INDIA – Gujarat

– A colorful, cultural kaleidoscope of Gujarat / November / 2017


Dates: November 20-30 / 2017

Trip Cost: 6570.00 USD ( 4 participants +)

Trip deposit fee: 1,500.00 USD

Single room Fee: 960.00 USD

Join Gavriel’s newest photo tour, through some of India’s most colorful and exciting regions. Our tour presents you the opportunity to photograph palaces, forts, havelis, cenotopes, amazingly colorful houses, exotic bazaars, desert scenes, villages and the extension tour to the annual ritualistic celebration of Horn Bill festival in the Naga Land.

Discover villages, temples, salt flats, crafts &culture

Portrait of a Meghwal woman, Gujarat, India
Portrait of a Meghwal woman, Gujarat, India

Gujarat has a long tradition of cottage scale textile production and artisanal craftsmanship. This itinerary focuses on the many small communities who are keeping such traditions alive.

Mahatma Gandhi, a native of Gujarat, made cottage industry – particularly textile production – a cornerstone of his drive to establish economic independence from Britain. Separately, Gujarat is home to diverse ethnic and semi-nomadic tribal groups, who have their own craft traditions. As a result, Gujarat is home to some of India’s most exquisite hand-embellished crafts, which, along with cottage textile production, are the bedrock of the rural economy.

Kutch is known for its fabulous embroideries, Wadhwan for itsbandhani tie-and-dye and Jetpur for block printing. Some techniques that are unique to Gujarat include the double ikat Patola weaving of Patan and the rogan painting on fabric of Nirona village. This tour will lead you to an understanding of these traditions and an insight into the communities that maintain them.

Tour itinerary

Day 1/ Nov 20:

On your arrival at international airport in Mumbai, after clearing customs & immigration, our representative will receive and escort you to the hotel.

Mumbai was given by Portuguese as dowry to Charles II of England when he married Catherine. The group of seven islands was leased to the East India Company who offered freedom of business and religion to persons who came and settled here. Initially a few Parsis and Gujarati came but soon a sizeable population began to thrive here. This was way back in the 17th century. Today also Mumbai is a city of migrants. People from all over the country have come and settled here. This gives the society of Mumbai a multi-lingual and multi-cultural colour.

Visit to the Crawford market, railway station (Photography at railway station would be from outside as inside it is not allowed).

This experience will take you through the sprawling and colorful markets of Mumbai. The journey starts at the historic Crawford Market and its bas-relies depicting scenes from market life carved by Lockwood Kipling, father of the writer Rudyard Kipling. From there you will stop to peruse the steel-pot shops on Lokmanya Tilak Road before making your way to the market stalls around Mumbadevi Temple, the shrine which gave Mumbai its name. Then it is on to Bhuleshwar Market and Zaveri Bazaar (Jeweler’s Market). Yadnik Chowk, where plumbers and painters wait for customers on the sidewalks, is the next stop followed by the antique market of Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market). This experience is expected to last approximately 3-4 hours including travel time.

If interested you can also see and photograph the Mumbai Dabbawala which is world famous for delivering around two lakh tiffins on time by just 4500 to 5000 mens by bicycles, trains and by foot (you can witness this on weekdays between 11AM to 1145 AM at church gate which is their starting point). DABBAWALA: Dabbawallah literally meaning (“person with a box”), is a person in India, most commonly found in the city of Mumbai, who is employed in a unique service industry whose primary business is collecting the freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of the office workers (mostly in the suburbs), delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning the empty boxes back to the customer’s residence by using various modes of transport. “Tiffin” is an old-fashioned English word for a light lunch or afternoon snack, and sometimes for the box it is carried in. For this reason, the dabbawalas are sometimes called Tiffin Wallahs.

Stay overnight at hotel.

Day 2 / Nov 21:

Early morning transfer to airport & board flight to Bhuj.

AI-9625 (Air India)                                         Mumbai/Bhuj                                    0635/0830 hrs

Meet upon arrival at airport & transfer to hotel.

Bhuj is a beautiful little town in Kutch district, Gujarat. It was founded in the year 1510 by a local ruler, called Maharao Hamir. The place was laid siege and take control of by Rao Khengarji I, another ruler who made the town the capital of his kingdom in the year 1549. Some of the parts of the old Bhuj were ruined during the course of the time. The place assumed the role of a self-governing state during the British reign in India. Bhuj, the former capital of Kutch, is now the headquarters of the district. The town actually had a rich and vibrant history. Since it was a walled city, at its prime in history, there were 35 feet high walls and towers that surrounded the city with 51 guns to boot. There was a hill for that was strategically located in such a manner, that the soldier would be able to espy on enemies and alert their defenses. Bhuj has got its name from the fortress called Bhuia that overlooks the city from this nearby hill. Bhuj has over a period of time witnessed so many events and calamities that have left a huge impact on Indian civilization. Alexander the Great’s invasion has significance with Bhuj; the town finds its mention even in the story of the exile of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata.

Do street photography in the evening and later in the evening visit to Mandvi Palace. Vijay Vilas Palace or Mandvi Palace: Is 8 km from Mandvi, was a residence of the erstwhile rulers of Kutch. It’s an elegant structure, not in use, built in the early 20th century by the rulers of Bhuj. An interesting work of architecture, visitors can enjoy its winding staircases, gorgeous terrace views and rooms that have been kept in the exact same condition as it was at the time of being inhabited. Other than the architecture, most of the palace interior is like a museum. The land around the palace is a small reserve forest with a nilgai population.

Stay overnight at Bhuj.

Day 3 / Nov 22: After breakfast full day excursion to Nirona, Ludiya, Hodka & White Rann.

 Rogan Art at Nirona: Rogan is the art of decorating fabrics with dyes using a castor oil base. The process begins with boiling the castor oil till it thickens. When the consistency is right, the

artisans apply the paint on the palm of one of their hands and rub both palms together so that the body warmth creates a stringy gooey paste from which the color can come off on an iron rod or wooden stick, like threads. With these ‘threads’ of paint, the artist makes an outline on one half of the cloth and then folds it to repeat the process on the other half. After that, the outlines are filled with color. The price of the piece depends on the intricacy of the design. A three sq foot multi-coloured piece with intricate motifs, which takes two or three months to make, could cost `3,000. Whereas a cloth-bound file folder with simple designs of the same size would just set a buyer back by anything.

According to Khatri Abdulgafoor Daud, a national award winning Rogan artisan, the art of Rogan paintings probably originated in Persi as it means castor-based in Persian. It was practised across Sindh and Kutch with Nirona, Khavada and Chaubari being major centres long in the 1970s. Some of the Rogan artists received awards from the British rulers in the past. Over the years, it went into decline. “Rogan is a technique of painting, which was used to produce trousseau of ghagra-choli-odhni and household linen like bed sheets, cushion covers and quilts for weddings in certain communities. As this is a laborious and time consuming art, and involves working with terribly smelling oils, the Rogan painted pieces became expensive and the communities started looking at cheaper options like printed fabrics.

Ludiya is located 70kms north of Bhuj. It is 3 kms from Khawda. The total area of the village is about 5 square kilometers and the population is about 2000 people predominantly Muslims and a few Harijan families. (Harijan, literally ‘child of God’ was a term coined by Gandhi ji to refer to the lowest caste people in the Hindu religion hierarchy) The main occupation of the women folk in the village is making beautiful embroidery work and traditional crafts while the men make decorative furniture. The village has no streets. The space between two houses is used as a pathway. The houses of the village have a typical structure called bhunga with intricate decorations both inside and outside. While the outside is decorated with vibrant motifs, the thick walls keep the house cool even when the temperature reaches close to 50 degrees centigrade in summer. I could feel it when I entered one of the houses. Some of these houses are as old as 100 years but look like new.

Later return back to hotel. Stay overnight at Bhuj.

Gujarat woman

Day 4 / Nov 23   

After breakfast proceed to cover vagadiya Rabari photography, If time permits visit to Fossil Park.

The Kutch Fossil Park was founded by a celebrated war veteran Mohansinh Sodha, who had a keen eye for fossil hunting. For the last 40 years, he has tirelessly travelled the lengths and breadths of this region collecting fossils for display at his own private fossil museum, which is open for the public to see and appreciate. He has even discovered a new species of Sea-Cow, which has been named after him.

Way back in early seventies as an Army personal I observed unusual from of rock while wandering the barren hills of kutch. This unusual rock a fossil Ammonite made a tsunami change in my conception of life. I migrated from Sindh in Pakistan to Kutch leaving behind relative and belongings way back in 1971Indo-Pak war, and got involved with the Army to offer valuable service then. The long exposure since then in studying and collecting fossils from Kutch is unexplainable in this paper but the marvellous collection of thousands of fossils will certainly be a living record of skeletons and dead organisms as old as 150 million years. Mohansinh M. Sodha formed a Society, kutch Fossil Park in 2002 perhaps. It is the fist stone of a great fossil museum in Kutch, the homeland of fossils. Another aspect to be noted is the accreditation given, after a new vertebrate fossil species was found from westen Kutch. The research was carried out by Roorkee scientists on the vertebrate Sea-cow fossil collected by me as new species in India, so they decided to give its name after me. The species will be known as Dommingia Sodhae.

Stay overnight at Bhuj

Day 5 / Nov 24: After breakfast drive to Bhuj (290 Kms/06 hours) en-route visit Bhujodi & Ajrakhpur.

Bhujodi: A small town just 8 km southeast of Bhuj, Bhujodi is a major textile center of Kutch, with the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants involved in textile handicraft production. Here you can meet weavers, tie-dye artists and block printers, most of whom belong to the Vankar community. Many will let you watch them work; just ask around.

 The Ajrakh block printing of Kachchh: Against the dull canvas of the Kachchh desert the rich and bold colours of the textiles are strikingly displayed. The millennia old tradition of weaving and dyeing textiles originated in this Indus Valley region in the North West of India, and is still in abundance today.

For a typical Kachchhi man or woman, their cloth is an essential everyday commodity and decoration as well as a symbol of their identity. Whether woven, embroidered, printed or tie-dyed, the textiles worn by a person in this area can reveal a multitude of details about their caste, gender, age, religious affiliation, marital status and economic standing. The highly skilled and patterned ajrakh block-printing came to Kachchh from Sind 400 years ago when the Muslim Khatris (artisans who ‘apply colour to cloth’) settled in the village of Dhamadka. In 2001 a devastating earthquake severely damaged Bhuj, Dhamadka and other villages and towns all over the Kachchh region. In the wake of this tragedy, the Khatris were brought closer together and a new village was created to rebuild their lives and their craft production, aptly named Ajrakhpur (‘place of Ajrakh’). Today there are Khatris living and working in both villages. Almost the whole village takes part in the block printing, and on entering, this is immediately obvious, with bright indigo, green and mustard yellow cloths drying out in one area and men whacking wet cloths at the washing ghats at another.

Continue drive to Dasada, on arrival check in at hotel at around 1700 hrs. Stay overnight at Dasada.

Gujarat Market

Day 6 / Nov 25:  After breakfast visit villages and Rabari community.

Rabari: Myths and legends haunt the history and origins of the Rabari in Gujarat, as mysterious as any other tribe, whose lifestyle has intrigued many researchers. Related to Shiva, which according to legend, descended through their ancestor Sambal, are one of the last nomadic peoples of the world. Even today, ancient routes traverse through the arid plains of the Thar Desert, in northwest India in search of pasture for their flocks. Ethnicity from Afghanistan, is the largest pastoral community of Kutch. The men, tall, thin, often with long moustaches, their heads wrapped in turbans predominantly light in color, wearing white pants tight at the ankles and a jacket, also white, tight and pleated chest. Ear, as a distinctive sign, a gold earring filigree (tolyia).

While men lead their flocks to pasture, the women always treated with great respect within the family, dealing dell’allestimento of huts and children wearing colorful damask coats and baggy trousers. The women, who wear beautiful clothes elaborate, are very skilled in embroidery fabrics and blankets and even leather, while the men inlay work on wood and silver and copper crafts is a very rich, whose techniques were passed down generation to generation, making the famous Kutch. Each village has its specialties: Hodka to the Harijan work the leather in the KoliNerona produce beautiful works of lacquer and dye the fabric with the technique of “rogan”.

Characteristic of Rabari are colorful, embellished with embroidered waistcoats, men and women wearing jewels of gold and silver finely crafted, rings, bracelets and earrings of various forms. Often men who are less vain women, than women in the ornaments themselves, After lunch will proceed to village safari to visiting Mir community.

Mirs: On the periphery of Dasada lives a community of 15 families of nomadic Mirs. Their dress is Rajasthani; their homes are temporary. Traditionally they kept the genealogy of Rabaris. The Rabaris would pay them in kind – goats or sheep- to record their births, marriages and deaths. The Mirs used to also draw what was given in exchanges between Rabari families.

Mirs migrated with Rabaris, keeping relations with them according to Rabari lineages. Each Mir was in charge of a particular lineage or sakh. Today, some 10,000 Mirs live all over Gujarat – all the way to Mumbai, Sattarbhai declares. They no longer live in Rajasthan but live particularly in Vagad, eastern Kutch, and north Gujarat. Women wear aniyo (a short, backless blouse), kurti (a front closing sleeveless jacket) ghagharo (a 20 meter gathered skirt), and chundadi (a 5 meter veil). Most striking are their ornaments: copious necklaces and tassels fashioned from beads, coins and trinkets, and in particular their white bangles from wrist to armpit. Mir men wear white pachedo (a wrapped lower garment) and kamiz (a shirt). Though Muslim, each Mir has both a Hindu and a Muslim name. Today Mirs do manual agricultural and construction labour. The women are expert in beadwork and in Dasada they have started making beaded bangles.

Stay overnight at Dasada.

Day 7 / Nov 26: After breakfast drive to Bera (270 kms/ 6-7 hrs).

Bera, a small hamlet situated in the Aravali range of Rajasthan and surrounded by lakes and dams. You can view Jawai Dam (The largest man made dam of western Rajasthan) from the top of Castle Bera and Jawai river flow beside the village. Maharana Pratap, a great warrior and a legend in (Mewar) Udaipur and Indian History, marked out a territory for his fourth son Rana SHEKHA, where he could settle – Rana SHEKHA first settled in a place now called Juna(old) Bera and later he moved his settlement 3 km West, to a place, now known as Bera.

Bera: In spite of a comparatively hostile terrain, Rajasthan surprisingly is the abode of a number of mammals and birds. Its vast size and latitudinal variations above the sea level of 1,700m provides it with varied vegetation. It provides semi green forests of Mount Abu, to dry grasslands of the desert, and from the dry deciduous thorn forest of Aravali, to wetlands of Bharatpur. The Sanctuaries, an isolated landscape with some backdrops that attracts herds of species from all over, to their temporary habitat that provides comfortable subsistence. In the season time, the whole place echoes with enchanting sounds and fascinating visuals, against the sprawling meadow of flora. Rajasthan is the haven of the “tiger” and many endangered species. The leopard, also called the panther here, is found in forests and in open degraded forest areas, with rocky outcrops adjoining towns and villages.

Stay overnight at Bera.

Rabari and camel


Salt flats

Day 8 / Nov 27: Early morning and evening wild life safari in search of Leopard with morning tea at Jawai Dam or visit to the villages.

In evening you can also opt for village tour and a visit to local temples in the natural surroundings instead of Leopard safari.

Stay overnight at Bera.

Day 9/Nov 28 After breakfast drive to Udaipur en-route visit to villages on the way (110 kms /2 ½ – 3 hrs).

Udaipur: “The Venice of the East”, Udaipur is an enchanting city. From lakes in the midst of sandy terrain to green forested hills where wildlife still abounds, the surprises are endless. And, in the lakes, or by their edges, are palaces straight out of fairy tales, each more beautiful than the other. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh, Udaipur is surrounded by the Aravalli mountain ranges situated on the edge of three lakes.

Evening: Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It is also called the “Lake Garden Palace”. The palace is located in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Its construction is credited to three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom. The construction of the palace was started in 1551 by Maharana Amar Singh, continued by Maharana Karan Singh (1620–1628) and finally completed by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628–1652). It is named as “Jagat Mandir” in honour of the last named Maharana Jagat Singh. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties. The palace served as a refuge to asylum seekers on two separate occasions.

 Stay overnight at Udaipur.

Day 10 / Nov 29: After breakfast visit to the Old city, vegetable, spice market etc.

On time drive to airport to board the flight to Delhi.

AI – 472 (Air India)                                Udaipur/Delhi                                      1500/1610 hrs

Upon arrival in Delhi, Check in to hotel for Wash and Change room.

Day 11 / Nov 30: After breakfast start sightseeing of Old Delhi at around 0830-0900 hrs.

While walking on the street, when you turn around and look at something twice, know that there is a potential for a photograph!”

Old Delhi is both an awful and a fascinating place. Experience the fun of discovering people, culture & some amazing nooks & crannies of this mysterious city which will draw you in and won’t let you go….We visit the colorful markets and you see master craftsmen work hard on creating handicrafts in the narrow alleys of as they go about their daily lives. And so, it will happen as we continue your photographic journey in India on to a roller coaster ride through the busy and chaotic streets of a 350+ year old city, the 7th city of Delhi….Keep your eyes peeled for the faintest presence of irony, satire, humour, love or mystery, as you walk with us through a bewildering maze of alleys in search of early morning fragrances that will tickle all your 5 senses….watch the city slowly stir up, shake off the last remnants of sleep and then abruptly come alive!!!

You photo tour continues as you observe closely the finer nuances of Islamic architecture when you visit India’s second largest Mosque, the Jama Masjid , and a few architectural wonders.

In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to enjoy rickshaw ride.

Rickshaw Ride: A ride in the old city market laid by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, would give you anexperience of life time. Pass through the colourful shop of bustling Chandani Chowk, one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia also an important landmark in the history of India. If you feel up to it take a short walk in the market and eexplore another facet of Indian life.

Optional: By end of the day we will go to capture rituals & celebrations of the Sikh people (Religious community) at one of Delhi’s oldest & holiest Sikh Shrines, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

Later on time departure transfer to International airport to board flight to home/onward destination on 30 Nov (hotel check out time is 1200 hrs).


Accommodations ( twin sharing basis) as indicated above in the itinerary.
All meals (starting from breakfast on Day 2 till farewell dinner on Day 9)
Services of Air Conditioned Van (for 6+1 Pax), Mini Coach (for 8 pax onwards) for all transfers & sightseeing tours.
Services of English speaking guide escort accompanying the trip throughout starting from your arrival at Delhi airport till your departure from Delhi.
Entrance fee to places of visit / monuments.
Services of local English guides during city sightseeing (as required)
Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi.
Village Safaris
Camel ride
Elephant ride
Mineral water during all meals, transfers, drives and sightseeing (available in vehicle).
Assistance at airports and at the hotels at the time of check in/out in all the major cities.
Domestic flight

NOT included:

Any international Airfare, travel insurance or medical insurance.
Anything not mentioned in inclusion above
Any expenditure of personal nature like alcoholic drinks, sodas, laundry, telephone calls, internet, still/video camera/model fees (if any) etc.
Tips: Driver, country guide or locals guides. Suggestions will be made to guide clients.
Anything ordered from room service at any hotel including mineral water (other than
what being offered by the hotels on their compliment).

Any price increase due to hike in fuel cost, change in government taxes, acts of god, natural calamity, law and order situation, riots etc and any forced change in itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances beyond our control.

  • Government Services tax 9% on total bill (subject to change towards the end of the year).

A deposit of $1500.00 per person is required when registering more than 120 days before the trip, and the balance is due 120 days before the departure date of the trip. When registering within 120 days of the trip departure date, full payment is due at the time of registering. If full payment is not received by the due date, we have the right to cancel your reservation and retain deposit and trip fee per the payment schedule.

If you need to cancel your reservation, the cancellation would have to be in writing and would be valid as of the day of received in our office, at which time the following fees apply:

– Cancellation 90 days or more before departure: 100% of trip land cost refundable

– Cancellation 89 to 60 days before departure: only 50% of trip land cost refundable

– Cancellation 59 or fewer days before departure: no part of the trip land cost is refundable

This photo tour and workshop is offered as a complete package. Once the trip commences, we do not provide partial refunds for any cancellation or unused portion or service for any reason.

Please print out and complete the following forms. Send the completed and signed forms via mail and Email to:

International Photo Tours

10710 35th Avenue SW

Seattle, WA 98146

Or FAX the forms to 206-332-0990

Or FAX the forms to 206-332-0990

Registration Form

Release and Assumption of Risk Form

Health and Insurance Form

Payments can be done through Bank Transfer ( wire transfer ) or Pay Pal

Payments can be done through Bank Transfer ( wire transfer ) or click on the button below to pay through Pay Pal Account. We accept all major credit cards; Paypal is an accepted method of payment processing for any of our tours. You can pay by credit card this way without joining Paypal yourself, or you can open a Paypal account if you wish. Payments are made directly online (and any personal details are protected through our secure server) – we do not take or store any credit card information, this is done at Paypal’s site. We have a verified account with Paypal which means that we have provided proof of our personal details, bank account, and address. My PayPal account details are as follows:

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India – cultural kaleidoscope of Gujarat photo tour / 2017

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