A quick stop into Jaipur!

23 Mar

We had decided to save Rajasthan for last, as we had heard from many that it was the best area of India to visit. Our first stop was the bustling city of Jaipur. Called the Pink City, Jaipur felt very celebratory to us. Our first day there, we ran smack into a Krishna parade, with pigment and flowers flying everywhere. Miniature paintings, puppets and music seemed to pop up all over the place in Jaipur, and getting lost in the tiny alleys of the Old City is a fun adventure. We only spent 2 days here, but we really enjoyed it! If you do come through, try to stop by the SRC Museum of Indology. It was the only museum we had time for and although its falling apart (literally), it had an insane collection of magnificent miniature paintings and lovely folk art.

20130323-210250.jpg

20130323-210438.jpg

20130323-210359.jpg

20130323-210424.jpg

20130323-210611.jpg

20130323-210630.jpg

20130323-210644.jpg

20130323-210707.jpg

20130323-210657.jpg

20130323-210721.jpg

20130323-210753.jpg

20130323-210803.jpg

20130323-210817.jpg

20130323-210828.jpg

20130323-210839.jpg

20130323-210744.jpg

Incredible Gujurat crafts!

23 Mar

One of the more amazing parts of Gujurat are the crafts. Artisans are located in every region in Gujurat and you can tour many of the small villages and see people working away at dying fabric, weaving textiles, woodblock printing, embroidering mirrors and many other complex and beautiful works of art.

There are tons of organizations that are in place to help women actually make a living with their talents, including, Kala Raksha, which is located in a tiny village about 25 km north of Bhuj. The director, Judy Frater, has set up a fantastic space, including a museum to help preserve some of the incredible textile work. Judy and several artisans will be visiting the US this summer and giving a lecture/workshop at the DeYoung museum. If you are in the SF Bay Area, this is not to be missed!
You can also read more about the organization here: http://www.kala-raksha.org

Quasab is another organization that we loved. They had a beautiful shop in Bhuj and helped us to connect with a guide who was very knowledgable about the area. We spent a day driving around with him, checking out so many incredible artisan spots…it was very inspiring.

We both would love to come back to Gujurat and spend more time exploring the area. We also hope to possibly work with one of the organizations in the future, either through fundraising efforts or actual onsite workshops.

20130323-195435.jpg

20130323-195539.jpg

20130323-195641.jpg

20130323-195559.jpg

20130323-195757.jpg

20130323-195853.jpg

20130323-195944.jpg

20130323-200043.jpg

20130323-200101.jpg

20130323-200147.jpg

20130323-200250.jpg

20130323-200346.jpg

20130323-200330.jpg

20130323-200437.jpg

20130323-200451.jpg

20130323-200545.jpg

20130323-200504.jpg

20130323-200616.jpg

20130323-200601.jpg

20130323-200638.jpg

20130323-200733.jpg

20130323-200744.jpg

20130323-200800.jpg

20130323-201208.jpg

20130323-201220.jpg

Bhuj, capital of Kachch in Gujurat

21 Mar

We had heard amazing stories about Gujurat, which is the small state just below Pakistan. This area is said to have many of the villages where some of the more amazing craft traditions are still thriving. Although hard to get too, we made the extra effort and took a cheap flight into the tiny airport in Bhuj. We had no idea what to expect, especially since the area had suffered severe damage from an earthquake in 2001, but were pleasantly surprised by everything. Extremely friendly people with a thriving market stuffed with the most incredible handcrafts you can imagine awaited us and our expectations were blown out of the water.
We basically split our visit into two trips, spending one in town, and another driving around exploring the tiny villages dotted around Bhuj.
Below are some of our shots from the city proper, which included a visit to the amazing Prag Mahal. The Prag Mahal is this crazy old palace that was very British inspired and is in a steady state of decay. You can get lost in this broken down palace full of rotting taxidermy heads and pigeons who have completely taken over the place.
Next to it is the Aina Mahal, which is in much better shape and houses magnificent art, mirrored walls, bed chambers and lovely collections of beautiful Indian riches.
The Rani Mahal was closed due to extreme damage from the earthquake. The structure itself is still breathtaking, and you can see the ornate a lovely carved Muslim viewing rooms, still perfectly in tact and on the sides of the palace.

20130321-165559.jpg

20130321-165612.jpg

20130321-165639.jpg

20130321-165714.jpg

20130321-165731.jpg

20130321-165750.jpg

20130321-165816.jpg

20130321-165839.jpg

20130321-165911.jpg

20130321-165934.jpg

20130321-170003.jpg

20130321-170028.jpg

20130321-170059.jpg

20130321-170132.jpg

20130321-170218.jpg

20130321-170243.jpg

20130321-170309.jpg

20130321-170336.jpg

20130321-170407.jpg

20130321-170435.jpg

20130321-170500.jpg

20130321-170532.jpg

20130321-170616.jpg

20130321-170641.jpg

20130321-170705.jpg

20130321-170733.jpg

20130321-170803.jpg

20130321-170826.jpg

20130321-170848.jpg

20130321-170910.jpg

20130321-170934.jpg

20130321-170955.jpg

20130321-171025.jpg

20130321-173500.jpg

20130321-173511.jpg

20130321-173522.jpg

Parrots of Khajuraho

19 Mar

When we were in Khajuraho, every evening at sunset thousands of bright green parrots would fill this one tree in town, and call out to the setting sun in song. We had so many pictures of the temples that I forgot to post the sounds!

Mumbai vinyl score

16 Mar

Being a dj and a music lover, whenever I travel I seek out new (or old) music from the far away places that I visit. Being that my first love in music is vinyl records, I usually try to find used record shops, or bookstores or the like to find used vinyl records. After traveling through India for for 6 weeks I hadn’t seen a single vinyl record or a record store, aside from small booths on the street that stock mp3 CDs. So I was overjoyed when I was able to track down Ali, a record dealer in Mumbai, through some dj friends. After our friend Vikram called him and spoke with him at length in Hindi,we organized a meeting place, and he came out with a stack of old Bollywood soundtracks and Hindi disco LPs. I was like a kid in a candy store! Just the sight of the black wax and old record covers made me drool. Here is a small selection of the record cover art from my Mumbai record scores.

20130316-165826.jpg

20130316-165904.jpg

20130316-165935.jpg

20130316-170000.jpg

20130316-170409.jpg

20130316-170154.jpg

20130316-170241.jpg

20130316-170046.jpg

20130316-170535.jpg

20130316-170639.jpg

20130316-170719.jpg

20130316-170611.jpg

20130316-170803.jpg

20130316-170829.jpg

20130316-170845.jpg

Ellora caves

14 Mar

The second day of our weekend in Aurangabad brought us to the group of rock cut temples at Ellora. These temples were laboriously carved out of the rock face over five generations, and represent the height in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock cut architecture. The Jain temples were absolutely exquisite in the detail of their carvings, and the main Hindu temple of Kailasa is quite simply breathtaking. Kailasa temple is truly monumental, having been carved by over 7,000 labourers over 150 years, it is the worlds largest monolithic rock sculpture. The giant Buddha sculptures in the Buddhist series of caves were epic – and the fact that all of these were carved out of the side of a mountain by generations and generations of spiritual seekers really lends to their awesome power and beauty.20130314-233514.jpg20130314-233542.jpg20130314-233644.jpg20130314-233732.jpg20130314-233808.jpg20130314-233847.jpg20130314-233928.jpg20130314-234001.jpg20130314-234058.jpg20130315-142109.jpg20130314-234135.jpg20130314-234207.jpg20130315-142155.jpg20130315-142241.jpg20130315-142309.jpg20130315-142342.jpg20130315-142417.jpg20130315-142513.jpg20130315-142638.jpg20130315-142707.jpg20130315-142733.jpg20130315-142807.jpg20130315-142837.jpg20130315-142910.jpg20130315-142939.jpg20130315-143010.jpg20130315-143035.jpg20130315-143116.jpg20130315-143152.jpg20130315-143237.jpg20130315-143258.jpg20130315-143324.jpg20130315-143350.jpg20130315-143410.jpg20130315-143436.jpg20130315-143455.jpg20130315-143526.jpg20130315-143549.jpg20130315-143606.jpg20130315-143643.jpg20130315-143705.jpg20130315-143729.jpg

20130315-143743.jpg

20130315-143802.jpg

20130315-143819.jpg

Aurangabad party shop

14 Mar

In between visiting the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, we spent an afternoon roaming the markets in Aurangabad. We happened upon a party shop that stocked fake flowers and plastic leis. The owners of the shop decided that they really needed to dress me up in a party turban and take pictures of me.

20130314-230749.jpg

20130314-230812.jpg

20130314-230836.jpg

20130314-230859.jpg