18 DAY CRAFT & CULTURE INDIA

Women Only

Max group 12

Lifetime Deposit

Henri Matisse famously said, “Don’t wait for inspiration…” and on this 18 day crafting adventure through India’s Rajasthan region, you certainly won’t have to! 

Inspiration will strike in the ordinary, from the outfits of everyday women to snacking on street food, as well as in the magnificence of Rajasthan’s intricately carved architecture and signature coloured towns. This adventure kicks off with a group weaving exercise and ends with a patchwork workshop and you can only imagine all of the crafting you’ll do inbetween! 

When we say you’ll be diving head first into India’s arts and crafts scene, thousands of years in the making – we mean it quite literally! Get your hands dirty in clay, fine tune your weaving skills on traditional pit looms, and craft the same bangles that adorn the wrists of local women. 

But it’s not just about the incredible arts and crafts experiences. You’ll explore your fair share of jaw-dropping forts and mansions, hear intoxicating music from instruments you could only conjure in your dreams, and sleep within palace walls. It’s a feast for the senses – and your creative heart – in India!

Highlights

Enjoy a lac bangle workshop in rural Shekhawati.

Hands on Usta Art workshop in Bikaner.

Visit the potter community of Pokhran.

Early morning yoga and a tie-dye workshop in Jodhpur.

Make your own Royal Shoes (jutti making).

Scout local markets and try cooking new foods.

See some architectural wonders of India.

Explore weaving techniques across Rajasthan.

Trip Details

Price

$8,204 AUD (twin share)

  • $1,750 deposit.
  • 2 week cooling off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private supplement available: $2,160 AUD, max 2 spots

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

18 days, 17 nights


Dates

Starts: Delhi, 6 November 2024

Finishes: Delhi, 23 November 2024


Meeting point

Colonel’s Retreat Hotel, Delhi


Ending point

Colonel’s Retreat Hotel, Delhi


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section under the Participation Tab.


Included

  • Meals: 17 breakfasts, 16 lunches and 17 dinners
  • Private vehicle transportation
  • Train travel Jaipur to Delhi
  • 17 nights boutique and premium accommodation
  • A top-rated and English-speaking Tour Leader
  • All listed activities and more!
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers

Not included

  • International Flights and travel insurance (necessary)
  • Any visas required
  • Additional hotel nights & late checkouts
  • Drinks and other other personal expenses
  • Tipping $165 AUD (Please see FAQs for more details)

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1: Welcome to India!

Hello India! A driver will meet you at the airport to make your arrival smooth.

It can be nerve-wracking stepping out into the streets of Delhi – but isn’t enjoying this happy frenzy half the fun? If you’re feeling overwhelmed when you arrive, lean on your local guide – she’ll help you navigate the madness of your first moments in India. Kick off this crafts centred adventure with an artsy “get-to-know-you” alongside your new friends and fellow co-creators. 

Celebrate your arrival with dinner before nodding off in your B&B – you’ll be here for two nights.

Accommodation: Colonel’s Retreat  or similar
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Explore New Delhi

Today is all about exploring India through your senses – especially smell! You’ll soon be headed to more off-beat locales but you can’t miss out on a tour through New Delhi, taking in bucket-list sites like Humayan’s tomb and the Friday Mosque, but we reckon the highlight of the morning will be your perfume-making class.

This afternoon, take part in an all-women NGO workshop. We’re keeping the details a secret for now, but we can promise that this is one of those memory-making experiences that will warm your heart. Can you believe you’ve experienced so much and you’ve only been in India for 24 hours?

Accommodation: Colonel’s Retreat or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 3: Shekhawati

Grab a quick breakfast this morning – we suggest the banana bread your hotel is renowned for – before hitting the road for your first Indian road trip!

Today you’re travelling six hours by car, deep into Rajasthan, India’s largest state.

The city of Shekhawati awaits you at the end of your journey, framed by arid scenery. You might imagine a desert outpost to be a one-note, drab palette but not in this colour-rich country!

You’ll have the evening free to walk among the intricately painted havalis that made Shekhawati famous. The jewel-toned frescoes here aren’t just pretty – they tell the story of Shekhawati’s past and present through images of folklore and mythology.

Accommodation: Roop Niwas Kothi or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 4: Nawalgarh

Since you arrived in India, you may have noticed the local women, adorned in thick layers of vibrant, jingling bracelets from elbow to wrist. You may even have wondered exactly how they are made…

If so, we’ve got some good news – because today you’ll have the chance to make these accessories yourself! Hop in for just a thirty minute drive north to the tiny town of Nawalgarh where you’ll discover what makes lac bangles so culturally important. Each individual bangle worn represents a special moment, or life milestone. .

After a morning of creative efforts, fill up with a local lunch before another feast – for the eyes this time – at Shekhawarti’s claim to fame, the abandoned frescoes of the haveli mansions. You’ll have seen their facades yesterday but now it’s time for a deep dive. Just your presence here, witnessing these works of art, helps to support their preservation – that and the desert air!

Accommodation: Roop Niwas KOthi or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 5: Bikaner

Remember the gorgeous havelis you explored yesterday? Well tonight you’ll be sleeping in one! You’ll have to make a five hour drive to reach it but, oh, it will be worth it. Your final destination of Bikaner is a special one – an entire city built in both the Mughal and Rajput style.

This afternoon it’s time to get better acquainted with Bikaner through its intricate stone carvings, ornate courtyards, and beautiful palaces on a walking tour. You’ll soon see why you just can’t miss this city.

Accommodation: Chandra Raj Mahal or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 6: The Ancient Art of Usta

Rise early and wipe the sleep from your eyes. You weren’t dreaming. Last night you actually slept inside an ancient palace! This morning come back down to earth on the backroads of Bikaner where you’re on the hunt for a local snack – beloved by royals and everyday folks alike. Bikaneri bhujia is a crunchy snack made from moth bean flour and spices and we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it. Continue to collect enough local culinary tidbits to make breakfast – or you can pop back to the hotel for something a little more substantial.

Then – you’ve admired Mughal architecture and now it’s time to put your hands to work at Mughal art through the ancient craft of gold embossing and painting known as Usta. You’ll plunge straight into this four hour workshop, designing and creating your very own piece using this centuries old artform first practised in Persia.

Accommodation: Gaj Kesari or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Bhujia: The Snack of India

Pop into any convenience store or street-side snack stall across India and you’ll see bags of bhujia hanging around. Legend has it that bhujia was created in 1877 for Bikaner’s Maharaja himself. Bhujia spread across India like wildfire, a snack-fueled obsession similar to the western adoration of crisps, around the 1960’s. While there are different iterations today, like aloo bhujia and maggibhujia. Bikaner bhujia is the one to rule them all! Used to top toast for breakfast and curries for dinner, its addictive crunch has become a staple in households across India. While this crunchy noodle-like snack seems to have reached every corner of the country (and the world), Bikaner was where this popular nibble was born. You’ll find it, freshly fried, in street stalls on every corner of this desert town.

Day 7: Pokaran

We’re one week in and you’re back on the road once more to the teeny tiny cities of Kolayat and Ghator today, with an ultimate destination of Pokaran, also known as the “Place of Five Mirages”.

If you haven’t heard of any of these places, just remember – that’s a good thing. It means they’re not overloaded with selfie-sticks and 5-language menus!

It’s in Pokaran that we’ve got a bit of a treat for you, with a day of musical fun. You’ll brush shoulders with some serious folk music celebrities, listening to both captivating vocals and intriguing instruments – some only found in India. Tonight is an exceptional stay that you’ll just have to see to believe. Let’s just say that you’ll feel like royalty strolling around the courtyard.

Accommodation: Fort Pokaran or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 8: Jodhpur

Day 8 is chock full of creative marvels and you’ll dive straight in.

Start the day with a visit to Pokaran’s local pottery guild, learning the intricacies of their unique kiln firing methods and clay preparations. Then it’s off to explore a nearby pit-loom weaving community. Their unique method, known as pattu, produces complex patterns and thick fibres, perfect for protecting from the area’s sandy conditions.

Hop in the car next for the four hour drive to Jodhpur. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, exploring the nooks and crannies of the incredible desert region of Rajasthan, so it’s time to dial back the pace a bit. You’ll be holing up in the “Blue City” of Jodhpur for the next three nights. Inspiration is everywhere in this town and seemingly strikes around every corner. Get ready to dive even deeper into India’s arts scene!

Accommodation: Mandore Guest House or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 9: Leather Jutti Class

We said it’s time to dial back the pace, didn’t we?

Well, we meant it: this morning you’ll begin the day with a meditation and yoga class on the grounds of your beautiful guest house, beneath a bouquet of tropical plants. It’s the perfect way to clear the mind and make way for creativity to flow. Can you believe you’re already halfway through this art-fueled journey around Rajasthan?

Today you’ll have the distinct honour of meeting the master leather workers who craft jutti or “Royal Shoes”. It’s sure to be a “pinch me” moment as you watch the artisans at work, creating these bejewelled slippers that have been worn for hundreds of years by Jodhpur’s aristocrats. After watching these leather virtuoso’s at work, soon it’s time to try your hand at this centuries-old craft – making a pair yourself.

Finish the day with an exploration of the city.

Accommodation: Mandore Guest House or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 10: Tie Dye Workshop

Greet another day in the Blue City with yoga and meditation – or you can sleep in if you need, the choice is yours.. Today is another immersive experience but you may not expect this unique craft! Did you know that tie-dye was actually created in India? Known as bandhani in Hindi, you’ll learn from a bonafide third generation tie-dyer’s family who continue to carry on his artistic legacy in a three hour workshop. Imagine bringing home a souvenir that you’ve created with your own two hands!

This afternoon is free for you to continue exploring Jodhpur’s blue streets in the Old City or to simply reflect on your amazing journey through India so far. Tomorrow you’re headed to the City of Lakes.

Accommodation: Mandore Guest House or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 11: Udaipur

Start your day with another restorative meditation and yoga session – can you touch your toes yet? This is such a wonderful way to start the day before heading off on a five hour drive to Udaipur. Watch as desert scenery unfolds out your window, including camels lumbering into the sand.

You won’t have to imagine what life is like in the small settlements passing by. Soon you’ll stop in a Raika community, the pastoral nomads of Rajasthan. You’ll be welcomed into their day-to-day and will get to try fresh camel milk in the traditional way – from a folded aak leaf! Or maybe you’d rather sample the camel milk in your tea, bubbling away over the campfire.

This afternoon you’ll be rolling into the city of Udaipur, an oasis town framed by both mountain scenery and quiet lakes.

Accommodation: Boheda Manor or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 12: Rajasthani Culture Through Food

Yoga today will be held in an extra special location – one of Udaipur’s temples! But if you can’t be bothered, that’s okay too. Kick off your first full day in Udaipur by exploring its streets, lined with lavish mansions. A tour of the City Palace will reveal why Udaipur is called the “City of Lakes”. You’ll have the chance to experience them up close this afternoon with a glide along their calm surface, reflecting the palace in the distance.

This afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to explore Udaipur through your tastebuds. Come explore the local markets with your guide who will help you select seasonal veggies and aromatic spices. Then you’ll be put to work, chopping alongside your fellow Patchies and learning how to prepare the traditional dishes of Rajasthan. Dine on your spoils, surrounded by a sea of silver thali, and delight in how cooking together instantly breaks down boundaries.

Accommodation: Boheda Manor or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 13: Bundi

You’re off on another long drive today, six hours to be exact, and you might be wondering why? Distances may be far in India’s largest state but the long drive is always worth it in the end! Bundi is an exceptionally special place, a place that you just can’t miss! Rest up on your journey because you’ll hit the ground running once you arrive.

Start off with an introduction to Kota Duri, a traditional, transparent weaving technique that creates iconic checks known as khat. Your teachers are local women, in their own homes with their own looms. You’ll be wowed by the way they strengthen the fibres in the weavings – by smearing a mixture of onion juice and rice paste on them! You’ll walk away from this experience reminded of why this was such an important detour on the way to your next stop.

Accommodation: Haveli Braj Bhushan Jee or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 14: Bundi to Jaipur

Fuel up with a delicious buffet breakfast this morning before taking to the streets of Bundi to see the bounty of beautiful sites.

Visit the palace, check out the intricate paintings of the Chitrashala, and take some pics of one of the most stunning stepwells in India. All incredible visuals that could inspire even the most unimaginative! You’re off again this afternoon for a four hour drive to one of your last destinations of the trip, Jaipur. After two weeks in India, you’re not seeing this city through rose-coloured glasses, they don’t call it the Pink City for nothing!

Accommodation: Ikaki Niwas or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 15: Welcome to Jaipur!

Wake up in Jaipur to enjoy the Admire the salmon-coloured layers of almost 1,000 windows at the Hawa Mahal and stand in amazement of the mighty Amber Fort on your excursions through Jaipur today. Your creative energy will be fully charged and ready to be unleashed later in the day.

It’s no secret that Indian textiles are legendarily intricate and colourful and you’ll witness the art form of block printing first hand today at the Anokhi Museum, itself a work of terracotta-hued art.

Later in the afternoon you’ll have the chance to meet a local rug weaving collective, learning first hand how they create their beautiful fibres.

Accommodation: Ikaki Niwas or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 16: Blue Pottery in the Pink City

You might be in the “Pink City” now, but fond memories of Jodhpur will begin bubbling to the surface in today’s blue pottery workshop. Learn the ins and outs of this ornate craft that earned the Geographical Indication, denoting the specific origin of these striking ceramics.

You’ll have the chance to enjoy your final moments in Jaipur like a true local this afternoon with Pink City Rickshaw Tours, an incredible operation that empowers and employs hundreds of low-income women across the city. They’ll certainly give you a unique perspective from behind the wheel! We have been offering this experience in India for years and it’s always been one of the highlights of the journey for our Patchies.

Accommodation: Ikaki Niwas or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 17: Jaipur to Delhi

Wave goodbye to the Pink City out your train window. You’re now headed back where this adventure began, to New Delhi. Take the train ride to reflect on your trip, thinking up ways to incorporate these new-found creative methods into your crafting back home, or simply chatting up the locals.

This afternoon you’ll take part in one last artsy adventure! A patchwork course is on the docket – and what else as you’re now a certifiable “Patchie”? Then, meet up tonight for a finale to remember at Rooh, a fine-dining farewell to your unforgettable trip through India and its artisans.

Accommodation: Colonel’s Retreat or similar
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 18: Farewell Friends!

It’s the last day of this unforgettable, crafting extravaganza through Rajasthan. Gather together for a final breakfast with your co-creators, connected through your love of art. No doubt you’ll be dreaming up future projects and creative endeavours on the plane home as India disappears behind the clouds.

Included: Breakfast

Trip Map
The Essential Info

FITNESS LEVELS

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There are short times where specific exercise is planned for this trip, but alternatives are provided. There will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include city walks and getting on and off various forms of transport.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on these trips is based on the following exchange rates:

06 November departure: 1 AUD : 53.1 INR

A deposit of $1,750 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

Food is everything in India. From street food to fine dining, you can find it all. Service in restaurants can be a bit slow, but the wait is worth it.

North India is a vegetarian and vegan paradise, and your guide will be able to point you towards restaurants with better hygiene.

Delhi Belly is a thing. It is common for tourists to get sick in India, as food tends to be on the heavy side. If you enjoy Indian food, you’re going to LOVE this trip. You’re going to discover all kinds of foods that you never even thought existed.

Australian and New Zealand passport holders can apply for an E-Tourist Visa. If you are staying in India longer than 30 days you will need to apply for a 1 year Visa. The Visa fee is around $40AUD for 30 days and $65AUD for 1 year.

Airfares are not included. Being tour operators (not travel agents), we are not licensed to sell flights. We recommend contacting your trusted local travel agent to book flights, if you’re in need of assistance.

Solo travellers will be matched with a room-mate. Of course, if you prefer to have your own space, you can reserve the private room supplement.

Please contact us for more information.

Airport transfers are included. You can plan to arrive at any time, but we recommend arriving in the morning to give yourself time to settle in.

Most of our trips have a tip kitty because many cultures have interesting and diverse rules when it comes to tips. We’ve found it to be the easiest way to combat over-tipping, under-tipping or having the tip fall into the wrong hands. Our goal is for guests to relax and know that the complexities of tipping are taken care of, on their behalf.

For your Indian Culture and Crafts adventure, we ask your contribution be: 3,500 Indian Rupee (equivalent to $65 AUD) which is given to your guide on Day 1. The kitty will be managed by your guide and distributed along the way at restaurants for included meals, hotel staff, drivers and services.

What is not covered is a customary tip at the end of the trip for your guide. If they’ve ensured that your trip is memorable, we recommend the following guidelines:

5,300 to 6,400 Indian Rupee per person (equivalent to $100 – $120 AUD)

(Exchange Rate used – $1AUD : 53.1 Rupee)

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There’s no specific exercise planned for this trip, but there will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include city walks and getting on and off various forms of transport.

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

Have more burning questions?

Check Out Our Other Trips!