16 Day sketchbook art tour of Rajasthan, India. Sept 2020
Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Nawalgarh ~ Jodhpur ~ Jaisalmer
Friday September 18th – Sunday October 4th 2020
There is much to see in India but so much more to feel.
I invite you to join me in India for 16 magical days, travelling through majestic Rajasthan from Delhi to Jaisalmer. On our sketchbook tour, we’ll travel with the eyes of an artist. This means taking time to see what is around us, not racing from one attraction to the next, guided all the way by our expert local tour guide Kamlesh Vyas. This will be our 8th tour together. Kamlesh has formed so many dear relationships across Rajasthan and together they welcome us into their homes, hotels and craft studios.
A sketchbook tour of Rajasthan is for the artist at heart – whether you want to learn the the basics of sketching, or are an accomplished artist.
Sleep under the stars in the desert listening to gypsies sing. Stay in Maharaja’s heritage hotels. Visit artisans in their villages and sketch in ancient temples and palaces. Exquisite textiles, incredible frescoes and huge smiles will flood your soul.
Fill your sketchbooks with the brilliant colours of Rajasthan. We’ll be using mixed media, including embroidered and block printed textiles, natural pigments and beautiful Sanskrit or Hindi Texts.
Price: AUD$4,700 (private room) or $4200 (twin share)
Start and End: Delhi
Group Size: Min 6 – Max 10
Accommodation: Heritage hotels (except for under the stars in the Thar desert)
Travel Inclusions: accommodation & breakfast, air-conditioned bus travel between cities, Jaisalmer-Delhi AC sleeper train, camel in Thar Desert, tour entrance fees,
Places Visited: Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Nawalgarh, Holi Festival of Colour ~ Jodhpur ~ Jaisalmer – ~ Thar Desert
Arrive in Delhi on Friday September 18th ready to start your tour on Saturday. There is a free pick up from the airport.
Day 1 – Saturday Sept 19th
After a late breakfast we’ll stroll around the local markets and shops to get you accustomed to the colourful street life of Delhi. Come back to your hotel for a rest and lunch and then when it’s not so hot we will take a rickshaw to Old Delhi Spice markets. This is a full-on sensual experience as we walk through the biggest markets in Delhi in the open streets and inner corridors of the spice markets. We end up taking a rickshaw through the ancient narrow alleys of Old Delhi’s famous Textile alleys.
Day 2 Sunday Sept 20th
After breakfast we’ll make a day visit to an Artists Community in the outskirts of Delhi. We will be looking at their rich heritage, a wonderful collection of textiles and objects, and this will form a basis for workshops in the gardens to help you explore Indian culture. Within this workshop we will explore our art materials and start understanding how to mix colours. The day includes a delicious Indian lunch.
Jaipur – The Pink City
Day 3 Monday Sept 21st
Today we travel to to Jaipur, a 5 to 6hrs trip with a good break on the way.
We will be staying at a heritage Palace Hotel with a peaceful garden on the edge of old Jaipur. After you settle in, we’ll do a workshop to design your own woodblocks in the Palace Hotel gardens.
Day 4 Tuesday Sept 22nd
To explore traditional Rajashthan woodblock carving and textile printing, we’ll travel around 35 km by bus to a small town where you will have the opportunity to have your own motif carved into a woodblock. The town is textile heaven, and we will visit many workshops, and a warehouse/shop full of exquisite textiles you can buy. You will have an opportunity to woodblock your own piece of fabric.
Day 5 Wednesday Sept 23rd
In the morning, there is a workshop in the gracious palace grounds of our accomodatiion learning how to draw the typical Moghul arcitecture that is found throughout Rajasthan.
In the afternoon, we’ll wander through the streets of the old jewellery quarter where stone polishers still work using the traditional methods. There will be an opportunity to explore at leisure other places of interest such as the City Palace, Palace of the Winds or the Observatory.
In the evening we go and see a Bollywood movie at the palatial movie theatre Rajmandir.
Day 6 Thursday Sept 24th
After breakfast we travel 2 -3 hrs to the small town Nawalgarh, which is part of the region known as Shekhawati in Rajasthan. It is famous for its many old Havelis (intricately decorated merchant’s houses) in various states of repair with exquisite frescoes. We will be staying at the Maharaja’s charming heritage property with faded colonial ambience, well-kept gardens and horse stables.
In the afternoon an art workshop will be held in the gardens exploring the use of natural pigments.
Day 7 Friday Sept 25th
We’ll visit some local tie-dye makers and their family, and see the Shibori work. They will show you how to tie shibori. You’ll experiment with your own piece later on.
Afterwards we explore the havelis and the small town of Navalgarh, a living open-air art gallery. The haveli were the private mansions to some of India’s leading merchants. Nawalgarh has at least 50 haveli adorned with frescoes throughout the courtyards. They are heavily influenced by Mogul architecture. In Arabic haveli means ‘enclosed space’.
We’ll do a painting and drawing class in a haveli after lunch with a local family.
Day 8 Saturday Sept 26th
Work on your shibori in the hotel grounds in the morning.
In the afternoon, we will take your shibori to be dyed. Afterwards you can sketch, relax in the palace grounds or book an optional horse ride.
Jodhpur – The Blue City
Day 9 Sunday Sept 27th
Setting out fresh in the morning, we travel the 6 hour journey to Jodhpur, the famous city washed with blue and crowned by the truly magnificent Meherangarh Fort. Rudyard Kipling described by the fort as ’the work of giants’. We’ll check into a heritage hotel in the heart of this ancient city.
In the afternoon we’ll walk around clock tower area in the local market with its multitude of spices, vegetables and craft. We’ll do some sketching from the rooftop restaurant at our heritage hotel, focussing on the domes and blue buildings of Jodhpur overlooked by the fort.
Day 10 Monday Sept 28th
After breakfast we take a Jeep Safari into the Bishnoi Tribe area. We will visit a local potter and meet master craftsman and dhurri weavers, have lunch in a traditional Bishnoi family homestead and watch family elders perform their daily opium ritual to the god Shiva. Our sketches today will be inspired by tribal motifs and pigments.
In the afternoon we’ll wonder throug the blue streets to the Meherangarh Fort.
Jaisalmer – The Golden City and the Thar Desert
Day 11 Tuesday Sept 29th
We’ll set out early on today, journeying to the Golden Desert City of Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert, a 5 hour journey.
Arriving at Jaisalmer, we’ll check into the Maharajah’s Palace, a beautiful palace next to the 9th century golden sandstone fort that towers over Jaisalmer.
In the afternoon we’ll explore Jaisalmer Fort. The fort is an imposing golden sandstone citadel, an ancient labyrinth of narrow streets with intricately carved and decorated houses, Jain temples and shops. The fort is surrounded on all sides by high fortified walls. We’ll do some sketching around the palace.
Day 12 Wednesday Sept 30th
Our day starts at sunrise, sketching the water temple at Jaisalmer Lake, This is a rare and peaceful experience, one you’ll never forget.
After breakfast we will visit some beautiful and eccentric Havelis (richly decorated merchant’s houses) in Jaisalmer. The afternoon is your own, to wander around the Golden City, develop your work or chill by the palace pool.
Day 13 Thursday Oct 1st
An exciting day today, we’ll pack up our bags and leave them at the Maharajah Palace, because we are journeying far out into the Thar Desert.
Your best friend in the desert is your camel. We’ll be journeying with them for a couple of hours as they take us into the desert.
We’ll stop at an ancient abandoned town with a stepwell, and at a local village we will paint with the children of the village. We’ll meet with gypsies at our campsite who will dance the world-famous Kalbeliya Dance. They will sing and play their music around the campfire into the night, and you’ll sleep in the still quiet of the deep desert.
Day 14 Friday Oct 2nd
Our early morning sketch session in the desert will energise us, ready for our camel trek back into Jaisalmer. In the afternoon, sketch by the palace pool or relax.
Day 15 Saturday Oct 3rd
We spend our last morning in Jasailmer adding to your sketchbooks or visiting the textile and jewellery traders or meditating in the Shiva Temple. In the late afternoon we take the overnight AC train back to Delhi. A train journey in India is not to be missed.
Day 16 Sunday Oct 4th
We arrive back in Delhi at 11am and will return to our hotel for a farewell lunch. You will have a room booked until the following day so you can choose whether you want to leave for your onward journey in the late evening or the following day.
Would you like to keep travelling further afield? Agra, Rishikesh, Haridwar perhaps? Kamlesh can make arrangements for your accommodation, transportation and local guides – he charges a small additional fee of 10% to do this work for you.
From Dawn’s Sketchbook
Inclusions and Exclusions
Price: AUD$4,700 (private room) or $4200 (twin share)
16 nights of accommodation in Heritage hotels (except one night on the camel safari and one night on the train) with breakfast.
15 days of tours.
All travel on an air-conditioned bus.
All entrance fees on guided tours with the group.
Your overnight AC train journey back to Delhi from Jaisalmer.
Airport pick up and drop off.
Lunches and dinners. Budget on $250 to $300 AUD for meals and tips.
Flights to and from India. Your visa.
A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to book your place. The balance must be paid three months before the tour starts.
There is a huge risk of textile gluttony so save up and bring half your suitcase weight.
There are only 10 places on the tour.
We will meet up in person or via skype well before the trip as many people have already expressed a desire to keep travelling afterwards and you may want to do that together. We can arrange things for you.
Here is a little taste of India for you so you can start learning your Hindi now. I met these beautiful souls along my way.