Gujarat Tribals + Textiles – ‘off the beaten path’

This is an exotic odyssey through Gujarat in Western India for adventurers, collectors and photographers. Art of Living has designed this tour for guests who will enjoy an imaginative itinerary, wish to share Marieke’s enthusiasm for roads less travelled and are eager to explore a region not much visited by Western tourists.

Feel enriched by experiencing tribal communities whose ways of life are fast disappearing and seeing their astounding traditional handicrafts. Go to the homes, houses and villages of exceptional artisans and relish the tantalising mostly vegetarian cuisines.


  • beautiful heritage hotel in Ahmedabad
  • interaction with tribal communities in their traditional villages
  • a cornucopia of exquisite hand-crafted textiles
  • the exceptional collections at the famed Calico Museum


Now in its 10th year
10 Days
TYPE: AoL Escorted | Small Group Tour | Bespoke
STYLE: culture | anthropology | photography | collectors |textiles
START | FINISH: Ahmedabad | Mumbai



A mix of luxury, heritage, resort and best available in Bhuj city
All meals, guide, entrance fee, porterage


Luxury mini coach and internal airfares included


29 January– 7 February 2019
2020 TBA


from USD6000 twin | double share

Minimum 4 guests, maximum 10 guests





    Arrive into Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat – a city rich with 500 years of architectural styles and many mosques, step wells and temples. Accommodation for the first three nights is at the incomparable and very lovely House of MG, the former elegant mansion of the prestigious and wealthy Muslim Mangaldas Girdhardas family who have reclaimed it and converted it into a most personable boutique hotel, and one of my favourite places of respite in India.

  • DAY 2


    There is much to be accomplished in the city today, not least seeing the exceptional collection of Textiles and bronzes at the Calico Museum, paying tribute to Gandhi at his original ashram, touring the Shreyas Museum of Folk Arts, the architectural marvel that is the Adalaj-ni-Vav stepwell, and picking up exceptional art books from the wonderful Arts Centre bookshop.

  • DAY 3


    The morning begins with a heritage walk before breakfast. This remarkable city is a treasure trove of architecture from crumbling mansions, to mausoleums, mosques and nunneries, to buildings created by le Corbusier. Later, visit the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum that houses ancient and medieval Indian art treasures, sculptures, bronzes, manuscripts, paintings, drawings, miniature paintings, woodwork and bead work. Lunch today is at Vechaar, a quirkily interesting village-like environment with a museum of old utensils.


  • DAY 4


    Today is a feast for the senses visiting the 1026 A.D. Sun Temple of Modhera, a de Esch like structure. Rani-ki-Vav is one of India’s most astounding stepwells discovered in almost pristine condition in the 1980’s and boasting many storeys of very beautiful classical sculpture; Patan, a beautiful old town with Jain Temples is the famous home of Patola (double ikat) silk saris.
    This evening arrive at your lodge bordering the Little Rann of Kutch – a vast salty desert that feels quite surreal; where mirages abound and the parched earth unfolds endlessly in all directions.

  • DAY 5


    Today cross the State to reach the old walled city of Bhuj, capital of the Kutch (“Kachchh”) region known as the “Jaisalmer of Gujarat.” Bhuj is a medieval maze of tight, winding streets, flurried marketplaces, ancient palaces (now museums), and Hindu temples decorated with gaily painted gods, abandoning themselves to the joys and terrors of all their incarnations. Someone described it as “stepping into a Salman Rushdie world of mystery and intrigue”.

    Settle into your comfortable inner city hotel before we visit the private home of a collector of museum-quality traditional textiles.

  • DAY 6


    Whilst hand-embellished textiles are the bedrock of the rural economy of Kutch, the region has equally fine terracotta, metal and wood crafts.
    Meet directly with artisans in their homes and workshops to meet experts who will illuminate your appreciation of historic and contemporary textiles – fine wool weaving in Bhujodi village, outstanding bandhani (tie+dye) created by Jabbir and his talented family, silk single ikat, and the village of Ajrakhpur where the Khatri family have revived the ancient tradition of block printing with natural dyes.

  • DAY 7


    Today’s highlight is the new museum dedicated to the artists of Kutch. Also visit QASAB, a phenomenal rural enterprise project engaging over 1200 women in embroidery production.

    Afternoon tea with a designer who relocated from Sydney several years ago and is now based in Bhuj where she creates one–off contemporary clothes incorporating traditional textiles and old embroideries.
    Later this afternoon spend time in the wonderfully colourful bazaars of the old city and visit the night markets.

  • DAY 8


    Today, venture north to the wonderful tribal regions of the barren and inhospitable Rann of Kutch’s vast salt plains that separates the state of Gujarat from Sind in Pakistan to experience the various facets of tribal life.
    Visit the villages of Khavda, Hodko and Dhordo. Meet Sufiya in her village home where you can learn the intricate art of mirror-work (shisha embroidery).
    Accommodation for the last two nights is a small lodge resort in the peaceful countryside.

  • DAY 9


    Known as the ‘Melting Pot of Tribes’, the Rann of Kutch region is home to many unique tribes (communities), known for their fascinating and colourful culture and traditions. The major tribes of the region are the Megwar, Samma, Jat, Mutwa, Ahir and Rabari whose traditional lifestyles are increasingly under pressure from modernisation.
    Visit nearby villages where they create metal and lacquer work.

  • DAY 10


    This morning, for the energetic, there is the opportunity to trek up the hills to a fascinating temple.

    Your rooms are reserved until you drive back to Bhuj to take your flight to Mumbai and home or onward directions.

    • Jaipur Literary Festival
    • Rajasthan by Road
    • Mumbai and the Ajanta Caves



As my Ikat parrots fluttered in the breeze today I again felt lucky to have spent time in gorgeous Gujarat.
Thank you for more wonderful memories of India and for making the past two weeks so memorable.
Your thoughtful professionalism is deeply appreciated.
Gandhi is so right. The world has much to learn from India and I’m very grateful to have been fortunate enough to be able to be delighted by the spirit and people of it in your capable hands.  
With my love, Victoria. X

Dear Marieke….. home now where the snake charmer’s rug has found a perfect home. Everything here looks so pale, but it’s lovely to hear rain and eat avocado!
It was a truly remarkable trip, and I cannot say enough how much I admire your attention to detail, logistical prowess, standards, energy and ability to make a group cohere (inspired cocktails!) . You paced it all perfectly, calibrating the experience like a theatre director. I have made a list of eleven people I am going to write to about the trip and about the experience of traveling with you, we’ll see who nibbles and says they want to know more…
I know that many things will stay with me for life about this trip, and have inspired me on so many levels about day to day living.
Namaste! C xx

Hi Marieke, What an amazing trip you and Durga created for us in Gujarat and now we have wonderful memories to ponder on and talk about, and the mystery of India will stay with me for ever. It’s vibrancy and zest for living is something I hope I will be able to show to Brian too before long as its an experience everyone should have once in a lifetime.  We were so lucky to go to such special places that wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for you and Durga and to go into people’s homes and experience their lifestyles was amazing, and Durga’s knowledge and his pride in showing his country to us, and his respectful friendliness to everyone he meets is a great lesson.  Thank you so much Marieke for making it all so memorable.  
Have fun, Wendy


Your Tour Leader, Marieke Brugman.
For over twenty years, Marieke has been leading tours to the Subcontinent that enthral guests. The exotic vibrancy of India, its explosion of colour, thronging bazaars, amazing stillness in even the largest crowds, elegant and hospitable people, whether from regal lineage or simple, dignified rural-dwellers, and their arts and crafts, their rich spiritual traditions, the commonplaceness of the unexpected and the surprising, and a vast and complex cultural and culinary history of immense variety and diversity of landscape captivate and beckon year after year. Marieke brings to her tours a meticulous sense of planning, passion, engagement and humour.

Your Tour Leader, Thakur Durga Singhji. Durga has worked with Marieke in India for over two decades and he is without compare when it comes to guiding guests in India. An exceptional guide and host, he is a proud, aristocratic Rajput, Durga brings his culture and country vibrantly alive. 
A rare Renaissance man with interests as diverse as philosophy, religion, contemporary politics to farming, tribal culture, music, poetry, Durga sports not only a grand moustache but also a wonderful sense of humour.
A marvellous and engaging raconteur, his insights will leave a lasting impression.

Our Man on the Ground in Bhuj, Pravin Dangera.
Pravin was a disenchanted lawyer who turned to tourism because of his love of meeting people and his dedication to his local communities, especially after the tragic earthquake that decimated much of the region in 2001. The sweetest of souls, a keen photographer, Pravin seems to know everyone in Kutch and speaks all the local dialects. He has worked with documentary and film crews, photographic expeditions, conservation groups and textile scholars and aficionados from all over the world. For Pravin, nothing is ever too much trouble.


For further details or to request a brochure on this tour please complete your details below.


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