Due to being close to running out of free posts on this blog I decided to set up a brand new blog for my third year of my degree. Please check out my new posts which will firstly feature my 10 week internship in sunny Malta and then my work over the last year of my degree.
It’s been about a week since I’ve come back from India, my tan and henna are fading but my memories and experiences never will. It has been an amazing adventure full of joy, fun and learning. Those ten intense days gone past very quickly, everyday full of activities and craziness.
Originating from Poland I have always had the ‘travelling bug’, I love to get to know new cultures and their habits and experience it to the fullest. I have learned so much about the culture, the rituals and habits. As a blond blue-eyed European, the locals were more then happy to talk to me and tell me about their lives. This inspired me to write about Muslim culture, how gender effects lives, theirs rituals and textiles in my dissertation. I will also use my photos of elephants, camels and other animals for my project in subject.
The textiles was beautiful there. The vibrant coloured garments and cloths were so heavily embroidered with shiny threads so with every movement they were creating pretty reflections which looked like an illusion. The cloths were firstly tie died in natural dies usually out side of cities in villages. They were then either embroidered or printed on using wood blocks and repeat patterns. Seeing some of the locals working on the cloths in many workshops was just amazing. It was a great way of learning and improving my techniques. I bought a lot of wood blocks for repeat printing. After being able to print on the professional padded tables and coming back to my hard wooden table it’s just not the same.
This trip has been so inspiring and definitely taught me a lot. I am really happy I had an opportunity to go and visit all the villages, go to all the workshops and meet such an amazing bunch of crazy, adventures and kind people.
First day in Udaipur started of with a full day of activities, we went to see the Udaipur city palace where we spend most of out day in then took a boat ride on the Pichola lake to see a sunset on one of four islands. After dark we got a boat ride back and walked back to the hotel through a busy and lively market.
City palace, Udaipur
The city palace in Jaipur was so beautiful but the one in Udaipur was simply breath taking. It was huge and every inch of the palace was covered in patters, hand painted or curved. Even little things like the archways were carefully thought out and decorated. Each room had it’s own colours and style and believe me, there was a lot of rooms.
The palace was on a hill so the view from it was stunning. The sun was shining through stained glass windows playing with the shadows like an illusion. It was so inspiring and a great place for a photo-shot! 3, 2, 1, POSE!
The boat ride on the Pichola lake was so fun! The sun was low, just moments before the sunset and the waves were crashing in to the boat so smoothly. The waves were reflecting the sun strokes so silky. It was so smoothing and nice.
We went there to watch the sun setting down behind the mountains which was so beautiful. The island was also very pretty it self. The architecture there was so impressive too.
On day 5 we travelled from Jaipur to Udaipur which took hours because we kept stopping, but not too worry the things we saw were very exiting! We took a lot of detours through small villages, it was very interesting to see non touristy places like that. We also stopped at a train station and got a chance so get on a train which was permanently parked there.
The best stop was when we saw a lot of women working on a road to access their village from the main road. They were all wearing beautiful and very colourful saris. For a day of working on a road they get 200 Rupees which is about £2.
Day 4 in India was also the last day in Jaipur. We went to see Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, City palace, bazaar, cinema and.. a wedding!
Hawa Mahal, which means Palace of Winds or Palace of Breeze. This is quite a narrow building like a wall. It was created so the royal woman and their servants could watch the street without being seen through the stained glass windows. This place has interested me even before I came to India so I have also hand stitched it like I did with the step-wells. I really liked the symmetry of it and the amount of multicoloured windows.
This is a sundial observatory which contains 13 architectural astronomy instruments and the biggest sundial in the world which shows time up to 2 seconds. I loved it there, I loved the shapes and the sundial and how they worked. Also I quickly found my architectural astronomy instrument which was very geometrical and I really liked it.
On our way to the City Palace we stopped in a place where all the local artists sell their work. The work I saw there saw simply exquisite. As soon as I walked in a saw a loom with weaving on and which out thinking I was there in about 5 seconds! The loom was vertical which was quite weird as the looms in Europe are horizontal. Also with the horizontal looms you only press one wooden block go get the line in and with the vertical loom the man had a special comb to gather the lines in. He even let me weave few lines and comb them which was quite amazing. I also bought some year made out of jute bamboo in different colours. The first photo of the man is taken by Dr Keireine Canavan who was one of the tutors on the trip.
City palace, Jaipur
This palace was so extraordinary. The patterns on the walls but mainly the doors impressed me so much.Each door had a busy repeat design on them and around, also the archways make them look even better. Some of the doors even had 3D peacocks make out of clay above them.
I absolutely loved the bazaar! It was loud, busy and crazy but also it was real. It was a market for tourists at the start but the longer I walked through the allays and street I was getting to the real thing with no over prices touristy souvenirs but with locals buying spices, gadgets and food. I also bough a breathtaking sari, it is similar to the pink and blue on the photograph but mine is red and yellow.
We went to a cinema to watch a Bollywood film! What? Let’s start with the building it self, the architecture was just magnificent. Even a simple building like a cinema was beautifully decorated. Passed the doors, different for women and men, I walked in to a big hall with massive lighten up stairs on the right and sofas and food counter on the left. After getting a must – salty popcorn and coke for the film we walked in to the only screening room there was, but it looked nothing like a cinema, it looked more like a theatre. The ceiling was lighten up in curvy waves and changed colours. Before the film started they played the national anthem so everyone got up including our group. During the film the audience was not shy to express on how they feel about the scene, when any bad character was killed they cheered, when someone kissed they yelled, when the main character was getting beaten up then shouted at the screen and threw popcorn at it! The atmosphere was just so unbelievable. The film it self was very interesting even tho I didn’t understand the language and the editing was amazing.
We gatecrashed a wedding! We actually gatecrashed a real Muslim wedding in India! On our way back to get coach we waled passed a wedding few people started taking photos of the outside but our tour guide said we can come in. I was one of the first people to come in and someone started pulling me to get on the stage with the bride, I thought that there is no way that’s happening but then we were all invited so we went. The bride was so pretty and her sari was also really pretty. The tradition is that the bride has to seated down for the whole wedding, she can smile and party, this shows respect to the grooms parents. If she parties along with other guest it would mean that she is not from a good home.
Day 3 = Free day! The third day of my Indian adventure was a free day, we had no activities planned and we were free to do anything we wanted. Day 3 was also the day when it was raining really bad so most people stayed in the hotel..but not me! I decided that rain will not defeat me and ruin my day. I went to a Gem palace, admired and draw windows and a long walk.The rain was so heavy so the streets were flooded up to my ankles and through some there was no access. So we decided to take a tuktuk! It is a 3-wheel vehicle and compare to cars it quite small. There was no doors on either of the sides and let’s just say he wasn’t driving gently!
This is a very prestigious jewellery shop passed on from generation to generation by one family. The work there was so elegant and breath-taking. We weren’t allowed to take photographs of the actual jewellery but even the decorations were worth photographing.
The windows in India aren’t just normal. Every window is different and unique. I am a big fan of stained glass windows so I decided to sketch some out. I used media like markers, water colours, fine liners, pencils, crayons. By using many different media i wanted to capture the uniqueness of every individual window and frame.
After it stopped raining I went for a long walk. I wondered the streets of Jaipur jumping through paddles and mad admiring the beauties of India. Everything seems to be more colourful and vibrant.
Even tho it was a doll day the colours of the building and the surroundings were so inspiring. I decided to take a lot of photos with the hoop so I can then create a book of colours and textures from India.
And my absolute favourite photos from the whole entire day. I love the vibrant cantrasting colours.
On the second day of the trip we went to a elephant dung paper workshop, block printing factory, blue pottery factory and an Indian spice house.
Jaipur Elephant Paper
We visited a village called Sanganer where we meet Vijendra Shekhawat and his family who are in an elephant poo paper making business. The visit started of with a cute little girl giving us a very warm greeting with flower petals, a bindi and flower necklaces on the door. This was a very charming ritual preformed by a very charming little girl, she kept laughing and entertaining us when it wasn’t our turn to make paper. After a short conversation with her I found out that she was 6 and had 5 sister who were all at school. The little cute girl who everyone was so assassinated with was there as an attraction. I didn’t feel quite ok with it. What happens to her when she becomes too old and isn’t so cute anymore? If she doesn’t go to school she won’t be educated which means she will always be there to make paper out of elephant poo.
Vijendra demonstrated how he makes paper out of elephant poo. I made paper before so the process didn’t interest me as much however when you left the workshop there were real, non touristy families and lives going around.
After we had traditional lunch on leave plates on the roof top. That was very nice.
Block printing factory
We went to another block printing place but this time there was an actual factory rather than a museum. They had many very long tables and workers at each one of them. All the tables were working on one repeated design. Each table was at a different stage of the design with a different colour loaded up on their block. The cloths stayed on the tables and the workers were moving round the tables with their blocks after they finish. They were all so quick and precise it was almost magical. Lucky for us the owner let us do some printing blocks, on a clean small piece of cotton of course. We were so bad at it compare to the professionals! None of us got the outline and filling matching up perfectly.
Blue pottery factory
In this factory we saw a whole process on how to make a clay object. How to make clay, shape it, fire it, soften it, paint on top of it. It was nice to see the process but what interested me the most was all the colourful patterns that were going on to the objects.
Indian Spice House
This is a very nice restaurant with amazing dancers. There was live music and dancing on the tares. The men were playing music on drums and something that looked like a tiny piano but didn’t sound like one at all. The woman was dancing so gracefully to the music wearing the most exquisite sari which followed her every move. During her performance she invited individuals to dance with her and after applause and tips she invited us all to dance and toughed us some moves. This was a very nice moment for the group, everyone was smiling and having fun. I took a short video but sadly no photos so this is a print screen of the video when Barnaby, one of our tutors was helping her up with bowls on her head as part of the performance.