Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan

India

Culture

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

16 days £2,695 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro

The northern states of Gujarat and Rajasthan are home to remote villages where tribal communities have been living for centuries and are still practising an ancient way of life. In Gujarat, you will encounter people from the Kutch, Rabari, Meghwal and Muthwa communities and see first-hand how they produce their renowned intricate and delicate textiles. Other highlights in Gujarat include a visit to Gandhi's former residence, the otherworldly salt marshland of the Rann of Kutch and its endemic wild asses. Cross the state border into Rajasthan, known for its forts and palaces, explore its smaller towns and witness a very traditional way of life. The trip finishes in the stunning lake city of Udaipur. Take a boat ride on Lake Pichola to marvel at the Lake Palace, wander the markets famous for their miniature paintings and visit an NGO preserving traditional craftsmanship. You will also experience the Mewar Festival, where idols of Hindu deities are paraded on and immersed in the lake - a festival only celebrated in this part of India.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Meet nomadic Gujarati tribal communities
  • Kutch textiles and walled city of Bhuj
  • Rare rogan art in Nirona village
  • White desert salt plains of Great Rann of Kutch
  • See the endemic wild asses of Dasada
  • Mahatma Gandhi's home in Ahmedabad
  • Picturesque Balaram tribal villages
  • Boat ride on Lake Pichola in Udaipur
  • Visit NGO specialising in traditional textiles
  • Mewar Festival in Udaipur

Places Visited

Mumbai - Bhuj - Great Rann of Kutch - Dasada - Little Rann of Kutch - Vadodara - Ahmedabad - Palanpur - Dungarpur - Udaipur

What's Included

Airport pick-up and drop-off
Domestic flight (Mumbai - Bhuj)
Accommodation (on bed/breakfast basis)
Ground transport
Drivers and guides
Sightseeing and activities as per itinerary
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Mumbai

Arrive into Mumbai, where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight in Mumbai.

NOTE: It is possible to arrange a pre-tour extension in Mumbai, please contact us for more details.

Meal plan: n/a

Mumbai is the most populous city in India, the economical and commercial centre of the country and the home of Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. Mumbai's most famous site is the Gateway of India, a 26-metre-high arch built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in India in 1911. Other important landmarks include the Marine Drive boulevard, known as the 'Queen's Necklace' due to its resemblance to a pearl necklace when viewed at night from above; Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open air laundry; Crawford Market, the largest market in Mumbai,  named after  the first Municipal Commissioner of the city, Arthur Crawford; and the Victoria Terminus railway station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The latter is famous for its blend of Gothic Revival and traditional Mughal architectural styles, and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. In 1996 it was renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, after the founder of the Maratha Empire.

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Day 2 : Mumbai - Bhuj

The hotel will provide you with a packed breakfast and you will be transferred to the airport for an early morning flight to Bhuj (approx 06:30).  On arrival, transfer to the hotel and rest. Later in the day, visit the Kutch Museum, Bhuj market area, Bhujodi village and a house in the Rabari community. Drive back to Bhuj for overnight stay.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The walled city of Bhuj is the headquarters of the Kutch district and is named after the Bhujia Fortress, which overlooks the city from a nearby hill. Bhuj is known for its wide variety of handicrafts, like Kutchi embroidery with mirror work and hand printed textiles. The region is littered with many sites associated with the Indus Valley Civilisation. 

The Rabari tribe are a nomadic/semi-nomadic community of cattle raisers that live in western India. They migrated there from Sindh (now in Pakistan) about 400 years ago and many of their relatives still live there. Their name means 'ones who lives outside' and they have wonderful stories about their origin. According to myth, they tended camels owned by Parvati, the Hindu goddess of love. 

A fundamental expression of Rabari identity is their tradition of embroidery. Glass mirrors are frequently sewn into fabrics by intricate stich-work, creating designs inspired by Hindu myths. Peacock motifs are especially popular. Rabari women normally wear black garments and are frequently tattooed with magical symbols and letters. The men wear a long white dhoti and matching turban.


Established in 1877 as part of the School of Arts, the Kutch Museum is the oldest in Gujarat and the first in India to convert its collection into an extensive online database. The museum has the largest collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, which date back to the 1st century AD. You will see displays of textiles, armoury, gold and silver ornaments and other exhibits belonging to the region. A section of the museum is devoted to tribal cultures, with many of their ancient artifacts and crafts on display.

Bhujodi is a small village about 10km east of Bhuj, where the majority of inhabitants are craftsmen that specialise in hand‐loom weaving. The village produces many different types of embroidery and you can meet different artists that may let you watch them work. 

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Day 3 : Bhuj - Nirona, Bhindriya & Dhordo - Bhuj

After breakfast, go on an excursion to the Banni villages. Visit the Nirona village, then proceed to Bhrindiyara to visit the Meghwal community. In Dhordo, meet the Muthwa community. Please note that taking pictures of ladies or girls here is not allowed because of their Muslim faith. Continue onwards to the Great Rann of Kutch, then back to Bhuj. Overnight in Bhuj.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Nirona village is home to six different crafts, most notably Rogan painting, bell-making and lacquer work on wood. Rogan means 'oil' in Persian and this style of art used vibrant castor oil -based colours. Castor is a plant grown in the Kutch area of Gujarat that, when heated for 12 hours and mixed with cold water, turns into an elastic paste. This paste can be picked up with a long blunt needle and twisted to create intricate shapes on the fabric, without ever touching the fabric. This 300-year-old art form was practised by only one family in Nirona, but is now being taught to the village women and children to preserve the traditionally male-dominated specialty.

The Meghwal community used to be considered 'untouchable' in the Indian class system, meaning they were confined to work menial jobs, not allowed to enter temples, read books or use 'status-defining' transport reserved for the more honourable. They are now considered a 'scheduled caste', which is a title given to indigenous people that were historically disadvantaged. The Meghwals now benefit from enforced equality, positive treatment in job applications, access to higher education and other benefits to aid development. The community is known for living in colourful mud-brick round huts that are decorated with intricate geometric designs and mirror inlays. Fine embroidery is the prevalent art form practiced by women.

The Muthwa community of Dhodro hail from Sindh in Pakistan, a region they had to flee after a Talpur ruler demanded a bride from the community. The Muthwa are now quite successful in trading, education and business. The women are very clever with needles and threads, creating an extremely fine style of embroidery that is patterned around a tiny mirror.  

The Great Rann of Kutch, also referred to as the White Rann of Kutch, is one of the largest salt deserts in the world with an area of around 10,000 km sq. It lies north of the Tropic of Cancer and boasts a magnificent landscape of dazzling white plains. The area is also one of the hottest in India, where summer temperatures average 49.5°C. During the summer monsoon season, the flat desert fills with standing water for about four months.

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Day 4 : Bhuj - Dasada

Visit Aina Mahal, a museum built under Rao Lakhpatji which is now a storehouse of Kutch culture and history [closed on Thursdays]. Afterwards drive to Dasada, visiting Ajrakpur and the New Museum of Shrujan en route. Overnight in Dasada.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Dasada, located on the peripheries of a salt marsh named the 'Little Rann of Kutch', is a popular bird-watching destination. The marsh ecosystem and nearby lakes attract many large flocks of different bird species between October and March. Some of the villagers, whose homes border the desert, are farmers, while other villagers are artisans. The unique crafts of Dasada tribes are embroidery and silk weaving.  

The New Museum of Shrujan started as a small family project that turned into a unique non-profit that houses both a textile museum and a training centre for local craftswomen. The organisation has a network of over 2,500 craftswomen spread across 85 villages that work with 16 different styles of embroidery. Shrujan provides artisans with materials free of charge and pays them directly after work is completed. Their excellent exhibits display and preserve indigenous crafting techniques, all while teaching women organisational and business skills.

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Day 5 : Dasada

Enjoy a jeep safari in the Little Rann of Kutch, where you will see endemic wild asses. In the afternoon, go on a village safari around Dasada to visit the nomadic Kharapati Rabari, Mir and Bharwad communities. Overnight in Dasada.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Known as the last sanctuary for the Indian wild ass (Khur or Ghudkar), the Little Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh that was once part of the Arabian Sea. The only other two subspecies of wild asses live in the high arid plateaus of Tibet, making this the most accessible place to visit wild asses in their natural environment. More than a meter tall at the shoulder and two meters in length, wild asses are very agile and can run long distances at a speed of 50 km/h. This ability makes them more similar to wild horses and far more captivating than their domesticated cousins. The Little Rann spreads across nearly 5,000 km sq and plays an important part in the ecology of the Gujarat region. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as the endangered Indian wolf, jackal, Indian fox, desert fox, chinkara and spiny-tailed lizard. 

The Kharapati Rabaris were among the original inhabitants of Dasada. They tend cattle and buffalo (unlike the Rabaris, who also keep camels and catrle) and spread from Jaisalmer to Dasada in the 14th century. Today, Kharapati Rabaris live in 35 villages between Sankeshwar and Kharagodha. The local weavers are famous for a shawl-weaving technique known as Tangalieya, which involves an intricate process of making tiny dots of twisted thread that make the fabric look like it's been embroidered with beads. This creates texture on both sides of the fabric and allows the crafter to make beautiful geometric patterns.

The Mir nomadic community lives on the periphery of Dasada and consists of 15 families. Their genealogy is Rabari, their dress is Rajasthani and their homes are temporary. Mirs migrated to Dasada with the Rabaris and have kept up relations with them. Today, some 10,000 Mirs live all over Gujarat, Vagad and eastern Kutch.

Mir women typically wear aniyo (short, backless blouses), kurti (front-closing sleeveless jackets), ghagharo (20-metre-long gathered skirts) and chundadi (5-metre-long veils). They decorate themselves with copious amounts of necklaces and tassels fashioned from beads, coins and trinkets. White bangles that start at the wrist and go to the armpit are popular. Mir men typically wear white pachedo (wrapped lower garments) and kamiz (shirts). Though Muslim, each Mir has both a Hindu and a Muslim name. Today Mir men do manual agricultural and construction labour, while the women are experts in beadwork and make beaded bangles to sell in Dasada.


The Bharvads originated in Mathura and were traditionally nomadic herders, keeping sheep, goats, cows and buffalo. They initially came to the Dasada area looking for grass for their animals. Bharvads have Barots (a caste of people that work as genealogists and mythigraphers) that keep their genealogical records, meaning it is known for certain that they raised the refugee infant Krishna. With their intimate connection to Krishna, the Bharvads’ main celebration is Janamashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. On that day, they make a clay image of the child Krishna, decorate it, dance around it, and finally immerse it in a body of water.

Bharvad women wear tangalio (wrapped skirts) and galmendi (veils), both of which are woven from the wool of their sheep. They complete their outfits with khinkhab kapadu (short backless blouses made out of brocade, a rich fabric). The veil symbolises the auspicious state of a married woman. Married women also wear silver balaiyun (bracelets), which are exchanged for ivory ones when their sons get married. Bharvad men wear blue, green or red bori (wrapped lower garments) with machine-embroidered bandi (vests), kediyun (ruffled jackets) and red melkhayu (turbans). They accessorise with different-styled gold earrings, silver kadu (bracelets) and kanduro (belts).


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Day 6 : Dasada - Champaner - Vadodara

Drive to Vadodara, visiting the Amul Dairy Factory en route [subject to prior permission]. Afterwards, head to Champaner, where you will see the Jami Mosque and the Helical Stepwell. Overnight in Vadodara. 

NOTE: If it is not possible to visit Champaner today due to time constraints, you will visit it tomorrow after the local sightseeing. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The 16th-century Jami Mosque (or 'public mosque') in Champaner is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the finest mosques in Gujarat, combining Islamic and Hindu architectural styles. It is a popular pilgrimage destination as there is a pir (a Sufi spiritual guide) buried there. 

The brick 16th-century Helical Stepwell is an imposing structure surrounded by 1-metre-high parapet walls, with 1.2-metre-wide steps that wind down along the well shaft wall. This makes it quite unusual compared to other wells in the region. The well no longer provides water due to the considerable lowering of the water table. 

The Sahar Ki Masjid is located near the royal palace and was built for the exclusive use of the sultans. There are five mihrabs (semi-circular niches) that show which way to face when praying and the mosque is likely to have been the private mosque of the Sultans. The main entrance is through an arched doorway flanked by two minarets and covered by a sloped chhajja (overhanging eave). Two more entries on either side of the central one are flanked by jharokhas (overhanging enclosed balconies). Corresponding to each arched entry is a large dome, surrounded on all four sides by smaller domes. 

The Amul Dairy Factory in Anand began operation in 1946 and its success prompted India's White Revolution in the 1970s. This revolution made India the world's largest milk producer by 1988 and was started by the National Dairy Development Board's 'Operation Flood' programme. It created a system linking milk producers with consumers, reducing product price variation and cutting out middlemen. Amul was the driving force behind all of this and is now India's largest food brand.

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Day 7 : Vadodara (Baroda)

Go on a sightseeing tour to see the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh museum, Pratap Vilas palace and the Baroda Museum and Art Gallery. You will have the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Vadodara. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Laxmi Vilas Palace was built in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in the Indo- Saracenic Revival style, which combines elements of Indo-Islamic, India, Gothic and Neo-Classical styles popular in Victorian Britain. The palace remains the residence of the Royal Family and is four times as large as Buckingham Palace. 

The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is located within the Laxmi Vilas Palace and was initially built as a school for the Maharaja's children. Nowadays, it houses an extensive collection of art belonging to the Maratha Royal Family and works collected by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III during his trips abroad. 

The 20th-century Pratap Vilas Palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III for Fatehsingrao, his oldest son, when he got married. Ironically, Fatehsingrao died the same year palace construction began and his son (Pratapsinghrao) was born. Pratapsinghrao was the last ruler of the Baroda State. The palace was leased by the Bombay Province in 1949 and currently houses the Railway Staff college, which is India Railways' main training facility. 

The Baroda Museum and Art Gallery was founded by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1887. It is similar to the design of the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums in London and hosts a sizeable collection of art, sculpture, ethnography and ethnology. 

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Day 8 : Vadodara (Baroda) - Ahmedabad

Drive to Ahmedabad, en route visiting Sarkhej Roza, a mosque and tomb complex located in Markaba, close to Ahmedabad. After the visit, check in to your hotel and rest. Later visit the Gandhi Ashram and the Law Garden market. Evening free to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Ahmedabad.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The former capital of the state of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is one of the fastest growing cities of the last decade. It is located on the banks of the Sabarmati river and earned the nickname 'Manchester of the East' while under British rule for its developing textile industry. Ahmedabad is home to a fascinating mix of architecture, ranging from British colonial to early Indo-Saracenic.

Situated in Ahmedabad, the Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Gandhi Ashram) was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. It was from his base here that Gandhi led the Dandi march (also known as the Salt Satyagraha) on 12 March 1930. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement, the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument. Thus, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. The Ashram is named for the river on which it sits and was created with a dual mission: to serve as an institution that would carry on a search for truth and a platform to bring together a group of workers committed to non-violence who would help secure freedom for India.

​The Sarkhej Roza is a mosque and tomb complex located in Makarba village, about 10 kilometers southwest of Ahmedabad.  The mausoleum and mosque were ordered by Sultan Muhammad Shah, the son of Ahmed Shah, in 1446, and were completed in the reign of his successor Sultan Qutbuddin. Later, the Roza became a favourite resort and retreat for Sultan Mahmud Begda. Upon entry, you can see  a forecourt with the majestic mausoleum to the right and the royal tombs to the left. Beyond these is a spacious courtyard mosque, which is remarkable for its unassuming elegance and the linear purity of its multi-domed prayer hall and colonnades.

The Law Garden Market is an evening market packed with stalls selling glittering wares from Kachchh and Saurashtra. It’s full of fantastically decorated cholis (sari blouses) and chaniyas (long, wide traditional skirts), as well as embroidered wall hangings, costume jewelry and more.

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Day 9 : Ahmedabad

Today you will be taken on a heritage walk of the Old City of Ahmedabad, seeing sites like the Sabarmati Ashram, Hutheesing Jain Temples, Jama Mosque and the Dada Hari step well. After the walk, visit the Calico Museum and see a type of art called Mata Ni Pachedi. Overnight in Ahmedabad.

NOTE: The Calico Museum is closed on Wednesdays and public holidays. Visit is subject to availability, as only 20 guests are allowed inside at once.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Calico Museum was founded in 1949 by the industrialist Gautam Sarabhai and his sister, Gita Sarabhai. It is among the most celebrated institutions in the country and is renowned for its comprehensive collection of textiles and artifacts. You can see a remarkable collection of fabrics from varied and remote regions of India collected over five centuries. 

Mata Ni Pachedi is a technique of making block-printed and painted shrine cloths that is now practiced by only a handful of Vaghri families settled in Ahmedabad and Kheda districts. Pachedis are essentially an expression of the divine cosmic energy of the mother goddess and the unified manifestation of her creative and the destructive principles. The cloths are usually painted with natural dyes, like black made from iron filings and jiggery and other colours from indigo, ferrous sulphate, turmeric and pomegranate powder, alizarin, iron filings and more.

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Day 10 : Ahmedabad - Palanpur

Drive to Palanpur, visiting the Sun Temple at Modhera, Patan Rani Ki Vav and the Patola Museum along the way. Overnight in Palanpur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The 11th-century Sun Temple at Modhera is easily one of the finest examples of devotion in Western India. Built by King Bhimdev with the aid of donations from the people, the temple features a beautiful domed central portion designed so that sun light falls on a bejewelled statue of the Hindu Sun-God Surya, to whom the temple is dedicated.

Patan is famous for Patola weaving, which is made using the 'double ikat' techniques. The weavers make their special Patola loom and dyeing colours from local natural materials. The one-of-a-kind Patola Museum documents the history of Patan Patola, a textile that combines the techniques of tying, dyeing and weaving. 

The magnificent east-facing Rani Ki Vav ('Queen’s Step Well') was constructed during the Solanki dynasty, between 1022 and 1063 AD. It is the oldest and the grandest stepwell in the state of Gujarat. The stepwell is decorated with many beautiful sculptures devoted to Vishnu in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki.

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Day 11 : Palanpur

Today after breakfast, visit villages around Balaram. You will be able to see the Garasia tribes and the Rajasthani Rabaris near Ambaji. Overnight in Palanpur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The area surrounding Balaram is home to some of the most picturesque tribal villages in all of India. The Garasia tribe lives along the Aravali Range and leads a mostly agricultural way of life, selling forest produce for additional income. They believe in ancestral worship and mourn the dead during the Chitra Vichitra Fair, which is held each spring one fortnight after Holi. Their supreme deity is Bhakar Bhavsingh, who they worship by providing terracotta horse figures as offerings. Garasias believe that once their prayers are heard, the deity absorbs the horse's spirit and leaves the empty terraccotta figure to disintegrate.

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Day 12 : Palanpur - Dungarpur

Drive to Dungarpur and check in to your hotel upon arrival. You will have the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Dungarpur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Dungarpur is named after the capital of the former princely state of Dungarpur. 'Dungar' means 'hill' and 'pur' means 'town', thus 'Dungarpur' means 'hill town'. Rawal Veer Singh Dev took over this part of the state from the Bhill chieftain Dungaria and laid the foundation of the city as well as the old palace in 1282 AD. Dungarpur is famous for its particular style of architecture, where the palaces of the Dungarpur princes and the residence of the noble ones are adorned by stone Jharokas and a new style of Jharokas developed during the Maharawal Shiv Singh reign (1730 -1785 AD). The goldsmiths of Dungarpur are well known for their lacquer-painted toys and picture frames.

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Day 13 : Dungarpur

In the morning, see the Juna Mahal and Devsomnath Temple. You will have the rest of the day to visit the hamlets of the Bheel people. Overnight in Dungarpur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The 13th-century Old Palace, or Juna Mahal as it is locally known, is a former royal residence. It is one of India's oldest continuously inhabited buildings that is currently in decline due to lack of maintenance and the resulting deterioration. The palace was added to the World Monuments Watch in 2014 to bring awareness to its cultural and artistic importance. Juna Mahal is still owned by the royal family and can be visited only by invitation. The seven-storied structure resembles a fortress with crenelated walls, turrets, narrow entrances and many passage-ways to slow down the enemy. Inside, one could have seen colorful and vibrant frescoes, miniature paintings and intricate glass and mirror inlay work. Most of this has now unfortunately been vandalised or defaced. 

The 12th-century Devsomnath Temple was built in the Dev village on the banks of the river Som during the reign of King Amritpal Dev. It is made entirely out of stone, without any packing material like lime, sand or cement. 

The Bheel people are India's largest tribal group and around 3.5 million of them live in small hamlets around Gujarat. Bheels are now mainly settled farmers.

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Day 14 : Dungarpur - Udaipur

After breakfast, drive to Udaipur, visiting Sadhna NGO en route. In the evening, enjoy a private boat ride on Lake Pichola. Overnight in Udaipur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Udaipur is often called ‘Venice of the East’ or the ‘City of Lakes’, and was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 AD. According to legend, Udai Singh was guided to establish his capital on the very spot that a holy man was meditating on near Pichola Lake. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes, this place was less vulnerable to external invasion than Chittaurgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap, who valiantly defended Udaipur from Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon who gallantly fought the Mughals in the battle of Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles, until the British intervention in the 19th century, when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon gaining independence, Udaipur merged with the union of India.

The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas), located in the middle of Pichola Lake, is the finest example of an architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake, along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above, enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. This is one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilpgram festival is a great crowd-puller during New Year celebrations.


Sadhna is the crafts outlet for Seva Mandir, a long-established NGO working with rural and tribal people. Sadhna was set up is 1988 with 15 initial members and has now grown to over 300 women taking part. New joiners are given 3 months' training in stitching, appliqué, design and marketing.  The small shop sells attractive fixed-price textiles, the profits from which go to the artisans and towards community development work. 

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Day 15 : Udaipur [Mewar Festival]

Morning sightseeing tour of Udaipur, where you will see the City Palace complex, Jagdish Temple and Sahelion Ki Bari. In the afternoon you will be able to witness the Mewar festivities. Overnight in Udaipur.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 by Maharaja Jagat Singh, who ruled Udaipur 1628-1653. It is located within the City Palace complex in the centre of the old city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. Inside, there is a  black marble carving of Lord Vishnu with four arms. This is unusual for the northern part of the country, where statues of Gods are normally done in marble.The main shrine is surrounded by four smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva. 

Sahelion Ki Bari, or the 'Garden of the Maidens', is a lush garden built by Maharana Sangram Singh II in 1710-1734 for his wife's 48 maids. Located on the banks of Fateh Sagar lake, the garden has been designed using a mixture of Indian and English architectural styles. There are many different typs of fountains, like the main white marble chhatri fountain, a pavillion of English cast iron rain fountains, elephant fountains and more. There is also a small museum featuring stuffed cobras. It is an interesting place to visit and relax in the northern part of Udaipur.

The Mewar Festival in Udaipur celebrates the arrival of spring to the region during several days of lively colourful fun all over Rajasthan. Spring is considered to be the King of all the seasons and is thought to spread happiness over India. The whole city gets decorated with bright lights and festive ornamentation. Women wear their best clothes, dress up statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Gagaur (the goddess of marital happiness) and carry them in a procession through the city towards Lake Pichola. At the lake, the idols are transferred into boats and immersed into deep water, signifying the strengthening of couple bonds. Lake Pichola ends up dotted with colourful boats, which is a spectacular site to see. After this religious part of the festivities is finished, people begin enjoying the more cultural aspects of the event - singing, dancing and performing. Many craftsmen also gather to showcase their talents and strengthen the local arts and crafts traditions. The festival concludes with a large fireworks display over the city.

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Day 16 : Departure

Morning free. Transfer to the airport at appropriate time to board your flight to Mumbai. In Mumbai, connect with your onward flight home.

Contact us to arrange further extensions in Mumbai, Delhi, Rajasthan or to other parts of India. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Divan's Bungalow

Nearly 150-years-old, the 19th century Divan's Bungalow used to be the home of the renowned architect, I.M. Kadri, before being converted into a heritage hotel. Each room is elegantly and traditionally furnished, equipped with modern amenities including air-conditioning, free WiFi and satellite television. Guests are welcome to dine in the onsite restaurant, and stroll through the garden and fountain fore court. 

Visit hotel's site
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Hotel Prince

With comfortable and contemporary accommodation, the Hotel Prince is conveniently located in central Bhuj near attractions including Hamirsar Lake and Pragmahal Palace. The hotel consists of two onsite restaurants: authentic Gujarati dishes are served at "Toral", while "Jesal" serves a range of Indian, Chinese and continental cuisine. 

Visit hotel's site
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Royal Safari Camp

Spread over 18 acres of land near the Little Rann of Kutch, the Royal Safari Camp consists of 18 red-stone cottages constructed by skillful local artisans. Guests are welcome to dine in the multi-cuisine restaurant, serving a range of authentic local dishes as well as continental cuisine. 

Visit hotel's site
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Four Points by Sheraton

Located in the heart of Vadodara, Four Points by Sheraton is nearby many of the city's main attractions, including Baroda Museum and Laxmi Vilas Palace. Furnished in a modern style, all rooms are equipped with air-conditioning and free WiFi, while the onsite restaurant serves a variety of local and international dishes. 

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Lemon Tree Premier

The Lemon Tree Premier Hotel can be found on the banks of the picturesque Sabarmati River in Ahmadabad. The elegant and contemporary style hotel offers guests spacious rooms for a comfortable stay. Each room is equipped with satellite television, ensuite bathroom and access to wifi. The hotel serves a fusion of national and international cuisine options at both on-site restaurants (The Atrium and Citrus Grill). Other hotel facilities include a swimming pool and fitness suite. 

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Balaram Palace

Built between 1922 and 1936, Balaram Palace Resort was once the hunting retreat of the 29th ruler of Palanpur before being converted into a heritage hotel. Designed in a blend of neoclassical and baroque architectural styles, it is furnished with authentic antiques, while rooms are equipped with modern amenities including air-conditioning and free WiFi. Set in 13 acres of land, guests can stroll through the manicured gardens before dining on Indian, Chinese and continental food in the "Chitrasani" onsite restaurant. 

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Udai Bilas Palace

Set on the banks of Gaibsagar Lake, the 19th century Udai Bilas Palace offers beautiful lake views. Constructed in a blend of Art Deco and Rajput architecture, it is traditionally decorated with murals and frescoes, marble arches and stone carvings. The grand rooms are furnished with authentic antiques and equipped with modern amenities. Guests are welcome to relax in the modern infinity pool and dine in the partially open "Zenana Chowk" courtyard dining area. 

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Trident

Located on the banks of Pichola Lake and close to the city centre, Trident is spread over 43 acres with beautiful landscaped gardens. Offering luxury accommodation inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of Udaipur, the hotel is furnished with traditional artifacts while rooms are equipped with modern amenities. Guests are welcome to enjoy the outdoor swimming pool and dine on local and international cuisine in the three onsite restaurants. 

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Extensions

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Indian Odyssey (29 days)

Experience the best of North and South India

Hill stations to the Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills to Ladakh

Rajasthan Explorer (15 days)

Fort cities, rural villages & camel fair

Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan (16 days)

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Hidden Rajasthan (13 days)

Rural villages, grand forts & wildlife

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Glimpse of India (11 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Goa

Tribal Orissa & Chhattisgarh (14 days)

Distinct tribal cultures, unique temples & traditional textiles

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Essential India & Sri Lanka (16 days)

India's Golden Triangle & the best of Sri Lanka.

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

Nagaland: Festival of the Headhunters (15 days)

Aoling Festival, wildlife in Assam & natural beauty of Manipur

Wildlife of India & Borneo (21 days)

Get under the skin of Asia's two best wildlife spots.

Wildlife of Madagascar, India & Borneo (29 days)

Spot lemurs, tigers & orangutans

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Classic Kerala (10 days)

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

An intoxicating immersion into India's diversity

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Karnataka Odyssey (14 days)

Coffee farms, wildlife and stone temples

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Sacred India (14 days)

Uncover the religious diversity of India

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Kashmir and Ladakh Explorer (14 days)

Houseboats, Himalayas & Hemis Festival

Heart of India (14 days)

Lucknow, Varanasi & the wonders of Madhya Pradesh

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Treasures of Gujarat (14 days)

Villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed my tailor made tour of northwestern and central India. Guides and accommodations were excellent and we saw as much of the area as could be packed into two weeks. I look forward to another tour with Travel the Unknown.

Mary Trubek (USA) , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

Another fantastic trip with this company. WE really managed to get off the beaten track and have seen some amazing sights. Well put together. We will travel again with Travel the Unknown

Hazel & James Frost , Tailormade India

This is our second fabulous trip with Travel The Unknown and we were not disappointed. Rajasthan's vibrant colours of turbans and saris, the noise, the spicy aromas, the silence in the hot air balloon over rural Jaipur, the majestic forts and palaces of ancient times, sighting leopards in the wild, all far exceeded our expectations and the heritage homes and hotels we stayed in, whilst being of high standard in every way, still had a friendly family touch. Thanks so much to Rahul and the team for such a memorable trip. Six weeks on and we still can't stop talking about it. I can't wait for the next one!

John & Christine Gregory , Tailormade India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

Travel the Unknown put together an Itinerary in North East India - Living Root Bridges for me and a travelling companion. The accommodations, transportation, promptness of drivers, and knowledge of our guide was excellent. Easy booking from office and good pre trip information. Thanks TTU!

Christina Taft , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Wow, India is incredible and Travel The Unknown put together a trip that really showed the diverse nature of the country and cultures, from the busy capital Delhi to the splendour of the Taj Mahal and then off the main tourist trek with an overnight sleeper train to Varanasi on the Ganges, the Hindu religious capital with bathing , washing and cremations alongside the river - an astonishing experience. We then moved to the forgotten North East corner where there is a tribal culture in an area seemingly cut off from the rest of India. Our destination was the Living Root Bridges which are unique and remote. Just want to go back to India for more...

Ken Sankey , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Gotta say thanks to Travel The Unknown for organising my fascinating trip to a little-known area of the world. The scenery was fantastic, food was amazing, the guide was great and the living bridges were inspiring. An India not many get to see. Thanks again.

Stephen , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

I had been studying the Apatani Tribe for quite some time… I’m talking roughly 7 years! Travel The Unknown made my dreams come entirely true. They organized every aspect of my experience in the most minute detail. I have never felt such confidence in an agency nor worked with one more knowledgeable about their destination. Because of them and their kind efforts, I will continue to travel with Travel The Unknown for all future expeditions to this or similar regions. Thanks, Travel The Unknown, for everything!

Christian Noni , Tailormade North East India

As always Travel The Unknown were exceptional in organising my trip to India. The guides for Meghalaya and the Golden Triangle were friendly, extremely helpful and very informative. The tour was busy but never felt rushed; the combination of Meghalaya and Golden Triangle giving quite a varied perspective of India.

Terry Cooper , Living Bridges of Meghalaya

The Living Root Bridges trip was our first time with Travel the Unknown and we would have no hesitation from booking with them again.

Andria & John Palmer , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

This trip was my first time travelling with Travel The Unknown, but definitely not my last!

Lori Martin , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India
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