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Bengal-Kantha, Khadi and Tigers                      

8-22 February, 2020

Questions? just ask.

Group leaders Fiona Wright & Praveen Nayak

A new Indian adventure, sub-tropical West Bengal; heartland of ancient kingdoms, long time centre of the British Raj in India and now home to centres of excellence in the crafts and especially textiles.

A land of poets and culture, with so many stories to share.

Kantha– from simple cotton cloths made in the home to wrap the family through various life events to groups elevating them to a silken art form, helping unwrap brighter futures. We will meet a number of groups working in this beautiful art form and handle some truly beautiful work.

Weaving– the finest muslins and saris, silk and khadi cotton production and a wealth of crafts, pottery, sculpture, sea shell carving…

Tagore– poet—Nobel Prize Laureate– beautiful words and ideals.

History– Hindu Maharajahs, Muslin Nawabs and British Raj, stories and wonderful architecture.

Tigers….we know they are in there in the largest Mangrove swamp on the planet….whether we see them or not it will be peaceful and beautiful looking for them from our cruise boat.

Food– delicious, fresh, subtle spicing and an abundance of seafood.

All Creative Arts Safaris Tours are fully escorted, small group tours focusing on textiles, arts and culture and yummy local cuisine. We like to get our hands dirty doing things, taking workshops and exploring locations and culture, getting off the beaten track. Our friendly groups welcome women and men to join us and are good for solo travellers who do not want to go it alone

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Group size 8 to 14 people.

Twin share- US$ 3990

single supplement US$1180

Please send booking form and we will confirm availability and send payment link.

Don’t worry, you won’t have all the details, they can be added later via this same form.

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Payments

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Bengal-Kantha,Khadi and Tigers                      

8-22 February, 2020

Group size 8 to 14 people.

Twin share- US$ 3990

single supplement US$1180

Please send booking form and we will confirm availability and send payment link.

Day 1-Sat 8 Feb, 2020                           Home/Kolkata

Arrivals—you will be met at Kolkata International Airport.

Day 2-Sun 9 Feb, 2020                                     Kolkata

We will start the day with Sunday at the Maidan [Green] and a spot of people watching as we visit the Victoria Monument. This memorial was opened in 1921 funded by voluntary donations from both within India and Britain.

Enjoy checking out the saris of the visitors outside and the informative display inside detailing the history Kolkata, from its beginnings in 1630 until the departure of the British to Delhi in 1911 and on to the Independence Movement.

A quick lunch at the iconic Indian Coffee house and onto the Marble Palace.

Later in the afternoon to head down to Malik Ghat- the flower market. No way to describe this other than WOW, so come along for the experience under the edge of the famous Howrah Bridge.

[breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 3 -Mon 10 Feb, 2020                                        Kolkata/ Phulia/                                                                                           Krishna Nagar

Leaving town this morning we will head out to rural Phulia, an area famous for its superb weaving. We’ll spend the day wandering around the village, seeing all aspects of fine cotton and silk weaving, check out the village market for gamcha- Bengali bath towels and other things destined for the local market.

[breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 4– Tues 11 Feb, 2020                                        Krishna Nagar/     

                                                            Plassey/Murshidabad                  

We will start out early to wander around the ruins of its old Rajbari [Ruler’s mansion] and then visit the nearby sculpture village and an amazing garden.

Half way to Murshidabad we will turn off the highway to the peaceful fields around Plassey for a picnic lunch. Once a grisly scene of battle where Clive [of India as he was later known] orchestrated the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal through bribery and deception and annexed the rich state of Bengal for the British East India company. [breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 5– Wed 12 Feb, 2020   Murshidabad                                      

Murshidabad is a wonderful town that time seems to have forgotten, once the principle seat of a very rich kingdom is it now home to a thousand wonderful photographs of crumbling mansions, palaces, mosques and temples, beautiful gardens and fields. We will spend the day exploring – a mansion housing a car that cost 80 Rupees, superb garden of Rajasthani merchants, a Palace of 1000 Doors. Yes we love the place [inc-breakfast, lunch]

 

Day 6—Thurs 13 Feb, 2020                       Murshidabad

A short drive out to a weaver’s village, experience the medieval feeling of the steamy silk processing rooms where they reel off the silk, the women working on spinning cotton threads for weaving and the river bank for washing, a hive of activity.

Lunch will be as the very lucky guests of a local family, a truly delicious treat. [Inc- breakfast, lunch]

 

Day 7– Fri 14 Feb, 2020   Murshidabad/ Shantiniketan

Travelling across a landscape of rice fields, bananas, and mango trees, we are heading to a small village income generation project of Muslim design Kantha- geometrical motifs, bright colours, beautiful work. We are guests of the village, will share lunch and spend time with a group of local women who will be our teachers starting us off on a cushion cover for you to finish along our travels. If we are lucky, we will see or even have the opportunity to purchase some older kanthas as well.

[Inc- breakfast, lunch]

Day 8– Sat 15 Feb, 2020                      Shantiniketan                            

Shantiniketan is the location of a University set up by Rabindranath Tagore, a Renaissance man and one of India’s most famous artists he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Tagore was and is a major influence on the arts especially in Bengal and more widely in India. The University of Shanti Niketan’ s degree awards are handed out by the Prime Minister of India each year.

We will start the day visiting our friend Mrs Khatun and through her tutelage start a fine silk kantha piece to work on as we travel and then in the afternoon tour the galleries and grounds of the University [Inc-breakfast, lunch, dinner]

 

Day 9– Sun 16 Feb, 2020          Shantiniketan/ Bishnupur/ Kolkata                                                                                                                        Once capital to the Malla kingdom, Bishnupur is a lovely spot to wander around and visit its 400-year-old terracotta temples. Superb. We got lead astray on our last visit looking for the shell carvers, so this time we think we know which village to wander into and hope to find them, or else just enjoy a stroll through a nice village. Fingers crossed.

[ inc-breakfast, lunch]

Day 10-Mon 17 Feb, 2020                  Kolkata

A slow start this morning and an appointment for morning tea. we’ll visit a group who has taken the kantha tradition and given it a high society twist, originally concentrating on intricate stitched designs on silk saris they now also encourage their members to work on ‘masterpieces’- intricate figurative designs, reminiscent of the masterpiece you would have noticed in the Victoria Museum. Stories of this group will be shared over a delightful morning tea.

Afternoon is free. There is a big local market behind our hotel that is plenty of fun to explore.

[inc-breakfast]

Day 11– Tues 18 Feb, 2020                                Kolkata

We have a workshop visit planned today- indigo and a picnic.[ breakfast, lunch]

Day 12-Wed 19 Feb, 2020            Kolkata/ Sundarbans

Heading out of town to one of the world’s biggest mangrove swamps and home to the largest population of Bengal Tigers- The Sundarbans National Park and Tiger Reserve. We’ll spend the days cruising, hoping to catch a glimpse of tigers as well as the many other creatures of the swamps- crocodile, birds, birds, birds, smaller cats, antelopes and reptiles. Night time we will retire to cosy cabins on shore. During our visit to the area we will visit a local village, an interpretation centre and the shrine where the local honey collectors pray before entering the Sundarbans, a dangerous occupation. [breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 13–Thurs 20 Feb, 2020                          Sundarbans

Time on the boat will allow time to work on our stitching as well as enjoying the view [breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 14– Fri 21 Feb, 2020               Sundarbans/ Kolkata

After lunch we will return to Kolkata [ breakfast, lunch]

Day 15– Sat 22 Feb, 2020                              Kolkata                              The legacy of poverty, whilst being addressed in India is still has work in progress. On arriving back in Kolkata we will visit The Mother’s House, home and headquarters of The Sisters of Charity. Mother Teresa and her group have done so much in building awareness about poverty and its effects.

Along the way you will see much Gamcha- the bright checked handwoven bath towels of Bengal, like us you might even be a little addicted to them by this stage. Today we will visit a designer who turns bright bold gamcha into fabulous fun clothes and accessories.

Afternoon visit to the India Museum. 200 years old, a little dusty in corners but full of great stuff. Very interesting and then get your good gear on we are going out for a farewell dinner!

[ breakfast, lunch, dinner]

Day 16– Sun 23 Feb, 2020                       Kolkata/home     

Departures [ inc-breakfast]

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  • pick up from and dropping to airport ANYTIME DAY OR NIGHT for the trip
  • accommodation on twin share basis [or choose single supplement]
  • group transport during trip
  • all sightseeing and workshops listed in itinerary
  • breakfast and meals mentioned in itinerary

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-travel insurance

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– meals not mentioned in itinerary

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