14 Day Guided Art Tour of Rajasthan, India
Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Pushkar ~ Jodhpur ~ Jasailmer
Including the Durga Dance Festival over 9 days
Sept 17 – Oct 1 2017 FULL
(Other Tours of India in 2018: February in Rajasthan and September in Kerala)
There is much to see in India but so much more to feel.
I invite you to join me in India for 14 magical days, travelling through majestic Rajasthan from Delhi to Jaisalmer visiting the ancient cities of Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur and Jasailmer.
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.
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: $3,900 (twin share) or $4,400 (private room)
Start and End: Delhi
Group Size: Max 10
Accommodation: Heritage Hotels
Travel Inclusions: accommodation & breakfast, air-conditioned bus travel between cities and one train journey, tour entrance fees.
Places Visited: Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Pushkar ~ Jodpur ~Jaisalmer
If you’d like to arrive in Delhi a bit early, you can meet up with Dawn and early birds on the day before the tour. There is a free pick up from the airport.
Day 1 – Sunday September 17
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. The day includes a delicious Indian lunch.
Jaipur – The Pink City
Day 2 – 4
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.
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, and we will visit many workshops and artisans and a warehouse/shop full of exquisite textiles you can buy.
Wed: Today we explore the Tiger Fort in Nahagarh, on the hills overlooking Jaipur. We’ll do some drawings of the extensive murals, surfaces and views. Then we’ll head out for a rickshaw ride through the centre of Jaipur – a great way to see the famous architecture up close.
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 5 – 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 explore and draw the Pushkar Lake and Ghats.
Friday: Painting and drawing workshop in the gardens of our hotel.
Wander through the narrow streets of Pushkar’s bazaars and climb the hill to watch and draw the sunset over the sacred lake.
Jodhpur – The Blue City
Day 7 – 9
Saturday: Setting out fresh in the morning, we travel 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, focusing on the domes and blue buildings of Jodhpur overlooked by the fort.
Sunday: After breakfast we take a Jeep Safari into the Bishnoi Tribe area where we can sketch tribal life. 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.
Monday:In the morning we’ll do some detailed exploration and sketching in the exquisite Meherangarh Fort. In the afternoon relax or shop and sketch in Jodpur’s markets and narrow streets bustling with crafts and spices.
Jaisalmer – The Golden City and the Thar Desert
Day 10 – 14
Tuesday: 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.
Wednesday: 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 or develop your work.
Thursday: 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 about an hour and a half as they take us deep into the desert.
We’ll stop at an ancient abandoned town with a step well, and at a local village we will paint with the children of the village. We’ll meet with gypsies who will dance the world famous Kalbeliya Dance. They will sing and play their music around the camp fire into the night, and you’ll sleep in the still quiet of the deep desert.
Friday: Our early morning sketch session in the desert will energise us, ready for our camel trek back into Jaisalmer.
In the afternoon we can relax and sketch around our Garden pool back in the Maharaja’s palace or wander around Jaisalmer Fort.
Saturday:We spend our last day in Jasailmer adding to your sketchbooks or visiting the textile and jewellery traders or meditating in the Shiva Temple. In the last afternoon we take the AC night train to Delhi. Travelling on a train in India is not to be missed.
Day 15 October 1st
Sunday: Arrive in Delhi early morning
Fly out that evening or the next day or stay on and travel.
From Dawn’s Sketchbook
Inclusions and Exclusions
16 nights of accommodation from the night of Saturday September 16th and including Sunday night October 1st 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 AUS $250 -300 minimum includes tips, not including alcohol)
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.
We will meet up in our March and September groups in person 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.
Here is a video of our tour 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.