Colors of Rajasthan and Gujarat
Colors of Rajasthan and Gujarat
Meet on arrival and transport to hotel The Lalit.
Full day a guided tour of Old Delhi, the 17th century walled city of Shah Jahanabad, visiting the great Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in the year 1656 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest & best known mosque in India. Later take a rickshaw ride through Chandi Chowk, the old marketplace of Shah Jahanabad now a picturesque bazaar to reach Red Fort, built in the year 1648 by Shah Jehan.
In New Delhi, visit Raj Ghat, memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. Further we drive past India Gate, memorial built in the year 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I & the Afghan Wars. The names of the soldiers who died in these wars are inscribed on the walls. President’s House, the official residence of the President of India, built in the year 1931. Until 1950 it was known as Viceroy’s House & served as the residence of the Governor-General of British India. We will also visit Humayun’s Tomb, memorial of Mughal Emperor Humayun, built in the year 1562. The complex is a World Heritage Site & the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India.
Culminate the day at Qutub Minar, built in the year 1206 by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. It is the tallest (72m) brick minaret in the world, an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. Dinner at Chor Bizarre Restaurant
After early breakfast drive to Agra. Afternoon visit the incredible architectural excellence of Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Next we visit Agra Fort, built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565. The red sandstone Agra Fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan’s time. This massive Fort is 2.5 km long & is considered as predecessor of Delhi Red Fort. Later in the evening visit Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb, built by Noor Jahan, wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, in memory of her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Before Taj Mahal was built, its rough design was already standing in the form of Itmad ud Daulah’s Tomb.
Morning drive to Jaipur, enroute visit Fatephur Sikri, built in 1571, one of the world’s most perfect ghost cities and a marvel of design andconstruction. It is a synthesis of the flourishing styles of the Persian courts and the prevailing Hindu-Islamic trends. Fatehpur (town of victory) Sikri was built by Akbar, the third and greatest of the Great Moguls. It is over 400 years old and today its pristine red sandstone buildings are as perfect as when they were first chiseled.
The town was erected after a holy man, Sheikh Salim Chisti, decreed the births of three sons to Akbar after all his children had died in infancy. There are three sections to the City: The Royal Palace (notable for the Emperor’s throne), the outside of the Royal Palace and the Jami Masjid (the location of the Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, a masterpiece in brilliant white marble). The centerpiece of this remarkable monument is the Jewel House of the Diwan I Khas. Architecturally extraordinary, the four doorways lead into a single-story room where a huge central pillar supports a seat reached by mid-air walkways.
Evening: attend puja at Ganesh Temple in Jaipur.
Morning drive to Amber, the name of the ancient kingdom of Jaipur and also the name of its ancient capital, situated 7 miles away. Its history can be traced backed to the 12th century. Amber Fort is superbly located, protected by the wild Arrival Hills on all sides. Originally built in the 11th century, it was expanded by Raja Mannish in the late 16th century. The ascent to the Fort will be on elephant backs.
Afternoon: city tour including the City Palace, Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jantar Mantar Observatory, bazaars.
Known as the Pink City, Jaipur was founded by Sawai Jai Singh II (1700-1743). It has 7 gates into the city–one for each of the 7 planets (which were the number of planets known at the time of the city’s founding).
At the heart of Jaipur is its City Palace which houses an extensive collection of rare manuscripts, Mughal and Rajasthani miniatures, Mughal carpets, costumes and textiles, arms and weapons, royal buggies, chariots and palanquins and a remarkable carriage -the indiraviman – that was drawn by four elephants. At the center is Chandra Mahal, the seven-tiered moon palace where the present Maharaja still resides. The City Palace complex also contains the Govind Devji Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Just outside the gateway of the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the Yantralaya of Sawai Jai Singh II, the last great classical astronomer in India. The modernistic structures known as Yantras are the unique creations of this astronomer-king, designed by him and built by experts to observe the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars. This is the largest of five observatories founded by him in various parts of the country. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is Jaipur’s most-photographed building, a honeycomb palace with 953 latticed windows overlooking the bazaar and busy streets of Jaipur. Built in 1799 by the poet-king Pratap Singh, this extraordinary building was used by purdah-bound women to watch the grand processions that were a regular feature of the city.
Dinner at Surbhi Restaurant and visit theTurban Museum.
After breakfast, drive to Udaipur. This lake city is perhaps the most romantic of all the Indian centers. A fairytale collection of exotic gardens, mirror-calm lakes and fantasy island palaces.
On arrival, check into the hotel. Just before sunset board a boat for a cruise on Lake Pichola. We will disembark at Jagmandir Palace for dinner (the menu has a wide variety of options; pay direct).
Often called the Venice of India, this is a city of lakes, palaces and gardens. There is no place in India which appeals more to the imagination of poets and painters, travelers and writers, than Udaipur, the lovely lakeside capital of Mewar. The city’s inherent romance and beauty, along with its remarkable past, bristling with episodes of heroism and splendor, continue to enthrall visitors. Udaipur, sometimes called the City of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white. Surrounded by hills and mountains, and set on the edge of three lakes which give way to a fertile plain, it is bewitching in all its details – narrow streets lined by vivid colored stalls, gardens, temples and palaces – every feature mirrored in the placid blue waters of Lake Pichhola.
Udaipur retains the essence of a quaint town with cobble stone streets, plentiful local bazaars, marble palaces, lakeside gardens, temples and havelis. It is a traditionally planned fortified city surrounded by walls and massive gates. The rulers, beginning with Maharana Singh in the mid 16th century, prided themselves on being independent from other more powerful regional neighbors, particularly the Moghuls.
In the morning visit the City Palace, the largest Palace complex in the area, and the Museum of Rajasthan. The City Palace is a blend of stern Rajput military architecture on the outside and lavish Mughal-inspired decorative art on the inside. Set on a hill overlooking Lake Pichhola, it is quite large and made up of at least four separate inter-connecting palaces, built over a period of nearly 3 centuries. The palace museum contains a wonderful collection of old Rajput weaponry. Also visit the Crystal Gallery.
In the afternoon, visit artists’ studios of the miniature paintings. Afterwards, you will have some independent time to stroll the quaint city and take a walk through the colorful Bapu Bazaar. It is easy to walk about independently just outside the city palace gates for a real experience of the local culture beyond the tourist shops.
We’ll dine tonight at The UPRE Restaurant with spectacular views of the City palace and Lake Pichola. The restaurant offers fine international cuisine as well as authentic flavors of Rajasthan.
Drive for Dungarpur and on arrival check-in at your hotel.
Dungarpur is a picturesque town and a popular hub of tourists. The town is inhabited by the Bheel tribe. One can get an insight into the life of the local people of Dungarpur while visiting. The Old Fort of Dungarpur is the major landmark of Rajasthan. The fort renders the spectacular view of the town of Dungarpur.
Afternoon city tour of Dungarpur visiting Udai Bilas Palace , Juna Mahal- The royal Houses 600 old rare paintings,Gaib Sagar Lake- The huge lake is so beautiful & it has a temple of Bijayrajeshwar.
Drive to the Poshina, a beautiful place surrounded by Garasia and Bhil villages. Check into Darbargadh Poshina – A Heritage Home set in the tribal lands of the Arravallis. We the owners of this ancestral fort, invite you to explore the Adivasi and Garasia tribal culture of North Gujarat and South Rajasthan, enjoy fresh home cooked meals, featuring recipes passed on from generation to generation, and indulge in the hospitality of a family that ruled Poshina for eight generations before independence.
Afterbreakfast visit the few streets of Poshina to see the Garcia girls carrying the woods from the jungle to sell them into the market. Later, take a full day visit of Poshina (walk through the village to see the Adivasi and Rabari tribes). Also travel to Chatrang and Bedi Villages of Gowala and Garacia tribes. We would visit the Kumbharia Jain temple, pottery & terracotta horse village of Saleka and few tribal temples.
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. Bajana. to Continue 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.
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.
Enroute we visit Dhamaeka, the block printing village and Bhujodi Village to meet the nomadic Rabari who weave camel wool on pit looms into blankets and shawls. Time permitting, we visit Chandaben Shroff’s project, the Shrujan organisation which started as a small family project, and now has a network of over 2500 craftswomen spread across 85 villages. Currently, Shrujan works with 16 different styles of embroidery, done by a variety of communities and tribal groups. Their excellent exhibit displays the various embroidery styles. NOTE: Bring a wad of toilet paper for the drive today. There are very clean roadside toilets, traditional style.
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 colored 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 color dye printing, Rogan art (wax printing), glass beadwork, woolen shawls, leather articles and more.
Hot Lunch in Hodka.
We visit Kala Raksha Trust in Sumrasar Sheikh village (closed on Sunday), a grassroots social enterprise, dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. Kala Raksha produces some of the most exquisitely hand embroidered and patchworked products made in Kutch. Also visit their museum and Kala Raksha Vidyalaya (Institue of Design). We then 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. Traditional Thali dinner at Hotel Prince.
Morning at leisure, later we will visit the Kutch Museum (closed on Wednesday), Aina Mahal and Pragmahal followed by visit to the old city Swaminarayan temple. Lunch at city restaurant, (pay direct) after lunch short visit the house of Mr. Alli Mohamad Isha who is Tie and Dye specialist for an interactive workshop on the art. Later transfer to airport for flight 9W309 departs 1715 / arrive 1835. to Bombay.
Upon arrival transfer to hotel.
Morning take a scenic drive up Marine Drive to Malabar Hill visiting the 1904 Jain Temple dedicated to Adinath-the first Jain teacher, Hanging Gardens, Mahalakshmi Temple, Haji Ali’s Tomb and Mani Bhavan (Gandhi Museum/House). Mani Bhavan was the residence of Ghandi between 1917 and 1934. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi started various struggle movements like Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat while residing here.
Afternoon Crawford market, spread in an area of around 72000 sq yards and is famous for its architecture, which is a blend of Norman and Flemish architectural styles. The impressive frieze on the main entrance is a treat for the eyes and depicts Indian Peasants in wheat fields. It was designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of the famous novelist Rudyard Kipling. The place is so designed that it receives ample sunlight during the day. Apart from this, Crawford market is a shopper’s paradise. The market place is with piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh cheese and chocolate, meat and poultry stalls as well as fabric and other items for daily life. After dinner transfer to airport for flight to onward destination.
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