Sunday, 15 April 2018

Monday, 9 April 2018

The best things I bought

Beautiful hand embroidered trim - a metre of each

This is the first post you see but the last post I shall write.

If ever I am lucky enough to go back to India I can imagine heading straight for the little shop where I bought these fantastic sari edgings. 

Before I opened my Handmade Happiness shop in Petersfield I dreamed of owning a habadashery shop selling the most beautiful ribbons and buttons. Imagine selling something as incredible as these!

The lower trim is really old and the pink one seems quite new. 
If this is the first thing you read please scroll down to the first post titled 'Have yellow hat can travel' and read upwards. And if you find I've made a spelling mistake or you have anything to tell me, email
I'd love to hear from you. 
And if you want to read about my shop click onto Handmade Happiness top right. 

Thank you for reading.

What I bought in India

A goat's bell from the blacksmith and my name on a grain of rice from a descendant of the Udaipur palace artists
Printed cottons from the Tibetan market
My rug from the Bishnoi  rug weaver
'Silk' scarves
More cotton fabric

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Inside the City Palace, Udaipur

Detail of painting of crocodile pool inside the palace
Coloured glass changing the light inside the room
Peeling paint has a strange beauty especially in these blues
Curved mirrored pieces in this mosaic
A glass room
This is huge, about the size of two average rooms
The artist's skill on walls and ceilings, sometimes using a one hair brush

Here are some of the 60 pictures I took on my last day in India at Udaipur. (See previous post.) The following morning we drove to the airport at Mumbai and got a plane to Delhi and from there another plane home to England.

Writing this will help me remember rich details of our trip that I would otherwise forget. I hope it will also entertain other people and who knows, perhaps encourage some to visit India for themselves. Thank you  for reading.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Day Fourteen - Udaipur - the City Palace and a Tibetan market

Looking from the winter palace across to the summer palace
A decorated archway
Our city palace guide with film star good looks!
So much detailled decoration to gaze at
A lattice window
Fantastic painting - with just one hair from a squirrel's tail

A day when I took 60 pictures. 
In the morning we visited the huge City Palace on the shores of Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace was where the ruler and his family decamped to for the summer months and there were boat rides out there but I was too entranced by the decorative walls, windows and ceilings of the larger palace on the shore.

There were rooms of coloured glass and intricately painted ceilings. Artists' finely painted scenes of  life as it was then. I'll do another post just of pictures to show you these things.

We were shown round by the impossibly handsome man pictured. Maybe he acted as guide round the City Palace when not starring in Bollywood movies !?

Each room inside the palace was a colourful thing of wonder, and outside there were guards on horseback dressed in red and orange and holding flags. There was also an enormous 'portable cage for trapping and keeping tigers.' 

This place is a feast for the imagination. There was a picture of an indoor pool containing crocodiles...and a room containing just cages for carrier pigeons.
All too soon we had to move on to the Jagdish white marble temple nearby dedicated to Lord Vishnu, preserver of the universe. Here for the first time we heard loud chanting and singing...

After lunch at the hotel we drove back into the town centre. It was the last day and still I hadn't got any cotton fabrics. We were taken to a plush building and were asked to sit down to listen to a talk by the textile house owner. I had a creeping sense of deja vu  (see Day Eleven) and quietly myself and several others left the building.

We had spotted a Tibetan market from the coach and here, at last I found the simple printed cottons I had been hoping for.

 I bought several of the largest size of long nightdresses in assorted prints and colours for between £2 and £4 each knowing that there here was lots of fabric that could be re-used.

 Feeling very happy we walked down the narrow shopping streets and found handmade banana paper and, best of all, some stunning beaded ribbons, that I am now wishing I'd bought more of. (pictures soon)

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Day Thirteen - Jodhpur to Udaipur

The Royal Enfield Bullet worshipped at its own temple
Scaffolding of wood, not metal
I love these table runners where we stopped for lunch
Why don't we have signs like this in England?!!

Purple doors - love this colour!

The terrain was more mountainous on the way to Udaipur. And we were told there were lots of leopards and a few tigers in those mountains but we didn't see any. Lots of monkeys though. 

We stopped off at the Bullet Temple, picture above.
This motorbike has a history:

 One day the bike's owner had a terrible accident. He lost control of the bike and smashed into a tree, killing himself outright. The police took the bike back to the police station but the following morning it had disappeared. They found it propped against the tree where the accident had happened.

The bike was then taken back to the police station, the fuel tank drained and the bike wrapped in chains. But the following morning it had again disappeared and was found in the same place, propped against the tree. 

Since then the bike has been worshipped and young men wanting safe travel on their motorbikes bring their helmets to be blessed at this temple. 

Today I bought some fabric for the first time. I found 'silk' scarves at a 'comfort stop' on the journey and bought 6 at a very good price for future cutting up.

We stopped for lunch at an extraordinary 'eco building'. Sorry I didn't write down the name -but I did take a few pictures, it felt futuristic.

Then to the carved white marble Jain Temple at Ranakpur. The Jain people are just 2% of India's population but we were told they control 65% of the country's economy. 

To enter the temple we had to leave outside any leather items - belts, handbags, shoes and purses. And also any items of food or drink. Anne had her non-leather handbag searched and a tea bag confiscated at the entry point. It was very strict.
Once inside all was delicious coolness. Monks asked if they could pray for us and the carved pillars were interesting to look at.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Day Twelve - Bishnoi

The potter and his wheel
A Bishnoi house - although we didn't think it was actually lived in nowadays
Inside a Bishnoi home
A 'fridge' to keep food safe from animals
Looking down on the carpet weavers loom
A finished dhurrie or large rug

By jeep to remote Bishnoi village where the nature-worshipping Bishnoi people live. Apparently some soldiers once tried to cut down some trees here for firewood but the villagers revered their trees and tried to protect them. The soldiers then killed all the villagers near the trees including women and children. Since then the villagers themselves have been revered. The men wear only white and trees and animals are never harmed.

We watched a potter with his heavy stone wheel throwing pots. He set a heavy stick into a hole in its circumference and physically turned it, setting it spinning until it built up its own momentum. A large piece of clay was stuck onto the wiped clay in the centre and the potter pulled off bowls, their lids, even a money box.
A woman in our group wanted to have a go but she hadn't the strength to get the wheel spinning with the stick. 

Then to a typical Bishnoi house with cattle tethered nearby and a woman inside the house separating curds from whey.

The jeeps drove us to a Bishnoi carpet weaver who spoke perfect English. He said machines could never achieve what he could because of interlocking. The dhurries he worked on were made of cotton yarn and camel hair. The colours were natural dyes made from ruddle, a mined stone to achieve red; blue from indigo and black from a mixture of aubergine and cloves.

I bought a small rug from this man and it's sitting in my tiny hall right now reminding me of my fascinating trip to Bishnoi.