himalayan saga, treks, jeep safaris and tours to himachal, leh ladakh
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VERSATILE TOUR

Tour Route : AHMEDABAD-LOTHAL -BHAVNAGAR-PALITANA-DIU-SOMNATH-SASANGIR-JUNAGADH-GONDAL-BHUJ-MANDVI-LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH-PATAN-MODHERA-AHMEDABAD
Duration : 13 DAYS/12 NIGHTS

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DAY 01 AHMEDABAD

In morning you will arrival at Ahmedabad airport and meet with our local representative and then transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Gandhi Ashram, SidiSaiyed Mosque, AdalajStepwell and Shreyas Folk & Art Museum.


Gandhi Ashram : Here Gandhi started his struggle in favor of the Untouchables in 1917, when he founded the Sabarmati Ashram, where he lived for about 15 years. Today we are manufacturing spinning wheels, handmade paper and other craft products, unadorned rooms where Gandhi lived turned into a museum.

 SidiSayed Mosque : One part of the wall in the old citadel of the mosque built by Ahmed Shah’s slave, SidiSayed, is celebrated the world over for its exquisite stone window tracery – a superb & peerless example of delicate carving that transforms stone into filigree.

 Adalaj Step-well: It is situated 17kms north of Ahmedabad. The step well at the village of Adalaj is another fine example of this magnificent architectural form. AdalajVav is richly carved, every pillar and wall surface covered with leaves and flowers, birds and fishes and friezes of ornamental designs.

 Shreyas Museum  : Shreyas Folk Museum is an educational museum exhibiting folk arts and crafts of Gujarat. It is located 2.5km west of Sabarmati in the suburbs of Ahmedabad district. As the name suggests, the exhibits at the museum include art, craft, textile and clothing, coins, weapons, toys, costumes, masks, puppets and musical instruments. One of the highlights at this museum is a complete elephant skeleton (3.19m high). Photography is not allowed.

Museum remains open from Tuesday to Saturday: 3:00 to 5:30 pm

Sunday: 10.30 am to 1:30 pm, 3:00 to 5:30 pm.

Museum remains closed on:  Mondays, (weekly holiday)

Nine public holidays: Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtmi, Dashera, Dipawali, New Year, Bhai Beej, Dhuleti, Uttarayan, Mahashivratri and 10 days around Diwali and fifteen days in summer.

 Later we visit the beautiful handicraft market at Law Garden.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 02 AHMEDABAD-LOTHAL (90KMS)-BHAVNAGAR (110KMS)

After breakfast, you will drive to Bhavnagar, en-route visiting Lothal-Indus Valley Civilisation site.

 Lothal: A perfect place to get an insight of the Indus Valley civilization. The most dominating site at Lothal is the massive dockyard spanning an area of 37 meters by 22 meters perhaps the greatest work of Maritime Architecture. Lothal was also famous for its arterial streets, microbes of gold, ivory and coppersmiths’ workshops, potteries and underground sanitary drainage. It is located at a distance of 78 kms from Ahmedabad. (Closed on Fridays).

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 03 BHAVNAGAR-PALITANA (52KMS)-DIU (200KMS)

After breakfast you will drive to Palitana to witness the beautiful cluster of 863 Jain Temples on Shetrunjaya hills.

 Palitana : A 56kms. Drive from Bhavnagar. Palitana lies at the foot of the Shetrunjaya hill, with the Shetrunjaya river flowing to its south. The savred hill rises in a crescendo of magnificent temples – 863 in all – that soar in marble splendour to the top of the hill. The temples were built over an impressive span of 900 years with each generation of pilgrims making its contribution to the shrines of Shetrunjaya. The 600-metre climb to Shetrunjaya is usually made on foot. Dolis or lift-chairs are also available for the ascent.

 Later in the afternoon we drive to Diu.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 04 DIU

After breakfast, you will be taken for visit of Diu Fort, St.Paul’s Church, St.Thomas Church museum, Shell Museum & rest of the day at leisure lazying at the beach.

 St.Paul's church: The Church adorned with curiously treated volutes & shell-like motifs and the magnificient wood carving is considered to be the most elaborate of all the Portuguese churches in India.

 St. Thomas Church Museum: A hunger edifice in gothic architecture was built in 1598. A part of it has been converted into a museum an Archaeological treasure house.

Shell Museum: Shell Museum, one of the shell museums in the world, has a wide personal collection of Caption Fulbari. He was as sailor, who spent most of his life in the region collecting different kinds of sea shells. This museum also features reading materials on the history of shells. It is the first shell museum of Asia.

 Panikotha Fort: This fort is a gigantic structure built in the shape of a ship on 56,736 sq m area, offshore on the Arabian sea. The rulers of Gujarat and Portuguese jointly made this structure to defend Diu against any possible Mughal invasion. Located about one nautical mile from Diu, it houses a small lighthouse and a chapter dedicated to Our Lady of the Sea. The fortress has ancient cells and cellars where the prisoners were locked. This ancient stone fort is now a major tourist destination as it provides an absolutely stunning view of the Arabian Sea. The fort was once connected to the land by an underground tunnel, which is however in ruins now.

 Nagoabeach: The Nagoa beach is exceptionally beautiful & quiet. In the exceptionally beautiful horse-shoe(semicircular) shaped beach.

 Overnight at hotel

 

DAY 05: DIU-SOMNATH (89KMS)-SASANGIR                                                         

After breakfast, you will drive to Sasangir en-route visiting Somnath temple.

 Gir : Is the only place in the world outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in his natural habitat. Gir's bio-diversity rivals any National Park in India. The forest harbours a variety of smaller animals and birds. Other predators are Panther and the Hyena. The Indian Deer, Sambar, Spotted deer, Blue bull, Chinkara and the Chowsingha (four horned antelope) are found here, along with the bear and the long tailed langur.

 Somnath: One of the most revered & an important centre of culture & nationalism. The legendary temple contains a ‘jyotirlinga’. Looted & destroyed, built & rebuilt several times, it represents the eternal beauty & strength of the Indian society. The present splendid structure was rebuilt about five decades ago, at the exact spot where the original shrine was located. The iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was instrumental in the construction of the present temple.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 06: SASANGIR

Today we enjoy safaris at Sasangir.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 07: SASANGIR-JUNAGADH (60KMS)-GONDAL (64KMS)

Today we drive to Gondal en-route visiting Junagadh, where we will be visiting Uparkot Fort, Maqbara & the Junagadh museum.

 Uparkot Fort : Famous in bygone times for its virtual inaccessibility, the Upar Kot or Upper Fort is girdled by a wall that is, in some places, over 20m. high. An ornate entrance gateway leads to the ruins. A mosque still stand in a state of preservation. A Nilamtope (canon)  was acquired by  the Nawab of Junagadh from a Turkish Sultan. There are also two step-wells, Jami Masjid and Buddhist caves in the fort premises.

Maqbara : The mausolea of the Nawabs, the traditional rulers of Junagadh.

 Junagadh Museum : The Junagadh Musuem is located inside the Sakkarbag Zoo. It exhibits unique collections of ancient coins, manuscripts, art furniture, archaeological items, stuffed animals, statues, Persian Sanskrit inscriptions, and etc. People can also see the remnants of Harappan culture that were discovered in Intali, preserved here.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 08: GONDAL-BHUJ (260KMS)

After breakfast you will drive to Bhuj, On arrival check-in into the hotel & later we go for a sightseeing tour of Bhuj visiting Prag Mahal, Aaina Mahal & Kutch Museum.

 Prag Mahal was constructed by Rao Pragmalji II (1838-76 AD). Rao Pragmalji appointed a famous architect, Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins to design Prag Mahal, who had earlier designed Deccan College, Sasoon Hospital, Ohel David Synagogue. Prag Mahal took about 10 years to get built at the cost of 20 lakh rupees.

 Aaina Mahal Palace: Aina Mahal Palace was built by Rao Lakhpatji in 1750 AD. Aina Mahal is a part of a large palace complex. It is a two storey building with Darbar Hall, hall of mirrors, and suites for royal family. In the 18th century, the Rao Lakhpatji sent a local craftsman Ramsingh Malam to Europe to perfect his skills in glassmaking, enamelling, tile making and iron founding. After he returned back, he constructed the Aina Mahal with the hall of mirrors of Venetian glass. The Hall of mirror has white marble walls which are covered with mirrors and gilded ornaments and the floor is lined with tiles. The design and decoration of the Aina Mahal was due to the efficiency of Ramsingh Malam. The platform above the floor is surrounded by a series of fountains operated by an elaborated system of pumps below a Venetian chandelier. Aina Mahal is a unique example of an Indian palace built in the mid-eighteenth century with European influence. Aaina Mahal remains closed on Thursdays & public holidays. ( Remain Closed on Thursday & National Holidays )

 The Kutch Museum: Formerly known as the Fergusson Museum, was founded by Maharao Khengarji III in 1877 AD. Its the oldest museum in Gujarat. Constructed in the Italian style, the museum is located in picturesque surroundings on the bank of Hamirsar Lake. The museum has been a center of attraction for scholars due to its large collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, curious archaeoligical objects, fine collection of arms & specimens of  various crafts of Kutch region. Other places of interest at Bhuj are- Cenotaphs of Kutch rulers, Snake Temple at Bhujiyo Hill Fort, Swaminarayan temple, Vegetable market, Hatkeshwar temple & Alfred High School

( Remain Closed on Wednesday & 02ND, 04TH Saturday )

 Overnight at hotel

 

DAY 09: BHUJ 


After breakfast visit to Banni Villages (North Bhuj) - you are suggested to carry packed lunch. Amidst the Desert land of infinite dimensions, are suspended, quaint little villages. These are the last villages on the India-Pakistan border. Here you will come across master craft people' exposing their traditional art, turning our master pieces every day. Their ornaments, clothes, utensils, everything they use - will make you feel as if you have stepped into lifestyle museum leaving you spellbound. Later visit to visit to Rann of Kutch. Return to Bhuj for an Overnight at hotel.

 Also visit white Rann of Kutch.

 Overnight at hotel

 

DAY 10: BHUJ-MANDVI (62KMS)-BHUJ

After breakfast you will taken for an excursion to Mandvi

 Mandvi is located on the banks of the Rukmavati River, barely a km from the Arabian Sea at the Gulf of Kutch. The town has a very pleasant climate throughout the year and was a summer retreat of the Kutch Maharaos. The centre of attraction at Mandvi is the Vijay Vilas Palace, a royal abode set in the middle of well-laid gardens with water channels and marble fountains. The architect and craftsmen from Jaipur designed and constructed the palace in 1920 AD. The palace has all the elements of Rajput architecture and draws largely on the plan of palaces of Orchha and Datia. The central high dome on the pillars, the Bengal domes on sides, the windows with coloured glass, carved stone jails, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisitely stone carved elements, make the palace worth visiting. It owns a private beach, maintained in an eco-friendly manner to preserve its pristine beauty. This is an example of the traditional skill of craftsmen of early 20th century.

Visit Ship building yard. On the banks of the Rukmavati River, just south of the bridge, you can visit the still-active shipbuilding yard. Craftsmen still assemble ships out of wood, for local or international clients, and you can feel free to watch them work. If you have never seen handmade boats being built, it will make you truly appreciate craftsmanship--the process is long and elaborate and shoddy workmanship means risking sailors' lives. Boards must be painstakingly crafted, planed and fitted by hand, for a watertight fit along the long curves of the hull line. You will likely encounter legions of craftsmen working hard amidst giant piles of sawdust. Also, because of the shipbuilding industry, there is a heavy timber trade in Mandvi.

Mandvi has some very beautiful houses belonging to rich merchants. Their architectural style reflects the fusion of Indian & European styles of architecture. The Swaminarayan temple is also one such example with its brightly painted exterior and elaborate plaster decorations.Other interesting buildings are a girls’ high school (a former palace) built by Rao Lakhpat (1741-60 AD) and a light house. This old palace is a replica of the Aaina Mahal of Bhuj, with intricate stone carvings. There is a wind farm on a picturesque beach nearby.

 Overnight at hotel

 

DAY 11: BHUJ-LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH (280KMS)


Today we drive to Bhuj enroute visiting Ajrakhpur & Bhujodi.

  Ajrakhpur is a new village established by the traditional Muslim Khatri hand block printers after the earth quake that struck in 2001. This is a craft village where you will find artisans practicing traditional hand block printing in the resist technique on cotton/silk fabrics using the age old Ajrakh prints as well as new design motifs. Visit Ismail Khatri, a master artisan who has been awarded an honorary ph.D. Degree by De Montfort University for his knowledge of natural dye practices. You can also visit a number of block printing units like that of Abdul Rahim, Abdul Gani Hasam, Abdul Raheman Buddha, and Adam.

 Bhujodi : Nestled away in Bhujodi is a community of master artisans versed in traditional handloom weaving. You can see live demonstrations and buy hand woven products such as woolen and cotton stoles, shawls, blankets, carpets, bed and table linens directly from the weavers as you walk through the village and explore each household. Famous among the weavers are Vankar Vishram Valji and Vankar Nanji Bhimji, national award winners. The village is also home to a vibrant Nanji Bhimji, national award winners. The village is also home to a vibrant Rabari community that embroiders beautiful motifs and mirror work on the shawls made by the weavers. Their houses display traditional mud work and are well worth a visit. About a kilometer behind Bhujodi is the Hiralaxmi Crafts Park, a non-profit venture by the Ashapura Group of Companies to give artisans across Kachchh an open platform to display their skills and sell their products. The quality of products varies. On weekends, the park also organizes music and dance performances.

Shrujan situated past Bhujodi on Gandhidham Road, is a non-profit organization that was established in 1968 after a serious drought. It works to supplement the income of rural women through their embroidery skills and by marketing their products. In addition to a store, Shrujan also houses a design center, manufacturing unit and a fine collection of embroidery. Take a tour of the campus, built with traditional and environmentally-conscious methods. To learn more about the organization.

 Overnight at hotel

 DAY 12: LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH-PATAN (70KMS)-MODHERA (38KMS)-AHMEDABAD (103KMS)

Patan : India has the rich & ancient heritage in fine textiles. (Double Ikat ) Patola from the area of Patan with its unique gem like qualities, gorgeous colors, designs & durability. Its very appearance lures the connoisseur of fine textiles. It has no reverse side. Both the sides have equal intensity of colour and design.

 The peculiar 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.

 The Patola was traditionally woven in a sari length of 5 to 9 yards by 45” to 54” width.

The range now extends to include tablecloth border, scarves, handkerchiefs.

Design Elements : Essentially the design in a Patola are based on traditional motifs called “Bhat”, These designs  include “narikunj”, “pan”, “phulwadi”, “chowkdi”, “raas”, “chhabdi”, “chokha”, “navratna”, “panchphool”, “sarvariya”, “laheriya” etc.

Flowers, animals, birds & human figures form the basic designs. New geometrical designs using vegetable dyes were developed and displayed at the Festival of India held in Paris, London, Tokyo, Washington and Moscow.

Rani-ki-Vav - Patan : On the banks of the Saraswati river, was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture. Rani-ki-vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality, more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank 9.5m by 9.4m, at a depth of 23m. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft 10m in diameter and 30m deep.

 Modhera: The Sun temple of Modhera is one of the finest examples of Indian architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D. the temple is dedicated to the Sun-God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. Sun Temple of Modhera was built by King Bhimdev I (1026-27) and bears some resemblance to the later, and far better known, Sun Temple of Konark in the state of Orissa, which it predates by some 200 years. Like that temple, it was designed so that the dawn sun shone on the image of Surya, the sun God, at the time of the equinoxes. The main hall and shrine are reached through a pillared porch and the temple exterior is intricately and delicately carved. As with the temple of Somnath, this fine temple was ruined by Mahumad of Ghazni.

 Overnight at hotel

 

DAY 13: DEPARTURE FROM AHMEDABAD


In time transfer to Ahmadabad airport to board the flight for Onward Destination.  

 

************************************TOUR END****************************************

 

 

 

 


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