13
Days Gujarat - India Tour (I-16)

Bombay (Mumbai) - Ahmedabad - Vadodara - Lothal - Velavadar - Bhavnagar - Palitana - Wankaner - Bhuj - Banni - Tunda Vandh - Mundra - Mandvi - Bombay (Mumbai)

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Day 01:- Arrive in Mumbai. City tour of Mumbai.

This morning you will arrive in Mumbai and will be transferred to your hotel. Mumbai earlier called “Bombay” got its new name Mumbai due to the popular temple of the city, “Mumba Devi.” It consists of seven islands and is the finance capital of India. It is a city of people shrouded in wealth as well as people rolling in extremely poverty. Asia’s biggest slum Dharavi is in Mumbai. You will start this West India & Gujarat holiday package with a city tour of Mumbai. This afternoon, you will be taken to the Hanging Gardens located on the beautiful slopes of the Malabar Hills as well as Kamla Nehru Park offering a marvelous and panoramic view of the Chowpatty Beach as well as the Marine Drive. You will continue with your tour and visit Mani Bhawan, Prince of the Wales Museum, Gate of India and Dhobi-Ghat and will drive through Marine Drive, Flora Fountain and Crawford market. Overnight is in Mumbai.

You will be transferred to Mumbai airport in time for your ahmedabad flight. On arrival in ahmedabad you will be transferred to your hotel. ahmedabad located on the banks of the River Sabarmati was known as the "Manchester of the East". ahmedabad is a favorite city for the architects. Mahatma Gandhi established the Sabarmati Ashram in 1917 which became the centre of nationalist activities and the Independence movement of India started from here. The city is famous for it yummy food and Gujarati thalis and other Gujarati snacks like dhokla, Khakhra, etc . The city is also known for its festivals and kite flying. Navaratri are celebrated with people performing the local folk dances - Garba. Overnight is in ahmedabad.

This morning, you will be visiting the Siddi Saiyad Mosque, Jama Masjid, White marbled Hathee Singh's Temple, Dada Hari Baoli and Sabarmati Ashram. Ahmed Shah, fused Hindu and Persian architecture which gave birth to the Indo-Saracenic style and many mosques were built in this style. Siddi Saiyad Mosque a famous mosque has stone latticework windows on the side and rear arches. Hathee Singh’s Jain Temple was built in 1850 in white marble by a rich merchant Seth Huthising Kesarising. The temple known for its intricate carvings and architectural designs is dedicated to 15th Jain Tirthankara Dharmnath. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight is in ahmedabad.

Today you will be transferred from ahmedabad to Vadodara by road. Vadodara, is a large industrial city of Gujarat and is on the banks of River Vishwamitri. During the reign of Maharaja Sayajirao III, Vadodara grew the best and the city was also known as Sayaji Nagari due to this ruler. The important festivals celebrated here are Diwali, Holi, Eid, Uttarayana, Navaratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc. Garba is celebrated in the city with song and dance. The locals spend their evenings in the various Garba grounds and dance the Raas and Garba dance forms till late nights. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight is in Vadodara.

You will be taking a city tour of Vadodara today for visiting the different places of interest in Vadodara, which is also known as Baroda or Sayaji Nagar or Sanskari Nagari (Cultured City). The places of interest in Vadodara are Laxmi Vilas Palace, Nazarbaug Palace, Dakshinamurty Temple, Hazira Maqbara, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, etc. Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum has artifacts from all over the world. The Lakshmi Vilas Palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. Nazarbaug Palace built in 1871 is the Gaekwad's royal palace and is now in ruins. Hazira Maqbara is the grave of Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan. Afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Vadodara.

You will be taken by road from Vadodara to Bhavnagar. On the way you will be visiting Lothal & Velavadar. Lothal meaning mound of the dead dates back to 2400 BC, is one of the important cities of Indus Valley or the Harappan Civilization and has the world's earliest known dock connecting to the various places. The other two important centers from that period Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa are in Pakistan.

Copper objects, beads, ceramic wares which have been found here have a uniform standard as the Harappans were a well planned people and had planned cities with well made roads, underground & surface drains, baths and wells. Lothal was an important trading centre and traded in beads, stones, and produced bronze celts, ornaments, chisels, spears etc. The Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar has blackbucks, jackals, foxes, wolves, hyenas, cats, wild pigs, hares, etc. Overnight is in Bhavnagar.

You will be enjoying a full day excursion to Palitana and will be returning back to Bhavnagar. The Palitana Jain temples are on top of the Mount Shatrunjaya which means place of victory and every Jain wishes to visit them at least once in their life, to attain salvation. The main temple is dedicated to the first Tirthankara Rishabha. The Palitana temples numbering 863 were built over a period of 900 years in white marble - which signify purity. The important temples are Adinath, Kumarpal, Sampratiraja, Sahasrakuta, Ashtapada and Chaumukh. Some of the temples have marble floors with patterns and carved interiors and ceilings with geometrical lace designs. While climbing the 3800 odd steps, you are supposed to be silently praying and be on fast. The descent has to leave before evening, as the temples were built for the divine, no one can stay overnight here. Overnight is in Bhavnagar.

Today you will be taken by road from Bhavnagar to Wankaner. Wankaner is known for its ceramic industry. The historical Wankaner Palace built by the Maharaja of H.H. Amarsinhji in 20th century, is one of the most beautiful palaces of India. The palace is full of decorative doors, antique chairs, mirrors, etc. The Royal Oasis is now a heritage hotel. Rest of the time is at leisure. Overnight is in Wankaner.

Today you will be transferred from Wankaner to Bhuj visiting enroute Bhujodi and Dhamdka. Bhujodi is a textile centre with majority of the 1200 locals, mostly from the Vankar community involved in textile and handicraft industry. Bhujodi, is the centre for pit loom weaving and produce colorful carpets, blankets from camel wool, goat hair and cotton. There are weavers, block printers and tie-dye artists here. The Ashapura Crafts Park, is a non-profit wing to help artisans display and sell their products. Shrujan is a non-profit wing to allow women to market their products. The Shrujan campus displays embroidery exhibits. Dhamdka is a major center of the ajrakh block-printing technique. Overnight is in Bhuj.

You will be visiting the Collector's office for a permit to visit the restricted Banni Villages. (Office is closed on all public holidays including Saturdays and Sundays). The rest of your day will be spent in the sight-seeing of Bhuj. Bhuj was built in the year 1510 AD by Rao Hamirji and Rao Khengarji I made Bhuj his state capital in 1549. The main religions of here are Vaishnav Hinduism and Jainism. The first Swaminarayan temple was built here in 1822. The other important temples are Umiya Ma Temple, Lakshminarayan Mandir, Desh Devi, etc. Visit the Hall of Mirrors at the Aina Mahal, the bell tower of the Prag Mahal, the Kutch Museum with its 2000 year old Kshatrapa inscriptions and Ramakund step well. Bhuj is known for its handicraft work. Overnight is in Bhuj.

Today, you will be enjoying an excursion to some of the Banni villages. Handicrafts are a tradition and various communities make embroidered garments with attractive fabrics for a second income. Dhorodo is a centre for Muthwas embroidery with chain stitches with small mirrors, leather embroidery and jewelry. Sumrasar is known for Ahir and Soof embroidery. Hodka is famous for Meghwal embroidery and leather work. Tunda Vandh is known for bhungas of Kachchh. Ludia is known for its wood crafts. Zura is known for its footwear, leather crafts and copper bells. Nirona is known for embroidery, wood crafts, carving and rogan painting. Nakhtarana produces tie-dye work. Overnight is in Bhuj.

Your full day will be for visiting Tunda Vandh, Mundra and Mandvi. Tunda Vandh is a Rabari village with gracefully designed Kachchhi huts with the insides of the huts colored in a beautifully native art. Mundra is unique town capturing the true Gujarat, Kutchi culture and is famous for its tie-dye and block-print textiles. The Lal Bungalow, now a heritage site was built by Khengarji III and took 16 years to build. It has a distinctive architecture with 55 rooms and 5 floors with all teak ceilings. The Vijay Vilas Palace with well-laid gardens, water channels and marble fountains is quite attractive. The Swaminarayan Temple at Mandvi is quite visited by the worshippers. Overnight is in Bhuj.

This day you will be transferred to Bhuj airport in time for your Mumbai flight from where you will be connecting to your return/onward flight. As most of the flights depart after mid-night, accommodation is not included in Mumbai.Depart for your return/onward journey.

End of Gujarat Tribal Holiday Package ends.