Gujarat is a dazzlingly diverse state that shakes up even the experienced Indophile and reveals treasures hidden from the tourist hordes. With a 1600km coastline and an easily traversable landscape, it is both highly advanced and medievally tribal. The highly visible Jain community are largely responsible for Gujarat’s industrious reputation, stunning white marble temples and exquisite, ever-so-slightly sweet vegetarian fare. In the northwest, the seasonal marshlands of Kutch turn into hardened salt plains come summer and, in the Little Rann – habitat of the wild ass and flocks of flamingos – local artisans weave the finest textiles in India.
On this Village India tour, we see the very best of this undiscovered state, from the surreal Rann of Kutch and the ancient town of Bhuj to tribal Poshina, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Champaner and we climb Shatrunjaya, to a mountain-top marvel of Jain architecture. And of course, we spend time in the capital city of Ahmedabad, home to Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram and the world’s finest textile museum.
For anyone with a love of 'off-the-beaten-track’ travel, textiles, shopping and rural India, this trip is a must.
Tours that fall into this category are likely to involve at least a few challenging days and are often in destinations where tourism is still in its infancy.
You can typically expect a mixture of accommodation with some nights being spent in comfortable and characterful places, and some in more basic places, homestays or camping, especially where choices are limited.
These tours will typically involve a couple of days of easy/moderate trekking (3-5 hrs/day) or perhaps a more active approach to a cultural itinerary. For riding trips see the Riding Information section
With this rating, you can typically expect a tour with a strong focus on culture. Depending on the trip this could involve exploring ancient sites, medieval architecture, ethnographic museums and/or having tribal encounters.
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Staying in Srinagar, take a shikara through the old town, along the Bund. It's not on the normal tourist circuit and is fascinating.