Textile Tripping through Brilliant India
It is the most incredible country. I had not realised how superb the colours could possibly be - but women wear such amazing combinations. Hot raspberry with rich chartreuse, emerald and scarlet, turquoise with jade and ultramarine, they move like brilliant butterflies through the streets of the cities, walking the roads of the countryside, and even packed into the backs of trucks.
I could not have expected the beauty of old buildings. I knew about the Taj Mahal but had no idea that only across a bend in the river, The Agra Fort is just as stunning - different and rich and beautiful - and flickering between inlaid marbles and the incredible dark red sandstone.
Textiles were breathtaking and there will be separate postings about some of the things we saw.
I had expected dirt and filth and did not really see this at all. Perhaps it is just that I was comparing to Cairo but it did not seem more than crowded and a bit untidy.
I had expected wonderful food and it was absolutely superb.
I had expected some level of disorganisation simply because I think of India as a third world country and it was a stupid assumption. Instead it was superbly organised and we were tenderly handed from one Thomas Cook organiser to another. Guides were excellent and sophisticated and urbane.
I had expected heat - and it was unbelievably hot. At times the air shimmered with heat. In the north it was still bearable but we went through gallons of water. In the South it was a steam bath.
However - the tour we will take there will go in October when it will be like a Sydney Summer. When you see cheap trips to India be very suspicious and check the dates - they are probably making use of low rates in the hot season or during monsoon - both impossible. One is just hot, the other very hot and wet as well.
Enough talk. I thought I would post some photographs of two locations where we looked at Dhurrie factories being made. These were not the sort of tidied-up-for-tourism places I had expected. In some ways both were poor and in poor villages. I had thought there would be more in the way of bright cotton dhurries of the sort sold in Australian rug shops - but instead there was a huge range of different rugs.
The images that follow were taken in two different locations - one a factory on the road to Agra, and one in the village that sprawled below Fatepur Sikri - a deserted city that creeps across the hills. We will only go to one location on the tour as time will not allow both - but I thought you might enjoy the pictures.
The rag fields - dyed fabrics are stretched out to dry and then piled in great heaps. Most were cotton t-shirting.
That is it for now.
Sometimes I think I should have simply called this a photography tour. It is almost impossible to take a bad photo in India - and by now you can see why I was raving.