Gujarat holiday in India

“This small group tour takes you to little visited national parks, heritage sites and cities, in the company of a small group of like minded travellers and expert guides.”

Highlights

Mumbai | Ahmedabad | Patan | Bhuj | Banni tribal lands | Jamnagar | Gulf of Kutch | Gir National Park | Island of Dui | optional visit Vanakbara fishing village | Bhavnagar | Champaner-Pavagadh

Description of Gujarat holiday in India

This two week small group holiday takes you to one of the less-visited areas of northern India - Gujarat. Though not as famous as its neighbour Rajasthan, it’s by no means lacking when it comes to cultural and natural attractions.

Gujarat was once a stalking ground for the Asiatic lion, which was found throughout northern and central India and as far afield as Iran, Mesopotamia and Turkey. On our trip we’ll venture into Gir National Park, the last remaining habitat of this endangered species of big cat. We’ll also explore a marine park in the Gulf of Kutch, the first of its kind in India, as well as the striking salt marshes of the Great Rann of Kutch.

There are plenty of cultural attractions on the agenda, too. For instance, we’ll visit fine examples of Jain, Hindu and Islamic architecture, take a heritage walk around old Ahmedabad and visit the World Heritage site of Champaner-Pavagadh, originally the seat of the Rajput Chauhan dynasty.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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14 Oct 2019
£2079
including UK flights
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11 Nov 2019
£2149
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17 Feb 2020
£2199
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09 Mar 2020
£2199
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06 Apr 2020
£2299
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19 Oct 2020
£2279
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Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Oct 2020 departure
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Gujarat holiday in India

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
On this trip, we stay in a variety of hotels, lodges with one night on a sleeper train. We are using locally owned properties throughout the trip that employ local staff. When meals are not provided, our local guides make recommendations for restaurants and cafes so that our clients can sample local specialties as well as support small business. There are also plenty of opportunities to try Gujarati snacks such as gathiya, pakodas, bhel and dhokla as well as the popular traditional yogurt drink, Lassi at street side stalls. In Ahmedabad, we join a local family for a cooking demonstration of Gujarati cuisine by a local family which fosters cultural interaction.

Local craft and Culture:
Indian heritage and culture are explored in several ways during this trip. In Patan, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rani-Ka-Vav, also known as the Queen’s step-well. Built in the 11thcentury, it is one of the largest step-wells in India and is an architectural marvel. Gujarat is famous for its traditional fabric handicrafts and to explore this we visit the Patola heritage museum which showcases the unique embroidery technique of Patola silk weaving. In the West we head to the Banni tribal lands visiting villages known for their traditional handicrafts. These include embroidery, block painting, pottery, leather and silver work. Such local crafts are not only a form of livelihood but express the various cultural identities in the region. At the villages clients can support these cottage industries by directly purchasing from the artisans. In other areas we visit bazaars and markets where clients can directly support the local economies through any purchased they make.

Community:
We have been supporting numerous projects in India since 2006 where we worked closely with our local operator as well as the Friends of Conservation to raise funds to help the school in the village of Tala. Additionally, we provide assistance in operating educational, healthcare and tiger conservation projects in communities around Bhandavgarh National Park. Our local operator also recognises the importance of responsible low-impact tourism. For the past 15 years, they have been conducting regular “Clean Himalayas Campaigns” to raise local awareness on ecological impact while directly engaging with the communities and partners in clearing some of the most sensitive and affected trekking routes in the region. They are also associated with the newly formed Eco Tourism Society of India and Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) to pledge and commit to the cause and purpose of responsible tourism.

Water:
Water is a really important issue on our trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle for this purpose.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Our Himalayan Community Support Projects have been helping people in the Markha Valley, Ladakh since the floods in 2006, when we helped people rebuild homes. Since then we have been involved with the local women’s groups and Youth Organisation for the Conservation and Preservation of the Hems National Park in building and running a successful Eco Café. The focus is using only locally made or organic produce and eliminating the plastic bottles littered around the Valley with the use of a UV water filter for trekkers. The Ladakhi women have been trained in needle and flat felting in order to make and sell felt snow leopards, ibex and blue sheep as souvenirs. This has had great economic, social and environmental benefit for the area.

Local Craft & Culture:
There are several opportunities to support local people and their crafts throughout this tour by buying handmade products and souvenirs. In Dharamsala, we visit the Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture, where Tibetan refugees are provided with training, education and employment. Here we stop by different workshops where students are learning Thangka painting, wood and bronze statue making, carving etc. At the end of the tour clients can purchase items manufactured in the Institute, which provides a huge support to the initiative and its students.

Charity
For years we have been involved in campaigning for tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh. In late summer 2014 we teamed up with The Corbett Foundation, an Indian charity dedicated to conservation-oriented research. They have proved instrumental in enabling us to get the funds to where they are needed. Through this we have now completed the building of a community hall at Tala Village, solar pumps in the park for wildlife and staff in the dry season, bio gas plants and smart stoves for villagers and provided the salary for 2 full time teachers at the government school. Our work in India continues to be of great significance and most recently we have been able to purchase a 4 wheel drive medical vehicle and pay for outreach medical support.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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