A 16-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-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.
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 16-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 $4190 per person, twin share.
(Single Supplement $920)
The itinerary may be subject to change depending on altered circumstances.
Commencing from Mumbai, this wonderful 15-day journey takes you off the well-worn path to discover the cultural beauty and fabulous textile treasures of North India. Explore the villages of West Bengal and see some of the region’s best embroidery and fabric creations. Take a guided tour of the historic cities of Kolkata, Mumbai, Mandu and Maheshwar, enjoying ancient sights and exquisite textile displays. Step back in time as we follow the muslin trail into quaint villages and ancient lands strewn with magnificent palaces, tombs and monuments. Enjoy some wonderful shopping opportunities, fascinating sights and delicious food throughout the journey.
This amazing tour will delight and enchant you!
Arrive in Mumbai any time today and transfer to our lovely hotel for a rest and some free time.
After a group meeting, we head to an inner city block printing unit where the Khatri family work with natural dyes and use traditional Ajrakh as well as contemporary blocks to create beautiful prints in silk and wool. In the afternoon we will visit the Chatrapati Shivaji Museum and a few important landmarks of South Mumbai.
Today we have a short flight to the city of Indore followed by a drive to Maheshwar. Enjoy some free time to stroll around this ancient holy city.
This morning we start with a tour of Maheshwar, a captivating place situated on the banks of the great river Narmada and packed with spiritual significance. This town is mentioned in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, India’s two major epic sagas and still draws sadhus and pilgrims to its ancient ghats and temples. Although Maheshwar has had a weaving tradition since the 5th century, the credit for the birth of the famous Maheshwari silk and cotton handloom sarees goes to the pious Queen Ahilyabai, who in the 18th century settled a number of skilled weavers here to weave the 9 yard sarees for the royal household and visiting dignitaries. Included in our weaving trail today is a visit to Rehwa, a co-op that has revived and made the Maheshwari craft more contemporary. We also walk through the streets of the weavers colonies where almost every home has a wooden loom.
Today we have a guided tour of Mandu, a lovely historical town with a wealth of monuments. The buildings are a mix of Hindu and Afghan style of architecture.
Mandu is a celebration in stone, of life and joy, of the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. See the stunning Jahaaz Mahal, Rani Roopmati’s Pavillion and other heritage sights. Drive to Dhar for overnight.
Enjoy the rural scenery as we drive through a remote region of Madya Pradesh to the small town of Bagh, renowned for its hand block printing. The people of the Khatri community in this region make
use of a limited colour palette of black and red alternating on white backgrounds, featuring geometrical and floral compositions.
Watch the different stages in the process of creating these amazing textiles. Also visit Bagh Caves, a group of rock cut Buddhist monuments outside the town. Return to Dhar.
Enjoy a leisurely morning before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kolkata.
After breakfast we have a guided tour of Kolkata, capital of India under the British Raj from 1772 to 1911. The city abounds in colonial architecture, art galleries and cultural festivals. We take an historical walk around the city’s cultural monuments and colonial buildings and tour the main sights. A visit to the Potter’s enclave where they make intricate idols of Hindu deities in all sizes with clay gives us a peek into the religious traditions of West Bengal.
Today, we head north on our Muslin Trail into the rural areas of West Bengal. Heading for Berhampur, we stop en route at villages that specialise in cotton and silk handwoven sarees, dhotis, jacquard and jamdani muslin weaves of superfine texture.
This morning we visit a large silk production cooperative where we see the fascinating process of extraction, reeling and spinning of different kinds of silk followed by a guided tour of the beautiful Hazarduari Palace and Katra Mosque in Murshidabad.
After breakfast we drive to Santiniketan. Here we will visit Visva Bharati University which has evolved from the vision of Rabindranath Tagore the revered poet, writer, playwright, musician and painter who was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1901 Rabindranath laid the foundation of a system of education based on the ancient Vedic pattern of study where connection with nature and freedom of spirit was most important. We will have a guided tour of the campus with its unique structures and outdoor works of art and visit the poet laureate’s residential quarters.
The craft demonstrations you will see in and around Santiniketan include kantha embroidery, batik printing, tussar silk weaving, embossed leather works and hand-made jewellery.
Venture on to Bishnupur stopping en route at Bikna a village where we will see the ancient craft of non – ferrous metal casting using the lost wax process known as dokra. After lunch, we visit the amazing terracotta temples that Bishnupur is famous for.
This morning includes a trip to a potter’s village that specialises in making terracotta horses known as Bankura. Also see the handloom weaving of the prized Baluchari silk sarees depicting detailed scenes from Indian mythology. In the afternoon, drive to Kolkata with a brief stop to see fine grass mat weaving done by the Mahishyas community of Midnapore.
Today is our last day, which we have kept free for shopping, including a visit to the state Government emporia complex and other local markets. After dinner, we transfer to Kolkata airport for flights home, concluding our magical journey!
Your 15-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.
Price $4120au per person twin share
(Single supplement $940au)
Dates – 26th January to 9th February 2018