Gujarat and Mumbai highlights tour

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Responsible tourism

Gujarat and Mumbai highlights tour

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

We work with local partners that are firmly rooted in the communities of Gujarat, striving towards sustainable and responsible tourism, especially in the fields of ecology, wildlife conservation and social justice.

Our local partner and guide is a qualified wildlife biologist working in the field of wildlife and conservation since 2000. He has extensively travelled in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya-Pradesh during his work on critically endangered vultures. Currently he is pursuing his PhD on toxicology of vultures from Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore. Along with other partners, he runs a vulture awareness program that focuses on creating awareness and building local village level teams that monitor vulture population in central Gujarat. Both of them have made awareness documentaries on Vulture and Sarus Crane conservation.

We give our best to choose resorts that adopt sustainable practices and that use organic produce. We work for example very closely with two resorts, Rann Riders in Dasada and Araavali Trails in Palanpur. Both these resorts have adopted several measures like rain water harvesting, composting and reducing plastic waste.

Rann Riders for example is an eco-friendly boutique resort run by the royal family of the erstwhile princely state. The family-run resort exemplifies sustainable tourism in best sense. Built in vernacular architecture, the cottages merge seamlessly with the surrounding. Being in the semi-arid region, the resort takes measure for water harvesting and collects it in an artificial lake, which recharges ground water. The composting takes up all the vegetable waste and turns it into manure for their farms, which grow organic vegetables. The stables house beautiful Marwari and Kathiyawari horses along with indigenous buffaloes that provide fresh milk. Use of clean glass bottles and accessible water purifiers help in reducing plastic bottle waste. The resort has adopted several dogs who welcome the guests every season with wagging tails and open hearts.

The Araavali Trails is another such eco-friendly resort, which uses organically grown vegetables, local poultry and dairy. 

Beginning of your journey, you will be staying at the House of Mangaldas situated in the UNESCO world heritage city of Ahmedabad. It is a heritage mansion belonging to a very powerful and philanthropic merchant family of Ahmedabad. The antique vessels and woodwork adorn the rooms of this 150 years old mansion. It is one of the best places to try the Gujarati Thali, a vegetarian meal with various assorted items arranged as a platter.

Also with your stay at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, you will support the Taj hotels, an outstanding group that puts great effort towards reducing energy, waste and water footprint while leaving a positive impact in the destinations and the communities. To help the resorts reduce the impact of daily operations, the Taj partnered with EarthCheck - the world's leading environmental management, benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry. Some of the additional initiatives that are supported through your stay at the Taj group include also the Coral Regeneration Programme aimed to increase the coral coverage and create a healthy reef ecosystem, the innovative use of plastic bottles (to make park benches at the resort for example), or the use of green power (thermal use, wind turbine generator). You can also take part in certain initiatives if you wish.

On the tours, we request each and every guest to try to be as eco friendly as possible. We provide a kit on request that consists of eco friendly and eatable cutlery, clay water bottles, and plantable notebooks made of seed papers. Our brochures and visiting cards are printed on recycled paper made from Khadi (cotton) waste. In Ahmedabad, we provide tuk tuk rides which run on CNG to curb the pollution and thereby reduce the carbon footprint.

The tour will help to preserve many heritage sites. The entrance fees to ASI monuments and UNESCO world heritage sites will help maintain and preserve the monuments such as the Modhera sun temple, Stepwells of Patan, etc.

In Mumbai, another important UNESCO site you will help preserve is the Elephanta Caves on the Elephant island close to Mumbai. Created between AD 450 and 750, they were, for hundreds of years, a place of worship and storytelling, with mythologies and history portrayed in the beautiful collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions in this site, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. Today, they are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

India is one of the few countries that run their wildlife conservation projects and preserve national parks solely on entrance fees and allocated government funds. No game hunting is allowed inside or outside the parks as all the wildlife species are protected under the Wildlife act. Visiting three different parks, Gir, Velavadar and Little Rann of Kutch helps support the wildlife and preserve the habitat and ecology of many flora and fauna.

Community

Our local partners work with the women of the Mir community in little Rann of Kutch through a skill development project. Traditionally, the women of the nomadic Mir community make and wear a lot of bead ornaments. The project helps them learn contemporary beadwork and modern ornaments using their traditional knowledge to make their expertise relevant to the current market demands where they can sell their art.

This tour offers a unique mix of responsible properties and small-scale homestays to support the local environment and community as well as its culture and traditions. All the hotels/homestays we work with hire staff and naturalists from nearby villages to generate a steady employment on local level. Rann Riders for example have supported the local communities like the Mirs by encouraging them to sell their products in resort’s premises.

You will also support the Taj group through your stay at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. They maintain time-honoured traditions central to the Indian homecoming. They provide jobs to the local community, support endangered artisan practices and revive regal history at palaces where royal families are still in residence. Furthermore, over 7000 associates of ´Give Back´, an employee volunteer programme by the Taj group, invest their time in mentoring and guiding youngsters, cleaning the local neighbourhood, taking up activities in the areas of hygiene and sanitation, local education, bringing guests to local villages and supporting the preservation and promotion of local art and culture.

When visiting Kutch, we will be interacting with a lot of local artisans who will show us how they have perfected their centuries old art of block printing, tie-dye or weaving. These artisans use natural dyes and finest quality Kora cotton to maintain and revive the dying art forms of Gujarat. 

Another interesting place you will visit is the villages near Palanpur. The Garasia tribals and their way of life teaches us how to live in complete harmony with nature. They use natural materials to make their houses and farm in small patches, enough to sustain a family. They celebrate and worship the mother goddess and Bhakhar, the mountain god who resides in Araavali hills. They live in coexistence with the wildlife around them including sloth bears and leopards.

In Kutch, we will be meeting a lot of artisans, most of who are struggling to revive and preserve the ancient techniques of fabric making and dyeing. It is an uphill battle against the juggernaut of mechanized textile industries and corporate giants. Supporting these artisans by purchasing handmade clothing items helps keep these wonderful traditions alive.

Another incredible authentic place you will visit is the Dhobbi Ghat in Mumbai. It is the world’s largest open air laundry, and it is home to one of the biggest laundrymen communities in India. With your tour guide, you will be able to get to know a different side of India and learn about this community very closely.

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