Monday, December 21, 2015

Travel diaries: Post cards from Kutch

The vast open desert barren save for thorny bushes, the beautiful textiles and embroidery, the salt marshes located by the Arabian sea stretching along the Tropic of Cancer and the beautiful oasis with migratory birds from far away, Kutch is beautiful! Here are a few pictures that barely do the place justice.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pochampally & Bharwad embroidery

Pochampally, is a group of many many villages, in Nalgonda in the South Indian state of Telangana where skillfull weavers on traditional hand operated looms make these amazing woven fabrics. They weave stunning silk sarees and cotton fabric that I constantly dream of and ensured that I picked up a bunch of this fabric during the Hyderabad leg of the trip. This top was made from some of the Pochampally ikat fabric I fell in love with, it is a simple shirt/ kurta that I can wear with denim or churidar and dupatta or even wear to work with a skirt. I love the fact that slowly I am creating a wardrobe that includes things that I consider staples; ikat, block-print, bandhani, leheriya, shibori, traditional embroidery etc.

This bag is made by the ladies of the Bharwad tribe in Kutch and was picked up in Dhordo a tiny village in the Rann of Kutch. I am currently in love and wear it with everything. All the jewellery worn in this post is silver from various silver-smiths who cater to and specialise in designs specific to certain tribes. While I was walking around the markets one day, an older gentleman was very confused as to which tribe I was from because I was wearing jewellery from three different tribal clans. The cuff that I am wearing on my left wrist is something I haven't taken off in over a year and the jumbled bunch that is my anklets stay put all through summer. I am also wearing a hooked clasp silver key ring at the waist similar to a 'chatelaine'. It is called 'Chabi ka Challa' or 'Chabi ka Guccha' in Hindi I think. The lady of a house wears one of these with all the important keys of the house. Depending on their socio-economic status these could be of 22 carat gold with precious stones or silver with semi-precious stones.

I just don't see the point of changing things that are already perfect. Instead of trying to get my hands on what's trendy every season I try to source traditional jewellery and handicraft items that will last me for years and something that will hopefully be passed down generations. I'd rather spend my money ensuring that traditional craftmanship remains profitable.

I am wearing these with Kolhapuri leather chappals that I bought from a street stall in Colaba, they are destined to be used like crazy over the summers to come. I wish one day I am able to spend extensive time in some places with a rich textile heritage and master some of these crafts, until then I am going to live in them and hope the magic of creating beauty rubs off on me.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Travel diaries; Navlakha Temple, Ghumli, Gujarat

The temple in the above pictures is the 'Navlakha Temple' in Ghumli, Gujarat. Built in the 10-12th century AD by the Jethwa rulers of Saurashtra/ Gujarat it is dedicated to the 'Sun God' and is the oldest Sun temple in Gujarat. In my opinion it was spectacular, just rose out of the foot-hills in it's amazing ancient glory.

It is an important archeological site and we quite enjoyed exploring it one afternoon! Some-times I think India is so vast and there is so much beauty, in my lifetime I'll not be able to explore it in it's entirety. I am going to try my hardest though, this trip was full of visits to amazing places and it has made me even more determined to see more of this world! I long to be a permanent nomad, exploring and spending extensive time in places I like. But then I remember I need to earn a living.

Clothes-wise I stuck to the tried and tested bright long-kurta with jeans combination for ease and fun. These pictures don't do justice to the beautiful temple and it's surroundings barring the fact that the rubbish dumped around sites like these by people who come to visit, makes my blood boil!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Travel diaries: Charminar, Hyderabad

The city of extravagant palaces, beautiful tombs, stunning temples, of Nawabs, of tehzeeb and old-world charm, mouth-watering cusine and amazing textiles; Hyderabad. Walking around the Charminaar and surroundings on a warm morning before the shops opened and the frenzy began I could see glimpses of the grand city it once was and the mess it now is. I wish we are able to value the rich heritage we have in India while moving toward a more sustainable future. I am glad I visited though, the biryani and my uncle's home cooked food were delectable to say the least and it makes me so happy to see beautiful ancient structures, the plastic waste they are surrounded by makes my blood boil but that is a rant made for another post.

I will post a few of my travel photos in the next few weeks, clothes-wise I mostly stuck to the long kurta, jeans/ shorts combination. This yellow hand-loom kurta was bought the night before these pictures were taken and in my opinion is a wonderful find. I pretty much used the same leather bag and same few flat shoes over the entire trip and didn't carry a single pair of heels. It was fun to travel light on the way over, on the way back though, it was a whole different drama. Basically all you need to know is I had a lot of new kurtas to wear, not enough time to wear them all and I can't wait to return home to travel some more in India. :)