabad – Patan – Bajana (210 km / 5 hrs)
Morning drive to Patan to visit some of its 100 Jain Temples and Rani Kava Steps (ancient step well). A short 10 km further, we stop to visit the exquisite Sun Temple in Modhera, situated on the banks of the Pushpavati River. Here you will see women of all ages from very young girls to elderly, dressed in bright yellows, orange and reds representing and honoring the sun. We then visit the Salvi family, master weavers of the colorful Potala silk including the ancient art of double ikat. Continue Bajana. to Overnight at Royal Safari Camp (cottages, western toilets, running hot/cold water). A fantastic mix of rustic comfort in a rural setting in Bajana Village.
Day 5: Bajana
The Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. As the land separated from the sea by geological forces, it became a vast, featureless plain encrusted with salt that is inundated with water during the rains.
Enjoy an early morning safari across the Little Rann which visits the ‘bets’, islands on the ancient seabed that are now higher grounds covered with grass and scrub. These ‘bets’ support a variety of wildlife including gorgeous lesser flamingoes , great white pelicans , common cranes , water birds ( bharami duck, gray leg goose, home duck, bar headed goose), black buck, blue bull, hyenas and the Gudkhur (Asiatic wild ass) that is not found elsewhere.
Return to the resort for breakfast. After breakfast, visit the pastoral settlements and villages of the area. There are about 16 different types of embroideries done in the Kutch region, each belonging to a different community. All of these communities have their own unique style of embroidery, different motifs, patterns that give them a visual identity. The most well known, with its chain stitches and countless mirrors, is the Rabari embroidery.
Visit the pastoral Vadiara and Kharapat Rabaris. The Rabaris are a wandering community known for their extraordinary capacity for survival and adaptation in the arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Many of the Rabaris live in circular huts, known as ‘Bhunga’. These have proven to be much resistant to earthquakes in the tremors that hit Kutch in 2001.
Day 6: Drive Bajana – Bhujodi – Bhuj (280 kms / 5-6 hrs)
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 7: Bhuj
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 Soof 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 8: Bhuj-Gondal (275 kms / 5½ hrs)
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 9: Gondal
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 10: Drive Gondal – Junagadh – Somnath – Gir (200 kms / 4½ hrs)
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 11: Gir
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 12: 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 13: Fly to Bombay , AI9624 depart 1335 / arrive 1440
Transfer to hotel by airport, room for wash/change till 10 pm. Transfer to international airport for flight home.