After having worked with the factory in New Dehli, India for over 10 years, we decided it was well and truly time to meet and explore all they have to offer.
Over the years these people have not only sourced for us the most beautiful raw, organically grown fibres but also provided us with the most sustainable ways to print our designs - helping us meet our commitment to the environment and of course, our customers!
So Sally and I set off in August 2023, on an adventure of a lifetime to New Delhi India, like deer in the headlights, virgins to India - just like the fibres we use!
After a long 12-hour flight, we finally touched down in India. Equally exhausted and excited! When we got outside, we saw a large group of male drivers waving banners with all these different names. We continued to walk the line, already completely drenched from the humidity and hoping to find any familiar words. Finally, we found a smiling man who swooped in and took our bags, and then we were off!
India is a land of utter contrasts like no other. It quickly taught us to just let go - because really if you can’t change it, there’s no point holding on to it. Culturally, Indians practice this idea, and it has helped them heal and move on. Just like when the British overthrew the emperor and ruled for nearly 100 years, they held no grudge but instead accepted this as part of the complex, layered fabric of their history. This could also explain why their culture is so vibrant and beautiful, entwined with so many different influences and religions, all coming together in one giant colourful melting pot.
The local perspective is everything.
I feel that it’s not our job to judge a culture that we simply do not understand, we should only be students of this complex colourful culture, filled with love and contrast.
If you’re planning on travelling to India, be sure to find a good local guide (not a large company with lots of Google reviews!). They will not only show you the historic sights, but truly educate you on the fascinating history, culture, love, life, spirituality, and people of India. More importantly, a local guide can share the local traditions and what is respectful in places such as temples and monuments, all while keeping you safe.
Indians are honestly so open and they welcome others to share with them. Seriously with as many Muslims as Hindus living side by side, not to mention the many other less prominent religions. Temples side by side, worshipping side by side, living side by side. Mostly all their religions are built on love, kindness, and respect for all (which I found very interesting) they seem to judge less than our society. There is so much to learn from this ancient enlightened culture!
My Top Tips for Travelling to India.
Smile – A smile is universal; Indians are proud people who generally want visitors to love and enjoy India as they do. Our driver would say when we laughed and smiled after experiencing something amazing, “You love India!”. YES, we love India! LOL
Eat – Eat the food, try the food, smell the food, love the food. Again, if possible, get a local guide to help you choose places to eat. Never drink water from the tap, but luckily most good hotels offer filtered water so that you can re-fill your water bottles to reduce waste. Plastic water bottles are such a problem, especially in India.
Open – Be open to everything, try new things, and soak in the contrast, culture, people, and colour. If you aren’t willing to do this, India isn’t for you. India has been my favourite out of all of the places I have travelled because of the cray, cray. It’s simply like nothing else. Pre-conceived ideas are soon washed away, and nothing really is what you think it is before you visit.
Respect & safety – Being respectful is the most important thing in India. To get the most from your visit you really need a good local guide, doing it alone means that you will simply miss out. Your safety must be taken seriously, and although both Sally and I were treated with the utmost respect, kindness and love, we always made sure that we were safe. When we were alone we didn’t travel to the night markets or restaurants, as we were told two white women alone created a lot of attention, and this is not safe. Most cultures (even our own) have dark sides, places where it isn’t safe for women to travel alone. With a local guide, you are automatically safer, while getting to experience everything in its fullness.
Immerse yourself – Always ask questions! The locals love to share everything and are very proud people. The more you ask, the more you learn, and better connected you will feel to the country, culture, and people.
Driving - Expect the driving to be like nothing you have ever experienced! LOL, it’s a dance of no apparent rules, constant rush hour, movement like a river in a flood, horns blaring, back and forwards, round and round up and down until finally, you reach the destination. They even laugh at it, they smile and say it just works. I am not 100% sure how, but it seems to!
Where we stayed - Eros Hotel India
Tours we did and loved.