Day 1 Friday, November 15, 2019 Delhi
We arrive at Delhi airport. After clearing Indian Immigration and Customs, we will be met by our tour guide.
Day 2 Saturday, November 16, 2019 Delhi
Today we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of magnificent Delhi. We will first drive past the Red Fort and see the Lahore Gate before visiting the Jama Masjid, India’s largest Mosque. We will have time in Chandni Chowk Bazar, with its busy lanes to hunt for bargains. We will enjoy an auto-rickshaw ride around old Delhi and take in a fantastic cocktail of stench, movement, uproar and fumes. On our visit to the market, Chris Jurd will point out the traditional artwork, fabrics, buttons, braid and ribbons which group members will be able to buy. In the afternoon we travel to the Vijay Chowk area, which is set around a large piazza. Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design India’s new capital in 1911 in this area. We will drive past the President’s residence and ministerial buildings set in long, tree lined avenues and surrounding gardens. After that we will visit The National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, which celebrates the rich, diverse and practising craft traditions of India. At present the Museum collection consists of over 33,000 specimens in various crafts. We will have time to purchase traditional craft items. This evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 3 Sunday, November 17, 2019 Agra
This morning we drive to Agra. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Akbar made it the centre of art, culture, commerce and learning. During the peaceful reign of Shah Jahan, his passion for architecture came to the fore and the world-famous architectural masterpieces were constructed including the Taj Mahal. We visit Kachhpura Village, a walk through Kachhpura village takes you through the various monuments of the Mughal Era along with a stunning view of the Taj. The youth from the community, trained as tour facilitators, provide both historical facts and anecdotes. Chris will make sure that we get the most from our visit to the Kachhpura tourist village.
Day 4 Monday, November 18, 2019 Agra
We will visit Taj Mahal at sunrise. Surely the greatest monument of love and one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognised as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage’. We will enjoy free time after the visit. After lunch, we will visit Agra Fort. 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. We continue with a visit to 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 the Taj.
Day 5 Tuesday, November 19, 2019 Jaipur
Today we drive to Jaipur. En route we will visit Fatehpur Sikri, built of red sandstone during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar. We continue to Jaipur, the largest city of Rajasthan, established in 1727, and India’s first planned city also known as the ‘Pink City’. In Jaipur we will see exquisite handicrafts and spectacular jewellery. This evening we will enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by dinner with a Noble Rajput family at Sankotra Haveli, built when the town of Jaipur was founded and granted to the Sankotra Family in 1668. We will learn how to make some Indian dishes and understand the techniques and essential ingredients of Rajasthani cuisine.
Day 6 Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Jaipur
This morning we will visit the Amer Fort, built in 1592. Within its walls we will see a four-level plan, with each level having a courtyard. It is an opulent palace complex built with red sandstone and marble. In the afternoon we will visit the City Palace and museum, which 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’. Later we will visit the Jantar Mantar, built between 1727 and 1734, which has a collection of architectural and astronomical instruments. This evening is free to explore the local markets. Jaipur is known as a shopper’s paradise famous for jewellery, handicraft, carpets, blue pottery and textiles.
Day 7 Thursday, November 21, 2019 Jaipur
This morning we travel to Bagru for a workshop on hand block printing. The prints are made with small carved wooden blocks using dyes of different colours extracted from nature and one of the most famous traditional arts of Rajasthan. Workshops are held for those who want to learn this beautiful art. We will also have a chance to see some of the plants which are used for making the dyes and learn how to make colour fast naturally. We return to Jaipur to visit Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Located in a magnificently restored Haveli, the museum displays a varied selection of block-printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects which offer an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient craft.
Day 8 Friday, November 22, 2019 Udaipur
Today we travel to gorgeous Udaipur. The ‘Venice of the East’ holds stage as one of India’s truly seductive cities. Udaipur is an international destination, with splendid Lake Pichola lapping against shimmering white buildings, and the Aravalli hills surrounding the lake. Udaipur is Rajput dreaming, with palaces, havelis and temples at every turn. In the evening we will enjoy a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola.
Day 9 Saturday, November 23, 2019 Udaipur
This morning we will enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the City Palace. It is one of the architectural marvels of Rajasthan. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches, which add to its charm. It is a marvellous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. 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. We will visit Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, a museum of folk-art that has a wonderful display of dolls, puppets, masks, ornaments, paintings, folk dresses and musical instruments. We continue with a demonstration of the famous art of miniature painting, with their intricate and delicate brushwork, giving them their unique identity. The colors are handmade from minerals, vegetables, precious stones, indigo, conch shells, pure gold and sil
Day 10 Sunday, November 24, 2019 Ahmedabad
Today we 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. The textiles from this region have no reverse side. This 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. We continue our journey to Ahmedabad, where we stay three nights.
Day 11 Monday, November 25, 2019 Ahmedabad
This morning half the group will visit the Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad, it is the premier textile museum of the country. Its outstanding collection of Indian fabrics exemplifies handicrafted textiles spanning five centuries. The museum is housed in two buildings, one displaying textiles of religious significance and the other traditional court fabrics, tents, carpets and costumes. We later visit Sabarmati Ashram, 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 quarters are preserved as a small museum. Later, we will meet one of only a handful of Chitara families that still practice Matani Pachedi, or custom fabric painting. We also visit Kalam Khush paper factory. This high-quality hand-made paper making plant was built by the Gandhi Ashram in 1956.
Day 12 Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Ahmedabad
This morning the rest of the group will visit the Calico museum. In the afternoon we will visit Shreyas Folk Museum. It exhibits the finest arts and crafts of Gujarat. The museum has a huge display of textiles and the clothing of Gujarat. Old coins, weapons, toys, costumes, masks and puppets are also an attraction. We later visit the City Museum, Ahmedabad. Located in the heart of the city, the building was built by the well known French architect Le Corbusier. Chris will lead the group on an exploration of the market at Law Garden this evening. The market sells beautiful textile handicraft.
Day 13 Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Bhuj
This morning we will drive to Bhuj and on the journey visit Dhamdka, Dhaneti, Ajrakhpur and Bhujodi village. At the villages of Ajrakhpur and Dhamadka we will see traditional ajrakh block printing using natural dyes. We will see the traditional embroidery work of the Ahir community in Dhaneti. We also visit Bhujodi, who are nomadic Rabari. They weave camel wool and are skilled in traditional Bandhani (tie & dye), block printing and weaving. Here we will see demonstrations and group members are able to buy anything from shawls to blankets from the artisans. Bhujodi is also a centre for Piltoom weaving, Mewada embroidery and wood carving.
Day 14 Thursday, November 28, 2019 Bhuj
Today we will enjoy visiting Aina 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, designed the palace in a mixed Indo-European style. We visit the giant Prag Mahal, commissioned by King Pragmalji in the 1860s. Inside the palace we will visit the main palace halls. We continue with a visit to the National Award Winning Artist A.A. Wazir’s Textiles Museum Shop.
Day 15 Friday, November 29, 2019 Bhuj
Today we will enjoy a tour of the beautiful villages of the Kutch. Ludiya is one of the most beautiful with an area of about 5 square kilometres and a population of 2000 people predominantly Muslims. Gandhi nu Gam, inhabitated by the Meghwal Community has beautifully painted circular huts organized around the temple. We will see the vibrant Kanjari Blouse of the women. Their main occupation is making beautiful embroidery and traditional crafts. The men of the village make decorative furniture. The outside of the houses are decorated with vibrant motifs and the inside has a clay design with mirror work. The thick walls keep the house cool even when the temperature reaches close to 50 degrees centigrade in summer. We continue our journey with a visit to Hodka Village, which is famous for housing a community of the Meghwals, who are traditionally leather craftsmen. Our next visit is to the gorgeous Kutch Village of Bhirandiyara. The town is most famous for its fresh Maavo, milk reduced to a thick fudge-like consistency. They are also known for their fine embroidery and colorful mud bhungas. Our last visit is to Sumraser Village. We will visit Kala Raksha a non-profit organization that aims to preserve and promote Kutch arts. It specialises in Suf, Rabari and GarasiaJat embroidery. The trust has a small museum and works with nearly 600 artisans from seven different communities.
Day 16 Saturday, November 30, 2019 Mumbai
Today we visit 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. We will fly to Mumbai for an overnight stay. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner to say goodbye to Chris Jurd and other group members.
Day 17 Sunday, December 1, 2019 Departure
This morning we will travel to the airport for our international flight to Australia.