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  • India Travel Boutique B-21, Winsten Park, Knowledge Park V Greater Noida-201306, India

$Price: On Demand

  • 18 Days / 19 Nights
  • DIWALI and DEV DIWALI in ONE and the DIVERSITY OF INDIA

Route: Delhi- Ahmedabad- Vadodra- Dasada- Bhuj- Jamnagar- Gondal- Sasan Gir- Diu- Bhavnagar- Ahmedabad- Delhi

Date: You decide (September to April)

The northwestern state of Gujarat has a well-guarded treasure trove of attractions and rich wildlife. Palitana, the “City of the Gods”, lies on a 591m high hill and is a pilgrimage site for the Jains with 863 shrines. Sasan-Gir National Park is the last refuge of the Asiatic lion. The population is currently estimated at 400 animals. The Kutch region is known for India’s most colorful embroideries with mirror inlays, beads and silver jewelry – an incredible feast of colors for the senses. The Little Rann of Kutch, a salt pan area, is the last home of the Asian wild ass, one of the most endangered species in the world. Flamingos and pelicans also live here.

What is Navratri festival or Garba and Dandiya dance?

Navratri, meaning “nine nights,” is one of the most popular and celebrated Hindu festivals in many parts of India. However, Gujarat is the only state that hosts a nine-night dance festival, perhaps the longest in the world. Every night, people across the state, in villages as well as cities, gather in open spaces to celebrate the female deity called Shakti.

The dance form known as ras Garba (sometimes called dandiya, which involves the use of small wooden sticks) has its origins in the worship of Lord Krishna rather than the worship of the Goddess, in the Gop culture of Saurashtra and Kutch. Stories about the relationships between Krishna and the Gopis and their feelings also often find their way into Ras Garba music.

However, at the center of every Garba circle is the small shrine of the goddess, which is erected by each community at the beginning of the festival on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashwin. The shrine consists of a garbo, a clay pot in which a betel nut, a coconut and a silver coin are placed.

Every evening, the village or town population gathers to dedicate a puja to one of the nine forms of the goddess. The first is for Durga, the goddess who destroyed an evil force represented by the demon Mahishasura and eliminated human impurities; the second is for Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity; the third is for Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and art. It is a time to celebrate fertility and the monsoon harvest, represented by a mound of fresh earth into which grains are sown.

After the puja, the music begins; it is unmistakable to those familiar with the style and irresistible to many. People start dancing in circles and twirl until late into the night. It is not uncommon to see dancers carrying swords, torches and other spectacles.

The traditional dance steps are simple, but over the years people have invented more and more complex steps. Music was also traditionally acoustic and consisted mainly of drums and singing, but today most people use amplified sound systems or a mix in the form of a live band with modern instruments. Vadodara is a good place to experience the full range of these styles, from traditional to modern, from acoustic to amplified, from simple to intricate, and each is represented in its extreme form somewhere in the city.

The tenth day, Dashera, also known as Vijayadashami in South India, is celebrated with a puja to bless one’s vehicle and is also the day on which one buys a new vehicle, if necessary. Also, the day is celebrated after probably getting up much later than usual by unrestrainedly eating lots of fafda, a salty, fried, crunchy snack, and jalebi, a sweet, fried, sticky snack.

Religion and tradition aside, a Garba circle can have surprising spiritual power. Women often avoid certain foods on these nights, which, if done correctly, can be a very cleansing experience. It is a time when even the most traditional and homebound women can step out of the house and swirl uninhibited towards the divinity that lies within their own bodies. Many of the songs start slowly and gradually speed up, putting the dancers into a trance, especially when the music and dance are at their rawest. When you come to a garba, no matter where in Gujarat you are during Navratri, imagine this: A circle or concentric circles moving around the central representation of a universal creative force, the source of life; everyone performs the same step; a mandala of energetic potential; the mother goddess unleashed.

  • ITB Highlights:* Celebrate Garba festival with the locals
  • * Spontaneous yoga and meditation offers wherever possible
  • * Traditional sari tying in a boutique
  • * Classic Chai ceremony with a traditional Indian family in Sasan Gir
  • * Experience the colorful everyday life of India on rickshaw rides and market visits
  • * Visiting a village school during the trip
  • * Overnight stay at a heritage/palace hotel in Gondal
  • * And little surprise programs from Manu throughout the trip
  • Included in the prices:
    • 15 nights in a double room with breakfast
    • All journeys in an air-conditioned coach
    • Entrance fees according to the program
    • All local guides on site
  • Not included in the price:
    • Any flights, international or domestic
    • The visa fees
    • All gratuities throughout the trip

Tour Plan

01

Day 1: Flight to Delhi

Flight to Delhi. Overnight in Delhi

02

Day 2: Flight Delhi-Ahmedabad

The city offers the following attractions. We want to take a look at some of them.   Jami Masjid Ahmedabad has over 50 mosques, the most important of which are Sidi Sayyed Mosque and Friday Mosque. The Jami Masjid was completed by Ahmed Shah in 1524, but lost two minarets in the earthquakes of 1818 and 1957. It is an extremely successful example of the mixing of Indian and Arabic architectural styles. The use of ancient columns from Hindu temples and the employment of Hindu craftsmen to build this mosque illustrate this. The 260 pillars that support the mosque's 16 domes also feature Hindu patterns.   Siddi Sayyid Mosque The Sidi Sayyed Mosque was built by the Siddhis, African slaves. The small mosque, which now stands on a traffic island, is famous for its finely crafted marble lattice windows. They are so delicate that you can hardly imagine the heavy source material. The two windows that show a palm tree motif are particularly beautiful; they are considered the pinnacle of the Indo-Zenic style.   Calico Museum to Textiles This museum houses one of the best collections of textile art in the world. Sacred wall hangings with depictions of Krishna and embroidered Mughal tents are particularly worth seeing. In addition to textiles from Kashmir, brocade from Varanasi is also on display. The processes of textile production and dyeing are clearly illustrated using models and explanations.         Sabarmati Ashram   Mahatma Gandhi founded this ashram in 1918 after his return from South Africa, where he lived until 1930. His home is still preserved there in its original state. The important stages of the struggle for independence are presented using photos. An excellent library is available to those interested. The ashram is located about 6 km from the city center in a northerly direction on the western bank of the Sabarmati.   After dinner we take part in a famous Garba dance festival also known as Dandiya dance.

03

Day 3: Ahmedabad

In the morning we drive to Modera to admire the world-famous Temple of the Sun.   After dinner we will attend a famous Garba dance festival also known as Dandiya dance at another location  

04

Day 4: Ahmedabad-Vadodra

After breakfast drive to Vadodora. Visit to the famous palace “Laxmi Vilas Palace”   After dinner to Garba Festival.

05

Day 5: Vadodra-Dasada

After breakfast drive to Dasada. In Dasada the rest of the day is at leisure. Stroll and enjoy the colorful life that takes place outside.

06

Day 6: Dasada

Drive to the salt pan area on the “Little Rann of Kutch”, which was once part of the Arabian Sea and turns into a huge swamp area during the monsoon season. There are also species of flamingos and pelican, spoonbills, cranes and ducks. It is the last home of the Asian wild ass (Equs hemious khur), a relative of the horse and the African zebra and one of the most endangered species in the world. They reach high speeds as they gallop over the river. They are usually only found in small herds. Other wild animals include black buck antelope, blue bull (largest species of antelope in India), chinkara (Indian gazelle), Indian wolf, desert fox, Indian fox, jackal, desert and jungle cat. Reptiles such as sand boa, viper, cobra and the Indian rat snake can also be spotted on the safaris.

07

Day 7: Dasada – Bhuj (276 km/ 7 hours)

Today we are going to Bhuj. The ancient walls of Bhuj town present a picture of contrasts with its narrow streets and ancient monuments near the planned township of Gandhidham and the modern port of Kandla. In the evening arrive in Bhuj and drive to the hotel.

08

Day 8: Bhuj

Today we visit the Aina Mahal Palace. This complex was built in the 18th century by Rao Lakhpatji, who specially sent a local craftsman to Europe so that he could expand his skills in glass making and iron working. The Hall of Mirrors is made of white marble, the walls are decorated with mirrors and glittering ornaments. After visiting this amazing facility, we visit the Cenotaph complex. This red stone building is an interesting sightseeing point for visitors.

09

Day 9: Bhuj – Jamnagar (255 kms / 7 hours)

Jamnagar is located at the foot of Mount Girnar, on the northern edge of the Gir forest. The town takes its name from the castle (closed medieval town). Arrive in Jamnagar in the evening. In the Bala Hanuman Temple on the banks of Ranmal Lake, we join a marathon of homage to God, where singing has been continuous since August 1, 1964 to invite peace.  

10

Day 10: Jamnagar-Gondal (130 kms / 3 hrs)

After breakfast we visit the Khijadiya Wetland, a wetland populated by numerous birds. Afterwards we drive to Gondal. Gondal was once the center of a wealthy former princely state. Overnight at the hotel in Gondal. After arriving in Gondal we will visit Naulakha Palace, Orchard Palace and Royal Garages in Gondal. Naulakha Palace was built in the 17th century and is the oldest palace in Gondal. This palace is known for its stone sculptures with exquisite balconies, a fabulous colonnaded courtyard and finely carved arches as well as a unique spiral staircase (in the palace). The Orchard Palace is located in a huge complex of orchards, meadows and gardens. The Royal Garages have an extensive collection of antiques and vintage vehicles, sports cars, as well as numerous impressive American cars from the Second World War and the post-war period.

11

Day 11: Gondal – Sasan Gir (116 kms / 2.5 hours)

After breakfast drive to Sasan-Gir. In the afternoon safari in the national park, home to the last surviving Asiatic lions.

12

Day 12: Sasan Gir

Early in the morning we go on a jungle safari to Gir National Park. Gir is the last abode of the Asiatic lion and has a thriving population of various wild animals and birds.

13

Day 13: Sasan Gir – Somnath-Diu (120kms / 3 hours)

Today we continue in the morning to visit the legendary temple of Somnath, on the shores of the Arabian Sea. One of the twelve holiest shrines, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a Jyotirlinga. According to legend, the Somnath Temple was originally built in gold by Somraj (the Moon God). This Somnath temple was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times. It was last rebuilt with the support of Vallabhabhai Sardar Patel in 1950. After visiting the Somnath Temple, we drive to Diu. Diu is a tiny island in the Arabian Sea, located near the port of Veraval in Gujarat, separated by a narrow channel through the swamp of the southern end of the Saurashtra peninsula. Diu is a sensual mix of sun, sand and deep blue sea.

14

Day 14: Diu

A day at leisure by the sea. Finally a beer!

15

Day 15: Diu-Bhavnagar (215 kms / 6 hours)

Drive to Bhavnagar. In this city we can admire approximately 5,000 year old excavations from the time of the famous ancient Indus civilization. Bhavnagar is considered a lively trading city with an oriental flair. We take a walk through the bazaar.  

16

Day 16: Bhavnagar-Palitana-Bhavnagar

Excursion to Palitana, the "City of the Gods" on the 591 m high Shatrunjaya hill. There are 3,000 steps to overcome with a 3.5 km long staircase; the climb takes around 2 hours. Above there are 5 holy pilgrimage sites of the Jain sect with no less than 863 shrines, they surpass each other in their artistic beauty.   Palitana is the gateway to Shatrunjaya Hill and one of Jainism's holiest (Jainism's) pilgrimage sites. There are over 863 temples at the top of the hill, exquisitely carved, built of marble and already over 900 years old. To visit the temples on the hill you have to go up the hill. After reaching the top of the hill we visit the Jain temples. The temple dedicated to Shri Adishwara, the first Jain tirthankara (apostle), is one of the grandest temples. After visiting the temple, we visit Chaumukha, a complex of four temples. Here you can see the Adinath signpost, which looks towards all four wind directions. In the afternoon we drive back to Bhavnagar. Overnight in Bhavnagar

17

Day 17: Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad (171 kms / 4 hrs.)

After breakfast drive to Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is the second largest cosmopolitan city of Gujarat. This city harbors a rich history, an air of harmony and exquisite architecture. In the afternoon we visit the Gandhi Ashram. Gandhi's Ashram is located in Sabarmati, about 6 km from Ahmedabad. This ashram is one of the most beautiful ashrams and therefore an important tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. It was the headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi during the struggle for independence from India and houses some of the records of the major events in his life, a memorial and a library. After visiting the Gandhi Ashram, we visit the city of Gandhinagar and the famous temple “Akshardham”. Gandhinagar is the second architect-designed and built city in India after Chandigarh. Akshardham Temple is the most famous temple of the Swaminarayan sect, one of the richest religious sects in the world. This temple houses a large statue of God Swaminarayan and is a unique cultural complex. Akshardham is an elaborate and grand monument using 6000 tonnes of pink sandstone and this complex is surrounded by lush green gardens and beautiful fountains.

18

Day 18: Flight Ahmedabad-Delhi home

Flight to Delhi. After the farewell dinner, you will be transferred to the airport. Flight home. End of the journey! Namaste!

Location Map

The Route Link:

https://goo.gl/maps/AYDrC3Tbs3zhnztX9

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