Textile Traditions of Central India

16 Days in Central India: Mumbai | Bhopal | Maheshwar | Kathiwada | Ahmedabad | Dasada | Bhuj

  • Mumbai
  • Bhopal
  • Maheshwar
  • Kathiwada
  • Ahmedabad
  • Dasada
  • Bhuj

Please contact us for a detailed itinerary and current price  Trip Code: WV20TTCI

  • Introduction

    Textile traditions are woven into many communities of Central India and are renowned for the highly developed and rich skills of their weavers, craftsmen, and artisans.

    An immersive journey through Central India and the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, into ancient cities and rural regions for an insight into long-standing textile traditions. Stay enroute in stylish heritage hotels in settings of a riverside temple town, a country estate and city mansion. Traditional and authentic stays are a contrast experienced in remote regions when meeting semi-nomadic communities to learn of their crafts which have been passed down through generations

    Unique food and dining experiences add another layer to this tour. Your accommodation at each point presents the finest regional cuisine, while you have the opportunity during the days’ explorations to sample local specialities at small restaurants and street food stalls (with guidance from your guide, of course). The foodie focus can be taken a step further with cooking demonstrations/classes and behind the scenes experiences should you wish.

    This itinerary is designed for textile enthusiasts. There are some long drives and “off the beaten track” on country roads to reach the real artisans to learn their traditional techniques. Travellers with a healthy spirit of adventure will be amply rewarded.

    As this itinerary is tailor made it can be customised to meet your particular interests and time frame.

  • Day 1 Mumbai

    You will be met and welcomed upon arrival at Mumbai airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

  • Day 2 Bhopal

    Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Bhopal.

    Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation, a 30-minute drive.

    Check in at Jehan Numa Retreat.  With a cluster of suites, the Retreat sits within a garden of organic herbs and vegetables, shaded with wide canopied trees, almost adjacent to Van Vihar National Park, Bhopal’s natural oxygenator. This property is designed to be a place of leisure, to rejuvenate, perhaps indulge in a spa treatment and enjoy quiet time interests.

    Those looking to explore, time permitting, could visit the city of Bhopal and either of the two world heritage monuments each within an hour’s driving radius; The Buddhist monuments at Sanchi and Bhimbetka Caves.

    Wildlife enthusiasts may wish to visit “Van Vihar” a combination of National Park, Zoo, rescue centre for wild animals and conservation breeding centre for vital species.


  • Day 3 Bhopal

    Today discover Bhopal on a guided sightseeing tour with visits including the Tribal Museum and a local textile store.

    The Tribal museum in Bhopal is thoughtfully planned with a massive collection of arts, rituals and day to day items used by the tribal community. India’s tribal heritage which comprises of over a hundred different communities with their regional various across the states are depicted through narratives, signages, their art, craft and textile installations. The entire campus is theme based where every community is given its it’s due exposure. On request and prior notice, the Museum curator is available for a guided tour.

    The Mrignayani chain of stores is a unique marketing initiative by the State Government to showcase and sell a wide range of products which comprise hand woven textiles of Chanderi, Maheshwari and Kosa Tussar as sarees, stoles and fabric. The highly developed skills of weavers, craftsmen, and artisans reflect the rich crafts heritage of Madhya Pradesh.

    Other recommended visits are Bhimbhetka and Sanchi, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, if time does not permit on your arrival day in Bhopal.

    For textile enthusiasts, the town of Chanderi, a five-hour drive from Bhopal, can be included in this itinerary with additional accommodation at Kaafila Camps.  Sightsee with a local guide In Chanderi, an interesting medieval town of forts, ruins and temples, the weavers of Chanderi, a gossamer rich fabric, have handlooms and stores from where they sell their fabric.

  • Day 4 Maheshwar

    This morning depart Bhopal for the drive to Maheshwar. The journey is around 6 hours.

    Upon arrival check into the Ahilya Fort Hotel. Located on the banks of the sacred river Narma,  lies Ahilya Fort, built in the 18th century by the Queen of Maheshwar, Ahilya Bai Holkar, it has been a luxury Heritage residence since 2000.  With the current generation still in residence the suites and rooms are designed differently and offer a royal heritage experience with well curated local experiences.

  • Day 5 Maheshwar

    Today visit the “Rehwa Society” and learn of the origins of fine Maheshwari handlooms, the foundation of the oldest organisation involved in their revival, meet the craftspeople working to create the fabric, and the enchanting beauty of the town from which the craft derives its name.

    Maheshwari handlooms owe their name to Maharani Ahiaba Holkar, the ruler of the state of Indore in the late 18th century. Her reign was deemed the Golden Age, and she is revered even today by one and all in Maheshwar as “Devi Ahiaba “or “Ma Saab”.

    In the 18th century the Maharani invited weaver communities to come and teach her people the craft of weaving. The community of weavers that settled in Maheshwar due to her efforts were from Mando who used to weave textiles for the Royal families of the Mughals. This was known to be the finest fabric in all of Madhya Pradesh. The craft slowly found royal patronage and thus, the handloom weaving tradition in Maheshwar began. The products at the Rehwa Society range from sarees, dupattas, stoles, shawls and fabrics.

  • Day 6 Maheshwar

    Today spend time visiting the major sights of Maheshwar with a local guide.

    Maheshwar is one of India’s ancient temple towns, with a riverside fort. Picturesquely sited on the north bank of the Narmada River, Maheshwar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. It is built on the site of an ancient city mentioned in the Sanskrit epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. It was the capital of the Malwa during the Maratha Holkar reign until January 1818, when the capital was shifted to Indore by Malhar Rao Holkar III.


  • Day 7 Kathiwada

    This morning depart Maheshwar for the drive to Kathiwada. The journey is around 5 hours.

    Upon arrival check into your accommodation at Kathiwada Raaj Mahal, 120 acres of privately owned orchards. Surrounded by the Vindhya mountains, the 19th-century colonial style mansion makes for a striking picture framed by clear blue skies, mountain views and vast stretches of farmland.

    Recently restored by Ms Sangita Devi Kathiwada, the Mahal is the perfect meeting of timeless heritage with contemporary luxury. The eleven suites retain an old-world charm and display hunting memorabilia, art deco furniture, precious books and family photographs depicting the Kathiwada royalty for many centuries.

  • Day 8 Kathiwada

    Today meet with Ms. Sangita Kathiwada, an expert in the field of textile and design. With her flagship store Melange in Mumbai, Ms. Kathiwada lent her aesthetics to the interiors of Kathiwada and used specially commissioned hand-woven fabrics to decorate the interiors of the palace. Different textiles were used while framing the family photos, with colours and textures for curtains, blinds, beds and couches giving each room and suite a unique ambience.

    Afterwards visit, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Champaner, an archaeological park comprising palaces, gates, arches, mosques and temples dating back to the 8th century.

    Also visit Chhota Udepur a tribal dominated district. The Rathwa tribal people who live here produce the Pithora mural paintings by mixing colours with liquor and milk to create intricate motifs and scenes on the walls of their village dwellings.

    The Tribal Museum displays an interesting collection of artefacts of the people and their culture. Every Saturday there is a tribal market which is a hub for local artisans who make Pithoda paintings and terracotta horses


  • Day 9 Kathiwada

    Today visit Bagh, a 90-minute drive, to see the rock-cut Buddhist caves of Bagh which are 2000 years old. They are also known for their tempera mural paintings which date back to the 5th to 7th century.

    Bagh located on the banks of the Bagh River, also has some of the award-winning traditional hand block printers who still practise this laborious and unique textile art.   “Bagh” is a hand block print made with natural vegetable colours of red and black over a white background, printed on fabric with replicated geometric and floral compositions.

    Other activities include a tribal home visit to see wall art and the work done under the Kathiwada Foundation which works on rural development projects with local communities.

  • Day 10 Ahmedabad

    Today drive from Kathiwada to Ahmedabad via Vadodara. The journey time is around 5 hours.

    Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is known for the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the residence of the Baroda State’s Maratha Royal Family and the Gaekwads of the Gaekwad Dynasty.

    Upon arrival in Ahmedabad check into your accommodation at the House of MG.

    An iconic twentieth-century mansion, formerly a Mangala’s family home, now a full-service premier boutique heritage hotel. The House of MG was built by one of the city Fathers and it wonderfully represents the colonial heritage architecture of the early 20th century, replete with courtyards and verandas, overflowing with greenery. The superbly restored property has 38 beautifully appointed rooms, offering all modern amenities in a grand but homely ambiance.

    A gallery showcasing traditional textiles of India from the Mangala’s family collection, a Tribal heirlooms boutique and a heritage bookstore are the latest additions to the hotel.

  • Day 11 Ahmedabad

    Today guided sightseeing in Ahmedabad will highlight the textile traditions of Gujurat.

    The former capital of Gujrat, Ahmedabad has emerged as an important economic and industrial hub of India. It is also the second largest producer of Cotton in India. The textile industry  dates back to the 19th century, when the city and the industry was established under the British. Textile mills employed thousands of people from across the state, and the cotton garments manufactured were exported across the world. The prosperity of the industry was the mainstay of the city’s economy. It is monikered as the Manchester of India.

    Visit the Calico Museum of Textiles, the premier textile museum of India with a distinguished and comprehensive collection of Indian textiles. The Museum is one of the most celebrated institutions of its kind in the world which also with the Sarabhai Foundation houses a collection of outstanding bronzes, Pichwai paintings, Jain art and Indian miniature paintings.

    There are many private textile collections that can be accessed with prior request and various stores that highlight the textile traditions of Gujarat such as the Bandhini Sarees stores.

    Other places to visit include the Sabarmati Ashram, one of the many residences of Mahatma Gandhi who lived at Sabarmati and Sevagram.

  • Day 12 Dasada

    This morning depart Ahmedabad for the drive to Dasada. The journey is around 3 hours.

    On arrival at Dasada, check into your accommodation at Rann Riders, an eco-resort built with local materials.

    Rann Riders Resort is an ethnically designed eco-resort, set among wetlands and agricultural fields. The resort has imaginatively designed cottages that blend with the rural countryside in which it is situated. Located near Dasada village, it makes the ideal base to explore the culture, weaves and handicrafts of the Surendranagar district.

    Afterwards you have the opportunity to visit picturesque old towns and villages in and around the Little Rann, where you can interact with semi-nomadic communities and learn about their crafts, which have been passed on through generations.

    The women of the Kharapat Rabari community, a pastoral group in the village of Dasada, create exquisite embroidery using herringbone stitches interspersed with small mirrors and occasional chain stitches for peacocks and other motifs. At their houses you can see fine embroidery on dowry sacks, sets of eight wall decorations including toran, chakla, and pardo, horn coverings for their cattle, covers for their bullocks and chaniya-choli-odhani (sets of skirt/blouse/veil) as well as beautiful heirloom pieces.

    A variety of weavers can be visited in villages around Dasada. One of the unique weaves of this region is the Tangalio in which weavers add extra knots on the weft creating motifs and figures in a dotted pattern on the woven fabric. Artisans weave shawls, stoles and garments using this technique.              


  • Day 13 Bhuj

    Today depart Dasada for the drive to Bhuj. The journey is around 6 hours.

     Upon arrival check into your accommodation at The Bhuj House.

    Bhuj is a historic small town in the Kutch district of Gujarat. Situated in this historic town is The Bhuj House, a traditional Parsi courtyard house now a comfortable and personalised home stay. It was built in the late 1800’s and has seen 7 generations of the Bhujwala family and also withstood the devastating quake that hit Bhuj in 2001.

  • Day 14 Bhuj

    Bhuj, a small city in Kutch is the historical hub of the textile trade. Nomads have been travelling through Bhuj for hundreds of years, stopping to barter and sell their colourful tribal textiles embellished with mirrors, shells and bells. From hand-stitched embroidery glittering with mirrors, to impossibly complex patterned fabrics block printed by hand, the handicrafts found in and around Bhuj are a technicoloured dream. There are also private collectors whose collections can be viewed with prior request.

    Bhuj is the hub from where you can drive to many nomadic tribal settlements. You may wish to visit the village of Ajrakpur to see their Ajrak printed fabrics, and who still practise the fine art of embroidery and batik, using dyes traditionally made from pomegranate, indigo and iron.

  • Day 15 Bhuj

    Today take a guided City Tour of Bhuj

    Bhuj was the capital of the former princely State of Kutch. On your tour visit Aina Mahal, an 18th century palace, designed in a mixed Indo-European style, and Prag Mahal, a 19th century palace in Italian Gothic style, located next to it. A climb up the stairs of the 45-metre bell tower offers an exhilarating and rewarding view of the city!

    Visit the Bharatiya Sanskriti Darshan Museum. Mr Ramsinhji K Rathod, a Scholar of the Folk Art of Kutch created this Museum. On display are artefacts such as leather embroidery, woodwork, terracotta, wall paintings, beadwork, stone carvings, musical instruments and silver work, epitomizing the rustic life styles of the Kutchi villager.

    You may also like to call in to the Kutch Museum, the oldest in Gujarat, founded in 1877. A section of the museum is devoted to tribal cultures, with many examples of ancient artefacts, folk arts and crafts and information about tribal peoples. It includes exhibits of embroidery, paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculpture, precious metalwork and much more.

  • Day 16 Bhuj

    Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to Bhuj airport for your departure flight.

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