17 Day Textile, Craft & Spice Tour – March ’24 from $6696pp*

Early Bird Bonus – Book & pay before 30 September’23

save $250 per person

Fully escorted tour by Ian Noris- founder, India Travel Specialists.
India Travel Specialists has released its fully escorted 17 Days Textile, Crafts & Spices Tour of North India. Departing in March 2024, this fully escorted tour by India Travel Specialist’s founder, Ian Norris, will introduce you to the textile & crafts patterns & designs of India. Brocade & Chicken Kari works are unique to India & in this tour you will visit the cities famous for their textile & craft industries including Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Varanasi. Participating in this tour will also allow you to “…. experience the living cultures of India”. If you are a keen textile & crafts enthusiast & a lover of food, call Ian now -1300039481- or email us at [email protected] now for full details and early bird bonus offers now!

Itinerary summary: –

Arrive Ahmedabad (2), Dasada (1), Bhuj (3), Delhi (2), Jaipur (2), Agra (1) Lucknow (2), Varanasi (2), Delhi (1).

Regions visited:-

Gujarat / Delhi / Uttar Pradesh


Day 1 - Arrive Ahmedabad

After clearing immigration and customs, we will be met by our representative and will escort us to our hotel.

“Ahmedabad is a city with a right mix of heritage, modernity, liveliness, luxury, technology and infrastructure.”

A rapidly growing metropolis, an industrial hub, an educational hotspot, and a city with a magnificent past – Ahmedabad is one of the most important cities in Gujarat and is fast becoming a very popular tourist destination as well. Home to a plethora of remarkable temples, intriguing museums, serene lakes, good restaurants, and classy market, with a little bit of colonial history attached to it, Ahmedabad is a great example of how a city can still retain every bit of its old-world charm while still rapidly progressing on the path of globalization and commercialization.

Overnight at the hotel (No Meals)

Day 2 - Ahmedabad

After breakfast, visit the Calico museum of textile (Closed on Monday | Public holidays | Subject to Permission), – the premier textile museum of the country. Its outstanding collection of Indian fabrics exemplifies handicraft textiles spanning five centuries and attracts large numbers of visitors from the general public, as well as increasing numbers of Indian and international research scholars. The museum is housed in two buildings, one displaying textiles of religious significance and the other traditional court fabrics, tents, carpets and costumes.

Timing: Morning 10 am – 1 pm (3 hour Visit) – Photography and mobile phones not allowed in the museum.

Later visit, Sabarmati Ashram. In peaceful, shady grounds on the Sabarmati River’s west bank, this ashram was Gandhi’s headquarters from 1917 to 1930 during the long struggle for Indian independence. It’s said he chose this site because it lay between a jail and a cemetery, and any satyagrahi (nonviolent resister) was bound to end up in one or the other. Gandhi’s poignant, spartan living quarters are preserved, and there’s a museum that presents a moving and informative record of his life and teachings.

Thereafter visit local popular market Law Garden becomes a favourite place for shopaholics with vendors and shopkeepers bustling on the scene. You can buy exclusive wall hangings, bandhej sarees, chaniyas (long colourful skirts), antique jewellery and more.

Overnight at the Hotel (B)


Day 3 - Ahmedabad to Dasada (approx. 2.5 hour drive)

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Dasada.

Afternoon Jeep Safari, visit to the Wild Ass Sanctuary at little Rann of Kutch. The Sanctuary is known for Wild Ass, which is found only in this region in India, it is also known for the marshy area where you will see a variety of birds such as flamingo pink, duck and crane.

Overnight at the hotel (B, L, D)

Day 4 - Dasada to Bhuj (approx. 6 hours drive)

This morning visit Tangalia Weaving and then drive to Bhuj with en-route visit of Dhaneti village for the mirror embroidery work.

Bajana is famous for Tangalia weaving the unique art form of Tangalia with its dotted splendor is practiced by the Dangasia Community in Bajana. Dangasia is the only community having the knowledge of this weaving technique. Women of Bharwad community are often seen wearing dotted wrapped skirts of Tangalia weaving.

En-route stops at the Dhaneti village to see the traditional embroidery work of the Ahir community.

Overnight at the Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 5 - Bhuj

Today we will have a full day excursion to explore the Banni Villages (Packed lunch will be arranged from the Bhuj Hotel OR Hot Typical veg Gujarati Thali Lunch).

Sumrasar: Sumrasar is a weaving village and specializing in Suf, Rabari and Garasia Jat embroidery. Visit the home of local weaver to know more about this art.

Nirona: Nirona is home of many arts including the unique Rogan Art, a unique combination of natural oil colors is used to make the incredible patterns on the cloths without any pre-sketch.

Leather art, copper bell making and lacquer work will give you an excellent opportunity to know about the different art forms exist in this small village.

Bhirandiara: Bhirandiara is surely one of the most beautiful villages in Kutch, it has a cluster of about 20 houses and every member of the village is an artisan in some way. The local meghwal community is known for its fine embroidery & colourful mud bungas.

Hodka: It is one of the growing rural tourism spots that attracts visitors for its rich art and crafts and strong cultural backgrounds.

Dhordo: The Great Rann of Kutch, is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat. Dhordo Village, 80 kms from Bhuj is now renowned as one visited for its desert with a white sheen, for being the largest salt desert in the world. The White Sheen on the desert is unique and therefore attracts visitors in large numbers. Dhorodo village is also centre for Mutua embroidery (small mirrors, leather embroidery and silver jewellery). Guests can purchase handicrafts directly from the artisans here.

Overnight at the Hotel (B, L, D

Day 6 - Bhuj

This morning we will visit Tie & Die Work.

Thereafter, visit the Prag Mahal, which may at first seem slightly out of place at the far western edge of India, looking more appropriate in France. This is a palace commissioned by King Pragmalji in the 1860s, designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins in the Italian Gothic style and built in the middle of Bhuj.

Next to Prag Mahal is Aaina Mahal (Closed on Thursday), now serves as a museum. The Aina Mahal palace or “Hall of Mirrors” was built during the flamboyant rule of Lakhpatji in the middle of the 18th century.

Then proceed to visit the Kutch Museum (Closed on Wednesday & Public holidays) the oldest museum in Gujarat, founded in 1877 by Maharao Khengarji, it has the largest existing collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, dating to the 1st century AD, as well as examples of the extinct Kutchi script (now the language is mostly written in the Gujarati alphabets) and an interesting collection of coins (including the kori, Kutch’s local currency.) A section of the museum is devoted to tribal cultures, with many examples of ancient artefacts, folk arts and crafts and information about tribal people. The museum also has exhibits of embroidery, paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculpture and precious metalwork.

This afternoon we will have short drive (approx. 30 min) to reach Bhujodi village, a major textile centre of Kutch, with the vast majority of the 1200 inhabitants involved in textile handicraft production. Here you can meet weavers and block printers, most of whom belong to the Vankar community.


Later we visit, the Living and Learning Design Centre (LLDC) is a pioneering effort of the Shrujan Trust to preserve, revitalize, and promote the glorious craft heritage of Kutch. LLDC is, however, much more than a museum. Dedicated to the crafts people of Kutch, it is a multi-dimensional crafts education and resource centre that trains and supports craftspeople in traditional crafts so that they are capable of earning a dignified livelihood.

Overnight at the Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 7 - Bhuj to Delhi (1.5 hours flight)

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and visit Ajrakhpur for the famous Ajrakh block printing and then transfer to Kandla airport (approx. 1.5 hour drive) for flight to Delhi.

Ajrakhpur, a major center of the Ajrakh block-printing technique. Ajrakh is the name of a block printed cloth with deep crimson red and indigo blue background, bearing symmetrical patterns with interspersed unprinted sparkling white motifs. The highly valued Ajrakh has also been made in Kutch for the Maldharis or cattle herders’ communities since the time Khatris migrated from Sindh in the 16th century. The printing is done by hand with hand carved wooden blocks. Several different blocks are used to give the characteristic repeated patterning.

On arrival in Delhi, we will be met by our representative who will escort us to our hotel.

Overnight at the Hotel (B)

Day 8 - Delhi

Today we will experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi.

On the tour of “Old Delhi,” you will head out to explore this exotic locale with its narrow dirt roads, myriads of people and inexpensive and colourful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. Drive past the Red Fort, and visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest Muslim mosques in India.

A bicycle rickshaw will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square – so named because of the silver merchants).

Drive past India Gate, a 42-metre archway built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War and Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy.  Today, it is the official residence of the President of India.

Thereafter, visit the most prominent Sikh Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi. It was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, a 17th century Indian ruler. It is open to people of all faiths, castes or creeds. The premises house a sacred pond in which devotees bathe. They believe that this would wash off their misdeeds and thus allow them to attain peace of mind. The ‘Langars’ or the community kitchen proves to be the ideal example of prodigious hospitality of the Sikhs. Anyone and everyone can have scrumptious meal irrespective of caste, color or class. From here, visit the capital’s most striking monument; the 70-meter high Qutab Minar.  Post visit of monument return back to the hotel and relax, rest of the day will be at leisure.

Overnight at the Hotel (B)

Day 9 - Delhi to Jaipur (approx. 6 hours drive)

After breakfast we will drive to Jaipur.

“Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India’s first planned city. Jaipur is a major tourist attraction amongst Indian as well as international travellers. Jaipur is often called the Pink City in reference to its distinctly coloured buildings, which were originally painted this colour to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. The present earthy red colour originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876. This royal place is also rich in heritage, culture and architecture with its splendid fortresses, majestic palaces, tranquil temples and beautiful havelis; Other than these captivating attractions, Jaipur displays exquisite handicrafts and spectacular jewellery. These intricate works of art add life and colour to this Pink City’s uniqueness. Jaipur city has been declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.”

Before reaching to Jaipur, we will visit Amer Fort. The Amber Fort, built by the Kachhawah Rajputs as their capital from 1037 to 1728 and considered the pinnacle of Rajput architecture. The impressive room of mirrors, walls of jewel-encrusted marble, and the royal apartments offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding valleys.

Overnight at the Hotel (B)

Day 10 - Jaipur

After breakfast, depart for Bagru, just a short drive from Jaipur on the highway to Ajmer, this Rajasthani village has developed a decidedly large influence on the art of Indian block printing. In the town of Bagru, the art of block printing with natural colour has been passed down through generations and today we are going to meet one such family who is keeping this tradition alive, “The Titanwalas”. Mr. Suraj Narayan Titanwala (A National Award Winner, by Govt. of India), he was twelve or thirteen years old when he actively began helping out his father. Now his son Mr. Deepak Titanwala is also a part of the Bagru craft tradition.

Bagru printing is a traditional printing technique done using natural colours. This craft is practiced by the ‘chippa’ community in a remote town of Rajasthan. Bagru printing is generally done on a blue or indigo background.

Today, you will get an opportunity to colour your hands with the Bagru block printers during the hands-on experience to know more about this art.

Afternoon will start from a photo stop at the Palace of the Winds, the Hawa Mahal.

We continue on to Jantar Mantar, the incredible open-air Royal Observatory (ca. 1728) housing oversized astronomical instruments and a UNESCO World Heritage site; and City Palace, former residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur, built in the shape of the city itself and now converted to a museum that houses the rulers’ magnificent art collections. Explore the local markets as Jaipur is most famous for its handicrafts.

Tonight, we will be guests for dinner at a local Rajasthani family in their home.  This provides a fascinating window on Indian life and an opportunity to witness up close the traditional society from which India is transitioning to a more urban lifestyle.

Overnight at the Hotel (B, D)

Day 11 - Jaipur to Fatehpur - Agra (approx. 5 hours drive)

Following breakfast we drive to Agra. En route visit Fatehpur Sikri Built in red sandstone, during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. This place was abandoned then due to scarcity of water which could not support the growing population and due to turmoil brewing from the Northwest. Fatehpur Sikri’s history is rich and nostalgic, with the empty walls of the imperial town echoing a past that could not sustain a future.

e will continue our drive to Agra and visit Agra Fort. Few forts in the world have a more fascinating story to tell than the Great Fort of Agra. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace. The construction was started in 1565 and was completed in about eight years’ time. This Fort was just one of the many large, fortified residences that the emperor wanted to have at various strategic points of his empire. According to contemporary chroniclers, the Fort contained over five hundred buildings.

Agra has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort in the city and Fatehpur Sikri nearby. There are also many other buildings and tombs from Agra’s days of glory as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The recorded history of Agra begins around the 11th century, and over the next 500 years, the city changed hands between various kings, both Hindu and Muslim. It is said that no trip to India is complete without at least one visit to the Taj.  “The Taj Mahal rises above the banks of the river in Agra like a solitary tear suspended on the cheek of time.”

Overnight at the Hotel (B)

Day 12 - Agra to Lucknow (approx. 6 hours drive)

Early in the morning savour a travel highlight as you embark on a tour of the Taj Mahal (Closed on Friday), the magnificent tomb of white marble built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who had implored her husband to build a monument symbolizing their undying love for each other.  Some 20,000 laborers and artisans from around the world spent 22 years constructing what became Mumtaz’s mausoleum, which was begun in 1632.  Along with its exquisite symmetry, the Taj features striking examples of pietra dura, a decorative art in which craftsmen embed precisely cut semi-precious stones in marble to form dazzling patterns.

Return to the hotel for breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Lucknow. Enroute stop for washrooms and lunch.

One of the major cultural hubs of the country, Lucknow is affectionately known as the City of Nawabs. The city has established its unique place on a global platform for its tehzeeb (manners), poetry, music, dance, beautiful gardens, grand architecture, old markets and fine cuisine. Lucknow is home to some commendable and renowned buildings. Moreover, the city is a gastronome’s delight, especially for non-vegetarian fare. It has a special appeal among food lovers because of its succulent kebabs and fragrant biryanis.

This evening we will do the Culinary Food Walk” to experience the delicacy of the Awadhi Cuisine. Lucknow as a city has carved a niche by attracting gastronomes, for the want of discovering and re-discovering the Awadhi Cuisine. To date Lucknowites spend the most of their earnings and time on their kitchens. Lucknow is one place that has a full colony of chefs called, ‘Bawarchi Tola’ and then there is a full street, where one can find the best from Lucknow’s very own traditional kitchens.

We take you for this evening walk and make you hop-in, hop-out of the traditional roadside eateries, making you try the best that is on the menu. This is a guided tour with our own set of cutlery and basic dining essentials. It allows you to experience the best of the best, at the unpretentious eateries, without having to worry about how to eat without a fork or to wipe your hands clean after you are done.

Overnight at the Hotel (B, D)


Day 13 - Lucknow

After breakfast, we will explore the key sights of Lucknow. Our tour starts with a visit to the La Martiniere School which was designed by the Frenchman Major-General Claude Martin as a palatial home. Even to this day, Claude Martin is a revered personality in the city of Lucknow. The spectacular building of Constansia often referred to as a Wedding Cake in the backdrop.

Later visit Dilkusha Palace & Gardens, built by a European architect for the Nawab – Sadat Ali Khan. The Nawab only saw this building on its completion and the first words that came to his lips were “Dil Khush Hua” meaning “My Heart is Pleased”, thus it was aptly named “Dilkusha”. The palace and gardens were used as a country house and hunting lodge by the Nawab and his begums. Light game consisting of deer and bears were kept in the surrounding woods for the Begums to indulge in some hunting themselves. Part of the palace was also used as a Maternity Home for the wives of the Nawabs.

Later reach Lucknow Residency, built for the British Resident during 1780-1800, it was originally a large complex of many buildings. It was the scene of dramatic events during the first war of independence in 1857. The main building overlooks the river Gomti and is surrounded by terraced lawns and gardens. Today, only the scarred ruins bear witness to the turmoil of 1857.

Asfi Imambara (Bara Imambara) was built as a relief measure for a devastating famine, in order to provide employment to the subjects of the state by Nawab Asif-ud-Daula’. This is the world’s biggest hall that is devoid of any pillar support, wood, iron beams or concrete walls. Salute the “Nawab” (Prince) lying in peace inside and proceed to see his noble work. Also see the Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gate and Asifi Mosque.

Later visit the Husainabad Complex – The Clock Tower is the highest Clock Tower in Asia and in some ways superior to its counterpart ‘Big Ben’. Today the clock stands motionless but has witnessed all times, the good, the bad and the ugly. Visit the Babylon of East, The Husainabad Imambara (Chota Imambara) – known for its beauty and pieces of décor. This was built in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah and is still considered to be a sacred address by the natives. The beautiful chandeliers, silver seat, sandalwood decor and calligraphy on the walls all are so creative. Admire each one and bow down to the Nawab andhis Mother sleeping inside.

Overnight at the hotel (B)

Day 14 - Lucknow to Varanasi (approx. 6 hours drive)

After an early breakfast commence our drive to Varanasi.

“Varanasi is a holy city. Life here is dedicated to Lord Siva. Like Jerusalem, Rome, and Athens, Varanasi is one of the world’s ancient living cities.  It is the centre of Hindu culture; like Jerusalem it is seen as a holy land and has survived the centuries because of its sanctified place in Indian religious life.”

In the evening, we will take a boat ride on the holy River Ganges where you will witness the beautiful and captivating ‘Aarti’ ceremony’ at twilight. ‘Aarti’ is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, in which wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor are offered to one or more deities. An absolute must see in Varanasi, the evening aarti is conducted every day at sunset by priests, worshiping the river goddess with incense, camphor, flowers and earthen lamps.

Overnight at the hotel (B)

Day 15 - Varanasi

We will rise early this morning and go along with our guide to take a boat ride on the Ganges past the Ghats. Here, pilgrims gather on the You steps that lead down to the river to bathe in the waters of the sacred river as the city begins to come alive in the magical misty light of dawn. We will then take a walk through the streets of Varanasi and return to our hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we will visit the Silk Weaving Centre, a manufacturing industry in Varanasi. Varanasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris.

Weaving is typically done within the household, and most weavers in Varanasi are Momin Ansari Muslims. Many of Varanasi’s Muslims belong to a weaver community that is known by the name of Ansari, which means “helper” in Arabic. For generations they have passed on their craft from father to son, hand-weaving silk on room-sized foot-powered looms.

Varanasi saris are adorned with intricate designs and zari embellishments making it popular during traditional functions and weddings. This silk is used in large part for the production of Banarasi saris, which are a regional type of sari made from silk.

In the afternoon, we will visit Sarnath (Museum closed on Friday), is one of four holy Buddhist sites and an exceedingly tranquil place. It is the place where the enlightened one gave his first sermon. Here, we will visit the Dhamek Stupa- built in 500 CE to commemorate the Buddha’s activities in this location. The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot of a deer park where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment, revealing his Eightfold Path leading to ‘nirvana’

Overnight at the hotel (B)

Day 16 - Varanasi to Delhi (flight)

This morning will be at leisure before transferring to the airport for our flight to Delhi. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight at the Hotel (B)


Day 17 - Depart Delhi

Today is at leisure until our transfer to the airport for our return flight home or onward journey.


17 Day Odyssey of India’s Textile, Craft & Spices Tour

From $6,696 per person*

* Based on land only and twin share accommodation per person.


  • accommodation on twin share basis
  • Indian domestic airfares:-
    • Bhuj – Delhi
    • Varanasi – Delhi
  • airport transfers
  • all entrance fees at monuments as per itinerary
  • services of local English-speaking guides during sightseeing tours as per itinerary
  • exclusive jeep safari in wild Ass Sanctuary at Dasada
  • home hosted dinner in Jaipur
  • block printing at Bagru
  • morning & evening boat ride at Varanasi
  • Aarti ceremony at Varanasi
  • evening culinary Food Walk at Lucknow
  • all currently applicable taxes


  • international airfares
  • expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls. alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera fees at monuments, medical expenses, airport departure taxes etc.
  • Any insurance (a comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended – please see Ian for a quote)
  • Tipping
  • Visa Fees
  • any meals or beverages not specified in the itinerary
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