Last month we travelled to India with a group of lovely people who have visited our craft and quilting events. We all shared a common interest – craft and textiles, and we all looked forward to seeing what India had to offer along with its amazing temples and a visit to a national park inhabited by tigers in the wild. We were not disappointed – in fact, India proved to be truly incredible.
Beginning in Delhi, we explored the Spice Market by rickshaw and visited centuries old monuments in this city of contrasts – ancient and modern, crowded with humanity but with pockets of peaceful green space.
Venturing south by train we were awestruck by the Taj Mahal – it eclipsed our expectations with its beauty.
Travelling from Agra by airconditioned coach we arrived at the Ranthambore National Park where our safari adventures were rewarded with the sighting of a magnificent tiger in the wild, along with sloth bears, crocodiles, deer, monkeys and plentiful birdlife.
Jaipur in Rajasthan proved to be a shopper’s paradise. The bazaars are loaded with silks, saris, embroidered pashminas, braids and brocades as well as gemstones, jewellery and traditional printed textiles. We explored the magnificent Amber Fort with its palace replete with inlaid gemstones and artwork and marvelled at the City Palace’s collection of royal costumes through the ages. We stopped in for a demonstration of block printing in the Anokhi Museum where the collection on display shows just how sophisticated and effective a relatively simple technique can be when layered with skill.
Onwards to Pushkar, a city which surrounds a lake, where we experienced an unforgettable day in the workshop of Fiona Wright* who runs an enterprise employing local people to make hand printed and stitched clothing.
Our last stop was Varanasi on the River Ganges, sacred centre for many religious groups, and the focus of pilgrimages every day of the year. Witnessing the river life from sunrise to sunset, including the bathing rituals, cremations and religious ceremonies was nothing short of incredible.
A visit to India is an overload on the senses, vibrant colour, spices scenting the air, noise from the traffic, smiles and welcoming from the locals and the contrasts of medieval and modern make it an adventure unlike any other.
So much that we just have to visit again – if you are interested in joining us in October 2019 for a slightly different itinerary including the Punjab area with a focus on textiles, food and a farm visit, email today to register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org
However you go and whenever you go, just be sure to put India on your bucket list.
Words by Judy Newman
*Meet Fiona Wright from The Stitching Project at our Perth Craft & Quilt Fair, May 22 to 26, 2019