Day 1: Arrival at Vadodra
Arrive at Vadodara – The city is the site of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the residence of the Maharaja of Baroda and the royal family, and his erstwhile Darbar. It is also the home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Vadodara), the largest university in Gujarat. check in at hotel. Entire day is leisure.
Day 2: Vadodara to Champaner – Pavagadh – Ahmedabad
- Arrive Vadodara, check inn at hotel, later we visit Laxmi Vilas Palace. The Laxmi Vilas Palace was the official residence of the erstwhile Maharajahs of Baroda. Though a little down at heel and run down, the palace still has impressive interiors done up with Venetian glass, crystal chandeliers, Italian marble and mosaic and find porcelain and marble statues from Europe. The tiered step-well called the Naulakhi Baoli which got its name because of the fact that it could store 9million gallons of water is near the palace.
- Champaner – This city, located at 47 K in the north-east of Vadodara, was conquered in 1484 by Sultan Mahmud, and he renamed Begara Muhammadabad. Named World Heritage Site by UNESCO, counts 114 monuments of historical and archaeological interest, among them stand the mosque of Jama Masjid, for its impressive interior courtyard, its porches, beautiful arches and slender minarets. Worth a visit Shahr Masjid, with its row of columns, domes and delicate mihrab (niche facing Mecca) and Nagina Masjid with a charming porch; beside the village is built on three levels of the Pavagadh Hill, a hill topped by the ruins of a fortress. According to Hindu legend, the hill would be a fragment of the Himalayas that the Monkey God Hanuman took away with him to Lanka in one of the episodes recounted in the epic Ramayana – hence the name Pavagadh, which means “quarter of a hill.” Overnight at hotel
Day 3: Ahmedabad to Modhera – Patan – Ahmedabad
- Today we go for an excursion to Modhera and Patan.
- Modhera: The Sun temple of Modhera is one of the finest examples of Indian architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D. the temple is dedicated to the Sun-God, Surya and stands high on a plinth overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice, both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers. Sun Temple of Modhera was built by King Bhimdev I (1026-27) and bears some resemblance to the later and far better known, Sun Temple of Konark in the state of Orissa, which it predates by some 200 years. Like that temple, it was designed so that the dawn sun shone on the image of Surya, the sun God, at the time of the equinoxes. The main hall and shrine are reached through a pillared porch and the temple exterior is intricately and delicately carved. As with the temple of Somnath, this fine temple was ruined by Muhammad of Ghazni.
- Patan : Home of the famous Patola silk saris, Patan is a beautiful old town with Jain temples and carved wooden houses. Ranikivav (step well) is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. The exisquisitely carved side walls, pillars, beams, series of steps & platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. Every surface is adorned with finally chiselled sculptures of maidens and Hindu deities, religious motifs and geometrical patterns. Rani ki Vav represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Ahmedabad Sightseeing
Enjoy the City tour by visiting Akshardham Temple – A religious cult followed by Swami-Narayan followers. Later proceed to visit Jumma Masjid – 1423 A.D, the most beautiful mosque in east. Built in yellow sandstone, this Friday Mosque, is a best combination of Muslim & Hindu architectural style. It stands on 260 pillars that support 15 domes at varying elevations. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 5: Ahmedabad To Lothal – Bhavnagar
- Today, after breakfast visit Sarkhej Roza, Lothal and drive to Bhavnagar. Lothal : A perfect place to get an insight of the Indus Valley civilization. The most dominating site at Lothal is the massive dockyard spanning an area of 37 meters by 22 meters perhaps the greatest work of Maritime Architecture. Lothal was also famous for its arterial streets, microbes of gold, ivory and coppersmiths’ workshops, potteries and underground sanitary drainage. It is located at a distance of 78 kms from Ahmedabad. (Closed on Fridays).
- Sarkhej Roza: Is about 8 kilometres away from the city, Sarkhej Roza comprises one of the most elegant architectural complexes of Ahmedabad. Grouped around a great stepped tank is the tomb of the saint, Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh (1445), the mosque (1451), the tombs of Muhammad Shah Begada and his queen, the palace and pavilions. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Bhavnagar to Palitana – Gondal
Very early this morning you may wish to join the pilgrims and climb Palitana which is situated 50kms from Bhavnagar. The hills of Palitana are known as the ‘Abode of the Gods’ and are covered with 863 Jain temples spanning a period of over 900 years. Their finely carved spires and towers glisten in the sunlight as pilgrims make the uphill journey on foot. The climb will take about two hours each way so do carry water and a sun hat with you. Overnight at hotel less
Day 7: Gondal to Junagadh – Gondal
- Today undertake visit to Junagadh which is located 60kms to the south west of Gondal. Junagadh is one of India’s most historic cities – ancient artefacts have been found on the hilltop citadel, Emperor Ashoka’s edicts were inscribed on rock here during the 3rd century BC and Buddhist caves all serve to ratify the antiquity of the city. Formerly the capital of Gujarat under the Kshatriya dynasty, the Chudasama Rajputs later ruled from the town from 875 AD onwards.
- Once in Junagadh visit the Uparkot Citadel – expanded in 1472, 1683 and 1880 – which is on a small plateau to the east of the town and the Jama Masjid in its centre which was built from the remains of a Hindu palace. Also of interest is the 11th century Adi Chadi Vav step-well, or baoli, with its 172 steps and beautiful spiral staircase. After touring the fort, drive down to see the impressive mausoleum complex of the latter Junagadh rulers – the Maqbara of Baha-ud-din Bhar is flamboyant and features intricate carvings. On the return to Gondal stop to visit the 4th century Buddhist caves which are located in the small village of Khambalida and have splendid carvings of the Bodhisattvas. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Gondal to Bhuj
- Today we drive to Bhuj and visit Aiana Mahal and Prag Mahal.
- Visit Aaina Mahal: It was constructed by Rao Lakhpatji (1707-61 A.D.) in 1750 A.D, who was a great patron of art, architecture, music and literature. Aaina Mahal is a unique example of an Indian palace built in the mid-eighteenth century with European influence.
- Prag MAHAL : Rao Pragmalji II (1838-76 A.D) undertook the construction of Prag Mahal and appointed the famous architect – Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins to design it. Constructed in the Italian Gothic style, it has a large Darbar Hall, big rooms, wide verandas& a 45 meter high lofty bell tower. It was built using the various types of stones available in Kutch region. This is a fine example of Indian craftsmanship combined with European architectural design. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Bhuj to Dholavira – Bhuj
- Today early morning do an excursion to Dholavira. Dholavira : At the height of our civilization, our technological development, our social and material complexity, all signs point to progress, we often think. And yet, all is not as it seems and once in a while it occurs to us to look into the past to discover our future.
- Dholavira is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan culture, dating back to 4500 years ago. While the other site, Lothal, is more exhaustively educated and easier to reach, a visit to Lothal only complements, rather than replaces, a visit to Dholavira. What this site offers you, in the intense environment that comes with being surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch, is a unique insight into the pioneering Harappan mind, with one of the world’s earliest and best planned water conservation systems and what might be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient Indus script.
- The excavation also tells the story of the seven stages of the civilization, from development to maturity to decay, the last of which hints at a strange piece of history, with more questions than answers. After the peak of the civilization Dholavira was temporarily abandoned, after which it seems that the settlers returned with a markedly de-urbanized culture. There are hints that they willingly chose to simplify their lives, rather than try to ride the collapse of their once glorified civilization. Here, on the ruins, you will have a chance to contemplate what progress and civilization mean and what, if anything, is truly permanent. Later return to Bhuj
- Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Departure from Bhuj
Today take a flight from Bhuj Airport / Railway Station.