Colors of Gujarat

Duration: 11 Nights / 12 Days
Routing: Mumbai – Rajkot – Sasangir – Diu – Bhavnagar – Ahmedabad Departure

Highlights
Mumbai Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves boat cruise, Prince Wales Museum & Marine Drive
Rajkot Kaba Gandhi Delo, Watson Museum, Jubilee Garden & Rashtriya Shala
Junagarh Uparkot Fort & Ashoka Edicts 
Sasangir Jungle Safari’s
Somnath Museum & Temples
Palitana Shatrunjaya Jain Temple Complex
Diu Diu Fort, Wood Paneled St. Paul's & St. Thomas' Churches
Bhavnagar Khodiyar Mata,Takhteshwar Temple, Gandhi Smriti &Velavadar Sanctuary
Ahmedabad Jumma Masjid, Sidi Syed Mosque, Shaking minarets, Hatheesing Jain Temple & Sabarmati Ashram

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
Arrive by International flight, after traditional Indian style ‘Swagat’ (Welcome) by Exceptional Escapes representative would assist you at the airport & transfer to hotel for check in.
Mumbai; an archipelago of seven islands. Artifacts found that these islands had been inhabited since the Stone Age & documented evidence of human habitation dates back to 250 BC. In the 3rd century BC, the islands formed part of the Maurya Empire. In 1534, Portuguese appropriated islands from king of Gujarat later ceded to Charles II of England in 1661, as dowry for Catherine de Braganza. These islands were in turn leased to the British East India Company in 1668.
Overnight Hotel – Mumbai

Day 02 : Mumbai
Post breakfast start your day with a private guided city of Mumbai.
Gateway of India; the entrance to the port of Mumbai. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V in 1911.
Prince Wales Museum, built in a confluence of Gothic & Moorish styles. It boasts a collection of ancient Indus Valley artifacts dating 2000 BC, plus some priceless Tibetan & Nepali Art.
Dhobi Ghat; is a well known open air Laundromat in Mumbai, The washers, locally known as Dhobis, work in the open to wash the clothes from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals.
Post lunch Continue tour of Mumbai
We take the boat cruise from Gateway of India to visit Elephanta Caves, houses rock cut temples dating back to 5th century CE. It was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island.

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Marine Drive, which runs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point past Chowpatty Beach to the foot of Malabar Hill.

Evening free at Chowpatty Beach.
Overnight Hotel – Mumbai (B)

Day 03: Mumbai – Rajkot (Flight)
Post breakfast board your flight Rajkot. Exceptional Escapes representative would assist you at the airport & transfer to hotel for check in.
Rajkot, founded in the year 1612 by Thakur Saheb Vibhaji Ajoji Jadeja of Jadeja clan. Vibhaji was grandson of Jam Sataji of Nawanagar, present-day Jamnagar. During British Rule, it was a regional headquarter (Residency).Mahatma Gandhi spent his early years in Rajkot while his father was a Diwan to one of the Saurashtra Nawab, & the house where Gandhi lived is now a museum named Kaba Gandhi No Delo.

Post Lunch proceed for guided city tour of Rajkot visting:

Kaba Gandhi No Delo; house of Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) now a museum. His father, Karamchand Gandhi was known as Kaba Gandhi. The words Kaba Gandhi No Delo means Kaba Gandhi's residence.

Watson Museum & library; The Watson Museum & Library, located in the Jubilee Gardens, commemorated Colonel James Watson, political agent of Saurashtra from 1886-89. The museum is a good introduction to Saurashtra's cultural heritage. The entrance is flanked by two imperial lions. Among the exhibits are copies of artifacts from Mohanjodaro, 13th century carvings, temple statues, natural history exhibits, & dioramas of local tribal costumes & housing styles. There is a huge marble statue of Queen Victoria seated on throne.

Rashtriya Shala; founded by Mahatma Gandhi & is a center of patola weaving.

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Evening at leisure.
Overnight Hotel – Rajkot (B)

Day 04: Rajkot- Sasangir via Junagarh (175 km - 4 hrs)
Post breakfast drive to Sasangir, En-route visiting

Junagarh; literally means an ancient fort. The Junagadh town is located at the foothills of the sacred hill of Girnar & occupies a special place in the history of Gujarat. The history of Junagadh is chequered by the rulers of the Mauryans, Kshatrapas, Guptas, Vallabhis, Chudasamas & others. Both political powers & religious influences enriched the culture & created fantastic edifices leaving architectural mark.

Uparkot Fort; famous for its virtual inaccessibility, Ashoka’s Rock Edicts, fourteen Rock Edicts of the Emperor Ashoka can be seen inscribed on a great boulder. The inscriptions carry Brahmi script in Pali language & dates back to 250 BC. On the same rock are inscriptions in Sanskrit.

Damodar Kund; named after Krishna, whose water is said to be sacred due to its property of dissolving bones of dead brought for the immersion. Nearby there is Shri Mahaprabhuji's Bethak.

Continue drive to Sasangir; Sasangir, best known as being the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica). the Sanctuary, the area is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. Established in the year 1965, Today is the sustaining ecosystem of Gir, with its diverse flora & fauna. The forest area of Gir & its lions were declared as "protected" in the early 1900's by the then Nawab of the princely state of Junagadh. This initiative resulted in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only 15 through slaughter for trophy hunting.

Evening free.
Overnight Hotel – Sasangir (D)

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Day 05: Sasangir
Morning start your day with a private Jeep safari to the National Park. It has the distinction of being the only refuge to the last surviving majestic Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo). Apart from the Asiatic Lions,  the Park is also home to large number of Panthers, Hyenas, Deer, the world's only 4-horned Antelope, Blue Bull, Wild Boar & the dangerous Marsh Crocodile. 

Several machaans (watch towers) & hideaways have been raised near waterholes to allow visitors a closer look at the lions.

Post lunch experience after private Jeep safari to the National Park.
Overnight Hotel – Sasangir (B, L, D)

Day 06: Sasangir – Diu via Somnath (160kms – 4 hrs)
Post breakfast drive to Diu, en-route visiting
Somnath Temple; located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas (golden lingas) symbols of the God Shiva. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as although the temple has been destroyed six times it has been rebuilt every single time.
Continue drive to Diu, an island lying off the south coast of Gujarat's Kathiawar peninsula, separated from the mainland by a tidal creek. It is famous for its fortress & Old Portuguese Cathedral. The village of Ghoghla, which lies on the mainland opposite the eastern end of the island, is also part of the union territory.

Rest of the day free.
Overnight Hotel- Diu (B)

Day 07: Diu
Post Breakfast guided city tour of Diu

Diu; visiting the Battlement of Diu Fort, an expansive & imposing structure, situated on the coast of the island. The fort commands a magnificent view of sea. It was constructed between 1535 -1541 AD after a defence alliance, concluded by the Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat. The fort is skirted by the sea on the three sides. On the Fort stands a giant structure now housing a Lighthouse. A strange mist shrouds the entire fort. It is more conspicuous during winter nights when fog spreads all around, & the lighthouse gives off a misty light. Followed by visit Wood Panelled St.Paul's & St.Thomas' Churche

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Rest of the day free.
Overnight Hotel- Diu (B)

Day 08: Diu– Bhavnagar en-route Palitana (220 kms - 5 hrs)
Post breakfast drive Bhavnagar en- route visiting

Palitana; a city & former princely state is a major pilgrimage centre for Jains. The Palitana temples are considered the most sacred pilgrimage place (tirtha) by the Jain community. There are a total of 1250 temples located on the Shetrunjaya hills, exquisitely carved in marble. The main temple on top of the hill is dedicated to 1st Tirthankara lord Adinath (Rishabdeva). No one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods.

Continue drive to Bhavnagar, Known as the cultural capital of Saurashtra, the city was named after its ruler & founder Bhav Singhji Gohil. It was a carefully chosen strategic location having potential of maritime trade. It remained a major port, for almost two centuries, trading commodities with Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Singapore & the Persian Gulf.

Evening free for relax.
Overnight Hotel-
Bhavnagar (B)

Day 09: Bhavnagar
Post breakfast guided tour visiting

Khodiyar Mata; is a famous shrine commemorating the family Goddess of the rulers of the former Bhavnagar State. The deity is held in great reverence & the shrine with 36 pillars & a vast mandap presents a serene sight.

Takhteshwar Temple; Made of pure marble & constructed in late 19th century. The temple is situated on a hillock near the Takhteshwar railway station on the railway line between Bhavnagar & mahuva. The picturesque view from the temple adds to the serenity of the place.

Gandhi Smriti; Established with an objective of keeping Gandhian thought alive, Gandhi Smriti is a living monument to Gandhiji. Opened in 1955, the institution hoses a Gandhi picture gallery, museum, Khadi Gramodyog Bhandar & a library. The institution has kept alive Gandhiji's association with Bhavnagar & the States of Saurashtra.

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Post lunch visit

Velavadar Black Buck Sanctuary; home of the Indian black buck. Velavadar in the Bhal region of Saurashtra is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the black bucks the fastest of the Indian antelopes, wolf & the lesser florican.

Evening free for independent activities.
Overnight Hotel- Bhavnagar (B)

Day 10: Bhavnagar– Ahmedabad (240 km - 5 hrs)
Post breakfast drive to Ahmedabad, Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, the city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district & was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970 after which the capital was moved to Gandhinagar. The city is sometimes called Karnavati, a name for an older town that existed in the same location; in colloquial Gujarati, it is commonly called Amdavad. The city was founded in 1411 to serve as the capital of the Sultanate of Gujarat, by its namesake, Sultan Ahmed Shah. Under British rule, a military cantonment was established & the city infrastructure was modernised & expanded.

Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight Hotel – Ahmedabad (B)

Day 11: Ahmedabad
Post breakfast guided city tour visiting

Jumma Masjid; Described by some as the most beautiful mosque in India, the congregational mosque was built by the city's founder, Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423. Built in yellow sandstone, it combines the best of Hindu & Muslim styles of architecture. It stands on 260 pillars supporting 15 domes at varying elevations. The mosque is located in the centre of the old city.

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Sidi Syed Mosque; One part of the wall in the old citadel of the mosque built by Ahmed Shah's slave, Sidi Sayed, is celebrated all over the world for its exquisite stone window tracery - a superb example of delicate carving that transforms stone into filigree.
Shaking minarets; two minarets located at the Siddhi Bashir mosque. They are uniquely designed in a way that when one minaret is shaken the other one shakes too.

Post lunch visit

Hatheesing Jain Temple; Built outside Delhi Gate in 1850 by a rich Jain merchant, the Hatheesing Temple is the best known of Ahmedabad's many ornate Jain temples. Built of pure white marble & profusely decorated with rich carvings, the Hatheesing Temple is dedicated to Dharamnath. Within the city there are many other Jain temples with remarkable carvings in stone & wood.

Sabarmati Ashram; set up by Mahatma Gandhi a simple retreat in 1915. This was his first Satyagraha Ashram & for many it was the nerve centre of India's freedom movement. Hridaya Kunj, the cottage where he lived is preserved as it was in the Mahatma's lifetime. The Gandhi Ashram has a memorial centre, library & a sound & light spectacle to offer its visitors.
Overnight Hotel – Ahmedabad (B)

Day 12: Ahmedabad Departure
Transfer to international airport to board flight for onward journey.

Tour Concludes: Exceptional Escapes Manager will assist you with your transfer to the airport for boarding onward flight.

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