DAY 01 : AHMEDABAD Arrival transfer from Airport to hotel, check in at hotel. Morning Visit Calico Museum with a prior permission from museum authority. Calcico Museum: The museum and the Gallaries are open on all days of the week, except Wednesdays and public holidays. However visits to the Museum and the Galleries shall be limited to the hours given below. Rights of admission to the Museum and the Galleries are reserved by the Management. GUIDED MUSEUM TOUR - MORNING : 10:30 am TO 12:30 pm (NO ENTRY AFTER 11:00 am) Entry restricted to 20 visitors - 10 visitors on first come first basis and 10 by group booking. Tour Organiser-upto 10 members are requested to contact the administration to make & comfirm the arrangement in advance. Location: CHAUK - CALICO TEXTILE MUSEUM Kalamkari, Court Textiles, Trade Textiles, Shawl, Costumes, Embroideries and Tie & Die etc. Location: HAVELI - Textile Techniques an overview Embroidery, Wooden blocks for printing etc. Afternoon - visit Gandhi Ashram, Shreyas Folk & Art Museum, and Institute of Indology. Gandhi Ashram: On a quiet peaceful stretch of the Sabarmati river, Mahatma Gandhi set up a simple retreat in 1915 A.D. This was his Satyagrah Ashram and for many years it was the nerve centre of India’s freedom movement. It was from here, in 1930 A.D that Mahatma began his famous Dandi March to the sea to protest against the Salt Tax imposed by the British. HridayaKunj the simple cottage where he lived is now a national monument and preserved as it was during the Mahatma’s life-time. 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 (3.19 m high). The museum is open from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm on all days except Mondays and public holidays. Photography is not allowed and visitors are charged a modest fee. Institute Of Indology The Institute contains some of the best collections of Jainism, illustrated manuscripts and miniatures. The museum is open from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm on all days except Mondays and public holidays. Photography is not allowed. Evening Market at Law Garden displays beautiful textile handicrafts of Gujarat. Vishalla is a restaurant with traditional Gujarati food in village surroundings. It has Vichar Utensil Museum worth visiting. The museum houses a unique collection of utensils. Overnight AHMEDABAD
DAY 02: AHMEDABAD - ADALAJ STEPWELL - MODHERA - PATAN - DASADA / BAJANA Today morning drive to Dasada / Bajana 97 km enroute visiting Adalaj Step well, Modhera Sun Temple & Patan. Adalaj Step-well Situated 17 km north of Ahmedabad this step well at the village of Adalaj is another fine example of magnificent architectural form. ‘AdalajVav’ is richly carved. Every pillar and wall surface is covered with leaves, flowers, birds, fishes and friezes of ornamental designs. 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 over looking 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 Mahmud of Ghazni. Patan: Home of the famous patola silk saris, Patan is a beautiful old town with Jain temples and carved wooden houses. Rani kivav (step well) is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. The exclusively carved side walls, pillars, beams, series of steps & platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. Every surface is adorned with finely chiselled sculptures of maidens & Hindu deities, religious motifs & geometrical patterns. Drive to Dasada/Bajana for an overnight stay in a hotel.
DAY 03: DASADA / BAJANA - WADHWAN (ABOUT 52 KM) - DASADA / BAJANA Today morning enjoy morning safari to Little Rann Of Kutch. The Little Rann Of Kutch: The highlight of this sanctuary is the Asiatic Wild Ass or ‘Gudkhur’ that is endemic to the region & is one of the most endangered species in the world. Other mammals that could be seen are nilgai, black buck antelope, chinkara gazelle, Indian wolf, Indian desert foxes, jackals & lesser cats. Also is a paradise for bird watchers.The key dryland birds are Mcqueen'shoubara bustard, chestnut bellied & spotted sandgrouse, Indian coursedr, 13 speices of larks & sparrow larks, 5 of quails (including buttonquails), thick-knee, desert warbler, desert & variable wheatear, aquila eagles, short toed snake eagle, six species of falcon & three harriers. Five species of vulture have been recorded. Apart from all these you can hope to see greater & lesser flamingo, three speices of pelican, spoonbill, demoiselle & common cranes and a number of ducks in flocks of several thousand during winters. Post lunch, an excursion to Wadhwan, the historic walled town is centre for bandhni tie & dye weaving and metal crafts. Return to Dasada / Bajana for an overnight stay.
DAY 04: DASADA / BAJANA - BHUJ (222 KM) After breakfast, drive to Bhuj. On Arrival, check in at Hotel and then Proceed DSP office for permit to visit the Banni. (Interior visit of Kutch, which falls under the border and the permit, is necessary for the local tribal village). Evening visit the Bazar and AianaMahal Museum. AainaMahal: It was constucted by Rao Lakhpatji (1707-61 A.D.) in 1750 A.D., who was a great patron of art, architecture, music & literature. Aaina Mahal is a unique example of an Indian palace built in the mid-eighteenth century with European influence. Overnight at Bhuj.
DAY 05: BHUJ Full day excursion to Banni Villages (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. Excursion includes: Anjar (old architecture), Banni ('Bhunga' mud houses, kutchi handicrafts), Kera (11th century Shiva Temple) Return to Bhuj for an overnight stay.
DAY 06: BHUJ - MANDVI (164 KM) Today, after breakfast, drive 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 center 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. For these reasons, this palace has been used as the setting in many Hindi films and has now become a popular tourist destination. 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 it’s 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 AainaMahal of Bhuj, with intricate stone carvings. There is a wind farm on a picturesque beach nearby. Overnight at MANDVI.
DAY 07: MANDVI - GONDAL (165 KM) Today morning drive to Gondal. Gondal: The Riverside palace at Gondal, a govt of India classified heritage hotel and the Orchard Palace in the same town are two mansion guest houses opened as heritage hotels. The interiors of these properties are appointed with period furniture, antiques and artifacts remniscent of the days of the Raj. The highlight of staying at these properties is that guests can see the Royal Garages, housing vintage & classic cars, and the Naulakha Palace, which is a festival of stone carvings & houses royal memorabilia including toys of the late 19th & early 20th century, silver caskets that carried messages & gifts for the Maharajah, elephant howdahs & royal portaits. It has a royal saloon suite, which has its own drawing, dining, bedroom & bathroom in a converted railway carriage. Overnight Gondal.
DAY 08: GONDAL - JUNAGADH (70 KM) - GONDAL After breakfast drive to Junagadh en route visiting Jetpur (31 km) known for its screen & block printing workshops and yarn-dyeing centre. Junagadh is situated in the Saurashtra region at the foot of the temple-studded Mount Girnar, on the northern fringes of the Gir forest. The city takes its name from the fort that enclosed the medieval town. Return to Gondal for an overnight stay.