Gujarat Tribal Tour
12 Nights / 13 Days
Mumbai - Ahmedabad - Bharwad
- Gowala - Patan - Rann of Kutch - Bhuj-Mumbai
Day 1 /: Arrive In Mumbai:
Mumbai and transfer to the Hotel.
Day 2 :- Fly to Ahmedabad
, then drive to Utelia, a feudal village clustered
around a medieval palace. Overnight in Hotel
Day 3:The Bharwad
A pastoral people, the Bharwad are shepherds and cattlemen. No longer wanderers,
most Bharwadi live in villages painting their houses primarily in blues, greens
and white. We visit several, wandering the neat lanes, and perhaps visiting
one or two homes. Some Bharwadi have turned their talents to different occupations;
the polishing and cutting of diamonds is one, and we will be able to photograph
the steps that turn a handful of dull looking opaque lumps into sparkling gems.
At a local camel-breeding farm, the business of producing the finest stock of
camels is explored.
Day 4 :A Stepwell & Sun Temple
Our drive to Balaram takes us away from life today and into the past. We
plan three major stops: a museum, a stepwell (baoli), and a sun temple. The
Calico Museum is one of the most fascinating museums in all of Gujarat, if not
India, and houses an extensive array of tribal fabrics, both modern and antique,
wall hangings, tapestries, and costumes. Adalaj Wav (built in 1499) is the most
famous of the Gujarati baolis (step-wells). These elaborate creations, unique
to Gujarat, were constructed by royal families as a means of ensuring a source
of water throughout the year and as a place of escape from the fierce Gujarati
summers. The stone-clad walls have been adorned with carvings of flowers and
birds, and at the bottom of the five story-deep well, is a small pool of water.
The Modhera Sun Temple dates from the reign of King Bhimdev I (1027/27), and
is said to resemble the famous Konark temple in Orissa. Like Adalaj Wav, Modheras
granite austerity is relieved by the slight of brightly-clad locals walking
around the complex. (Balaram Palace Resort, 3 nights)
Day 5: The Gowala & The Garacia
Tribes that are second cousins to each other, they differ only in the manner
of living; the Gowala are more settled, the Garacia are still prone to roaming,
and their women dress is a manner slightly less ostentatious than the Gowala
females. Their tribal home is among the hills that separate Gujarat from Rajasthan,
and they are primarily sheepherders. One evening we will enjoy a private performance
of tribal dances.
Day 6 :Patan's Patola Weavers and The Rani-ki-Vav
An art that today is only practised by three families, patola is an intricate
form of double ikat weaving that is so difficult and demanding that one sari
can take up to six months to complete. All three families live near Gujarats
oldest baoli, the 11th-century Rani-ki-vav; we will visit one of the families,
and explore the stepwell during our drive into the Little Rann of Kutch. (Desert
Courser Camp, 3 nights)
Day 7 :The Banjara and The Rabari
The Little Rann of Kutch separates Kutch from the rest of Gujarat. It is an
area composed of marshy salt flats and inhospitable terrain. Flamingos breed
in the areas shallow lakes; here too, the last remaining khurs (Asiatic
wild asses) live in a protected sanctuary. Through this land travel the Rabari,
the most nomadic of Gujarats tribes, constantly searching for better grazing
ground for their camels and sheep. Other tribes have settled here, including
the Banjara, who make their living from cattle, and whose female members are
famous for their embroidery.
Day 8 :Into The Rann of Kutch
we head westward into the bleak countryside of Kutch, Gujarats last frontier.
It will be a day of driving, with no scheduled stops, only those of our own
choosing as we head toward Bhuj, the regions capital. This, fortunately,
is the season when the Rabari migrate, so its possible our journey may
be enlivened by meeting a group of them along the way. (Prince Hotel, 4 nights)
Day 9-Day 11:A Melting Pot of Tribes
Megwar. Samma. Jat. Mutwa. Ahir. Rabari. These are just some of the tribes we
will photograph over the next four days as we make daily excursions into the
barren and inhospitable landscape that is the Great Rann of Kutch. Some time
will be devoted to Bhuj, which was partially destroyed by the earthquake that
struck in January 2001. We tour the Old City (via motor rickshaws) seeing, among
other places, the Aina (Old) and Prag (New) mahals (palaces) and visit the Bhartiya
Folk Museum with its exhibits pertaining to local tribal life. We also visit
an artist who is one of only three peple continuing to paint in the Rogan style.
Day 12: Homeward Bound
Saturday morning we fly from Bhuj to Bombay. Upon arrival, we are transferred
to our hotel. In the late evening be driven to the airport for onward flights.