Incredible Gujarat Tour

Gujarat Tour India

 

Maximum Group Size: 10

Tour Length 16 days / 15 nights

Starts in: Ahmedabad

Finishes in: Udaipur 

Dates: 11th to 26th November 2019

Fully Escorted: by Deb Kindness who has been travelling and leading groups through the Indian Subcontinent since 1993.

Cost: TBA

 

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Incredible Gujarat Group Tour

Overview  Highlights  Itinerary  Trip Notes  Downloads  Bookings  Gallery     
 

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Accommodation Transport Meals
15 nights hotels/guest houses Airport Transfers 15 Breakfasts          
  Aircon private Minibus 3 lunches 
  Taxis & rickshaws for sightseeing 4 dinners 

 

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 enthrall you with the natural beauty, heritage sites and fascinating culture unique to this part of India.

Experience Incredible India and the Complete Gujarat on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western tour leader and local guides for various activities and sightseeing.

 

Highlights
 

•    take a walk through the heritage old city of Ahmedabad 
•    explore the ruins of Champaner
•    meet the tribal people of the Jambughoda area
•    rise to meet the heights of amazing Palitana
•    relax in Portuguese flavoured Diu
•    take a wildlife safari in Gir to spot the last remaining Asiatic Lions
•    enjoy a night in the erstwhile palace of Morbi Darbargadh
•    uncover the traditions and charms of Bhuj
•    be amazed at the salt desert of the Little Rann of Kutch
•    discover the rare Indian Wild Ass sanctuary
•    visit the remarkable temples and stepwells in Modhera and Patan
•    chill in the city of lakes, Udaipur

 

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Day by Day Itinerary

Days : 1 – 2 – Ahmedabad
We meet at 6pm for a short tour briefing before enjoying dinner at one of our hotel’s famous Gujarati cuisine restaurants.

On day 2 we will start the morning on a walking tour through the Old City of Ahmedabad. Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status, the Old 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 the various sights of Ahmedabad, including the Adalaj Stepwell, the Sarkhej Roza and Gandhi’s ashram.

Hotel: House of MG

 

Days : 3 – 4 – Jambughoda
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
A long day of travel on the excellent Gujarati roads brings us to Palitana via the Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar. Established in 1976, the park is home to large herds of the Indian antelope, Blackbuck, along with many other mammals and birds, including wolves, jackals and wild pigs.

Once a princely state in Bhavnagar district, Shatrunjaya Hill is the most sacred pilgrimage site for the Jain community. There are around 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

 

Days : 6 – 7 – Diu
This morning we make an early start to climb Shatrunjaya Hill before the heat of the sun makes the task more challenging, although if you aren’t up to the hike, you can hire a dholi (carry chair) and provide employment to local wallahs by being carried up the hill with less effort on your part.

After our climb and exploration of the stunning temples, 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.

Hotel: Radhika Beach Resort or similar

 

Day : 8 – Sasan Gir

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 or similar

 

Day : 9 – Morbi
After a second safari in the National Park, and hopefully lots of Lion sightings, we will depart for our next stop, Morbi, enroute to the northern Kutch region of Gujarat.

Morbi is an overnight stop and chosen for the stunning 1931 Art Deco Darbargadh Palace Hotel, located on the banks of the Machchu river.

Hotel: Morbi Darbargadh Palace or similar

 

Days : 10 – 11 – Bhuj
After our overnight stop in Morbi, we head into the Kutch region of western Gujarat to the capital Bhuj. 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, before exploring the sights of Bhuj city.

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, and many of the buildings not too badly damaged have been restored.

Hotel: Regenta Resort or similar

 

Days : 12 – 13 – Little Rann 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, albeit illegal as it is damaging the habitat for wildlife.

Hotel: Royal Safari Camp or similar

 

Day : 14 – Poshina
Today we head east via a couple of Gujarats 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 : 15 – Udaipur

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.

Hotel: Kankarwa Haveli

 

Day : 16 – 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.
 

 

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Bookings

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Download Incredible Gujarat Tour Registration Form

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Trip Notes   
  

Group size 
Minimum 4, maximum 10

 

Days 
16 days 15 nights

 

Starts in
Ahmedabad


Finishes in 
Udaipur

 

Tour inclusions
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Meals as specified
Gratuities for hotel staff, drivers and guides

 

Tour exclusions
Visa costs
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
International flights

 

Accommodation
Hotels (15 nights), 
This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From heritage hotels to staying in forts, palaces and castles, 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 travelers. However if you do not wish to share accommodation, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USDtba will be payable. 

 

Transport
Private airconditoned minibus, auto-rickshaws and taxis for some sightseeing, jeeps on wildlife safaris.

 

Activities included
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 (Ahmedabad)
Lakshmi Vilas Palace (Vadodora)
Champaner World Heritage Site, Tribal villages, (Jambughoda)
Blackbuck National Park (Velavadar)
Shatrunjaya Hill (Palitana)
Walking tour of Diu Fort and old town (Diu)
2 jeep safaris (Sasan Gir)
Aina Mahal, Swaminarayan Temple, Kutch villages, (Bhuj)
Wild Ass Sanctuary, (LRK)
Sun Temple, (Modhera)
Rani ki Vav, Patola weaving museum (Patan)
City Palace, Old city heritage walk, Sunset Boat Cruise, (Udaipur)

 

Meals included
15 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners

Meals
Traveling 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 in the trip price 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.  Your leader will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.

 

Money matters

Exchange rates as at April 2018
AUD1 = 50 INR 
CAD1 = 51 INR
EUR1 = 80 INR
GBP1 = 93 INR 
NZD1 = 48 INR
USD1 = 65 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. 

Spending money
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 – USD350 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities – AUD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.

Tipping
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 AUD50 (or equivalent)

 

Physical rating 2/5
You may need to carry your bag/pack up and down railway station and hotel stairs. There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the warm to hot weather in India at this time of year will make general  sightseeing a little more strenuous.  

 

Culture shock rating 3/5
Conditions in India are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure.

 

Travel insurance
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible  Indian Tours.  

 

Visas

All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Tourist visa. The Indian Government is in the process of extending this e-Tourist facility to more countries so check this website to find out the latest eligibility details.

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

For the e-Tourist visa, you need to apply within 120 days of travel 60 days validity. The visa is issued online and takes up to 3 days.

Regular tourist visas (issued by the Indian Embassy or Consulate) for those nationalities who do not yet have availability of the e-Tourist facility, or for those who require a visa longer than 60 days, are usually issued for 6 or 12 months and are either Single, Double or Multiple Entry. As the validity begins from date of issue, be sure you do not apply for your visa too early. For information, or assistance with obtaining a visa, check out the following websites.

Australia http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/visa_services/index.html
New Zealand https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html

USA https://www.in.ckgs.us/visa/
UK https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html
Canada http://www.blsindia-canada.com/touristvisa.php
 

Health

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.

Australia https://www.travelvax.com.au/
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
USA https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

UK http://www.travelhealth.co.uk/
Canada https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines

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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
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. They 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. At some sites, local guides may be hired where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.

 

Responsible travel
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
Email: customercare@houseofmg.com

Transfer/joining instructions 
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 at USDtba 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
 

Finishing Hotel
Kankarwa Haveli
Lal Ghat, Udaipur
Ph: +91 294 241 1457

Staying on
If you are staying on in Udaipur after the tour, which we highly recommend, extra accommodation is available at USDtba 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. Singlets, tank tops and shorts are not suitable attire for India. 

Note that most Indian domestic airlines have recently reduced their check-in baggage allowance to 15kg. 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 Rs250-300 (USD 4-5) per kilo.
 

Laundry
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. 

 

Weather
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.

 

Checklist
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don’t forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
Day pack
Health vaccinations/medication
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash (for emergencies) 
Money pouch
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent
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.

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If you have any questions or would like more information please contact us:

 

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