WILDLIFE, TRIBES AND TEMPLES OF GUJARAT


15 Days / 14 Nights

MUMBAI

Rudyard Kipling described Mumbai (Bombay) as 'the Mother of Cities'; its story is of an incredible transformation, from its foundation to the present day. Built expressly for trade by the British, the city changed hands over the years from the fishing village of the Kolis, through the Portuguese conquest, to the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza who took the seven islands of Mumbai as her dowry to Charles II of England. Mumbai was, and still is, the Gateway of India and a grand archway of that name was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.


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AHMEDABAD

Set on the banks of the Sabarmati river, Ahmedabad combines old world wonders with new world metropolis. Founded in the 15th century, the city served as the capital of the Gujarat sultanate before evolving into the centre of India’s textile industry. The Calico Museum of Textiles, a main attraction, houses some of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles. Visit the city in January, when crowds throng the riverfront to witness the colourful Uttarayan kite festival.
En route between Ahmedabad and the Little Rann of Kutch is Patan and its beautiful Rani-ki-Vav stepwell, the oldest and finest of its kind in Gujarat. Also visit the 11th-century sun temple at Modhera. During the equinox, the sun's rays illuminate the sanctum at dawn.

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NASIK

Standing on the Godavari, one of India’s holiest rivers, and surrounded by nine hills and a number of lakes, Nasik is an important pilgrimage town and one of the four holy cities that plays host every 12 years to the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage. This well-planned historic city features landmarks integral to Hindu mythology and the Freedom Struggle, and is also home to many exotic temples and bathing ghats. Often referred to as the ‘Napa Valley of India’, Nasik is increasingly becoming popular for its vineyards and is now regarded as the home of India’s growing wine industry. Nasik’s primary wine growing region is blessed with the ideal climate for cultivating the quartette of French grape varieties that Indian wine is produced from. On a tour of the vineyards, learn about the different types of grapes grown, how Indian wine has evolved and enjoy a wine tasting session and lunch.

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AURANGABAD

Named in honour of the great Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who used the town as a hub for his Deccan campaign, Aurangabad is home to several interesting historic sites including the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, otherwise known as ‘the poor man’s Taj Mahal’, and the fort of Daulatabad. Built in 1679 by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb as a mausoleum for his wife, the Bibi-ka-Maqbara not only mimics but undoubtedly resembles the Taj Mahal. The city is also a base from which to explore the rock-cut Buddhist temples at Ajanta. More than 2,000 years ago, Buddhist monks carved out a series of cave temples and shrines from a rugged horseshoe-shaped cliff, then delicately painted them. Abandoned and lost for several centuries, the caves were rediscovered by an Englishman in the 19th century.

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SASAN GIR NATIONAL PARK

Sasan Gir, in south-west Gujarat, is a beautifully forested national park and the last natural home of endangered Asiatic lions. Characterised by rocky hills and deep valleys, the vegetation is typically semi-deciduous with lots of dry forest teak. The park was established in 1965, when there were thought to be only twelve wild lions left in India. Fortunately, the park’s conservation efforts mean there are now more than 300. The park is also home to healthy populations of leopards, hyenas, wild boar, jackals, crocodiles and more than 250 bird species. Added attractions include the Kankai Mata temple and the Tulsi Shyam hot springs. Saffron recommends a minimum 2-night stay at the Lion Safari Camp.

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MUMBAI

Rudyard Kipling described Mumbai (Bombay) as 'the Mother of Cities'; its story is of an incredible transformation, from its foundation to the present day. Built expressly for trade by the British, the city changed hands over the years from the fishing village of the Kolis, through the Portuguese conquest, to the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza who took the seven islands of Mumbai as her dowry to Charles II of England. Mumbai was, and still is, the Gateway of India and a grand archway of that name was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.


AHMEDABAD

Set on the banks of the Sabarmati river, Ahmedabad combines old world wonders with new world metropolis. Founded in the 15th century, the city served as the capital of the Gujarat sultanate before evolving into the centre of India’s textile industry. The Calico Museum of Textiles, a main attraction, houses some of the world’s finest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles. Visit the city in January, when crowds throng the riverfront to witness the colourful Uttarayan kite festival.

En route between Ahmedabad and the Little Rann of Kutch is Patan and its beautiful Rani-ki-Vav stepwell, the oldest and finest of its kind in Gujarat. Also visit the 11th-century sun temple at Modhera. During the equinox, the sun's rays illuminate the sanctum at dawn.


NASIK

Standing on the Godavari, one of India’s holiest rivers, and surrounded by nine hills and a number of lakes, Nasik is an important pilgrimage town and one of the four holy cities that plays host every 12 years to the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage. This well-planned historic city features landmarks integral to Hindu mythology and the Freedom Struggle, and is also home to many exotic temples and bathing ghats. Often referred to as the ‘Napa Valley of India’, Nasik is increasingly becoming popular for its vineyards and is now regarded as the home of India’s growing wine industry. Nasik’s primary wine growing region is blessed with the ideal climate for cultivating the quartette of French grape varieties that Indian wine is produced from. On a tour of the vineyards, learn about the different types of grapes grown, how Indian wine has evolved and enjoy a wine tasting session and lunch.


AURANGABAD

Named in honour of the great Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who used the town as a hub for his Deccan campaign, Aurangabad is home to several interesting historic sites including the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, otherwise known as ‘the poor man’s Taj Mahal’, and the fort of Daulatabad. Built in 1679 by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb as a mausoleum for his wife, the Bibi-ka-Maqbara not only mimics but undoubtedly resembles the Taj Mahal. The city is also a base from which to explore the rock-cut Buddhist temples at Ajanta. More than 2,000 years ago, Buddhist monks carved out a series of cave temples and shrines from a rugged horseshoe-shaped cliff, then delicately painted them. Abandoned and lost for several centuries, the caves were rediscovered by an Englishman in the 19th century. Much closer to Aurangabad are the Ellora cave temples, which were built between the sixth and 10th centuries.


SASAN GIR NATIONAL PARK

Sasan Gir, in south-west Gujarat, is a beautifully forested national park and the last natural home of endangered Asiatic lions. Characterised by rocky hills and deep valleys, the vegetation is typically semi-deciduous with lots of dry forest teak. The park was established in 1965, when there were thought to be only twelve wild lions left in India. Fortunately, the park’s conservation efforts mean there are now more than 300. The park is also home to healthy populations of leopards, hyenas, wild boar, jackals, crocodiles and more than 250 bird species. Added attractions include the Kankai Mata temple and the Tulsi Shyam hot springs. Saffron recommends a minimum 2-night stay at the Lion Safari Camp.

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Day 1 : Fly to Udaipur via Delhi (N)

Day 2 : Udaipur
Transfer to Fateh Prakash Palace for a 2-night stay. (B)

Day 3 : Udaipur
Half-day tour of the City Palace and Jagdish temple. Afternoon at leisure to explore the old town or take a boat ride on Lake Pichola. (B)

Day 4 : Mount Abu
Travel to Mount Abu visiting the stunning Delwara Jain temple. Overnight at Connaught House. (B)

Day 5 : Dasada
Visit the Modhera sun temple, and Rani-kiVav stepwell. Visit the colourful havelis at Sidhpur en route to Dasada for 2 nights at the Rann Riders Eco-Resort. (B)

Day 6 : Little Rann of Kutch
Desert safari across the Little Rann of Kutch. In the afternoon, visit some of the local villages, renowned for their traditional embroideries and weaving. (B)

Day 7 : Ahmedabad
Travel to Ahmedabad for 2 nights at the House of MG. Walking tour of the old city and a Thali dinner in your historic hotel. (B)

Day 8 : Ahmedabad
Half-day tour taking in Sidi Saiyyed mosque, Hutheesing temple, Gandhi ashram, Dada Hari stepwell and the Shreyas folk museum. (B)

Day 9 : Velavadar
Travel to Velavadar for 2 nights at the Blackbuck Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 10 : Velavadar
Morning wildlife drive in Blackbuck National Park. (B, L, D)
Day 11 : Palitana • Diu
Depart early to visit the Jain temple complex at Palitana. Lunch at Vijay Vilas Palace. Continue to Diu for 2 nights at the Radhika Beach Resort. (B)
Day 12: Diu
Morning at leisure. Afternoon tour of the town including Diu fort and the colourful Nagar Seth haveli. (B)

Day 13: Sasan Gir National Park
Drive to Sasan Gir, home to the Asiatic lion, visiting the Somnath temple en route. Spend 2 nights at the Lion Safari Camp. (B, D)

Day 14: Sasan Gir National Park
Early morning and afternoon wildlife drives in the park. (B, L, D)

Day 15: Fly to Mumbai
Travel to Rajkot for the evening flight to Mumbai. En route visit the magnificent Junagarh fort and the house of Mahatma Gandhi in Rajkot. Overnight at the Trident, Mumbai. (B)

Day 16-17: Fly home
Optional half-day tour of Mumbai visiting the gateway of India, Victoria Terminus, Dhobi Ghat and Chor bazaar. Late check out then take the overnight flight home, arriving the next day. (B) (N)

GUIDE PRICE $5,120 PER PERSON

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