Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Indian road safety

Indian road safety may be a contradiction, as there were many times I just had to close my eyes and pray! However we found it best to always cross the road with a group of locals. When the traffic is at a standstill it's not a problem.
Don't know if checking your mobile while crossing the road is a good idea!
He survived!


We were privileged to see the best of Kashmiri embroidery at Andraab in Jaipur. These hand stitched designs were just exquisite with the back as good as the front. On wool mainly or silk, they ranged in size from shawl to bed cover and depending on size and complexity may have taken several years to complete.
Mubashir explains the design source and the time and skills involved.
Applique and embroidery combined.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fatehpur Sikri

Built by Empoeror Akbar in the late 1500's, Fatehpur Sikri was popular with early morning visitors, ourselves included. The red sandstone work is amazing and it was nice to image it in its heyday.
This is the Diwan-i-Khas, the hall for private audience and debate.

The beautiful carvings in the sandstone cried out to be rubbed, but we didn't want to upset the guards at this World Heritage Site!
The most amazing panels were in the Turkish Sultanas House.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Agra morning

It was a cold Winter's morning as we travelled through the streets of Agra. Everyone was wrapped up in layers.
The buffalo had already been milked and were on their way to their grazing places. Note the necklace on the buffalo in the foreground.

The buffalo milk in the containers on the back of the motor cycles.
Note the decorative appliqued hearts in the auto rickshaw. We enjoyed? a few rides in these vehicles in other places. The beeping horns of the buses, trucks and cars when you are in one, are deafening.

Friday, January 27, 2012

From the bus

We travelled by bus with driver Kailesh and his assistant Yogi. It can be a hair-raising ride on Indian roads, with livestock, other vehicles and forms of transport to contend with. Some days were short hops between our nightly accommodation and sightseeing, other days were longer, bumpier rides. However I never tired of looking out the window and took many photos of the passing parade.
Could this be Australia with the gum trees?

Lots of buffalo = lots of milk for marsala chai.
This photo is of the cow/buffalo dung patties drying, on the roof and later stacked. They will be burnt for fuel.
The trucks and tractors are decorated with tassels of pompoms and tinsel, painted and inside the truck cabs, fringing on the driver's steering wheel and the front of the cab.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Indian wedding

We are safely home now, arriving late last night via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has been the most amazing, wonderful trip for both Bob and I. We have mountains of photos between us to sort through, but I'll continue to share many of the amazing places and people we visited.
Thanks to Rhonda Preece and Anukram, we could sit back and absorb and enjoy Indian culture, history, food and very special interactions with crafts people, a textile collector and the everyday person/children in the streets and villages we visited. I can highly recommend a Textile Traditions Tour!

We were invited to the night festivities of Day 1 of an Indian wedding, in Kota where we were staying. Indian weddings continue for 4 days, with different events each day. Unfortunately we were travelling on and couldn't come back for more of the amazing celebration and great food.
The friends of the bride danced in groups or alone to traditional songs and music played by a small group of 4 musicians. The lovely old brick arches of regal Sudkham Kothi, now partly used as a guest house, was the setting for the celebration.
The bride's hands to the elbow and feet to the calf, were heavily decorated with intricate henna designs. She was taking care not brush off the freshly applied henna and was not wearing an elaborate sari or shirt and top like other guests.
Bride on the L.
I didn't buy many wood blocks as they are heavy and my suitcase was packed with fabric, Judy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Elephant polo

Elephant polo at Dera Amer, Jaipur- totally new to us all and great fun, except when the elephant steps on the ball! New ball please referee. After a hard game of polo [elephants don't move very fast] we had an Indian buffet dinner.
A camel smooching with his owner.
A demonstration match.
Some of our group members in action. You sit on the elephant using stirrups and to get on a ladder is provided.

The team.
Sign for the 'Ladies loo'.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Our lunch spots are all very clean and pleasant, sometimes with remarkable views. However we were all delighted when Anukram surprised us with Soma Haveli, a noble man's home, part of which is used for accommodation and dining. Every surface was very decorated inside and this is how it normally is.
My grilled vegetable skewers were so delicious I forgot to take a before photo!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Block printing

We visited the workshop of Master Block Printer Rashid to see the whole process from carving the design in teak, mixing the coloured dyes, preparing the fabric on the printing table and the fine lines and registration of the printing.