Colorful India: Textiles, Crafts and Beyond – ITINERARY

Dates: February 13th – 29th, 2020

An immersive small group journey highlighting cultural exchange, hands-on creative experience and sheer wonder in one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

Delhi – Ranthambore – Bundi – Udaipur – Ahmedabad – Rann of Kutch – Delhi


ITINERARY

Feb 13th: DELHI – ARRIVAL DAY
Your flight to India should arrive on this day, giving you time to get over any jet lag and adjust to your new surroundings. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to our hotel and a member of our team will be there to greet you. In the evening, we’ll have a group orientation meeting to go over the itinerary and answer any questions you might have.

Feb 14th: DELHI
The tour begins with a visit to the wonderfully welcoming Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple, a beautiful holy shrine, where we encounter Sikh pilgrims from around the country. Over 5000 meals per day are provided, free of charge, to anyone who visits the temple. We’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at the massive communal kitchen where volunteers prepare the meals. After a traditional South Indian lunch, we’ll wander around the extensive Dilli Haat market where you’ll enjoy your first glimpse of Indian textiles as well as handicrafts from all over the country. As evening rolls around, we’ll head to one of Delhi’s best restaurants for our first group dinner.
Included meals: B L D

Feb 15th: DELHI / RANTHAMBORE
Boarding our super fast 1st class train, we’ll embark on a five-hour journey into the state of Rajasthan. Upon arrival, we’ll check in to our hotel nestled in the serene  countryside near Ranthambore National Park. Time permitting, we’ll visit Ranthambore Fort, one of the largest forts in Rajasthan, perched majestically above the tiger reserve.
Included meals: B D

Feb 16th: RANTHAMBORE
Rising early, we’ll board our open air vehicle and head straight into Ranthambore National Park for a two-hour tiger safari led by a professional guide and naturalist.  Considered one of the best locations in India for tiger spotting, we’ll also be on the lookout for endless varieties of colorful birds and other wildlife. Following a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we’ll head to the Kendra, part of the Dastkar collective. Here we will tour their textile studios and interact with talented men and women who create an enormous array of impeccably finished textiles. Making the most of this unique opportunity, we’ll have the entire afternoon to spend at Dastkar observing exquisite craftsmanship and sharing ideas and skills with the artisans of this inspiring collective.
Included meals: B L D

Feb 17th: RANTHAMBORE / BUNDI
After a quick two-and-a-half-hour drive we’ll arrive in Bundi, get situated in our centrally-located heritage hotel and then walk up to the ruins of the grand Bundi Palace, towering over this magical blue town. Our walk will take us through narrow lanes, passed ancient homes and mansions, and bring us into contact with friendly families, shopkeepers and more. We’ll also stop for a special chai demonstration with a local vendor who will serve up some of the most amazing masala tea on the planet. Our day will finish with dinner overlooking the palace and fort.
Included meals: B D

Feb 18th: BUNDI
Our local contacts in Bundi have arranged the kind of incredible day rarely experienced by tourists. We’ll drive to a remote village where brilliantly colored saris are woven using indigenous techniques. We’ll tour the village, encouraged to engage with artisans, learn about both their craft and their lives. We’ll then visit a local school where the teachers and the children are eager to interact with Westerners. Following lunch in Bundi there is free time to relax, wander the streets and alleys, shop, check out the amazing stepwells or enjoy an optional lesson in the art of henna tattoos with two local women as our friendly teachers.
Included meals: B

Feb 19th: BUNDI / UDAIPUR
We’ll start early today, driving approximately six hours to Udaipur across the vast plains of Rajasthan. We’ll pass the imposing fortress of Chittogarh, and stop to take in the vistas and eat lunch along the way. Once in Udaipur, we’ll check into our hotel near the edge of stunning Lake Pichola. After a rest, we’ll go for a wander to watch the sunset over the lake. We’ll have dinner on the roof of our hotel, with an amazing view over the water and of several sprawling palaces dotting the landscape. You’ll quickly see why Udaipur is considered India’s most romantic city.
Included meals: B D

Feb 20th: UDAIPUR
We begin the morning by exploring some of the unique Rajasthani textile shops and learning about the various techniques used, the different regions that produce each style and the influences behind such impressive work. In the early afternoon we’ll head to the famous City Palace, one of the best preserved in the country, where we’ll wander through the courtyards, audience halls, bedrooms, antique textile exhibitions and more. Later in the day there will be free time to explore. You might choose to return to the shops of the textile or sterling silver jewelry merchants, enjoy an optional ayurvedic massage or spa treatment, sign up for a bike ride or visit one of the famous local tailors who can quickly create custom-made garments to your specifications. (Udaipur is the best place in India for excellent tailor-made clothes at very affordable prices).
Included meals: B

Feb 21st: UDAIPUR
This morning, the animal lovers among us will hop into our vans for a short drive into the countryside to visit Animal Aid Unlimited, the groundbreaking organization caring for Udaipur’s sick and injured animals. After a tour of the grounds, that includes interaction with the animals, you can opt to remain at the center to spend time with the animals or return to Udaipur. Later in the day there is an optional cooking class scheduled with a local family. In the evening we’ll enjoy a classical performance of traditional dance, music and Rajasthani puppet theater.
Included meals: B

Feb 22nd: UDAIPUR / AHMEDABAD
Departing after breakfast, our drive south today will take approximately 5.5 hours to reach the capital city of the state of Gujarat, Ahmedabad. We’ll check into our downtown hotel before a complete tour of the well-known Calico Textile Museum, run by the Sarabhai Foundation. This one-of-a-kind museum is known for its extensive collections of distinguished Indian textiles and other fine artwork as well as offering an interactive, free-flowing museum experience that brings you up close and personal with the exhibits.
Included meals: B

Feb 23rd: AHMEDABAD / BHUJ (KUTCH)
Off we go, crossing the diverse terrain of Gujarat in our private vans until we reach the quaint city of Bhuj, known for its history of ancient civilizations and architecture. While this will be a full travel day, our destination is truly magnificent as this marks the start of our visit to the Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh in the Thar Desert. We’ll stop periodically for breaks, lunch and photo ops as well as remaining open to the random and unexpectedly delightful events that seem to personify the experience of travel across India. We’ll settle into our hotel tonight knowing that our true Kutch adventure officially begins in the morning.
Included meals: B

Feb 24th – 26th: KUTCH
As one of the largest salt deserts in the world, the Rann of Kutch offers the few visitors who travel to this remote region a chance to spend time among the welcoming people and isolated communities that have been carrying on their traditional culture, made visible in their unique styles of craft, for centuries.

During our five days in this fascinating region, we’ll explore as much as we can, visiting remote local villages and meeting the artisans involved in various textile-related crafts that may include block printing, tie-dye, Rogan painting, embroidery, sari weaving, wool felting as well as other local specialty crafts.

At each village, we’ll participate in authentic, hands-on workshops that will focus on education where we are invited to share our skills as well as learn new ones from local artisans. We’ll have time to genuinely interact with these amazing craftspeople and the local organizations that help them share their art beyond the state of Gujarat. As a group, we may later choose to consider ways in which we might actively support the continued growth and development of these small communities of artisans in a meaningful way.

We’ll also enjoy the best of Kutch’s historical and natural highlights as we travel around, from the enigmatic rolling hills and rock formations to the abundant wildlife and of course, to the mesmerizing salt marsh. We’ll see it all!

Our comfortable accommodations in this region will include a unique hotel in Bhuj, a hotel in a small village near the salt desert and traditional bungalows in the countryside, where we’ll be surrounded only by silence and a sky full of stars.
Included meals: B L D (all meals during our stay in Kutch)

Feb 27th: KUTCH / AHMEDABAD / DELHI
Bidding farewell to the spectacular Rann of Kutch, we’ll make our way back to Delhi today. This trip will involve our van journey to Ahmedabad followed by an afternoon flight of approximately 2 hours. Once we land in Delhi, we’ll transfer to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Included meals: B

Feb 28th: DELHI
For our final day in India, we’ll head to the spectacular Akshardham Temple, considered the largest religious complex in the world and one of the most impressive temples in the country. From there we’ll head to Yamuna Bank and the Free School Under the Bridge, an impressive non-profit school established for Delhi’s homeless children that was set up directly under a highway overpass spend some time interacting with the dedicated students at the Free School Under the Bridge.
Included meals: B

Feb 29th: DEPARTURE DAY
You’ll be transferred to the airport depending on the time of your departing flight.
Included meals: B


INCLUDED
– Small group (max 12 participants)
– All accommodation (17 nights)
– Transportation in India (vans, train, internal flight)
– All activities, workshops, lessons mentioned
– All entrance fees for sights visited
– Local guides in each destination
– Breakfast every day, 7 lunches and 13 dinners
– Gratuities at hotels/included meals
– Bottled water throughout the trip
– All airport transfers

NOT INCLUDED
– Flights to/from India
– Meals and activities not mentioned
– Passport/visa fees
– Travel insurance
– Other gratuities


TOUR COST

$3995 USD per person

*Based on twin share (2 people to a room; solo travelers will be paired together)

*Single supplement: $650 (for a single room throughout the tour)


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