Day 1 – October 6, 2020, Tuesday
Depart Sydney : We board our direct flight to Delhi and arrive in the evening. We will transfer to our hotel, refresh and meet our tour Director, Deepa. Time permitting, we will visit Dilli Haat, (otherwise on day 2) a permanent craft market in South Delhi. Established purely for artisans to sell their handicrafts, you can buy gems, rosewood, Sandalwood, camel leather artifacts, jewelry, beads, drapery, silks, textiles and a large range of handicrafts in this special market. There will be plenty of time to explore and shop at this market. Dinner and then onto our hotel for a good night’s rest following our first exciting day in India.
Day 2 – October 7, 2020, Wednesday
Following a delicious breakfast in the hotel, we will visit the colourful market of Chandni Chowk. It is the oldest and busiest market in Old Delhi. You can find everything from spices, dried fruit, clothing to silver and gold jewelry. The market was established in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor’s daughter and used to have canals to reflect the moonlight (Chand in Hindi is moon, so moonlit crossroads) and was a grand old market with the Red Fort in the middle. of the area. Today its narrow streets are best visited by cycle rickshaw, and enroute you can see the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, the Gauri Shankar temple, a Jain Temple, Church and a Gurudwara, multiple religious houses of worship all within easy reach of each other. The tiny stores on both sides of the lanes sell almost everything and the sights and colours will leave you breathless! Our special interest will be the street that stocks lace, buttons and other accessories, so let the shopping begin.
We will visit the historic sites in Delhi. We will visit Humayun’s Tomb which inspired the Taj Mahal; it is also a world heritage site, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Delhi and the complex encompasses large gardens with other important mausoleums and tombs of senior members and nobility of the Mughal era.
We will then visit the Qutb Minar, a marvel of engineering found in the Qutb complex. The tower stands at 73.5m tall and construction began in 1192 with many stories being added to the minaret over the next few centuries. It has survived several earthquakes and is another world heritage site. The Iron Pillar of Delhi, found in the complex is famous for is rust resistance and was built in the 4th or 5th century by the Gupta dynasty. Archaeologists have been fascinated by its resistance to corrosion, which is a testament to the skill of its builder over 1500 years ago!
We will take in the Gandhi memorial, the site where the Mahatma was assassinated and view the Indian parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, where the viceroy’s of the British Raj used to reside, but is now the home of the President of India. We will then visit India Gate, a monument to the 85,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I and the Afghan battles of 1919. In a design based on the Menin gate of Belgium, it is located at the end of the main street leading to the Presidential palace.
After lunch we will drive to Agra and check in to our hotel. We recommend an early bedtime so we can make an early start for our sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal.
Quilt patterns everywhere and 1000 years old too!
Day 3 – October 8, 2020, Thursday
Today we will rise early for our sunrise visit to what is perhaps the most famous monument of India, the magnificent TAJ MAHAL. One of the seven wonders of the world, this amazing building will take your breath away, with its gleaming white marble, semi-precious stones caved into its walls, and attention to detail that surpasses all expectations. Considered one of the most romantic buildings ever built, it is the tomb of Mumtaz Begum, the favourite wife of the emperor Shah Jahan. It took over 10 years to build and had an estimated 20,000 artisans working on it as the emperor wanted it to be perfect.
We return to our hotel for breakfast and then visit Agra fort, an architectural marvel in red sandstone and another world heritage site. Construction of this fort began in 1565 by the Emperor Akbar and it was the main residences of the Mughal emperors until 1638. Shah Jahan, the grandson of emperor Akbar supervised the construction of the Taj Mahal from this very site. Unfortunately, this was also the place where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son, emperor Aurangzeb, where he was offered the view of the famous monument he built for his beloved wife.
After lunch, we will visit an artisan’s family that specialise in Zardosi embroidery. This painstaking work is beautiful and you can chat with the ladies to gain insights on how they do this wonderful embroidery. We have the rest of the day free to enjoy the facilities of our wonderful hotel or do some local shopping. Dinner and overnight stay in Agra.
Day 4 – October 9, 2020, Friday
After breakfast, we will checkout of our hotel and drive to Fatehpur Sikhri, the city of victory and the capital of the Mughal Dynasty between 1571 and 1610. Originally built by a Rajput king, the villages were built on by Akbar and several buildings were added during his reign and it eventually became a walled city. This majestic world heritage site showcases both Hindu and Muslim architecture of the time and its buildings are constructed from the pinkish red sandstone that is found locally. There is so much history within the walls of this city and its founder, Akbar was said to be interested in many religions. He invited scholars from all over the world to his court. Akbar had married women of differen religions for whom he built residences within the walled city.
We continue onto to Jaipur (5hrs by road) and enroute, we will visit the most beautiful stepwell of this region, Chand Baori on the way. It is an amazing amazing feat of engineering to provide a water resevoir for the local people and was built in the 9th century. We will enjoy lunch on our way and then check into our hotel. The evening is free for shopping and own activities. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Quilting inspiration everywhere!
Day 5 – October 10, 2019, Saturday
Today we will travel to a village of the Chippa community for a workshop on an 8th century art – mud-resist block printing. The patterns are mostly from nature, embedded in the cultural identities of the artisans. We will do a full day block printing workshop and create our own masterpieces. A traditional lunch with the owners of the facilities and then shopping for fabulous hand blockprinted fabric. Some more local shopping for hand quilted bed covers, fabric and other items, then dinner at a local restaurant, and back to our hotel for a well earned rest, satisfied that we have completed our first workshop and learnt a new skill!
Check out the Bagru Workshop from the last trip!
Day 6 – October 11, 2020, Sunday
After a hearty breakfast this morning, we will begin our sight-seeing tour of the beautiful pink city of Jaipur. We will visit the famous Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing (AMHP). Located in a magnificently restored haveli or mansion, the museum displays a varied selection of block printed textiles alongside images, tools and related objects – all chosen to provide an in-depth look into the complexity of this ancient tradition.
We will then visit the Amer (Amber) Fort, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jaipur which sits high on a hill overlooking a beautiful lake. Once inside the fort, the Hindu architecture is resplendent and there are many artifacts of the famous Rajput kings to view. The fort began construction in the 10th century and the current king still carries out ceremonies and rituals here. We will visit the Hall of public audience, Hall of private audience and the famous Sheesha Mahal (mirror palace). Later in the day we will visit City Palace which is still the royal residence but there is much to explore here. There are the famous peacock gates, the large silver pots that the Maharaja transported to England to ensure he was drinking pure water from the Ganges, the beautiful Wedgewood blue walls of the Sukh Niwas (Hall of rest) and a wonderful museum where you can see artisans at work. Jantar Mantar is a very special observatory is another place to take in and then the famous Hawa Mahal and visit the markets for some shopping.
Day 7 – October 12, 2020, Monday
We say goodbye to Rajasthan and board a domestic flight to Ahmedabad, which is in the commercial capital of the western state of Gujarat. We will transfer to our air-conditioned vehicle to travel in comfort to our hotel, to check in and freshen up. We will visit the House of Mangaldas, an amazing treasure trove and private collection of fabulous embroidery and woven textiles and quilts. After lunch we will visit the the Sabarmati Ashram, established by Mahatma Gandhi, who laid great emphasis on the handloom industry and take in the peace and tranquility of this place. We will visit Law gardens, then the colourful markets in the evening and after dinner we will return to our hotel.
Day 8 – October 13, 2020, Tuesday
After an early breakfast buffet breakfast, we will head over to a Heritage Walk of the old city of Ahmedabad. This is the first city to be heritage listed in India and we will learn a bit about the way the city was structured. We then head to the famous Calico Museum of textiles. This museum houses a vast collection of court textiles from the 15th to 19th centuries and many exquisite hand embroidered textiles and regional textiles from the 19th century. Set in temperature and light controlled galleries, the museum is dedicated to preserving these textiles for future generations. There is also a lot of other art from many regions across India housed in other galleries within the museum.
In the afternoon, we will attend our second workshop of Mata Ni Pachedi, the Kalamkari art of Gujarat. Following that we will visit the famous textile markets of Ahmedabad for some shopping of beautiful cloth and embellishments. Enjoy a traditional Gujarati dinner and then return to our hotel.
Check out the group working on their Kalamkari masterpieces.
Day 9 – October 14, 2020, Wednesday
This morning after our breakfast, we check out of our hotel and head further west towards the Gulf of Kutch and the main city of Bhuj. This is a 5-hour drive so along the way you are guaranteed to see many villagers in their colourful garments, the women in beautifully embroidered skirts and blouses with chunky silver jewelry. We will check in to our hotel, and then rest before an evening in the local markets and dinner.
Day 10 – October 15, 2020, Thursday
Today we will spend the morning in an Ajrakh block printing workshop. Ajrakh is the name of a block printed with deep crimson red and indigo bearing symmetrical patterns interspersed with white unprinted motifs. We will watch the entire process of how the fabric is dyed, washed and then dyed again to gain the beautiful colours. This is an ancient craft, the history of Ajrakh can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilisation that existed around 2500-1500 BC. In the afternoon, following our lunch, we will visit the LLDC museum that showcases desert embroidery – what a massive range of stitches and styles, jaw-dropping indeed. Overnight in Bhuj.
Day 11 – October 16, 2020, Friday
Today we will have a full day workshop on Rabari quilting and applique and a demonstration of Suf counted thread embroidery with tribal artisans. The women will share their art and talk about their lifestyle with you. Once we make our own masterpieces, we can visit the local bazaar for some more shopping if time permits. We will return to our hotel to pack for our final stop in India.
Day 12 – October 17, 2020, Saturday
We make a trip to local Kutch villages bursting with different traditional crafts. From handmade musical copper bells to lacquer work on timber tools, leather work, Rogan painting to tie-dyeing, this village has many talented artisans who will demonatrate their work and there are opportunities to shop directly from the locals. Later we will take in some of the sites of this wonderful region. Overnight in Bhuj.
Day 13 – October 18, 2020, Sunday
This morning, we will checkout of our hotel early and head to Bhuj airport for a domestic flight to Mumbai. After checking into our hotel and freshening up, we will have lunch and then head off for some site-seeing in this famous city. The city has some amazinig gothic structures built during the British Raj including the fabulous Chatrapati Shivaji Central Train station which looks like a palace, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel. The famous Dhobi Ghats is a large open air laundry which is an amazing feat of logistics for the sheer number of items that pass through it each day. In the evening we will visit Chowpatty Beach and check out the famous Marine Drive which is also called the Queen’s necklace as all the lights appear like a string of pearls at night. After dinner, we will return to our hotel for a good night’s sleep and pack for our international flight home.
Day 14 – October 19,2019, Monday
This morning we will make our way to the award winning Mumbai International Airport for our return flight to Sydney.
Return home with a mind load of artistic ideas, your luggage full of Indian fabric and special memories of your fantastic Indian adventure.