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GUJARAT TRIBALS & TEXTILES

Gujarat was often the first port of call for Arab traders in their dhows and later an important commercial centre for the Portuguese, the English, and the Dutch. Here they established trading posts with the local rulers, dealing, among other things, in printed cotton and embroideries, for both of which Gujarat is still famous. Many erstwhile rulers have recently transformed t heir palaces and royal guest houses into hotels .The sights include Ahmedabad's famous Textile Museum; the amazing complex of mosques at Champaner; the Jain temples of Palitana – surely one of the seven wonders of India, perched on the tip of the Shatrunjaya hills; the Indus Valley site of Lothal, dating from 2500 BC and the Gir Forest, preserving the Asiatic lion. Birdlife is prolific throughout Gujarat and the salt plains of the Little Rann of Kutch are the last refuge of the wild ass. This comprehensive tour also visits villages that are home to tribes such as Rabaris, Ahirs and Meghwals. Your stay is in comfort- able though simple accommodation including royal residences, heritage hotels, and tents.

Days 1 to 3 Ahmedabad
Arrive into Ahmedabad and transfer to the elegant House of Mangaldas Girdhardas, the tastefully restored home of one of the leading merchants of the city; the sights include the Calico Museum, Gandhi Ashram, Jami Masjid, Sidi Sayid Mosque and the Adalaj step-well; enjoy a heritage walk of the city and a traditional dinner at Vishala, also visiting their museum of utensils.

Day 4 Jambughoda
Drive to the World Heritage Site of Champaner, depicting Islamic, pre-Moghul architecture; stay at the Jambughoda Palace. Visit the tribal villages of Rathwas and Nayaks.

Days 5 Bhavnagar
Drive to Bhavnagar visiting the 4000 years old Harappan ruins at Lothal. Stay at the Nilambagh Palace; visit the impressive hilltop temple complex at Palitana, reached by a steep flight of stairs (palanquins can be hired).

Day 6 Gir
Drive to Sasangir for overnight stay at the Lion Safari Camp, an afternoon game drive.

Days 7 & 8 Gondal
Drive to Junagarh and visit the 250 BC Ashokan Edicts and the Junagadh Fort housing Buddhist Caves, rock-cut step wells and mosques. Drive on to the elegant Riverside Palace in Gondal; at leisure to explore the surrounding villages or to admire the collection of vintage cars in the palace.

Days 9 & 10 Bhuj
A long drive to Bhuj for a stay at the modern Ilark Hotel or the Sham e Sarhad; explore the tribal Kutch villages in the vicinity; see the tie and dye process of bandhani.

Day 11 Dasada
Drive to Dasada for a night at the Runn Riders Jungle Lodge; enjoy a game drive to see wild ass in the Little Rann of Kutch.

Days 12 & 13 Poshina
Drive to Modhera to see the Sun Temple. Carry on to Patan to see the complex skill of "double-ikkat" weaving and to visit the famous step well, Rani-ki-wav. Transfer to Poshina, stay at Darbargadh. Visit the charming village with your royal host, seeing the Garasia Tribal way of life in the foothills.

Day 14 Ahmedabad
Drive back to Ahmedabad for your onward journey.

Price indication: $1700 to $2000 per person for a private tour for two.

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