23 February 2020 • 14 Days Jewels of India Tour • Small Group Escorted Tour

  • Pricing

    per person twin share, land only  –  $11,724

    single person, land only  –  $14,832


    •  Fully escorted exclusive group of 12 guests only
    •  Private meetings with jewellers, curators and historians
    •  Dinners with experts on India’s jewellery traditions
    •  Escorted tours through India’s most famous jewellery bazaars
    •  Private museum visits in Mumbai, Hyderabad & Jaipur
    •  Visits to showrooms of traditional jewellers to India’s princely states
    •  Escorted by author, historian and India connoisseur John Zubrzycki
    •  Luxury accommodation in Taj hotels


    • International return flights. We can book these for you at an additional cost.

    • Visas

    • Travel Insurance

  • Itinerary


    After arriving in Mumbai and clearing customs and immigration formalities, we proceed towards the airport arrival lounge where you will be met by your tour representative and transferred by private transport to the hotel. (One group transfer arranged, separate transfers can be arranged for an additional cost). Assisted check-in at the hotel. Rooms are available from 1400 hours.  Overnight:       Taj Mahal Mumbai, New Wing Deluxe Sea Facing Rooms. Meals included: None

    DAY 02, 24 FEB (MON) – MUMBAI 

    Mumbai is the vibrant and pulsating capital of Maharashtra. The British acquired Mumbai from the Portuguese in 1665 and handed it over to their East India Company in 1671 for the handsome annual rent of ten pounds sterling in gold. For over a century, Mumbai has been a principal Indian commercial and industrial centre with its magnificent harbour, imposing Victorian architecture, modern multi-storied buildings, crowded thoroughfares, busy markets and beautiful tourist spots. After breakfast in the hotel we visit the private showroom of one of the world’s leading jewellery designers, Viren Bhagat.

    Viren Bhagat

    Hailed as the Cartier of India and one of this century’s most important jewellers, Bhagat eschews publicity and marketing, doesn’t work on commission, and creates only 50 to 60 pieces a year. His jewellery is contemporary with a European finish and sophistication. But the soul of his designs remains expressly Indian. Bhagat’s uncompromising quality of gemstones are the rarest finds of emeralds, rubies, sapphires and spinel. Aside from Cartier and Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), Bhagat was the only contemporary jeweller featured at the Al-Thani collection exhibit of exquisite Mughal era jewellery at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2017.

     Lunch is at Trishna, Mumbai’s most famous seafood restaurant 

    We complete the day’s tour with visits to the Prince of Wales Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and the Jewish synagogue, all located in close proximity in the pedestrian-friendly Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct. Established in 1954, the NGMA holds the India’s richest collection of modern art. The gallery’s collection of 17,000 works includes paintings, sculptures, graphics and photography from 1850 onwards. The Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue, built in 1884, is the second oldest in Mumbai and a testament to the city’s once thriving Jewish community.

    There will be time to explore the Kala Ghoda Arts Precinct, with its small galleries, boutiques and cafes before walking over to the Khyber restaurant for dinner.  

    Overnight: Taj Mahal Mumbai, New Wing Deluxe Sea Facing Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D

    DAY 03, 25 FEB (TUE): MUMBAI

    After breakfast we visit India’s leading auction house for jewellery and fine art, Saffronart, meeting with its directors and curators. Saffronart is platform for fine art and collectibles with over fourteen years of experience in auctions, Saffronart serves the growing community of Indian collectors, while also creating a cultural bridge to India for both the global Indian diaspora and the international community at large. Saffronart has set several global benchmarks for online auctions and is the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School. We continue the program with an afternoon tour of Zaveri Bazaar, India’s largest jewellery market. Overnight: Taj Mahal Mumbai, New Wing Deluxe Sea Facing Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    Zaveri Bazaar

    Zaveri Bazaar is a muddle of narrow lanes, dotted with hundreds of jewellery shops that sell gems and jewels. The market houses the headquarters of many jewellery institutions of India including Jagawat Sons (of Mankhush Jagawat) and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, one of the biggest jewellery retailers of India, established in 1864. All kinds of gems and precious stones are available in the market as well as ornaments of traditional Indian designs to modern designs made of every possible gem and precious metal.

    Victoria Terminus


    Morning: Optional Tour of the Victoria Terminus and the Fort area. The UNESCO-listed Victoria Terminus (presently known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) is one of the architectural gems of British India. The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a consulting architect in 1887-1888. We also visit St Thomas Cathedral, the Municipal Corporation Building, stroll down historic Dockyard Road and enjoy the arcaded bazaars along the Victorian-style D.N. (Dadabhai Naoroji) Road. Lunch: hotel and transfer to airport for late afternoon departure for Hyderabad. Mumbai-Hyderabad  Air India, AI 965 1500-1625 hours (economy class) OR Mumbai-Hyderabad  Indigo, 6E 834 1655-1825 hours (economy class), based on current availability). Overnight: Taj Krishna, Deluxe Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    DAY 05, 27 FEB (THU): HYDERABAD 

    The capital of Telegana state, Hyderabad owes its importance to the Asif Jahi dynasty, whose seven generations of rulers, known as the Nizams, established the city as a cultural hub, attracting men of letters from different parts of the world. The city’s historic sites include Golconda Fort, a former diamond-trading centre that was once the Qutb Shahi dynastic capital, the Char Minar, and numerous palaces including the Chowmahalla and the Falaknuma. The Nizams amassed a vast amount of wealth and were said to have more jewellery than all the other princely states combined. Their Basra pearls have left a lasting legacy with the city now known as the pearl capital of India. We begin our tour of Hyderabad at the 16th century Charminar in the heart of the old city before visiting the nearby showrooms of pearl dealers.

    Charminar, Hyderabad

    Known as the Arc de Triomphe of the east, the Charminar takes its name from its four graceful minarets and was constructed at the intersection of the historical trade route that connects the markets of Golconda with the port city of Machilipatnam. The Old City of Hyderabad was designed with the Charminar as its centrepiece and spreads from the mosque in four different quadrants and chambers, segregated according to the established settlements.

    Lunch will be at a 200-year-old home in Begum Bazar and your hosts are Vinita and Navneet Pittie, hailing from one of the influential families of the city.  The meal will be vegetarian

    In the afternoon we visit the Chowmahalla Palace, with its fine collection of decorative arts, textiles and photographs. These rare gelatine prints show the different types of jewellery worn various members of the royal family and the women of the harem. Time permitting, we will also visit the Salarjung Museum.

    The pearl industry in Hyderabad flourished due to the patronage of the Qutub Shahi kings and the Asaf Jahis, who were said to have an affinity for sparkling jewels. The pearls were not only part of the traditional regalia of this royal clientele but in their crushed form were also believed to have healing and beautifying properties. Prior to the pearl trade in Hyderabad, pearls were sourced from Basra, Iraq. The pearls from this city were prized for their hardness unlike those found in the Bay of Bengal, which are softer and, thus, less durable. However, the discovery of oil and the later establishment of the oil industry polluted the Persian Gulf and led to the decline of pearl trade in Basra. Henceforth, pearl merchants gravitated towards Hyderabad. Many pearl artisans from Basra have also moved to Hyderabad centuries ago.

    Dinner at the Firdaus restaurant, Taj Krishna. Overnight: Taj Krishna, Deluxe Rooms
    Meals included: B, L, D


    The highlight of today’s tour will be a visit to the Golconda Fort and the adjacent Qutub Shahi tombs.

    Golconda Fort

    Golconda fort was first established in the 13th century and over the years fortifications were added until it became one of the most impregnable in the Deccan. Under the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Golconda also became a hub for diamond cutters. It was the most important market for precious stones and gems. Diamond mines in the vicinity of Golconda produced almost all the world’s most precious stones until they were discovered in South Africa during the 19th century. Some of the world’s most coveted precious stones, including the famous Kohinoor, Daria-i-Noor and Hope Diamond were unearthed from here. Adjacent to the Fort are the Qutb Shahi tombs.

    Lunch: Taj Falaknuma Palace. Dinner with special guest at Alfresco at our hotel. Overnight:       Taj Krishna, Deluxe Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D


    Transfer to airport for morning departure for Jaipur. Hyderabad-Jaipur, Air Asia, I576,        0920-1120 hours (economy class) OR Hyderabad-Jaipur, Indigo, 6E 913, 1110-1305 hours (economy class), based on availability.

    “Everyone who can possibly contrive it goes to Jaipur. There is no other place quite like it”, the English traveller Rosita Forbes wrote in the 1930s.  The famed capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is known as the “Pink City,” so named for its use of local pink plastered stone. Jaipur was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. The old city’s bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. 

    Lunch at the hotel.

    We begin our stay in Jaipur with a private viewing at the showroom of Royal Gems and Arts in the old city of Jaipur. Jewellers to the royal family of Jaipur for generations, Santi Choudhary and his sons Hari and Krishna have what is probably the finest private collection of rare jewels and precious antiques from the Mughal era onwards in India. The 18th century haveli that houses the showroom is worth visiting just for the extraordinary frescos that cover every square inch of the interior. These frescos are painted in natural colours made from the powder of pulverised stones, whilst display cases glistened with jewels and precious objects. Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace, Luxury Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    DAY 08, 01 MAR (SUN): JAIPUR

    The highlights of today’s tour will be the Amrapali, Jaipur’s first museum devoted to jewellery and the City Palace complex.

    In the early eighties, Rajiv Arora and Rajesh Ajmera embarked on a pilgrimage across India to explore her art and soul.  What began as a tentative exploration of a country, transformed over time into a lifelong passion for the decorative arts and the unique jewellery worn by tribal communities. Drawing heavily on the everyday life of the people of India, especially its tribes, makes the Amrapali Museum unique amongst its peers, showcasing the wonder that is Indian art, design, and craftsmanship. Spread over two floors it displays items of beauty and adornment, silver and gold jewellery for every part of the body, from virtually every region of India.

    Lunch is at the City Palace, Baradari Restaurant. After lunch we begin with a private tour of the City Palace and its museums.

    City Palace

    The City Palace complex takes up a sixth of Jaipur’s pink-washed old town in a series of courtyards encrusted with nearly 300 years of architecture, including a sandstone and marble audience hall. Its museums showcase illuminated manuscripts, gigantic Moghul carpets, miniatures and stunning royal jewellery. The textile and costume sections feature the typical zari (gold thread) and gota (silver thread) embroidery styles.

    Dinner with special guest. Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace, Luxury Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    Amer Fort

    DAY 09, 02 MAR (MON): JAIPUR

    The highlights of today’s tour will be the Amer fort and palace and the world-famous Gem Palace where we meet with the owners and are shown workshops where jewellery is made and designed.

    After breakfast we proceed to the Amer Fort, one of the finest examples of a fort and palace complex in India. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Lunch: Café Palladio.

    The world-famous Gem Palace has been supplying jewels to India’s royalty since 1852 and the members of the Kasliwal family have maintained a lasting and relevant position in the jewelry trade since the 1700s. The Gem Palace has created heirlooms for emperors, kings, queens, presidents and film stars and continues to cater to the traditional and contemporary needs of jewellery buyers from across the globe. A unique family of aesthetes, the Kasliwals are skilled jewelers and gem cutters who have passed an extraordinary artistry, craftsmanship and passion from generation to generation. Appointed court jewel makers by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of the Royal family of Jaipur and granted high honors by the British Crown, the Kasliwal family history is deeply intertwined with the history of their native India. Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace, Luxury Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    DAY 10, 03 MAR (TUE): JAIPUR

    The best way to experience the fascinating bazaars of Jaipur is on foot. Our tour this morning will include Johari Bazaar, the jewellery market, where jewellers, goldsmiths and artisans do highly glazed meenakari (enamelwork), a speciality of Jaipur. We will also visit Bapu Bazaar famous for its brightly coloured bolts of fabric, jootis (traditional, often pointy-toed, slip-in shoes) and aromatic perfumes which make the street a favourite destination for the ladies of Jaipur. We will also visit the nearby Jantar Mantar-a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II and completed in 1734. Lunch: Jaipur Modern.  Afternoon: free. Dinner at hotel with special guest. Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace, Luxury Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.


    Fly Jaipur-Delhi. Indigo, 6E 203, 1045-1150 hours (economy class, based on current schedule)

    India’s capital since 1911, New Delhi is a fascinating and heady mix of old and new. Its numerous monuments span a period of almost a thousand years, evidence of a succession of remarkable dynasties. Driving through New Delhi we’ll see the ruins forts and palaces, mosques and temples, memorials and bazaars. The wide, tree-lined avenues of Lutyens Delhi are a reminder of Britain’s imperial past, while its commercial and business centres are evidence of India’s emergence as an economic power house. Lunch: Hotel. After lunch we take in the splendour of the UNESCO-listed Humayun’s Tomb. Built in the 16th century and set in a beautifully restored Mughal garden, the tomb is considered the architectural forerunner of the Taj Mahal. From Humayun’s tomb it is a short drive to the relaxing Lodhi Gardens whose numerous tombs and mosques were built by the 15th century Lodhi kings. Optional shopping visit to nearby Khan Market, one of Delhi’s most interesting shopping areas. Dinner at hotel with special guest. Overnight: Taj Mahal Hotel, Deluxe Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    DAY 12, 05 MAR (THU): NEW DELHI

    Red Fort

    Our morning will be taken up by exploring the fascinating and living legacy of the Indo-Islamic culture and lifestyle of the walled city of Old Delhi. We wander through the busy, narrow streets of the mile- long Chandni Chowk, popularly called “Silver Street”, surrounded by shops and bazaars. Our itinerary includes Dariba Kalan, a lane famous for its silver jewelry, and Kinari Bazaar, a street known for its beautiful laces and wedding items, as well as for being where Indian designers shop for raw materials at. We also visit the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes. The largest mosque of Old Delhi it can accommodate 20,000 people at one time. Lunch: Karim’s in the old city.

    After lunch at Karim’s, we visit the iconic Red Fort, the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856. The recently renovated barracks in the fort are now home to several galleries including Drishyakala, a three-floor exhibition space that houses 450 artworks spread over 27,000 square feet. Overnight: Taj Mahal Hotel, Deluxe Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.

    DAY 13, 06 MAR (FRI): NEW DELHI

    A relaxing morning will be spent at the National Museum and the adjacent National Gallery of Modern Art. The National Museum has the most extensive collection of jewellery in India. More than 250 items displayed there tell the story of Indian jewellery. From the beautifully tumbled agate bead necklaces of Mohenjodaro and Harappa to the fabulous jewels adorned with images of gods and goddesses to the magnificent items that once reposed in the treasuries of the Mughal emperors and the maharajas, the collection spans important periods in Indian history. Lunch: Café Lota at the Crafts Museum. Afternoon: Free. Farewell dinner at an Alfresco venue in the hotel. Overnight:  Taj Mahal Hotel, Deluxe Rooms. Meals included: B, L, D.


    The day is free for any last minute shopping (under own arrangements, smaller vehicles can be arranged on additional cost). Rooms will be available till 1200 hours.

    Later departure by International flight (One group transfer arranged, separate transfers can be arranged on additional costs) Meals today : Breakfast only

  • Only one date available for this unique tour of India – 23 Feb to 7 Mar 2020

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