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Gujarat Tribal Tour

Duration : 11 Nights / 12 Days

Day 01:Arrive In Mumbai

Arrive Mumbai and transfer to the Hotel.

Day 02 :Fly to Ahmedabad

Fly to Ahmedabad, then drive to Utelia, a feudal village clustered around a medieval palace. Overnight in Hotel

Day 03 :The Bharwad

A pastoral people, the Bharwad are shepherds and cattlemen. No longer wanderers, most Bharwadi live in villages painting their houses primarily in blues, greens and white. We visit several, wandering the neat lanes, and perhaps visiting one or two homes. Some Bharwadi have turned their talents to different occupations; the polishing and cutting of diamonds is one, and we will be able to photograph the steps that turn a handful of dull looking opaque lumps into sparkling gems. At a local camel-breeding farm, the business of producing the finest stock of camels is explored.

Day 04 :A Stepwell & Sun Temple

Our drive to Balaram takes us away from life today and into the past. We plan three major stops: a museum, a stepwell (baoli), and a sun temple. The Calico Museum is one of the most fascinating museums in all of Gujarat, if not India, and houses an extensive array of tribal fabrics, both modern and antique, wall hangings, tapestries, and costumes. Adalaj Wav (built in 1499) is the most famous of the Gujarati baolis (step-wells). These elaborate creations, unique to Gujarat, were constructed by royal families as a means of ensuring a source of water throughout the year and as a place of escape from the fierce Gujarati summers. The stone-clad walls have been adorned with carvings of flowers and birds, and at the bottom of the five story-deep well, is a small pool of water. The Modhera Sun Temple dates from the reign of King Bhimdev I (1027/27), and is said to resemble the famous Konark temple in Orissa. Like Adalaj Wav, Modheraís granite austerity is relieved by the slight of brightly-clad locals walking around the complex. (Balaram Palace Resort, 3 nights)

Day 05 :The Gowala & The Garacia

Tribes that are second cousins to each other, they differ only in the manner of living; the Gowala are more settled, the Garacia are still prone to roaming, and their women dress is a manner slightly less ostentatious than the Gowala females. Their tribal home is among the hills that separate Gujarat from Rajasthan, and they are primarily sheepherders. One evening we will enjoy a private performance of tribal dances.

Day 06 :Patan's Patola Weavers and The Rani-ki-Vav

An art that today is only practised by three families, patola is an intricate form of double ikat weaving that is so difficult and demanding that one sari can take up to six months to complete.All three families live near Gujaratís oldest baoli, the 11th-century Rani-ki-vav; we will visit one of the families, and explore the stepwell during our drive into the Little Rann of Kutch. (Desert Courser Camp, 3 nights)

Day 07 :The Banjara and The Rabari

The Little Rann of Kutch separates Kutch from the rest of Gujarat. It is an area composed of marshy salt flats and inhospitable terrain. Flamingos breed in the areaís shallow lakes; here too, the last remaining khurs (Asiatic wild asses) live in a protected sanctuary. Through this land travel the Rabari, the most nomadic of Gujaratís tribes, constantly searching for better grazing ground for their camels and sheep. Other tribes have settled here, including the Banjara, who make their living from cattle, and whose female members are famous for their embroidery.

Day 08 :Into The Rann of Kutch

Today, we head westward into the bleak countryside of Kutch, Gujaratís last frontier. It will be a day of driving, with no scheduled stops, only those of our own choosing as we head toward Bhuj, the regionís capital. This, fortunately, is the season when the Rabari migrate, so itís possible our journey may be enlivened by meeting a group of them along the way. (Prince Hotel, 4 nights)

Day 09-11:A Melting Pot of Tribes

Megwar. Samma. Jat. Mutwa. Ahir. Rabari. These are just some of the tribes we will photograph over the next four days as we make daily excursions into the barren and inhospitable landscape that is the Great Rann of Kutch. Some time will be devoted to Bhuj, which was partially destroyed by the earthquake that struck in January 2001. We tour the Old City (via motor rickshaws) seeing, among other places, the Aina (Old) and Prag (New) mahals (palaces) and visit the Bhartiya Folk Museum with its exhibits pertaining to local tribal life. We also visit an artist who is one of only three peple continuing to paint in the Rogan style.

Day 12 :Homeward Bound

Saturday morning we fly from Bhuj to Bombay. Upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. In the late evening be driven to the airport for onward flights.

Special Rajasthan Tour