Personally Escorted Tour

Threads of Tradition

Textiles themed tour of Northern India

Small GroupMax 10 guests
Duration22 days
When OCT ’19
A farm to fashion textiles tour with numerous activities to showcase the best in the traditional textiles industry but also to experience the local culture, tradition, cuisine, architecture, nature, arts, and lifestyle of this region of India.

Tour 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, and concludes in Kolkata, a port and yarn and textile hub of the pre-British era. Along the way, we visit New Delhi in the north-west, stopover in Agra to feast our eyes on the Taj Mahal e route to Lucknow. Throughout this tour, we will witness for ourselves the hearts and souls, traditions and beliefs that are woven and embellished into the textiles of India. This tour has been designed not only to showcase the best in the traditional textiles industry but also to experience the local culture, tradition and lifestyle of this region of India. For which, we have incorporated architecture, cuisine, culture, nature and the arts as a platform.

Hosted by

Textiles tour of India - Hosts Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob A reverence for the traditional textiles arts of India and a drive to do their bit to retain these age-old traditions and way of life led Shani Pillai & Joji Jacob to curate this ‘Farm to Fashion’ textiles tour. Using their extensive network and their travels in India has forged relationships with master artisans, who practice the traditional weaving, dyeing and embellishing techniques. During the recent textiles tour, the group enjoyed visiting these master artisans and learned a lot about the tradition textiles craft. In addition, various local textiles experts were called upon to gain a more in-depth understanding of the history and the traditional methods.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • An intimate group of maximum 10 guests.
  • Business owners lead the tour, this enables us to fine-tune the itinerary to meet the travel needs of the all the guests on an almost daily basis.
  • Have private meetings with artists and craftspeople.
  • Explore lively markets and visit selected galleries and shops
  • Stay in hand-picked boutique accommodation, such as beach cottage, four & five-star hotels & heritage properties.
  • Explore the richly varied world of Indian cuisine
  • We go behind the scene to learn Ajrak printing, indigo dyeing and embroidery techniques.
  • Visit architectural marvels, such as Taj Mahal, medieval step-wells.
  • Optional activities, such as power paragliding, river safari and camel ride are available on request.
  • Birdwatching & cycling through the village are the other highlights of the tour.


Threads of Tradition

22 Days

8th Oct – 29th Oct 2019

Tour Type:
Personally Escorted by Joji Jacob

Max Guests:

Group discounts available. Contact us for details.

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, and concludes in Kolkata, a port and yarn and textile hub of the pre-British era. Along the way, we visit New Delhi in the north-west, stopover in Agra to feast our eyes on the Taj Mahal e route to Lucknow. Throughout this tour we will witness for ourselves the hearts and souls, traditions and beliefs that are woven and embellished into the textiles of India. We embark on this amazing and colourful textiles adventure from the heart and centre of Indian textiles from ancient times, Gujarat. The birthplace of Mahatma Ghandi, Gujarat is renowned for its indigo dyeing, hand loom weaving, embroidery, handicrafts, mouthwatering vegetarian cuisine, natural beauty and colorful lifestyle. We will venture off the beaten track and visit villages where indigo dyeing, intricate embroidery (Rabari, Bavalia & Sindhi), double ikat patola saree weaving, wooden block making, ajrakh block printing etc. are undertaken in a very traditional way. Along the way, we will stop and marvel at architectural splendors of bygone eras, eat where the locals eat, meet and mingle with tribals and villagers in their natural surroundings and even visit some in their homes. We will also visit various artisan campuses set up by NGOs to encourage and teach the next generation of artisans in an effort to revive and retain these ancient skills. A trip to Gujarat, with the longest coastline (1290 km) in India, will not be complete without a stay in a beach resort where we get to rest, relax, rejuvenate and reminisce. After a restful day, we will fly north-west to Delhi, the capital city of India. A fascinating city made up of Old Delhi (a historic walled capital city built by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also built the Taj Mahal) with its narrow,crowded, colourful and fascinating bazaars and New Delhi (a garden city designed by Lutyens during the British era) with its landscaped parks, boulevards, mini palaces and Government buildings. Being the capital city, it proudly hosts a craft village spread over 6 acres of reclaimed land, where all the various arts, crafts and textiles from all parts of India are on display and for sale. Here we will get to visually treat ourselves to beautifully woven and embroidered textiles (cotton & silk) and meet and talk to the artisans. A visit to Delhi will not be complete without visiting Qutub Minar (a historically significant monument), doing a cycle rickshaw ride through the crowded streets of Old Delhi, visiting State Emporiums, enjoying culinary delights and commuting with the locals on the Metro.[/one_half]
Out next leg of the journey takes us to one of the world’s most celebrated structures and an icon of India’s rich history – the Taj Mahal. A symbol of love, that is not only beautiful and romantic but is also so graceful, majestic and deeply memorable. With wonderment in our eyes, we embark on a three hour train journey to Lucknow, the city of the Oudh Nawabs. The Nawabs were great patrons of the culinary and other arts, particularly dance and music. Away from the tourist route, Lucknow is, to this day, a city of culture, gracious living and rich cuisine. It is the home of Chikan, a delicate and artful hand embroidery that embellishes a variety of textile fabrics like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc. Historically of royal significance, it is now a fashion centric form of needle craft recognised world over and sought after by the international fashion houses. Lucknow is also famous for its zardozi (gold or silver metal thread) and ari (stitching using finest threads, beads and pearls) embroidery. Our culinary walk will entreat us to the famous and rich Lucknow cuisine. We also get to witness metal craft, artificial jewellery and edible silver foil being created by artisans in the bazaars. Staying in a heritage haveli, we roundup our stay with a taste of the lifestyle of the princely Nawabs of Lucknow. We travel to Delhi and bid our farewells, but only after we have had time to chill out, unwind and weave our rich and colorful experiences into yarns that we take with us to share to family and friends.
Day 1 – Welcome to your Threads of Tradition tour!
We will receive you personally at the Ahmedabad International Airport and take you to your hotel.
Day 2 – Ahmedabad (Commercial centre of Gujarat)
The best time to travel in India is in the mornings, so after a hearty breakfast, we will head off for sightseeing in Ahmedabad. Key highlights include visits to the famous Calico Museum; National Institute of Design and a commercial scale organic dyeing & printing business.
Day 3 – Ahmedabad to Patan
On our way to Patan, we will drive through scenic Gujarat and along the way we will visit an organic cotton farm; visit the Modhera Sun Temple (an ancient & beautiful architectural marvel built in 1026AD); watch artisans carving wooden blocks for block printing. On reaching Patan, we visit weavers undertaking the complex double IKAT weaving.
Day 4 – Patan to Bhuj
On our way to Bhuj, we will visit a 11th-century step well, a UNESCO world heritage site and a must see for its engineering and architectural brilliance. Monuments, temples, havelis, forts and palaces are all key sources for artisans to draw inspiration for developing their own floral or geometric designs. We stay the night in Bhuj – the heart of textiles and embroidery in Gujarat.
Day 5 – Bhuj (South)
We will visit communities and NGOs located in the south of Bhuj. Here we get to feast our eyes on ‘Ajarakh’ (resist dye) printing; ‘Bandhani’ – the tie and dye process; block printing and ‘Bhujodi’ pit-loom weaving.
Day 6 – Bhuj (West)
This day we get to enjoy various types of embroideries such as Ahir & Soof (very fine and detailed designs), leather embroidery and Rogan art (hand painted textiles) being undertaken in the villages.
Day 7 – Rann of Kutch
Rann of Kutch, north of Bhuj, is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar desert. On a full moon night, the salt marsh apparently looks like the moon. The Rann Utsav arts and crafts festival (3 month long) will be in full swing. We get to meet artisans and enjoy local culture, textiles, arts and crafts and cuisine. Being in a desert, we will stay in glamourous tents to really enjoy the ambience.
Day 8 – Mandvi Beach
We head off south to Mandvi Beach – a pristine beach along the Gulf of Kutch. Staying in a deluxe camp with handcrafted tents, provides the opportunity to just relax, soak up the sunshine and rejuvenate.
Day 9 – Mandvi to Ahmedabad
We head back to Ahmedabad through scenic central Gujarat. Time to just rest and relax or just explore.
Day 10 – Ahmedabad to Delhi
We take a morning flight to Delhi. This is a fabulous opportunity to check Dili Hart, an open air food and crafts market in the city centre. Here you can meet artisans from many parts of India selling regional handicrafts and textiles. A fantastic place to get a taste of the amazing regional cuisines and to buy gifts for friends and family.
Day 11 – Delhi
On this day we get to see the old and new faces of Delhi. A cycle rickshaw ride through the congested streets of Old Delhi is an amazing experience. On reaching the bazaars, we will walk along streets filled with tiny but specialists shops – bridal wear, festive clothing; costume jewellery, Indian delicacies and much much more. The riots of colour, the crowd and the sights and sounds are a visual and sensory treat. We will visit the Qutub Minar – a very important historical landmark. We will drive through New Delhi, the garden city, enjoy the colonial architecture, parks and gardens and visit State Emporiums.
Day 12 – Delhi – Taj Mahal – Chambal
We bid Delhi farewell and head towards one of the wonders of the world – Taj Mahal. You get to enjoy this breathtaking symbol of love for a couple of hours before we head off to our accommodation in the heart of Chambal Valley. Located in a sprawling reclaimed woodland, you get to immerse yourself in its tranquil green surroundings.
Day 13 – Chambal
A quiet day to explore the village, meet and mingle with the villagers, enjoy bird watching, cycling around or just relax under the shade of beautiful mature trees.
Day 14 – Chambal – Lucknow
Today, we get to experience Indian Railway’s hospitality as we embark on a three-hour train ride to princely Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs of Oudh. In the evening, we will go on a culinary walk through areas where the locals go to eat. We get to stay in a beautifully restored heritage haveli.
Day 15 – Lucknow
We will wander around narrow streets in the old part of Lucknow to view artisans undertaking different types of embroideries (Chikan, Zardozi and Aari); block printing; metal crafts, perfumeries (using local rose petals) and costume jewellery making. Walking around, we will stop as the fancy takes us to taste the local delicacies.
Day 16 – Lucknow – Kolkata
With the flight to Kolkata not until in the early evening, there is time to further explore Lucknow or just enjoy the lap of luxury that the haveli has to offer.
Day 17 – Kolkata – Kalna – Itachuna
After breakfast, we check out and head out to Itachuna. Enjoy the scenic drive towards rural Bengal where we will visit a master jamdani weaver’s workhop. Once again we get to stay in a beautifully restored heritage mansion.
Day 18 – Itachuna – Phulia – Itachuna
We venture to rural Phulia where we will visit a cotton weaver’s home and the cooperative societies.
Day 19 – Itachuna – Kolkata
We drive back to Kolkata and after some rest and refreshments, we will visit modern Indian designer showrooms promoting fashion shaped from traditional designs, fabrics and styles. Before retiring for the evening, we will visit Mother Theresa’s home – ‘Mother House’.
Day 20 – Kolkata
After breakfast, we visit an artists’ colony where they create clay idols for festivals. We get to enjoy a home-cooked lunch before we visit Kolkata’s ‘Tant’ textile showroom where traditional Bengali sarees are displayed. Enjoy a relaxing evening in very luxurious accomodation.
Day 21 – Departure
Sadly, this is the day to bid our farewells and head our separate ways. It has been our pleasure to show you the textiles traditions of old and new India.
‘Threads of Tradition’ Route Map
Follow this link to view an interactive map. TOTRouteGIF_v2_flatForWebLoop
Prices are per person, based on double occupancy
Package Price (for 21 days): NZ$9385 
Group DiscountUp to NZ$350 One person on twin share
Single Supplement: NZ$3450 Per Person

Package cost includes:

  • 3 Domestic airfares, land transport in private air-conditioned van
  • All breakfast, 2 lunch & 6 dinner
  • All entrance fees
  • Contact us for  the whole list of inclusions & exclusions
Gujarat – A tribal fantasy


Best time to travel
Between Oct to Mar is the best time for this tour.

Private group of 6+ guests
If you have a group of friends keen to travel together, we can further customise this tour to meet your specific travel needs. At least one of us will accompany the group to provide much more flexibility and exploration on the tour.

Private group of fewer than 6 guests
We can tailor-make this tour specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you. You will have your own vehicle and driver and also will be joined by guides at various destinations. Above all, you & your driver will be in constant contact with our team in India and also us here in Wellington, NZ.

Request a detailed itinerary

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