February 17th - Ist March 2019
Jaipur - Ahmedabad - Bhuj - 12 Nights
A detailed day to day itinerary will be sent out closer to the date. Please note there may be slight variations in the plan regarding timings etc depending on the availability of workshops and artisans.
".....the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.” Mark Twain
Jaipur - Arrival on 17th February
17th - 21st February - Five Nights
Pickup from airport and transport to hotel. Welcome dinner.
Next Day - Get to know Jaipur. Mornings are calm and the morning light provides us with the perfect opportunity to soak in Jaipur, we’ll take a morning walk, see some incredible sites that will take us back in time and allow us to marvel at where we are, every turn will provide an opportunity to be awe struck, street life will allow us to see daily rituals and life, we’ll mingle, pause, talk and sit while we have a chai and watch Jaipur.
We’ll wander through the flower markets where many people start the day by taking an offering of flowers to the temple. There will be an opportunity to make an offering, as this is such an important aspect to understanding Indian beliefs and customs.
Later we'll have lunch at an organic restaurant with traditional Indian food. The afternoon will be spent enjoying the sites at Hawa Mahal and City Palace.
Stay is in a beautiful heritage hotel in Jaipur style.
If you haven't been to India before then prepare for mouth watering dishes, from local thali meals to boutique restaurants with organic dishes. Throughout our trip we'll enjoy delicious vegetarian meals (unless otherwise requested), local and organic whenever possible. We'll enjoy traditional snacks and drinks. This culinary experience will be part of our memorable journey on the traditions of India.
Hand Block Printing
We will have a day trip to visit a town outside of Jaipur. Bagru, is home to the Chippa, a caste that has practiced block-printing for centuries. We'll have the opportunity to see the carving of hand blocks and the application onto cloth. There will be a workshop to try our hand at creating our own scarf.
We will also visit a natural dye studio to see how colours such as indigo and yellow are created and used to dye cloth.
We’ll visit the ancient city of Amer and its incredible palace and fort, which was the capital of this region before it was moved to Jaipur. We'll take a walk through the back of the Palace down to the ancient of city of Amer, where there are temples around every corner, ancient step wells and the Anokhi museum of Hand Block Printing situated in a beautiful renovated Haveli.
In the afternoon we’ll enjoy wonderful tea and snacks, a cafe inspired by royalty. Then spend the evening exploring Jaipur bazaars.
From shopping in the old bazaars, to discovering designer boutiques, we'll visit designer boutiques in Narain Niwas Palace, such as Hot Pink, Satayam, Andraab and Jaipur Modern. While we're there we will indulge in some royal treatment with afternoon tea or chai in one of the palaces converted into a boutique hotel.
Jaipur, is famous for its excellence in textile crafts and gem stones. We will visit the gem traders and on our morning walk we'll visit the area known for its fresh water pearls.
On our last day we can indulge in the opulence of Jaipur, and see what luxury in an Indian setting looks like. We’ll visit designer boutiques situated amongst the walls of the old palaces. We will celebrate our last day by having dinner in one of these stunning restaurants. We'll enjoy cafe's and restaurants that have been inspired by Jaipur's history of royalty.
Jaipur to Ahmedabad - Flight 22nd February
Two Nights Stay - 22nd - 23rd February
Arrival in Ahmedabad. Dinner.
Next morning, we will visit Adalaj ni vav a step well built in 1498, architecturally its a design haven, with its intricate stone carvings and layer upon layer of pillars with five stories, creating a visually stunning effect. Used both for water storage and a place of worship it served both the practical and spiritual needs of the people. Ingenious.
We will then visit one of the largest and well organised Calico textile museum situated in Gandhi’s ashram.
24th February - Ahmedabad to Bhuj
We will leave in the morning and make a stop to see the highly skilled work of double Ikat artisans, known in India as Patola. We will also visit the Modhera sun temple, one of only two prominent sun temples in India, dedicated to the local deity Surya, the temple and its step wells are some of the best preserved with historical, social and religious importance.
Stay in a boutique hotel.
Bhuj - Arrival on 24th February
24th - 28th February - Five Nights
Next day we'll get situated and acquainted with Bhuj, visiting the local places, significant sites, palaces, step wells. We will visit bhandani artisans, who work from their homes as a family. We’ll also visit one of the only silver makers in town that specialises in traditional tribal jewellery. We’ll walk in the old town to get grounded, enjoy a chai and a local thali meal.
The Fabric of India
"The story of textiles in India is one of the oldest in the world. The earliest surviving Indian cotton threads date to around 4000 BC and dyed fabrics from the region are documented as far back as 2500 BC. India’s textiles were so central to its identity abroad that in ancient Greece and Babylon the very name ‘India’ was shorthand for ‘cotton’. India’s textiles are embedded in every aspect of its identity. Courtly splendour was proclaimed by magnificent fabrics and religious worship still finds expression through cloth. Global trade systems were formed on the export of Indian fabrics, and the hand-making of cloth continues to shape India today."
We will spend the day at a Textile NGO in a peaceful natural setting, which supports native cotton seed production, then there will be a weaving workshop to see the entire process from beginning to finish. This organisation is supporting organic cotton production in the state, and reviving hand weaving on the hand loom. In this open air setting of a local village, we will enjoy a delicious a home cooked thali meal.
We will then visit the village of Bhujodi, a reminder of how weaving has been traditionally practiced in homes, within communities and families. The artisans in this weaving community traditionally weave in desi wool. NGO's work with artisans so they can create and innovate new designs and not simply replicate designs. These organisations are creating new opportunities for artisans by training in them with modern business skills and empowering them to have direct involvement with their market and customers. Its inspiring to see so how the traditional craft artisans are working to stay relevant with so much competition from cheap imports.
"The record of ancient and medieval Indian textiles exists mostly in literature and sculpture. There is archaeological evidence of a cotton textile industry at Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley around 3000 B.C., and a few fragments survive from much later periods. Most of the extant textiles are dated after the seventeenth century, because the monsoon climate has been very destructive to early specimens. The Greeks with Alexander the Great wrote of the fine flowered muslins and robes embroidered in gold they had seen in India. They may also have seen the cotton fiber that grew on trees." V and A
Hand Block Printing
We will visit a fascinating textile museum in a village outside of Bhuj in a wonderful setting, it details the history of textiles in the region.
The story of Ajrakhpur is of a thriving artisan community – a tiny village dominated by the Khatri community. Sufiyan Khatri, who owns a workshop in the village, is a 10th generation artisan whose family has been involved in the art of Ajrakh printing since the 15thcentury. Sufiyan says, “As the family legend goes, our community consisted of master craftsmen of Ajrakh printing. The king of Kutch invited us and that’s how we migrated from Sindh and started calling this region our home.”
Traditionally Ajrakh printing would have used natural vegetable dyes but with the introduction of cheaper synthetic chemicals artisans began to switch and also began to suffer health wise. This family recognised the importance of using natural vegetable dyes, and today his son and grand children continue to do so. They have also adapted traditional Ajrakh block printing to create new designs, by working with designers from all around the world, which has helped to give Ajrakh greater prominence.
We’ll be taking part in a block printing workshop to experience the process from the beginning, to washing, drying, dyeing and block printing.
In the afternoon we’ll return to Bhuj to see more of the old town.
The Rann of Kutch
We'll spend the day exploring the region and head out to the largest salt lake at 7,500 sq km, located in the Thar desert. For miles you can see pristine white and blue sky's, with the sound of the wind
Along the way we'll visit leather makers and traditional homes of the ahir tribe, who live in mud houses that are painted and decorated with traditional mirror work, contrasting with the stark landscape of the region. We may see the nomadic Rabari people with their herds of camels still moving on foot, although their ways are being encroached upon by the modern world.
Our journey will end in Bhuj on the morning of 1st March, after breakfast. There will be the option to extend your stay before your arrival in Jaipur or after our departure in Bhuj. It will be possible to make onward arrangements to another city or your departure airport.
Om Gam Gana Pataye Namahe