One of the placed we’d always longed to visit is India. Seduced by the colour, culture and the majesty of this land and people, India didn’t disappoint.
After spending a few days in New Delhi we drive through the country side into to Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. The drive to Jaipur is through miles and miles of arid land where the women bring colour by wearing the most beautifully coloured saris. The highways are teaming with trucks sporting wonderful decoration, both painted on and hanging tassels and tinsel. The driving is chaos with the odd cow wondering in and out of traffic. We stop every so often for a quick chai tea along the way.
Jaipur, Rajasthan’s Pink City
In 1879 the old city was painted terracotta pink to welcome Prince Albert & Queen Victoria; they still maintain this colour today. In Jaipur we stay at the most beautiful guest house with courtyards and daybeds; a welcome oasis after travel.
In Jaipur we visit the Amber Fort, beautiful Rajput architecture and the ancient capital of the Jaipur state. Jaipur is known as the Gem Stone capital of the World, and here we source some lovely semi-precious stones for earrings.
Next to Hawa Mahal & city Palace built in 1799 inside the old walled Pink City. We explore the imposing Palace of Winds formally known as Hawa Mahal. The many small windows decorated with intricate stone lattice allowed royal ladies observing strict “purdah” to view everyday life in the street below without being seen.
We spend a wonderful couple of days in this city, drinking lassis and wandering through the old town markets.
We then continue west towards Pakistan to Jodhpur.
On our drive to Jodhpur we pass thru small villages in dry open country sides, pass farmers herding their goats with children never far from their sides. If Jaipur is the Pink City, Jodhpur is blue. Many of the houses are painted bright chalky blue to ward off insects.
In Jodhpur we see traditional fabric dyeing, block printing and furniture. We visit the Meherangarh, a vast cliff top fort still run by the Maharaja. We walk through the clock tower square and markets, and of an evening taking in the city by night.
After 2 days in Jodhpur we head south to Udaipur, home to the Taj lake Palace hotel, which appears to float on Pichola Lake. This is almost our midway point so we spend an indulgent night in the Taj Palace hotel, surrounded by celebrities in Udaipur for a billionaire’s wedding. We cruise on the lake, drink cocktails and are showered with rose petals, a lovely escape.
After Udaipur we head through the mountains to Pushkar to watch the famous sunset. In the magical streets of Pushkar after dark, we explore the markets finding vintage tassels used for dressing elephants, leather shoes and bags and a wonderful emporium of vintage saris.
Bharatpur to Agra and the Taj Mahal
Finally we went through Bharatpur to Agra and the Taj Mahal, where we were awestruck by the magnificence.
Back to Delhi
Once back in Delhi it was back to work and meeting with Ruaab SEWA a training NGO which teaches women to sew, embroider, make garments, do bead work, print and weave fabrics. We will be working with them in the future, partnering to make bespoke items for Maker & Merchant.
India is a wonderland – we can’t wait to return.