15 Day Guided Art Tour of Rajasthan, India, Sept 2023
The Lake Tour
Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Pushkar ~ Bundi ~ Bassi ~ Udaipur ~ Delhi
September 22nd – October 7th, 2023 during the Durga Festival
There is much to see in India but so much more to feel.
I invite you to join me in India for 15 magical days, travelling through majestic Rajasthan from Delhi to Udaipur visiting the ancient cities of Jaipur, Pushkar, Bundi, Bassi and Udaipur.
On our sketchbook tour, we’ll travel with the eyes and heart of an artist, connecting with local people and taking the time to see what is around us. We are guided all the way by Kamlesh. an expert local tour guide and dedicated to showing you the heart of his country.
Sketch the brilliant pure turquoise frescoes of Bundi, 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.
A sketchbook tour of Rajasthan is for the artist at heart – whether you want to learn the basics of sketching, or are an accomplished artist.
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.
Arrive in Delhi on Friday September 22nd ready to start your tour on Saturday. There is a free pick up from the airport.
Day 1 – Saturday
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 its 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
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
Today we travel from Delhi to Jaipur, (a 6hrs trip) Jaipur is known as ‘The Pink City’.
We will be staying at a heritage Palace Hotel with a peaceful garden on the edge of old Jaipur. Later after settling in, we will do a workshop in the Palace Hotel gardens, to design your own wood block motif. This will be carved and delivered to you by the end of your tour.
Day 4 – Tuesday
To explore traditional Rajasthan woodblock carving and textile printing, we’ll travel around 35 km by bus to a small town. The town is textile heaven, where we will visit many workshops and artisans and a warehouse/shop full of exquisite textiles you can buy. You will meet the woodblock carver who is going to carve your design. It will be delivered to you by the end of the tour. You will also print on your own piece of fabric using traditional woodblocks with the guidance of local artisans.
Day 5 – Wednesday
In the morning, there is a workshop in the gracious palace grounds of our accommodation learning how to draw and paint the typical Mughal architecture found throughout Rajasthan.
We also hope to paint elephants! Kamlesh our guide is currently connecting with an Indian family who look after the working elephants. The elephant is a family member.
In the afternoon we’ll wander through the streets of the old quarter where artisans are still 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
Today we travel 3hrs to Pushkar, a small town, built around a sacred lake nestled in the Aravali hills. It is one of the most holy places of pilgrimage for Hindus as the lake was created where Brahma dropped a lotus flower. It is also known for growing roses and producing essential oils.
We check into our peaceful heritage hotel and then after lunch have a one hour workshop on painting the colours and light of sunsets ready for our sunset sketch later on. Later in the afternoon we explore and draw the Pushkar Lake and Ghats at Sunset.
Day 7- Friday
In the morning, we will go to a temple on the lake for individual blessings. After this
we will wander the local narrow bazaars to a local cafe right on the lake where we will paint and be fed for 3 or so hours. Workshop on painting colour and light on water.
Day 8 – Saturday
Today we travel 4 hrs to Bundi. A hidden gem of Rajasthan, bluer than Jodhpur, it is a small but lively, colourful, market town set amidst craggy hills. You can meet artisans as they work in their open shops and drink cardamom and saffron lassi. On a rocky plateau above the town sits the impressive Tara Garh Fort, famous throughout India for its intricate and beautiful murals in the palace.
We stay in a small ancient heritage hotel on the lake. In the afternoon you can wander the cobbled blue streets and sketch in our garden by the lake.
Day 9 – Sunday
Visit Tara Garh Fort for the day. The fort is partially in ruins with much of the palace within it still in place. The exquisite, intricate frescoes of the palace are filled with lapis blue, turquoise and cadmium reds. After a picnic and painting workshop in the gardens you will be free to wander and paint the palace for the rest of day.
Day 10 – Monday
Sketching around Bundi blue streets.
Day 11 – Tuesday
We are on our way to Udaipur and to break up the journey we are stopping for the night in the beautiful village of Bassi. It is a three hour drive to this village known for its sculptures and woodcraft. The highlight is the magnificent 16th century Bassi Fort, which is where we will be staying. The afternoon is spent relaxing or sketching around the fort.
Day 12 – Wednesday
After a leisurely breakfast we travel two and a half hours to Udaipur. It is said to be one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Rajasthan. It a romantic city, the Venice of Rajasthan, and is built around the shimmering Pichola Lake which is enveloped by lofty white palaces, temples, bathing ghats, and elevated hills on all sides.
We arrive at lunchtime to a heritage hotel right on Pichola Lake overlooking the palace and ghats. It would be enough to stay right here for two days doing nothing but sketching the view.
In the afternoon we sketch the lake from our Hotel or neighbouring garden.
Day 13 – Thurday
Sketch from the city palace gardens on the lake in the morning, then take a leisurely boat ride around the lake.
After lunch you can visit the palace museum with it’s intricate inlaid mosaics and frescoes, wander the narrow lanes and traditional crafts or come back and sketch from the hotel or one of the many lakeside cafes.
Day 14 – Friday
We spend our last day in Udiapur sketching around the lake and catching up on any last minute shopping in the narrow and enchanting streets of Udaipur. At 7pm we catch the night sleeper train to Delhi. Train journeys in India are an experience not to be missed.
Day 15 – Saturday, October 7th
We arrive back in Delhi at 6am for a farewell breakfast and ready for you to fly home or journey on with your own travels.
From Dawn’s Sketchbook
Start and End: Delhi
Group Size: Max 10
Inclusions and Exclusions
Price: $3,900 (twin share) or $4,400 (private room)
14 nights of accommodation from the night of Friday September 22nd in Heritage hotels with breakfast (except one night on the sleeper train)
14 days of tours.
All travel on an air-conditioned bus or sleeper train once
All entrance fees on guided tours with the group.
Airport pick up and drop off.
Lunches and dinners ( budget AUD $250 -300 minimum includes tips, not including alcohol. We have a group Kitty to allow for this.)
Flights to and from India.
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 for each retreat as we like to keep the groups small with a minimum of 6 guests.
We will meet up as a group if we can or via skype well before the trip as many people often express a desire to keep travelling afterwards and you may want to do that together. Our tour guide can arrange further travel for you for 10% service fee.
Prices are based on current prices in 2021 and may change as the economy changes post Covid.
Here is a video of our last two trips to Rajasthan which includes some of the destinations for the September Tour.
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.