Gujarat Tribal Tour
Plunge into the tribal life of Gujarat
Summary of Gujarat Tribal Tour
- Duration: 14 Days & 13 Nights
- Major Attractions: Various types of tribes, their lifestyles, colorful dresses, customs and traditions
- Destination Covered: Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Poshina, Patan, Modhera, Bajana, Little Rann of Kutch, Bhuj, Hodka
Highlights of Gujarat Tribal Tour
Gujarat has hundreds of tribal groups residing here for centuries known as ancient inhabitants. A tribal tour of Gujarat gives the ample opportunity to the tourists to see the various types of tribes, their lifestyles, colorful dresses, customs and traditions. The villages Haats (markets) of Chhota Udepur, Kanwat or Rangpur or Sajadi are the perfect destination to witness the Rathwas, Nayakas and Bhils in their colorful attire. Near Poshina village, there is a place where one can see thousands of terracotta horses offered to a tribal deity, which is very unique in India. In the other villages surrounding of Poshina, we see Garacia tribe of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Even in Poshina, one can see many Garacia girls carrying the wood, which they bring from the nearby forest to sell in the market. Garacia girls and women are very colorful and always wear bright cloths. It is a treat for the eyes to watch them dancing.
The highlight of Gujarat Tribal Tour is the vibrant region of Kutch. Here, the most interesting tribe is Rabaris, they are cattle herders and always on move thus called as Gypsies. Rabari women wear black dresses and backless blouse whereas the men wear white dress with beautiful turban. The other prominent tribes in Kutch are Meghwal, Ahir and Jat etc. The huts in the Meghwal houses are fascinating as the same are nicely painted with muds and glasswork. During Gujarat Tribal Tour, you will not only see the indigenous people but also their handicrafts. The embroidery works of Ahir ladies are one of the finest in India. The monuments of Patan, the Sun temple of Modhera and the heritage walk in the old parts of Ahmedabad are other added attractions of the trip. Patan Step Well is arguably the most intricate ancient architecture in Gujarat.
Gujarat Tribal Tour Itinerary
- Day 01 – Mumbai-Arrival
On arrival at Mumbai international airport, the guests will be traditionally welcomed and transferred to the hotel with assistance. Our representative will brief about the tour and also hand you over the trip folder having all of the travel documents and vouchers. Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city of India and a financial hub thus known as economical capital of the country. Relax in your comfortable room for the night, as the adventure will start from the next morning.
- Day 02 – Mumbai-Vadodara
In the morning transfer to the airport to board the flight to Vadodara also known as Baroda. On arrival at Vadodara, transfer to the hotel and check in. Enjoy the lunch at the hotel. After lunch, visit Lakshmi Villas Palace – the best palace of Gujarat, it is a sprawling palace and the Indi-Saracenic architecture is breathtaking. There are some of the exquisite paintings inside the art gallery of the palace. Maharaja Palace referred also as Lukshmi Vilas Palace of Vadodara was built by Maratha ruler Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1890 AD.Later, drive to Dabhoi (an ancient small town of 06th century) also known as Darbhavati to see the few historical Gates. Also, walk through the old streets of the town to see the daily life of the people. During this walk, you will see the old houses, narrow lanes and Jain, Hindu and Muslim communities living together in harmony in a traditional way. In the end visit, Hira Gate or Hira Bhagol, architect of this delicately carved gate was Hiradhar thus it was named after him. Return back to your hotel in Vadodara after the visit and enjoy the delicious Gujarati and Marathi dinner at the hotel.
- Day 03 – Excursion to Weekly Market
In the morning, drive to the places of the weekly markets either at Chotta Udepur/ Kanwat or Rangpur/ Sajadi. In these markets, different tribes like Rathwas, Bhils and Nayaks can be seen. Rathwa is a prominent tribe of this area, here the men wear red turban tied in a particular style, whereas the women are seen the knee length skirt, colorful blouses and silver jewelry. These tribes live in the small villages and their occasion is farming, they come here to sell the vegetables, grains and other products in the market and buy the grocery items and other daily use things from the weekly Haats. After witnessing the tribal Haat, visit the tribal museum in Chotta Udepur, which has a good collection of tribal items and also the model huts of Rathwas and Nayakas showing their life style. After lunch stop at a Rathwa house to see the wall paintings known as Pithora – it is more a ritual than art performed in Rathwa houses. The family performs this ritualistic art for happiness, wellbeing, to make a wish or to cure the animals or family member. Pithora paintings are on the main walls of the houses where the people sit or enter. In these paintings, you will not find the nature but the horses, a bull, elephant and goats etc., these figures are the vision of God.
In the later afternoon, visit Champaner-Pavagadh – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. Here visit marvelous Jami Mosque and Sahar Ki Masjid. Champaner was once the capital of Gujarat for a short time and is an ancient city. The minarets and domes of Jama Masjid are magnificent, built in 1513 by Mahmud Begada in Mughal architecture.
- Day 04 – Vadodara-Ahmedabad
After having breakfast, depart for Ahmedabad. First visit Calico Textile Museum – one of the best textile museums in India having the great ranges of textiles starting from Mughal period to 19th centuries. After the visit, check in to the hotel. Post lunch take a tour of beautiful Hutheesing Jain Temple built by a rich merchant in 1848, it is a double storied building and houses a spectacular Glory Tower in the complex. Later, tour the Sidi Sayed Mosque known as Jali Masjid famous for its excellent architecture built in 1573, The Jali is the symbol of Ahmedabad city not officially but popularly – an intricately shaped frame stone window. Visit Vidyapith tribal museum and Gandhi Ashram – in this Ashram Mahatma Gandhi spent his important days during his freedom struggle against British Empire. This Ashram was the nerve center of the freedom struggle of India, in the simple cottage of Hridya Kunj – Gandhi lived which is a museum now.
- Day 05 – Ahmedabad-Poshina
In the morning transfer to Swami Narayan Temple in Kalupur to start the heritage walk in the walled city of Ahmedabad. The walk will be really interesting going through the old quarters of the walled city ending at Jami mosque. After the walk drive further to Poshina stopping en-route to visit Adalaj Step well built in 1498 in Solanki architectural style, it is a five storied structure and quite magnificent. In ancient India, the wealthy traders and royal families used to make the step wells for the people so that they can relax here during their long journeys and get the drinking water. By the evening, arrive at Poshina and check in to the heritage hotel Darbargarh.
- Day 06 – Village Excursions around Poshina
Before breakfast, visit the main street of Poshina in front of the hotel to see the Garcia girls carrying the woods from the jungle to sell them into the market. After breakfast, visit the Garacia villages as well as the Adivasi (ancient inhabitants) hamlets. Garcias live both in Rajasthan and Gujarat in mountains and are quire colorful, whereas Adivasis are simpler one but both of these tribes depend on farming and animal husbandry. Visit the terracotta temple dedicated to a local village deity – you can here see the thousands of terracotta horses. The locals believe that the Goddess fulfills their wishes and they offer terracotta horses in return to please her with rituals. We can even arrange a traditional ceremony with rituals for you under this holy tree. Even in Poshina town, you can buy the one for you and see the potter while making these horses. Poshina has numerous artisans like blacksmiths, silversmiths, arrow crafters and potters. The market is known for tribal jewelry and also to watch the tribes selling and buying the things in their blight attires.
- Day 07 – Poshina-Ambaji-Patan-Modhera-Bajana
First visit Kumbharia Jain temple complex – the stunning carved Jain temples built by white marbles have decorated domes and exquisite stone arts dedicated to Jain prophet called as Thirthankar Neminath. Jainism is one of the smallest religions in India but financially opulent as most of the followers are traders. Jains don’t anything, which grows under root such as garlic, onions and potatoes. Drive further to Ambaji – an auspicious place for Hindus housing a mother Goddess temple – it is one of 24 most sacred temples in India dedicated to Goddess of Power. Here take a walk in the bazaar to see various tribal devotees mainly Gracias in the colorful dresses as well as some of Rabaris. Later proceed to Patan and visit the Patola weavers and Rani Ki Vav step well – one of the nicest monuments of Gujarat. Intricately built Step Well of Patan called as Rani Ki Vav was built by Queen Udayamati in 11th century in the memory of her husband Kind Bhimdev. This stepped monument has marvelous sculptures of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Our next stop would be Modhera Sun temple constructed in 1026-27 AD, the complex has shrine hall, assembly hall and the reservoir. The pillars and exteriors of the halls are intricately carved, there are many beautiful small shrines in & around the reservoir and has numerous steps to go down the bottom.
- Day 08 – Little Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary
In the morning drive to Little Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary to observe the birds (Siberian Crane, flamingos). It is a paradise for bird watcher as one can see the flocks of greater flamingos near the water bodies in winter months. Also, watch the different animals like the highly endangered Asiatic wild Ass along with some antelopes like Nilgai (Blue Bull) etc. Asiatic Wild Ass is an endangered species and Little Rann of Kutch is the best place to observe them in wild. Also make the small visit to the Agaria salt workers. In the afternoon, see some of the villages of Vadiara Rabari and Bharwad tribes. Both Rabari and Bharawad are cattle herders and in the evening time, we can see them while milking their cows and buffalos. Bharwad men wear a bright color skirt called Dhoti.
- Day 09 – LRK-Bhujj
Drive to Bhuj stopping on the way to observe some of the Rabari caravans. Once the monsoon is finished and around October end, there is no enough grass for their cattle and Rabaris start moving from Kutch to mainland Gujarat where their goats and sheep can find some green grass. They move with their families and necessary things for their livings are on the camels or donkeys. It is a great experience to talk to them in their camps. Also visit Dhamadka to see the block printing by the Khatri tribe. Khatris are very good in making the beautiful block printing textiles and the same are exported within India and abroad as well. By the end of the day, arrive at Bhuj.
- Day 10 – Bhuj
Take city tour of Bhuj including the historical monuments like Darbargadh & Pragmahal palace, the Royal Cenotaph and the Aina Mahal Museum – one of the best museums in Kutch having impressive mirror work. After lunch, start the excursion to Dhaneti to observe the embroidery by the Ahir tribe and Bhujodi to view the weavers from the Vankar tribe. Ahirs and Rabaris women haven been making the embroidery for centuries, passing this unique skill from one generation to another, you can watch the girls and ladies working in the homes and also see the finished textiles. Some of the girls have even won the national and international awards.
- Day 11 – Bhuj-Hodka
Today, transfer to Hodka visiting Jura Village, where we can see Sodha Raiputs and the Maru Meghwar tribes. Also see the Rogan painting by the Khatri family in Nirona village. Rogan Art of Nirona Vilalge is rarest in the world and probably the only place to see it. Visit, the copper bell making process by the Lohar tribe and the Vadha tribe who transform wood into household with bright colors. In the afternoon, visit Bhirandhiaro village – to appreciate the beautiful painted houses of the Meghwar tribe, here you can see some handicrafts made by the women. The Meghwal women wear very colorful embroidered dresses and stunning nose rings. The huts have remarkable glass work in the interior walls. If lucky you can even listen a Meghwar Musician cum singer in the compound if he is not traveling overseas or in India for concerts.
- Day 12 – Hodka
Visit Hodka village and other nearby Tribal villages. After lunch, continue to Khavda to see Potters and Samma tribe. The men hear put Heena on their hair and beards. They are tall like Afghans and wear Salwar and Kurta mostly in yellow, blue, pink and black colors. Later leave for Kala Dungar to view the beautiful sunset at Indo-Pakistan border. (Last point for no man’s land), one can also see salt desert. The view from the black mountain is commanding and the landscaping from Khavda to Kala Dungar is so special.
- Day 13 – Hodka-Bhuj-Mumbai-Departure
After having leisurely breakfast, transfer back to Bhuj airport for the flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival, you would be received and transferred to the international airport to board the flight back to home. The tour ends.
HTOI Special Activities
- Village Home visits
We will arrange numerous visits to the homes of the local tribes, which will give insights of their culture and traditions apart from learning their lifestyle. Few of the tribes like Rathwas make beautiful religious wall paintings in their houses.
- Garba Dance
Garba is a very popular dance of Gujarat performed traditionally during nine holy nights of Navratri Festival dedicated to Goddess of Power. We will arrange an authentic show in your resort at Bajana near Little Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary. The local village girls will perform mesmerizing Garba dance wearing the traditional bright color dresses.
- Garacia Tribal Dance
This will be arranged in the historical Darbargadh Palace of Poshina. The energetic girls and boys of Garacia will sing and dance with their tribal drums. Normally they dance during the festival of colors – Holi while enjoying the country-made liquor.
Julie Reid, AustraliaFb
Johan Gerrits, The NetherlandsFb
Rudi Roels, BelgiumFb
Information & FAQs
Is it easy to take photographs during the trip?
Since we are visiting the villages of the ethnic tribes and sometimes, the people are very shy to pose for the photographs. Hence, it is recommended to first engage the locals in communication with the help of your guide and driver. Slowly the people will open up and then you can click the pictures. Some tribes are very comfortable with pictures, it depends upon person to person through!
Wi-Fi available in the hotels?
Yes, the hotels will be having Wi-Fi and internet available except Hodka village, which is very remote.
What kind of accommodation will be in Hodka Village?
In Hodka, the hotels are having Huts and Tents with attached western toilet and running cold and hot water. However, there will not be air-conditioning in the rooms. The huts and tents both are quite comfortable as the same are designed keeping in mind the international traveler.
What is the ideal time to take this trip?
You can take this tour starting from Mid October till end of March. This time, the days are pleasant with clear blue sky and the nights are little cold, therefore you need light jackets for the mornings and evenings.
Any specific item to bring for Gujarat Tribal Tour?
Please do carry binoculars as you will be taking the jeep safari in the wildlife sanctuary near Bajana, which has variety of birds, in Poshina too, you will spot various birds. Also, kindly bring the Sunglasses, sunscreen, long pants, hat and extra memory cards for your camera as you will be talking lots of pictures 🙂
How big are your groups for the tour?
We arrange only private tours and you will not be a part of any group. We can operate the trip with just one person or for the private group in case you come with your friends and family.