Mother India specially calls to women like a siren with her intoxicating colours, scents, sights, multiplicity of cultures and cuisines and ancient spiritual traditions. This tour is ideal for women seeking the company of like-minded souls and those who feel a reluctance to travel solo in India. It will appeal to singles, intergenerational friends, soul sisters, young and mature women, mothers and daughters.
This luxury tour is Marieke’s personally conceived program that responds to that zeitgeist, offering a women’s only tour that will enable you to travel with like-minded adventurers, at a slow enough pace that allows a deeper immersion beyond the tourist veils. Get behind the scenes of style, fashion, design, jewellery with leading female exponents and meet thoroughly modern Indian women to understand how they are shaping India’s future. Learn to tie a sari, mix your masalas, see the world through new eyes and nourish your inner Shakti – the divine feminine energy that is creative, liberating and loving.
• behind the scenes with women designers, jewellers, leaders
• early morning walking tour in Mumbai to learn what makes this megalopolis tick
• salubrious accommodations in beautiful boutique hotels and forts
• hands on experiences with block-printing, cooking, wearing a sari
• curated shopping opportunities
AT A GLANCE
LENGTH: 16 Days
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
TYPE: Small Group Tour | AoL
Escorted | Bespoke
STYLE: Culture | arts | architecture | heritage | cuisine | fashion |design
START/FINISH: Mumbai | Delhi
Meals, entertainment and entrance Fees
Heritage, luxury and deluxe
Luxury mini coach
1 – 16 September 2018
2019 – TBA
from USD9975 twin/double share
You will be met on arrival at Mumbai Airport and transferred to your art hotel located in the very happening district of Bandra that is renowned for its hip galleries, cafes, boutiques and galleries, close to the seafront.
Today begins with an historic walking tour that takes in some of the great monuments – Victoria Terminus and the Gateway of India and later a contemporary art tour. You also visit the Marine Lines Station to see the improbable sight of the tens of thousand tiffin wallahs delivering lunches all over the city and enjoy an afternoon tea at one of Mumbai’s chicest designer stores. Tonight dine in Mumbai’s original “paddock to plate” contemporary restaurant.
This morning it is worth getting up early for your dawn walk of Mumbai. You’ll see the vast newspaper distribution, the lively fish markets at Sassoon Docks, the wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and the sprawling flower markets.
This evening, dine privately with the owner of one of Mumbai’s most innovative design stores inside her wonderfully eclectic showroom.
After an early lunch, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Indore followed by a 2-hour drive to Ahilya, a 250 year old majestic Fort, a luxury royal retreat owned by the Francophile and gourmet Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar. The fort enjoys spectacular views of the mighty Narmada River below and within its walls they grow organic vegetables and fruit trees that form the basis for wonderful meals.
Meet with the members of the Maheshwar weaving Rehwa society founded in 1978 by Sally Holkar, in the belief that supporting the spectrum of the Indian handloom provides a dignified and remunerative income earning opportunity for rural women.
There will also be a special sunset excursion on the river.
Today, a visit to the ancient 15thC Islamic deserted city of Mandu or the sacred island temple of Omakreshwar– a veritable mini Varanasi, with a special picnic lunch.
During your free time later, you can relax at the pool or in the hotel spa.
Today fly to Rajasthan’s vibrant capital, Jaipur, home to a plethora of skilled artists and artisans that is a draw card for international designers wanting to create unique textiles, jewellery and fashion. Check into your room at a ten – suite boutique hotel. The capacious, lofty ceilinged rooms are individually decorated in Rajasthani style with sit-outs and bird-filled courtyards for relaxing.
Today, visit the impressive ancient capital, Amber Fort, the Royal Observatory with its beautiful sculptural forms that still function, and the wonderful Anohki textile museum housed in a restored haveli that tells the history of one of Jaipur’s oldest traditions – block-printing.
Go behind the scenes with one of Jaipur’s most renowned jewellery ateliers to learn about gemstones and the settings that make Indian jewellery so unique. Also visit the studio of a contemporary jeweller who works with some of the best artisans of the trade and meet with some leading fashion designers.
Tour the famous block-printing and hand made paper workshops of Bagru and Sanganer and take a workshop. In the afternoon learn to tie a sari and have your hands hennaed before a special meal at one of Jaipur’s most beautiful dining rooms.
There will also be time to join Marieke exploring some of her famous haunts for curated shopping.
After the morning flight to Udaipur, check into your hotel for the next two nights, the incomparable luxurious fort, Raas Devigarh. This is one of India’s most spectacular heritage properties – a stunning 18th C Fort whose architects have retained all the romance and splendour of the original complex, but installed an utterly modern and unique interior. This afternoon there will be a cooking demonstration followed by a sumptuous dinner.
From Devigarh take a day’s excursions to the magical city of Udaipur, an oasis of white marble, soothing lakes and green hills in an otherwise arid region. Here you will visit the City Palace complex and have enough time to roam and explore the old city’s maze of narrow winding streets, home to merchants, artisans, Mewar folk art, jewellery, antiques.
The day concludes with a magical private boat cruise on Lake Pichola.
The ancient Aravali Mountains provide a scenic backdrop for today’s drive to the charming village of Deogarh where you will reside with Marieke’s elegant friends who have created a divine seven–suite, lakeside, haveli inspired boutique hotel of exceptional charm and comfort. Bhavna runs a wonderful kitchen, and together with her husband they extend the warmest of Rajasthani hospitality. Enjoy a cooking demonstration based on family recipes.
Today, drive to the quintessential Raj city of Jodhpur for your last two nights staying at the ever so stylish Raas. Set in the shadow of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort inside the ancient walled city, this 18th-century haveli, now a boutique hotel exudes regal style and modern chic, with the call to prayer from the nearby mosque, a reminder you are in exotic Rajasthan.
This last day will allow you to wind down the pace a little, visiting the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and Royal cenotaphs and wandering the local colourful bazaars. Nearby the hotel, they have recently inaugurated a gloriously chic little retail precinct housed in ancient renovated havelis, in case you need to do any last minute retail therapy.
Mid morning fly back to Delhi and transfer to the lovely Trident hotel where a room for washing and showering is provided. This hotel is an elegant and quiet oasis close to the airport. Enjoy a final early supper together to which we invite a local feminist. Evening transfers to the airport for international departure.
Guests wishing to continue their journey in India can make all their additional plans with Art Of Living.
SUGGESTED TOUR EXTENSIONS:
- Shreyas Yoga Retreat near Bangalore
- Vana – India’s ultimate healing centre near Dehradun
- An Ayurveda retreat in South India recommended by Art of Living
Your Tour Leader, Marieke Brugman Marieke has had an abiding love affair with India for over twenty years and lost count of how many groups she has led and how many curated journeys she has designed for private travellers and small groups. India is sometimes maddening, but always fascinating, surprising, soul-stirring. She has negotiated her way throughout the subcontinent, seeking out its many hidden gems – special spas and yoga retreats, exceptional craftspeople and artisans, ambient hotels with unique character, and by default discovered that many women, more than men, have a yearning to experience and delve into this country like no other. She looks forward to sharing her friends and some of her favourite destinations such as Ahilya and Devigarh. Just as she thought it unconscionable to collect another shawl, Marieke can’t help herself when faced with hand made objects of rare beauty.
Your Tour Guide + Escort, Thakur Durga Singhji is an aristocratic, proud and erudite Rajput whose family seat is Mandawa in the Shekhawati region, north of Jaipur. He is the father of two daughters and a son, and has three granddaughters. He has a marvellous sense of humour, is always unstintingly caring of our guests, and with his vast scope of knowledge and multiplicity of interests, is able to illuminate almost every aspect of his complex culture with passion and clarity. He and Marieke have been collaborating now for over two decades.
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