Classical Gujarat

Off the beaten track. Textiles, architecture, and ancient communities

India’s western-most state of Gujarat is a sidestep off the usual tourist trail but is highly rewarding with its immense offerings to the visitor. A deep sense of culture prevails which reflects its unique history and people.

The remarkable architectural style of ancient Gujarat can be seen in its temples, forts, palaces and stepwells, some of which are truly awe-inspiring. Tribal villages in the remote countryside keep centuries-old arts and crafts alive, particularly some of the world’s finest and most unusual textiles.

The Rann of Kutch, an endless expanse of salt marsh and cracked earth is home to endangered wildlife and one of the most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. That’s not all – The state holds particular importance as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, and the place where he ignited the Satyagraha movement.

Tour Snapshot

8 day tour
Best time to visit: October – March
Routing: Vadodara- Jambugodha- Ahmedabad- Poshina- Little Rann Of Kutch- Bhuj-Mumbai

Tour reference number: CWI-001

Tour highlights

  • A deeply immersive and experiential tour 
  • Discover the splendid architecture, history and traditions of the state of Gujarat  
  • Take a wildlife safari in the salt marsh to spot the endangered Indian Wild Ass
  • Visit the salt marshes in Little Rann of Kutch and watch how salt panning is done out in the middle of nowhere
  • Interact with talented artisans, who keep traditional arts and crafts alive 
  • Learn all about the incredibly complex double ikat weave from the weavers of the Patola Sari
  • Get to know the various tribal and pastoral communities of Gujarat
  • Visit Sabarmati Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi lived and started the freedom movement
  • Explore the restored Rani ni Vav stepwell with its incredible architecture

Interested in this tour? Or a customized tour based on this theme?

Brief Programme

Begin your Gujarat travels in Vadodara, or Baroda, as it was previously known. It is the cultural capital of the state and was the city of the Gaekwad rulers under whose reign it flourished and developed.

The 19th century Laxmi Vilas Museum is still the residence of the royal family and is set in expansive grounds. The impressive architecture is matched by the elaborate interiors

Drive to Jambughoda, visiting Champaner and Chhota Udaipur enroute.

The UNESCO Heritage site at Chamapner is a rich heritage site dotted with forts, mosques, tombs, temples, stepwells, and fortresses from 8th to 14th century.

Learn about the culture and way of life of tribal people such as Rathwas and Bhils in Chhota Udaipur.

Drive to Ahmedabad, where the old quarters are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Sabarmati Ashram was home to Mahatma for many years and served as one of the
main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. The Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free.

The 15th century Jama Masjid of Ahmedabad is one of the largest mosques of India. The magnificent edifice is a beautiful blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture styles and was constructed as a private place of worship for the Sultans.

Another mosque, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, is famous for the splendid craftsmanship of stone latticework windows, particularly the depiction of the intricate Tree of Life in a window.

Head to the tribal lands of Poshina where the Bhils and Garasias live. The village of Poshina is home to a number of artisans such as arrow crafters, silver smiths, potters and blacksmiths. At a tribal shrine you will see thousands of terracotta horses as offerings to the local Goddess.

A full day covering Patan and Modhera enroute to Rann of Kutch.

The ancient capital of Patan is famous for its beautiful Patola silk saris. The double-ikat weave saris were affordable only by aristocracy due to the highly complex method of dyeing and weaving. The closely guarded family tradition lives on precariously in the hands of only three families now.

The painstakingly restored Rani-ni-Vav is a step-well, built as a seven-storey subterranean structure. Lavishly adorned with sculptures of gods, goddesses and mythological creatures, this distinctive water storage system is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 11th century Sun Temple at Modhera will leave you awe-struck with its incredible architecture and sculptures.
Continue to Little Rann Of Kutch, an enigmatic salt marsh spread over 5000 sq kms of cracked earth.

The Wild Ass Sanctuary is home not just to the Indian Wild Ass but also a variety of other animals such as blackbuck, wild boar, Indian wolf, hyena, fox. During the safari you will be amazed at the variety of birds here as well, such as pink flamingo, duck, crane, short-toed eagles, Houbara bustard. In Little Rann of Kutch will not only.

Learn about the cultures and lifestyles of the pastoral Bharwad and Rabari people. Their beautiful traditional attire full of vivid colours and silver garments stand out in the stark whiteness of the salt desert.

Watch how salt panning is done by the Agariya community which has been engaged in this profession for centuries.

On the way to Bhuj stop at Ajrakhpur village where the famous Ajrakh block printing of textiles is done. The 22-stage process of dyeing, washing and printing is painstakingly laborious and complex and only the very skilled artisan can do it.

In Bhuj the 18th century Aina Mahal palace is an amalgamation of local and European building styles. The flamboyance and opulence truly reflect the wealth of Bhuj as the capital of princely state of Kutch.

Next door, Prag Mahal palace built in the Italian Gothic style is equally splendid and a favourite location for Bollywood shoots.

Overnight stay at – Bhuj

The Banni villages in the area are fascinating place to discover the numerous types of arts and crafts that the region is well known for. Each village is a distinct community that practices a distinct craft, such as embroidery, Rogan art, mirror work, woodwork etc.

Transfer to airport for your flight to Mumbai for your onward journey home.

This tour is a sample of one of the popular routings and experiences. We will be delighted to customize it to your interests and budget.

What can we add on to this programme?

  • Love textiles? Turn this programme into a textile tour, with villages, artisans and museums that will make all your textile dreams come true. Hands-on workshops to discover the different aspects of creating weaves, prints, embroideries etc.
  • Meet different tribes of the state and closely witness their lifestyle, culture and traditions by spending longer at some places and traveling deeper into the countryside.
  • This tour can be combined with Rajasthan

Write to us now  to get this tour customized for you with a price proposal.

The tour price will depend on many factors such as time of travel, hotel selection, and add-on experiences and services.

Recommended Hotels:

Vadodara – Madhav Bagh, Vivanta Vadodara

Jambughoda- Jambughoda Palace

Ahmedabad – The House of MG, French Haveli

Poshina – Darbargadh Palace

Little Rann of Kutch - Rann Riders Resort, Desert Coursers, Royal Safari Camp

Bhuj – Regenta Resort, The Bhuj House

Write to us now  to get this tour customized for you with a price proposal.