gujarat woman v

Catherine Parker in association with Lakshmi Tours

Drawn To India Gujarat: sketchbook + textiles: 

12 – 25 October 2014.

This Art Tour is  beautifully balanced. A mixture of sketchbook observations, workshops and visits to village communities to experience the unique regional textiles of the Banni villages, famous for their exquisite handicrafts, including embroidery, mirror and unusual stitch work, painting on cloth and traditional pottery. 

May this tour assist with the emergence of your inner gypsy artist!

 As well as the arts and crafts we feel that any Art tour needs a well balanced and rounded view of Indian creativity as expressed architecturally and spiritually. We will visit important temples, palaces and step wells. Our tour will also take in the coastal towns of Mandvi and the Portuguese infused opportunity for reflection and independent sketching and painting 


Day 1: Ahmedabad 12th Oct

Transfer to hotel and rest.

Day 2: Ahmedabad  – 13th Oct 

kutch embroid vccalico museum

AM: Visit the world famous Calico Museum, documenting nearly 5 centuries of textiles, including embroideries and fabrics – a good grounding for our journey

adalaj 1 adalaj stepwell3 adalaj5adalaj stepwell

PM: Adalaj Stepwell – intricately carved Hindu ‘water building’ –

Set in the quiet village of Adalaj, this stepwell has served as a resting place for hundreds of years for many pilgrims and caravans along their trade routes.

  • A perfect place for drawing and a focus on the geometric designs and organic motifs  

Day 03: Bhuj – Travel Day – 14th Oct – arrive, rest + wander the town

bhuj 23bhuj embroid

Day 04: Bhuj – 15th Oct 

aina mahal hall of mirrors

Am: Orientation around town and visit the eccentric and flamboyant 18th century Aina Mahal ”Hall of Mirrors”

  • Sketchbook suggestion – select a series of colours  and patterns to explore and repeat these throughout the tour


pm: Swaminarayan temple – a spiritual ‘must see’ – dedicated to the pilgrim Swaminarayan (born 1781) who made a 7 year spiritual pilgrimage across India. In some ways, a typical Indian quest for enlightenment – we all have the capacity to achieve this as artists every time we dedicate ourselves to our art and go on our inner journeys

  • k and c pilgrimpilgrim 2 Path of the Pilgrim series – watercolour +gouache on paper (A4) artwork by Catherine Parker and Kamal Swami (India)
  • Suggested Art activity – ‘the artist as pilgrim’ – a concertina artist book full of your daily musings and drawings – try a silhouette, a temple cut out, pathways and bridges to symbolise your journey – perhaps threads – keeping the textile connection

Day 5: Bhuj–  18th Oct Textile villages Banni Area – all day

jat community banni embroidery

Visit the Banni villages – Khavda, Hodka, Ludiya, Bhirandiyana and Nirona, known for their rich embroideries, mirror and stitch work – often in yellows, saffron and reds.Meet the tribal groups: Rabaris, Bharwads, Jaths, Muthwas and Harijans

Muthwas embroidery is famous for Gotam stitch; Hodka village for Meghwal embroidery and leather work; the Harijans for weaving and so on

  • Suggested art activity – make your own patchwork garnered from the various bits and pieces you will no doubt want to buy! Translate some of these  into small paintings, combine with thread and pencil
  • Stitch a geometric design into your sketchbook – the geo appears in stitchwork; architecture etc

bhuj geojat community banni embroideryadalaj stepwellbhuj embroid

Day 06: Bhuj – Mandvi beach – 17th Oct  view the ship making, return to hotels and rest.

mandvi boat 2 mandvi boat 1

For 400 years, the shipbuilding industry has been the center of life in Mandvi. It was once the principal port of Kutch and of Gujarat. Wooden boats are still made by hand

  • Suggested art activity – quiet drawing and painting; make rubbings from the wood in ship designs…

Day 07: Bhuj – 18th Oct – Nirona Village – Rogan Bell making; lacquer work; painting on cloth; pottery

bells nironalacquer-itemsnirona earthen colours

Visit several artisans and admire their unique crafts: Rogan painting on cloth, copper bell making, lacquer work on wood and pottery. Rogan art uses castor base (arandi) and earthen colours. The painting is made with one needle only; the index finger is used to direct the movement of the arandi base on the cloth in varied patterns.

“The melodious tinkling of bells in the wind is a sweet lullaby wafting you to sleep”, muses Yunus Ismael Bhai Siddik Luhar as he tinkers with the timber of a xylophone made of bells. The bells are made so that they vibrate according to perfect pitch

Day 08: Gondal – Travel Day – 19th Oct : visit the Huzoor Palace the current royal residence and the room of miniatures – traditional paintings with very fine exquisite detail

gondal miniatures

Day 09:  Diu – Travel day – 20th Oct – Diu was conquered by the Portuguese in the 16thC until 1961. It is a lovely fishing town

diu landscapediu portug fort

Rest – independent artmaking

Day 10: Diu – 21st Oct – orientation around the pretty Portuguese architecture, churches,fort

diu towndiu fortdiu fisher person

Suggested art activity: good old fashioned landscape and peoplescapes – a joy to be in the moment soaking up all atmosphere and people – take a walk down to the ocean and draw the fisher people

Visit St Pau’sl church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, said to be one of the most elaborate Portuguese churches in India

Day 11: Diu – 22nd Oct – Naida caves 

Naida caves q1 Naida caves 2 Naida caves 3

Suggested art activity: A beautiful opportunity to be in nature and draw these wonderful shapes, including tangled Banyan trees

Day 12: Palitana – travel day 23rd Oct – world famous Jain Temples  

palitanaxxx palitana c palitana x


Palitana is the world’s only mountain to contain over 900 temples, dating back to the 11thc. The world’s largest temple complex and the most sacred to the Jain community

  • Suggested art activity: Tirtha – “ford, a shallow part of a body of water that may be easily crossed” , also used to decribe a pilgrimage site. A metaphor for ‘crossing over’ from earthly attachments and life to nirvana

Landscape and temple as metaphor: What is your personal crossing? Or are you still climbing the mountain – it doesn’t matter as we are all still searching and how we do it is personal. Landscape as metaphor

c_parker_within worlds again_work in progress_2014 1.parker_catherine_unlimited worlds within worlds_2014 c_parker_within worlds within worlds _work in progress_2014                                                                                                            A new Earth 2014 – acrylic + ink on canvas 96 x 120 cm by Catherine Parker

Day 13: Palitana  – Ahmedabad for return journey24th Oct – farewells and sharing of artistic journey

Day 14: Departure  Ahmedabad for your home country or travel further – 25th Oct

We hope you like our new itinerary and tour to Gujarat and look forward to hearing from you. All enquiries welcome

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