What is the Himroo Mashru and Paithani
There are many different possible handicraft tours in India, ranging from short half day tours to extended tours with a special focus on handicrafts. Some tours stick to one region while other tours cover multiple regions. Some tours include workshops as well. What is encouraging to see are organizations working with artisans in India to help them find new opportunities and opportunities for selling what they are making.
The Kutch region of Gujarat is full of living handicrafts, especially textiles, but also wood carving, cast silver work, lacquer work and ceramics. Kutch Adventures India connects travelers with skilled artisans in the area, as well as non-governmental organizations that promote and preserve the arts and crafts of Kutch. Bespoke craft village tours are offered. Mumbai-based Matsya Crafts also offers bespoke craft tours to various villages in Kutch. They work to revive rural arts and crafts, and with nearly 2,000 women in 112 villages involved. Outlier offers a 5-day textile trail through Kutch and Ahmedabad.
Jaipur handicrafts and textiles
The "Pink City" Jaipur in Rajasthan is known for its handicrafts. Virasat Experiences, a community tourism initiative based in Jaipur, organizes workshops on block printing, blue ceramics, enamel jewelry and miniature painting. They also lead heritage walking tours, where you can watch local artisans, such as silversmiths and bracelet wearers, at work. Fascinating! Another option is to break into the in-depth 4-day Textile Trail in Jaipur, including a visit to the famous Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Jaipur-based Studio Bagru offers half-day trips to see block-printing at Bagru Village as well.
Art workshops and art tours in Rajasthan
Vedic Walks has a strong association with artisans and offers a wide range of craft activities in Rajasthan. They are tailored to guest needs and can be half a day, a full day or longer. You will get an explanation and demonstration of the craft as well as a lesson from the artisan so you can afford it. Workshop options include silver carving in Jaisalmer, tie and dye in Jaipur, ceramics in Jaipur, carpet weaving in Jaipur and Ranthambore, Meenakari in Jaipur, and miniature painting in Jaipur and Udaipur.
Tamil Nadu Looms
Tamil Nadu is known for its silk and cotton weaves, especially saris. This comprehensive 4-day breakaway tour begins in Chennai, with a view of Kalamkari textiles and hand weaving. The tour continues to Kanchipuram (also known as Kanchivaram), Pondicherry, Auroville, and the hand-painted silk and organic khadi design studios, the Tanjore Temple on the way to Karaikudi where Kandanghi saris is woven, and Gandhigram where there is a khadi Spinning and weaving set up by Gandhi. It concludes in Madurai, where you will be able to explore local markets and see Chungadi Saris, originally made using a tie-dye technique brought from Saurashtra in Kutch.
Textiles from Central India
Another counterattack tour (if you haven't already guessed, cancelable specializes in arts and crafts tours in India) this one focuses on the textile communities in Maheshwar (famous for Maheshwari saris) and Bagh in Madhya Pradesh. You also get to explore historical Mandu. Highlights of the trip include a visit to WomenWeave, a trust dedicated to improving the living conditions of rural women weavers. You will be able to try your hand on the loom and attend a workshop relieved by confidence. In Bagh, you will learn about traditional block printing and observe the techniques including dyeing, printing, washing and block making. You will be able to participate in the printing process as well.
Cashmere by hand
Breakaway Associated with R&A Designs (presenter Renuka has lived and worked with artisans in Kashmir for a decade), is running a 4-day trip in and around Srinagar that promises unique and personal interactions with artisans as well as an experience of the local culture and architecture. The trip includes a guided heritage walk through the old town and a traditional one Wazwan Firmly.
Hyderabad City Crafts Tour
This full day tour offered by Hyderabad Magic will take you to explore the traditional arts and crafts of the city. You get to visit the home of a family who is employed in ikat, block printing, ng, and screen printing; a unit that is handloom brocade techniques like Himroo, Mashru, Paithani and Jamavar to revive the dying; and an embroidery unit and lac bangle manufacturing unit near the Charminar. Other options are one Bidri (Metalworking) workshop and a colony of basket weavers. There are many options for shopping. Renegade also offers a Woven Trails through Hyderabad day tour.
Bespoke Crafts and Textiles Tours
From Lost Found Travel, a Pennsylvania based travel company in the US designs custom tours in India with a focus on engaging themed tours. Their craft and textiles tours include destinations all over India, such as Kolkata and West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. You will come up with the perfect itinerary according to your personal needs and interests.
Fixed departure India Textile Tours
If you are looking for a festival departure small group craft tour in India, consider the tours offered by UK based Colouricious. The company is the UK's leading source of inspiration for textile arts and crafts, created by avid textile artist Jamie Malden. They run more than 10 guided textile holidays in India each year to different destinations. Some are funky, like tribal art from Odisha and handicrafts from Kerala.
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