A 16-day tour discovering the incredible textiles and traditions of India.
Commencing from Chennai, explore the villages of Kanchipuram to see the famous silk weaving process distinctive to this area. Visit Srikalahasti in Andra Pradesh, centre of a rare textile art called Kalamkari as well as villages near Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar to see the different methods of ikkat weaving and other unique crafts.
Take a guided tour of the historic cities of Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, enjoying ancient sights and wonderful textile displays. The tour also takes you to Mahabalipuram, a charming fishing village/town, to discover some fascinating 7th century monuments.
Along the way, you will enjoy some great shopping and fabulous cuisine. This wonderful tour takes you off the tourist map to discover fabulous textile treasures and some little-known cultural traditions of India. It will inspire and delight you!
Arrive in Chennai and transfer to a lovely beach resort in Mahabalipuram located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Overnight Mahabalipuram.
After a group meeting, we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of 7th century world heritage monuments. In the afternoon we have a short drive to Kanchipuram, an ancient city renowned for its temples and the production of the famous Kanchipuram silk sarees that have been woven here for the last 400 years.The gifted weavers of this region weave patterns inspired by the images of scriptures and figurines found in the many small temples around the town. Overnight at Kanchipuram
Today we head to nearby villages to see the weaving process of the Kanchipuram sarees. We also visit the market to see finished products and understand the various elements that help sustain the craft. Overnight at Kanchipuram
This morning we drive to our next destination – Srikalahasti an important temple town in Andhra Pradesh and centre of a rare textile art known as Kalamkari. In the afternoon we see crafts-people creating beautiful hand painted fabrics using natural colours. In the evening we will visit one of the most important Shiva temples in South India. Overnight Srikalahasthi.
After breakfast we drive to Chennai where we visit Kalashetra Foundation, a centre devoted to the preservation of traditional Indian culture and crafts. Overnight Chennai.
Today we have a short flight to the historic city of Hyderabad in the state of Telangana. Visit the iconic Charminar area and Laad Bazaar in the old city. Overnight Hyderabad.
This morning we drive out to Pochampalli district which is celebrated as the place of birth of Indian Ikkat, a textile art wherein patterns are created by resist dyeing cotton and silk yarn before they are woven. The day will be spent visiting weavers homes and workshops.
Some local sightseeing is on the agenda for today, with a visit to the famous Salarjung Museum and the Chowmahalla Palace which was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad while they ruled the state. Overnight Hyderabad.
Indulge in some retail therapy at some Hyderabad’s lovely textile shops before we head to the airport for a short flight to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. Overnight Bhubaneshwar.
We continue on our textile trail today by exploring the Ikkat weaving tradition of Odisha.In Nuapatana we see the beautiful weft woven single ikkat textiles and visit a tribal village to witness the ancient craft of non – ferrous metal casting using the lost wax process known as Dokra. Overnight Bhubaneshwar.
Today we visit Kala Bhoomi, Odisha’s Craft Museum and view the Lingaraja Temple, a wonderful example of 13th century Kalinga architecture. There is time for browsing local shops in the evening. Overnight Bhubaneshwar.
This morning we drive to Pipili, a village specialising in brightly coloured applique and patchwork.Visit the shops and homes of craftsmen engaged in the production of a diverse range of items. Drive to the beautiful coastal area of Konark for some free time and overnight. Overnight Konark.
Today we drive to Raghurajpur, a heritage crafts village famous for its Pattachitra paintings on cloth and various other crafts. We will have lunch in the holy city of Puri followed by a visit to Kumbharapara, the potters enclave in Puri. Overnight Konark.
After breakfast, we visit the 13th Century architectural marvel which is the Konark Sun Temple. Enjoy lunch in Bhubaneswar before transferring to the airport for a short flight to Kolkata. Overnight Kolkata.
The state of West Bengal is the home of fine muslins and Kantha embroidery. Today we will visit the Gurusaday Folk Craft Museum and a few emporia that showcase and sell the textile products of the state.
After breakfast we have a guided tour of Kolkata, capital of India under the British Raj from 1773 to 1911. We will visit the Victoria Memorial and do a historical walk around the city’s monuments and colonial buildings followed by a farewell lunch and some time for shopping. In the evening transfer to the airport, concluding your fabulous tour of the textiles and traditions of India.
Your 16-day experience includes air-conditioned travel, all accommodation, internal flights, all excursions, entrance fees, local guides, guide tips and some meals.
The tour is lead by a local textile and village industry expert, Sunita Sinha.
Dates – 3rd to 18th January 2020
Price $4410aud (approx £2350) 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.