Surajkund International Craft Fair reputed to be one of the largest in the World! It was huge! There was a great atmosphere with all ages visiting the annual fair. It felt completely safe with much friendly banter. We were the only white faces to be seen and obviously a spectacle of interest. We were constantly asked for permission for the locals to take selfies with us. I felt like a celebrity when even three policemen asked could they pose with me!
There was music everywhere, dance troupes at every corner and street food of every description.
I learned to barter which doesn’t sit easily with my shopping habit! I did, however buy pashminas, scarves and cushion covers!
It was the hottest day of the holiday but that added to the atmosphere of a never to be forgotten experience, in India.
I recently had a holiday to India when I visited Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow and Agra. It was a fantastic trip aimed at learning about Indian textiles. The experience was wonderful, enhanced by the many people that I met en route. How do they do this?.
Making fishing nets , the whole family involved
Still working! This time assembling packets for sale Could be a knit and natter group
The Village water supply
Rural India where artisans make fine hand knotted carpets. Here, in the village centre,the cows relax in the shade.
The village “pond” where clothes are washed and young men fish for dinner. In the foreground cow dung is drying in the sun, waiting to be used as fuel.
Young men dying the silk in cold water vats. The hanks of silk are dunked and rotated through the dye vats. The women stay at home and work in the fields.
“Boilers” waiting to be fired up to heat the hot water dying vats. Note the winding apparatus to place the hanks of silk on ready for dying.
Field of drying yarn hanks both silk and wool. Destined to become carpets. This region ( Bhadohi) employs 2.2 million rural artisans in a 100% export orientated industry.
The end product Beautiful silk carpets. Which incidentally, reached the UK within 10 Days.
Don’t you just love these Terracotta horses? We visited the Sanskrit Centre today. It is a museum and arts centre with three museums. The museums are dedicated to Terracotta (or pottery) Everyday art and Textiles. Sadly we could not take pictures of the inside and their beautiful textile display. Also they did not have post cards or photographs of the displays as it would not be in keeping with their philosophy of no commercialism.
There were artists in residence with accommodation available. We saw a potter making these clay horses and I met a photographer who was on a seven week sabbatical. A lovely place to retreat into crafts.
The exhibition of textiles was amazing and inspiring. Another Forget me not sort of a day.
This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I
am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.
The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.
The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.
This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!
just an example of some of the intricate weaving.
No words can describe the ceremony that I was privileged to witness last night. It is a ceremony to pay respect to the holy Mother river The Ganges. There was multiple thousands of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Shiva and the river. Numbers were swelled last night as pilgrims had come from another ceremony about 100 kilometres away. Varanasi is a once in a lifetime holy place for Hindu people to visit. It felt like the whole nation came last night.
We traveled down to the river on a ramshackle cycle driven Tuc Tuc A hairy and thrilling ride through chaotic hooting traffic. I held on for my life and kept my eyes shut much of the time !We viewed the ceremony from a boat on the river along with hundreds of other boats juggling for positions
We did also witness cremation on the river banks Many Hindus come to Varanasi to die. This was a public celebration but nevertheless felt intrusive. We were very close and witnessed the whole cremation whilst on the river wrapped in clouds of smoke and Incense . This was a once in a lifetime experience for me and certainly one that will remain with me forever.
Tuc Tuc ride down to The Ganges
Today is the start of my latest big adventure. India here I come! I’ve packed everything that is important. The most important being my sewing! Oh and my books and just a few clothes!
I’m currently on my way to Heathrow where I meet the group I’m travelling with! Just hoping that they are a good group but I’m sure they will be I am travelling with a specialist textile holiday company called http://www.Colouriciousholidays.com
I will blog all about it as it is going to be bloggylicious!