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Threads of Tradition

A Small Group Journey

Come and experience an unforgettable Indian adventure, exploring hidden textile traditions, savouring delicious cuisine, and admiring architectural marvels.

Gujarat to West Bengal

22 days from NZ$9850pp

Max 10 Guests

Overview

Our colourful ‘Threads of Tradition’ tour treks the geography of textiles as it has been since ancient times. This Farm to Fashion tour starts from India’s ancient and current centre of textiles in the west, Gujarat, continues to Delhi, and concludes in Kolkata, a yarn and textile hub of the pre-British era. Throughout this tour, we will witness the hearts and souls, traditions and beliefs woven and embellished into the textiles of India. Experience the vibrant and diverse culture, delicious cuisine and friendly people throughout your travels. From bustling cities to serene villages, stunning coastlines, and lush hinterlands, this tour offers a unique and authentic experience of India, away from the usual tourist attractions.

Ahmedabad | Patan | Bajana | Bhuj | Mandvi | Morbi | Surendranagar | Ahmedabad | Delhi | Agra | Chambal | Lucknow |Itachuna | Kolkata

Key Highlights of this Journey

Meet the Master - Indigo Dyeing

Meet the masters

Learn from artisans in Gujarat, Lucknow, and West Bengal, witnessing indigo dyeing, intricate embroidery, and centuries-old weaving techniques like Ikat and Jamdhani.

Cotton Farm Visit

Farm to Fashion

Trace the textile journey from cotton farms and hand-spinning units to natural dyeing facilities, understanding sustainable practices.

Kalamkari Workshop Close-up

Hands-on Experience

Participate in a Kalamkari workshop and experience block printing with natural dyes.

Indian Cuisine - Gujarati Restaurant

Vibrant Markets & Delights

Immerse yourself in bustling bazaars like Ahmedabad, Delhi, Lucknow, and Kolkata, savouring local cuisine with a foodie guide.

Women's Empowerment Lady Weaving

Empowering Women

Witness the artistry of Zardozi, Aari, Kantha, Suf, and Chikankari embroidery, supporting women-led communities.

Taj Mahal visit with ATI Travel NZ

Unforgettable Experiences

Marvel at the Taj Mahal and other UNESCO World Heritage sites, participate in local celebrations, and enjoy a boat safari on the Chambal River.

Connect with Locals

Meet locals and visit private homes to experience local life and hospitality.

Tranquil Escape

Sink your toes into Mandavi’s pristine sands, where tranquility reigns and the only rhythm is the gentle whisper of the ocean, weaving serenity into your soul.

Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Enquire Today

The principal focus was traditional textile arts, but there was a marvellous balance of exposure to other arts and traditional crafts, music, design and architecture.

The food and varied accommodations were excellent. Joji, ATI’s owner, led the tour and his genuine care for his clients, as well as his deep knowledge of and love for India’s cultures, arts, food and people, were always evident.

While the itinerary was carefully planned, flexibility was part of its fabric, so we enjoyed several serendipitous adventures and meetings, which were really enriching. I would say that ATI’s tours are designed for the curious and culturally sensitive, and its itineraries take you off the heavily beaten tourist oaths and much further into the heart of India.

Now that its tours are starting up again after the Covid hiatus, I am planning my next trip with the ATI crew as I cannot think of a better way of seeing India again.

Anna Lennon

Sydney, Australia

Witness the hearts and souls, traditions and beliefs that are woven and embellished into the textiles of India. Meet master artisans and watch them at work.

Farm to fashion

Farm visit

Spinning

Dyeing

Indigo Dyeing

Ikat Weaving

Jamdhani Weaving

Tangalia Weaving

Tangail Saree Weaving

Brocade Weaving

Carpet Weaving

Ajrak Block Printing

Bandhani (Tie & dye)

Gujarat Tie Dye Shibori work

Shibori

Kalamkari Workshop Close-up

Kalamkari Workshop

Rogan Art

Zardozi Embroidery

Aari Embroidery

Kantha Embroidery

Suf Embroidery

Chikankari Embroidery

Meet Master Artisans

Meet Designers

Visit Textiles Museums

Visit Boutiques

This tour has been designed not only to showcase Indian textiles but also to experience the local culture, tradition and lifestyles of these regions of India.

Other Highlights

Taj Mahal Visit

Arts & Crafts

Culinary Treats

Shopping

Village Walks

Folk Music & Dance

Attend Festivals

Market Visits

UNESCO Heritage Sites

Private Home Visits

Pottery Making

Community Initiatives

River Safari

Jeep Safari

Bird Watching

Serendipity

ITINERARY

Day 1, 2 & 3 – Ahmedabad - Arrival

Namaste! Welcome to Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat! Upon arriving at Ahmedabad Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (AMD), our team will warmly welcome you and accompany you to your heritage homestay.

We start our tour from the Gandhi Ashram and visit the Calico Museum, the National Institute of Design, markets, traditional eateries, and private museums. We also attend a hands-on tribal art workshop.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationThe House of MG

Day 4 – Dasada

We’ll explore a remote region of Gujarat today. We’ll take a break at a cotton farm and learn about its production. Rani Ki Vav, the oldest and finest stepwell in Gujarat, is our next stop. We’ll visit the double Ikat or Patan Patola workshops, and on our way to Dasada, we’ll stop at the Modhera Sun Temple.

Meals:   B | – | D
AccommodationThe Royal Safari Camp

Day 5, 6 & 7 – Bhuj

Over the next three days, we will have the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the colourful and diverse textile culture of the western region of India. Our accommodation will be in a traditional resort that reflects the local architecture, situated on the outskirts of Bhuj, a city that has a long history of being a hub for crafts and trade.

From this base, we will embark on daily journeys to explore the nearby areas of Kutch district. This region is home to numerous communities of artisans who specialise in various forms of textiles and crafts. We will witness how they use natural dyes, block printing, tie and dye, embroidery and patchwork to create stunning patterns and colours. Additionally, we will have the opportunity to interact with these artisans and learn about their unique stories, traditions, and the challenges they face. One of the artisans expressed, “Our crafts are our identity and our pride. We want to share them with the world and keep them alive for future generations.”

During our travels, we will also visit organisations and museums that aim to support and promote the textiles and crafts of Kutch. Examples include Kala Raksha, Shrujan, and Kutch Museum. These institutions showcase the diversity and beauty of Kutch’s textiles and crafts while highlighting their social and environmental impact. Kala Raksha’s founder stated, “We believe that crafts can be a source of empowerment and sustainability for the artisans and their communities.”

Meals:   B | – | D
AccommodationKutch Safari Lodge

Day 8 – Hodka

Bid farewell to the vibrant crafts of Lower Kutch and embark on a journey north! Before reaching the majestic Great Rann, we’ll delve into the artistry of Mutwa embroidery in a charming village. Witness the meticulous handwork as skilled artisans transform fabrics into dazzling masterpieces. Tiny mirrors and delicate stitches create intricate motifs, showcasing generations of tradition and cultural pride. Each piece takes months to complete, reflecting the dedication and skill behind this art form.

We will visit the Rann of Kutch, an impressive salt marsh that covers a significant portion of the Thar desert in northwestern India. This salt desert is among the largest in the world, spanning over 10,000 square kilometres. The Rann of Kutch is a unique environment that transforms with the seasons. During the monsoon, it is submerged in water and becomes a wetland that attracts millions of migrating birds, including flamingos, pelicans, cranes, and storks. In the winter, it dries up and becomes a vast expanse of white salt that sparkles under the moonlight. The best time to visit the Rann of Kutch is during the full moon when the salt marsh resembles a lunar landscape.

Meals:   B | – | D
Accommodation Mahefeel e Rann Resort

Day 9 – Mandvi Beach

Today, we’ll unwind at Mandvi Beach, Gujarat. It’s clean, serene, and has clear water and white sand. We’ll visit old shipyards and the 72 Jainalaya Jain temple, a stunning example of art and architecture. We’ll also try a delicious Jain lunch, a rare chance to experience the culture and cuisine of this ancient religion.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationVijay Villas Heritage Resort

Day 10 & 11 – Delhi

We arrive in Delhi from Bhuj by flight via Mumbai. En route to the hotel, visit Khan Market to enjoy some delicious food, and shop for textiles, jewellery, and books. After reaching the hotel, we had the option to either relax or join the tour leader for a Connaught Circle walk. The next day, we will explore Delhi’s vibrant culture and rich history by visiting Gurudwara Sri Bangla Sahib, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, and Qutub Minar. In the evening, we also had the opportunity to visit the nearby Indian State Craft emporiums.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationThe Park Delhi

Day 12 & 13 – Chambal

We will travel from Delhi to Chambal in our private vehicle via Agra and make some incredible stops along the way. We’ll visit the magnificent Taj Mahal, Sheroes Cafe, and then drive to Chambal Safari Lodge. The lodge has 13 rooms and cottages, and offers an eco-friendly experience. You can watch the tandoor and chat with the chefs in the open kitchen or relax around the bonfire.

Join the naturalists for an exciting two-hour birdwatching expedition on the property after breakfast. Later in the day, we’ll enjoy a unique river safari on the Chambal River, which is home to an array of fascinating creatures, including Gharials, Skimmers, Marsh Crocodiles, and eight species of turtles. The sanctuary also has over 316 species of resident and migratory birds, including large nesting colonies of Indian Skimmers, Greater Thick-knee, Lapwings, and many more.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationMela Kothi – Chambal Safari Lodge

Day 14, 15 & 16 – Lucknow

We drive east on the four-lane highway to princely Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh and a city with a rich cultural heritage. Lucknow was once the seat of the Mughal Empire and later the Nawabs of Oudh, who left behind many splendid monuments and buildings that reflect their refined taste and grandeur. In the evening, we’ll indulge in the culinary delights for which Lucknow is famous. Its Persian and Awadhi-influenced cuisine blends aromatic spices and herbs, and we’ll walk through lively areas where the locals eat to sample delicious dishes like kebabs, biryanis, chaats, and kulfi.

In the old part of Lucknow, we’ll stroll through narrow streets and see the artisans who practice different types of embroideries, such as Chikan, Zardozi, and Aari, to adorn clothes and fabrics with intricate patterns. We’ll also witness block printing that uses wooden stamps to create colourful designs, metal crafts that shape brass and copper into utensils and ornaments, perfumeries that use local rose petals to make fragrant attars, and costume jewellery making that creates dazzling accessories with beads and stones. Whenever we feel like it, we’ll stop and taste the local specialities that vary from sweet to savoury.

Be the guest of the erstwhile royal family of Mahmudabad, who live an hour away from Lucknow in a splendid palace. We will also visit one of their projects that empowers local women who make beautiful embroidered materials using traditional techniques. We will hear their stories and skills and have an opportunity to buy unique souvenirs supporting their livelihoods.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationSaraca hotel

Day 17 – Kolkata

We fly from Lucknow to Kolkata, the cultural hub of West Bengal and the former capital of colonial British India. We arrive in the afternoon and check into our hotel, which is located in the heart of the city. After a short rest, we will explore the neighbourhood on foot and get a glimpse of the local life. We walk along the busy streets, admiring the colonial architecture and the vibrant markets, where we see a variety of goods and crafts. Stop at a roadside stall and sample some delicious street food, such as puchkas, which are crispy hollow balls filled with spicy water and potatoes, jhal muri, which is a mix of puffed rice, peanuts, onions and spices, and kathi rolls, which are flatbreads stuffed with meat or vegetables and sauces. We enjoy the sights and sounds of this lively city and feel its pulse.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationHoliday Inn Kolkata

Day 18 & 19 – Itachuna

Our next destination is Itachuna, a charming village in rural Bengal that dates back to the 18th century. We will leave our hotel after having a delicious breakfast of luchi, aloo dum and sandesh, and drive through the scenic countryside to reach Phulia, a famous weaving cluster that produces some of the finest handloom sarees in India. There, we will meet a master jamdani weaver and learn about his craft and the history of this exquisite fabric that originated in Dhaka and was patronised by the Mughal emperors. We will also have a chance to see some of his creations featuring intricate floral and geometric patterns and buy souvenirs if we wish. After that, we will continue our journey to Itachuna, where we will stay in a stunning heritage mansion that has been restored to its former glory by the descendants of the original owners. The mansion is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful retreat from city life. It has spacious rooms, antique furniture, a library and a courtyard where we can relax and enjoy the breeze. In the morning and evening, we will explore the village and interact with the local people, who are very friendly and hospitable. We will also enjoy some authentic Bengali cuisine, such as ilish macher jhol, kosha mangsho and mishti doi, listen to traditional music, such as baul and kirtan. We’ll also visit the Kalna Terracotta Temple, which showcases exquisite terracotta sculptures and provides insight into the culture and history of the region.

Meals:   B | – | –
AccommodationItachuna Rajbari

Day 20 & 21 – Kolkata

Join us on a thrilling road trip from Itachuna Raj Bari to Kolkata, where we’ll explore historical sites left by European powers. We’ll visit former colonies of the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Danish along the Hooghly River. As the sun sets, we’ll enjoy Kolkata’s vibrant nightlife and dine in a restaurant of your choice. The next day, we’ll visit a neighbourhood known for idol-making and pottery, designer shops, and the house of Mother Teresa. We’ll also explore the local market and enjoy a home-cooked dinner in the city.

Meals:   B | – | 1D
Accommodation The Park Hotel

Day 22 – Kolkata - Departure

We hope you have enjoyed your journey with us on the ‘Threads of Tradition’ Textiles Tour. It brings us great pleasure to have introduced you to the serene pleasures of textiles, crafts, and cultures of India. We are grateful that you chose to travel with us.

A significant portion of our earnings goes towards community projects throughout India. By travelling with us, you help support these projects, and we are grateful for your generosity. If you’re interested, please feel free to ask about these initiatives.

For those returning home today, we offer an inclusive airport transfer service to Kolkata International Airport. We look forward to welcoming you back for another exhilarating ATI Travel experience. Namaste!

Meals:   B | – | –

INCLUDED

  • Airport meet and greet with private transfers
  • Domestic airfare
  • Private air-conditioned van
  • Handpicked boutique accommodations
  • Meals as per trip note
  • English-speaking local guides
  • All entrance fees, tips & gratuity
  • Guaranteed departure with just six guests

EXCLUDED

  • International airfares
  • Visa fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Medical Tests & other medical expenses
  • Personal expenses

REQUEST DETAILED ITINERARY

Or call Joji on +64 (0) 21 505 713

Threads of Tradition 22 Days Indian Textiles Tour

22 days from NZ$9850 (US$6384/€6145) per person
Ahmedabad to Kolkata
Limited to 10 guests | Escorted by Joji Jacob
28 Sept to 19 Oct 2024 from NZ$9850
28 Sept to 24 Oct 2025 from NZ$10850

If you only have 12 days of leave, check out these shorter tours, Cotton Traditions&Golden Threads of Moguls’.

Please contact us if you wish to customise this itinerary to suit your travel needs.

Group Organiser Discount Available

A group organiser (4-10) can avail up to $2000 discount on a twin share package price.
Please contact us for further details.

Joji Jacob

Tour Director

Joji has designed this tour and has escorted groups since 2016. He shares his passion for textiles and anything hand-made during this tour. Read More >

Suf Embroidery

An ideal trip for:

Solo Traveler, Group of Friends, Couples

If you want a rich and truly authentic experience of the region(s) being visited in a slow and well-paced manner as part of a small group of like-minded people who appreciate the personal care and attention provided to them, then this is the trip for you. 

Safe Travels with ATI

Since 2013, ATI Travel NZ has been unsurpassed at delivering expertly managed small group and tailor-made boutique travel experiences.
We are uniquely qualified to ensure your well-being when travelling with us.

Our local partner offices work tirelessly with us behind the scenes

Our local suppliers and partners know our health & safety requirements, and our requirement to comply with all local regulations.

We follow the health and safety protocols required for your journey

All protocols involving physical distancing, vaccinations, masking, testing and other safety practices are communicated both before and during your journey. These protocols are carried out according to the latest local regulations and service provider requirements.

We facilitate in-country COVID-19 testing and provide round-the-clock support for any health-related matters

ATI’s network of local offices has the contacts and knowledge to support you throughout your journey, from coordinating COVID-19 testing (for travelling between countries and returning home) to answering any questions you have during your journey. Our local partners are experienced in handling any situation and have the contacts and knowledge to support guests 24/7.

ATI Travel will constantly monitor its safe travel plans to comply with global health and safety protocols

In the event that the tour director has to isolate, the tour will continue with the tour director remotely managing the tour in conjunction with the local team members.

If any of the guests have to isolate, all arrangements will be made to find accommodation and their medical support. This is not included in the package costs and must be covered by the individual’s travel insurance.

The guest can join the tour after the required isolation and clearance if the tour is still active. In the event that the tour has been completed, the guest will be supported to make their return passage home.

We Got You Covered

Something for everyone

Whether you are a first-timer or experienced traveller, our tours meet the expectations, needs and interests of each individual on the tour. Our guests continuously tell us that it surpasses all their expectations.

Active Tour

This tour is suitable for guests who do not mind travelling that extra mile in search of those unique experiences. If you are interested in culture, cuisine, architecture, people interaction and textiles, you will love this tour.  

boutique accommodation

Boutique accommodation, handpicked by us, for you to rest and rejuvenate in beautiful settings such as palaces, homestay, mansions, farm stay, business hotels and glamping is part of the travel experience we curate for you.

Travel in comfort

We provide airport to airport service, for your comfort and safety. Your private vehicle and the English speaking driver will accompany you throughout the journey. Check out the feedback we have received from our guests.

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