Facinating Gujarat
Duration :12 Nights / 13 Days
Destination :india
Interested :Best of India Tours
Tour Months :January

Here begins your tour

Day 1:Arrive Mumbai
Arrive Mumbai, after clearing customs and immigrations, look for our representative holding a placard with your names on it. You will be met by Live India Tours representative and transferred to your gorgeous old world style hotel, located near historic India Gate

Day 2:Mumbai / Bhuj (9W 347: 1315 / 1430 hours)
Morning free to get over the jet lag. Later fly Jet airways flight 9W 347: 1225 / 1340 hrs to Bhuj. Meet and transfer to your resort. Rush to the District Collector's office to get the special permit required to visit the restricted areas of Bhuj. Time permitting walk around the city of Bhuj, a famed-walled-city with its maze of narrow streets and colorful bazaars that was devastated by the earthquake a few years ago, and has regained its present status, over the years. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 3:Bhuj
The greatest attraction of Kutch, is it’s rich tradition of tribal textiles and handicrafts specially leather embroidery, block printed fabrics, leather footwear, wood carvings, silver works, pottery and metal ware, all of these can be purchased at the bazaars of Bhuj or better still from the villages of the Banni tribes that you will visit today to meet the Harijan & Garacia Jats. The Harijans probably arrived in the Rann of Kutch at about the same time as the other clans and were leather workers in Rajasthan. Later they took up herding and today they derive most of their income from herding and crafts, though they also work in the saltpans. The Garacia Jats are farmers. The women do most of the work in the fields while the men take care of small herds of cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats. They consider themselves to be Muslim. HOTEL (Breakfast) This morning visit Judy Frater's village workshop in Sumraser. Her workshop showcases India from her perspective of twenty years of working with craft development. She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, "Threads of Identity". At Sumraser you will see a variety of handicrafts, including tie-dye textiles, vegetable color dye printing, `Rogan' art, glass beadwork, woolen shawls, leather articles and more. Castor oil is boiled and cooled repeatedly until it thickens and becomes semi-solid in about three days. Natural colors are added to it to make a paste with which the pieces of cloth are painted. Also visit Nirona village, inhabited by the Harijans and Garacia Jat tribes. This village is famous for `Rogan' art and bell making by the Muslim Community. Rogan is a form of oil painting on cloth, done manually with the help of a spindle. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 4:Bhuj / Zainabad ( Dasada )
This morning drive to Zainabad ( known by the Rann of Kutch region ), the 'Melting Pot of Tribes'. It is home to many ethnic groups known for their unique culture and traditions. The major tribes of this region are the Megwar, Samma, Jat, Mutwa, Ahir and Rabari. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 5:Zainabad
Various legends and myths punctuate the history and origin of Rabaris in Gujarat. They are linked with Shiva, through their ancestor Sambal, and their homeland area of Jaisalmer and Marwar, in Rajasthan. One legend claims that everything originated with the decision that Rajputs ( warrior clan) were to marry celestial damsels. Their descendants became Rabari or Goers. The Rabaris have Rajput names, a strong physical resemblance and a distant kinship to Rajputs. The Rabari form the largest group in the Kachchhi pastoral community, with three main tribes hailing from Marwar in Rajasthan. They are a mysterious clan unlike any other and their lifestyle has piqued the curiosity of many a researcher. They are nomadic, and spend most of their time wandering with their herds. Their origins have been traced to Afghanistan and parts of Sind. Their language has strong Marwari and Punjabi elements mixed with the local dialect. Rabaris can be classified into three groups : Dhabaria, Vagadia and Kachhi, spread in the neighboring territories in the central belt of the region. They rear cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep and camels, sell ghee (clarified butter), weave, and are known for fine embroidery. Villages are neat and spotlessly clean with orderly hut interiors and porticos. They are mostly vegetarian and apparently shun alcoholic drinks. There are three to four meals at a wedding with 'Laddu', 'Lapsi', sweet rice or savoury 'Khichadi'. Cultural activities include folk dances called 'Garbha' and 'Raas' originating in certain religious observances and later associated with social occasions. Raas is popular with Rabaris staying in the Banni and Vaghad region. Rabari girls perform Garbha and boys do the Dandiya Rass. The men, most of whom sport a white turban, wear white cotton trousers tight at the ankle and in baggy pleats above the knee, a white jacket ('Kehdiyun') with multiple folds tucked around chest level and overlong sleeves, and a blanket thrown over one shoulder. Rabari women dress in black pleated jackets or open-backed blouses, full black skirts and tie-dyed head cloths, usually black and red, and always deck themselves with heavy silver jewelry and ivory bangles around the upper arms. The Rabari women are treated with great respect in their families. They are very industrious, and take care of the house; do beautiful embroidery and sell them, while the men spend time in the desert tending to their flocks of sheep and camels.   While the Rabari, the most nomadic of Gujarat's tribes, constantly migrate in search of better grazing ground for their camels and sheep, the Banjara (gypsies) and other tribes have settled down and created villages. The Banjara are a semi-nomadic ethnic group living modernly in Southern and Middle India, but are originally from Rajasthan. The Banjara (sometimes called Lambani or Lambada) have their own spoken language, but no written language. Before the invasion of the British and the railway system, the Banjara were responsible for a good percentage of the movement of goods in North India. They were considered the "Red Cross" of North India, since they would sell food to anyone, whether invading Muslim army or poor Rajasthani peasants. They traveled across North India with huge herds of thousands of bullocks and carts, buying and selling sugar, salt, grain and “etar” (perfume). They have a completely unique modern costume and embroidery style. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 6:Zainabad /Modhera / Patan / Ahmedabad
Morning drive to Ahmedabad via Modhera and Patan. Visit the 11th century Sun Temple of Modhera. It is easily one of the finest examples of devotional architecture in Western India. Built in 1026 AD the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya, and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone- steeped tank. As in the Sun Temple at Konark, this temple was designed so that the rays of the sun would fall on the image of Surya (means sun) at the time of the equinoxes. Continue on to Patan, the former capital of Gujarat and renowned for Patola saris, one of the finest hand-woven textiles in the world. Patola weaving with colored silk threads is done in the double Ikat style that originated in India and is also done in Bali. In an area called Sadvi Wada, you can watch the complex weaving of silk Patola saris. There is only one family and it relatives that does this type of weaving. Each sari takes from four to six months to produce, and is sold for up to Rs. 70, 000 (more than US$ 2,000). Silk threads are dyed in a set pattern before being woven on a complex loom. Utmost care is taken to ensure even tension throughout the fabric. The warp and weft threads are woven into intricate multi-colored designs. Time permitting, stop at Adalji Step Well ( note : in case of poor sunlight no sight-seeing and photography will be possible ). The vavs or baolis (step-wells) of Gujarat consist of two parts: a vertical shaft from which water is drawn and the surrounding inclined subterranean passageways, chambers and steps which provide access to the well. The galleries and chambers surrounding these ancient wells were often carved profusely with elaborate detail and became cool, quiet retreats during the hot summers. Step-wells are most certainly one of India's most unique, but little-known, contributions to architecture, and it is uncertain whether they are to be encountered anywhere outside the Indian sub-continent. The 'Vav' (step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda, wife of the Vaghela chief, Vir Singh; who built it in the 15th or 16th century AD. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 7:Ahmedabad
This morning visit the Calico Museum of Textiles (textile areas are open till noon only) the only one of its kind in India that exhibits antique and modern textiles including rare tapestries, wall hangings and costumes from all over India. Later visit Teen Darwaza - a triple gateway 37 feet high built by Sultan Ahmed. Continue to Jama Masjid and the Sabarmati Ashram, situated on the western bank of the Sabarmati River, founded in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi. This was the headquarters during the struggle for Indian Independence. It is now a spinning wheel factory, where handmade paper and other handicrafts are made. Visit the Gandhi Museum, designed by the famous architect, Charles Correa and if time permits, Siddi Sayyed Mosque with its magnificent stone tracery, in particular the Jali (filigreed) screen and balconies. If there is still time, do stop by the NC Mehta Museum with its Indian miniature paintings designed by Le Corbusier. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 8:Ahmedabad / Mumbai (9W 328: 1245 / 1345 hours) Mumbai – Bhopal
Morning fly by Jet Airways fight 9W 328: 1245 / 1345 hrs. to Mumbai. Arrive and take a connecting Jet Airways flight 9W 3105: 1750 / 1930 hrs. to Bhopal. Bhopal - the capital of Madhya Pradesh is known as the "lakeside city", a fairyland, half hidden among seven high hills, rich in foliage. It was built in the 11th century when the legendary Raja Bhoj, fond of lakeside views, created a lake around which grew the beautiful sprawling city named after him. Soon, more lakes and gardens, parks and ponds appeared, turning Bhopal into one of the most beautiful cities in India. Succeeding battalions of invaders seemed determined on its destruction, and Bhopal fell into oblivion. However, with the coming of the extravagant Moguls in the 14th century, Bhopal was reborn. The Moguls made it a city of artists and musicians, monuments and mausoleums. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Morning drive to Sanchi (72 kms), the bastion of Buddhism. The first things you notice are the huge stupas standing on a tranquil hill overlooking rich forests. These stupas are funeral mounds where the holy relics of the Buddha and other sages were interred. Emperor Ashoka built as many as eight stupas at Sanchi. Today only 3 survive but these are unparalleled for their stone craft. The most magnificent Great Stupa is 37 meters in diameter and 16 meters high. The ground balustrade circumscribing the Great Stupa has four toranas or gateways, providing access from the four directions. These exquisitely carved gateways depict Buddhist legends and the main events in the Buddha’s life. Close to the South gateway lie the ruins of the Ashoka Pillar. Other interesting monuments include the 15-meter high Stupa #3 and the new Vihara or monastery where the relics of the Buddha have been enshrined in a glass casket in the inner sanctum. The 7-meter high Stupa #2 is noted for its chaitya hall or shrine. The museum displays a number of sculptures found in the area. These are the oldest Buddhist structures in India and one of the earliest religious structures in the sub-continent. Some 12 km northwest of Sanchi, lies the ancient town of Vidasha, a market town also known as Besnagar. This is the sight of many relics of the Mauryan civilization, including the Udayagiri Caves. The Kham Baba is a monolithic pillar built in 90 BC by Heliodorus, an ambassador of the Greek king to the court of Vidisha. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. We return to the city. HOTEL (Breakfast) Afternoon visit the “Museum of Man” that tells the story of India’s indigenous minorities – the Adivasis (tribal) and exposes the richness and ingenuity of India’s tribal culture and provides genuine insights into ways of life few see at first hand. This 200-acre hilltop site includes a coastal village, a rock-art gallery, a research center, and as its centerpiece, an open-air exhibition of traditional Adivasi houses, compounds and religious shrines. Specialist Adivasi craftsmen have built authentic replicas of these buildings, using only tools and materials available in their home environments. Begin at the introductory gallery and marvel at the tribal dwellings, original tools, intricate murals, and statues of tribal deities, chariots and more! Later proceed to the Jama Masjid, built by Qudsia Begum, which has tall dark minarets crowned with glittering golden spikes. The Moti Masjid is patterned on Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Among more recent constructions of note are, the Tah-ul-Masjid, started by Begum Shah Jahan and completed in 1982. It has an impressive main hall, inter-arched roof, broad façade and wide courtyard with a shopping arcade - Taj Market – around its boundary walls. If time permits, visit Bharat Bhawan, a multi-arts center without parallel in India, designed by one of India’s leading architects – Charles Correa. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 10:Bhopal / Jabalpur ( Bhopal /Jabalpur Express: 2215 /0740 hours – next day)
Late morning drive for an hour to Bhim Bhetka to see the Neolithic cave paintings. ……Bhimbetka…..130 rock shelters………Biggest repository of prehistoric art in India. Continuous habitation from the early Stone Age…." One of the earliest dwellings of human beings. It will take you back to the history 35,000 years old. In fact, the place has witnessed a cultural sequences right from the late stone age to the early historic period. The pre historic caves which are in true sense "the portal to the ancient gallery of Bhimbetka" preserves some fascinating paintings dating back to Paleolithic times. Later drive for an half an hour to Bhojpur to see the colossal 11th century Shiva temple. ( Note – you can check out of the hotel and keep your luggage with the bell desk before departing for the sight-seeing ). Return to your hotel and after dinner ( on your own ) proceed to the railway station to board the over night train to Jabalpur. Overnight train

Day 11:Jabalpur / Kanha ( Drive: 04 hours)
Arrive Jabalpur at 0740 AM and drive to Kanha National Park, the greatest of Indian wildlife reserves, a poignantly beautiful setting in deciduous forest and savannah grassland. The park is home to hundreds of varieties of animals and birds including the splendid Tiger, it’s biggest draw. Arrive and check-in to hotel. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 12:Kanha National Park
Enjoy morning and afternoon jungle safaris into the park. See the amazing variety of deer by the grassy meadows on the river valleys, the famous gaur (wild buffalo) as they forage through the forests, and Nilgai (blue cows), the rare sloth bears and massive pythons higher up the hills. Spot a tiger in all its majesty relaxing in a grove of bamboo or in the tall elephant grass lining the waterholes. HOTEL (Breakfast)

Day 13:Kanha National Park / Nagpur – Mumbai
Morning proceed for another game viewing into the jungle before leaving Nagpur

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