The western state of Gujarat is renowned for its distinctive handicraft and textile traditions. You can experience the best of these on this 11-day tour of the state. Starting in the capital, Ahmedabad, you can visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, one of India's finest cultural collections. Continue through a number of architecturally significant towns and cities, including Vadodara and Bhavnagar. End with a few days in and around Bhuj, on the edge of the spectacular Rann of Kutch Desert, and awash with finely produced textiles and local crafts.

Highlights

  • Visit one of India's finest museums, the Calico Museum of Textiles in Ahmedabad
  • Meet the craftsmen and women who produce elaborate textiles in Bhuj
  • Explore the sacred sites of Pavagadh and Shatrunjaya Hill
  • Admire the intricately carved mosques at UNESCO-listed Champaner

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ahmedabad Ahmedabad
Day 2 Ahmedabad Sightseeing Ahmedabad
Day 3 Ahmedabad to Vadodara, then Pavagadh & Champner Ahmedabad
Day 4 Vadodara – Lothal – Bhavnagar Bhavnagar
Day 5 Bhavnagar – Palitana – Diu Diu
Day 6 Free Day in Diu Diu
Day 7 Diu – Gondal Gondal
Day 8 Gondal – Bhuj Gondal
Day 9 Explore Tribal Villages Around Bhuj Bhuj
Day 10 Explore Villages Near Bhuj, including Mandvi Bhuj
Day 11 Bhuj to Mumbai - Depart India  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ahmedabad

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Ahmedabad
Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Ahmedabad

Arrive in Ahmedabad and be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. 

Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 and has been called the Manchester of the East. Situated on the banks of the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad is full of architectural delights, such as exquisite carved wooden mansions, havelis, and labyrinthine lanes.

Day 2: Ahmedabad Sightseeing

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad
Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad

This morning, take a heritage walk of Ahmedabad for 2-3 hours, visiting some of its amazing cultural and heritage sites. The walk commences from Swaminarayan Temple Kalupur, includes 20 main spots, and concludes at the 15th-century Jama Masjid. The Ahmedabad heritage walk model is being replicated throughout India as a way to preserve heritage. 

Later, visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, one of India's leading specialized museums, and the Shreyas Folk Museum. The Calico Museum was built in 1949 to display India's vast textile heritage. It includes textiles from as long ago as the 15th century, as well as Mughal carpets, weapons, and amulets. The Shreyas Folk Museum, built in 1974, houses objects from all over India, including masks, costumes, weapons, toys, musical instruments, and many handicrafts.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional Guajarati dinner with entertainment.

Day 3: Ahmedabad to Vadodara, then Pavagadh & Champner

Kalika Mata Temple, Pavagadh
Kalika Mata Temple, Pavagadh

After breakfast, we will drive to Vadodara, which takes about 4-5 hours. 

Later, take an excursion to nearby Pavagadh, a major Hindu pilgrimage site atop a hill. The Mata Kali Temple can be reached via hundreds of stairs, or a cable car (ropeway) to the the midpoint. After, visit Champaner, a UNESCO World Heritage site, at the base of Pavagadh hill. Built in 1484, Champaner consists of 114 monuments of historical and archaeological interest. The most famous is the Jama Masjid, with its impressive interior courtyard, porches, arches, and slender minarets. 

Day 4: Vadodara – Lothal – Bhavnagar

Shatrunjaya Hill, Bhavnagar
Shatrunjaya Hill, Bhavnagar

Visit Lothal today, one of the most important cities of the ancient Indus Valley civilization. The most popular site at Lothal is the massive ship dockyard. Ancient Lothal was also famous for its arterial streets; gold, ivory, and coppersmiths' workshops; pottery; and underground sanitary drainage. You can see remnants of these when touring the archeological site.

Later, drive to Bhavnagar, the fifth-largest city of Gujarat, which offers an insight into traditional Gujarati culture. Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel here, as it's where you're spending the night.

Day 5: Bhavnagar – Palitana – Diu

Fishing boats in Diu
Fishing boats in Diu

Today, drive to Palitana, an important place of worship in Jainism. It's famous for its hand-woven bamboo products as well as its beautiful temples. The city has around 1300 temples, with intricate carvings and architecture, constructed over millennia.

Walk to the top of Shatrunjaya Hill to visit the temples and enjoy the view. Visit the Jain Temple dedicated to Shri Adishwara, the first Jain Tirthankara (apostle), and one of the most magnificent and sacred temples on Shatrunjaya Hill. Also visit the Chaumukha, or four-sided temple, with a picture of Adinath facing in the four cardinal directions. They were built at different times but most belong to the 16th century and bear many common architectural features. 

Later, drive to Diu, a city that mixes tradition and modernity. Along with Goa, it was once a Portuguese colony, and there are a number of historical monuments and structures to explore.

Day 6: Free Day in Diu

Fort on Diu Island
Fort on Diu Island

Today you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Diu at your leisure. Here are a few suggestions for things to see and do in the city:

  • St. Paul's Church. This church is adorned with intricately carved scrollwork and shell-like motifs, and the magnificent wood carving is considered the most elaborate of all Portuguese churches in India.
  • St. Thomas Church Museum. This Gothic building was built in 1598. Part of it has been turned into a museum and archaeological treasure.
  • Fort de Diu. This majestic structure is on the coast of Diu Sentinel. The majesty of the stonework will help transport you to the times when Portugal ruled this part of India.
  • Nagoa Beach, shaped like a horseshoe, is very beautiful and quiet. 

Day 7: Diu – Gondal

A temple in Gondal
A temple in Gondal

Today, drive to Gondal, about 4-5 hours from Diu. Gondal is a picturesque town with plenty of gracious architecture, wide tree-lined roads, and even European lampposts. After checking in to your hotel, visit Bharwad and other pastoral villages around Gondal town, as well as the Riverside Palace, Royal Garages, Naulakha Palace, and the Vintage Car Museum.

Day 8: Gondal – Bhuj

Aina Mahal, Bhuj
Aina Mahal, Bhuj

Leave Gondal today for Bhuj, a journey of about 5-6 hours. Bhuj has an ancient history. It got its name from Bhujia Fortress, which can still be seen atop a hill with great views of the city. A settlement around Bhuj existed during the Indus Valley Civilization, but the city itself was founded in 1510. During the British rule of India, the city was an independent part of the princely states, and after independence became a part of the Republic of India.

After arriving in Bhuj, take some time to go and get the necessary permission to visit the tribal areas in the following days. In the evening, visit a nearby tribal market.

Day 9: Explore Tribal Villages Around Bhuj

A woman in Kutch wearing her traditional dress
A woman in Kutch wearing her traditional dress

Today, after breakfast, leave your hotel for a full-day trip to the group of Banni villages. Visit the villages of Hodka, Ludiya, and Dhordo to meet the local inhabitants, who belong to the Jat, Harijan, Meghwal, and Mutva communities, among others. In these villages you'll see a number of craft and folk traditions, including embroidery, leatherwork, wood carving, and well-made mud houses. Each village is different, so enjoy spending time in each and learning about the various traditions.

In the area of Banni in Kutch, the Meghwal-Harijans (who migrated from Rajasthan) use the special Kambira, Kharek, and Kudi Stitches in their embroidery, as well as satin dot outlines and very tiny mirror designs. They make wall hangings, vests, and wallets in the Kharek stitch, and make beaded pieces to decorate portable fans, bracelets, toys, and belts.

Day 10: Explore Villages Near Bhuj, including Mandvi

A village in Kutch, near Bhuj
A village in Kutch, near Bhuj

Spend a second fascinating day touring villages around Bhuj, where distinctive styles of embroidery, tie-dye, weaving, and block printing are practiced and part of everyday life. You'll visit the villages of Niroma (famous for its painting) and Bhujodi (with traditional weaving practices).

Continue on to Mandvi, on the banks of the Rukmavati River and on the Arabian Sea in the Gulf of Kutch. Visit Vijay Vilas Palace, a royal abode from 1920 set in the middle of well-laid gardens. The architect and craftsmen were from Jaipur, and the building is an example of the traditional skill of craftsmen in the early 20th century

Day 11: Bhuj to Mumbai - Depart India

Mumbai
Mumbai

Today it's time to say farewell to Gujarat. You'll be transferred to the airport in Bhuj for your flight to Mumbai, and then home or to your next destination in India or Asia.