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

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Dates: November 18-29 / 2017

Trip Cost: 6570.00 USD ( 4 participants +)

Trip deposit fee: 1,500.00 USD

Single room Fee: 1174.00 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 22:  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.

Stay overnight at hotel.

Day 2 / Nov 23: This morning we travel by motor launch about an hour across the harbour to Elephanta Island (subject to sea conditions). There we will visit the extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist, rock cut stone sculptures in the Elephanta Caves, dating back to the 5th and 8th centuries. Huge carved panels depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva, the central, and most imposing, one, is a five-metre bust, representing the god’s three aspects as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. (Elephanta Caves remains closed on Mondays). This afternoon, our tour of Mumbai city includes visits to the Gateway of India,Victoria Terminus, Dhobi Ghat (open air laundry (Laundromat); before we ascend the slopes of Malabar Hill to have panoramic view of Mumbai.

Stay overnight at Mumbai. BLD

Day 3 / Nov 24: .Early morning transfer to airport & board flight to Bhuj.

9W-2535 (Jet Konnect) Mumbai/Bhuj 0640/0830 hrs. Meet upon arrival & 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. Visit to Kutch Museum and evening Mandvi Palace.

Kutch Museum: The Kutch Museum, formerly known as the Fergusson Museum, was founded by Maharao Khengarji III in 1877 AD. This museum was built by the state engineer Sir Ferguson, and thus named after him. This museum remained a private exhibit for the Maharaos till independence and was renamed as the Kutch Museum. The Kutch museum is the oldest museum in Gujarat. This museum is built in the Italian style and located in picturesque surroundings on the banks of the Hamirsar Lake. The museum has a large collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, various archaeological objects, arms and specimens of various crafts of the Kutch region. Stay overnight at Bhuj.

Gujarat woman

Day 4 / Nov 25    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.

Day 5 / Nov 26

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.

Gujarat Market

Day 6 / Nov 27:  After breakfast drive to Bhuj (300 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.

Day 7 / Nov 28:

Take an early morning safari to the Little Rann of Kutch. Though a bleak landscape, it is rich in biodiversity and is an ecologically important area for wildlife and many local and migratory water birds. However, the Little Rann is best known as the world’s last refuge of the Indian Wild Ass (khur).

After lunch will proceed to village safari to visiting Rabari & Mir 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”.

Rabari and camel

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

 

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)

Camels as livestock at the Pushkar Fair, India.

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.

Salt flats

Day 8 / Nov 29: After breakfast drive to Ahmedabad airport to board the flight to Delhi.

AI – 11 (Air India)               Ahmedabad/Delhi                            18:50/20:35 hrs

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

Later on time departure transfer to International airport to board flight to home/onward destination.

 

Included:

Accommodations ( twin sharing basis) as indicated above in the itinerary.
All meals (starting from breakfast on Day 2 till farewell dinner on Day 12)
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
Govt. Service Tax @ 3.09%
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.
A deposit of $1000.00 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

jgavriel@gmail.com

Or FAX the forms to 206-332-0990

jgavriel@gmail.com

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:

Should you choose to use this payment method, you are responsible for all PayPal charges on the transfer of funds. The best “rule of thumb” is to expect to pay an additional 3 % based on the amount of money you are transferring

If this photography tour is not for you, perhaps you might consider forwarding this link to a friend who may like to know about it. Thank you sincerely.

India – cultural kaleidoscope of Rajasthan photo tour / 2015



Tour Extension: Horn Bill festival 

Extension fee: 2957.00 USD

Single accommodation: 850.00 USD

Soulful journey into the land of the misty mountains, as we take you deep inside the heart of Nagaland. Feel the spirited pulse of the real Naga life as you’re caught in a time wrapped impasse, living in hidden tribal villages and heritage cottages. Capture expressions of joy and contentment of living life in its simplest form at a time & place where you’ll find your heart so close to your lens! We negotiate the hilly terrains and districts to experience the sublime cultural fusion of 16 tribes coming together at the Hornbill Festival, creating nothing short of megalomania!

30 Nov/ 2017: Delhi – Kolkata – Dimapur – Kohima

After breakfast transfer to the airport for flight to Dimapur.

6E-605 (Indigo Airline)                      Delhi/Dimapur via Kolkata                            0820/1235 hrs

Upon arrival at Dimapur airport our representative will meet & greet you & drive to the hotel (75 kms / 3 hrs).

Spend the evening relaxing in the peaceful environs of the hotel.

Stay overnight at Camp/hotel.

1st and 2nd Dec / 2017: Kohima camp ( Naga Land)

 

Visit the spectacular Hornbill Festival and explore the village. One of the village description is

described below.

 

After a leisurely breakfast, drive to the Kisama village for the spectacular Hornbill Festival.

Revel in this marvelous riot of colour as you watch all 16 tribes of Nagaland show off the rich fare of diverse cultures and traditional arts that is Nagaland. You can witness the attire, folk music and dance forms, headgear, cuisines, paintings, handicrafts, and other intricacies of the varied tribes and sub-tribes of the state. The highlight of the festival is not only the music, both traditional and contemporary, and dance; you will also be enchanted by the display of exquisite handicraft and handloom. Adding to the excitement is a motor rally, traditional sports like wrestling and archery, a literary fest, and fun events like climbing a greased bamboo pole or chilli eating contests.

 

Having built up an appetite, you return to camp for a sumptuous lunch after which you can choose to relax in its serene surroundings. Or you may choose to explore the charming Kigwema village, just a few kilometres drive away.

 

Kigwema is a quaint old village of the Angami tribe. Literally ‘inheritance of the house’, it is believed that many other Angami villages originated from here. In 1944 the Japanese forces came to Kigwema on their way to attack Kohima, and were provided shelter by the villagers. Walk through the lanes of the village seeing the traditional houses with their impressive wooden pillars, arriving at a local house to experience the Angami way of life over a cup of traditional tea.

In the evening, you have the option of returning to the festivities of the Hornbill festival, in the capital city, Kohima. Get into the spirit of the festival as you enjoy the music of one of the many talented Naga rock bands or scour the night bazaar for local artefacts and Naga delicacies. Be inspired by a fashion show featuring traditional tribal wear as well as contemporary designs or be entertained at the Miss Nagaland contest. Return to the hotel for dinner and a well deserved rest.  Stay overnight at Camp.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 12.13.29

3rd Dec./2017 Kohima –  Dimapur – Kolkata – Delhi 

Today you bid farewell to the breathtaking terrain of Nagaland, as you transfer to the Dimapur airport to board the flight to Delhi.

6E-754 (Indigo Airline)                  Dimapur/Delhi via Kolkata                   1250/1720 hrs

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

If this photography tour is not for you, perhaps you might consider forwarding this link to a friend who may like to know about it. Thank you sincerely.