Discovering the Art and Crafts of Gujarat

Discovering the Art and Crafts of Gujarat

Package Duration: 9 Nights and 10 Days
Places Covered: Mumbai – Ahmedabad – Bhajan - Bhuj – Hodka – Jamnagar – Gondal- Ahmedabad

Tour Overview

One of the ways in which a place expresses itself is through its arts and crafts. When it comes to arts and crafts, perhaps no country in the world has a greater diversity of these expressions than India. Each village in every district in any state in all corners of this colourful and intense land has something distinct to showcase. It’s a journey that is sensual, unique, varied, and satisfying. We invite you to join us on it.

In this tour you will be discovering and exploring the hidden treasures of Gujarat, from embroidery to tie-dye to block printing to beadwork to metalworking to woodcarving to lacquer work to pottery to marquetry to quilting to stone carving to more is on the itinerary today.

Situated on the west coast of India, the Gujarat has cultivated trading partnerships with people from lands across the Arabian Sea for generations. Gujarat has a rich and colorful legacy of weaving and handicrafts. Traders, invaders, colonizers, migrants and refugees have landed here with riches, dreams, and skills that have become part of the heritage of the state. The palaces, forts, havelis, mansions, mosques, temples, and mausoleums that dot different parts of the state reflect the richness of crafts and skills nurtured from medieval times.

Highlights:

  • Visit to Calico Museum at Ahmedabad
  • Visit to Modhera & Patan
  • Tour the Junagadh city has 3rd century BC Buddhist relics, medieval fort, mausoleum complexes, palaces, etc
  • Witness the Bandhani , tie&dye work , block printing and many more forgotten art
  • Visit the Banni tribes in Hodko region

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01 : Arrive in Mumbai
Arrive in Mumbai by your international flight. Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 02 : Flight to Ahmedabad
After breakfast leave for Ahmedabad by flight leaving at 0835hrs and arriving at 0945hrs. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the hotel. Leave the hotel to visit the Calico Museum (closed on Wednesdays & public holidays). After visit of museum proceed for sightseeing tour of Ahmedabad visiting the Sabarmati Ashram, Sidi Saiyad Mosque, Jumma Masjid & Rani Sipri mosque. Overnight at the hotel.

Ahmedabad (also called Amdavad, Ahmadabad or Ahemdavad), Gujarat's major city, grows on you. Yes, during peak hours with traffic, noise, and air so thick you can chew it, the place can be a little overwhelming, but it's well worth taking the time to get to know this remarkable city. It wins you over with its wealth of architecture – from centuries-old mosques and mausoleums to cutting-edge contemporary design. Then there's the fascinating maze of an old quarter, excellent museums, fine restaurants, a bustling street-food scene and the tranquility of the Sabarmati Ashram (Gandhi’s former headquarters).

Calico Museum is housed in the exclusive and magnificent residence of the well-known Sarabhai family. In the gardens of this exquisite building, Gujarat's famous carved-wooden havelis have been reconstructed to display a collection of rare textiles that date back to the 17th century.  This textile museum is considered one of finest in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi established the Sabarmati Ashram, on the banks of the Sabarmathi River in 1915. This was the nerve centre of India's freedom movement. In 1930 Gandhiji began his famous Dandi March from here.  The Sidi Saiyad  Mosque was built by an Abyssinian who rose from the ranks of a slave to the post of a Governor in the 15th century. This mosque is famous for its exquisite windows of pierced stone, worked in a design of a tree with palm leaves and curving tendrils. The Jumma Masjid, Sarkej and Rani Sipri mosque known as `jewel among mosques' are among the many fascinating monuments of Ahmedabad.

Day 03 : Leave for Bajana, en-route visiting Adalaj step-well, Modhera & Patan
Breakfast at the hotel. Leave for Bajana , en-route visiting Adalaj Stepwell, Modhera and Patan.

Adalaj Step-well : Situated 17 km north of Ahmedabad, this step well at the village of Adalaj is another fine example of magnificent architectural form. ‘Adalaj Vav’ is richly carved. Every pillar and wall surface is covered with leaves, flowers, birds, fishes and friezes of ornamental designs.

The Sun temple at Modhera (106 kms from Ahmedabad) is one of the finest examples of Indian temple architecture of its period. Built in 1026 AD, the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside, is magnificently carved with gods and goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. The inner sanctum which housed the presiding deity faces east and was so designed that at the solar equinoxes the first rays of the rising sun lit up the images of Surya.

Patan: Home of the famous patola silk saris, Patan is a beautiful old town with Jain Temples and carved wooden houses. Rani-ki-vav (step-well), Sahastraling are interesting places to visit in Patan. You can also visit a workshop to see the Patola silk weaving.

Day 04 : A day in Bajana
After breakfast visit Wadhwan for Bandhani tie-dye and metalwork. Return to Bajana after visits. Overnight at Bajana.

Wadhwan is an important centre for bandhani tie-dye and metalwork. The utensils of Wadhwan, like the brass gadhas, are especially famous. Surendranagar district is also an important centre for stone carving. Dhrangadhra is well-known for its sandstone carvings.

Day 05 : Leave for Bhuj, en-route visit Dhamadka
After breakfast leave for Bhuj, en-route visiting Dhamadka. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Visit the Aina Mahal , Kutch Museum and Pragmalji's palace. In between your sightseeing tour visit Government authority to obtain the permit for inner region of Banni Villages which you will be visiting the next day. You will be assisted by our local representative for this. Overnight in Bhuj.

Ajrakh Block Printing in Dhamadka has long been a centre for block printing. The artisans of this region are called Khattries. They are believed to have come to Dhamadka from Sindh in medieval times. After the destruction of the workplaces and residences of Khattries in Dhamadka by the 2001 Earthquake, an alternative site called Ajrakhpur was developed. The two villages of Ajrakhpur are known for Ajrakh, an intricate art of resist block printing fabrics that uses a resist, mordant, or both. The artisans go through a lengthy process that involves treating fabrics to applying handheld wooden blocks with designs in relief to finishing it in the form of eye-catching prints of beautiful patterns.

Aina Mahal : Kutch kings are called Maharaos. Maharao Lakhpatji's antique palace, constructed in traditional Kutchi style, is created in a small fortified courtyard in the old part of the metropolis. It is a beautifully presented Museum and is one of the highlights of a visit to Bhuj. The entrance to the palace homes the tourist office, and that is also the site of the Maharao Madansinhji Museum, which has a varied collection of paintings, images and embroideries. There may be a 15m long scroll depicting the royal procession of Maharao Shri Pragmalji Bahadur (1838-75).

Constructed within the 1860's and 1870s in a Venetian-Gothic fashion, Pragmalji's palace has pointed Gothic arches, classical colonnades and European timber roofs. The huge staircases and deep passages are floored with colourful Minton tiles and coated with handrails on classical balusters. The highlight is the Darbar corridor, which has Corinthian pillars, molded ceilings, massive Venetian chandeliers, Greece-roman statutory, classical balustrade galleries and ceiling murals of Shakespearean characters. The furnishing is in the Victorian-edwardian and art deco fashion. The corridor, which has a group of hunting trophies, has now been converted right into a Museum.

The Kutch Museum was built up within the year 1877 AD with the aid of the British governor of mumbai referred to as Sir James Fergusson - a true lover of Gujarat. It become due to the call of its founder that Kutch Museum, Bhuj was first of all named as Fergusson Museum.

Day 06 : Leave for Hodka
After breakfast leave for Hodka. After breakfast leave for Hodka en route visiting villages (65 kms/ approx. 4 hrs including visits). Arrive Hodka and check-in at the camp. Overnight at the camp.

Visit the villages of Servo and Ludia in the Banni region. At servo, see the mud houses and embroidery work of the Jat community. At Ludia, see the 'Bungas', special type of homes - conical, with interior decoration in mud, with mirror work and the special embroidery and jewellery of this ethnic group.

The Banni tribes live in the Kutch region of Gujarat, which is also known as the 'the abode of tribal India'. This region is arid, with very little rainfall. The people in this region live in circular houses of mud, roofed with thatch, which is eminently suited to their hostile desert environment. This semi-desert region near Khavda, offers a glimpse of true village life and natural beauty. Large patches of seawater marshes have turned the region into a haven for thousands of flamingoes and other migratory birds. During winter one can witness at close quarters the life and flight of these graceful birds - an ethereal sight which remains etched in the memory for a long time.

Banni is also filled with pockets of small villages where generations have been creating the most exquisite handicrafts like engraving on silver ornaments, bandhani embroidery, wall paintings, wood work, lacquer-ware, terracotta and textiles within the Bhoongas. An entry into their simple-but-traditional dwellings, which are circular mud structures with conical thatched roofs takes you into a mini gallery of art. The white washed walls are intricately carved with mirror work where women folk are engaged in bharat-kaam or embroidery. Their handicrafts have made them world famous. They are equally famous for their hospitality and sharing their Spartan meal of Bajara rotis, khicchdi and buttermilk can leave you licking your fingers for a long time.

Day 07 : Leave for Jamnagar
After breakfast leave for Jamnagar. Arrive and check in at the hotel. Visit a Bandhani art workshop. In the afternoon visit the Pratap Vilas Palace and Bala Hanuman Temple. Overnight at the hotel.

The fabric is pinched together in selected places – according to the pattern lightly drawn or block-printed on the surface in fugitive colours that fade away – and tied round with thread or twine and coated with material that resists the dye before immersion in a dye-bath. The threads or twines are then removed to reveal a pattern in the original colour. The process is often repeated to create a variously-coloured bandhani pattern. It can take up to six months to a year for most saris to be completely dyed and even the simplest patterns can take more than a month before the sari is ready for the market.

Entire families work at homes or at workshops in their residential areas and often family members develop their own specialised expertise in tying, dyeing red, and other dark colours, and pastel shades, to name a few examples. In Gujarat, bandhani has always been a favoured bridal dress, specially the gharchola sari which is usually red or green in colour, patterned with yellow and white dots often depicting floral and other motifs. The trousseau of women from Saurashtra was rarely complete without a panetar sari in gajji silk with rich borders and central medallions, usually white with red tie-dyed dots. The Bhatiya community of Jamnagar district preferred the traditional design called the zari kyara with square grid work of varied bandhani patterns on fine cotton depicting elephants, floral patterns, birds, dancing figures, and other motifs.

Pratap Vilas Palace built between 1907 to 1915 mix with major European styles. Jam sing the King change the palace’s ground in to National park and brought live specimens of different species. But unfortunately because of the confiscation of privy purses of the princely rulers, this park has not been taken care off. Entire palace is decorated with carving of structure like creepers, flowers ,birds ,animals and even human portraits .Three domes on this palace were made from glass.The aim of the construction was to create a replica of the Victoria memorial in Calcutta.

On the southeast corner of the lake is the Bala Hanuman temple, famous for its continuous chanting of the “Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram” since August 1st, 1964, for which it is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. You can visit the temple to be witness to their prolonged act of religious devotion and even join in if you wish to contribute to the effort, especially at night, during the more difficult sessions.

Day 08 : Leave for Gondal
Today, proceed to Gondal, a princely town of considerable importance and affluence. Visit the Navlakha Palace, which houses the erstwhile ruling family's private collection of bead work, textiles, brassware, hand-painted toys and silver crafts, the centre promoting weaving at Gondal, and the historic buildings of Gondal. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Gondal, famous for its cottage, jewellery, beadwork and Brassware industries to add on to your overall experience and see some other unique handicraft items that reflects our rich culture and tradition.

Thereafter, we will visit the Naulakha Palace, famous for its exquisite collection of brass utensils, beadwork, silverware and hand-painted wooden toys. Here, one can witness an extensive range of textile and handicrafts that are handmade and looks very appealing.

Day 09 : Excursion to Jetpur & Junagadh
Today, proceed to Jetpur, known for its screen and block printing workshops, and a yam-dyeing centre, and then to Junagadh where you can see gem-encrusted carpets, wardrobes and tapestery of the Nawab at the museums. A historic city, Junagadh has 3rd century BC Buddhist relics, medieval fort, mausoleum complexes, palaces, etc. Return to Gondal. Overnight stay at the hotel

Day 10 : Leave for Ahmedabad
After breakfast leave for Ahmedabad Flight for your flight back home.

Travel Route

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