Tour Details at a glance
27 January - 16 February 2022
21 days / 20 nights
From USD 4590 twin share From USD 5510 including optional single supplement
Minimum 4, Maximum 10
12 nights Heritage Hotels 8 nights Resorts/Lodges
Private air-conditioned Minibus/SUV Auto-rickshaws for some sightseeing Jeeps for village and wildlife safaris
20 breakfasts 18 lunches 16 dinners
Arrival and departure transfers; Entrance fees to all sights as per the itinerary; Local specialist Gujarat full-time guide Porterage in Palitana Guide fees; Tips and gratuities
Incredible Gujarat Tour
Welcome to our Incredible Gujarat tour. One of the less-visited states of India, Gujarat is one of the most interesting and varied parts of this diverse nation. Ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain sites, UNESCO world heritage locations, wildlife sanctuaries, salt deserts, a rich tribal culture and many heritage hotels - homes to erstwhile local kings - dot the state which has a history dating back thousands of years.
Providing a richer and more authentic local experience than neighbouring Rajasthan, Gujarat is the India less travelled and will enthral you with the natural beauty, heritage sites and fascinating culture unique to this part of India.
Experience Incredible Gujarat on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western tour leader and our specialist Gujarat guide. Together with our Gujarat partners, we are the Gujarat specialists.
* discover the amazing Gujarati cuisine with a cooking class
* take a walk through the UNESCO World Heritage old city of Ahmedabad
* explore the ruins of Champaner
* meet the tribal people of the Jambughoda area
* rise to meet the heights of the amazing Jain temples in Palitana
* relax in Portuguese flavoured Diu
* take two wildlife safaris in Gir to spot the last remaining Asiatic Lions
* enjoy nights in Heritage Palaces in Jambughoda, Palitana, Gondal and Poshina
* discover the myriad embroiders and crafts of Kutch
* be amazed at the salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch
* discover the rare Indian Wild Ass in the Little Rann of Kutch
* visit the remarkable temples and stepwells in Modhera and Patan
* chill in the city of lakes, Udaipur
Day by Day Itinerary
Days : 1-2 Ahmedabad
We meet at 12pm for a short tour briefing before enjoying a light lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards we visit Gandhis ashram before enjoying a cooking class in a family home to learn about the myriad taste sensations of the state of Gujarat.
On day 2 we will start the morning on a walking tour through the Old City of Ahmedabad. Recently declared India's first UNESCO World Heritage city, the Historic City of Ahmedabad is a fascinating labyrinth of communities, streets and quite unique social systems that our guide will explain to you.
Later, we will spend the day visiting other sights of Ahmedabad, including the Adalaj Stepwell and the Sarkhej Roza.
Hotel: The House of MG
Days : 3-4 Jambughoda
Travel time: 4-5 hours
Travelling south to Vadodora, we stop off to visit the extravagantly stunning Lakshmi Vilas Palace, royal residence of the Gaekwad (Maharaja) of Baroda, completed in 1890. The erstwhile royal family still live in the palace, at the time of construction reputed to be the largest private dwelling in the world, and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Part of the palace is now a museum and even the small section open to the public does not hide the opulence of this grand palace.
Later we travel on to another, somewhat less opulent palace, Jambugodha, our home for the night. The Maharajah of Jambughoda and his charming wife manage their stately residence which was opened as a hotel in recent years and is situated in the midst of the Jambugodha Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1990 at the behest of the late Prime Minister of India, Mr Rajiv Gandhi.
On day 4 we visit the fascinating ruins of the 8th to 14th century UNESCO World Heritage site of Champaner, once the capital of Gujarat. Largely unexcavated, the site includes fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts and agricultural structures.
Today we also take time to visit one of the small tribal villages home to the Rathwas and Nayaks in the Jambughoda district.
Hotel: Jambughoda Palace
Day : 5 Palitana
Travel time: 8 hours
A long day of travel brings us to Palitana via Lothal. Lothal is an archaeological site believed to be around 3500 years old. It is one of the Harappan civilisation sites - an old port city. After exploring the excavated ruins, we head on towards Palitana.
Once a princely state in Bhavnagar district, Shatrunjaya Hill is the most sacred pilgrimage site for the Jain community. There are nearly 900 exquisitely carved temples located on top of the hill dating back to the 11th century.
Our home for the night, built in 1906, is situated just a few kilometres away with views to the hill.
Hotel: Vijay Vilas Palace Hotel
Day : 6 Palitana
There are approximately 3500 steps to the top. Pilgrims climb the hill to attain merit. Most pilgrims undertake a special yatra (pilgrimage) which involves climbing the hill 99 times in a 40 day period. Although you are welcome to climb to the top (and back down), experience has shown that walking for several days or so after this mini pilgrimage we undertake will be difficult, so to save the calf muscles, we arrange for porters to carry us (walking part of the way is encouraged) in Dolis (swing chairs). This provides employment to the local porters who are without work for several months of the year when the pilgrimage halts over the monsoon.
This morning we make an early start to climb Shatrunjaya Hill before the heat of the sun makes the task more challenging
Hotel: Vijay Vilas Palace Hotel
Days : 7-8 Diu
Travel time: 6 hours
Today we drive south and west to the old Portuguese colony of Diu. We have a full day to enjoy the unassuming and laid back charm of this Portuguese heritage island town and fort, only a part of India since 1961. Diu is a union territory, and although surrounded by the state of Gujarat, is governed directly from New Delhi and as such attracts many holiday makers and tourists to enjoy the sea, sun and readily available alcohol in an otherwise dry state.
After a morning excursion to the vibrant and colourful fishing village, will explore the old town, the fort and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. The afternoon is then free to relax at the beach or by the pool at our resort.
Hotel: Radhika Beach Resort
Day : 9 Sasan Gir
Travel time: 3 hours
After breakfast we have a morning drive to Sasan Gir, the sole refuge of the critically endangered Asiatic Lion. One of the oldest wildlife parks in India, Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary was set up in 1965 to save the endangered cats that were at the threshold of extinction at the start of the twentieth century. Gir has a protected area of 1413 square kilometres and is home to 39 species of mammals, as well as many reptiles and birds.
The good news from Gir in recent years is that the population of the Asiatic Lion has increased from 359 in 2005 to 523 in 2015 proving that conservation efforts have been successful.
Arriving in time for lunch and then on to an afternoon safari, we have another safari the following morning to maximise our chances of some quality sightings of this majestic creature.
Hotel: The Fern
Days : 10-11 Junagadh/Gondal
Travel time: 3 hours
After a second safari in the National Park, and hopefully lots of Lion sightings, we will depart for our next stop, Gondal, enroute to Kutch.
On the way, we will stop at Junagadh, which has a fascinating history and some remarkable heritage buildings.
On day 11 we will spend the day exploring the sights of Gondal. Gondal was once the capital of a 1000 sq km princely state ruled by Jadeja Rajputs. It boasts several palaces and sits along a tranquil river.
Today we will visit the Naulakha Palace, the Swaminarayan temple, a Khadi weaving factory, an Ayurvedic pharmacy and the central marketplace, a riot of colour and tempting aromas.
Hotel: Orchard/Riverside Palace
Days : 12-13 Bhuj
Travel time: 6-7 hours
Leaving behind the southern Gujarat region of Saurasthra, we head into Kutch in western Gujarat to the capital Bhuj. Kutch Safari Lodge, outside Bhuj is our base as we explore the region famous for its handicrafts and tribal villages. We also spend time visiting the various sights in Bhuj itself.
Many of the handicrafts sold in the western parts of the more famous and touristy northern neighbour, Rajasthan is actually Gujarati or Kutchi in origin and there are many villages where the traditional arts are still practiced. Here you can find, besides the fabulous embroidered mirrorwork and blockprint textiles, wood carvings, leather bags, footwear, copper bells and or course the beautifully decorated mud huts. We spend time visiting some of the villages and seeing how these arts still flourish. You might even be able to try your hand at some embroidery or block printing.
Most of Bhuj's historical structures, including the Aina Mahal, the Prag Mahal, the fort and the Swaminarayan temple were badly damaged by the 2001 earthquake, but the city has recovered. Unfortunately, many of the historical buildings have not been restored, but a wander through the courtyards of the palaces and the nearby bustling market is well worth a couple of hours.
Hotel: Kutch Safari Lodge
Day : 14 Hodka
Travel time: 1 hour
Heading north, deeper into the Great Raan of Kutch, we visit more tribal villages, exploring the traditional textiles and arts that have created the unique handmade traditions and rich heritage of the region.
We also have time to experience the ‘white desert’ - the salt impregnated expanse that spreads over 16000 sq km. Flooded each monsoon, the wetlands attract a large number of water birds including flamingos, pelicans, storks and ducks. By November the waters dry up leaving a vast saline desert. Uninhabited by humans, this area, a large part of which forms the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, is home to a surprising diversity of fauna including Wild Ass, Desert Fox, Porcupine and some snakes and lizards.
Hotel: Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort
Days : 15-16 Little Rann of Kutch (Bajana)
Travel time: 6-7 hours
Another full day of travel today eastwards brings us to Bajana, our base for exploring the Little Raan of Kutch.
Gujarat is not only known for the Asiatic Lion, but the other main endangered species which calls Gujarat home is the Indian Wild Ass. The unique Little Rann of Kutch is a part of the greater Kutch Desert and the Wild Ass Sanctuary covers nearly 5000 square km and is home to around 3000 Ghudkhar (the local name for the Wild Ass). Many migratory birds come to nest in the sanctuary and it is home also to gazelle, blackbuck, fox, jackals, antelope, wolves and hyenas.
The saline desert of the Little Rann of Kutch is believed to have been a shallow sea and harbours no vegetation except on the fringes and bets ('islands' or elevated plateaus), the largest of which is over 30 square km in size. In the monsoon, the Rann is inundated for around a month and the bets are where the wildlife survive during this period.
The Little Rann of Kutch is also where you'll find much of India's salt mining, and we will visit a family who eke out a living farming salt in this harsh unforgiving landscape.
Hotel: Royal Safari Camp
Day : 17 Poshina
Travel time: 7-8 hours
Today we head east via a couple of Gujarat's most evocative religious sites and ruins. First we stop at the stunning Sun Temple of Modhera. Built nearly 1000 years ago, during the 'Golden Age' of Gujarat, this Hindu temple, one of only a few in India dedicated to the Sun God is a brilliant example of Solanki architecture with intricately carved halls and pillars.
We then move on to Patan, and to the recently excavated Rani Ki Vav, an 11th century Stepwell that was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Monuments in just 2014. Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water storage on the Indian subcontinent and the Rani Ki Vav is one of the best preserved of these remarkable wells.
Excavation of the site began only in the late 1950s and because the well had been silted up for centuries the amazing carvings on the pillars and walls of the stepwell were found to be in pristine condition.
Before heading to our Palace hotel in Poshina for the evening, we visit the famous Patola weavers of Patan and see some of the beautiful designs made by this fascinating method of dying and weaving.
Hotel: Darbargadh Poshina
Day : 18 Poshina
A leisurely day to explore Poshina Darbargadh (Palace), the village and the area around this remote village. Just minutes from the Rajasthani border, Poshina is nestled in a lush, green, hilly corner of the southernmost tip of the Aravali mountain range.
The Poshina district is home to tribal communities and many of their unique traditions and crafts are still practiced. One such tradition is the making of terracotta horses. The local Adivasi (tribal) god is given offerings of these horses. We visit a horse ‘potter’ and other craftsmen creating jewellery, figurines as well as swords, daggers, bows and arrows
A walk through the village and an afternoon jeep trip to remote hamlets in the picturesque countryside to visit Adivasi and Garasia tribals is the perfect end to our time here in Gujarat.
Hotel: Darbargadh Poshina
Days : 19-20 Udaipur
Travel time: 5 hours
Today we say farewell to Gujarat and head north into the desert state of Rajasthan, the Land of Kings and to the city of Udaipur, known as the City of Lakes.
Udaipur, without question lives up to its reputation as India's most romantic city. Rolling hills, white marble palaces and lakes all combine to give Udaipur a very special appeal. It is a centre for artists, dancers and musicians and the shopping is superb. Its other claim to fame is as the setting for James Bond's Octopussy.
Whilst here in Udaipur, we visit the City Palace, part of one of the largest palace complexes in India. We also wander the local markets and partake in a magical sunset boat trip on the lake, take in a cultural show and enjoy last minute shopping.
Hotel: Kankarwa Haveli
Day : 21 Departure Day
There are no organised activities today. You may leave at any time, however Udaipur is a mesmerising and very relaxing town and is well worth an extra day or two.
Udaipur does not currently have a functioning international airport, however there are numerous flights daily to both Delhi and Mumbai from where you can connect to your onward international flight.
Minimum 4, maximum 10
21 days 20 nights
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Full time local Gujarati specialist guide
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Porterage at Palitana
Meals as specified
Gratuities for hotel staff, drivers and guides
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
Domestic and International flights
Heritage hotels (12 nights), Resorts/lodges (8 nights)
This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From heritage hotels to desert resorts, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets. Although most rooms will be air-conditioned, a few may be fan-cooled.
Optional Single Supplement
If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travellers. If we are unable to match you up with another traveller of the same sex, we will pay your single supplement for you. Should you not wish to share accommodation at all, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of from USD 920 will be payable.
Private air-conditoned minibus/SUVs, auto-rickshaws for some sightseeing, jeeps on village and wildlife safaris.
The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Ahmedabad Old Town Heritage Walk, Adalaj Stepwell, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Gandhi Ashram, Cooking class (Ahmedabad)
Lakshmi Vilas Palace (Vadodora)
Champaner World Heritage Site, Tribal villages, (Jambughoda)
Lothal Ancient Port archaeological site, Shatrunjaya Hill porters and Jain Temples (Palitana)
Walking tour of Diu Fort and old town, Fishing Village (Diu)
2 jeep safaris (Sasan Gir)
Aina Mahal, Swaminarayan Temple, Kutch villages, LLDC Museum (Bhuj)
1 jeep safari in the Wild Ass Sanctuary, (Little Rann of Kutch)
Sun Temple, (Modhera)
Rani ki Vav, Patola weaving museum (Patan)
Village Jeep safari, Village walk (Poshina)
City Palace, Old city heritage walk, Sunset Boat Cruise, Darohar Cultural show (Udaipur)
20 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 16 Dinners
Travelling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in India. Some meals are not included when there is a choice of eating options. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group. For meals that are not included, our tour guide will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.
Alcohol in Gujarat
Gujarat is a dry state, however as a tourist, you are permitted to purchase and drink alcohol. A permit is required. You need to apply for your permit online, and then it requires validation at a permit office in Gujarat. Please let us know before the trip if you wish to get a permit and we will send you required information and assist you in obtaining the permit as the red tape procedure can be a little cumbersome to navigate.
Exchange rates as at May 2019
AUD1 = 48 INR
CAD1 = 52 INR
EUR1 = 78 INR
GBP1 = 89 INR
NZD1 = 45 INR
USD1 = 70 INR
There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout India. This is a safe and convenient way to access money in India, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (suggested $300) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Travellers cheques are no longer commonly accepted. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.
Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit. Many sites levy camera fees.
Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities.
You will need to allow enough money for the following:
Meals USD100 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities/Camera fees USD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.
Tipping is an integral part of Indian life and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier, we cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport we use. We do NOT cover restaurant tips. You will need to allow approximately 10-15% on top of your restaurant bill.
Tips-allow USD20 (or equivalent)
Physical rating 3/5
There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the warm-hot weather in Gujarat at this time of year will make general sightseeing a little more strenuous. If you choose to climb Shatrunjaya hill in Palitana (optional), be prepared for 3 hours of steady climbing up and down.
Culture shock rating 3/5
Conditions in India, and in particular Gujarat who’s tourism infrastructure is still very limited, are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure. Often, on our road trips we will make ‘bush’ stops instead of utilizing unsanitary public washrooms.
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours.
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Visa. Validities available are 30 days, 1 year and 5 years. You can apply up to 30 days before the date of travel for the 30 day e-Visa and 120 days before the date of travel for the 1 and 5 year e-Visas. The visa is issued online (you do not need to send your passport away) and takes up to 3 days. The 30 day e-Visas are double entry with validity commencing from the date of arrival. The 1 and 5 year e-Visas are multiple entry with validity running from the date of issue with stays of maximum 90 days at a time allowed with the exception of US, UK, Japanese and Canadian passport holders who can stay for up to 180 days at a time.
When applying for your e-Visa, be aware of a number of commercial websites offering e-Visas that do not belong to the Government of India and will charge you additional service fees to issue your visa.
The official Government of India e-Visa website is
We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements.
The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
Communications / Keeping in touch
Most of our hotels have Wifi, as do many restaurants and cafes. You can also purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) and data sticks (for mobile internet on your laptop) easily and inexpensively in India. Recommended are Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance. You will need extra passport photos for this as well as photocopies of your photo and visa page from your passport.
Your tour manager and guide
Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. We also have a full-time local expert tour guide accompanying on the tour throughout Gujarat. Both your tour manager and guide will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of India, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom.
We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do's and don'ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.
Joining hotel and arrival information
House of MG
Bhadra Road, Opp Sidi Saiyad Mosque, Lal Darwaja
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 380001
Ph: +91 79 2550 6946
Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.
Early arrival information
If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Delhi is available from USD155/160 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as the House of MG is popular and can be heavily booked up well in advance.
For online flight bookings visit: http://www.cleartrip.com/flights
Lal Ghat, Udaipur
Ph: +91 294 241 1457
If you are staying on in Udaipur after the tour, which we highly recommend, extra accommodation is available from USD115/135 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room.
What to take
We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible. The smaller your bag in India the better, as our transports have limited storage space. Do however ensure you have enough room for shopping, so a bag with extra room, or perhaps a 2nd small bag that can be folded up or kept inside your large bag initially could work well.
India is very conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool. For our safaris in Gir, subdued colours (forest/safari) are recommended as are warm jackets, particularly for the morning safari. Don’t forget to bring your bathers as there are swimming pools at some of our hotels.
Singlets, tank tops and short shorts are not suitable attire for India.
Note that most Indian domestic airlines have a check-in baggage allowance of only 15kg. The exception is Air India which offers 25kg per person.
If you have heavier luggage, you may need to pay the excess at the airport for your internal flights. Excess luggage charges range from around Rs400 (USD 6) per kilo.
Upon booking, you will receive a full tour info pack including a suggested packing list an other helpful information on preparing for your trip to India.
Inexpensive laundry facilities are offered by most hotels we use and you will be able to avail of them anywhere we have a 2-night stop.
The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temps will be warm to hot, in the range 25-30oc. Night time temperatures will be comfortable. An umbrella, sunblock and a hat are essentials plus a jacket and/or warmer layers for the cooler nights towards the end of the journey in north Gujarat and Udaipur, Rajasthan.
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don't forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash (for emergencies)
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Ear plugs can be useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your suitcase or bag
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash.
Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you.
Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes.
Read the full tour dossier here on Issuu