Expert-Led Group Tour

India group tour - Textiles and Temples of Central India

10 days

from $3,995pp
  • Visit the breath-taking carvings of Sanchi and architecture at Orchha
  • See the exquisite work of the hand-weavers in the picturesque old town of Chanderi
  • See weaving, metal-casting and other crafts in rarely-visited locations
  • Stay at the colonial and elegant Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal

Hidden in the central heartland of India lies a thriving textiles industry, alongside some of the most fascinating historical sites. This memorable 10 day journey takes you to see some of these truly splendid and enduring traditions as well as experiencing some breath-taking Islamic and Hindu architecture. 

Escorted by the V&A’s Fabric of India exhibition curator Rosemary Crill, you travel from Delhi to the central heart of India. Discover the fascinating textiles of this region and learn more about its influences on India’s history and architecture.  The history of India's remarkable textile traditions date back at least six thousand years to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Fragments of woven cotton have been found, and some traces of dye, which speak of a highly developed cotton industry, while recent discoveries suggest that the cultivation of wild silk was also well understood in ancient India.  Throughout India today, skilled textile artists continue to contribute to producing textiles that not only reflect the past but also cater to modern tastes and global markets today.

Where does this group tour visit?

This journey begins in Delhi, the ‘shop floor’ of the textiles industry, to see the full, rich array of the textiles produced in India and how modernity has affected them. Understand the evolution of styles and designs with visits to a few of the top studios and galleries in the city.

From Delhi, travel into the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh visiting some extraordinary historical sites at Gwalior, Datia and Orchha. Once the capital of the region, Orchha is now a simple and serene village, nestled within a complex of some extraordinary palaces and temples. The landscape is scattered with these well-preserved, impressive, ornate monuments. Within this region, also is Chanderi which, has some of the most stunningly beautiful monuments as well as being known for its exquisite silk weaving. Visit the local weaving projects where investment is being made to keep this dying skill alive. A visit to Bhopal is a must to experience the famous Zardozi embroidery and beadwork here. The visit is combined with a walking tour of the old part of Bhopal.

Why travel with Rosemary Crill?

Rosemary Crill is the internationally respected former senior curator for South and Southeast Asian textiles and dress, Middle Eastern Carpets, and South Asian painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She curated ‘The Fabric of India’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This tour will give a privileged insight into her in-depth understanding of Indian textiles. She has published many books and articles on these subjects and has travelled widely in India. Rosemary will join the group as a tour expert, she will work with a local tour guide throughout, allowing privileged access into certain sites and museums as well as giving an insight through organised talks. Please note Rosemary is not a tour lecturer or tour leader, however, her experience and knowledge of the Fabrics of India make an incredible addition to this tour.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

Do I need a visa for India?

All visitors need a visa for India. There is  provision for an online e-visa for citizens of certain countries, including the UK. The visa has to be obtained before arrival in all circumstances. Tourist visas issued in the UK have six months’ validity from date of issue.

What is the accommodation like in India?

During this tour, you will stay in a carefully selected range of hotels. All hotels are at least a three-star standard and all offer restaurants on site, some offer pools and leisure facilities. These hotels have been chosen for their vantage points and good access to city sightseeing. Standards of some of the hotels in Central India are generally lower than other more visited areas of India and availability and choice are limited. We believe we have confirmed the best available in each location.

What will the weather be like in India in November?

Warm sunny days with cooler nights. November is the end of the monsoon rains. The average temperatures sit around 30 degrees, dropping to 12 – 15 degrees at night.

How fit should I be to enjoy this tour?

General overall fitness is required. There is a lot of walking, however, at a leisurely pace with some stairs. We would suggest that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes, that are easy to take on and off as you will be required to remove your shoes when visiting mosques and temples.

Can I extend my stay in India?

Yes, this can easily be arranged at the end of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing.

From Bhopal, you can fly back to Delhi to continue into Rajasthan or fly to Mumbai from where the southern regions of Goa and Kerala can easily be reached.

Departing on:
  • 26th November 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights $Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
26th Nov 2018 5th Dec 2018 $ 5,393.25 $ 938.25 $ 769.50 Rosemary Crill Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accompanied by an English speaking tour manager throughout.
  • Accompanied by Rosemary Crill throughout India.
  • All meals at local restaurants or hotels.
  • All transport throughout India in an air-conditioned coach.
  • Arrival and departure transfers in an Air-Conditioned Coach.
  • Entrances to the sites mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and porters.
  • One night's accommodation in Orchha.
  • Soft drinks during meals.
  • Two nights accommodation in Bhopal.
  • Two nights accommodation in Chanderi.
  • Two nights accommodation in Delhi.
  • Two nights accommodation in Gwalior.
  • VIP arrival assistance in Delhi.

what is excluded

  • Any services not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • India Visa.
  • Internal flights
  • International flights
  • Items of personal nature.


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Suggested Group Flights
The suggested group outbound flight for this tour is:

British Airways BA257, scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 18.55 on 25 November 2018, arriving into Delhi Airport on the 26 November 2018 at 08.55.

An arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel will be provided to connect with this flight. You will be met at the arrivals hall by a member of our local team and transferred to your hotel.

For those making their own way to Delhi and not taking the suggested group flight, the starting point for the group is at the Claridges Hotel, Delhi on the 26th November 2018, ready for an afternoon tour. Please speak to one of our team should you need help organising an arrival transfer.

Delhi may be one of the world's largest metropolis, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl. Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples. Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which - with its colonially-designed buildings, - is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.

Afternoon Textiles Tour
This afternoon the group will visit the Delhi Crafts Museum focussing on the Textile section. You will see a range of traditional Indian textiles from Phulkari, Ikats to Indian brocades. You will also get a chance to see the growth of a particular genre of textiles like the Kalamkari over the centuries, and understand the evolution of styles and stylistic designs.

The group then continues to visit textile studios such as Akaaro, a leading Indian textile designer with in-house weaving looms, where they will showcase various weaving techniques and fabric varieties.

Later in the evening you will also visit a sari collector's home, where the owner will open their collection exclusively for us.

You will be staying at The Claridges, full board

Day 2

Full day tour of Old and New Delhi
Today you will visit the walled city of Old Delhi. In contrast to the newer city, the former Imperial capital is a maze of lanes crowded with shops, crumbling havelis (mansions), in the midst of which lies one of the country's largest mosques. You will walk through the narrow lanes of the 300 year old Chandni Chowk market. Today it is a busy market selling an extraordinary variety of items - silver, jewellery, aromatic spices, textiles, fruit and vegetables.

After lunch you will visit Humayun's Tomb which was built in the 16th century and is architecturally considered the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Commissioned by the widow of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, it was subsequently used as a burial place for members of the royal family. Today it is one of the most beautiful sites of North India.

Later this afternoon you have some free time to go shopping or exploring in your own time.

Visit to Hauz Khas Village
Hauz Khas, originally a residential enclave of south Delhi, immersed in the greenery of its Deer Park, has morphed into a great place to feel the pulse of India’s creative scene. Chock-a-block with design agencies and curio shops, and hugging an ancient reservoir, tiny Hauz Khas is easy to navigate and not too crowded, except at weekends.

You will be staying at The Claridges, full board

Day 3

Transfer early this morning to Delhi Railway Station

Travel from Delhi to Gwalior

Board the express train from Delhi today at 08:40 arriving into Gwalior today at 12:58.

Half Day Excursion to Gwalior Fort
Explore Gwalior Fort with your guide, beginning with its impressive hilltop fort. Perched majestically on top of a plateau overlooking the city, this sprawling structure is an imposing sight. The fort contains temples, palaces, defensive buildings and even a former prison and various other impressive buildings from different eras. Of particular note and unique in India, is the incredibly beautiful tile-work that adorns some of the buildings.

Gwalior, located in the northern corner of Madhya Pradesh is famous for a thousand-year-old hilltop fort. The fort has a fascinating history and within the walls are palaces, temples, gates and water tanks which are illuminated at night by a light show. The city also houses the elaborate Jai Vilas Palace, the historic seat of the Scindias.

You will be staying at Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel, full board

Day 4

Visit to Carpet Weaving Factory
After breakfast this morning, you will be driven to a carpet-weaving centre to see the entire process of carpet-making. In the princely fort city of Gwalior the carpet weaving made a late debut in 1902. The fine quality of weaving in imaginative designs soon earned Gwalior's carpet industry an excellent reputation. Today, more than a thousand looms are in operation in and around the city.

Afternoon visit to the Old City
After lunch you visit the Old City to meet the Battobai family, famous for doll-making. These dolls are made out of small cloth pieces influenced by different cultures and traditions of India, mirroring the diversity and uniqueness of the country. These little dolls are exported all over the world.

You will be staying at Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel, full board

Day 5

Transfer from Gwalior to Orchha

Transfer to Orchha, a journey of approximately three and a half hours. En-route stop at Datia to see the bell-metal casting process and visit the palace. Continue to Orchha.

Dreamy, isolated and marooned on a bend of the Betwa River, Orchha is a fantastically romantic cluster of stone palaces, temples, towers and gateways surrounded by acres of bright green jungle. From 1531 to 1783 this was the capital of the Bundela kingdom, which ruled the area between the Yamuna and Narmada Rivers, and the city rose to prominence in medieval times. As well as architecture, there was a great school of Bundela painting, whose lively work - featuring both secular and religious subjects - is visible on the interior walls of buildings such as the Laxminarayan Temple. There are numerous royal cenotaphs, formal gardens and fountains as well as a 17th-century fort and palace on an island reached by a causeway.

Evening aarti ceremony
This evening you visit a Hindu temple for the aarti ceremony (worship with lamps).

You will be staying at Amar Mahal, full board

Day 6

Morning tour of Orchha
Make an early start this morning and explore the historic village of Orchha with your guide. The light is exceptional at this time of the day. Endowed with an incredible architectural heritage, Orchha is dominated by a magnificent palace complex on its eastern edge and a pair of stunning temples at its centre. The majestic 17th century Jehangir Mahal and Raj Mahal palaces tower over the landscape, exhibiting an array of opulent Islamic architecture. In the centre of the village, the colourful Ram Raja Temple's spectacular rooftops offer incredible views of the surrounding buildings.

Outside the village, the Lakshmi Naryan Temple displays beautiful murals, and the serene chhatris - cenotaphs to Orchha's rulers - hark back to the village's powerful past.

Following your visit of Orchha, take an early lunch before leaving for the pretty town of Chanderi.

Drive from Orchha to Chanderi (Road Journey)

Transfer from Orchha to Chanderi, a journey of approximately four hours.

Chanderi is a small, Indian town with a big reputation for exquisite sarees. The old part is surrounded by a battlemented wall that once served as protective cover, punctuated at regular intervals by gateways. The hill overlooking the town is crowned by a fort. By climbing to the top of the fort the visitor is rewarded with some of the best views of the town. Behind the walls lie the palaces that once housed nobles, their ruined frames now under restoration. The domes of the Jama Masjid virtually line themselves up for counting and the entire place is dotted with old tombs. Chanderi is a real gem with textiles at its heart.

Visit Chanderi
Chanderi has some stunningly beautiful monuments and is a well-known silk-weaving centre. Late this afternoon your guide will take you for a tour of the Chanderi Fort. Return to the hotel for a rest followed by dinner.

You will be staying at Hotel Shrikunj, full board

Day 7

Full Day Tour
Much of today will be spent visiting local artisans of the area in their homes or workshops to experience the different craft processes. Visit silk weavers, metal-craft makers and potters. Visit some of the local surrounding villages where silk is woven by simple looms, the sound echoing through the streets. The more adventurous could try their hand at weaving. Watch village life and visit the historical sites abundant in this area.

You will be staying at Hotel Shrikunj, full board

Day 8

Drive from Chanderi to Bhopal (Road Journey)

Transfer from Chanderi to Bhopal, a journey of approximately five hours. En route visit Sanchi, famous for its astonishing group of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD. On arrival in Bhopal, check into the hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Hugging the banks of Upper Lake and located right in the heart of India, Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state, Madhya Pradesh. Known as the City of Lakes, due to the number of natural and artificial lakes, Bhopal is also one of the greenest cities in India. Many people stopover here as the gateway to the wildlife parks of Central India and for those who wish to explore the extensive textiles industries that thrive here.

You will be staying at Jehan Numa Palace, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Morning visit to Bhopal's artisans
This morning you will visit a number of workshops to see the famous Zari and Zardozi embroidery and bead work styles of Bhopal. Bhopal has a cluster of producers that belong to a traditional community, producing some incredible embroidery and bead work.The variety of patterns and materials used is astonishing. Your guide will examine the differences in style and technique used to produce a huge range of different products.

Afternoon walking tour of the Old City
After lunch, later in the afternoon our expert guide will take you on a walking tour of the Old City of Bhopal. During the tour you will visit Golghar, a museum that introduces you to the arts and handicrafts from the Nawab era. You also visit the Museum of Man, a presentation of actual-size dwellings typical of contemporary tribal cultures in the various states of India. The exhibits here give a complete insight into the architectural features of the tribal houses with elaborately displayed interiors.

Breakfast, lunch and farewell dinner

You will be staying at Jehan Numa Palace, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Suggested Group Flight
Depending on your onward travel plans domestic flights can be booked for you from Bhopal to either Mumbai or Delhi in order to connect with the international flight back home. The domestic flight cost has not been included in the cost of the tour. This can be booked for you depending on your onward travel plans.

Please speak to one of our team should you need help organising a departure transfer or a trip extension to another location in India.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

The Claridges

The Claridges

Built in 1952, The Claridges remains one of New Delhi’s most iconic hotels....

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Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel

Taj Usha Kiran Palace Hotel

Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior is a 40 room heritage hotel managed by the Taj Group and is the best place to stay in Gwalior....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of India

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Rosemary Crill

Rosemary Crill
Rosemary Crill has spent her career as a curator of the V&A Museum’s Indian collections, specialising in textiles and paintings. She has published many books and articles on these subjects and has travelled widely in India. She was co-curator of the exhibitions Colours of the Indus (1997), The Indian Portrait (2010) and The Fabric of India (2015-16).
Enquire about this holiday:

Group Size:

Min 5 / Max 12

Tour Expert:

Rosemary Crill

Departure Date (S):

  • 26th November 2018 - Guaranteed to run

  • Active – The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. Walks will be no longer than 6 hours. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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