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Call us: +44 (0) 1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • Services of Sue Lawty as trip leader
  • Local English-speaking guide and driver to accompany group throughout.
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK and UK departure tax (flight inclusive only).
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on...

Colours of India - Gujarat Textiles Festivals

Tour

Agra, India, Northwest India, Ahmedabad | Tours

Colours of India - Gujarat Textiles
  • Duration: 16 days from the UK

Call +44 (0)1453 844400 for more details

Explore India at its most flamboyant in the company of renowned textile artist, Sue Lawty.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a unique, specialist tour in the company of Sue Lawty, one of Britain’s foremost artists
  • Experience first-hand all aspects of the rich Gujarat textile culture
  • Visit the picturesque villages of the Banni Grasslands and meet local craftsmen and women
  • See some of the fine palaces and temples of this vibrant region
  • Take a jeep safari to explore the Little Rann of Kutch
  • Take a heritage walk and enjoy the kite festival of Ahmedabad

Reviews          

Fabulous holiday! We saw such a variety of high quality textiles and watched the processes through from the cotton plant, via spinning, weaving, printing and dyeing, to stunning embroidery; all in real villages and towns in a fascinating part of India. The beautiful, gentle people of Gujarat made the trip very special.

Gill, Melrose

Next

The variety and quality of the textiles we saw far exceeded our expectations.

Anonymous

Next

A wonderful couple of weeks with a bit of everything from palaces to safaris, saris to festivals, and top notch artisan crafts. To see the processes from the cotton boll in the field to spinning, weaving, printing, dying, embroidery, etc was amazing. Such skills and lovely people.

Jeannie Everington

Next

If you love fabrics or sewing you will find heaven in Gujarat. You have the chance to watch fabric being made from scratch; spun, dyed, printed, woven, embroidered and finally worn. Throw the many wonders of India into the mix - exotic food, amazing temples and mosques or tranquil bird watching - and you cant not go!'

Janet Wallace, London

Next

Colours of India - what a good description of the holiday that weve just had. And not just colours, but sounds and tastes. I had never been to Gujarat, and what a fascinating place it turned out to be. My interest in joining a tour focusing on textiles was not in making things, as thats not my forte, but in enjoying beautiful things and the workmanship and skills that go into creating them. And...

Anon

Next

If you love fabrics or sewing you will find heaven in Gujarat. You have the chance to watch fabric being made from scratch; spun, dyed, printed, woven, embroidered and finally worn. Throw the many wonders of India into the mix - exotic food, amazing temples and mosques or tranquil bird watching - and you cant not go!'

J Wallace

Next

A wonderful couple of weeks with a bit of everything from palaces to safaris, saris to festivals, and top notch artisan crafts. To see the processes from the cotton boll in the field to spinning, weaving, printing, dying, embroidery, etc was amazing. Such skills and lovely people.

Anonymous

Next

Fabulous holiday! We saw such a variety of high quality textiles and watched the processes through from the cotton plant, via spinning, weaving, printing and dyeing, to stunning embroidery; all in real villages and towns in a fascinating part of India. The beautiful, gentle people of Gujarat made the trip very special.

Gill

Next

The variety and quality of the textiles we saw far exceeded our expectations.

Anonymous

Next

View All

Gujarat in western India is renowned for its dazzling textiles and fine handicrafts. The many different styles, from mirror work to fine embroidery, are each connected to the traditions of a particular community or ethnic group and go back generations.

Led by acclaimed artist Sue Lawty you will explore Gujarat’s rich architectural, artistic and cultural heritage, visiting a number of key textile centres along the way including Ahmedabad, Gondal, Jetpur, Junagarh, Banni, Kutch, Dasada and Patan. From village markets and local museums which have an incredible array of fabrics and textiles on display, to craft workshops with hands-on demonstrations of age-old techniques such as wood block printing, tie-dye manufacture, and weaving, you will gain an insight into the role that textiles have played in Gujarat over the centuries.

The tour starts in Ahmedabad, famous for its connection with Mahatma Gandhi, where you will visit a local market, the Calico Museum and and several cultural sights as well as spending an afternoon at the International Kite Festival – a dazzling display of modern and traditional kites from all around the world. Travelling on to Gondal you visit the Navlaka Palace with its fine collection of crafts and learn about the textiles of this area. Moving on to the desert town of Bhuj, you will have six days to explore its many fascinating attractions including local markets and palaces, as well as travelling out to beautiful Banni villages with their fine artistic heritage, and to Mandvi on the coast and centre for traditional boat building and mashroo weaving.

A real highlight of the tour is an early morning jeep safari across the Little Rann (desert) of Kutch in search of rare Asiatic wild asses and other birds and wildlife. And for a final fabulous flourish you visit the master craftsmen of Patan Patola, who create the most magnificent Double-Ikat silk textiles. On your return to Ahmedabad, you will enjoy a guided heritage walk and end your trip on a high at a Bollywood-themed eatery.


At a glance

Duration: 16 days from the UK

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 5 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Accommodation types: Hotels

Festival:

This holiday attends the Kite Festival

Meal arrangements: All meals included from dinner on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 14, except for lunch and dinner on Day 9.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1-2 Overnight flight to Ahmedabad. Visit Law Garden Market.
3 Visit Calico Museum of Textile. Visit Pethapur Village in Gandhinagar.
4 Morning visits to Sarkhej Ka Roza and flower market. Afternoon at kite festival.
5-6 Drive to Gondal. Visit Navlakha Palace. Visit the Khadi centre, local market and Swaminarayan Temple in Gondar and the village of Jetpur.
7 Drive to Bhuj via salt marsh. Visit LLDC Shrujan Museum.
8 Sightseeing in Bhuj plus visits to a bandhani workshop and textiles museum shop.
9 Day leisure.
10 Hands on block printing workshop. Drive to Khamir. Visit village of Bhujodi.
11-12 Excursion to see mashroo weaving in south Kutch and wooden ship building at Mandvi with time at beach. Drive to visit Banni villages and White Rann salt flats.
13 Attend tanabana workshop in Bhuj and Ahir embroidery at Dhaneti village. Drive to Rann Riders.
14 Jeep safari across Little Rann. Drive to Ahmedabad with visit to Patan Patola Museum and Rani Ki Vav step well.
15 Heritage walk of Ahmedabad with visit to and Sabarmati Ashram. Farewell dinner.
16 Group transfer to Ahmedabad Airport for overnight flight to London.
Leader: Sue Lawty - Artist

Sue Lawty is one of Britain’s finest artists. Alongside many other materials, Sue has worked in textiles all her life and exhibits all over the world. She is a tutor and visiting lecturer and has been on ‘weaving journeys’ to Bhutan, Morocco, America, Australia, India, Nepal and Poland. Professionally she has been Artist in Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, a visiting artist at the Australian National University in Canberra and has been awarded prestigious Artist Research Fellowships at both the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC and the Faculty of the Environment, University of Leeds. Sue is also an accomplished mountain trekker and fell runner and has led many successful trips for Mountain Kingdoms since she led our first Weavers’ Trail in Bhutan in 1995, later also leading treks to Bhutan, Dolpo and Zanskar. More recently, in 2019, she returned to Bhutan to lead our specialist Weavers’ Trail walking holiday and in 2022 led our first Colours of India trip.

Sue Lawty - Artist

Holiday Itinerary

Download a detailed itinerary
Day 1 - Fly London to Ahmedabad

Depart London on your overnight flight to Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

Overnight icon Overnight: In flight

Day 2 - Arrive Ahmedabad. Visit Law Garden Market.

You will land at Ahmedabad around 3.00am and be transferred to your boutique heritage hotel where rooms will be ready for you. Here you will have plenty of time to rest after your long flight. Your hotel has a pool if you fancy a refreshing dip!

Ahmedabad, the city of Ahmed Shah (the medieval ruler of Gujarat), is known for its rich past as well as its association with Mahatma Gandhi. The city features a unique style of architecture, which is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles - the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The monuments of Ahmedabad mainly date back to the 15th century. Ahmedabad has been known for its industry since medieval times and is famous for its textile mills - in the past it was referred to as the 'Manchester of the East'.

Later in the day you will be driven to the Law Gardens (one of the best known gardens of Ahmedabad) for a visit to the famous and colourful Law Garden Evening Market. The bustling street market is renowned for its traditional textiles; wall hangings, bandhej sarees, chaniyas (long colourful skirts), as well as other handicrafts such antique jewellery and items made from cane and wood.

For dinner tonight you will have a traditional Gujarati Thali at the award winning rooftop terrace restaurant at your hotel.

Overnight icon Overnight: House Of M G, Ahmedabad

Day 3 - Visit the Calico Museum of Textiles and Pethapur craft village.

In the morning, you will visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, India's premier textile museum. This museum contains one of the world's finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles, all handmade and many up to 500 years old, with hundreds of beautiful pieces displaying incredible virtuosity and opulence. Here you learn about the history of textiles in Gujarat and how Ahmedabad emerged as a textile hub. The museum is housed in two buildings, one displaying textiles of religious significance and the other traditional court fabrics, tents, carpets and costumes.

Lunch will be at a local restaurant in the city, and then in the afternoon you drive for approximately 45 minutes to visit the craft village of Pethapur in Gandhinagar. The village is famous for its beautiful saris and is a hub for wood block makers. These wooden blocks are carved with elegant patterns and then used for hand-printing on cloth. The villagers of Pethapur having been supplying customized wood blocks to centres of block printing all over India (and now worldwide) for at least 200 years.

Overnight icon Overnight: House Of M G, Ahmedabad

Day 4 - Morning visit to Sarkhej K Roza and Jamalpur flower market. Afternoon attend the International Kite Festival.

Your day begins with a vist to Sarkhej Roza - an ancient royal necropolis just a few miles outside of Ahmedabad in the village of Markarba. Dating back to the 15th century it comprises many elegant monuments and tombs surrounding a large lake, or tank. Although timeworn in places there is still much intricate sandstone and marble carving to appreciate especially when the light falls through the beautiful carved screens, or jalis, producing beautiful patterns on the stone floors.

Returning to Ahmedabad you will visit the famous Jamalpur flower market with its extensive displays of fresh flowers - lilies, lotus flowers, roses and marigolds - often concocted into garlands for weddings or temple displays.

In the afternoon you will attend the International Kite Festival which has been hosted in Ahmedabad since 1989. It is a spectacular aerial display showcasing the latest developments in kite flying from around the world alongside traditional kites produced by the most renowned master kite makers. The skies are filled from before dawn till after dusk with a bewildering array of creations in all shapes and sizes and a multitude of bold colours. The kite battles are extremely popular with the locals. The International Kite Festival is part of the wider Gujarati festival of Uttarayan when kites are traditionally flown to mark the days in the Hindu calendar with winter starts to turn to summer. It is a time for family and friends to gather and you will see many children flying their own kites in the streets and on the rooftops of the city.

Overnight icon Overnight: House Of M G, Ahmedabad

Day 5 - Drive to Gondal - 260km/162 miles, 6-7 hours. Visit Navlakha Palace.

Today you will drive to Gondal, a city to the southwest of Ahmedabad which has several interesting palaces. The city was once the capital of a princely state and during this time Gondal was ruled by a family of car enthusiasts whose royal passion resulted in a fine collection of automobiles which are now part of a museum in the palace premises. It was this royal passion that it led to Gondal having the best planned road system in pre-independence Gujarat.

After lunch you will visit the Navlakha Palace, the former palace of the maharajas of Gondal, now converted to a museum. Also known as the Darbargadh, the name Navlakha evidently refers to the cost of this seventeenth century structure, which reputedly cost nine lakhs rupees - a lakh being 100,000 rupees. The palace has fine stone carvings with jharokhas (enclosed balconies), a pillared courtyard, delicately carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase. The large chandelier-lit durbar (court) contains stuffed panthers, gilt wooden furniture, and antique mirrors. The Palace Museum has a display of silver caskets which were used to carry messages and gifts for Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji during his silver jubilee as ruler of Gondal.

Overnight icon Overnight: Orchard Palace Or Similar, Gondal

Day 6 - Visit the Khadi centre in Gondal and screen printing workshop in Jetpur. Visit the local market and the Swaminarayan Temple in Gondal.

This morning you will visit the Khadi centre in Gondal. Khadi is a hand-spun and handwoven fabric made from locally grown cotton silk and you will get the chance to try your hand at the processes involved in its production.

You will then drive to Jetpur, a textile town renowned as one of India's largest centres for block printing, screen printing and dyeing. It is also famous for printed cotton saree production and the town is a major exporter of khanga and kitenge. Jetpur is the go-to place for raw materials for the production of ethnic wear. The air of Jetpur is laden with the smells of dye stuffs, fabrics spill out of large copper vats and translucent layers of coloured fabrics are laid out to dry, while the air resounds to the percussive beat of wooden printing blocks. You may have the opportunity for a hands-on experience of the processes of printing and dyeing.

Returning to Gondal you will take lunch at your hotel before heading out to the local vegetable and spice market - alive with noise and heady aromas. Your final stop of the day is the beautiful Swaminarayan Temple.

Overnight icon Overnight: Orchard Palace Or Similar, Gondal

Day 7 - Drive to Bhuj - 270km/157 miles, approximately 6 hours. Pass the salt flats en route. Visit the Shrujan Museum.

Today you will drive from Gondal to the town of Bhuj. On the way you will pass through the low laying salt marshes and salt pans. The area is also rich in minerals used in tile making and products are exported all over India. On the drive we will pass fields of castor oil plants, stone works and beautiful Jain temples. Along the side of the road we may see the nomadic pastoral Rabari men in their distinctive white clothing herding camels sheep or goats. The women traditionally wear darker garments.

Before reaching Bhuj you will visit the inspiring galleries of the Living and learning Design Centre (LLDC) - a pioneering project of the Shrujan Trust. Shrujan (which means creativity in Sanskrit) is a not-for-profit organization working with craftswomen in Kutch to revitalize the ancient craft of hand embroidery and to allow women to make a living from their craft. These 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.

Arriving in Bhuj you will find an ancient desert town dating back to the 16th century. Despite the catastrophic earthquake of 2001 the old town still maintains some of its medieval character with an atmospheric bazaar, old walls and gateways, ancient palaces and temples. Bhuj is famous as a centre for the historic craftsmanship of the Kutch region, including Bandhani, embroidery, and leatherwork. Artists of nearby villages bring their artwork for sale in 'Bhuj Haat' market. Bhuj is also famous for its regional cuisine and famous Gujarati sweets.

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 8 - Sightseeing in Bhuj. Visit to Khatri bandhani workshop and to A A Wazir’s Textiles Museum shop.

Your sightseeing in Bhuj starts with a visit to the extravagant Aaina Mahal, an 18th century palace, known as the 'Palace of Mirrors' which is one of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India. The Aina Mahal was ornamented with Venetian-style chandeliers, silver objects, clocks, tiles glass and other objects all produced locally. You then continue to see the nearby Prag Mahal Palace, a 19th century palace.

Your morning then moves to the fascinating bandhani workshop run by two brothers Abduljabbar and Abdllah Khatri. Bandhani (tie-dye) fabrics are produced through a laborious process, 500 years old and involving thousands of tiny knots in a piece of folded fabric. The term Bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit verb 'to bind or to tie'. The intricacy of the pattern depends on the skill of the maker, the number of knots and the fineness of the cloth before dyeing. You will see a demonstration of this superb art and a fine selection of cloths traditionally used for wedding saris and dupattas.

After lunch you will visit the textile museum/shop of Mr A. A. Wazir, an award winning artist who has a passion for textiles. The Wazir family has a long established and stunning collection of more than 3,000 pieces, including museum quality historic embroidery, antique quilts, torans, dowry bags, traditional outfits and cattle caparisons, adorned with stitch-work of the Rabari, Jat, Mutava, Meghval, Ahir and Sodha tribes, featuring pieces from Kutch but also from other parts of India and as far afield as Pakistan. About half the items shown here are for sale.

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 9 - Day at leisure.

Today is at leisure for you to relax and unwind or explore some of Bhuj's sights. You may wish to visit one of the local markets or wander down a street and see where it takes you. Perhaps you'd like to take a rickshaw ride or visit the grand and newly opened Smriti Van Memorial Earthquake Museum. Or you may prefer to stretch out on a walk up Bhujia Hill for fabulous views of the surrounding area.

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 10 - Block printing workshop in Ajarakhpur. Drive to Khamir and Bhujodi village.

After breakfast you will head to Ajarakhpur and have the opportunity to participate in a block printing workshop run by Dr Ismael Khatri & Sons. Dr Khatri is the head of a 10 generation block-printing business renowned for its use of bold, geometric designs in indigo. All natural dyes are used in the process from which many different types of textiles are produced including saris, tablecloths and shawls.

You then drive to Khamir, another community which promotes a wide range of the traditional arts and culture of this region. Here you will have demonstrations by local artisans to learn about the techniques practised there. Kala Cotton is indigenous to the region and in this project it is being produced organically and sustainably. After years of experimentation and the perfecting of spinning and weaving techniques, Khamir began producing the first Kala Cotton goods in 2010. In contrast Khamir has also developed an interesting project called 'The Recycled Plastic Initiative'. Providing employment to plastic waste collectors and schools, Khamir cleans, sorts and segregates the used plastic, which is then cut into long strips and woven into durable textiles using traditional looms.

From Khamir you will make the short drive to Bhujodi, an important textile village of Kutch. Bhujodi is home to the nomadic Rabari people who spin and weave in camel hair, local sheep wool 'desi' and kala cotton; and dye with natural dyes such as pomegranate, madder and indigo,

Here we meet Shamji Vankar and his family at their weaving and dyeing complex. A master dyer, Shamji will demonstrate the particularities of dyeing with the indigo from his established vats and explain the processes of making a warp and weaving on the traditional pit looms of the Kutch. Working with both long established methods and continually experimenting with materials and structure, the work here is constantly evolving. There will be opportunity to purchase goods directly from the small shop.

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 11 - Mashroo weaving in south Kutch. Drive to Mandvi to see wooden ship building and spend some time at the beach.

The south of Kutch is home to the techique of mashroo (or mashru) weaving and this morning we will see this process demonstrated. Mashroo textiles were traditionally woven for Muslim communities who believed that silk should not touch a person's skin but still wanted their clothes to have the appearance of pure silk. To achieve this, a textile was created that was cotton on one side and silk on the other. Popular until the 1900's, the traditional practice of mashroo weaving is now a dying craft being kept alive by the Maheshwari family and other weavers of the area. It will be fascinating to see the different parts of the complex processes involved in its production.

You will then head into the town of Mandvi which is set on the bank of a wide tidal estuary, facing the Arabian Sea. Once a large, flourishing port, Mandvi still supports another rare and dwindling craft - dhow building. You can see the traditional wooden boats, or dhows, being hand built alongside the estuary. They are handbuilt from long wooden planks using nails up to 1m long, produced by local blacksmiths. It takes 50 men roughly two years to build each dhow which are mainly used by wealthy Gulf Arabs as pleasure boats or floating casinos.

There is a sandy beach in Mandvi and you will have time at leisure here before driving back to Bhuj, some 60km north.

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 12 - Visit the Great Rann of Kutch and Banni villages.

Today we head north from Bhuj to see the Great Rann of Kutch. This vast salt desert known as the White Rann, is reputedly the largest salt desert in the world. During the monsoon season the Rann is under water but, once the rains dry up, the water evaporates and a striking carpet of white sand is left behind. It's a dramatic and photogenic sight.

En route you travel through the Banni grassland of Gujarat - the largest natural grassland in the Indian subcontinent, known for its rich wildlife and biodiversity. The Banni has a long history of migratory pastoralism going back at least 500 years with links to a broader geographical landscape that in the past included Sindh in Pakistan and even extended into parts of Baluchistan and Afghanistan. The area is important ecologically and is particularly known for its extensive diversity of migratory birds.

The Banni is also of great cultural importance to Gujarat, and the attractive villages showcase the local arts and crafts as well as the ancient architecture of Kutch.

You will also visit Hodka village, home to traditional craftsmen working in leather, where you will have lunch before travelling on to the beautiful Kutch village of Bhirandiyara, another lovely settlement of colourful mud 'bhunjas' with their intricate decorations both inside and outside. Here you will have opportunity for a hands-on experience learning the detailed stitches in the traditional embroidered mirror work. This village is also famous for a delicious sweet made from milk and sugar called Maavo. From Bhirandiyara you return to your hotel

Overnight icon Overnight: Kutch Safari Resort Or Similar, Bhuj

Day 13 - Tana Bana workshop. Stop at Dhaneti village. Drive to Dasada - 255km/158 miles, 5 hours.

Today we make two fascinating visits to extremely skilled artisans before making our way east to Dasada.

The first is to the home of Ramji Maheshwari, a graduate of the Somaiya Kala Vidya Design School. Known as TANA BANA (which means warp and weft) Ramji is an innovative weaver who grows and spins his own organic Kala cotton. He enjoys experimenting with traditional and non-traditional mixes of threads including things like bamboo, linens and silks. He will be happy for you to try your hand on his customary charkha spinning wheel or weave at the traditional pit loom. Many of his high quality items are for sale.

Later you will stop en route at the village of Dhaneti, famous for the exquisite traditional embroidery work created by the local Ahir community, people who are thought to have originally brought their skills from Sindh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is the detailed work of many of these women that is held in the Shrujan collection we visited earlier in the trip.

You then head to Dasada, a village located on the edge of the Little Rann of Kutch, an area of desert, mudflats and salt marshes which is renowned for its abundant and varied wildlife.

Overnight icon Overnight: Rann Riders Or Similar, Dasada

Day 14 - Jeep safari across Little Rann of Kutch. Drive to Ahmedabad - 210km, 5 hours. Visit to Patan Patola Museum and Rani Ki Vav step well en route.

As a contrast to all your textile related activities, today, in the very early morning around 06:00 hours, you will head out on a vehicle safari to the Little Rann of Kutch, an area famous for its rare wildlife and birds. Your safari takes you across the mud flats in search of Gudkhur, endangered wild asses, which are just a little smaller than donkeys and are found only on the Little Rann. The Rann mudflats, which are inundated with water during the rainy season, are an ancient sea bed dotted with small islands, 'bets', which are covered with grass and scrub and support a wide range of birds including flamingos, pelicans, common cranes, ducks and geese as well as animals such as black buck, blue bull, hyenas and of course the Asiatic wild ass.

After your safari you return to the hotel for breakfast, check out and start the return drive to Ahmedabad. En route you will visit the Patan Patola Museum. The textiles of Patan Patola are renowned for their unique gem like qualities, gorgeous colours and lovely designs. These fabulous textiles are woven from silk by master craftsmen, in a process called Double-Ikat, meaning that fabrics have no reverse side, both sides having equal intensity of colour and design. This fine quality production has its origins in an intricate and difficult technique of Bhandani tie-dyeing and knot dying which is performed on the warp and weft separately before weaving. This is a centuries old technique possibly dating back as far as the 11th century and utilizing pure silk and natural dyes.

After lunch in Patan you will continue your journey to Ahmedabad with one final stop at the Rani Ki Vav step well. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest and most impressive step well in Gujarat. Dating back to the early 11th century it was buried under silt for many centuries before being re-discovered and excavated in the 1980s. 28 metres deep, with seven sets of stairs, it is a multi-storied, elaborately carved work of both art and architecture and remains in excellent condition.

Overnight icon Overnight: House Of M G, Ahmedabad

Day 15 - Ahmedabad Heritage Walk. Visit Sabarmati Ashram and paper making factory.

The best way to experience the splendours of Ahmedabad and appreciate its architecture, art and traditions is on foot, so this morning you will take a heritage walk round Ahmedabad, accompanied by a local guide who will explain the historical background and significance of the places you see.

Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 on the ancient site of Ashaval and Karrnvati, and the city has some of the finest monuments and temples in India - Islamic, Hindu and Jain. The carved wooden houses of the city are a unique architectural tradition. A special feature of Ahmedabad is the plan of the old city, which comprises numerous 'pols', traditional self-contained neighbourhoods accommodating whole communities. Some of these 'pols' are virtually small villages, traversed by narrow streets and terminating in a square with community wells and featuring little cul-de-sacs, alleyways and secret passages, as well as the characteristic chabutaras, typical Gujarati tower-like structures for feeding birds, especially pigeons.

Later you will visit Sabarmati Ashram. This ashram was Gandhi's headquarters during the long struggle for Indian Independence. It was founded in 1915 and Gandhi established a school here that focused on manual labour, agriculture, and literacy, with the aim of advancing his efforts for self-sufficiency. It was from here that in 1930 Gandhi launched the famous Dandi march with 78 companions to protest the British Salt Law, which taxed Indian salt to promote sales of British salt in India. Today, the Ashram serves as a source of inspiration and as a monument to Gandhi's life mission. Gandhi's spartan living quarters are preserved as a small museum and there is a pictorial record of the major events in his life. The ashram still makes handicrafts, handmade paper at the Kalam Khush unit close by, which we will visit. Here waste cotton fabric scraps are transformed to create handmade paper and paper products.

Your day ends with a farewell meal at Mirch Masala, Bollywood themed, restaurant.

Overnight icon Overnight: House Of M G, Ahmedabad

Day 16 - Group transfer to airport. Fly to London

Today there will be a group transfer to Ahmedabad Airport for your flight home.

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What’s included

  • Services of Sue Lawty as trip leader
  • Local English-speaking guide and driver to accompany group throughout.
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK and UK departure tax (flight inclusive only).
  • Single, timed group airport transfers for international flights on arrival and departure.
  • Good standard accommodation with meals as indicated in itinerary, on twin share basis
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and visits as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • All road transport by private vehicle
  • A free Mountain Kingdoms Water-to-Go bottle
  • Carbon offsetting with the Ecoan Tree Planting Project (for clients taking our flight inclusive option)
  • Opportunity to join a pre-trip meet in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • India visa fees
  • Lunch on departure day
  • Tips


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Overall score:           (Based on 5 reviews)

Immersive tour of a fascinating place          

Colours of India - what a good description of the holiday that weve just had. And not just colours, but sounds and tastes. I had never been to Gujarat, and what a fascinating place it turned out to be. My interest in joining a tour focusing on textiles was not in making things, as thats not my forte, but in enjoying beautiful things and the workmanship and skills that go into creating them. And the tour exceeded my expectations, with a knowledgable, passionate, energetic and thoughtful leader who was on hand to deal with any problems that arose, an itinerary that could be adjusted to suit prevailing circumstances, an excellent local guide, Pravin Danghera, who gave us insights into many aspects of Gujarati life and helped with everything from menu choices (the food was delicious) to strange beeps in the hotel room, and a calm, careful driver who kept us safe. The vibrant colours and the smiling, friendly local people we met will stay with meas will of course the glorious things that I boughtadded to which are the unforgettable landscapes, the birds, the animals encountered on the road and in the markets, and the wonderful local music played by such talented musicians. The tour was relaxed and never rushed, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the places we visited. There was only one place where we would have liked to linger longer, Rann Riders, had time permitted, but we understood the limitations. Well done, Sue Lawty, and everyone alongside you who made this happen. I hadnt heard of Mountain Kingdoms before this trip but will certainly be keeping an eye on future opportunities.

Gujarat - you can't not go!          

If you love fabrics or sewing you will find heaven in Gujarat. You have the chance to watch fabric being made from scratch; spun, dyed, printed, woven, embroidered and finally worn. Throw the many wonders of India into the mix - exotic food, amazing temples and mosques or tranquil bird watching - and you cant not go!'

Wonderful holiday          

A wonderful couple of weeks with a bit of everything from palaces to safaris, saris to festivals, and top notch artisan crafts. To see the processes from the cotton boll in the field to spinning, weaving, printing, dying, embroidery, etc was amazing. Such skills and lovely people.

Fabulous holiday!          

Fabulous holiday! We saw such a variety of high quality textiles and watched the processes through from the cotton plant, via spinning, weaving, printing and dyeing, to stunning embroidery; all in real villages and towns in a fascinating part of India. The beautiful, gentle people of Gujarat made the trip very special.

Colours of India          

The variety and quality of the textiles we saw far exceeded our expectations.


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