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  • Shila Desai

Stepwells and Textiles of Gujarat-Kutch-Rajasthan 2022

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

Sit back and relive the double-hit wonder of our latest tour


Adalaj Stepwell, 1499 CE., Ahmedabad

Our recent 23-day Gujarat-Kutch-Rajasthan tour was our most ambitious, far-reaching India tour. In addition to this region's outstanding textile heritage, my group along with our guide Niravbhai, explored India's most fascinating historical architecture you've probably never heard of.


Since 200 BCE, and perhaps 4500 years ago during the Indus Civilisation, stepwells were an arid land's answer to life-giving water. Using incredible engineering feats, these underground temples honoured the sanctity of water. The deepest stepwell went down seven glorious storeys. They were adorned with sculptures and iconography. Part caravanserai, some stepwells played an integral role in the trade routes of the Silk Road. The other function was as a communal hub. Some were purely for ablutions prior to worship at nearby temples. Yet others were erected for fortification purposes, particularly in Rajasthan.


Here’s a photographic journal of our explorations. We were the first international visitors at quite a few. For captions, hover cursor over photos.



Stepwells from 4th c. to 1200 CE: Dhank and Vadhvan. Majushri in Dhank was restored by Niravbhai and local villagers, partly funded by E.Y.H.O.


The heavy-hitters: 15th CE Adalaj and 11th CE UNESCO Rani ki Vav (Queen's Stepwell)


Taking a break from poking around stepwells, we explored outstanding arts and crafts of Gujarat and Kutch: Kansa metalwork, wooden block making, lacquerware, Nirona bellmaking, Rogan painting


Of course, we immersed ourselves in a cornucopia of textiles: weaving, dyeing, blockprinting.


Hands on textile workshops and demos


Stayed in memorable and unique accommodations


Explored the heritage mansions of Sidhpur


In Rajasthan, we climbed impregnable forts, admired frescos, and teleported to bygone days of valour.


 

Many, many highlights but the best ones involved meeting and interacting with the warm, hospitable, and no doubt bemused local people. Many wondered why we would poke around old stepwells. We hope our enthusiasm helps them appreciate the riches of their heritage.




I've always known E.Y.H.O. travellers are a breed apart. They are intrepid, curious, engaged, and game for pretty much anything. I am so fortunate to travel with them, and count many of them among my close friends.

This photo was taken at Bundi's Stepwell of Raniji, built 1757 CE.



Accolades: I can't even imagine the hours you spent in conjunction with Nirav to make such an incredible journey possible. The window that you opened to India for us was not the stuff of the usual tourist circuit. ." -Webb Naas, Arlington.



Still processing this amazing experience. Endless thanks." - Andrea C., Georgia.


Gracias is too small a word for this trip. Thank you, Shila, for your vision and knowledge. Thank you, Nirav, for teaching me so much so patiently." - Guadalupe A., San Miguel, Mexico.


We will do it all over again soon. Join us! For advance registration, contact me.

 

Thanks for taking a look! I am Shila Desai, owner of E.Y.H.O. Tours. I personally handcraft itineraries, infusing them with curated activities, accommodations, and sightseeing. Together with my in-country teams, we deliver exceptional holidays every time. I invite you to leave me a comment or write shila@eyhotours.com


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