Tuesday, 18 November 2014


a bed of lotus flowers as far as the eye could see

a cushion that has seen better days

green paint pot

I just love this colour and I brought back 
pigment paste (f.geen) to mix with white
emulsion to the required colour

that will be after Christmas then!

a terracotta vessel 

Adavarsi temple with terracotta horses
given as thanks for favours from their god

wonderfully naive with daubs of paint, dots, lines etc
some are huge, some small    outside a pile of discarded/broken
horses to make room for new ones    eventually they will break
down in the heat and rain, returning to the earth

one last festival

while we were drinking coffee we could see lots of these floating in the lake

tiny taziyas - bigger ones appeared later in the day

it was the Muslim festival of Ashura   
the Taziya represents the mausoleum of Imam Hussain

the were crowds of men gathered at the ghat with their taziyas
big and small, waiting to load them on to the boat
(women and children were there enjoying a picnic but not taking part)

with a great deal of banging of drums in the distance the taziyas were submerged

later in the evening we witnessed the procession of huge taziyas wobbling their
way through the small streets of the town.    These were spectacular especially the 'Badi Paten Ka Taziya, measuring 35ft in height.    

we went to sleep with the sound of drums

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


it was time to say goodbye to the Gujarat country side and head back to Udaipur 

no more rural scenes like this

a group of Rabari on the road to the next camp
camels and donkeys carrying all their worldly goods
sheep and goats following on behind

For us it was National Highway No 8 to Udaipur, a five hour journey with a couple of breaks for chai and then lunch.   At one dhaba we watched astonished as fourteen people emerged from the inside of a 4x4, another four passengers on top, plus luggage.

The road cuts through the Aravalli Hills, all ups and downs.   Lorries drivers choose any lane they fancy and since they have huge heavy loads the likelihood of them changing lanes is remote.     On long steep hills they hardly move, just slowly chug to the top.   Small cars take scary chances and weave in and out.   Not all complete their journey, we witnessed a couple of horrible accidents.    Sadly, many drivers think they are invincible.

only five days left before we leave Udaipur

the one thing I really miss is proper coffee -  first stop, Ginger Cafe and Bakery
where they serve a jolly good expresso and rather nice pastries!    

it's a nice place to relax by the cool of the lake   right now the outside sitting area 
is restricted!    the flower pots marks the normal height of the water
of course there is the option of a little paddle!

 Lake Palace Hotel in the centre and on the left Lake Pichola Hotel

we celebrated out 45th wedding anniversary on 1 November

supper at Upre on the roof of the hotel

photo taken by one of the 'boys'
I think it captures a moment of laughter and fun

a chocolate cake with a firework candle
in the background you can see the lights of the Palace

we were upgraded to the Rani Suite
hugh room with two balcony windows looking out on to the lake  in one 
swing seat and the other mattresses and bolster cushions to lounge on
while we were having supper the boys had been busy,  the floor 
was covered in rose petals    they also decorated the bed  with rose
petals in the form of a heart - ahh, so romantic!

the last few days passed very quickly, just relaxing, having suppers with 
friends,   a little shopping  - eventually came the day to pack the suitcases
it's always sad to leave, but already we are making plans to return in February!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Wagwam Part 2

I forgot to mention the Snake Man!   Fortunately, or not, Keith took photos, plus some of the embroidery ladies, shopping with my men, and a close up of the sewing machine.

The Snake Man joined us at Mr. Green's house.  He saves snakes that are in the wrong places and returns them to the wild.   We looked it his photos of cobras, pythons and other slithery customers, and yes he has been bitten!

When at the farm he appeared with a large tin box, inside a rat snake.

The Snake Man, me, Mr. Singh and Samshu, plus snake
I have no fear of snakes, but as it was very long and wriggly
I couldn't quite bring myself to hold alone, so opted for a
joint hold!   It was soft and silky and very pleasant to touch.

released back to nature - happy snake

the embroidery ladies

bed covers stitched on medium weight cotton and embroidered with
a thick cotton  Grandma is working on the red one and can finish 
a bed cover in less than a week!

another bed cover with beautiful embroidery
in the left hand corner you can just see part of a pillow case

the embroidery shop , with all my men!
I am clutching a handful of threads, a gift from the shop owner

and, finally

a close up of the vintage sewing machine

I love receiving comments and replying to them, but I need your e mail address 
instead of 'noreply-comment@blogger.com!

Monday, 10 November 2014


This was to be a very full day.    We left Sayla around 8 am with our host Mr. Singh who had arranged a meeting with 'Mr. Green' an ecologist from Wagwam.   Only a thirty minutes away and we entered the old walled city.

the town is well known for bhandani work and sitting outside their house 
two ladies  are busy tying cloth ready to be dyed

Mr. Green was an excellent host.   We had a Gujurat breakfast of a curried rice dish, dry curried vegetables, and a dipping sauce for the local 'crisps' -  gram flour extruded into hot fat, so delicious.  All washed down with cups of chai.

Then to the main room to look at his photographs of wild life, peruse his amazing library before setting out to the countryside in search of the Indian Eagle Owl.    Success, one sitting on the nest, and two soaring over head.  Magnificent birds. Mr. R was delighted.    You can find pix on his website shortly.

meanwhile, my little contribution to bird photography

 painted storks sorting themselves out atop a very high tree
lots of comings and goings with nesting materials

Chai at the farm and then back into town to meet two sisters whotaught local ladies to stitch.    We were shown lots of work, nicely doneand fell in love with an elephant hanging, but it wasn't for sale.

I was given books of samples to look at - crochet, tatting, knitting - sample slipper above,   no hand stitching, but what looked like free machine work   

there were two rooms with really old sewing machines 

I couldn't work out whether the ladies were learning for domestic use or earn money by selling their work

we were directed to the shop, but there was no sign of anythingas nice as the elephant hanging, or even hand knitted socks.

I did find some thick Khardi cloth, perfect for the indigo pot.This did cause some hilarity - it's used for dusters!   Went mad and bought lots, it weighed a ton.   Brought some home with me, the rest I have left with Samshu until our return.  If the cloth doesn't dye well, he will have enough dusters to last a very long time

we had an appointment with a very nice man, who organises ladies who do stitch very beautifully - but first we had to try some Jain dishes prepared especially for us.   Delicious.

We met the stitching ladies who were very welcoming.After Diwali their cupboards were almost bare.   Work in hand included bed covers stitched in thick cotton and pillow cases
Shalwar kameze and dupatta sets - bhandi, tied and dyed.  I have been invited back for stitching lessons.

I brought this fine piece home - actually it is doubled,possibly to be cut into cushions.   Stitched in a viscose thread, again closed herringbone stitch, outlined in chain stitch.   On ironing out the creases I realised justin time that it has been stitched on polyester cloth!

We went to the local market looking for metal framed mirrors.  When I say 'we' I was accompanied by four men who probably had never stepped inside a haberdashery shop!
It was hilarious.

Walking back through alleys we came across a man sewing on an ancient sewing machine, c.1880.

love the foot pedals
the arm of the machine looks like a clamp
the sewing bed is really tiny 
fabric is stitched from left to right
the box on the right had lots of
interesting things in it!

and so, back to Sayla for a wash and brush up, we have a drinks invitation at the palace.

a long and interesting day

Sayla embroidery

Pictures of the two pieces I bought from the ladies at the farm

40 x 45 cm
a typically constructed bag
rectangular with a beautifully pleated edge

the design is couched thick cotton thread
before stitching the thread alternatively
knotted and a white bead added

40cm polyester square

the intricate design is stitched using fine wool thread,
closed herringbone and back stitch
the hand knotted fringe is also fine wool thread

Home again

I'm starting at the end of our travels!   We took the over night train down to Mumbai, arriving at 6 am.   Already it was hot with high humidity.  We stay at the Sea Palace Hotel, just down the road from The Taj.  It's right on the water front so has the benefit of a sea breeze, such as it was.

Two days in a sauna!    A little shopping of course.   The Museum of Modern Art has a fantastic exhibition - Love and the Goddess.  Music from the time of creation of the world, from the womb,  and birth.  Upstairs there were interactive exhibits.  A stroke here, buttons to press, objects to move, all producing wonderful sounds.   Two chairs to sit on and we made music through our hands.   Mustn't forget the musical chairs (with applique cushions) each one played a different cord.     Then a chance to play on bamboo xylophones.   I really liked that.

Actually it was a relief to get into an air con taxi to the airport!    The new Mumbai airport is lovely, and we are thinking that perhaps we might give the town a miss on our next visit.

I have updated my last post with the missing picture of the Adivarsi ladies at the market.
Oh, the joy of just tapping away and downing loading pictures instantly!  

Time for lunch, after that I'll catch up where I left off, somewhere in Gujarat.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


    Our next destination the Bell Guest House, our third to this old colonial style building set in beautiful gardens.   Very peaceful, apart from the peacocks!

The main reason for coming back is the abundance of bird life, and this time I actually found some textiles.

We visited the weaver at Vasatari.  The unique weaving technique of Tangaliya was almost lost.  It's made up of danas or beads of cotton ranging from dots to more elaborate arrangements.   The beading is done during the process of the weaving.

spinning cotton

                                                                         the loom


        we were showered with bundles of exquisite cloth
needless to say some have found their way into my suitcase
more pix when I return home

a lorry being loaded with cotton

the cotton harvest has begun the next visit was to a farm acres and acres of it
we walked through a crop - the flower is white until it is pollinated when it turns
when it turns pink.    The seed pod is very hard and explodes when the cotton is
ripe, but before that you can eat the immature cotton, which I did with instructions 
         to chew and spit.  No particular taste, but apparently it's good for you
when in Rome etc.

The land is being turned into farmland with grassland similar to an African
savanna.    Full of birds and wildlife - wild boars, nilgi (antelope) and we did see
a rather large monitor lizard.   Small lakes have been dug to encourage wildlife
and there is a longterm plan to build an eco camp for visitors.

I was told that the ladies, when they had time, stitched quilts.   We met some lovely
ladies for chai and they eagerly brought out the quilts.   Definitely 'utiliarian'
big stitches, wadding of cotton straight from the bush.  Fabric polyester cotton 
with coloured boarders,    Apart from anything they weighed a ton!   Cupboards
were emptied for smaller items for sale.   I post my purchases later.   Just a 
couple of smaller items, but at least I gave a very fair price.

We had a laugh together over chai and then a bullock cart ride around the fields

keith joined the ride, after he had taken the photograph
the end of a lovely day
back at Bell Inn,  a shower and  freshen up,
gin and t in hand we watched the sun go down

Monday, 3 November 2014

Danta, Gujarat

We set off early from Udaipur, along the Abu Road to the Gujarat border.   The first part of our journey was along really good roads, then not so good!

We passed Amberji famous for it's temple dedicated to the goddess Durga.   Being Diwali the town was crowded with visitors visiting the temple.  Soon we were in the countryside again driving up and down hill with rivers and lakes either side.

Danta is a small town, we stayed at Bhanvani Villa, a heritage home.   Our hosts were most welcoming making us feel truly 'at home'.   The food was so good, traditional Gujarati fare.

A visit to an Adivasi village proved enlightening.    They are allowed to clear a part of the forest to live and farm on.  One outcome of this policy is that, over the years, so much jungle has been cleared the leopards and tigers no longer exist in this area.  

Adivarsi ladies selling their produce at Danta market


Our two days here passed very quickly.   There were walks in the jungle bird watching.  At the end of the day, afternoon tea in the garden of the farm, sitting with the family as the sun set.   Watching the beautiful Mewar horses trotting to their night quarters, the cows content in their sheds,  walking the fields listening to nature.  Perfect.   

Another visit to a Rabari village, tucked away in the countryside.  It was the end of the day

pink horns and pink goats - decorated for Diwali

the goats are home and hungry
the sheep are on their way
every day they are taken to find food in the countryside

fodder has been gathered

time to relax

and I'll close this post now, hoping it will get through
Blogger is being a little difficult!