Our founders’ pet passion is textiles. Over the years, they have guided numerous trips exploring the various parts of the country in search of exquisite artwork done by people who have dedicated their lives to this craft. Like the miniaturists in My name is red the lives of these artisans too have revolved around what they are good at – whether that be Kalamkari (the art of drawing on cloth), Rogan (the art of creating paint threads with castor oil) or the Double Ikat (where the warp and the weft are both resist-dyed before weaving). The journey itself thus turned colourful as travellers explored these little-known crafts along with the architecture of Gujarat. Our guests got their hands dirty. They stayed in villages and learnt about unique artforms like the Ajrakh Block printing or intricate tie-n-dye or Bandhini work. As the nuances of single and double ikat sank in, as the design of the male and female blocks were better understood, an inner sense developed along with a respect for the people who had dedicated generations trying to keep the faith.
But if textiles and the art behind textiles is not your cup of tea, worry not; for Gujarat is endowed with unique sights and sounds that cannot be seen in any other part of the country – and very few parts of the world. The architecture of Gujarat alone is inspiring. From the 12 gates of Ahmedabad to the 863 Jain Shrines of Palitana, the buildings of Gujarat are a treat in architecture, design and sculpture. Take the sun temple in Modhera for instance. The temple has been designed with such precision that the first rays of the sun light up the image of Surya (the Sun God) during the equinoxes.
Another feature worth talking about, are the water bodies starting with the step-wells. In Western India, where rainfall is scant, water sources are sacred. Tanks and wells were constructed on a magnificent scale and in large numbers. You will be amazed at the sight of underground structures that can be mistaken for palaces of feudal chieftains.
If such numbers and such astronomical precision overwhelms you, you can escape into some of the unique National Parks and natural landscapes of the country. Gujarat has the only population of Wild Asian Lions (reportedly migrated from Persia) and an antelope population endemic to the country. After being awed by the elegance of the blackbuck at the Blackbuck National Park, you can travel with us to the edge of the salt desert – a white desert that was the setting of a famous short romantic story (that was the most tortuous of every high school literature curriculum). Gaze at the white expanse and you’ll feel… singular, in this universe.
If you were to travel with us to Gujarat, we would also take you back to one of the first civilisations of the world – the Indus valley civilisation. The ruins of Lothal and Dholavira are humble reminders of flourishing ports with trade links as far as Messopotamia!
It’s all possible! Because we do it all the time!