SUBMITTED BY JESSICA WARNER
India is an exciting destination for handcrafts with a rich variety of textile traditions. At the core of modern India is a reverence for hand-spun, hand-woven khadi fabric, which Ghandi made central to his fight for Indian independence in the early 20th century.
Twofold Handcrafted Travel is doing a deep-dive into Indian textiles with its upcoming tour India: A Textile Story. The tour is limited to ten people and focuses on three diverse destinations over nine days. The itinerary explores handcrafted fashion in Delhi, silk weaving in Varanasi, and block-printing in Jaipur.
In Delhi, which has a flourishing design scene, the group will meet textile-forward fashion designers in their studios and showrooms. While these designers work with artisans from throughout India, many also employ full-time craftspeople who work onsite and it’s exciting to get a glimpse at the design process. The group will also gain insight into contemporary Indian textiles at dinner with a young textile curator and during a visit to the home of India’s leading sari expert.
Varanasi has long been famous for exquisite silk brocade fabrics woven by weavers, known as karigars, on pit looms. From Varanasi it’s a thrilling drive, catching lively glimpses of village life, to visit an organization that weaves fabrics on old jacquard looms for high-end labels in the West as well as for luxurious wedding saris. Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest cities and it’s a fascinating place to visit. People travel from all over India to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges River and to cremate the remains of loved ones; it’s incredible to watch these rituals of life and death.
The old rulers of Jaipur were great patrons of the arts and the city is renowned for various handcrafts, one of which is block-printing. India: A Textile Story includes a visit to the atelier of a French expat designer who, over the last 30 years, has worked with master craftsmen to revive the art of block-printing to a level not seen since the Mughal era. In the town of Bagru, where the Chippa caste has been practicing block-printing for centuries, the group will learn about the craft in a hands-on workshop. It’s interesting to wander Bagru to see the woodblock carvers, printers, dyers, and launderers who are all part of the block-print process.
As a backdrop to this exploration of Indian textiles are the stunning Mughal and colonial-era monuments of Delhi; the transformative rituals of Varanasi; and the bustling markets and magnificent historic sites of Jaipur.
India: A Textile Story will take place 12 – 22 February, 2018 and costs $5,800 USD (double occupancy). Tour capacity is limited to 10 people. Twofold Travel is organizing the tour in collaboration with Fiona Caulfield, author of the Love Travel Guides to India, and Banyan Travel. For more information and to register, please visit http://twofoldtravel.com/india-a-textile-story/, twofoldtravel.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the full itinerary.