Embroidered Textile Treasures of Gujarat – October 2018

The Jewel of Western India

From: 10th October, 2018

To: 24th October, 2018

Holidays from £2,650.00

Choose your flights and room type below to get the bespoke price for your holiday.
You will only pay a £1,000 deposit today with the balance due 3 months prior to departure.
If you would like to talk to somebody about this trip then please feel free to give us a call on 0203 362 4114. Terms & Conditions are available here.

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From: 10th October, 2018
To: 24th October, 2018

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Highlights

Embroidered Textile Treasures of Gujarat

11 Nights/12 Days

London ~ Ahmedabad ~ Gondal ~ Bhuj ~ Morvi ~ Dasada ~ Patan ~ Ahmedabad ~ London


This embroidery holiday will focus on block printing, embroidery (in particular, shisha) and tribal ladies – the group size is restricted to 14 guests due to the remote location of the tour and nature of workshops which will be taught in rural settings. Gautham will be our guide – he is very popular with our guests as he specialises in textiles and he comes from this region so has a unique inside knowledge.

Indian textile can be rightly termed as a combination of the social structure of India. India is extremely famous for its rich and diverse textile tradition. India gives you the opportunity to feel the rich weave of its textile which showcases India as a land of mystique and wisdom. The western region of India is extremely rich in its culture and traditions that have a very ancient history especially with embroidery and shisha Indian mirrors


Highlights of the Tour:

The most fabulous textile tour around Rajasthan, exploring the textiles, embroidery and block printing unique to this region. We will be travelling in our own private coach to the edge of the Thar Desert and on the way visiting beautiful palaces, fabulous fabrics and visiting the amazing Udaipur.


Colouricious are proud to bring you a very special trip for textile and handicraft lovers. Getting off the beaten tourist trail for this exploration of the real and old India, the one rich with traditions and artisans. Gujarat is an area which many years ago attracted migrants from many other places around due to its location. Bringing with them their expertise in block printing, weaving, dyeing and embroidery, this area is the place to visit if you have an interest in witnessing, first hand, how these techniques are still practiced.

During your Colouricious trip you will find that we have packed full a schedule for you of visits to villages and makers, museums and heritage walks. We have found examples of many different types of block printing, shown to you by the expert artisans who have been honing their art for many generations.

Gujarat is considered to be the jewel of western India, missed by many visitors to the continent, the villages and countryside holds the state’s treasures. We have arranged that you will be expertly guided around this vibrant area which is just bursting with producers of the country’s finest textiles.

On our tour you will be experiencing a variety of places, from Gondal a small leafy town to Patan, the ex capital, a dusty town with elaborate wooden houses and famed for its silk texties.

With much of India now becoming westernised you will find here an opportunity to see it how it was before technology. However, this area is very much on the up, with the renewed interest of buying heirloom pieces, appreciation of the hand made and the sustainability of products made with naturally and locally grown plants, Gujarat is the place to go for those who have an interest in history and tradition.

Details

Day 1

  • Arrive Ahmedabad. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
  • Morning is at leisure
  • Lunch will be at your hotel.
  • After Lunch, workshop on Hand block printing and Kalamkari with a community called Wagri.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Ahmedabad. 

Day 2

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Morning heritage walk of Old Ahmedabad.
  • Late morning, visit Calico Textile Museum.
  • Lunch will be arranged at local restaurant.
  • Afternoon is at leisure to enjoy independent activities.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Ahmedabad.

Day 3

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Drive Ahmedabad – village [150 Kms: 3.5 Hrs].
  • Visit village to watch weavers at work and see single Ikat patola saree and another weaving called Tangaleya.
  • Lunch will be arranged at Old Bell Guest House on direct payment basis
  • Later, drive Sayla Village – Gondal [150 Kms: 3 Hrs].
  • Arrive Gondal and visit Naulakha palace (Vintage car collection) transfer to your hotel.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Gondal. 

Day 4

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Drive Gondal – Jetpur [40 Kms: 1.5 Hrs] and continue drive to Bhuj
  • Visit screen and block printing.
  • Lunch will be on direct payment basis at local restaurant [Vegetarian meals only]
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Bhuj. 

Day 5

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Participate in Ajrakh block printing at village Dhamadka.
  • Light Lunch will be arrange during workshop
  • Visit village to see the weavers weaving shawls and also visit organization called Shrujan.
  • Later drive back to Bhuj and visit house of Mr AA Wazir.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Bhuj.

Day 6

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Day excursion to Ajrakhpur village [25 Kms: 1 Hr] visit the new LLDC Museum (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays) then return back to Bhuj
  • Rest of the day at leisure.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Bhuj. 

Day 7

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Day excursion to Mandvi [60 Kms: 1.5 Hrs] which is a tie-and-dye centre and visit villages near Mandvi known for picturesque houses called Bhungas and Batik embroidery.
  • Later, drive back to Bhuj.
  • Participate in Batik workshop with a community for handicraft.
  • Lunch will be arranged at local restaurant – Mandavi Beach Resort
  • Stay overnight at Hotel Kutch wilderness camp

Day 8

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Day excursion to Banni Villages [100 Kms: 3 hrs per way]
  • Visit Nirona, Sumrasar, Khavda, Bhirandiyara, Hodka & Dhorado village famous for Rabari, Ahir, Bavalia, Sindhi embroidery etc.
  • Lunch will be organised at Hotel Sham-e-Sarahad at Hodka on direct payment basis
  • Stay overnight at Hotel Kutch wilderness. 

Day 9

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • Drive to Dasada [280 Kms: 6 Hrs] enroute visiting village for Ahir embroidery.
  • Upon arrival transfer to your hotel.
  • Day is at leisure to enjoy Independent activities.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel Dasada. 

Day 10

  • Breakfast is at the Hotel.
  • AM: visit Dasada weavers and other artisans famous for Rabari embroidery.
  • PM: is at leisure to enjoy independent activities.
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Dasada.                                      

Day 11

  • Breakfast is at hotel.
  • Drive Dasada – Patan [80 Kms:2 Hrs]
  • Visit Patan town famous for its Patola silk saris.
  • Later drive Patan – Ahmedabad [130 Kms: 3 Hrs]
  • Stay overnight at Hotel in Ahmedabad.

Day 12

  • Breakfast is at hotel.
  • Today, at an appropriate time, you will be transferred to Ahmedabad airport to connect with your flight back home.

T&C's

Please read these booking conditions carefully as they form the basis of your contract with Colouricious Ltd Holidays. Once you secure your reservation with payment of a deposit or the full amount, we enter into a contract. We assume that you, and any other person on your booking form, or subsequently added to your booking form, have read these Terms & Conditions and agree to them. 

  • The holiday will include accommodation and meals as described on the website at the time of booking.
  • Any flight and transfers details when not available at the time of booking, will be confirmed as soon as available.
  • All tours and visits as described on the website at the time of booking.
  • Travel arrangements are planned many months in advance and it may, very occasionally, be necessary to make changes to, or cancel completely parts of the itinerary. Therefore we reserve the right to make changes after we have entered into this contract.
  • Although your confirmation and subsequent invoices may show the latest flight timings, these are subject to change at the will of the airline.  We will inform you of any flight changes at the earliest opportunity. We do not take any responsibility for flight changes outside our control.  When a change is a significant change (such as an alteration to your flight time by more than 12 hours, or a change to a lower standard of accommodation for the whole or a major part of your holiday), we will advise you as soon as is reasonably possible. You may then either accept the change, or take an alternative holiday (paying or receiving a refund / credit in respect of any price difference), or withdraw and accept a full refund.
  • If your tour director is, for whatever reason, unable to travel with your party, we reserve the right to provide a replacement of similar professional expertise or a local professional guide. This will not be a significant change.
  • If you book your own flights you should be aware that the land only component of your holiday may not be ATOL protected. Colouricious Ltd will not take responsibility for any problems, delays or expense you encounter with your own travel arrangements. Colouricious Ltd will not take responsibility for any failure by you to arrive at the destination and agreed meeting point in time to join the tour.

Your Host

  • If your tour director/guest artist/host is, for whatever reason, unable to travel with your party, we reserve the right to provide a replacement of similar professional expertise or a local professional guide. This will not be a significant change & the holiday will proceed.

Reservation & Payment

  • We have an online booking system, however we are pleased to receive enquires via telephone, email or post. When you reserve your place on one of our holidays, you will be asked for payment of a deposit   Payments can be made by credit/debit card online or on the telephone by direct bank transfer or by cheque.
  • The balance must be paid at least 12 weeks prior to departure. If you are booking less than 12 weeks prior to departure the full amount is payable. If the monies are not paid in time, we reserve the right to cancel your holiday and apply the cancellation conditions as set out in clause 7 below.

Deposit

  • We have a deposit of £1,000 to cover the cost of booking a flight & reserving accommodation. We book our flights as early as possible to enable us to offer a competitive package.  In common with most tour operators we do not offer a monthly payment system.  We have a reputable agent in India, our holidays run with and without a UK representative.   All our package holidays are guaranteed by the Civil Aviation Authority administered ATOL scheme. Our ATOL Licence No. 10830

Surcharges

  • We reserve the right to increase our prices at any time, if costs rise due to unforeseen events such as government action, currency movements, or if fuel costs increase or other unexpected price rises occur of which we were unaware at the time of booking.
  • Any increase in price will be limited to the net cost to Colouricious Ltd.

Cancellation

  • In the event you wish to cancel your holiday you must inform Colouricious Ltd in writing immediately. Cancellation periods are calculated from the date Colouricious Ltd receive your written notification.
  • Cancellation Charges
10 weeks or more          50% of total holiday cost
   6 – 10 weeks                  75% of total holiday cost
Less than 6 weeks         100% of total holiday cost
NB: In addition to the above you may have to forfeit 100% of any flight cost
  • It may be that it is possible to transfer your holiday to another Colouricious Holiday. In additional to any price differential & ticketing costs, an admin fee of £50.00 per person will be charged.
  • Colouricious Ltd requires a minimum number of guests for us to operate a holiday. In the unlikely event that we cancel a tour for this or any other reason, we will notify you at the earliest opportunity
  • If we do have to cancel your holiday for any reason, before the date of departure, you will have the choice of taking an alternative holiday (paying, or receiving a refund, in respect of any price difference) or accepting a full refund of all monies paid to us.
  • We cannot be held responsible for any additional services or products which you purchase outside the terms of our itinerary or our brochure or website. Please note this includes any flight costs for flights that were not booked for you by Colouricious Holidays. If you are flying independently of Colouricious, do not book your flights until we have confirmed that the holiday will operate.

Insurance.

  • It is a requirement that all clients have suitable travel insurance.
  • You must provide us with the name of your insurers, the policy number and emergency contact number before you travel. Colouricious Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
  • You are responsible for repaying in full any losses or expenses incurred by Colouricious Ltd arising out of your failure to take out adequate insurance cover

VISA, Passport & other documentation

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation to complete your journey. Be aware that some countries require a passport to be valid for 3-6 months after your holiday. Whatever your nationality you should check with your relevant embassy for visa and other requirements.
  • Colouricious Ltd will not be responsible for any visa or other immigration matter, nor any costs incurred as a result of such matter.
  • We require full passport details no later than 4 weeks prior to departure for airline bookings.
  • The names that appear on your booking form MUST be the same as the names in your passport. If the names on the booking form is not the same as on your passport you will be responsible for any costs incurred.

Health & Accessibility

  • It should be noted that many of our itineraries include visits to less economically developed countries and that the general levels of comfort and services in some destinations are lower than would be found in the UK and the EU. In particular pavement and road surfaces can be broken and uneven.
  • The dust, heat and exhaust in big cities of LEDC’s may occasionally be troublesome for people with breathing issues. Be assured that providing you are reasonably healthy you will be able to take part in any of our holidays.
  • If you have any special needs or medical condition that you consider (or some other person may reasonably consider) may impinge on your participation of the holiday, you must inform us at the time of booking so that we can advise you on the suitability of the holiday. We will strive to include everyone in every part of our holidays but in visiting LEDC”s some of the sites that we visit or stay, are not necessarily equipped for wheelchair access or other special needs.
  • Dietary requirements should be advised at the time of booking.

Your Financial Protection

  • When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.”
  • “We, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL Certificate, will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where neither we nor the supplier are able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable).”
  • “If we, or the suppliers identified on your ATOL certificate, are unable to provide the services listed (or a suitable alternative, through an alternative ATOL holder or otherwise) for reasons of insolvency, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust may make a payment to (or confer a benefit on) you under the ATOL scheme. You agree that in return for such a payment or benefit you assign absolutely to those Trustees any claims which you have or may have arising out of or relating to the non-provision of the services, including any claim against us, the travel agent (or your credit card issuer where applicable). You also agree that any such claims may be re-assigned to another body, if that other body has paid sums you have claimed under the ATOL scheme.”

Colouricious Ltd

  • Colouricious will always strive to act in the best interest of the client to ensure the best holiday experience possible. It is essential that any complaints and or problems are notified to us at the time so that the matter may be addressed at the earliest opportunity.
  • If your tour leader is unable to resolve the problem to your satisfaction, you should write to colouricious@me.com at the time. Colouricious will do our best to investigate and resolve the matter as soon as practicable.
  • All matters arising from your contract with Colouricious Ltd are governed by English law and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Court.

Booking

Online Booking & Payment Terms

Please book your holiday online – the booking form is found at the top of this page. Once you have submitted your booking form and made your payment, you will be sent a confirmation note and if appropriate an ATOL certificate.

Upgrading your flight?

If you are considering upgrading your flight we will be pleased to assist. Please call us on 0203 362 4114 or email us at bookings@colouricious.com at the time of booking for a quote.

Not coming from the UK?

Then it makes sense for you make your own way to Jaipur and meet us there.
Simply email us at bookings@colouricious.com and we will send you the details.
Book your own flight and pay the land only price without flight

Don’t want to book online?

If you do not wish to book your holiday online, then please contact us on 0203 362 4114 or email us at bookings@colouricious.com and we will arrange it all for you and advise you of the ways you can make your deposit payment.

Testimonials

From Carole B

There were many highlights on the trip –
The people that we met.
The heritage walk of old Ahmedabad.
Ajrakh block printing (I am proud of the lovely double block print piece I made).
The house of Mr AA Wazir.
LLDC Museum was brilliant, and I would have loved to stay longer. (By comparison the
visit to the Calico museum was disappointing because we didn’t get the opportunity to
see very much).
Batik workshop.
Paddling in the Arabian Sea at Mandavi Beach resort and in the salt water at the Great
Rann of Kutch.
Evening visit to Mr Alli Mohamad Isha. A very humble man and his family producing
wonderful tie dye work.
The day spent exploring the Banni villages.
The wonderful embroidery and weaving communities.
Simply sitting on the bus observing rural India and the lives of its people.
My favourite hotel was Rann Riders at Dasada.
I came home having had a great holiday full of wonderful memories.

TEXTILE TOUR OF GUJERAT NOVEMBER 2017

 

From Irene: – Well, Jamie, you asked for detailed comments on the holiday so that is what I will try to provide but, very simply, it was an amazing experience and far exceeded my expectations. I am very grateful to Colouricious Holidays for organising it and to Gautam for all his care and attention throughout the whole holiday. The other people in the group were great fun and I have started friendships that I hope will continue and grow.

Flights We had a very generous luggage allowance and I am just sorry that I didn’t take full advantage of it on the way home, but a good excuse to go again? The flights were all on time and everything went smoothly although the refreshments on the outward journey were very poor – but an excellent G & T compensated. Even more so, in hindsight, as I hadn’t realised that Gujarat is a “dry” state.

Accommodation

It was obvious from the itinerary that you had provided a range of accommodation for us and this was, indeed the case. All the accommodation was spacious with comfortable beds, but there was so much variety to enjoy. The showers, electricity and WIFI may have been much better in the city hotels but who could complain about the odd power failure when you could stand on your balcony in the early morning light watching flocks of green parakeets fly over a lake, and in the company of a friendly gecko? As ever, in India, the staff in all the hotels were fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and it was a delight to be served by such gracious people. If there were any wrinkles, Gautam sorted them out immediately.

Food I love Indian food, particularly vegetarian dishes so I was in seventh heaven but I think other members of the group, who were perhaps not quite as keen as I was, were very happy with the range of food we had. I loved the variety of places we visited to eat and overall the quality of the meals was excellent. The meal on the beach was disappointing – it was bland and cold – but I collected shells on the beach overlooking the Arabian Sea so I am not complaining. The only other disappointment, lunch at the palace, faded into insignificance because of the wonderful surroundings and the fact that I found a cobra in the garden!

Museums I was really looking forward to the visit to the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad but it turned out to be, for me, the only “non-event” of the holiday. It is the only time I have ever felt unwelcome in India. The guide followed her own agenda and seemed unconcerned about the needs of the group.  Her English was difficult to follow, particularly as she spoke very quickly. There was no opportunity to ask questions and she did not wait for all of the group to catch up before starting on her next set piece. After a while, I gave up and decided to just wander around on my own but I found the organisation of the fabrics unsympathetic (everything is encased in plastic and appears dead) and the proximity of guards in uniform and unsmiling staff following me quite daunting. This is the only bit of the holiday that I would opt out of, if I were to return.

In contrast, the Srujan Museum was wonderful. It is light, bright, inviting with a treasury of exhibits and masses of information. The staff were incredibly informative and friendly. Unfortunately, the visit is limited to an hour. I could have happily stayed all day – with another day in the shop.

The embroideries, the people, the villages

I don’t have enough words like, “superb”, “superlative”, “life-changing” to describe this. The opportunities Gautam provided were endless and repeatedly demonstrated his knowledge of and his love for Gujarat. Whether it was walking across fields to meet a nomadic Rabari family and see their clothes, animals, etc., bartering Laurence’s left over lunch for peanuts freshly dug from the ground, cuddling a one week old baby boy at his mother’s invitation or sitting sewing on a mud floor with an expert embroiderer as a tutor, every day unveiled another aspect of a different way of life with different values and principles.

I loved, loved, loved this holiday. My mind is still full of the images and experiences. I am continuing to learn more about the fascinating history and culture and I am practising my Gujarati embroidery every day. Thank you.

From Alison

Needless to say the Colouricious Gujurat Trip was spectacular.  People keep asking me if it measured up to my previous trip where we block printed in Jaipur.  I can only say it was even better than that trip in that we travelled so extensively (3,000km) and saw such a variety of embroidery and weaving.
 Gautam was the most wonderful guide.  What I loved was that he was so flexible and if nomads were on the horizon he made sure the bus would stop so we could photograph them.  He was also most gracious at pee-stops , standing at the bottom of the coach steps with a box of tissues.
As a group we all got on well (only a few miaows) and at the start Gautam said “let’s be a family”.  So at the end, when we had farewell thank yous someone mentioned sibling rivalry and we all chuckled.    We all agreed that Gautam had been a great Dad! We had many laughs.
So, they ask, what is it about Colouricious Holidays that makes a trip to India special.  The answer  is the privilege to visit off-the-beaten-path villages and workshops way off the horrendous tourist trail.  Sometimes it takes a bit of journey to get there but always it’s worthwhile.  Even amazing! Thank you Jamie for such an opportunity.

From Christine
The holiday was my first visit to India and was beyond my greatest expectation, it was wonderful.
Gautham was amazing, he know so much about Gujarat, it’s geography, religion, history, politics and textiles, and he always told us enough and not too much.
Whenever he saw something of interest during the coach journeys he stopped so we could get out and have a good look. Twice he saw Rubaris with their camels and furniture on the move along the motorways. He once travelled with them for a week and knows their ways, he asked if we could take pictures and they seemed happy to oblige. One woman carried her baby in a tin basin on her head.
He provided us with kitkats, crisps, water, oranges, wet wipes, tissues, postcards, medicines, and antiseptic spray on the coach. He showed us maps so we know where we were going, helped us at ATMs, found us toilets, clean places to stop for tea and coffee, told us what rupees were worth in pounds stirling and gave us choices on where to eat at lunch.
I asked him to show me a peepul tree and four days later he had remembered and took me to see one.
The  workshops and museums were all fascinating and so many of them. We also saw the edge of the Rann of Kutch which I have wanted to see since I was a child, with the mysterious salt flats.
The hotels were all excellent, the food and service the same. Four of us had lunch in a posh hotel where the  thalis were huge and seven waiters in traditional dress  kept trying to give us more, and all for about £4. The coach was comfortable and cool.
The coach rides were very long but it was worth putting up with that in order to see the places and people we saw, so that is not really a negative!

From Flora Bellabobs

What a wonderful trip. We approached this journey not really knowing what to expect and for me it turned out to be almost as if I had unknowingly prepared a wish list and yes everything and much much more was on it. Our hotel in Ahmedabad was superb and the staff were very kind and helpful. We were astounded by the skill exhibited by the Wagri printers some as young as 8 years old. It was exciting to try our hands at this very different form of printing simply dipping a pointed wooden stick into dye and drawing with it.

A visit to a Hindu temple almost had me in tears the beauty, tranquillity [although we were surrounded by many many worshipers] devotion, colour and architecture. I saw two young ladies kneeling on the marble lost in their prayers and lying between them was a tiny baby waving his hands in time to the chimes. Gautam was terrific and gave us loads of information not only based on the Hindu religion but also covered the amazing architecture and the history of the temple.

While walking through Old Ahmedabad we saw workers coating kite strings with powdered glass  fascinating and Gautam told us about the kite festivals. The secret passageways lead us passed wonderful architecture round every corner we were presented with amazing photo opportunities. I loved the bird houses just like so many mini coloured palaces in the sky.

All of life could be glimpsed on the streets and pavements and everyone was happy to see us and allow us to photograph them from the ladies washing the days clothes to the shop keepers setting up there stalls.

We visited a step well so carved that it looked just like lace and once again the local visitors encouraged us to take their photos and in return they liked to be photographed with us.

The Ikat patola saree and Tangaleya weaving was magical. To be able to design a pattern in advance by first of all dying the very fine thread astounded us. Also to see entire family members being able to have an active part in the fabric production was pleasing.

Everywhere we went we met artisans of the highest calibre all were national and in many cases international award winners and so modest and willing to share their knowledge and skills.

Our stop at the Old Bell Guest House for lunch was my first meeting with an Indian prince. As there was a mini power cut just as we were about to sit down to lunch he quickly pulled out his mobile phone lit the table and got down to the business of serving us lunch. I could quickly get used to this way of life!

The building was quite romantic as were the surrounding gardens and I would happily have spent a week there. Oh and I saw my first cobra.

Our next stop was a visit to a workshop where rugs and mats were woven from strips of recycled fabrics. Yet more purchases for the suitcase. I would love to come back here with an empty bag. Nothing on this trip is ever wasted it makes us stop and revalue our casual way of life. In this instance the weavers were men but outside we saw the real work being done. Two ladies in wonderful sarees were wielding a large pickaxe as they undertook the construction of a soakaway.

On route to Bhuj we saw dyed fabrics covering the fields a rainbow on the ground. The two long bus journeys turned out to be yet another highlight for me and this was all down to Gautam. The amount of knowledge and imparted information was phenomenal. We learned about the crops in the adjacent fields, the use of the produce, temples to industrial buildings were discussed but best of all was Gautam’s surprise stops. We disembarked in order to meet and photograph several different Rabari tribes and what a treat. Not only were there clothes and fabrics amazing but the loaded camels all dressed in their finery also held some surprises. The little pillowcase like bundles slung along the camel sides with the tiny on board new born baby lambs and goats. The smiling youngest children riding on top like little maharajas camera heaven. At one point Gautam dived out of the bus followed closely by Kamlesh and raced into a field. We were at a loss to work out why he would want to speak to a tractor driver. They returned with a small bag of recently harvested peanuts. This in turn lead into a discussion of the various oils used in local cooking.

Another stop was to feed greenery to the mass of cattle gathering in huge pens we were gathering blessings. The cows had lovely necklaces and many had painted horns.

In Dhamadka we tried our hand at block printing and watched a master craftsman print a bespoke saree for a wedding.

The visit to Mr Wazir’s was yet another highpoint on the tour. His collection of fabrics and costume was indeed worthy of a dedicated museum. It was sad that he had not been able to achieve this as yet but he assured us that he had plans and we were all invited back to visit.

The batik in Mandvi produced lots of lovely work the hardest part being our ‘elderly’ efforts to sit on the ground and get our legs under the low tables. Once again we were surrounded by attentive and very helpful artist who were delighted to help us. I had never seen batik carried out with brushes and wooden sticks and just loved the result. We are going to try this out at home so watch this space Jamie.

On route to Mandavi Beach Resort we stopped at a boat builders yard. Towering skeletons of solid teak held together with iron foot long nails!

The tie dying in many layers was exciting especially when the Master tore the material open to reveal the entire design. No way could we manage to tie the tiny pinpricks of cloth but our more robust efforts produced some lovely fabric. I am going to make a scarf with mine

I loved the Wilderness Camp and again could have spent many days here and likewise Hotel Dasada. To me it felt as though I was really in touch with India. We bought fabrics in the villages and little bells at the blacksmith and lacquer work at another stop. Fabric dolls, jewellery etc at a Rabari home where everyone seemed to be my sister.

People were so welcoming into their homes and we all got shoe removal down to a fine art

The Rabari peoples and their art really fascinated me and I would love to learn more about them so who knows perhaps another trip needs consideration.

We took a jeep safari trip out onto the salt dessert to see the water birds but we were also able to get close to a small herd of wild ass. Our driver took us far out over the salt to visit with a salt worker and his wife. Beautifully turned out in a red and gold saree not expecting visitors she produced small cups of delicious black tea for us.

Jamie I have only touched on our amazing experiences if I had planned a wish list this would have been the trip. My journey touched all the senses Sights Sounds Smells Taste Excitement and above all a sense of profound happiness and peace. Our co travellers were a super bunch and already we are emailing. Pappu our driver was game for anything and took great care of us as did Kamlesh who would pop up at regular intervals with water and refreshments. Always with a big beaming smile even after many hours on the road.

The star of the trip had to be Gautam. He was brilliant and took care of everyone as if they were the only person on the tour. If we mentioned a certain plant the bus would stop and he would find it in this way we saw peanuts,cotton,birds,little temples the list is endless. After a visit to a Rabari home to take part in an embroidery workshop we were all so impressed with the work that we all wanted to know more about the stitches and of course Gautam knew a special bookshop and as promised he took us there on our last night.

I love information and to be with a guide who not only knows his stuff but one who obviously loves his peoples and his country was indeed a great privilege.

Ps sorry that this is so long but it is the shorter version my memories will fill several journals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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