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Our journey starts when we leave for Delhi from Heathrow. Upon arrival we shall go straight to our hotel in the center of Delhi, Indias capital. This bustling metropolis is a combination of contemporary and traditional – towering skyscrapers built around monuments and mosques, all woven around snippets of wonderful textiles. That evening, by invite by Dilli Haat, we shall visit Kisan Haat to meet some local artists.
The introduction to Delhi starts with a walk through Shahjahanabad, or Old Delhi. Here we shall visit Raj Ghat (a Gandhi memorial), the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques. Travelling by rickshaw we will then go to an old cloth market, Chandni Chowk, also called moonlit square. This historically famous market was once the largest trading center in North India, attracting merchants from Turkey, China and many countries around the world. After lunch we shall take part in an interactive workshop on the art of hand block printing and tie-dye.
On the forth day, we shall journey to Gwalior via Agra. An early start is crucial today to get to the Taj Mahal in Agra before the crowds. Built in the name of love, and perfectly symmetrical, this famous palace is always a highlight on any trip to Agra. After this we shall visit the Red Fort, a remarkable mud and brick fortress built in the 10th century along the banks of the Yamuna River. We shall then continue our drive to Gwalior where we shall stay the night.
The next day we shall visit Gwalior Fort, which stands alone on an isolated rock, overlooking Gwalior town, and contains a number of notable buildings. Historical records tell us it was built in the 8th century. The fortress and the city have been integral to the history of the kingdoms of North India. It is said that the Mughal Emperor Babur (1483–1531) described it as, “The pearl in the necklace of the forts of Hind”. That evening we shall visit the local market of Maharaj Bada, comprised of Sarafa Baazar and Topi Bazaar. This market is well known for its handloom fabric, jewelry, handicraft and leather items.
The 6th day takes us to Chanderi, renowned for its traditional weavers of sarees. Nestled in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, the town of Chanderi is composed of a labyrinth of lanes full of archaeological Chanderi. Originally Chanderi sarees were woven using handspun cotton warps and wefts. After the Industrial Revolution in the 1930s, Chanderi weavers discovered Japanese silk and began substituting this in the warps in cotton Chanderi sarees. That evening we shall visit the famous historical features of Chanderi such as Badal Mahal Darwaza, Jama Mosque, Koshak Mahal and the Kati Ghati Gateway. We shall stay here for the next 2 nights. The next day will be orientated around textiles of Chanderi, in particular the production of hand-woven and crafted sarees. We will witness the everything from the first process of weaving – aswarping – to the finished sarees.
After a good nights sleep we will venture to Orchha, a small hamlet near Jhansi but full of beautiful Hindu temples and palaces. We will have a tour of these monuments and the town in the afternoon. One temple we will visit is the Laxmi Narayan Temple. With its unique architecture and elaborate mythological mural paintings, it really is beautiful.
Day 9 takes us on a 4 hour journey to Khajuraho, a small town in Bundelkhand dotted with striking 9th and 10th century temples. After arriving in the afternoon we shall watch an evening light and sound show. The next day, following a morning of exploration, we shall transfer to Jhansi railway station for our afternoon train journey to Delhi. We wills stay in Delhi for our last night, ready to go home the next day.
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