This is a four-day tour that brings you to the holy pilgrim destination of the Jain religion, while you are also hosted by royal families of Bhavnagar and Palitana. You not only get to see the most magnificent temple architecture but also get an intimate view into the lifestyles of erstwhile royal families of the state of Gujarat, a federation of nearly 260 of India’s princely states.
Utelia is a small village located an hour and a half away from Ahmedabad, 4kms off the Ahmedabad – Bhavnagar highway. The village is home to the magnificent Utelia Palace, built by Bhav Sinhji, a member of the Vaghleela Rajput clan which ruled the greater parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Reva and Malwa. The 3 night – 4 day tour encompasses a variety of experiences in optimum time. From a journey through Royal history at the palace of Utelia, to time travel arriving at 3700 BC, when you visit the ruins of the ancient civilization unearthed in the town of Lothal; from tribal rituals settlements and chais with village chiefs, to walks through villages and conversations with people of the villages; and ending with a glimpse into the conserved, wild life of the black bucks in their Sanctuary.
Set in the heart of the Rann of Kutch, this westernmost princely province of India is not only known for its stunning landscape, but also for its fascinating craft culture, delicious local cuisine, royal heritage, architecture, folklore and history, rife with trials brought on by natural disasters like earthquakes. On our tours, you get to stay with the Royal Family of Bhuj. They take you on exclusive tours of their private museums, dine with you, cookout with you, visit their favourite viewpoints, and so much more. You also get to visit 17 crafts’ communities that live around Bhuj, hear stories from the region’s best local story tellers, and take long drives into the magical white desert.
Located on the banks of the river Macchu, Wankaner gets its name from the river itself, literally translating to ‘river-bend’ in Gujarati. The royal family of Wankaner was once the fountainhead of the Jhala clan, hailed for their leadership and glory by erstwhile royal families across the present state. During your tour, you would enjoy the hospitality of the royal family of Wankaner, and you will stay at their heritage hotel, the Royal Oasis. You will also enjoy a privately guided tour of the magnificent Royal Ranjit Villas Palace, built in the year 1907. The evening prayers at the Swaminarayan Temple will help you get a glimpse into the state’s well preserved, ancient culture. Nature treks, bird watching tours, horse riding experiences cater to the adventurous and nature loving visitor, and you get a chance to visit the beautiful Asiatic wild ass’s last remaining breeding sanctuary, and the Greater Flamingo’s largest local habitat.
Culture Rings Gujarat Experiences have been curated by Mamta Devi Raol, who belongs to the Royal Family of the Erstwhile Bhavnagar State of present day Gujarat. In her words:
“Gujarat has been my home since I was born. I saw the formation of the unified Gujarat state in 1960 when I was just a girl, and now I sees the rapid decline in people’s appreciation for history, heritage and culture.
I was brought up to always uphold culture and heritage, both of which are so rich in Gujarat. The Bhavnagar royal family, to which I belong, and also our friends who belong to the neighbouring old kingdoms like Palitana, Wankaner, Utelia, etc. too have been keen to share their heritage and stories.
Curating tours that are anchored in the royal history of India gives me great pleasure. The tours of Gujarat that you see here throw light on how people live, their art and craft, a special focus on food, and very importantly interaction with the royal families who host you, show you around and share their table with you.”