A Compass India Inc. Representative will receive you at the airport and facilitate your hotel transfer.

Originally an archipelago of seven islands on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai was named after Mumba Devi, patron goddess of the Koli fishermen indigenous to the area. In the 19th century, reclamation work joined up the islands in a long, narrow strip of land that is the Mumbai we know today. This bustling metropolis is India’s commercial capital and home of Bollywood, the world’s largest movie industry. A city of contrasts, Ferraris and Porsches stand shoulder to shoulder on Mumbai roads with strikingly retro Premier Padmini cabs, and glitzy malls stocking super luxury brands co-exist side by side with buzzing local markets.

Overnight will be at Mumbai.

After breakfast proceed for the city sightseeing.

The decidedly un-fortress-like business district to the North of Kolaba is popularly known as Fort and gets its name from a long-dismantled East India Company fort that, soon after the Maratha Wars, gave way to the grand colonial buildings which give this part of Mumbai its distinctive architectural flavour. Of note is St. John’s Church, dedicated to British soldiers who laid down their lives in Afghanistan and Sind in the 19th century.

To travellers flying into Mumbai, the city’s most recognizable feature is perhaps the Marine Drive, a long sea-facing promenade that runs from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill in a shallow arc, curving along the lapping waters of the Arabian Sea. In the evening, the Marine Drive glitters in a stunning crescent of light and is appropriately named “Queen’s Necklace.”

What the Queen’s Necklace is to air travellers today, the Gateway of India was to the seafaring visitors of the early 20th century. Built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to the land of their subjects, this magnificent arch was ironically also the point from where the last British ship departed India after the latter gained independence in 1947. A flight of steps leads down to the sea where motor launches bob in the water, offering short cruises to tourists. After sundown, and weather permitting, the excursion is well worth the fare as the view from the sea towards the dramatically illuminated Gateway is nothing short of splendid. Towards the east lies Apollo Bunder, abuzz with street vendors, fortune-tellers, evening walkers and tourists.

Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay Sir Bartle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Piccadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Terminus is one of India’s busiest railway stations and. a unique amalgamation of Indian and Gothic architectural styles. The centerpiece of the station is a 160 foot high dome and an ode to progress in the form of the statue of a woman carrying a torch. Movie buffs may be interested to know that Victoria Terminus featured prominently in the Academy Award winning “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The English Gothic Mumbai High Court Building was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, a British engineer, and dates back to 1878. On the western face of this majestic structure stand the statues of Justice and Mercy.

Made of local Kurla stone, the 280 foot tall Rajabai Clock Tower is an amalgam of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture, and boasts of absolutely stunning stained glass windows. Presently, the tower houses the University of Mumbai library.

Built in 1880, the terraced Hanging Garden on Malabar Hill sits atop the three reservoirs which supply water to all of Mumbai and offers a spectacular view of the city.

Transfer to the airport to take flight for Ahmedabad. Reach and check into the hotel.

Archeological evidence suggests that the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 10th Century. In the course of its long and checkered history, Ahmedabad has been variously ruled by the Solankis, the Delhi Sultanate, the indigenous Muzaffarid dynasty of, the Mughals, the Maratha warrior kings of neighbouring Maharashtra and the British. Each ruling dynasty have left their mark on the cultural and architectural landscape of the city, leading to a “fusion” style that’s unique to Ahmedabad.

Today, Ahmedabad is a thoroughly industrialized metropolis known for textile both modern and traditional, automobile manufacturing, jewellery and gemstones and so on.

Overnight will be at Ahmedabad.

The Sidi Bashir Mosque, colloquially called Jhulta Minar or Shaking Minarets, is one of Ahmedabad’s most popular tourist attractions. The two minarets at the entrance are designed in such a way that if one is shaken, the other vibrates too, although the connecting passage between them remains perfectly still. This 16th century mosque is a fine example of Ahmedabad’s “fusion” architecture, with the classic Islamic domed minarets covered with intricate stonework in the style of traditional Hindu temples. A similar blending of styles may be observed in several other monuments in Ahmedabad, including the Jumma Masjid, the Rani Sipri Mosque, the Sarkhej Roza, the Rani Roopmati Mosque and so on.

The Sultanate-era step wells from the 15th and 16th centuries are yet another interesting feature of Ahmedabad. These deep wells go down over five stories underground, their inner walls covered from floor to ceiling with intricate sculptures from Hindu mythology, although the wells themselves were Islamic in origin. The lower floors of the well are significantly cooler than the surface in the hot summer months, and one can easily imagine womenfolk from a bygone era, spending time in their comfortable depths, resting, talking and praying before the stone figurines. Dada Hari Ni Vav and Adalaj ni Vav are Ahmedabad’s two best known step wells.

The 1622 Shahibaug Palace (also spelt Shahibagh / Shahibaugh) was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Today it houses a memorial to Sardar Vallabhai Patel, freedom fighter and visionary statesman from Ahmedabad. Poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore lived in Shahibaug Palace for a short while during his youth. The experience inspired his eery novella “The Hungry Stones.” Today, a memorial marks the poet’s association with the palace.

The jewel in Ahmedabad’s crown is the hallowed Sabarmati Ashram, the riverside retreat that served as Gandhi’s home for over 12 years. Gandhi used the grounds for grassroots level economic and agricultural activities, and evolved and advocated his ideas of satyagraha (the seeking of truth). The famed Dandi March, widely regarded as a major watershed in India’s non-violent freedom struggle, began at the gates of Sabarmati. With typical wry humor, Gandhi declared it fitting that the Ashram was sandwiched between a crematorium and a prison, for both were inevitable destinations for a satyagrahi. Today, the Ashram houses the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahashala or the Gandhi Memorial Museum that has a wealth of life-size paintings, photographs, books, letters and personal effects of the most extraordinary human being to have lived in our times.

The magnificent Hathisingh Jain Temple(also spelt Hathi Singh Jain Temple) is another highlight of Ahmedabad. Covered with intricate marble carvings, this 19th century temple is dedicated to the 15th Tirthankara (teacher/spiritual guru) of Jain tradition.

Stately stone gates of triumph or Darwazas may be spotted all over Ahmedabad. These date back to the time of the city’s construction.

A stone’s throw from Shahibaug Palace, the fascinating Calico Museum of Textiles is one of the world’s foremost textile museums and research centers and has a rich and colorful collection of traditional handicraft textiles through the ages.

The Vishalla Utensils Museum has an intriguing collection of utensils through the ages, showcasing the ingenuity and craftsmanship of their makers, the collection ranging from vessels made of leaf from a thousand years ago to modern stainless steel.

The Tribal Museum located at Vidyapeeth has a wealth of artifacts that paint a detailed and fascinating picture into the daily life of the myriad tribes of the region

The Kite Museum is unique in India and has on display kites from the world over accompanied by photographs and illustrations.

Overnight will be at Ahmedabad.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

We shall use Sayla as a base to explore traditional handicraft textiles in neighbouring artisan villages. Nearby Limbdi is a prominent center for the exquisite mirror-work embroidery that is famous for.

A short distance away are tribal villages known for their beadwork. The tradition of decorating clothing with embroidered beads goes back to almost prehistoric times in, and today’s artisans carry forward the old traditions, having replaced clamshells and seeds with clay, wood and glass beads.

Also a short drive away, traditional weaver communities who use the stunning Ikat technique of creating fabric out of yarn that has been meticulously tied and dyed. You’ll see samples of both single Ikat fabric where tied and dyed warp (vertical weaving) is interwoven with regular weft (horizontal weaving) and double Ikat fabric where both are tied and dyed.

Also recommended is a visit to the walled town of Wadhwan. A former princely state located by a now-dry river, it’s a land of eery legends. The river is said to have dried up after a woman cursed the town, not holding water even in the rainy season. The only hope was a dry step well, which, according to a prophecy, would bear water only if a newly married couple sacrificed their lives. Two young people volunteered, and according to legend, with every step they took inside the well, the water level rose, first to claim them, and later to provide succor for the thirsty town to this day. The 55 meter deep Madha Vav is named after the brave groom of legend for his sacrifice.

On a more cheerful note, Wadhwan today is famous for its vibrant, all natural Bandhni or tie and dye work and a visit to an artisan community to see the process to Bandhni is highly recommended, as is a visit to a local traditional metalworks workshop.

Enjoy a walking tour of the villages.

Overnight at Sayla.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to Gondal

A gateway into Jetpur, a center for traditional block-printing, and the historic town of Junahgarh, Gondal is renowned in its own right for handicrafts and its remarkable horse breeding farm.

Of interest is the 18th century Naulakha Palace, with its exquisite stone carvings, elaborate jharokhas (traditional windows) and spiral staircases. The palace’s private gallery has on display a comprehensive collection of royal artifacts as well as beadwork, brassware and textiles.

Also of note are the beautiful murals of Swaminarayan Temple and the Bhuvaneshwari Ayurveda Pharmacy that practices Indian traditional medicine using the millennia old principles of Ayurveda or the “Science of Life.”

Overnight will be at Gondal.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

A short drive from Gondal on the banks of the Bhadar River, lies Jetpur, one of the major centers in India for traditional block printing and textile dyeing. Jetpur’s Cotton Saree Udyog is also well known. Interestingly, Jetpur today is a major exporter of the traditional printed African Chitenge and Kanga garments.

Junagarh, also known as Sorath, is the capital of the princely state of Junagarh, and is known for Buddhist relics more than two thousand years old, the stunning Bahauddin Makbara with its intricately carved domes, minarets and spiral staircases, as well as the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills and lakes. The town’s museum has a great collection of Nawabi opulence in the form of carpets and tapestry embedded with gems and precious stones.

Overnight at Gondal.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Later, drive to Jamnagar in your Compass approved vehicle.

A relatively new city by Indian standards, Jamnagar has recently grown in importance as a site for some of the country’s major oil refineries. Jamnagar is also a city of medieval forts, palaces and, thanks to its proximity to the famed Rann (Gulf) of Kutch, marine aquariums and bird sanctuaries. The nearby Vanza communities are known for their stunning Bandhani tie and dye creations.

Sightseeing in Jamnagar

Pratap Vilas Palace is a gorgeous example of fusion architecture. While broadly following European architecture styles, the building sports ornate domes and highly intricate stone carvings of flowers and animals that are unmistakably of Indian lineage.

The 19th century Lakhota Fort was built in the center of Lakhota Lake, using its waters as a moat against foreign invaders. Today the fort houses the Lakhota Museum. On display are a giant whale skeleton, medieval artifacts and a large collection of weaponry that would once defend the fort. The museum walls are covered with colorful frescos depicting battle scenes.

The 16th century Darbargadh Palace is the original royal residence and is a blend of traditional Rajasthani and European styles.

Willingdon Crescent was a medieval experiment in town planning and urban relocation replacing slums with modern arcades with elaborate arches and pillars. The Crescent is today a market where you can pick up some fine specimens of bandhni although Compass recommends you wait for a visit to a traditional village where you can buy them from the artisans themselves.

The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is created around two dykes that separate seawater from fresh water allows one to observe an incredible diversity of flora and fauna belonging to both ecosystems. The sanctuary also has marshland and mangrove and is home to over 220 species of birds, some of them highly endangered.

Visit the Vanzas who are known for their bandhani tie-and-dye saris.

Overnight at Jamnagar.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to Bhuj, stopping at Rajkot to see the Watson Museum. The museum has a great collection of colonial and medieval artifacts as well as beautiful samples of traditional tribal handicraft. Also of interest is the Rashtriya Shala, which in keeping with Gandhian principles of economic self-reliance, is working closely with weaver communities to create a sustainable economic model using traditional production techniques.

Continue to Bhuj.

As part of the textile and handicrafts trail, do visit Lilapur Village for embroidery work, Bhujodi for weaving, Dhamanka for block printing and Dhaneti for the traditional exuberant “Ahir” work. Government permits are needed to visit some of these villages. The Compass India Inc. team will be happy to assist you in the same.

On the Little Rann of Kutch, the Anjal Wild Ass Sanctuary is the last surviving habitat of the highly endangered Asian Wild Ass. The Rann area is saline desert and occasionally gets submerged by salt water from the gulf. This gives rise to islands of vegetation called “baits” which sustain the herds and draw them to the area by the thousands. Other notable animals in the park include wolves, jackals, blackbuck and nilgai.

Overnight at Bhuj.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Visit villages around Bhuj. These are known for their distinctive styles of embroidery, weaving, block-printing, Rogan painting and so on

Nearby is Dholavira, a recently excavated Harappan site, the second largest in India. A highly urban civilization, the Harappan people are the earliest known inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent, the ruins dating back up to four thousand and five hundred years! Among the artifacts found in Dholavira are large stone inscribed stone slabs, suspected to be the world’s first signboards, tools and utensils, items that suggest trade with distant Mesopotamia, and evidence of exemplary town planning, complete with an elaborate underground sewage system and a stadium.

Overnight at Bhuj.

Breakfast will be at the hotel. Later, drive to Mandvi.

The 16th century town of Mandvi was once an important trading center straddling the marine spice route as well as the overland camel trade route. While most of the 8 meter high walls surrounding this once fortified city have crumbled, a part of it stands and functions as a lighthouse. The Mandvi Beach is pristine, white and inviting. Lined by picturesque palm plantations, they are ideal for a quick hidden getaway in the sun. Stroll up to the lighthouse or visit a dhow building yard to see the handcrafting of traditional seafaring vessels.

Overnight will be at Mandvi.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

The stunning early 20th century royal palace, Vijay Vilas, is a blend of Rajput architectural styles with those of the regal palaces of Orchha and is a must-visit. The palace has its own private beach and is popular as a Bollywood shooting location.

Also of interest are the Wind Farms Beach, with windmills lining the coast, the Bandhni Bazaar, and the Topansar Lake.

Nearby are villages with Bhunga houses, known for their traditional conical thatched roofs.

The handicraft school at Tunda Vandh is one of the highlights of Mandvi. Home to the Rabari or Rewari herdsmen known for cattle and camel-rearing, Tunda Vandh is one of the few places left in India where you can witness the nomadic community’s old ways of living. The Rabaris are also famous for their stunning embroidery work and you may look forward to a fine taste of that at the handicrafts center. Relax at beach and spend rest of the day in leisure.

Overnight will be at Mandvi.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Surrounded by wetlands, Dasada is a great base for you to explore the unique ecosystem of the region, as well as the unique traditional handicraft of the Rabari community. We’ll visit a few craftspersons to watch up close and first hand the process of creating the Rabari embroidery.

Dasada is a gateway to the salt desert expanse and marshes of Little Rann of Kutch. Driving in open vehicles can afford the visitor a rewarding, close-up experience of the area’s unique denizens, including the magnificent and rare Indian Wild Ass, as well as wolves, jackals, hyenas, jungle and fishing cats and the stately Nilgai, one of the largest antelope species found in India.

Overnight will be at Dasada.

Drive to Patan, a hub for the gorgeous and rare Patola textiles, created using the difficult and rare Double Ikat Technique of tying and dying individual strands of fabric. A must-visit for any traditional handicraft enthusiast.

The gorgeous 11th century Sun Temple of Modhera is a short drive from Dasada. Designed in such a way that every equinox, the rays of the sun would fall on the gold idol of the god that once stood at its center, the temple is an architectural marvel and is known for stunning erotic sculptures, deep and intricately carved step reservoirs, highly ornate pillars and sculptures of the sun god in his various aspects.

Return to Dasada and relax in evening.

Overnight will be at Dasada.

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Drive to Ahmedabad airport for your flight for Mumbai.

Later, the Compass India Inc. team will escort you to the airport for your flight home.


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