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Journey to the Jewel of the West

Journey to the Jewel of the West

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Exploring the magical & hypnotic Kutch and on to last refuge of the Asiatic Lion

Delhi – Ahmedabad – Balaram – Dasada – Bhuj – Hodka – Banny Village – Morni -Gondal – Sasangir – Mumbai

Delhi Arrival , Day 01

Our representative will receive you at the airport like a VIP as soon as you come out of the aircraft, walk you through immigration and baggage reclaim then take you to your car and transfer to the hotel.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel.

Delhi , Day 02

Full day is at leisure to explore on your own / indulge yourself with a spa treatment at the hotel or just relax by the pool.

Enjoy welcome dinner at an authentic Indian restaurant (Alcoholic drinks are not included)

Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Delhi – Ahmedabad by flight , Day 03

By Indigo 6E 155 departure Delhi @ 7.10am, arrival Ahmedabad @ 8.40am Early morning, we transfer you to the airport to board your flight to Ahmedabad. Upon arrival in Ahmedabad we proceed to visit Calico Museum -The Calico and Sarabhai Foundation Collection is the premier textile museum of the country, and one of the most celebrated institutions of its kind in the world for its distinguished and comprehensive collection of textiles and artefacts. Its outstanding collection of Indian fabrics exemplifies textiles spanning five centuries.

Check in at the hotel.

Later proceed on a city tour and visit several mosques, temples, step wells and gardens. Jamma Masjid was built in 1423 by the founder of Ahmedabad. This mosque is built in yellow sandstone and stands on the 260 pillars which support 15 domes at staggered elevations. We then visit Siddi saiyad mosque. Enclosed in a pleasant garden in the
centre of the city this small mosque is known for its delicate and exquisite trellises. We the proceed to Dada Hari Ni Vav. Built in 1501 this step well consists of a domed entrance in which a series of the steps and pillared stone platforms lead down to the reservoir. The walls and pillars are richly carved in stone.

Hate Singh Temple was built in 1848. This Jain temple is the best know of the city’s many ornate Jain temples. Built in white marble with rich ornamentation by a Jain merchant this temple is dedicated to Dharmanath, the 15th Jain Tirthankar.

Sabarmati ashram is a quiet and peaceful retreat built by Gandhiji in 1915 as a ‘satyagraha ashram’ on the bank the river of Sabarmati. Hirday Kunj the simple cottage where he lived in, now a national monument and preserved as it was in his life time. A study centre and library offer interesting elements in his ashram.

Finally, we drive past the Law Garden Market, unlike other gardens of the city, the Law Garden is filled with a large number of shops selling colourful handicrafts and textiles and is quite a visual treat.

Evening enjoy Thali dinner at House of MG.

Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Ahmedabad – Balaram (3hrs) , Day 04

After breakfast drive north to Balaram.

After lunch proceed on an excursion to the Ambaji Temple, a 12th century Kumbharia and Taranga Jain Temples and en-route visit tribal villages and settlements (if time permits).

Overnight at the hotel.(All meals)

Balaram – Dasada (enroute visit Sidhpur-Patan and Modhera) , Day 05

After breakfast, drive to Sidhpur to visit old Havelis and Mansions of Bohra Muslim Community. Some of them are over 100 years old and have marked European influences. The facades are rich in variety and aesthetic expression with intricate details in wood. We lso visit the Rudramahalaya Temple complex before proceding to Patan to see the amazing Rani ka Vav (The Queen’s Step well) – now considered to be the queen among step wells of India.

We then visit Patola Saree Weavers whose textiles have no reverse side as both the sides have equal intensity of color and design. We also visit the Salvi family who have continued this traditional art and have preserved it to the present day.

After lunch we proceed to Modhera to see the Sun Temple (built in 1026), dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It is the perfect base from which to explore the Rann of Kutch, the last refuge in India of the Asiatic Wild Ass, an elegant member of the horse family. In winter it is also home to migratory birds such as flamingos, Macqueen’s
Bustard, pelicans, cranes etc.

Continue your drive to Dasada and check in at the resort. Dasada and its nearby villages are inhabited by a number of interesting communities including pastoral tribes such as the Mirs, Rabaris, Bharwads, Jats and Kolis.

Overnight at the hotel. (All meals)

Dasada , Day 06

This morning, we visit the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 4954 sq km and was established in 1972. You will see the endangered species of Indian wild ass like Khur as well as Asiatic wild ass species like Onager. You will also come across other wildlife including reptiles, lizards, amphibians, mammals and birds.

After lunch we visit the tribal communities of Dasada villages who are mainly nomadic pastoralists: Rabaris, Mirs, Bharvads and Jats, who came from the north and west, Kanbi farmers who came from the south, and indigenous Kolis. Crafts of the region form an integral part of their lifestyles.

Overnight at the hotel (All meals)

Dasada – Bhuj (6hrs) , Day 07

Morning drive to Bhuj. On arrival check in at the hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Bhuj Museum, the oldest museum in Gujarat, founded in 1877, it houses the largest existing collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, dating to the 1st century AD, as well as examples of the extinct Kutchi script and an interesting collection of coins. A section of the museum is devoted to tribal cultures, with many examples of ancient artifacts, folk arts and crafts and information about tribal peoples.

The museum also has exhibits of embroidery, paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculpture and precious metalwork.

Later visit the Palace of the Royal Family visiting the Ainamahal: the Aina Mahal Palace or “Hall of Mirrors” was built in the middle of the 18th century. We also visit Pragmahal: The Prag Mahal is a 19th-century palace located next to the Aina Mahal designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins, in the Italian Gothic style was completed in 1879.

Evening to explore the colourful markets of Bhuj.

Bhuj – Hodka – Bhuj , Day 08

This morning we head north from the city of Bhuj into the Banni grass and desert lands, circumscribed by the great salt marsh of Rann of Kutch and the Arabian Sea. Visit Kala Raksha Trust at Sumrasar Sheikh, 25 km north of Bhuj. This is a grass roots social enterprise dedicated to preservation of traditional arts. Honoree of the 2001
International Responsible Tourism Showcase, Kala Raksha Centre inhabits structures that adapt traditional architecture to contemporary function. A model for community development, the Centre is locally managed and operates with solar powered electricity.

Kala Raksha works with 1,000 artisans from 7 ethnic groups in 25 villages. Later we visit Nirona village for Rogan art, bell and wood craft.

We also visit a metallurgist, a traditional maker of cow bells. Wind your way to the next community, the Vadhas, whose skill lies in coating wooden implements and toys with lacquer in a psychedelic variation of hues. The men in the community hold the magic of colour creativity in their hands while the women are a visual treat in their beautifully embroidered costumes.

Afternoon explore the last village of Dhordo and drive up to the White Rann (this visit depends on whether the water is dried up).

Return back to Bhuj.

Overnight at the hotel (All meals)

Bhuj – Banny Village – Bhuj , Day 09

After breakfast, we visit a village where the last surviving practitioners of an ancient painting style known as ROGAN will beguile you with the brilliance of this art form. Also explore the tribal villages around Greater Rann of Kutch specializing in different forms of handicraft including ahir embroidery block printing and tie & dye.

Colour and eye for design is the keynote of Gujarat handicrafts and is an expression of their rich traditional heritage and personal artistic talent.

Continue your visit to villages to see firsthand production of these hidden treasures. Tie & Dye using wool and silk is especially very popular.

Overnight at the hotel. (All meals)

Bhuj – Morni – Gondal (6hrs) , Day 10

After breakfast drive to Gondal via Morbi. Lunch at the 19th century neo classical Darbargarh Palace. Reflected in the Macchu River, the palace spreads out all the glory and magnificence of a century made eternal by the patronage of maharajas.

Continue your onward journey to Gondal towhere the 1748 AD Naulakha Palace, housing a collection of antiques and princely relics of the Jadeja Rajput rulers and the Vintage and Classic Car museum are must sees.

Overnight at the hotel. (All meals)

Gondal – Sasangir (3hrs) , Day 11

After breakfast, we drive to Gir. Upon arrival check in to the hotel.Lunch and brief rest.Enter into the only territory in the world outside Africa where a lion can be seen in its natural habitat. The Gir Lion is a majestic animal, averaging 2.75 m in length and with a bigger tail tassle than African lions. You may experience a close encounter with lions resting in the shade by day or hunting for food.

Late afternoon enjoy the wildlife safari at the Gir National Park. One can also spot Asiatic Lions, leopards and other animals like the Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Chausingha, Grey Langur, Hyena and over 250 varieties of birds like the painted Sandgrouse, Peacocks and the Paradise Flycatchers. The Kamleshwar dam reservoir has one of the largest marsh crocodile populations.

In the evening enjoy cultural evening entertainment at your hotel. The Siddi dhamaal dance is performed by the negroid Siddi community which migrated to India from Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Overnight at the hotel (All meals)

NSasangir , Day 12


Sasangir – Diu – Mumbai by flight , Day 13

By Jet Airways 9W2500, departure @ 15.55hrs, arrival Mumbai @ 18.35hrs (1stop)Leisurely breakfast then drive to Diu airport to board your flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival, check in to the airport hotel.

Overnight at the hotel (Breakfast)

Mumbai , Day 14

Late morning, go for a guided visit to Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat. This massive open air laundry provides an unforgettable glimpse into local life in the city. Dirty laundry from all over Mumbai is brought here and painstakingly hand washed by the dhobis (washermen)in the seemingly endless rows of concrete troughs. The thousands of dhobis spend hours every day standing up to their knees in water, manually scrubbing and beating the dirt
out of each item of laundry.

Also have a look at the Mumbai Dhabawalas. Meaning a person who carries a container,it is the term given to the thousands of men responsible for transporting and delivering around 200,000 lunch boxes of freshly cooked food to the city’s office workers every day. This unique concept was started to meet the needs of British rulers. However, it’s now continued on to service Indian businessmen who can’t get home for lunch.

We also visit Haji Ali which is both a mosque and tomb. It was built in 1431 by wealthy Muslim merchant and Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who was inspired to change the course of his life after going to Mecca. It also contains his body. Situated in the middle of the ocean, Haji Ali is only accessible during low tide from a narrow, 500 yard long walkway.

End your day with visit to the Gateway of India, constructed to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city. The looming Gateway is designed to be the first thing that visitors see when approaching Mumbai by boat.

Rest of the day is at leisure

Overnight at the hotel (Breakfast)

Mumbai departure , Day 14


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