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India Art Tour 2018 Feb/March

14 Day Guided Art Tour of Rajasthan, India

Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Nawalgarh ~ Jodhpur ~ Jaisalmer

Including the Holi Festival of Colour

Saturday Feb 24th – Sunday March 11th 2018

There is much to see in India but so much more to feel.

I invite you to join me in India for 14 magical days, travelling through majestic Rajasthan from Delhi to Jaisalmer. On our sketchbook tour, we’ll travel with the eyes of an artist. This means taking time to see what is around us, not racing from one attraction to the next, guided all the way by an expert local tour guide.

A sketchbook tour of Rajasthan is for the artist at heart – whether you want to learn the the basics of sketching, or are an accomplished artist.

Sleep under the stars in the desert listening to gypsies sing. Stay in Maharaja’s heritage hotels. Visit artisans in their villages and sketch in ancient temples and palaces. Exquisite textiles, incredible frescoes and huge smiles will flood your soul.

Fill your sketchbooks with the brilliant colours of Rajasthan. We’ll be using mixed media, including embroidered and block printed textiles, natural pigments and beautiful Sanskrit or Hindi Texts.

Price: $4,400 (private room) or $3,900 (twin share)

Start and End: Delhi

Group Size: Min 6 – Max 11

Accommodation: Heritage hotels (except for under the stars in the Thar desert)

Travel Inclusions: accommodation & breakfast, air conditioned bus travel between cities, Jaisalmer-Delhi AC sleeper train, camel in Thar Desert, tour entrance fees,

Places Visited: Delhi ~ Jaipur ~ Nawalgarh, Holi Festival of Colour ~ Jodhpur ~ Jaisalmer – ~ Thar Desert

Rajasthan Beads and Fabrics

Pre Tour

If you’d like to arrive in Delhi a bit early, you can meet up with Dawn and our guide Kamlesh, on the day before the tour. We recommend you arrive Friday evening for the tour starting on Sunday morning. You can rest on Saturday or we can show you around the local markets, help you get your sim card and maybe even take a rickshaw into Old Delhi. This is not part of the tour. Friday night accommodation has to be booked and paid as extra when you are in Delhi. We can book it for you. There is a free pick up from the airport.



Day 1 Sunday February 25th

After breakfast we’ll make a day visit to an Artists Community in the outskirts of Delhi. We will be looking at their rich heritage, a wonderful collection of textiles and objects, and this will form a basis for workshops in the gardens to help you explore Indian culture.The day includes a delicious Indian lunch.

Jaipur – The Pink City

Day 2 – 4

Monday: Today we travel to to Jaipur, a 5 to 6hrs trip with a good break on the way.

We will be staying at a heritage Palace Hotel with a peaceful garden on the edge of old Jaipur. After you settle in, we’ll do a workshop to design your own woodblocks in the Palace Hotel gardens.

An art workshop will be held exploring the use of natural pigments.

Tuesday: To explore traditional Rajashthan woodblock carving and textile printing, we’ll travel around 35 km by bus to a small town where you will have the opportunity to have your own motif carved into a woodblock. The town is textile heaven, and we will visit many workshops, and a warehouse/shop full of exquisite textiles you can buy. You will have an opportunity to woodblock your own piece of fabric.

Wednesday: Today we explore the Tiger Fort in Nahagarh, on the hills overlooking Jaipur. We’ll do some drawings of the extensive murals, surfaces and views. Then we’ll head out for a rickshaw ride through the centre of Jaipur – a great way to see the famous architecture up close.

We’ll wander through the streets of the old jewellery quarter where stone polishers still work using the traditional methods. There will be an opportunity to explore at leisure other places of interest such as the City Palace, Palace of the Winds or the Observatory.

In the evening we go and see a Bollywood movie at the palatial movie theatre Rajmandir.




Nawalgarh – Holi Festival

Day 5 – 7

Thursday:After breakfast we travel 2 -3 hrs to the small town Nawalgarh, which is part of the region known as Shekhawati in Rajasthan. It is famous for its many old Havelis (intricately decorated merchant’s houses) in various states of repair with exquisite frescoes. We will be staying at a charming heritage property with faded colonial ambience and well-kept gardens.

An art workshop will be held in the gardens exploring the use of natural pigments. In the evening we will visit the town centre for the beginning of the Holi Festival where people often build bonfires in the street.

Friday: Today is the Holi Festival. In the morning we will go and join the locals to play Holi, dusting each other with colours.

In the afternoon we explore the havelis and the small town of Navalgarh, a living open air art gallery. The haveli were the private mansions to some of India’s leading merchants. Nawalgarh has at least 50 haveli adorned with frescoes throughout the courtyards. They are heavily influenced by Mogul architecture. In Arabic haveli means ‘enclosed space’.

We’ll do a painting and drawing class in a haveli.

Saturday: We will re-visit Nawarlagh, the town centre, markets and haveli, for more painting and drawing. Or you can relax in the grounds of our palace, or book an optional horse ride.

In the afternoon we’ll visit some local tie dye makers and their family, and see the Shibori work.

Jodhpur – The Blue City

Day 8 – 9

Sunday: Setting out fresh in the morning, we travel the 6 hour journey to Jodhpur, the famous city washed with blue and crowned by the truly magnificent Meherangarh Fort. Rudyard Kipling described by the fort as ’the work of giants’. We’ll check into a heritage hotel in the heart of this ancient city.

In the afternoon we’ll walk around clock tower area in the local market with its multitude of spices, vegetables and craft. We’ll do some sketching from the rooftop restaurant at our heritage hotel, focussing on the domes and blue buildings of Jodhpur overlooked by the fort.

Monday: After breakfast we take a Jeep Safari into the Bishnoi Tribe area. We will visit a local potter and meet master craftsman and dhurri weavers, have lunch in a traditional Bishnoi family homestead and watch family elders perform their daily opium ritual to the god Shiva. Our sketches today will be inspired by tribal motifs and pigments.

In the afternoon we’ll do some detailed exploration of the Meherangarh Fort.

Jaisalmer – The Golden City and the Thar Desert

Day 10 – 14

Tuesday: We’ll set out early on today, journeying to the Golden Desert City of Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert, a 5 hour journey.

Arriving at Jaisalmer, we’ll check into the Maharajah’s Palace, a beautiful palace next to the 9th century golden sandstone fort that towers over Jaisalmer.

In the afternoon we’ll explore Jaisalmer Fort. The fort is an imposing golden sandstone citadel, an ancient labyrinth of narrow streets with intricately carved and decorated houses, Jain temples and shops. The fort is surrounded on all sides by high fortified walls. We’ll do some sketching around the palace.

Wed: Our day starts at sunrise, sketching the water temple at Jaisalmer Lake, This is a rare and peaceful experience, one you’ll never forget.

After breakfast we will visit some beautiful and eccentric Havelis (richly decorated merchant’s houses) in Jaisalmer. The afternoon is your own, to wander around the Golden City or develop your work.

Thursday: An exciting day today, we’ll pack up our bags and leave them at the Maharajah Palace, because we are journeying far out into the Thar Desert.

Your best friend in the desert is your camel. We’ll be journeying with them for a couple of hours as they take us deep into the desert.

We’ll stop at an ancient abandoned town with a step well, and at a local village we will paint with the children of the village. We’ll meet with gypsies who will dance the world famous Kalbeliya Dance. They will sing and play their music around the camp fire into the night, and you’ll sleep in the still quiet of the deep desert.

Friday: Our early morning sketch session in the desert will energise us, ready for our camel trek back into Jaisalmer. In the afternoon, sketch by the palace pool or relax.



Day 14

We spend our last morning in Jasailmer adding to your sketchbooks or visiting the textile and jewellery traders or meditating in the Shiva Temple. In the early afternoon we fly back to Delhi from either Jaisalmer or Jodhpur airport. We have a farewell dinner together back in Delhi.This last night is included in your package.



Would you like to keep travelling further afield? Agra, Rishikesh, Haridwar perhaps? Kamlesh can make arrangements for your accommodation, transportation and local guides – he charges a small additional fee of 10% to do this work for you.

From Dawn’s Sketchbook

Inclusions and Exclusions

16 nights of accommodation in Heritage hotels (except one night on the camel safari) with breakfast.
14 days of tours.
All travel on an air-conditioned bus.

All entrance fees on guided tours with the group.
Your overnight AC train journey back to Delhi from Jaisalmer.
Airport pick up and drop off.

Lunches and dinners. Budget on $250 to $300 AUD for meals and tips.
Flights to and from India. Your visa.

A $500 non refundable deposit is required to book your place. The balance must be paid three months before the tour starts.

There is a huge risk of textile gluttony so save up and bring half your suitcase weight.

There are 11 places for each retreat.

We will meet up in person or via skype well before the trip as many people have already expressed a desire to keep travelling afterwards and you may want to do that together. We can arrange things for you.

Tour Map




Here is a little taste of India for you so you can start learning your Hindi now. I met these beautiful souls along my way.


Bookings & Enquiries

Delhi | Nawalgarh | Jaipur | Jodhpur | Jaisalmer | Sketchbook | Map

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