The finest textiles and West Bengal’s vibrant cultural legacy
We live in the world when we love it ― Rabindranath Tagore
West Bengal, birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought, is also the origin of India’s most exquisite handwoven textiles. Immerse yourself in cultural vibe of Kolkata (Calcutta), work alongside village artisans in finest silk and cotton hand-woven fabric, elaborate batik work, traditional kantha embroidery, and vibrant block printing.
Take away memories of a literate and hospitable people, and pride in millennia-old artisanship.
Minimum group size: 6 participants/maximum 10.
Duration: 6 nights/7 days (Kolkata, Kalna, Phulia, Shantiniketan, Bishnupur)
Day 1 Kolkata (West Bengal) Arrival from international destination or from within India. Day tour of Kolkata. Afternoon visit to Panchla for gold thread embroidery with gold zari, seed pearls, sequins and beads that traditionally adorn a bride’s finery. Evening visit Gariahat Market. Overnight Kolkata.
Day 2 Kalna from Maheshgunj Estate Transfer 3 hrs to former indigo estate of French planters. Walk extensive grounds and learn of the fascinating history of indigo from the present owners. Visit Kalna for finest jamdani weaving demo. Jamdani, also muslin, “woven air”, is the gauziest of cottons with embroidery on the loom. Overnight Maheshganj Estates
Day 3 Phulia from Maheshgunj Visit Phulia for Tangail jacquard weaving and more Jamdani work. Visit traditional sari shop owned by national Jamdani award winner and learn of different techniques. Walk weavers’ village and take in everyday life. Overnight Maheshgunj Estates.
Day 4 Shantiniketan’s university town was established by Nobel laureate Rabrindranath Tagore. After 3 hour transfer, enjoy its unique cultural vibe and a kantha embroidery workshop with women in self-help village. Overnight in Shantiniketan.
Day 5 Shantiniketan to Bishnupur to Kolkata Batik workshop – essentially “writing in wax” – for multiple dyeing and application processes. In Bishnupur marvel at rich Baluchar heirloom saris’ carding calibrating and weaving . Visit weavers’ homes, beautiful 15thC terracotta temples. Overnight in Kolkata. .
Day 6 Kolkata Presentation by head of West Bengal Crafts Council who has singlehandedly revived and showcased handloom textile crafts. Shop the exquisite handloom product from all over India. Visit Dakshinapan Market followed by block printing and dyeing workshop. Overnight Kolkata.
Day 7 Flight Kolkata
This tour dovetails with our North East India and Bhutan tour
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Extensively dry run by Shila to deliver the most authentic and immersive experience.
I went astray in the fairyland of things
It was the best luck of my life
that I lost my path that morning, and found my eternal childhood.
~ Rabindranath Tagore, India’s Poet Laureate