A 17-day tour discovering the beauty of textiles and culture in India.
Commencing from Mumbai in November and February each year, explore the villages of Kutch and see some of India’s best embroidery and fabric work. Take a guided tour of the historic cities of Bhuj, Ahmedabad and Delhi, enjoying ancient sights and beautiful textile displays. Visit the amazingly jewelled Taj Mahal and delight in the spectacular sights and handicrafts of Jaipur. The tour also takes you to Lucknow to discover some fascinating historical sights and to visit a local village, where you will see exquisite embroideries being worked by the local women. All along the way, you will enjoy wonderful shopping and delicious food.This wonderful tour takes you off the well-worn tourist path to discover the hidden gems and beautiful fabric treasures of India. It will enchant and delight you!
After a group meeting, we have a short flight to Bhuj in the centre of Kutch, an interesting historic city with wonderful bazaars and beautiful, partially ruined palaces. Enjoy an early evening stroll through the local bazaar.
Kutch is one of India’s richest areas for handicrafts, particularly famed for its beautiful and colourful embroidery work. It also specialises in weaving, appliqué, patchwork, tie-dye, block-printing and other crafts. Over the next few days, we visit some local villages and cooperatives to see the artisans at work. We will also visit some magnificent displays of their finished products. Later, we will go on a guided tour of Bhuj to see the local sights, with some free time for exploring and shopping. Another highlight is visiting the Great Rann of Kutch (reputedly, the largest salt desert in the world) at sunset.
Enjoy the rural scenery as we drive to Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city.
Visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, which contains one of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles. Enjoy a special tali lunch before visiting Sabarmati Ashram (Gandhi’s headquarters between 1917-1930).
Take a short flight to historic Lucknow. In the afternoon, we have a guided tour of The Residency.
Today we’ll drive out to a local village to see different embroidery styles including the traditional chikan embroidery that Lucknow is famous for. In the afternoon we visit the local bazaar and enjoy some free time. Dinner is at the salubrious Taj Hotel.
This morning we have a leisurely start before visiting the historically fascinating Bara Imbara, the colossal tomb dedicated to a Shiite holy man. There is a short flight to Delhi in the afternoon.
Today we have an early drive to Jaipur with a guided tour of Amber Fort & a visit to the Anokhi Museum of Hand block printing for some hands-on demonstrations and amazing fabric displays.
After breakfast we drive out to Bagru for wonderful textile demonstrations and displays. We also wander through the colourful bazaars of Jaipur, seeing wonderful displays of block printed fabric & rich embroidery.
Today is a free day with many options available. We can assist you with this.
This morning we visit the City Palace, containing a fascinating costume museum of the rulers. After lunch, we head to Bharatpur, stopping en route at an amazing ancient step well and temple.
After an early cycle rickshaw ride through the peaceful Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, enjoy a guided tour of Fatehpur Sikri, a magnificent ghost city built in 1571 by the Moguls. In the afternoon we have a guided tour of the beautiful Taj Mahal, described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Drive to Delhi for overnight.
Today we visit some of the State Govt Emporiums, showcasing magnificent textile products from different states. In the afternoon, we have a cycle rickshaw ride around Old Delhi and a tour of the magnificient Humayun’s Tomb.
This morning we visit the Crafts Museum for a tour and lunch before we see the ancient ruins and lovely arty shops at Hauz Khas village. In the late afternoon we transfer to Delhi airport for flights home, concluding your magical journey!
Your 17-day experience includes air-conditioned travel, all accommodation, all internal flights, all tours, entrance fees, local guides, guide tips and some meals. A local textile and village industry expert accompanies the tour.
Price $4550aud (approx £2420) per person, twin share.
(Single Supplement $980aud – approx £520)
Maximum group size – 9 people
Born in Mumbai, Sunita grew up in Bhopal, a historical city of lakes in the heart of the country. She was exposed to the wonderful craft of Bagh textile block printing at a young age and has had a great interest in creative embroidery, textiles and history since early in life.
Sunita has been a teacher of history and is passionate about sustaining and promoting the traditional textile heritage of India. Presently she is associated at the grass root level with a group of women in rural Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and craftspeople in Kutch and Andhra Pradesh in designing and producing beautiful hand embroidered and hand block printed and painted garments in natural fibres.
A joyful cook and a self confessed foodie she is very proud of and knowledgeable about the textiles, handicrafts, culture, traditions, languages, cuisines and other idiosyncrasies of her land. Commitment to the ancient tradition of Indian hospitality is the driving force for her to ensure that participants on her tours have a multifaceted exposure to the spirit of the country. She is able to cross the cultural boundaries of India and the western world effortlessly as she lives in both Mumbai and Melbourne and forms a perfect bridge between Australia (and the West) and India as the textile expert and facilitator on the textile tours of Touch of Spirit Tours.
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on altered circumstances.
“As a person who loves fabric, sewing and quilting and travel, the Beauty Unwound Textile Tour was the perfect tour. The tour covers a lot of ground – from Mumbai, to Bhuj in Gujarat, a centre of excellence for superb embroidery, to Ahmedabad, Lucknow and the golden triangle of Jaipur, Delhi and Agra. The tour takes people into the homes and ateliers of some amazing craftspeople – to meet them, watch them working, enjoy demonstrations of their craft and have the chance the buy some beautiful, handmade textiles. There were LOTS of these visits – not just one or two. This was wonderful. It would be just so difficult, if not impossible, to gain this access as an ordinary tourist.
As well, we visited a number of craft museums, which were all of a high quality and fascinating. This tour really delivers on the access to craftspeople. The architectural wonders of India are not neglected on the tour. We visited some beautiful ‘stately homes’, historical ruins, the Amber Fort, the British redoubt in Lucknow, some beautiful mosques and of course Fatepuri Sikiri and the Taj Mahal. An ‘off the radar’ but wondrous sight was the step well – Chand Baori -between Jaipur and Agra.
The delicious food in India is showcased on the tour by visits to a range of excellent restaurants to enjoy local specialties -in Gujarat, in Lucknow and Agra and a visit to a long standing famous ‘hole in the wall’ in Delhi to sample samosas and jalebis. An early evening visit to watch the sunset at the White Desert (the Rann of Kutch) and a morning visit to a bird sanctuary provides a look at the natural world in India. Both excursions were wonderful.
The guide on this tour, Sunita, is superb. She is experienced, knowledgeable about life, history and culture in India and, of course, textiles, multi-lingual, kind, patient and smooths the way… something that can, at times, be quite difficult in India. Her witty sense of humour helps with this.
The hotels were generally of a good standard. There were three internal air flights. The majority of the tour was done is a comfortable mini bus with good drivers.
This tour is exceptional – in terms of access to craftspeople, exposure to a wide range of textile craftspeople, visits to craft museums and sight seeing. It was well run, covered a LOT of ground and very, very good value. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED”
“The trip was just fabulous. Everything went well. Great guide, terrific group and of course wonderful textiles in gorgeous fascinating India. Sunita is the perfect guide. She is endlessly patient, informative, helpful, collaborative and resourceful. The itinerary had a good variety of activities…good balance between tourist ‘must sees’ and textile related things. Local guides were earnest and informative especially the lady at the calico museum! Drivers were very helpful and cooperative.
The village visits generally were across a wide range of arts. I learnt so much about block printing, weaving, rogan art etc. Having a chance to try it ourselves in Jaipur was very illuminating and gave us an even greater respect for these craftspeople. We visited different kinds of village life, from quite prosperous to quite poor, with few facilities, but nevertheless producing beautiful work. The hotels were most satisfactory. Food was good and with Sunita’s guidance we began to know what we were eating and even get some favourites. I cannot speak highly enough of this tour. It was everything I hoped for and much more.”