This is a four-day tour that brings you to the holy pilgrim destination of the Jain religion, while you are also hosted by royal families of Bhavnagar and Palitana. You not only get to see the most magnificent temple architecture but also get an intimate view into the lifestyles of erstwhile royal families of the state of Gujarat, a federation of nearly 260 of India’s princely states.
Day 1: Bhavnagar
• 11:00 a.m.: Arrive in Bhavnagar
• Enjoy cookout / dining with the Royal Family of Bhavnagar
• Stay overnight at their palace, now converted into a hotel
Day 2: Shihor The Old Capital
• Start off with breakfast at the hotel in Bhavnagar
• Leave for Shihor, the old capital of the princely state, and see the temples and old
• Visit some metal-smiths engaged in old craft and art.
• Get a tour of the magnificent palace, now in ruins due to an ownership dispute
• Proceed to Palitana, the Jain pilgrimage destination which is well known for its intricate Jain architecture on clusters of temples built on a range of hill tops
• Overnight at Vijay Vilas Palace, the home of the Royal Family of Palitana
Day 3: Palitana
• Breakfast at Vijay Vilas Palace
• Visit the Jain Temples on top of the famous hills of Palitana (you may walk or be carried in the old-fashioned way by men on a sling seat)
• Return to Vijay Vilas Palace in time for dinner
• Rest and relax and have dinner
Day 4: Bhavnagar
• Depart from the hotel after breakfast to arrive back in Bhavnagar in time to catch your flight back.
WHITE DESERT EXPERIENCE
Set in the heart of the Rann of Kutch, this westernmost princely province of India is not only known for its stunning landscape, but also for its fascinating craft culture, delicious local cuisine, royal heritage, architecture, folklore and history, rife with trials brought on by natural disasters like earthquakes.
On our tours, you get to stay with the Royal Family of Bhuj. They take you on exclusive tours of their private museums, dine with you, cookout with you, visit their favourite viewpoints, and so much more.
You also get to visit 17 crafts’ communities that live around Bhuj, hear stories from the region’s best local story tellers, and take long drives into the magical white desert.
• Arrive early in the morning at Bhuj.
• Check in to the home stay of the Royal family of Bhuj.
• Visit the private museum set within the property and then go to Prag Mahal, the palace in the city that is now a museum open to public.
• Have lunch with the host family and go shopping in the city after lunch.
• Take a long drive and get a nice view of the sunset.
• In the evening, maybe do a cookout with the princess.
• Enjoy breakfast with the host family.
• Get a full day guided tour of the main sights of Bhuj.
• Lunch with a village family.
• Visit the ruins of a once popular pilgrim destination of the Nath Panth order or Advaitic saints.
• Visit a dinosaur fossil museum, and get back in time for dinner.
• Guided tour of various crafts communities, by one of the craftsmen
• Visit a Bandhni workshop and witness the craftspeople at work
• Visit Bhujodi where the weavers live and work, demonstrating their work
• Visit Ajrakpur to see old fashioned hand printing on fabric by a
• Visit various crafts communities and craft museums.
• Visit the white desert before Sundown to get a splendid view.
• Have breakfast in the morning and then head off to the airport.
UTELIA OLD KINGDOM TOUR
Utelia is a small village located an hour and a half away from Ahmedabad, 4kms off the Ahmedabad – Bhavnagar highway. The village is home to the magnificent Utelia Palace, built by Bhav Shinji, a member of the Vaghleela Rajput clan which ruled the greater parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Reva and Malwa.
The 3 night – 4 day tour encompasses a variety of experiences in optimum time. From a journey through Royal history at the palace of Utelia, to time travel arriving at 3700 BC, when you visit the ruins of the ancient civilization unearthed in the town of Lothal; from tribal rituals settlements and chais with village chiefs, to walks through villages and conversations with people of the villages; and ending with a glimpse into the conserved, wild life of the black bucks in their Sanctuary.
• Arrive at Ahmedabad on a morning flight, and a taxi is waiting for you at the airport
• Drive straight to Utelia, 1.5 hours away
• Welcome and introductions by Yuvraj Bhagirath Sinhji, prince of Utelia Palace, followed by informal check in and lunch.
• Visit neighboring villages (bird trappers tribe, and Parhal village).
• Chai with Parhal chief.
• Dinner at Utelia palace.
• Early morning village walk with little Kanha the village boy, having conversations with him about life in his home town.
• Breakfast at Utelia palace.
• Visit Lothal where you see the ruins of the 3700 BC Harappan civilization: site and museum.
• Lunch at Utelia palace.
• Desert Nomadic Tribe tour and perhaps Camel water hole visit.
• Dinner at Utelia Palace.
• Breakfast at Utelia Palace.
• Set out for Black buck park.
• Drive through the semi desert salt plains.
• Lunch at Black Buck lodge.
• Enjoy an afternoon Safari.
• Stay at Black Buck Lodge for one night.
• Check out and drive back to Ahmedabad in time to catch your flight.
Located on the banks of the river Macchu, Wankaner gets its name from the river itself, literally translating to ‘river-bend’ in Gujarati. The royal family of Wankaner was once the fountainhead of the Jhala clan, hailed for their leadership and glory by erstwhile royal families across the present state.
During your tour, you would enjoy the hospitality of the royal family of Wankaner, and you will stay at their heritage hotel, the Royal Oasis. You will also enjoy a privately guided tour of the magnificent Royal Ranjit Villas Palace, built in the year 1907. The evening prayers at the Swaminarayan Temple will help you get a glimpse into the state’s well preserved, ancient culture.
Nature treks, bird watching tours, horse riding experiences cater to the adventurous and nature loving visitor, and you get a chance to visit the beautiful Asiatic wild ass’s last remaining breeding sanctuary, and the Greater Flamingo’s largest local habitat.
• Land in Rajkot and drive one hour to Wankaner princely state.
• Check into Royal Oasis Palace Home Stay.
• Lunch with the Royal family of Wankaner.
• Visit the Ranjit Villas Palace Museum.
• Spend the day visiting the last remaining sanctuary of the Asiatic Wild Ass. Here one can spot other dessert and bird life including one of the largest Greater Flamingo breeding grounds.
• Nature Trek & Bird Watching at Jaswatsar lake.
• Horse riding through the village.
• Village tours and interaction with local tribes.
• Wankaner town visit and local shopping, and visiting the potters community and appreciating their craft.
• Swaminarayan Temple visit and evening prayers.
• Check out after breakfast and head back to Rajkot in time to catch your flight.