February 2020


  • Desert Traditions Tank at Modhera
  • Desert Traditions Sufiyan with Indigo vat
  • Desert Traditions Patola Weavers


Caravans and camel trains, silk roads and sailing ships – the romance of Indian textiles stretches far back in time. Join Carole Douglas and her dedicated team as they lead you beneath the surface and into the very heart of tradition. From the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad to the textile meccas of Kutch and finishing at the textile gallery at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai you will experience the rich material culture of north western India. On this odyssey you will stitch, print and dye with master artisans, witness the transformation of fleece to fabric and cotton to cloth and meet key players who keep tradition alive. During your days on the trail you will browse in markets, museums and malls, enjoy the aromatic flavours of Gujarati cuisine, watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea, leave your footprints in the sand of Arabian Shores and in the salt of the Great Rann of Kutch and take home memories of wide smiles, clever hands and open hearts.

Your Tour Leader
Carole Douglas is an educator, exhibiting artist and writer with a passion for travel that began in her early 20s in Central America and Mexico. She holds academic qualifications in the arts, education and social ecology and is the founder of DESERT TRADITIONS, a company that works on international projects and organises travel into areas of cultural significance.


AHMEDABAD – City of surprises
Saturday February 28th – March 4th     Accommodation: House of MG

Founded in the 15th century by the Sultan Ahmed Shah the city of Ahmedabad is divided by the Sarbamati River into the old city and the new. Ahmedabad is renowned for its Saracenic architecture, a style that combines Islamic symmetry with sinuous Hindu embellishment. In its later days Ahmedabad was known as the Manchester of the East due to the proliferation of calico mills that supplied woven cotton to Great Britain. The internationally acclaimed Calico Museum is owned and operated by descendants of the original mills. Ahmedabad is also known as Gandhi’s city for it is from here that the Mahatma undertook his famous ‘salt march’ protesting British taxes and claiming independence from British rule. His doctrine of self sufficiency is still upheld by weavers of Kadhi – the fabric of freedom.

Highlights include a heritage tour of the city, a visits to the Indus Valley port of Lothal, the double ikat weavers of Patan, the Calico and Indigo museums, the campus of the National Institute of Design, and meeting designers and artisans and shopping in markets, malls and museums.

Activities include: One embroidery demonstration, one natural dye painting workshop

DASADA – Textiles of the Little Rann of Kutch
March 5th – 7th     Accommodation: Rann Riders

Dasada, on the edges of the Little Rann of Kutch, is a traditional working village and, from the potter to the panchayet (village leader), its inhabitants are involved in some kind of trade or commerce. Many colourful communities live around the area including Mir, Karapat Rabari and Bharwads. We will visit a tangalia weaver and learn about its place in the textile journey and be immersed in the embroidery of the area during a stitching workshop. For inspiration we will go out into the desert and wetlands on safari and enjoy dining in spectacular surroundings.

Activities include: one embroidery workshop, one beading workshop, wildlife safari

BHUJ – Textiles to dye for
March 8th – 11th     Accommodation: Comfort Inn Prince

On our way to Bhuj we will take a foray into lesser known East Kutch, home of Vaghadia Rabari. During our days in Bhuj we will focus on the dyeing and printing techniques of the area including a full day of tie and clamp dyeing, a full day of block printing and an immersion into natural dyes and materials with local weavers. We will also visit the Living and Learning Design Centre and sit with Ahir embroiderers and visit leading cooperatives.

Activities include: two dyeing workshops, one embroidery workshop/demonstration, one cooking class.

BANNI – The Motherlode of Stitch
March 12th – 15th     Accommodation: Kutch Wilderness Kamp

There are 16 documented embroidery styles in Kutch and while it is not possible to learn them all you will be taught those still used in traditional dress. During a two-day program with QASAB you will learn the basics of Banni stitches as practiced by Meghwal communities. A full day’s workshop with Kala Raksha will cover Rabari embroidery styles. We will also go into the field to visit the communities from which these traditions spring. You will take home a sample book of all 16 styles.

Activities include: villages visits in the Banni region and beyond, workshops in traditional stitching styles, meeting bell makers, buffalo herders and barefoot wood turners, walking on the Great White Rann of Kutch and a very special day in nature with remote camel herders.

BHUJ – Completion
March 16th – 17th     Accommodation: Comfort Inn Prince

Time for leisure and shopping in the bazaar and meeting local entrepreneurs including Lisa Hall (AKA Madame Hall) an Australian designer now resident in Bhuj, textile expert and dealer AA Wazir plus a visit to a special treasure trove of textiles. And no visit to Kutch is complete without an afternoon and evening at the beach in Mandvi and dipping your toes (or more) into the Arabian Sea.

MUMBAI – Metropolitan magic
March 18th – 20th     Accommodation: Godwin Hotel or similar

Mumbai is the financial capital of India. It is a multi-faceted city of 20+ million people; it is progressive and modern, humble and hard working and a repository of artefacts and artworks. It is fast paced, crowded yet somehow manages to work. We stay in South Mumbai close to great sites and eateries and design centres.

Activities include a special guided tour of CSMVS’s (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) textile gallery, a city tour that takes in the high and low lights of the metropolis, visits to designers, dye works, design stores and high tea in a Mumbai mansion – plus time to browse and shop.

March 21st


Land only, per person twin share AU$6,750.00
Single Supplement AU$1,850.00 (TBC)

• Domestic air travel as specified (incl taxes) within India
• Land transport (private coach lines) and autos where necessary
• Twin-share accommodation
• Meals as per the final itinerary (daily breakfasts plus celebration meals)
• Drinking water
• All transfers, entrance fees, workshop fees (minimal material costs may apply)
• All applicable tipping for hotel porterage, guides and drivers
• Services of tour escort and of textile expert Carole Douglas
• Services of textile expert, Carole Douglas
• Services of professional guides where required throughout the itinerary
• Program handbook, pre-tour information package, related materials

• Return international air travel
• Meals not listed in final itinerary
• Tipping for personal services including meals and room service
• Beverages with meals, alcoholic drinks, morning and afternoon teas
• Visa requirements of the tour member
• Travel Insurance
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry, room and personal services etc)
• Some workshop materials

We recommend that Australian passengers book their international flights through our retailer Out and About Travel who offer the best fares available at the time of booking. Please contact Tony for quotes. Airfares are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once the ticket is issued, airline cancellation and amendment conditions will apply. If you have additional travel in mind and require an earlier departure there may be a supplement payable.

I’m Interested…How Do I Find Out More?
Contact Carole Douglas at Desert Traditions who will talk you through the tour, send you a questionnaire which will allow her to shape the tour to suit your requirements and to supply further information.
3-35 Flounder Road, Ettalong Beach NSW 2257
Mob: 0438 772 795

I’m Ready…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $595.00 twin share, or $750 single per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

The deposit is accepted as a first instalment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements cannot be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. To meet our supplier policies, final payment is due at least 60 days prior to tour departure. You will receive an invoice 2 weeks before balance is due.

Any cancellation from the tour must be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Due to the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 30 days 50% of tour cost
Within 30 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.
There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.

It is standard policy with our company that all our international travellers have some type of international travel insurance, so that you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A comprehensive Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure that they possess the necessary travel documentation for the tour, such as a valid passport and any required visas. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end of your journey and have two clear pages for each country to be visited in your journey.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (8, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

Tour prices have been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs as time of print and are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once final payment is received, no surcharges will apply. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.

Ready to take the journey of a lifetime?