GUJARAT: THE LAND OF LEGENDS, CULTURE & CRAFTS

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12 days / 11 nights trip
named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the 50 Tours of a Lifetime

 

Custom itineraries and daily departures are available upon request

Costs based on a minimum of 2 persons traveling together, excluding airfare.

Ahmedabad – Bhavnagar – Sasangir – Rajkot – Bhuj – Dasada

You will start your trip with a walking tour of Ahmedabad Old City recognized by UNESCO, experiencing the city’s rich Muslim and Hindu heritage, including a visit to Sabarmati Ashram, home of Mahatma Gandhi from 1915 to 1933. Continue on your cultural exploration further north; visit the Adalaj step-wells, with their breathtaking ornamental designs. Onward to Bhavnagar via the historic city of Lothal to view some of the greatest of maritime architecture from the ancient world. Time to test your legs, as you disembark in Palitana, climb the 3500 steps (option to take a palanquin) to visit 900 11th century temples. Sasan Gir National Park, home to about 300 Asiatic lions (Panthera Leo), gives you a break from city visits, with fresh air and open wilderness. As you travel from Sasangir to Rajkot, you will make several stops along the way, allowing you to further explore the richness of the state of Gujarat. From Rajkot, head to Bhuj, located in the Kutch region, known for its sturdy horses and cows as well as for a wide variety of its handicrafts. You will enjoy a visit to the Kutch desert to see some of the traditional villages and the tribes who have inhabited this harsh land for centuries. Your last stop is in Dasada, with its harsh but spectacular landscape surroundings it is home of the Indian Wild Ass. Mind abuzz you will end your trip back in Ahmedabad!

For the third time, National Geographic Traveler has recognized Immersion Journeys for one of its “50 Tours of a Lifetime”. This time, it is for Gujarat: The Land of Legends, Culture & Craft. This recognition will be featured in the May 2015 issue of the magazine and on their website.

From the rocky heights of the Sayadhri Mountains across to the salt flats of the Desert of Kutch (Raan) Gujarat in western India has something for everyone. Wander through remains of one of the oldest civilizations in the world – the Indus Valley civilization; amble with the lions of Gir Forest National Park; discover the land of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth; and enjoy the explosion of sound and color, joy and dancing, that are the nine nights of Navratri.
A culturally distinct part of India, and one of its historically important trading centers, Gujarat has sophisticated handloom textiles and is a global hub of diamond-cutting and trade — just ask five millennia of seafarers, merchants and settlers from around the globe.
With its exquisite stone architecture and richly decorated mud homes, abundant wild life, colorful festivals and eclectic traditions, vibrant Gujarat is a great destination to explore!

About the selection

“This year marks 10th years of our editors selecting the world’s best guided tours,” said Norie Quintos, acting editor in chief of National Geographic Traveler. “In that time the types of immersive and experiential trips have only multiplied; tours are going farther and deeper than ever before. The trips and operators we selected are a model for the rest of the travel industry: They open the world to travelers and at the same time leave a positive impact on the destinations and its people.”

National Geographic Traveler magazine has been recognizing the best tours and outfitters for travelers for the last eight years, as part of the magazine’s mission “to propel readers out of their armchairs and into the field.” We couldn’t agree more!

Past recognitions of Immersion Journeys trips include:

2012- Ghana: Culture, Wildlife & Heritage

2013- East India: Temple Mythology & Mountain Peaks

From the rocky heights of the Sayadhri Mountains across to the salt flats of the Desert of Kutch (Raan) Gujarat in western India has something for everyone.

Wander through remains of one of the oldest civilizations in the world – the Indus Valley civilization; amble with the lions of Gir Forest National Park; discover the land of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth; and enjoy the explosion of sound and color, joy and dancing, that are the nine nights of Navratri.
A culturally distinct part of India, and one of its historically important trading centers, Gujarat has sophisticated handloom textiles and is a global hub of diamond-cutting and trade — just ask five millennia of seafarers, merchants and settlers from around the globe.
With its exquisite stone architecture and richly decorated mud homes, abundant wild life, colorful festivals and eclectic traditions, vibrant Gujarat is a great destination to explore!

Day 1 Arrive Ahmedabad

Welcome to Ahmedabad! You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Ahmedabad is one of India’s fastest growing cities and the landscape is changing continuously with modern glass and chrome building replacing traditional ones.
Breakfast

Day 2 Ahmedabad Heritage Walking Tour

Your guided walk begins from the picturesque Swaminarayan Mandir in Kalupur and ends in the most glorious architectural legacies of the Jumma Masjid, covering in between the numerous pols (Lanes), havelis (villas), ornamental facades, workplaces of artisans and number of magnificent Hindu and Jain temples. Parts of the Old City were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2017. Visit Sabarmati Ashram that played home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1915 to 1933.
Breakfast

Day 3 Adalaj Day Trip

Visit the Adalaj step-well situated 11 miles north of Ahmedabad. Built in 1499 A.D. by Queen Rudabai, the step well or Vav- intricately carved and is several stories in depth. It was made for the travelers and caravans that frequented this trade route and acted not only as a well, but also as a stopover. The bas-relief on its walls and pillars include leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breathtaking ornamental designs.
Breakfast

Day 4 Ahmedabad-Lothal-Velavadar Blackbuck Park

Travel to Bhavnagar via the historic city of Lothal. This Indus Valley civilization site and you can see some of the best examples of the Harrappan town planning here, with the unique lock gated dockyard – perhaps the greatest of maritime architecture from the ancient world. Check into your hotel near the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park- over 34 square kilometers boasting of 95 variety of flowering plants, 14 species of mammals (Blackbuck, Indian Grey Wolf, Striped Hyena, Indian Fox to mention a few) and 140 species of birds.
(B, L, D)

Day 5 Velavadar Blackbuck Park – Palitana – Sasangir

Depart for Palitana. Atop a hill there are about 900 intricately carved temples going back to the 11th century. You can choose to either walk-up the 3500 steps to the temples or go up on palanquins! Continue to Sasan Gir National Park home to about 300 Asiatic lions (Panthera Leo). Gir today is the only place in the world, outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. Option to go on a short nature walk. The rest of the evening is at leisure with dinner at the hotel.
(B,L,D)

Day 6 Sasangir

Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives into the park. Gir has become one of the best-protected sanctuaries in India. No wonder that from 20 Lions at the turn of the century there are now over 300 lions at Gir. This makes your chances of sighting a Lion very high.
(B,L,D)

Day 7 Sasangir-Junagadh-Gondal-Rajkot

We travel towards Morbi with a brief stop in Junagadh- the ‘soul of Saurashtra district and a amazing mix of the old and new with its bustling bazaar and monuments. Onward to Gondal, a fortified town located on the river of Gondali. Present day Gondal is a testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinhji, who introduce social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century. Our final stop is the small town of Rajkot for your overnight stay.
Breakfast

Day 8 Rajkot-Bhuj

Depart for Bhuj located in the region of Kutch with its vast expanse of the mesmerizing Rann of Kutch. Kutch is famous the world over for its sturdy horses and cows as well as for a wide variety of its handicrafts. We take a tour of Bhuj city. The tour starts at the Bhuj Palace which bears the marks of the massive earthquake. Also see the beautiful wooden filigree work done on the Zenana Mahal or Queens Palace that stands opposite to the main palace.
Breakfast

Day 9 Bhuj/ Raan of Kutch

This morning we will visit teh Kutch desert region to see some of the traditional villages and the tribes who have inhabited this harsh land for centuries. These people wear beautifully embroidered clothes and intricately carved jewelry. This is a great opportunity to purchase some of their crafts that are widely exported worldwide. We will also visit the Raan of Kutch (desert) and experience the endless expanse of white thanks to the percolating salt that crusts the surface of the desert.
Breakfast

Day 10 Bhuj- Dasada

This morning depart for Dasada after breakfast. Home of the Indian Wild Ass, Dasada is also a birders paradise. In the afternoon enjoy a ride into the park to see the Wild Ass in its natural habitat. This is rough but spectacular landscape and your naturalist will tell you about this harsh yet amazing place which is still home to a large variety of life.
(B,L,D)

Day 11 Dasada – Ahmedabad

Drive back to Ahmedabad and overnight.
Breakfast

Day 12 Depart

Depart for your return home or onward extension.
Breakfast

$5,295 per person/ $1,385 single room supplement

* This trip does not operate between April 16 and September 30 due to Sasangir park closure.

Inclusions:

  • Meet and greet assistance in all cities
  • Accommodations with private bath, including taxes and service charges
  • Meals as indicated (B = Breakfast and L-Lunch or D-Dinner where indicated)
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle with an English speaking driver/guide
  • Game drives at Velavadar Blackbuck National Park and Sasangir
  • Entrance fees to monuments, sightseeing and excursions as indicated
  • Immersion Journey luggage tags

*Note: Gujarat is a “dry” state and therefore all alcohol sales are strictly controlled by the government.