Expert-Led Group Tour

India group tour - Textiles and Artisans of India

Travel from Gujarat to Hyderabad

Limited OfferReceive a free copy of the Fabric of India book

13 days

from £4,495pp
Limited Offer
  • Recieve a free copy of Rosemary Crill's 'The Fabric of India' book for all bookings on our India Textiles and Artisans of India.
  • The book is the first truly comprehensive book on Indian textiles, featuring stunning examples from all over the country.
  • One copy per booking.
  • Escorted by textiles expert, Rosemary Crill, co-curator of the V&A's Fabric of India exhibition
  • Guided tour of the Calico Museum of Textiles - world renowned, a treasure trove of textiles
  • Special permits for access to Banni villages where the mirror work is unparalleled
  • Stay at India's most ornate hotel - the royal Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad

Travel from India's north-west region of Gujarat to Hyderabad. Discover the fascinating textiles of these regions and learn more about its influences on the V&A Fabric of India exhibition through the eyes of the exhibition curator Rosemary Crill.

The history of India's remarkable textile traditions date back at least six thousand years to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Fragments of woven cotton have been found, and some traces of dye, which speak of a highly developed cotton industry, while recent discoveries suggest that the cultivation of wild silk was also well understood in ancient India.

Throughout India today, skilled textile artists continue to contribute to these truly splendid and enduring traditions, producing textiles that not only reflect the past but also cater for modern tastes and global markets today.

WHERE DOES THIS GROUP TOUR VISIT?

 travel through the semi-arid regions of Gujarat in India's north- west, meet the people of Bhuj with their instinctive eye for colour and design. These artisans have produced some of India's most creative folk embroidery and gorgeous bandhini or tie dye work.

Visit Dasada to learn the origins of Ajrakh prints, among the oldest textiles in the world, dating back to the Indus Valley civilisation; travel to Ahmedabad and discover the intricate techniques used to produce Patola cloth, used to make the finest hand woven saris in the world; and take a guided tour of the Calico Museum - a pilgrimage site for textile lovers.

The tour finishes in Hyderabad with a stay at the former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad - Falaknuma Palace, now leased by the hotel group Taj. One of India's most ornate and exquisite hotels, Falaknuma is more a museum than a hotel and is a fitting end to this exceptional tour.

WHY TRAVEL WITH ROSEMARY CRILL?

Rosemary Crill is the beloved, internationally respected Senior Curator for South and Southeast Asian Textiles and Dress, Middle Eastern Carpets, Textiles and Dress, and South Asian Painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She curated ‘The Fabric of India’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum. This tour will give a privileged insight into her in-depth understanding of Indian textiles.

She has published many books and articles on these subjects and has travelled widely in India.

Rosemary will join the group as a tour expert, she will work with a local tour guide throughout, allowing priveledged access into certain sites and museums as well as giving an insight into the Fabric of India exhibition from the V&A Museum in London. Please note Rosemary is not a tour lecturer or tour leader, however her experience and knowledge of the Fabrics of India make an incredible addition to this tour.

IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

DO I NEED A VISA FOR INDIA?

All visitors need a visa for India. There is now provision for an online e-visa for citizens of certain countries, including the UK. The visa has to be obtained before arrival in all circumstances. Tourist visas issued in the UK have six months’ validity from date of issue.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN INDIA?

During this tour you will stay in a carefully selected range of small hotels in Gujarat and world leading five-star properties in Hyderabad and Mumbai. All hotels are at least a three-star standard and all offer restaurants on site, some offer pools and leisure facilities. These hotels have been chosen for their vantage points, and good access to city sightseeing.

Gujarat hotel standards are generally lower than other more visited areas of India and availability and choice are limited. We believe we have confirmed the best available in each location.

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN GUJARAT AND HYDERABAD?

Both regions have distinctive cuisine.

Gujarat cuisine offers a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, and more often than not served on a lovely silver platter. A combination of different spices is used in cooking and this is what makes Gujarati food truly exotic with sweet notes dominating many dishes such as Gujarati Kadhi ( curry). Another traditional dish is the Gujarati thali, consisting of roti, dal, rice and shaak (a dish made up of several different combinations of vegetable and spices).

Hyderabad is famous for its ridiculously good Biryani, a traditional celebration of lamb and rice. Do not leave the city without a tasting.

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE IN INDIA IN NOVEMBER?

Warm sunny days with cooler nights. November is the end of the monsoon rains. The average temperatures sit around 30 degrees, dropping to 17 – 18 degrees at night.

HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO ENJOY THIS TOUR?

General overall fitness is required. There is a lot of walking however, at a leisurely pace with some stairs. We would suggest that you bring a comfortable pair if walking shoes, that are easy to take on and off as you will be required to remove your shoes when visiting mosques and temples.

CAN I EXTEND MY STAY IN INDIA?

Yes, this can easily be arranged at the end of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing.

From Mumbai you can easily reach the beaches of South India. Daily connectivity to the north of Rajasthan allows a three-night extension to visit the Taj Mahal.



Departing on:
  • 4th November 2017

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
4th Nov 2017 16th Nov 2017 £ 4,495 £ 685 £ 1,795 Rosemary Crill Available

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 2

Orientation Tour
After lunch, the guide will take you for a short orientation tour of Mumbai, including a visit to the Gateway of India. Your guide will also lead you on a stroll through the local bazaars, the jewellers market and Mangaldas market, a hotspot for fabric. The tour will end at the Cricket Club of India for a pint of Kingfisher.

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is a city teeming with culture, architecture and people. Famous for its diversity, this vast metropolis has suffered from religious tensions during recent years, but this has done little to limit the surprisingly liberal attitudes of many 'Mumbaikars'.

Having boomed as a port during the 18th and 19th century, Mumbai is rich with imposing colonial architecture, whilst towering contemporary structures underline the city's recent prosperity. Contrasting strongly with these are the city's slums, which make up large parts of this modern city and serve as a reminder of the mixed fortunes of its residents'.


Lunch at the Taj and Welcome Dinner at local restaurant


You will be staying at Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Day 3

A Full Day of Sightseeing
Visit the Knesset Eliyahoo Synagogue, a pastel-blue building built in 1883. The colonial interior has been well-preserved and is reminiscent of European shuls. At around 11:15 am, you will arrive at Churchgate station to watch a typical Mumbai trade - the Dabbawallahs. These men deliver over 200,000 home cooked meals to office workers through Mumbai. Then take a local train to Mahalaxmi to visit the Dhobi Ghat, the largest and most unique laundry qaurters.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Khotachi Wadi, Mumbai's oldest preserved settlement. It is a collection of vernacular-style houses, a unique example of 19th century architecture. There used to be 65 of these houses which has now been reduced to 28, due to the influx of modern buildings. There will be an opportunity to visit one of these houses, and meet Mr James Ferreira, an Indian fashion designer and founder of the 'James Ferreira' designer label and also a resident of this heritage village. Afterwards, if time permits, visit some of the local design and fashion studios and also jewellery designers' studios.


Lunch included at a local restaurant. Dinner payable directly


You will be staying at Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Day 4

Fly Mumbai to Bhuj


Transfer to hotel.


An Afternoon of Sightseeing
After lunch, drive to Nirona village to see the ancient craft of Rogan work, the sole preserve of a Khatri Muslim family based in this region of Gujarat. Rogan art, in which pigments mixed with oil are painted onto cloth, is not well known even in India. It is practised by only one family in India, who live in Nirona village. The paintings which you will see have a heavy Persian influence and are by Gafoorbhai Khatri, the head of the family and a national award winner.


Breakfast and Dinner at the hotel


You will be staying at Prince Hotel

Day 5

A Full Day of Sightseeing
Start the day at Kala Raksha, a grass-roots cooperative of traditional embroiderers in Sumraser Sheikh. See their textile museum and learn about the many styles of Kutch embroidery. In 1991, Kala Raksha became a new model for development through handicrafts, the preservation of traditions combined with income generation through contemporary work. Compromising artisans, community members and experts in the fields of art, design, rural management and museums, the organisation works hand in hand with the original suf and other embroidery artisans.

After lunch, visit Banni villages. The Banni are renowned for the most exquisite mirror work, the results are extravagant covers, tunics and scarves emblazoned with mirrors.


Breakfast, Lunch (at Hodka) and dinner at hotel


You will be staying at Prince Hotel

Day 6

A Full Day of Sightseeing
After an early breakfast, visit Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first design school for traditional artisans. This educational institution is open to the working artisans of Kutch. The environment, curriculum and methodology are designed to focus on the acquisition of knowledge and skills for traditional artisans and intend to enable innovation for the modern market. There will be the opportunity to meet last year's Rabari graduates, and enjoy an optional embroidery lesson before visiting the nearby village which is famous for its traditional round mud huts.

Continue the journey south to the old port of Mandvi, where you will see wooden dhows being built. Today a packed lunch will be arranged. After lunch visit Ali Mohammed Isha (subject to appointment), master artisan of the ancient craft of bandhani, traditionally practiced by the Khatri community, and renowned for its fine dots and sophisticated sense of composition.


Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner at hotel


You will be staying at Prince Hotel

Day 7

Drive to Dasada stopping at Ajrakpur Village


The Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. As the land separated from the sea by geological forces, it became a vast, featureless plain encrusted with salt that is inundated with water during the monsoon. Safaris across the Little Rann visit the 'bets' islands, on an ancient seabed that are now higher grounds covered with grass and scrub. These 'bets' support a variety of wildlife including the Gudkhur (Asiatic wild ass) that is not found elsewhere.


Visit to Ajrakh Village
An hour or so outside Bhuj is the village of Ajrakhpur, renowned for its ancient tradition of resist-printing on cotton cloth. Ajrakh textiles have geometric designs and intense jewel-like colours of rich crimson and deep indigo with black and white highlights. Meet several graduates working with Ajrakh cloth.


Spend the rest of the day at leisure.


Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner at hotel


You will be staying at Rann Riders

Day 8

Visit the Little Rann of Kutch and tribal villages
Dasada village is near the Little Rann of Kutch wildlife sanctuary. Once an arm of the Arabian Sea the Rann of Kutch is a geographically unique landscape.Today, take a safari across the Little Rann and visit the bets, islands on the ancient seabed that now form higher ground covered with grass and scrub. Also see the salt making process in the Rann. It is very important to understand the wild Rann of Kutch because the hardships of the Rann and climate etc has a deep impact & influence on the textile and embroidery styles of the local people and tribes of the area

In the second half, visit to local tribal villages - known for nomadic lifestyle and tribal handicraft.


Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel


You will be staying at Rann Riders

Day 9

Sightseeing - Dasada to Ahmedabad
This morning leave Dasada and embark on the drive to Ahmedabad (approximately six and a half hours). Enroute, visit Patan, the ancient capital of Gujarat. Patan is famous for its complex, double ikat patola weaving. Both warp and weft threads are bound and dyed according to the desired pattern before the cloth is woven. If time allows, there will also be a chance to see mashru weaving. Rani ki Vav is an intricately decorated stepwell dating from the 11th century, and one of the highlights of a visit to Patan.


Lunch at a local restaurant and dinner at the hotel


You will be staying at The House of MG

Day 10

The Calico Museum
This morning, take a tour of the Calico Museum. Founded in 1959, it is regarded as one of the leading textile museums in the world. The museum houses a collection of Indian fabrics which show Indian textile design and production, from over five centuries. The museum is also a major reference resource for India's surviving textile artisans and the machine-woven industry. The collection includes textile swatches of Indian origin found at archaeological sites in Egypt, silk saris from across India, royal wardrobes from Rajasthan, and much more.

Ahmedabad is Gujarat's major city, and is the stepping stone from which your Gujaret holiday will start. Founded in the 15th century it has grown quickly in more recent times. Its stunning Islamic architecture includes some of India's finest monuments. Its fascinating old quarters are worthy of exploration.


Lunch at the Taj Residency is on direct payment today


Visit Vechaar
In the afternoon visit the Mata Ni Pachhedi painters and the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Witness the technique of making the block printed and painted shrine cloths known as Mata ni Pachhedi, now practised only by a handful of families.

In the evening visit Vechaar, a museum displaying a collection of traditional utensils, housed in a village themed restaurant called Vishalla. The museum was founded in 1981, three years after the restaurant opened.


Breakfast and Dinner at Vishala today


You will be staying at The House of MG

Day 11

Fly Ahmedabad to Hyderabad


Visit Old Town
After an early lunch, visit the Nizam's Museum at Purani Haveli, which houses the largest wardrobe in the world. Afterwards, visit Chowmohalla Palace, where the kings once lived and ruled from. The Palace museum has collections from the Royal family. From here, take a walk around the street market of Charminar and Mecca Masjid. During the walk, there will be plenty of opportunities to see the master craftsmen working in their shops. Along the way, there will be chances to see lac bangle making, fine Bidri work on metal and a visit will be made to the jewellers that learnt the art of replicating the Nizam's jewellery.

Situated on the banks of the Musi River, the 400 year old city is a major IT hub , second to Bangalore. In contrast , it is steeped in its past of refined courtly life played out in elaborate palaces, and non grander than the Taj Falaknumad Palace. These days the city is a blend of old and new with burkha clad women scouring the markets for traditional bangles rubbing shoulders with suited and booted men. Explore the city's streets, grand palaces and monuments and uncover its fascinating history. The city is also famed for its aromatic biryani and double-ka-meetha, a bread pudding.


Jagdish and Kamala Mittal Museum
The museum specialises in the traditional arts and crafts produced in the Indian subcontinent between the first century BC and 1900 AD. The museum houses around 2000 objects, including miniature paintings and drawings, manuscripts and textiles. There are also some Nepali and Tibetan tankas and metal images. The museum is part of the Mittal house, and during the visit there will be an oppportunity to meet with the elderly Mr. Jagdish Mittal, who is considered one of the most knowledgeable art historians in India. ( Please note this visit is only confirmed 24 hours before due to the health of Mr Mittal).


This evening there is a private tour arranged of Falaknuma Palace


Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner and lunch on direct payment


You will be staying at Taj Falaknuma Palace

Day 12

Visit Pochampally
Pochampally is a small village in Andhra Pradesh, renowned worldwide for its ikat weaving. Returning today for lunch in Hyderabad. A local restaurant in town serving the best Biryani, kebabs and freshly made desserts.


Golconda Fort and Qutub Shahi Tomb
After lunch, drive to the Golconda Fort and Qutub Shahi Tomb followed by a visit to Suraiya Hassan Bose's weaver's workshop


Farewell dinner at Falaknuma Palace
In the evening there will be a farewell dinner arranged at the Palace. With drinks at the terrace with a wonderful Qawwali performance ( an ancient form of Sufi music). Afterwards a seated meal to savour the traditional delicacies of the Nizam's.


Breakfast, lunch at local restaurant, and Farewell Dinner


You will be staying at Taj Falaknuma Palace

Day 13

Day at leisure in Hyderabad

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Taj Falaknuma Palace

Taj Falaknuma Palace

The former residence of the royal family of Hyderbad, The Falaknuma Palace has been leased to the Taj Group of Hotels and refurbished into a truly remarkable palace hotel....

View Accommodation

Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

More than a hotel, the lavish Taj Mahal Palace is an iconic landmark of Mumbai and - following the 2008 terrorist attacks - a symbol of freedom in the face of extremism....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

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"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Rosemary Crill

Rosemary Crill
Rosemary Crill has spent her career as a curator of the V&A Museum’s Indian collections, specialising in textiles and paintings. She has published many books and articles on these subjects and has travelled widely in India. She was co-curator of the exhibitions Colours of the Indus (1997), The Indian Portrait (2010) and The Fabric of India (2015-16).
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Rosemary Crill

Departure Date (S):

  • 4th November 2017

  1. Active – The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. Walks will be no longer than 6 hours. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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