India held world monopoly in the manufacturing of cotton textiles for about 3,000 years from about B.C.1500 to A.D. 1500. In the middle ages, Indian cotton textile products were in great demand in the Eastern and European markets. The first modern cotton textile mill was set up in 1818 at Fort Glaster near Kolkata. But this mill could not survive and had to be closed down.The first successful modern cotton textile mill was established in Mumbai in 1854 by a local Parsi entrepreneur C.N. Dewar. Sharper mill in 1861 and Calico mill in 1863 at Ahmedabad were other landmarks in the development of Indian cotton textile industry.Gujarat is the second largest producer of cotton textiles.This state accounts for over 33 per cent of the mill cloth and over 8 per cent of the yarn production of the country. Ahmedabad is the largest center where 73 outof 118 mills of Gujarat are located. Ahmedabad is the second largest center of cotton textile industry after Mumbai. Textile tour of Gujarat will provide you an insight into the wonderful world of happy local communities connected with the textiles and their cultural heritage.
Mumbai • Ahmedabad • Pethapur • Dasada • Bhuj • Mandvi • Mumbai
Day 01 – Saturday 17 Sep – To Mumbai
Departure on British Airways from Heathrow and Manchester Or on Emirate airlines from Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and New Castle.
Day 02 – Sunday 18 Sep – Mumbai
Morning arrival in Mumbai. Transfer to the hotel. Afternoon city tour of Mumbai including visit of Dhobi Ghat – the world’s largest open air laundry where Dhobis (washer men) hand wash the laundry. Stay at the Marine Plaza for 1 night.
Day 03 – Monday 19 Sep – To Ahmedabad
Departure Mumbai by Train /Karnavati Express 12933 (1340/2125) – Air conditioned Chair car. This journey will give an overview of the landscape to the group as against flying. Transfer to the Divan’s Bungalow hotel where you stay for 3 nights. Dinner and overnight.
Day 04 – Tuesday 20 Sep – Ahmedabad
Morning heritage walk of the old quarter of Ahmedabad. This is a guided walk which lasts two to two and half hours. The walk will be conducted by Rajesh Gajjar of CRUTA foundation (Conservation and research of Traditional Urban architecture). The walk begins from the picturesque Swaminarayan Mandir in Kalupur and ends in the most glorious architectural legacies the Jumma Masjid, covering in between the numerous poles, hovels, ornamental facades workplaces of artisans and number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples.
There is also a half hour special slide show running through pages of the city’s history unfolding back its birth from a 10th century AD ancient site known as Ashaval to the present Walled city refounded during the period of Ahmedshah and onwards. Effectively anchored the walk, proceeds from Kavi Dalpatram Chowk – which housed the great 19th century Gujarati poet – in Lambeshwar ni Pole, to the classic reminisces of the city’s textile era – the Calico Dome.
Lunch in a local restaurant – After lunch and rest visit Calico Museum of Textiles in the afternoon – here we will see Indian Textiles influenced by the Mughal and Provincial Courts 17th-19th Century Textile Trade of India with the outside world – 15th-19th Century Indian Co Regional Embroideries of India 19th Century Costumes in the Calico Collection – 18th to mid-20th Century (Sindh, Kutch, Kathiawad, Tamilnadu, Orissa, Mithila (Bihar), Bengal, Punjab, Chamba (Himachal Pradesh), Indian Tie-Dyed Fabrics, Techniques of Weaving and Dyeing Wooden Blocks for Printing on cloth. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 05 – Wednesday 21 Sep – Day Visit To Pethapur- 35 Kms
Leave after breakfast for Pethapur to see elaborately illustrated floral or geometric motifs, over all or alternate repeats, bold or delicate patterned, block prints mark the epitome of textile design sensibility of Gujarat. Block printing is one of the oldest surficial textile craft forms in world and Gujarat is renowned for this manifestation. The block though a tool in the printing of a textile is a work of art in itself requires great finesse and dexterity and it is a pleasure to watch a block maker at work. The magical marriage created by the transference of patterns delicately etched on a simple block of wood on to the surface of a fabric has created an especially Indian patina which is one of the highlights of world textile history, Block making is a delightfully intricate explosion, taking into consideration the requirements of the printer while giving vent to the creative impulse of the carver. Block carving is a specialized craft form; right from the selection of the wood which is either sesame or teak, the block maker’s personal touch is evident at every step. The craftsmen work for a variety of clients and therefore his design repertoire is immeasurably vast and evolving for continuous adaptation.
The wood working tools used by the artisans are mostly designed by them. Once the block of wood is polished smooth and ready for engraving the craftsman begins his creation of deep relief work. The negative spaces have to be precise and sensitively planned as it is the block which creates the magic of the finished fabric. Blocks are made in a series according to the amount of colours, the final print will contain.
This is highly skilled and meticulous process where registration points of the main block have to match with the relative blocks so that together as a group they make a whole image. Trellises, floral patterns, lehariyas, flora and fauna, geometrical abstractions and even modern indentation are dexterously etched in by the craftsmen.
Kalamkari (Kalam means pen, Kari means work) is an ancient craft of fabric dyeing and printing. In this age of product homogeneity, each Kalamkari piece is exclusive and a visual delight for a fashion designer. A few connoisseurs of art keep the craft alive in the city. Artist dips his kalam (a pen like instrument, made of bamboo or palm bark, sharpened on one end and tied with a bundle of fine hair that serves as a brush) in vegetable colours and his steady hand covers the cloth with designs; every line is a firm stroke. From over his shoulder you see a perfect piece of art emerge.
The yellow bulb over his head shudders as the warm afternoon breeze wafts in and a weak ripple passes underneath the cloth. The beauty in that space and time completely captures you. The exquisite ancient craft of Kalamkari can do odd things to your senses. This art may be on its last breath in the city but it still exists even though it may not make much economy’s sense. In this age of mass production, Kalamkari churns out one-off pieces and offers exclusivity with each craftsman patronizing his own motifs. Techniques of craftsmanship in Kalamkari have been passed down over the years through generations of families. Apart from Ahmedabad, Kalamkari is also thriving in Andhra Pradesh’s Masulipatnam and Srikalahasti villages. These painting are found only in parts of India and Iran.
Evening visit to Vishalla for a visit to the Utensils Museum and dinner. Vishalla serves traditional Gujarati food in village surroundings. It has Vichar. A walk around the hut-like museum makes one’s heart skip a beat, marvelling at the inimitable beauty of these utensils of old age. These utensils have been handed down through the changing seasons and times, over the years.
They speak of the unmatched art and genius of humankind during the days of old when people did not have the modern facilities of our times. The designer could not let our rich heritage pass with these vessels being lost in the fire kilns! He was determined to preserve them, and today, his dream is a reality in the form of Vechaar (Utensils & Vessels Museum).
Day 06 -Thurs 22 Sep – To Dasada (Modera & Patan Enroute)
Ahmedabad – Mother (103 Kms) – Patan (38kms) – Masada (75kms)
Departure after early breakfast for Modhera Sun temple one of the finest examples of Indian architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D. the temple is dedicated to the Sun-God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. The main hall and shrine of the temple are reached through a pillared porch and the temple exterior is intricately and delicately carved.
After the visit we leave for Patan where we will witness the rich heritage of Double Ikat. Double Ikat Patola from the area of Patan is unique with its gem like qualities, gorgeous colours, designs & durability. Its very appearance lures the connoisseur of fine textiles. It has no reverse side. Both the sides have equal intensity of colour and design. The peculiar quality has its origins in a very intricate and difficult technique of Tie dying or Knot dyeing known as Bandhani Process on the wrap & weft separately before weaving.
The Patola was traditionally woven in a sari length of 5 to 9 yards by 45” to 54” width. The range now extends to include tablecloth border, scarves, and handkerchiefs. Design Elements of Patola : Essentially the design in a Patola are based on traditional motifs called “Bhat”, These designs include “narikunj”, “pan”, “phulwadi”, “chowkdi”, “raas”, “chhabdi”, “chokha”, “navratna”, “panchphool”, “sarvariya”, “laheriya” etc. Flowers, animals, birds & human figures form the basic designs New geometrical designs using vegetable dyes were developed and displayed at the Festivals of India held in Paris, London, Tokyo, Washington and Moscow.
Also visit Rani-Ki-Vav – stepwell on the banks of the Saraswati river, which are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, they have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. Stay at Rann Riders for 2 nights. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 07 – Friday 23 Sep – Dasada
Morning desert safari across the Little Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh, looking for wild ass and water birds. Afternoon tour of settlements and villages along the Rann of Kutch, renowned for their embroideries.
Little ran of Kutch has one of the most interesting ethnic communities called Rabaris. Once a nomadic people, Rabaris follow an interesting lifestyle and customs. Most of the Rabbis are now settled, though some still continue to be semi-nomadic, raising cattle, camels and goats in the arid deserts of Kutch and western India.
Those settled live in small hamlets either in villages or in small towns, sometimes jointly with other ethnic communities and sometimes as a single ethnic unit. Rabaris can be easily identified by looking at their women folk, who are usually clad with long black head drapes, distinctive heavy brass earrings which hang low, stretching the earlobes. Their jewellery is modest in comparison to other tribal women. The sanctuary is well known for its group of the stale joke brown Asiatic (Wild ass), which does not live elsewhere in Indian lowlands. We can see with Little Rann of Kutch black buck (Indian antelope), Nilgai or blue bull (India’s largest antelope) and the graceful chinkara (Indian gazelle) are other mammals. The main carnivores of the Little Rann of Kutch are the endangered Indian wolf, desert fox, Indian fox, jackals, desert and jungle cats, and a few hyenas; also we can see during the visits flamingos, pelicans, ducks, cranes and storks. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 08-Saturday 24 Sep – To Bhuj ( 208 Kms)
Drive to Bhuj, capital of the captivating Kutch region. En route stop at Dhamdka, Azrakpur, then stop at Khamir (Kachchh Heritage Arts Music information and Resources centre ) where Mr Harish Hurmade will give you an insight into the fascinating rural crafts of Kutch. Home made lunch will be served at Khamir. Later visit Bhujodi on way to Bhuj. Dhamadka is a major center of the Ajrakh block-printing technique, Dhamadka is about 50 km east of Bhuj. Some artisans have now relocated to Ajrakhpur, closer to the city, since the earthquake of 2001. Later visit Ashapura Crafts center & Shrujan (an NGO).
Bhujodi is a small town 8 kms southeast of Bhuj. It is a major textile centre of Kutch, with the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants involved in textile handicraft production. Here you can meet weavers, tie-dye artists and block printers, most of who belong to the Vankar community. Many will let you watch them work; just ask around. Stay at the Kutch Safari Lodge for 3 nights. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 09 – Sunday 25 Sep – Bhuj
Amidst the Desert land of infinite dimensions, are quaint little villages. These are the last villages on the India-Pakistan border. Here you will come across master craft people’ exposing their traditional art, turning out master pieces every day. Their ornaments, clothes, utensils, everything they use – will make you feel as if you have stepped into lifestyle museum leaving you spellbound.
The traditions of needlework and textile arts are preserved by almost every community and caste in the semi-arid regions of Saurashtra and Kutch. A full day’s safari exploring some of the Kutchi village communities offers an insight into the traditions and the daily life of the artisans whose work is integral to the culture of the region.
The village of Nirona is the only place in the world where the tradition of Rogan art is still practiced (a method of producing dyes from natural resources and castor oil and creating intricate and long-lasting designs on silk and cotton). Nirona also offers the chance to see artisans making copper bells and practicing wood lacquering. The villages of Dhordo and Ludia provide an opportunity to see Bandhani (tie and dye,) block-printing and the intricate embroidery and embellished bead and mirror-work that encapsulates the folk culture of Gujarat. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 10 – Monday 26 Sep – Bhuj
Early morning visit to Kala Raksha Kendra. Kala Raksha museum intends to make excellent examples of crafts available to artisans, so that traditions can be perpetuated in a contemporary way. The museum focuses on textiles from the communities with which Kala Raksha works and is located at the Community Center in Sumrasar Sheikh village. Each object in the collection is accessioned with thorough documentation. For further synthesis of information, a document containing exhaustive information on each of the styles with which the collection is concerned has been produced. The collections also include a library of books on textiles and related topics, today totalling over 200 volumes many of them rare, archives, photographs and slides.Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 – Tuesday 27 Sep – To Mandvi
Drive to Mandvi where you stay in Serena Beach Resort for 2 Nights. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 12 – Wednesday 28 Sep – Mandvi
Free day. Dinner in the hotel.
Day 13 – Thursday 29 Sep – To Mumbai
Drive to Bhuj airport and fly to Mumbai. Your flight with Jet Airways 9W 7006 departs at 1715 hrs and arrives Mumbai at 1845 hrs. Transfer to the Marine Plaza for 1 night. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 14 – Friday 30 Sep – To London
Transfer to the airport for your flight to London or regional UK airports.
Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pethapur, Masada, Bhuj, Mandvi, Mumbai
Per Person on a Double / Twin share basis £1,376.00
Single room supplement £480.00
- Accommodation with private facilities on twin, double sharing and single room basis as per the itinerary.
- Meal Plan- Daily breakfast and dinner throughout the tour. Lunch at local restaurants and at Khamir as shown in the itinerary.
- Train reservations in air-conditioned chair car
- All transfers and sightseeing by an air-conditioned coach.
- Services of a local English-speaking tour escort.
- Entry fee at monuments and places of interest.
- Internal flights from Bhuj to Mumbai.
- Complimentary mineral water while onboard for transfers & sightseeing.
- Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
Cost does not include:
- International Airfare. (Please contact us for competitive air fares)
- Visa Fee for India – Current requirement for obtaining an India visa require the applicant to visit the visa centre in person. If you wish to avail the services of a visa procurement company please click here.
- Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
- Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc
- Travel Insurance.
How to book this tour
To book this tour, please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.