Indagare insider and textile designer Lisa Fine recently traveled to India and shares her impressions with Indagare.
I have been to India over 50 times and, each time I land in Delhi or Mumbai, an indescribable rush overwhelms me. The smell of curry, diesel and waste, the explosions of colors and patterns, and the insane chaos immediately assure me that India has not changed.
I first came to India to study textile. Each region specializes in a specific type of print or embroidery. Jaipur is known for block prints; Kutch, mirror work; Lucknow, white chikan embroidery; Orissa, ikat wovens. Some very fine embroidery (like the rich gold stitch, Zardozi) is made only by Muslim men. Many of the tribal work is made in villages only by women.
Each time I bring friends to India for the first time, they go crazy shopping for textiles. The range and the choices of textiles available are dramatic. We always go to Khan Market in New Delhi where Anoki block print fabrics start around $10, then to Good Earth for beautiful coats and tunics. I never go to Delhi without loading up on Mittal's teas and spices (GF-6 New Delhi House, 27, Barakhamba Road). Bharany in Sunder Nagar Market is my favorite for antique block prints and hand embroidery from Kashmir. I always like to begin and end each trip at The Silhoutte Salon in Delhi. Only in India can you have a coconut head massage, sesame oil foot massage and manicure all at the same time.
Even though I came to India in search of textile, it was easy to become obsessed with everything Indian: the Ayurveda spas like the Ananda in the Himalayas (anandaspa.com); the food, including delicious tandoori, vegetarian food of Gujarat, curries of southern India; the architecture, including colonial New Delhi, the Mughal forts and the Indo-Saracenic palaces.
I love sharing "my India" with friends. At first it was difficult, as I have a few friends who weren't truly comfortable outside their zip code. After my first girls' trip to India, however, that anxiety disappeared, as not even 'The Tales of The Arabian Nights' depict the luxury we recounted. Indian hotels are like fairytales. Many like Rambagh in Jaipur and Umaid Bhawan in Jodphur are glorious old maharaja palaces converted into hotels. Then there are the utopian creations of Oberoi's Udaivilas in Udaipur and Rajvilas in Jaipur. I often tease and say I am 'Eloise of The RajVilas'. It is my home away from home.
Read our Q&A with Indagare Insider Lisa Fine. To plan your own journey to India, contact the Bookings Team.
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