Recently, I returned from a 10-day buying trip in India or Incredible India as it is affectionately called by those who've had the fortune to travel there. You might wonder what makes India incredible and I would tell you from my personal and professional travels within India that it's a combination of the rich and intricate history, the unique customs, the flavorful food, the unexpectedly close contact with the cows, goats, and other animals that roam freely in the smaller cities, the lively hustle and bustle of the larger cities, the street markets that offer farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, ornate jewelry and baubles, aromatic spices, colorful garments, the barber trucks where you can grab a quick shave, the rambunctious children scurrying to school... and so much more.
A cow in the streets of Varanasi
Fresh produce sold on the streets
A young India girl selling citrus fruits and vegetables with her brothers
School children and I pose outside of their school
I've had the pleasure of traveling to many different parts of India during past trips, but this time I was primarily in the city of Varanasi, which is located in what's known as the spiritual capital of India right on the banks of the Ganges river, the holiest of the seven cities; the Hindu people of Varanasi bathe in the river, as they believe the water is blessed. It is a place of meager financial means, but abundant in ancient cultural philosophy and practices.
A townswoman swaddled in vibrant fabric
When I arrived in the city, I checked into a no frills but comfortable hotel. There, I shared my room with the native lizards who'd, apparently, booked the room long before I had.
Lizard friend in the Varanasi hotel
After a 32-hour flight I needed to rest up for my next day plans: the Varanasi Carpet Fair, where rug merchants and dealers gather once per year to feast their eyes on the latest rug designs that weavers have laboriously created over the past months; the camaraderie and opportunity to make new friends and contacts at these fairs is a pleasant bonus.
The workmanship required to hand-weave Oriental rugs is taxing and requires great focus and tenacity, but in Varanasi, I learned that the artisans look at the work as another form of spiritual connection, one where they can utilize their own creative energy in tandem with the ever-present energy of the sacred town to birth a piece of art.
Enjoy the following photos; we look forward to sharing our new selections with you very soon.
Main Street Oriental Rugs
Bundles of spun wool ready to be turned into a beautiful rug
Two weavers creating a rug at their loom
A vigilant weaver knotting wool
Peeking through the cotton foundation
A rug in progress