GUJ - 03
Gujarat, the westernmost state of India is rich in culture, tradition and natural beauty. The state has so much to offer when it comes to the cultural wing. The Cultural Tour of Gujarat begins at Vadodara and takes you to several cities of Gujarat before terminating in Bhuj. The places covered are of varied interests from palaces to museums and from wildlife sanctuary to religious places. During this tour, you will also visit the villages where local artisans work day and night to create handicrafts. Moreover, you can come across two different cultures in Gujarat – one side is modern while other is still inhabited by nomads who live a simple life. During this tour, you can also bump into the tribal lifestyle of people living in Gujarat. The architectural marvels in Gujarat tell stories of the bygone era and are quite spectacular in terms of appearance and craftsmanship. In a nutshell, it will be a one-of-its-kind experience for art lovers as it will exhibit them some real wonders along with widening their knowledge of Gujarati culture.
Ajrakhpur to explore the textile industry and the unique natural processes involved
Welcome to Vadodara, and get transferred to the hotel for check-in.
This day, you will be taken for a local sightseeing of the city. Start off with The Laxmi Vilas Palace, constructed by the Gaekwad, a prominent Maratha family, who ruled the Baroda State. The Palace compound is of over 500 acres and houses a number of buildings, particularly the LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building.
Up next is the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum which was constructed as a school for the Maharaja's children. Today a large number of works of art belonging to the Maratha Royal family are displayed in the museum. The museum contains works of art collected by Maharaja Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad III during his numerous trips out of India. The major works of art in this museum are the paintings by European and Indian artists.
Overnight stay at Vadodara.
Your journey on this day begins right after the breakfast with a drive to Champaner. Champaner is a historical city in the state of Gujarat. It was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty, in the 8th century, who named the place after his friend and general Champa. Champaner is today the site of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site in 2004.
The tourism attractions of the place include a magnificent Jama Masjid built by Sultan Begada,which is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mihrabs, and carved entrance gates with fine latticed windows called “jails”.
From Champaner, you will be driven to Chhota Udaipur, which is 55 kms (one-way) from Jambhugodha. The place is mostly visited for various colorful tribal belts that are very unique of traditional and cultural living style in Gujarat. Other tourist attractions include temples like the Jain Derasar, Kali Temple, the Kusum Vilas Palace and Prem Bhavan Palace.
Up next is Jambugodha. Stay overnight at hotel.
Time to depart for Ahmedabad after breakfast. Reach Ahmedabad by the afternoon, have lunch before heading off for city sightseeing.
The first destination is Gandhi Ashram, also known as the Sabarmati Ashram. The place was the home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1930 and was one of the main centers of the Indian freedom struggle. Sabarmati Ashram named for the river on which it sits River Sabarmati. The Bhagavad Gita was recited here daily, as part of the Ashram schedule. The Ashram was built as recognition of Gandhi’s Dandi March (Salt Satyagraha) on 12th March 1930.
The Jama Masjid ofAhmedabad was probably the largest mosque in the subcontinent built in this period. Designed as part of a major plan desired by the Emperor Sultan Ahmed Shah, it is a must visit before heading towards the Mosque of Sidi Saiyyed.
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is one of the most famous mosques of Ahmedabad and was built by Sidi Saiyyid in the retinue of Bilal Jhajar Khan. The mosque is entirely arcaded and is known for its ten intricately carved stone latticework windows (jalis) on the side and rear arches.
Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, start off to Poshina, the tribal land of the Aravalis. Explore the Bhil and Garasia tribal culture of North Gujarat & Southern Rajasthan. The village of Poshina is home to a number of artisans the tribal arrow crafters, silver, Potters, blacksmiths and the bazaar is famous for silver tribal jewelry, ornate sheathed daggers and terra cotta horses.
The place is also famous for Jain temples and an old Shiva temple. There are white sandstone Jain temples of Parshwanath and Neminath, measuring 150 feet long by 140 broad and 26 high.
Stay overnight at Poshina.
You will be transferred to Little Rann of Kutch on this day, and on the way you will explore Modhera and Patan.
Modhera is famous for its spectacular Sun Temple, built in the early 11th century by the Solanki dynasty. The Sun Temple is unique in that it has three separate but integrated elements, all aligned to a central axis – the Surya Kund, the Sabha Mandap and the Garbha Griha. The temple bears some resemblance to the later, far better known, Sun Temple of Konark, Orissa.
Patan is older than Modhera and was founded in 746 AD as an ancient Hind capital before Mahmud of Ghazni sacked it in 1024. Some monuments have survived including the spectacular Rani ni Vav stepwell which lay buried under earth until 1986, when it was cleared and restored as a World Heritage Site. It is entirely an underground structure, with seven storeys, each carved with amazing sculptures of gods and goddesses. As you go lower, it gets cooler and cooler. Patan is famous for its beautifully designed patola silk saris, you can visit the Museum of National award winner Salvi family to see the weaving of Patola sarees.
Reach Little Rann of Kutch which is a salt marsh part of Rann of Kutch. It is famous as the world's last refuge of the Indian wild ass (khur) for the conservation of which it has been declared as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. Though a bleak landscape it is rich in biodiversity and is an ecologically important area for wildlife and many local and migratory water-birds like cranes, ducks, pelicans, flamingos and land birds like sand grouse, francolins and the Indian bustards.
Stay overnight at Little Rann of Kutch.
There are two safaris scheduled for morning and evening. In the morning, visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary at Little Rann of Kutch. The sanctuary is known for wild ass which is found only in this region in India. It is also known for the marshy area where you will see a variety of birds such as pink flamingo, duck, crane, etc.
In the evening, you will go for the village safari to explore the Bharwad and Rabari communities, their culture, traditional way of living and living.
Overnight at Little Rann of Kutch.
After breakfast, start your journey ahead towards Bhuj. On the way, there will be a visit to Ajrakhpur village to check out the astonishing art of Ajrakh, block printing uses colors derived from nature, such as indigo, henna, turmeric, pomegranate, iron and mud, and even camel dung.
The art has been preserved by the Khatri community of block-printers who have been practicing the art of Ajrakh since 3000 years traditionally in their family. The process is complex and involves 16 different processes. In some cases, the fabrics are washed up to 20 times.
Reach Bhuj, have your lunch and then you will be taken for a local sightseeing of palaces, museums and market area. The first spot to visit is the Aina Mahal which was built by Rao Lakhpatji in 1761. The chief architect and designer of Aina Mahal was Ram Singh Malam, who was assisted by local builder community (Mistris of Kutch) in construction. It was constructed with marble walls adorned with bronze lace and glass. The walls of the palace are of white marble and are covered with mirrors separated by gilded ornaments with shades of Venetian glass.
Prag Mahal is designed in the Italian Gothic style and built next to the Aina Mahal, Kutch Museum and local market. This is a palace commissioned by King Pragmalji in 1860’s designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins, and it might seem like a construction based in France and not India!
Come back to hotel for a overnight stay.
Have breakfast and get ready for a full day out to explore the beautiful Banni Village known for its culture, handicrafts and textiles. Each of the villages has a distinct style of community that resides in the village - Rabari, Meghwal, Harijans, Mutwa Community. These different communities are known for different types of handicrafts like embroidery, rogan art, mirror work, wood work etc.
Stay overnight in Bhuj.
Checkout after breakfast and depart for Mumbai by morning flight.