Textile Tour of India

Introduction

Popularly known as a textile hub, India has one of the most flourishing textile industries, with rich heritage of arts and crafts. Far Horizon takes you on a special journey to explore the famous textiles and handicrafts of India. The major destinations en route are Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Patan, Ahmedabad, Bhuj, and Bajana. The journey begins with Delhi, the city of landmarks and ends at Ahmedabad, the city of rich handicrafts. The major highlights of this journey are visit to the local markets, textile museums, the monumental city of Agra along with an excursion to Kacchpura village. A visit to Bagru for attending a hand block printing workshop and a demonstration on miniature paintings in Udaipur along with exploring the rich heritage and crafts of Gujarat exploring the intricate crafts and artwork of its various cities and villages.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit of Crafts Museum in Delhi
  • Workshop on the Hand Block Printing at Bagru Village near Jaipur
  • Learn about the different weaving processes of Textiles in Gujarat i.e. Bandhani (knot dyeing), Patola, Ajrakh Block Printing, Traditional Embroidery, Pitloom Weaving etc.
  • Visit the Tribal Villages
  • Meeting and interaction with the Weaving artisans
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Iconic Taj Mahal
  • Demonstration of the Miniature painting in Udaipur

Destinations Covered

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Delhi

    Delhi

    You arrive at Delhi airport. After clearing Indian Immigration and Customs, you step into the receiving area where you will be met by our representative.

    Overnight at the hotel (No meals)

  2. Day 2 Delhi

    Delhi

    Morning, after breakfast proceed for full day city tour of Delhi. 

    Drive past the Red Fort to visit the Chandani Chowk on cycle rickshaw. The main street of 'Old' Delhi is a magnificent bazaar and as fine a monument to congestion, color and chaos as you'll find in India today. In Shah Jahan's day, it was endowed with fine mansions, had a tree-lined canal flowing down its center and was renowned throughout Asia; today it's jam-packed with artisans, traders and auto-rickshaws and comprises a fantastic cocktail of stench, movement, uproar and fumes. Visit the old Delhi market and discover the traditional artwork on the streets of Delhi.

    After that, visit The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, popularly known as the Crafts Museum, celebrates the rich, diverse, and practising craft traditions of India. The museum was designed by the renowned architect Charles Correa. At present the Museum collection consists of over 33,000 specimens in various crafts, acquired over a period of 60 years collected from various states of India The collection reflects the continuing traditions of handicrafts and handlooms.

    Afternoon, visit New Delhi and drive pass the Iconic India Gate, a 42-metre archway built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War, the India Gate is also known as ‘Bharat Gate’. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is the national monument of India. Also, drive past various government buildings like President’s house, Parliament etc.

    Later return back to your hotel and relax.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 Delhi – Agra

    Agra

    In the morning take a drive to Agra. 

    Later, visit Kachhpura Village, a walk through Kachhpura village takes you through the various monuments of Mughal Era in midst of rural setting intertwined with the communities along with stunning view of the Taj. The youth from the community, trained as tour facilitator, provide both historical facts and anecdotes. Experience the Kachhpura tourist village and explore some lesser known monuments in the shadow of the Taj and Red fort.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  4. Day 4 Agra

    Agra

    Early Morning visit Taj Mahal at sunrise( subject to weather conditions), Surely the greatest monument of love and one of the seven wonders of the modern world, Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage"

    Return to the hotel for breakfast. Rest of the morning at leisure.

    After lunch, visit Agra Fort, few forts in the world have a more fascinating story to tell than the Great Fort of Agra. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace. Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort, from which he had a view of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan is said to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower with a beautiful marble balcony and view of the Taj Mahal.

    After it is optional to visit the local market and a marble factory where you can actually see the inlay work on marble as it was done for the construction of Taj.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  5. Day 5 Agra – Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur

    Jaipur

    Morning drive to Jaipur. En route visit Fatehpur Sikri, Built in red sandstone, during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. 

    Continue to Jaipur the largest city of Rajasthan is an epitome of magnificence and vibrancy. On arrival, check into your hotel.

    Evening, enjoy the cooking demonstration followed by dinner at Noble Rajput family at Sankotra Haveli. Sankotra Haveli was built in the 17th Century, when the town of Jaipur was founded and granted to the Sankotra Family in 1668. It has its own unique charm, being very close to Sanganeri Gate, the main entrance to Johari Bazaar. Sankotra Haveli has been the official residence of the Sankotra Family for the past eight generations. View its original architecture, which consists of seven terraces and three open courtyards overlooking the building, with over twenty rooms in all. After going through the Haveli, you will have a chance to learn how to make some Indian dishes, witness a traditional cooking demonstration and understand the techniques and essential ingredients of Rajasthani cuisine. Enjoy a succulent dinner with the noble Sankotra family.

    Overnight at the hotel (B,D)

  6. Day 6 Jaipur

    Jaipur

    Morning visit Amber Fort, built in 1592, the fort may and does look old on the outside but is quite beautiful on the inside and boasts of various buildings of prominence. The aesthetic ambiance of this formidable fort is seen within its walls on a four level layout plan (each with a courtyard) in a well turned out opulent palace complex built with red sandstone and marble.

    Afternoon, visit City Palace & museum, lies in the heart of Jaipur city. This sprawling complex, with its vast array of courtyards, gardens, gorgeous buildings and marvellous collection of art and artefacts, textiles and costumes, armoury, manuscripts and paintings is without parallel in Rajasthan. A major part of the 'City Palace' now consists of the 'Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum'. It is also the residence of the Jaipur Royal Family.

    Later, visit the Jantar Mantar which has a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built between 1727 and 1734. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes. An excursion through the Jantar Mantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

    Evening is free to explore the local markets. Jaipur is known as a shopper’s paradise famous for jewellery, handicraft, carpet, blue pottery and textiles.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  7. Day 7 Jaipur

    Jaipur

    Morning after breakfast, drive to Bagru for a workshop on hand Block Printing. It is one of the most famous traditional arts of Rajasthan. Workshops are held for those who want to learn this beautiful traditional art. During these workshops, one gets to develop their skills in block printing and also gain experience by learning and working alongside skilled craft person. It is very interesting to see how the prints are hand made with small wooden blocks, usually with different colours extracted from nature.

    At the end of workshop, you will learn:

    • Chance to see some of the plants and bushes, part of which is used for printing & dyeing.
    • How vegetable dyes works
    • How to do Bagru printing (using natural dyes)
    • How to make color fast naturally

    Return back to your hotel in Jaipur by evening and relax.

    The hotel offers cultural dance show every evening which can be enjoyed by you.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  8. Day 8 Jaipur - Udaipur

    Udaipur

    Morning after breakfast check out and drive to Udaipur.

    On arrival check into your hotel.

    Evening enjoy the boat ride on the placid water of Lake Pichola.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  9. Day 9 Udaipur

    Udaipur

    Morning, after breakfast proceed for guided sightseeing visiting Udaipur. City Palace is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan, located peacefully on the banks of Lake Pichola. It boasts of the wonderful blend of Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches, which add to the flavor of heritage site. It is a marvelous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Encircled by fortifications, this imposing Palace is wholly built in granite and marble. Rare murals on the walls and ceilings, glass inlay work, original paintings, artifacts, weaponry, armaments and personal belongings of the rulers are on display in their original places.

    Also, visit Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, formed in the year 1952, is a museum of folk-art that makes a wonderful display of dolls, puppets, masks, ornaments, paintings, folk dresses and musical instruments.

    Later, visit Saheliyon Ki Bari, meaning 'Garden of the Maids of Honour', was constructed by Maharana Sangram Singh in the 18th century for the royal women. It is said that the king himself designed this picturesque garden, and gifted it to his queen who was accompanied by 48 maids after her marriage.

    After that visit a demonstration on the famous art of miniature painting. Miniatures paintings are beautiful handmade paintings, which are quite colorful but small in size. The highlight of these paintings is the intricate and delicate brushwork, which lends them a unique identity. The colors are handmade, from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and silver. The most common theme of the Miniature painting of India comprises of the Ragas i.e., the musical codes of Indian classical music.

    Evening is free to explore the local market on your own.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  10. Day 10 Udaipur – Patan - Ahmedabad

    Ahmedabad

    Morning breakfast in the hotel. Drive to Ahmedabad en route visiting Patan Patola Museum. India has a rich and ancient heritage in fine textiles. Patola from the area of Patan in the North Gujarat region of western India glorifies this heritage. With its unique gem like qualities-gorgeous colours, designs and durability. Its very appearance lures the connoisseur of fine textiles. It has no reverse side. Both the sides have equal intensity of color and design. The peculiar quality has its origins in a very intricate and difficult technique of Tie dyeing or Knot dyeing known as "Bandhani Process" on the wrap & weft separately before weaving.

    Before World War II, Indonesia was major buyer of Patolas. Historically, the art of Double Ikat patola weaving dates back to centuries. Paintings in Ajanta caves resemble the tie-dye technique of patola. Legend indicates that sometimes in the 12th Century AD, King Kumarpal of Solanki dynasty, invited 700 families of patola weavers from Jalna (South Maharashtra) to settle down in Patan in North Gujarat.Salvi family is one of them who has continued this traditional art and has preserved it even today. This is our heritage art Since 11th century (Approx. 35 generations).

    Continue your drive to Ahmedabad & check in at hotel.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  11. Day 11 Ahmedabad

    Ahmedabad

    Morning visit Calico museum of textile – the Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad, India, is the premier textile museum of the country. Its outstanding collection of Indian fabrics exemplifies handicraft textiles spanning five centuries and attracts large numbers of visitors from the general public, as well as increasing numbers of Indian and international research scholars. The museum is housed in two buildings, one displaying textiles of religious significance and the other traditional court fabrics, tents, carpets and costumes.

    Maximum number of visitors at Calico museum is restricted to 20 person per day. So we shall split the group into 2 and book in 2 slots.

    Later visit Sabarmati Ashram - this ashram was Gandhi's headquarters during the long struggle for Indian independence. His ashram was founded in 1915 and still makes handicraft, handmade paper and spinning wheels. Gandhi's spartan living quarter are preserved as a small museum and there is a pictorial record of the major events in his life. The ashram is open from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm (7 pm between April and September). Admission is free. There is a sound-and-light show for a small charge at 6:30 pm (in Gujarati) and 8:30 pm (in English on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday and in Hindi on the other nights. The beautiful ashram complex of Ahmedabad, with its shady trees populated by thousands of parakeets, bee eaters, sunbirds and squirrels, offers a refuge from the loud streets of the city, and is one the foremost tourist attractions of Ahmedabad. & other places of Interest.

    Later, meet one of only a handful couple of Chitara families that still practice Mata-niPachedi, or custom fabric painting. That is keeping in close touch with its history, existing as a traditional hand craft in a fast modernising city of big industry. Also visit Kalam Khush paper factory – high quality hand-made paper making plant built up by Gandhi Ashram in 1956.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  12. Day 12 Ahmedabad

    Ahmedabad

    Morning after breakfast, visit the Calico museum (for rest of the Group).

    In the afternoon visit Shreyas Folk Museum. Exhibiting the finest arts and crafts of Gujarat, Shreyas Folk Museum is situated 2.5km west of Sabarmati. Set in suburbs of Ambavadi in Ahmedabad, the museum has a huge display of textiles and clothing in Gujarat. One of the major attraction of the museum is a complete skeleton of an elephant with a height of about 3.19m. Old coins, weapons, toys, costumes, masks, puppets, musical fountains and animal caparisons also lure foreign tourists.

    Later also visit the City Museum, Ahmedabad is in the Sanskar Kendra building which is one of the finest museums in Ahmedabad. Located in the heart of the city, the building was built by the well known French architect Le Corbusier. The City Museum attracts tourists from all over. Ahmedabad and other tourist attractions of Gujarat and other parts of India.

    Evening, explore the market visit at Law Garden which displays beautiful textile handicraft.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  13. Day 13 Ahmedabad - Bhuj

    Bhuj

    Morning after breakfast drive to Bhuj en route visiting Dhamdka, Dhaneti, Ajrakhpur and Bhujodi village. Villages of Ajrakhpur and Dhamadka where you will see traditional ajrakh block printing using natural dyes. See the traditional embroidery work of the Ahir community in Dhaneti. Also take a visit to village of Bhujodi (nomadic Rabari who weave camel wool), a village skilled in traditional Bandhani (tie & dye), block printing and weaving. Here you can view live demonstrations and buy anything from shawls to blankets from the artisans directly. Bhujodi is also a centre for Piltoom weaving, Mewada Embroidery & Wood Carving.

    Later continue to Bhuj. On arrival check into your hotel and relax.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  14. Day 14 Bhuj

    Bhuj

    Morning after breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of Bhuj visiting Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal and Kutch Museum.

    Aaina Mahal – which now serves as museum. The Aina Mahal palace, or “Hall of Mirrors” was built during the flamboyant rule of Lakhpatji in the middle of the 18th century. Master craftsman Ramsinh Malam, who trained as an artisan for 17 years in Europe, felt unappreciated by lesser rulers in the area, so he went to the royal court at Bhuj and appealed to the king for work, who commissioned this palace. Malam designed it in a mixed Indo-European style and set about creating the materials for the palace locally. He established a glass factory at Mandvi, forged cannons in an iron foundry and manufactured china tiles in a factory in Bhuj. It seems Gandhiji's ideal of swadeshi had an early proponent in Ramsinh Malam. He personally crafted the fountains, mirrors and glasswork, as well as many other wonders of artisanship—a pendulum clock in sync with the Hindu calendar, doors inlaid with gold and ivory.

    Prag Mahal – next door to the Aina Mahal, in the same walled compound, is the giant Prag Mahal, which may at first seem slightly out of place at the far western edge of India, looking more appropriate in France. But then again, globalization is not a new phenomenon. This is a palace commissioned by King Pragmalji in the 1860s, designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins in the Italian Gothic style and built in the middle of Bhuj next to the Aina Mahal. While little about it may seem Indian, there are elements; see if you can find them. In the courtyard behind the palace, there is a small Hindu temple with very nicely carved stonework; the caretaker is sometimes available for more information. Inside the palace, you can visit the main palace halls as well as climb stairs of the 45m bell tower for an exhilarating view of the city. After coming down (not before, for your own peace of mind!), check out the cracks between the stones in the wall, visible from the courtyard, caused by various earthquakes over the years. Then stop for a glass of fresh sugarcane juice on your way out of the compound.

    Kutch Museum - The oldest museum in Gujarat, founded in 1877 by Maharao Khengarji, it has the largest existing collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, dating to the 1st century AD, as well as examples of the extinct Kutchi script (now the language is mostly written in the Gujarati alphabets) and an interesting collection of coins (including the kori, Kutch's local currency.) 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 A.A. Wazir’s (National Award Winner Artiest) Textiles Museum Shop.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  15. Day 15 Bhuj

    Bhuj

    Today morning post breakfast, proceed to visit the Banni villages along with your guide.

    Approximate time & distances

    • Bhuj - Ludiya: approx. 80km / 2 hour drive
    • Ludiya - Hodka: approx. 30km/45 min drive
    • Hodka - Bhirandiara: approx. 15 km/20 km. drive
    • Bhirandiara - Sumrasar: approx. 35 km / 45 min drive

    Ludiya is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful village in your Kutch tour. The total area of the village is about 5 square kilometers and the population is about 2000 people predominantly Muslims and a few Harijan families. (Harijan, literally ‘child of God’ was a term coined by Gandhiji to refer to the lowest caste people in the Hindu religion hierarchy). Gandhi nu Gam, inhabitated by the Meghwal Community, flaunts beautifully painted circular huts organized around the temple. Between the vibrant Kanjari Blouse of the women & the men hunched over the various corners carving wood. The village is an aesthetic delight. The main occupation of the women folk in the village is making beautiful embroidery work and traditional crafts while the men make decorative furniture. The village has no streets. The space between two houses is used as a pathway. I was actually looking for one when I entered the village. The houses of the village have a typical structure called bhunga with intricate decorations both inside and outside. While the outside is decorated with vibrant motifs, the inside has has clay designs with mirror work. These houses are really an architecture marvel. The thick walls keep the house cool even when the temperature reaches close to 50 degrees centigrade in summer.

    Hodka Village: Famous for community of the Meghwals- also known as Marwada Meghwals- believe their ancestors came from Marwar, Rajasthan. They are traditionally leather craftsmen and settled in Banni which was rich in livestock. Today there are 8 nokhs (sub castes) of the Meghwal community residing in Hodka.

    Next is beautiful Kutch Village of Bhirandiyara - It was a cluster of about 20 houses and every member of the village is an artisan in some way. The town is most famous for its fresh MAAVO, milk reduced to a thick fudge-like consistency & sweetened with suger – best when eated hot. The local meghwal community is known for its fine embroidery & colorful mud bhungas which is major tourist attraction. 

    Sumraser Village: At Sumrasar Sheikh visit Kala Raksha, non- profit organization that works with a number of communities, aims to preserve and promote Kutch arts, and specialises in Suf, Rabari and GarasiaJat embroidery. The trust has a small museum, works with nearly 600 artisans from seven different communities and can arrange visits to villages to meet artisans and see them at work.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B)

  16. Day 16 Bhuj - Bajana

    Bajana

    Morning breakfast at hotel. Later drive to Bajana en route visiting Shrujan (meaning Creativity in Sanskrit), a not-for-profit organization working with craftswomen in Kutch to revitalize the ancient craft of hand embroidery. Shrujan craftswomen create a range of beautiful hand embroidered items. Over the years, Shrujan’s work has expanded to include research into and documentation of the diverse embroideries of Kutch, and the communities that practise these embroideries.

    Later continue to Bajana, which is surrounded by tribal villages, making the stay here fascinating and especially exciting for photographers. On arrival check in at hotel and relax for the day.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B, D)

  17. Day 17 Bajana

    Bajana

    Approximate time & distances

    Bajana - Little Rann of Kutch: approx. 40 km/1 hour drive Little Rann of Kutch - Kharaghoda: approx. 20km/30 min drive Kharghoda - Bajana: approx. 20 min/30 min drive

    Start early at 0600 hrs to go for safari across Little Rann. Visit Bets Island on ancient sea bed that supports pink flamingos, great white pelicans, common cranes, water birds (bharami duck, grey leg goose, home duck, bar headed goose, black buck, blue bull, hyenas, gudkhur - Asiatic wild ass, only found here).

    Return for breakfast at hotel. Later drive to visit Rabari & Bhairwad tribal villages around Dasada. Vadiara & Kharapat Rabaries (embroidery & silk weavers), while returning if you wish can also see agrarian and nearby villages to see salt workers and Kaharagoda for salt fields. Later return back to Bajana and relax.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B, L, D)

  18. Day 18 Bajana – Ahmedabad – Departure

    Ahmedabad

    Morning after breakfast, drive to Ahmedabad to board your international flight to your onward destination.

    (B)

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