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
11 Days
TYPE: AoL Escorted | Small Group Tour | Bespoke
STYLE: culture | anthropology | photography | collectors |textiles
Mumbai | Ahmedabad



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


30 January– 8 February 2020
2021 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



Victoria Alexander, Sydney

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

Caroline B Sydney February 2010

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

Wendy – Gujarat

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.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • small group tour
    22 DAYS
    epic adventure
    NEW TOUR: Darjeeling | Shimla | Chandigarh | Kashmir | Ladakh Offered for the first time, this epic, luxurious adventure reveals the mystique of the Himalayas that has long captivated the ...
  • small group tour
    16 DAYS
    22 September - 7 October 2023
    Morocco the Magnificent
    mountains, medinas, marrakesh and more
    Typical of the style of Art of Living Tours, this captivating itinerary offers sublime and intimate riad and heritage accommodation, deep interaction with the local culture, authentic cuisine and a...
  • small group tour
    15 DAYS
    9-23 March 2023
    Rajastahn Reimagined
    New Tour!
    A NEW TOUR: An enthralling, luxury journey through Rajasthan with Australia’s leading connoisseur of India – a small group tour like no other- jewelled palaces, majestic forts, regal estat...
  • small group tour
    15 Days
    13 - 27 JANUARY 2021
    Royal Rajasthan
    Luxurious Exotic Estates
    Rajasthan is where to fall in love with India. 
Welcome to mystery, to enchantment, to unsurpassable beauty. 
To ravishing colour and light. To timelessness. 
To a kaleidoscope of cultures, religio...
  • small group tour
    18 DAYS
    23 April - 10 May 2021
    Viva La Mexico
    New Tour!
    This exciting new small group, guided Tour explores the confluence between pre-Columbian, colonial and modern day Mexico – such a fascinating and multi-layered country. In mythology Mexico was vari...
  • 16 DAYS
    1-16 September 2020
    A Cultural and Holistic Wellness Program
    This journey has been curated so you will experience India in all its intoxicating extremities from seductive, colourful, cacophonous, chivalric Rajasthan to the soothing, sybaritic, other...
  • small group tour
    10 DAYS
    12 - 20 April 2021`
    a beguiling mix of European, American and African influences
    2019 marked the 500th birthday of Havana and sixty years since Fidel Castro swept into Havana to claim the island. The revolution has left an indelible impression on every walk of life in ...
  • small group tour
    18 DAYS
    16 October - 2 November 2020
    an Odyssey - off the beaten path and no ordinary journey
    This is the ultimate Indophile’s journey of the subcontinent, designed for traveller’s who wish to explore a deeper experience and understanding of the sub-continent’s extraordinary culture, histor...
  • 3 Days/Nights
    17-20 November 2020
    Saras Yoga Retreat
    Yoga of Relationships
    This deeply immersive retreat is a rare opportunity to work ‘within’ and learn from one of India’s great masters and my revered teacher this last decade, Saraswathi Vasuvedan who is visiting Austra...
  • small group tour
    2 DAYS
    21 + 22 November 2020
    Sara's Peninsula Yoga Workshop
    the key to holistic well-being
    This two-day weekend workshop is a rare opportunity to work ‘within’ and learn from one of India’s great masters and my revered teacher this last decade, Saraswathi Vasuvedan who is blessi...
  • small group tour
    14 DAYS
    The Enchanted Kingdon
    Bhutan is a country like nowhere else and a still relatively unexplored destination. For centuries, Bhutan has remained shrouded in a veil of mist and very little about it was known to the outside ...
  • small group tour
    16 DAYS
    15-30 September 2019
    Womens Luxury Tour
    ‘a siren call to soul sisters’
    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 wome...
  • tailored journeys
    9 Days
    A Gastronomic Pilgrimage in Catalonia, Basque Country + Rioja
    Spain is infectious if not downright contagious, remarkable for her astounding diversity and the distinctiveness of character, temperament and mood to be found in the 17 regional Autonomou...
  • past tours | suggested itineraries
    10 DAYS
    La Vie en Provence
    10-Day Culinary Odyssey
    This 10-Day Culinary Odyssey can be tailored for private groups of six to eight+ friends/guests. At least 6 months notice is required for Marieke to host the program. The first four nights are in a...
  • small group tour
    13 Days
    7-19 June 2019
    Sri Lanka:
    The Gems
    Sri Lanka, often described as a teardrop hanging off India’s southern coast and formerly colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, retains the staples of a colonial-era paradise—jungles, tea...
  • 12 Days
    Mid May- Mid September
    Trekking in Paradise
    the Mystical Mountains of Kashmir
    This tour is an exuberant and rewarding journey that will nourish heart, mind, body, soul and all the senses.... It has been designed for confident walkers and adventurers wishing to escape all ves...
  • 7 DAYS
    The Enchanting Kingdom
    “If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this”.  Persian poet Jami Kashmir has been romanticised by everyone from the 16th-century Mogul emperor Jahangir (who, when ...
  • small group tour
    15 Days
    11-25 August 2019
    Pearls South India
    seductive south
    South India is a “soft-landing’ for first time visitors to the subcontinent. For travellers who have visited the more hectic north, you will be seduced by her languorous sensuousness. The landscape...
  • small group tour
    9 Days
    20-28 January 2020
    Jaipur Literary Salon
    Jaipur Literature Festival
    As the largest FREE literary festival on earth, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, directed by William Dalrymple brings together some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across South Asia an...
  • small group tour
    10 Days
    30 January – 8 February 2020
    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, wi...
  • small group tour
    11 or 14 Days
    Exotic Cultural and Culinary Tour India
    Exclusive Bespoke Tour
    This exceptional and exclusive 11 or 14-day tour has been designed and conceived by Marieke Brugman, a renowned chef and teacher in her earlier career as co-proprietor of the Howqua Dale G...
  • small group tour
    3 Days/Nights
    10 - 13 February 2020
    Sacred Music Festival
    Music, Song and Dance
    The three days at Nagaur is private and restricted to two hundred privileged guests, housed in gorgeous, well-appointed royal tents, the same ones we use on our Royal Rajasthan Tour. The fifteen te...