Gujarat - Cradle of Crafts Skills

  • Itinerary

Gujarat is the center for some of India’s most exquisite handwork. Kutch is known for its fabulous embroideries done in a variety of techniques developed by different communities including Hindu and Muslim pastoral groups whose women do embroidery for their trousseau or a second income as well as migrants from Sindh.  Bandhani tie-and-dye is almost synonymous with Gujarat, which also produces fine handloom woven textiles and block-printed fabrics.  Rare crafts that make their last stand in Gujarat include the double-ikat, Patola weaving of Patan and the Rogan painting on fabric done in Nirona village.

While hand-embellished textiles are bedrock of the rural economy of Kutch and Surendranagar districts of Gujarat, these regions have equally fine terra cotta, metal and wood crafts.

On the first day, arrive at Ahmedabad, which is the major center of traditional and contemporary textiles, and many crafts thrive here like Mata-ni-pachedi narrative cloth paintings and block-printing. From a queen's tomb that today lends its name to a textile market to a lineage of craftsmen who paint mobile shrines to the Goddess on fine fabrics, we will show you everything that you never thought you could see in Ahmedabad. You only need to Breakaway.Stay at House of MangaldasGirdhardas, a heritage hotel owned by a former textile industrialist family.

The day 2, visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, one of India’s leading specialized museums. The collections include textile swatches of Indian origin found at archaeological sites of Egypt, silk sarees from across India, double-ikat silk sarongs made in Patan for the Indonesian market, chintz and curtains made from Dutch, British and Portuguese colonial powers in Gujarat,   floral embroidery from Punjab, shawls from Kashmir, 18th century tie-and-dye, richly embroidered Mughal tent of Shah Jahan whose palace is nearby, royal wardrobes of Rajasthan, cloth paintings and manuscripts,  religious narrative cloth paintings like Pichwais and Kalamkaris, etc. Also visit the other museums of Ahmedabad strong on folk art collections.

The 3rd day will have 251 Kms drive to the princely town of Gondal of considerable importance and affluence. Here, you visit the 1748 AD Navlakha Palace which houses the erstwhile ruling family’s private collection of beadwork, textiles, brassware, hand-painted toys and silver crafts, the center promoting weaving at Gondal, and the historic buildings of Gondal. The evening visit will be to the Khadi Plaza, one of Gujarat’s major handloom weaving units.Stay at Riverside Palace or Orchard Palace, both of which are decorated with textiles from the former Maharanis’ collections.

On the 4th day, we ahead to Jetpur, which is known for its screen and block printing workshops, and a yarn-dyeing centre, and then to Junagadh where you can see gem-encrusted carpets, wardrobes and tapestery of the Nawab at the museums. The historic town of Junagadh has 3rd century BC Buddhist relics, medieval fort, mausoleum complexes, palaces, and much more. The night stay will be at Gondal again.

The fifth day will start with a drive to Bhuj calling in on the way at Rajkot to see the Watson Museum, which is having good examples of Gujarat’s craftsmanship skills, and RashtriyaShala working to revive hand-weaving. The night stay will be at Hotel Prince.

 

On the Day6, we proceed ahead to visit villages around Bhuj known for their distinctive styles of embroidery and other handiwork like weaving, block-printing, rogan-painting, etc. The trip to Bhuj is the most amazing experience. The stay as on the day will be at Shaam-e-Sarhad, a rural resort.

On the 7th day, we will have a 60 Kms drive from Bhuj to Mandvi, which is a tie-and-dye centre, and here you stay in an a/c tented comfort of the royal resort by the private beach in the palace estate. Visit the dhow-building yard to see ocean-worthy vessels being hand-built. The stay will be at the palace estate.

The 8th day will have a beautiful morning in the Mandvi with visits ahead to villages Mandvi known for their picturesque houses called Bhungas and Rabari embroidery.

On the 9th day, we start with a 310 Kms long-drive to Wadhwan, the historic walled town and a centre for bandhani tie-and-dye, weaving and metal-crafts. The stay will be at Rajmahal, the palace hotel of Wadhwan which has beautiful tapestries.

Surendranagar district has one of the largest handloom clusters in Gujarat. The Bharwad women of Surendranagar district are adept at doing beadwork. Surendranagar district is also an important centre for stone carving. On the 10th day, we drive to Dasada to watch Rabari women at work on their distinct embroideries. Evening safari will be at the Little Rann of Kutch. Stay at Rann-Riders, an eco-resort designed using local materials and handicrafts to resemble a village.

On the 11th day, enjoy morning safari in the Little Rann of Kutch and day trip to Patan to watch the Salvis at work on the Patola, one of the richest silk textiles in the world, woven using the rare double-ikat technique.  You will also see 11thcentury monuments at Modhera’s Sun Temple complex and in Patan. And return to Rann Riders at Dasada.

After an exquisite journey of crafts skills tours of Vibrant Gujarat, the 12th day, we return to Ahmedabad or Proceed to Rajasthan to explore the beauty of the royal state of India.

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